One of the great problems in the shooting world, even worse then the lack of marksmanship skill, is the inability to understand what “good” is.

As proven in scholarly study and reported here (see “Unskilled and Unaware”) gun owners who fail to attend organized shooting events often have no idea.

#>Plinker<# The most outstanding gunner I know is fantastic with anything that goes bang.

Define “fantastic.” Fantastic compared to what? In all of his plays, one of my favorite Shakespeare-ism is, “Nothing is good or bad. It’s the thinking that makes it so.”

Saying someone is “good” is subjective. Instead, we should define our basis of what good performance is. If we’re talking field shooting and someone can, for example, start in Standard Ready and consistently hit a eight-inch plate at 100 yards with a scoped, factory .308 hunting rifle in four seconds from the Squat position, we have what we need. Is this “good“? To a shooter who can do it in three seconds, no. To someone who can’t beat five, yes.

Some other person may not find this test relevant at all and need a completely different metric. The point is that skill can not be assessed until a numerical measurement can accurately be assigned to it.

I don’t mean to knock your friend, who may be a truly brilliant marksman, but at this point all we know his skills are superior to your personal circle of experience. We don’t even know what your personal circle of
experience entails.

#>Plinker<# Not only does he not have a “proven record in competition”, he won’t even shoot at a controlled range where someone else gets to dictate the what, when, or how of shooting.

Awful convenient. If I told you I’m “really strong”, but wouldn’t tell you how much I could bench press or squat, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a gym, what would you think?

#>Plinker< Yes, your chances of finding someone knowledgeable are better at the range, but not necessarily at a competitive event. I’ve had degreed employees who weren’t competent to take out the trash without supervision, even within their “area of expertise”.

Gotta love our public education system, eh? But consider the difference between earning a diploma and the competitive shooter.

Scholars don’t have to compete with their peers. Everyone in the class can earn an ‘A’ on tests and graduate. At a match only one person wins. You can’t merely ‘pass’, you must surpass. The second place (or third, or even tenth) place finisher could be a brilliant shot, but they still don’t take home the trophy.

If this person wins a series of important events within a given discipline against all comers it shows true knowledge. If your interests involve skills similar to those used in that discipline, then it should be obvious that these winners have experience you should seek.

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