Technique Of Sustained Fire

The shooter must employ a technique tailored to give him the ability to control the employment of the fundamentals under all conditions of competitive stress. The shooter must consider the following known factors which have a bearing on the control of a five-shot string of timed or rapid fire.

1. Find your aiming area on the edge of the target frame. Look directly at the faced target with your head in shooting position. Determine precisely where your aiming area is going to be when the target turns away. Relate this area to a spot on the edge of the frame that will be nearest you when the targets are edged. The time limitation precludes the luxury of looking at the target as it turns toward you so you can adjust your hold before applying positive trigger pressure for the first shot.

2. Stiffen your shooting arm as it extends the weapon toward the target and settles into the aiming area. Remember the degree of muscle tension required to give you solid arm control and a minimum arc of movement.

3. You should look at the aiming area and relate it to a spot on the edge of the target frame as you settle into a minimum arc of movement. Then shift the point of focus back to the rear sight before making a final point of focus on the front sight. This system is used to make absolutely sure the eyes are not focused somewhere between the front sight and the target.

4. The shooter must never forget that once he attains final focus on the front sight he never again allows a focus shift until all five shots of the string have been fired. To look at the target at any time during the string is inviting disaster. Trust your stance, position and grip to give your precise recovery and to maintain a minimum arc of movement within your aiming area.

5. In rapid fire, the first shot should break soon after the target turns. It is not necessary to try to get the first shot to break while the target is turning but it should break within one second. It is advisable to use the first motion of the target as the signal to apply positive, steadily increasing pressure on the trigger. The target's turning may sometimes produce a feeling of surprise and is accompanied by a momentary hesitation. This can cause a break in the shooter's composure and the firing of the first shot is delayed. By assuming a more determined attitude and stimulating your competitive aggressiveness you can overcome this problem. We suggest this approach: "When that target moves I am going to punch the 10 ring full of holes." You will be surprised at the effect this action has of eliminating any remaining doubts and at the resulting surge of confidence that it incurs.

6. During recovery, reestablish sight alignment without a focus shift. This action is important because a focus shift during recovery will delay the reestablishment of sight alignment. Approximately one-half second is needed between shots for this ill-advised operation and could total two full seconds of lost time. Successful rapid fire requires the use of ten full seconds for proper coordination and full control.

7. If you allow your eyes to follow the pistol during recoil, you may inadvertently move your head out of its original position. Any head movement during firing will disrupt the relationship between the aiming eye and the front and rear sight alignment. Correction will require a wrist movement which only artificially corrects the error. Upon recovery from recoil of the succeeding shot, the same error is once again apparent and likewise needs correction.

8. Reaffirm your determination to concentrate upon sight alignment the instant positive trigger pressure is resumed. Maintain your concentration on sight alignment until the pistol fires again.

9. After the pistol fires it will be moved out of the normal hold area by the recoil of firing, and it must be recovered instantly to the position it occupied prior to the dislocating effects of recoil. Recovery must be natural, uniform and quick.

10. You must immediately reestablish a positive, steadily increasing pressure upon the trigger. This should occur shortly before recovery is complete and the minimum arc of movement reestablished. The increasing pressure should neither be stopped nor varied in rate until the weapon has again been discharged. As soon as the positive, constantly increasing trigger pressure has been reapplied, shift your attention from thoughts of trigger control to the problem of sight alignment, just as you did on the first shot of the string.

11. The sights will be in near perfect alignment at the end of recovery, if the grip, control and head position are maintained. However, this ideal situation occurs only intermittently.

12. Remind yourself that this technique, repeated for each shot, insures that continuity is established from one shot to the next. Assure yourself that you can deliver a successful string on the target with an absolute minimum of wasted thought and time by following this system.

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