My father once told me a yarn about a duck-hunting friend who fired box after box of shells but never dropped a bird because he aimed at entire flocks instead of individual ducks. His point was that no matter how hard you try, your shooting can never be more exact than your aiming.
Aiming is merely another kind of concentration, another way in which a sniper's superior attention to detail yields better results than those of an average rifleman.
That average rifleman is taught only to aim at his opponent's center-chest—a vague, wide area—but given the width of his front sight blade, it's still a realistic matching of target width to width of aiming device. Because of such wide latitudes, the ordinary rifleman's accuracy limitations are apparent.
But when we have a sniper equipped with a far more precise optical aiming instrument,
amazingly he's sometimes merely taught to aim center-chest, just like an ordinary rifleman. I assure you, if you practice sniper marksmanship against full-size silhouette targets and simply aim center-chest or center-mass, you will never realize even half your marksmanship potential. Sloppy 3-inch groups fired at 200 yards will become complete misses at 700 yards.
To focus your eye and your mind, you must hone in on your target and pick the exact spot you wish to hit. As shown in the illustration on page 218, a sniper doesn't aim at the side of a head, he aims at the tip of an ear. When it comes to a more nebulous target, shown here as a balloon but it could be an enemy partially obscured by brush, mentally divide the target into equal portions with the crosshairs, or "quarter" it. And even when you're taking a center-chest shot, you aim at some precise point such as his top button.
A rule-of-thumb approach recommended by an old Special Forces sniping friend is to pick an impact point on the target the same size as your bullet, an excellent mental and visual focus technique. Just don't get so fancy about a tiny spot that you delay your shot. Shoot exactly but quickly.
Another aspect of exact aiming is understanding the relationship between your eye, the reticle, and the target. In theory, a properly focused reticle allows you to have both the target and the crosshair clearly visible at the instant of firing—-but it doesn't always happen just this way. If you cannot focus simultaneously on both target and crosshair, consciously choose to focus on the crosshair when your rifle fires.
The final issue of exact aiming is whether to close the nonshooting eye or leave both eyes open. The benefit of closing one eye is to eliminate visual distractions while shooting; the benefit of leaving both eyes open is to reduce eyestrain and enhance comfort. Either way works fine, but using both ways works terribly. Remember that consistency in everything you do has an impact on accuracy; therefore, decide on one eye open or both eyes open, then shoot that way consistendy.
"I'll aim at the tip of his ear..." (Body feature)
"I must 'quarter'the balloons with my crosshairs..." (Nebulous outline)
"My target is his top button ..." (Clothing feature)
Talking about eyes, some German police and the scope to block bright light. This dilates snipers taught me a simple way to improve your pupils so you can see more detail in distant target clarity. As demonstrated in the accom- targets, panying photo, lay a dark cloth over your head
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