I shot for years without developing goals. What a waste of time. I kick myself thinking where I could be with my shooting if I had focused on what I was doing when I was younger. When I started this blog, I moved really close to a AAA gun range, and decided I wanted to use that range to become a rifleman. It was important that I moved because where I used to live, people just shot on private land all the time and at 25 yards. Plinking was fun, but worthless… I now realize that all the people I thought were good shots when I was growing up… well they aren’t. They didn’t have proper goals.
I had a goal, and it was to become a rifleman.
It is extremely important that your range time maximize your practice. Many of us have trouble getting to the range regularly, so when you do get the chance… shoot with a clear and distinct purpose.
One of *my* goals this year is to consolidate my gear. Last year I pretty much settled on shooting only 55gr xm193 for its cost and availability, but that expanded to a few hand loads to allow me to pursue NRA High Power shooting. To compensate for introducing another bullet weight, I mark my sights (where applicable) with a paint pen to easily shift my sight adjustments between the 55 grain stuff and my hand loads.
Consolidating my weapon systems with one ammo type is critical to my vision of rifle mastery. I will not be trying to introduce or shoot new calibers in the AR platform or new calibers in any other gun… Any rifle I own should have universal 1/2 x 1/2 MOA click adjustments with all sighting products and it should be chambered for 5.56. I want to share adjustments (and knowledge) between each product.
I understand the limits I just set on myself, but I also understand that doing the above gives me the ability to master a projectile shared between every rifle in the house… and 5.56 is pretty versatile.
So that’s my goal. It will indirectly make me a better shooter by maximizing my time at the range to one caliber. I am hoping by the end of my life, I have wind calls memorized for every possible loading of 5.56 in 1/2 x 1/2 MOA increments. That’s mastery, if I can swing it.
*Your* goals don’t have to be so grandiose or limiting… identify what you want to do, set up a range plan, bring the right equipment, and go practice.
There are many tools to help you set goals and gauge how effective your efforts are. Acceptable field accuracy under stress is an important goal. Working on speed to first shot is an important goal. So let’s combine these things with a measurement. Things like shot timers available from the Google Play store for free. B27 targets are available as close as your nearest Wal-Mart. Integrating a shot timer into your shooting will allow you to examine your speed on target and this info can be recorded and examined. Record your time to first shot and your split times. A belt mounted shot timer is a great investment. Try new things and dump the stuff that makes you slower.
Evaluate, experiment, and shoot the same gun over and over. That will gain you tons of skill at whatever goal you set.
One of my biggest shooting goals was to get involved with competitions and setting up this blog. This allowed me to meet so many people with years of solid shooting background that I have learned more about my rifle in three years than the prior ten that came before it. Consolidating my weapons into one caliber will help logistically and minimize time lost at the range to other calibers. Setting your own goals, whatever they may be, are essential to quality range time. Getting involved in competitions will also open your eyes to areas of your shooting that need improvement.
Winter is coming…