“If You’re Not Working On A Particular Skill Set, You’re Just Burning Powder And Making Noise” – Rickster 66
Truer words have never been spoken. I’m sure all of us can appreciate the fun of an informal “Plinking” session with friends or family. But if we truly wish to master our craft we must approach it with conscious effort and apply it to specific goals.
Practice As You Play
Practice as close to match conditions as possible.
I have always bee a firm believer in the old saying “Practice As You Play”. My interpretation of that motto is this; You need to bring yourself as close to “real-life” circumstances as you possibly can. That way when it comes time to perform, you have already gone through the motions many times before and there should be very few surprises.
I understand that not everyone can replicate a stage similar to what we do at PRS. Some ranges to not have the required distances. Some ranges only allow shooting from the bench. The list goes on and on. But we can work on certain fundamentals that will make things easier come “Game Day”.
Different Stages, Same Process
In the PRS game, there is certain process to follow regardles of the style type of stage or barricade you are shooting. By following this process consistently you will be able to shoot most stages with ease.
Here is the process:
- Transition to the firing line/barricade
- Build up a steady position
- Find your target downrange
- Ensure proper sight alignment/sight picture
- Breath control
- Squeeze the trigger straight back and hold back
- Work the bolt
- Transition to another position (if applicable)
The nice thing about this process is it can be done in the comfort of you own home as a dry-fire exercise using basic equipment such as a ladder or a chair. You can tape a paper target on your wall and practice the process. Be sure to use snap caps as some rimfire rifles should not be dry fired.
If you can make it out to the range make your target the idea is to make your targets about 2-3 MOA. This will allow you to accommodate any distance that your range has for distance. For example if your range is only 50 yards, make your target about 1 and a half inches in size. Set up a few of these targets so it forces you to practice moving your NPOA (Natural Point Of Aim).
If your range allows, try adding a layer by introducing position changes or barricade changes. You can also download previous Course Of Fires from previous events and practice those on your own or with a friend.
Tips for productive Practice:
- Go Slow
- Focus on each step of the process separately in the order listed above
- Slowly introduce stress factors like time limits, wind, etc.
- Make notes on what you are doing well and what you can improve on
- For items you need to improve on, work on those items individually until it is remedied
The purpose of these practice sessions is to build “muscle memory” and ingrain the process into your subconscious mind so that when it comes time to perform, you will be on autopilot. The key to performing this training is consistency.
Hopefully this article gave you some ideas on how to create your own practice regime. With conscious effort applied to each step of the fundamentals of shooting and the “universal” process of shooting a PRS stage, you will see improvement over time.
The goal is to learn our strong points and work on points that could use improvement.