Blaming Equipment
by John Tate

Regarding the “blame your equipment” issue and the value of dry fire & shot calling

Army Reserve Marksmanship Program coach and shooter has some splendid videos on dry fire practice.

http://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/01/19/sfc-sanderson-on-dry-practice/
http://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/02/22/keith-sanderson-off-season-position-building/
http://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/05/22/keith-sanderson-followthrough-in-marksmanship/

He mentions how much he uses that technique, talks about incorporating follow through, etc. One thing that’s also critical is calling your shot.

I won’t dwell on its benefits; you know them. But one brought out by my SWAT sniper story is one I’ve seen too many times: a shooter who doesn’t recognize the problem is not him, but his equipment. It might be bad ammo, broken bedding, a loose gas cylinder plug (M14), loose sights, etc. But such things are easy to detect when you can confidently say, “I didn’t do that!”

Here are three more examples: two personal.

At FLETC’s F/A instructor class, there was a youngster who just about got sent home ’cause he couldn’t shoot. (But consider he wouldn’t have passed their screening if he couldn’t shoot.) This mystery went on for 2 days. Finally someone inspected his pistol – loose sight, not loose shooter was the problem.

I refinished and re-built a Remington Speedmaster (Model 552) for a fellow. It came with but was NOT returned with a receiver mounted scope. When using the receiver mounted scope, it shot all over the place. I worked and worked to sight in that rifle. As the saying goes, I chased the spotter all over the place too. Whoever, with the barrel mounted iron sights, the rifle shot great. Why? Because there was slop between the barrel and the receiver. The only remedies will be to mount the scope on the barrel or put some epoxy filler between the barrel and the receiver.

One day my M1A seemed to shoot much larger groups than normal. I checked the bedding, barrel gas cylinder, etc. All tight. What was the problem? I’d changed powder cans – a different lot of Accurate Arms 2520. With a bit more powder, she was all right again.

My point here: I’m not interested in telling my SWAT work but there may be some benefit to you if working with group of people to have some “It was my gear!” stories.

There are two lessons:
First is, don’t be too afraid to blame your equipment (that’s why God made armorers!)

Second, learn to call your shots. Not only will this help identify equipment problems, but no shooter will ever learn to deal with the wind if he can’t say just where the sights were when the hammer fell.

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