No Easy Shots!

When do you see the hardest shots? When you arrive at a match, do you feel like the targets suddenly got smaller, or farther away? Does the A-zone look like its about 2″ across. What about those tight shots with no-shoots all around? If you’ve had those sensations, its quite likely that the target arrays you practice are simply too easy…

I’d like to introduce you to the concept of No Easy Shots….

I’ve seen a tendency with a lot of folks to practice by simply running out to the range and setting up a few targets, and blasting away at them running various drills. This always seems to involve full targets, for various reasons. Some shooters don’t feel confident shooting at tight targets, so they shoot at wide open, clean cardboard. Others say, in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, “I wanna go fast!”. A third group are simply a little bit lazy and don’t take the time to present themselves with a more challenging target array.

The thing is – when you step up to the line at a match, you are only prepared to handle wide open, close targets. Further, you’re probably a little bit sloppy on them, dropping lots of Charlies and an occasional Delta, because open targets tend to beg us to just throw shots at them. On top of that, when you start looking at those long, tight shots that you haven’t ever practiced, The Committee (that’s the group of voices in your head that engage in negative self-talk) gets involved, and reminds you of all sorts of things… “Look at those hardcover targets, man – those are some tight shots!”, “This sucks, those targets are so far away. What’s ‘practical’ about that?”, “This course designer is a sadist!”. Ever hear any of those sorts of comments on the range? I hear them all the time. How do you think that affects your ability to perform on the stage?

Wouldn’t you like to step up to a stage that has all headsho…. uh, sorry, I keep forgetting, those are “upper A/B” shots… a stage that has all head shots – at 15 yards, and think to yourself, “Man, I so own this stage…”. Or come upon a stage with a field of no-shoots preventing you from getting at anything other than 1/3 of the A-zone, and know for certain that you can nestle your holes right up against that no-shoot with no concerns about drawing penalties?

The fix is easy. PRACTICE THOSE SHOTS. Every time you go to practice, think to yourself “No Easy Shots”. Set up target arrays that challenge you. Vary them. Hardcover is easy – you need a can of spray paint. No-shoots are easier, you just flip a shoot target. Distance can be harder, depending on the range you have
to practice – but you can do a reasonable job of simulating distance simply by making the target smaller with hardcover and no-shoots anyhow.

For most shooters, there’s a funky distance where the targets require an extra little bit of focus. You probably know what I’m talking about – the targets look like you can get away with shooting them agressive on the move, or with a less than perfect sight picture, but they suddenly seem to shrink when you’re shooting at them, drawing misses or Ds. The consensus among most GMs is that targets in the 15-20 yard range tend to have that effect – I’ve not asked other groups of shooters about it, but I would suspect that the distance moves in relative to the shooter’s skill level. That “funky target distance” is a great range to do a lot of work at. You’ll really develop a feel for how to attack those targets consistently and accurately.

But, don’t make that the only distance you work at. Shoot at distances longer than you ever expect to see in a match. I’ve seen distances as long as 75 yards in some matches – they’re not common, but what if you show up familiar with that distance already? And, how easy do you think a 50 yard standards will look after you’ve practiced at distances 50% longer? Those targets suddenly look huge! Don’t neglect up close targets, either – you need to develop the index speeds, splits, etc that are required to effectively engage targets at that range. But, remember, no easy shots, right? The closer you get, the tighter the shots should get. At “warp speed” range, you should be able to hit 1-2″ targets consistently, so tight targets shouldn’t bother you at all at that range, right? ;)

So, make your practice harder than you ever expect a match to be – and then go one step beyond that. Your match day confidence will soar, and your performances will take a radical jump forward!

About the author


USPSA Grand Master, NRA Instructor, http://re-gun.com/about/

Permanent link to this article: http://re-gun.com/2011/05/no-easy-shots/

3 pings

  1. DR Performance says:

    Another blast from the past – but a good one. No Easy Shots! http://bit.ly/ljJaIL

  2. xre says:

    RT @drperformance: Another blast from the past – but a good one. No Easy Shots! http://bit.ly/ljJaIL

  3. Creative Dry Fire – Field Courses! | Re-Gun says:

    [...] thing to notice is the adherence to the “No Easy Shots” principle. These types of shots always seem easier in dry fire – make ‘em nice and [...]

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