A Question of Capabilities?
Earlier this week, I wrote that it seemed more important to me to hit a target repeatedly with small caliber rounds than to miss with big ones. Not everyone agreed, and that's perfectly fine with me.
Talking about the applicability of a particular firearm in any given situation is one of the fun elements of the shooting sports. For me, shooting sports are a lot like ice cream. We agree that we all like ice cream, we're just arguing for our favorite flavors.
Having spent more time than normal on the range this week, I've once-again proven there is simply no substitute for trigger time. I've spent time with both my own centerfire guns and some comparable test guns in .22 long rifle.
Running both has showed me I've let bad habits creep back into my shooting.
Despite having always advocated practicing with .22 caliber rimfire whenever possible instead of those considerably more expensive heavier-caliber guns, I've not taken the time to do that. Instead, I've run through the range and hurriedly squeezed in some "practice".
This week, I realized the profound difference between "shooting" and "practicing". And it only took a few rimfire rounds to make the point.
Despite a lifelong affection for the .22 rimfire, it's unrealistic for me to pickup a .22 caliber rifle, pistol or revolver and expect the same results I have gotten shooting heavier calibers - even at the same distances.
To get the same results with a .22 long rifle, I have to concentrate more than in my "normal" shooting routine for centerfire guns.
With a centerfire pistol, my thought process (after the draw) is "front sight, front sight, squeeze". Seems my taking the all-important firm grip is directly related to the weight of the gun I'm shooting - especially with handguns.
With the rimfire, I have to slow down, deliberately take a very firm grip and a long breath . Only at that point can I start thinking front sight, front sight, squeeze.
With a centerfire pistol on steel, I can move at a pace that's nothing like that of a top shooter, but isn't embarrassing. The thought of competing with a .22 in a rapid-fire competition like the Ruger rimfire challenge gives me the willies.
It just seems illogical.
Less recoil should enable me to index from target to target faster, right? After all, I'm not fighting recoil.
Instead, I find myself limp-wristing shots and getting muzzle flip or yanking off-target - with a .22. It's disgusting -and disturbing.
But magnifying those bad habits with the .22s is helping improve my shooting.
With the .22s, only slowing down - way down - produces positive outcomes.
Trying to "go fast" magnifies ALL my mistakes. Clench, grab or jerk a rimfire and my the results are indisputable. Conversely, being smooth throughout the process produces markedly better results.
Mentally, I have never disputed the old saying that "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" but it seems I've never really been a true disciple of the discipline.
This week's range sessions have proven I've clearly not practiced what others have preached and I thought I accepted.
And appropriately enough, my favorite caliber caused my frustration and pointed out my problems. It has also helped effectively address some faulty shooting fundamentals that have kept me from improving.
If your results seem to have flatlined, you might want to do a couple of things.
First, put up the "major power factor" blaster and load up a comparable .22 rimfire.
Then, get on the range, get ready to shoot and then.......slow down.
The scores you save may be your own.