"Shooting consistently good standing is a matter of rounds down range, with a thoughtfully executed goal."
The third stage of a CMP Garand match is the offhand stage, where the shooter is required to fire ten rounds from a standing position without the aid of the sling or any other supports. But if you hang around one or two of our matches, you'll likely hear a shooter call the third stage of fire by the nickname "awful hand." Sooner or later, you'll also hear someone point out "Matches are lost in the prone position, and won in the offhand." All of this points to the Catch-22 of offhand shooting: it is a serious challenge for new and experienced shooters, and yet no shooter can be competitive without a great standing score.
Which brings us to the content of this article, written by Carl Bernosky.
Carl Bernosky is an accomplished shooter, with multiple wins to his credit, including the 2007 and 2008 NRA National High Power Rifle championships.
Of course I will let the article speak for itself, but there is one thing that jumps out to me each time I read it. Despite Bernosky's impressive credentials as a competitive shooter, he still places great emphasis on the need to practice, to get in his "comfort zone" with the rifle in preparation for a match. And as the first line quoted above implies, it is practice with a plan. As I read it, it isn't enough to stand there and just pull the trigger--you need to develop a sens of what you're doing and why. As the author puts it, here is a "roadmap to your own success shooting standing."
Here is the article in its entirety, reprinted from USRifleTeams.com with permission.
Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:21 PM – USRIFLETEAMS.COM
Shooting consistently good standing is a matter of rounds down range, with a thoughtfully executed goal.
But first, your hold will determine the success you will have.
- Your hold has to be 10 ring to shoot 10’s. This means that there should be a reasonable amount of time (enough to get a shot off) that your sights are within your best hold. No attention should be paid to the sights when they are not in the middle, it’s wasted energy. My best hold is within 5 seconds after I first look though my sights. I’m ready to shoot the shot at that time. If the gun doesn’t stop I don’t shoot...I start over.
- The shot has to be executed with the gun sitting still within your hold. If the gun is moving...it’s most likely moving out, and you’ve missed the best part of your hold.
- Recognizing that the gun is sitting still and within your hold, with lots of training (dry fire or live fire) will initiate you firing the shot. It’s not subconscious to me, but it’s close.
- Don’t disturb the gun when you shoot the shot. That being said, I don’t believe in ball and dummy rounds drills and being surprised when the shot goes off. I consciously shoot every shot. Sometimes they are a mistake and I over-hold, but the more I train the less of these I get. If I get a dud round my gun will dip. This is very noticeable to me when shooting pistol. I can shoot bullet holes at 25 yards, but if I’ve miscounted the rounds I’ve fired out of my magazine, my pistol will dip noticeably...so do the pistols of the best pistol shooters I’ve watched and shot with. One might call this a “jerk,” I call it “controlled aggressive execution...executed consistently.” I don’t believe you can learn to ignore recoil. You must be consistent in your reaction to it.
- Know your hold and shoot within it. The best part of my hold is about 4 inches. When I get things rolling I recognize a still gun within my hold and execute the shot. I train to do this every shot. Close 10’s are acceptable Mid-ring 10’s are not. If my hold were 8 inches I would train the same way. Shoot the shot when it is still within the hold, and accept the occasional 9 but not accepting the shots out of my hold.
- Rounds down range. I shudder to think the amount of rounds I’ve fired standing in my life, and it still takes a month of shooting standing before Perry to be in my comfort zone. That month before Perry I shoot about 2000 rounds standing, 22 shots at a time. It peaks me at just about the right time.
This is a picture to what I believe it takes to shoot good standings. I hope it gives some insight, understanding, and a roadmap to your own success shooting standing.