Reprinted from the May 6, 2010 edition of The Tactical Wire
About every week I say I’m going to the range, which is in my back yard, and do some shooting. And about every time something more important comes up. The key here is that ‘important’ is a subjective term. Sometimes, as I discovered today, it’s ‘important’ to get to the range.
My reason for going to the range is to zero prototypes of the Katana, one with iron sights, and the other with irons and an Aimpoint. I start setting up targets, but my main focus is on getting the job done so I can move on to other tasks. I break out the rifles, start loading magazines, and begin noticing how nice it is to be on the range by myself. I shoot from standing at twenty-five yards, adjusting and firing more groups, until I’m satisfied and ready to move back to fifty yards to repeat the process. It’s about this time I remember how much I like the smell of the carbines’ burnt powder in the air.
From fifty I start working from prone. I concentrate on to settling into a solid position. Breathing steady, I feel the muscles of my body relax. My finger slides onto the trigger and I start thinking “pressssss.” The carbine recoils, I reset the trigger and begin the process over again. After a while my mind and body settle into the routine of it all.
By the time I get back to one-hundred yards I’m enjoying myself. I’m in no hurry, and once the rifles are zeroed from prone I shoot from sitting and kneeling, firing groups of twelve to twenty rounds. Reloading mags is a pleasure, sitting in the sun, listening to the various birds around me is good. I haven’t been this relaxed in a long time, and I drag the shooting out as long as I can. About then is when I remember I’m supposed to get in my column for The Tactical Wire.
Shooting is fun, enjoyable to do with friends, and comes in all flavors. For most of you reading this column, you also have firearms that can be used to defend against a violent threat, which means you need training and practice, serious subjects. But, regardless of why you own whatever type firearms you have, sometimes it’s just nice to get away from that reason and just enjoy shooting.
Shooting, I rediscovered today, is a great way to mentally and physically get away. Forget about group size, distance, the number of targets or your timer. Just get lost in the act of shooting itself, firing one perfect shot at a time. Done properly this unites the mind and body, which is sort of a hard thing to do in today’s world. When the mind and body are one, it’s a really nice feeling, and you perform better, no matter what the task. Learn it on the range, and then figure out how to apply it to the rest of your life. This is especially true of fighting.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama, author of The Book of Two Guns, a staff member of several firearms/tactical publications, and an adjunct instructor for the F.B.I. (256) 582-4777 http://www.shootrite.org