Position

When preparing for accurate shooting, it is insufficient merely to assume a comfortable and stable stance. You must be able to aim or point at your target in a natural, consistent manner. Improper position will affect your ability to establish or maintain the hold in the center of the aiming area. Before each shot or string of shots, it is necessary to check the correctness of the assumed position with respect to the target. Avoid unnecessary muscular tension in the effort to hold in the aiming area. An adverse effect upon the movement of the shooting arm and weapon is caused by extra muscular effort.

Match competition requires the shooter to fire a large number of shots in one day. It is necessary to find the most effective position, which will allow the shooter's body to assume an identical position over a long period of time without causing undue strain upon the muscular system. Any feeling of discomfort, fatigue, constraint or a continuing necessity to correct the orientation of the body to the target distracts the shooter's attention from the principal goal; the uniform, absolute control of an accurate shot. The finding of the most effective position when firing will provide for a consistent pointing of the shooting arm and weapon and provide a free and unforced feeling of natural alignment with the target during the entire period of shooting.

1. The shooter must position himself so as to naturally align or point himself and his weapon with the target so the hold will remain in the desired area without a tendency of the shooting arm to drift away from the aiming area.

2. To orient or align yourself properly with the target, use the following method:

a. First face approximately 40 to 50 degrees from the target using the methods of assuming the stance previously mentioned.

b. Look at the target by turning only the head. Keep the head level and turn it far enough toward the target to allow the eyes to look straight out of the head.

c. Raise the arm to align with the target. Close your eyes, raise your pistol arm a foot or two above the horizontal and then allow it to settle back relaxed and naturally to the horizontal. Completely relax the arm and shoulder not being used. Repeat this procedure once or twice and settle into a natural point. A true, natural point is not obtained with the eyes open.

d. After settling into a natural point, open your eyes to check if your arm and pistol are aligned with the target. If the pistol has settled in the center of the target, you have your natural position.

e. If the arm settles to one side of the target center, move your rear foot in the direction of error. Maintain without change the stance of the body as a unit from the feet to the shoulders and head. Swing the whole body by shifting the position of the feet until the arm and pistol are naturally aligned on the center of the target. Tests such as this will readily indicate your natural position. In no instance must the shooter correct errors in hold by moving the arm independent of the body. This type of correction is purely artificial and the arm will revert to the original error after recovery from the recoil of a shot.

f. Recheck after each error is found until no error exists.

3. The shooter must always remember that the improvement of his marksmanship skill requires an unceasing search for an even better stance and position. The position and stance assumed must not be considered as something constant. As marksmanship skill develops, changes in the stance and position are necessary in order to improve performance.

4. Many expert marksmen, as a result of long and persistent training have completely developed their stance and position to the point of automation, sometimes not even noting its individual shortcomings. It sometimes happens that some experts, even though they know about their shortcomings, do not attach the proper importance to them. Only when the individual shortcomings in position or stance become a serious hindrance to their progress do they begin to change. The overwhelming majority of the leading shooters actually work seriously and creatively to improve themselves by evaluation of their position and stance.

5. Young shooters must not blindly copy, and instructors and coaches must not mechanically, without any analysis, instill in their pupils a particular variation of position or stance. It is necessary to make an intelligent approach to the problem of selecting the particular stance and position that is acceptable to oneself, taking from the experts desirable aspects and rejecting undesirable ones.

Figure 1-5. Getting the Grip.
Figure 1-6. The Grip.

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