Oct 4, 2020 | By: Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor
Understandably, rifle and handgun shooters literally live by the non-negotiable importance of gun “control” and precision. Shotgun shooters? Well…with all our attention “out there” at the target…maybe not so much.
While certainly not easy by any means, Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet are not complex sports. But we can and we often do make them harder than they really are. If I may, here’s a suggestion that can definitely improve your performance in the shooting box, starting today.
"Blazing barrels" is a term I heard used by Russ Vowell, a well-known and highly respected N.S.C.A. Level III instructor. His term refers to excessive gun speed, hence his appropriate name for a swing that's out of control.
Bill Appel, a Level III instructor who owns Thunder Ridge in PA says, "Let the target steer the muzzle." Wise words…Bill is so right. Blazing barrels, however, prevent this from happening. So, the intent here is to slow things down during the swing. A lot. No...even more please.
As someone who works with shooters almost daily, a great deal of my time is devoted to getting my student's muzzle in harmony with the target before it reaches the break point, lead and trigger pull. Early in the swing…whether the muzzle starts behind, on, or in front of the target…this short target/muzzle alignment is critical. You would be amazed at how many folks are simply unaware of what is happening in the beginning and middle of their swing and how much swing precision is being lost. Concentrating hard on breaking the bird, raw determination fuels a swing intent on swatting the target out of the sky. Unfortunately (please read that word again), sometimes the target is hit. To the shooter, this confirms his swing must have been correct. Followed by missing the next target, confusion and more gun speed to repeat the first X, which was purely an accident. XOOXOO. This inconsistent swing cycle can yield broken birds but never consistently and, predictably, any real, measurable shooting improvement comes to a screeching halt.
May I suggest: on your call, the bird appears. Stop. At this exact micro-second your muzzle is dead still, about to move. Let's look at the very first 2 or 3 inches of muzzle movement. Done incorrectly, the muzzle bolts out of the gate, out of control. Done correctly, the initial move of the muzzle is s-l-o-w-e-r…now synchronized with what the target is really doing. Aligning the muzzle with the target’s speed and line…early in the swing…here’s the critically needed swing precision mentioned earlier. And right here is where precision simply can’t be compromised. Not when XXXXXX is the goal.
Sure…we all want the target to break. But let that muzzle blur past the “correct” sight picture…the target in one place and your muzzle in another…right on schedule, OO. This is precisely why advanced shooters don't have "blazing barrels." If consistency and higher scores are your goals, slow everything down, especially at the beginning of your swing. Then, add speed, but only as the target requires. A swing that starts under control and keeps precision intact yields much more consistency on your score sheet. Guaranteed
Dan Schindler is one of only 60 worldwide members of the Guild of Shooting Instructors (UK) and is one of the most highly respected Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructors in the US. Dan is an NSCA Level III Instructor (since 1995) and founded the Paragon School of Sporting with one goal in mind. Whether it be for the advanced competitor or providing the basics to the entry-level shooter, Paragon provides the simplest, most practical and most effective Instruction, Coaching and Mental Training for the Sporting Clays & Wingshooting enthusiast. Dan Schindler helps shooters alleviate a lot of their frustration by taking the mystery out of breaking targets, calling their own misses, and make their own corrections. Lessons are fun, enlightening and our clients learn to shoot better in minutes!
Yes, Dan's books help you take the MYSTERY out of missing targets and help you quickly learn steps to shoot more CONSISTENTLY! Order Dan's 3 books NOW!
Newest Release...Take Your Best Shot (Book I), 3rd Edition isTHE Gold Standard Primer...
and is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting. This book is used by high school and college shooting teams, recreational and competitive shooters from around the world. Solid, valuable, concise information that has helped thousands of shooters shoot more consistently with higher scores.
To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing.
Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels, filled with valuable information, clay target truths. Entertaining and a culmination of 3 decades of Dan's life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer, and much more.
A few Facebook comments on Dan Schindler's and Dan's Books:
Mark Engen, DVM These three books are a must-read for all clay target shooters. They are clear, concise, logical instructions on how to shoot clay targets and how to improve your scores. Taking a lesson from Dan would be very advantageous & help hasten the learning process. He has been my instructor for 15 years. With each lesson, I always come away amazed how much I have learned & how my scores improve. He also emphasizes how important it is to practice regularly & stay with his advice & recommendations to really learn new skills to improve your scores. He has helped me tremendously & I highly recommend him.
Don N Lisha SanteGot my three-book set. Read Take Your Best Shot (Book I) and can’t put book II down. Can’t wait to apply all I’ve learned tomorrow now that the rains gone.
Steve PowersI got my copy about a month ago. I’ve read it twice, cover to cover & reviewed the sequence of steps multiple times. Good Book.
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