Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Fundamentals!

The higher you climb on the training ladder the more important the fundamentals become. ImageFor example we begin by learning the basic skills required to perform a certain task, say the fundamentals of marksmanship. These basic techniques are then bundled with other skills in order to execute more complicated tasks – shooting while moving, communicating and using cover. The more elements you add to your performance the more critical it is to be able to perform the fundamentals at a subconscious level. This means you can apply them without conscious thought. Regardless of what all else is going on, to get good hits you still have to apply the fundamentals.

In the beginning you learn how to apply the fundamentals of marksman – aim, hold, press, and follow-through – to fire one accurate shot at a time. There is no time limit or stress; you take as much time as you need to insure the trigger press results in an accurate shot. As you get the fundamentals down the target size decreases and the distances increase, forcing you to truly apply the fundamentals to score a hit.

The next step is to start applying the fundamentals to combative marksmanship. You learn that a perfect sight picture isn’t necessary to hit the chest from three yards, which is good because at that distance you better be able to get those hits outbound quickly. A smooth trigger press is always mandatory, but you learn how to achieve it over a short span of time. At twenty-five yards a more refined sight picture is required, and a steady smooth press on the trigger insures hits.

In a confrontation chances are high you’ll need to be moving. You move to create distance or get off the line of attack, to get behind cover or obtain a clear angle of attack. There’s also a possibility you have to shoot to stop the threat(s) while you’re moving. You move smoothly, maintaining a stable platform, and learn that those same fundamentals of marksmanship still apply, except now they’re even more important. At this level of training/practice, or application in an actual confrontation, the marksmanship skills are performed at a subconscious level. If you have to think about shootin’ accurately you can’t be thinkin’ ’bout what direction or how far you need to move.

At some point in your training and practice you start addressing moving targets. The threat(s), just like you, are not going to be stationary, standing there while you shoot them. When you start shooting moving targets you get a big refresher course in the fundamentals of marksmanship. Our visual, and mental, focus is attracted to the moving target. You have to remember that when the target is moving it’s extremely important to focus on the front sight. (Assuming you’re using iron sights.) When the target is moving the follow-through – recovering from the recoil, reacquiring a sight picture and resetting the trigger – are mandatory for good hits. You have to constantly be tracking the target with your sights. Follow through is also the key to making multiple hits efficiently. If you don’t continue to track the target you’re always trying to play catch up on the next shot. Eventually the target is moving, you’re moving and shooting accurately.

Clint Smith drilled into my head that “fundamentals win fights.” While this may sound simplistic, the more training and practice you perform the more you appreciate how true this rings. Responding to a violent threat is all about applying a lot of different fundamentals at once. Practice now, because while it may seem simple that doesn’t mean it won’t be complicated.

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February 14, 2013 - Posted by | General Training

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