With Spring officially in effect according to our calendars, shooters in the northern reaches of the US are longing for some outdoor range time. Here at FLSC, this means the beginning of shotgun league season. The High School Trap and Skeet teams are ramping up practice, our winter heated 5-stand has come to a close and our shotgun leagues will be starting very soon.
I want to share will you why I believe shotgunning makes you a better shooter overall. It doesn’t matter if you favor fine tuning loads and technique out to 400 yards with your favorite rifle, regular practice with your personal defense pistol or revolver, if you love the speed and pressure of action shooting or even if archery is your go to. Shotgun sports will improve your other shooting sports and I’ll give you a few reasons why.
First, and perhaps most importantly, trigger time is applicable across the board. The good old “ready, aim, fire…” is a mindset that allows you to vacate your mind of all other concerns and focus directly on the task at hand. If you talk with any shooter who practices their craft on a regular basis, they will tout the therapeutic value of shooting. It forces you to clear your mind, it’s a mini vacation from all of life’s stresses and chaos. Shooting forces you to focus, something we get little time to do in daily life with all of its distractions and multi-tasking demands. Shotgunning is no different, your concentration and complete attention are required to excel. Being able to clear out the mental junk, clean the slate, if I can use another cliché, will no doubt enhance whatever shooting sport you fancy.
Secondly, this is where I think things really get good, shotgunning forces you to compress all of your shooting steps and commit them to subconscious memory. When shooting at flying targets, you have to use your same fundamentals; body position, target acquisition, sight picture, breathing, trigger control and follow through. You may call them something different, but I would argue that these are the keys to accurate shooting regardless if you are at Gate 1 punching paper at 400 yards, Gate 3 running from shooting position to shooting position or transitioning from pistol to long gun, or at Gate 3 slinging arrows to improve your archery prowess, and most certainly if you are primarily a shotgunner who spends most time at Gate 2 busting clays. As a shotgunner, you have to do all of these things the same, every time and you don’t have the luxury of going thru a mental checklist once the target is revealed. That target is out of optimal range before you get to the second item on your list and the target is gone altogether by your 3rd or 4th item. You have to teach yourself to systematically do all these things so they become automatic. It allows your conscious mind to focus on what it needs to do. That leads us to the next reason why shotgunning will help you with any shooting craft.
Third, shotgunning forces you to make better decisions quicker. Given the short time horizon that targets are available to be engaged and given that you have committed all of your fundamentals to “muscle memory” or subconscious function, your mind is ready for one thing, when do I engage the target? Do I wait for the target to reach the top or apex, will environmental conditions force me to shoot sooner before wind/rain can affect target flight, are there multiple targets that force me to engage target 1 sooner? By being able to make these decisions quickly and confidently, you are developing a skill that transfers to action shooting, archery, pistol or rifle crafts. Yes, the factors that influence you decision making are different for each shooting sport, but the ability to process the inputs and make that decision in a timely manner is the learning point here and why shotgunning will help your other shooting interests excel.
I’m sure we could discuss a few more, but these are my top 3. I hope you’ve found this helpful and keep in mind that FLSC is a great place to come and practice your shooting. It’s a great time to get your friends, classmates or coworkers together and form a shotgun league team, it’s a fun way to commit to weekly shooting and I’ve given you reasons why it will help your shouting, even if you’re not a shotgun enthusiast. Shotgun evenings are a great time to relax, we have 2 new grills on the shotgun range for anyone to use so bring some brats or burgers and grill them up and make an evening out of it. The setting and scenery at FLSC are relaxing and you are likely to see deer, turkeys, eagles and many other types of wildlife.
I hope to see you at the range soon!
FLSC Board of Directors