The following is from George Harris, President and CEO of International Firearms Consultants LLC

Improved Marksmanship Training Methods
by George Harris

The reason people don’t hit what they are aiming at when point shooting is really simple. Remember “Simple is Good”!

When they operate the trigger they move the muzzle off the target before the bullet exits. This is primarily caused by the Self Preservation Response. This concept has escaped almost all of the firearms trainers, including the military, that are or have ever been in the business. In short, the shooter has an innate fear of loud noises and movement of the gun in the visual field toward the two things necessary to find safety, the eyes.

Have someone throw a wad of paper at your nose and try to watch it all the way until it impacts. Your automatic response is to close your eyes prior to impact and perhaps use your hands to protect your face. When it is a piece of metal that explodes in front of your face belching smoke, fire, lead and brass, what would one expect but to close the eyes and make a protective involuntary movement when discharge is expected.

The amygdala, which is your “crisis control center” portion of the brain, triggers the self preservation response whenever it senses danger to your personal safety. This involves protecting vision, tensioning the muscles and preparing for escape. This is much like the response to a firecracker exploding unexpectedly near you.

The cure is two simple inoculation drills that we teach that can be done with any shooter new or experienced to eliminate the involuntary movement or closing the eyes at the expected moment of discharge. I have written about this in American Cop, Concealed Carry Magazine and Shooting Illustrated. These drills have worked 100% of the time for my instructors and those that have used them as prescribed.

You know that you have been successful when the shooter starts to see the brass exit the ejection port and the flash, smoke or blast at the muzzle when discharge takes place, not to mention viewing the results, after the fact, on the target. These things are non-arguable, they take place with every discharge. If the shooter doesn’t see these things the eyes are shut at the moment of discharge. If you are precision shooting your central vision will pick these up easily, if you are point shooting, peripheral vision will pick up the movement of the brass and usually the smoke if not the flash at the muzzle.

This isn’t new and it isn’t a secret, it is just little known and understood. Col. Applegate and I discussed this at length before his passing and he concurred to the fullest. John and Lou are right on the money with their thinking. Point shooting is little more than using our natural ability to point at what we are looking at, a trait that we have been practicing since childhood. Eliminating the fear of the noise and movement of the gun will result in much better results of bullet impact closer to the intended location.

George Harris is the President and CEO of International Firearms Consultants LLC, was the Director of the Sig Sauer Academy and served as a competitor and coach of the USAR Marksmanship Program

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