New Shooting Organizations

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So you don’t like any current organized shooting format? Stop complaining and take this excellent advice:



Professional Runners Are Weak

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“I’ve been small and weak my entire life—just, like, totally underdeveloped. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be big and strong.

“To be an elite marathoner with a body that’s light and lean: while you’re running, you feel amazing. You’re fluid and economical, floating along without having to carry a lot of muscle mass,” says Hall. “But the rest of the day, to be honest, is not a lot of fun. My energy was super low [throughout most of my career]. I took naps every day and felt pretty much useless when I wasn’t running.”

– Elite marathoner Ryan Hall (now retired)

Marathoner Ryan Hall says that even during his best years as a competitive athlete, he was “healthy” only in a narrowly defined way. As he put it, he was good at one thing: running. Everything else was rather laborious. Hall said he could be stirring pots of chili while making dinner and feel soreness in his shoulder the next day.

Not exactly the robust image that the running industry wants to promote.

The highest levels of performance come at the expense of health. In fact, I would say that the two are mutually exclusive,” says Mark Twight, former elite-level alpinist, competitive amateur cyclist, and professional trainer. When I spoke to him on the phone, Twight told me that the ideal physique for an athlete is defined by the singular task that athlete is trying to achieve. (Photographer Howard Schatz’s “Athlete” series offers a striking visual depiction of the range in athlete body types.) In the hyper-competitive and hyper-specialized world of professional sports, physical versatility is a common sacrifice. And it’s not just endurance sports.

“You can look at top level [male] cyclists, who always joke about having their wife or girlfriend carry the groceries, because they don’t have the upper body to do so,” says Twight. “But also, how healthy is the offensive lineman playing professional football, where it’s just size for the sake of size? That could certainly be considered ‘unhealthy’.”

Twight said that he was extremely light—around three percent body fat—while racing his road bike as a masters athlete around 2007. While this took a serious toll on bodily functions like testosterone levels and mood, he was faster than ever.


Oblivious Shooter


Oblivious shooter ignores major problem with weapon, keeps on firing

This neatly sums up problems with line dance “training.” I’ve taken a few such courses. In one example, after asking to replace the well-shredded targets so we could better see where shots were going, we were told there was no need to. Gosh, why would one want to know where fired shots end up? As this demonstrates, some folks apparently don’t care.

Optical sight loose, twisted, and bouncing in the mount. No worries, just keep slamming on that trigger! This is the same sort of guy insisting that participating in formal competition leads to bad habits but participating in “training” like this leads to success.


JROTC Ceremonial Rifles Fundraiser

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Reader Levi McClure is running a fundraiser to restore ceremonial M1903A3 for a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Help out if you can!

My mission is to ensure the young ladies and gentlemen of the Baumholder middle/high school have ceremonial M1903A3 rifles worthy of their professionalism. Please visit my GoFundMe link to help out.

I have taken on the daunting task of restoring the ceremonial M1903A3 (de-mil) rifles for my local high school JROTC. These rifles that are used at military ceremonies and sporting events have fallen into a state of disrepair over the years. The state of these rifles have become so distressed that many of them are almost completely broken in half. I am a certified gunsmith committed to ensuring these young ladies and gentlemen can be proud to look their best during these ceremonies.

With budgeting cuts by the government, programs such as JROTC do not get the much-needed support they deserve. I have resolved to contribute the necessary hours to refurbish the rifles to something these cadets deserve. Wood restoration, metal fabrication, and parts replacement will ensure I achieve my goal for the future leaders of our military. Your contributions will provide new stocks that will be brought to a high ceremonial mirror finish, replacement parts for what I cannot repair or fabricate myself, chrome dip finish for that extra pizzaz, and period correct white leather slings. I thank you in advance for your contribution in ensuring these young cadets can match their professional appearance with their already outstanding professional demeanor.
– Levi McClure

Wisdom from Benjamin Franklin

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

“A good example is the best sermon.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Metrics or Mediocrity

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These same pundits rail against scored drills, calling them meaningless measures of precision. Actually, scored courses or drills serve many important functions and are critical to development as a defensive shooter. Here are some of the reasons they are important.

1. We need an objective view of the student’s skill, not a subjective view. The target and timer don’t lie.
2. We can compare the student’s performance to a historical standard, set by measuring the performance of a number of students before him. Thus, we know if we need to remediate or move forward.
3. We can precisely quantify and track progress, essential to skill building.
4. We can instill the timing issues necessary for shooting at the right cadence as target size/distance varies.
5. We can get the student accustomed to working under stress.
6. We can help the student build confidence. Not measuring skill leads to false confidence. Students always think they are doing better than they are. Actually scoring, and incorporating both accuracy and speed in the scoring, shows true skill level, and allows real confidence.
7. Training and practice build skill. Skill builds confidence. Confidence leads to coolness. Coolness prevents panic. This is what wins fights.

In the extreme stress of a real life shooting incident, skill degrades. However, the more skill one has, the less skill one tends to lose (see #7 above). The less skill one has, the more skill one tends to lose under duress. This is why “good enough” is not good enough. Also, the Mother of retention of any physical skill under duress is structured repetition. To have a higher skill level, one had to practice more (structured repetition). I have debriefed a number of people after shootings, and not one of them has ever said to me, “When the bullets starting coming my way, I wished I hadn’t trained as hard.”

Self Practice Is Best

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Practice and training done on your own for yourself is the most important and the best way (arguably the only way) to develop beyond introductory novice levels. Good instruction, in written, audio, video, or live classes, is useful for steering one down the path toward progress but real benefits are gained only when the student personalizes the lessons and turns them into consistent, on-going action.

Nobody can sell you skill. People hosting and selling training classes have done a decent job convincing others that attendance at such classes is necessary. The truth is, a good, motivated student learning from a book or video will become more skillful than a mediocre student regularly attending classes because the good student actually puts the lessons to use and isn’t dependent on an instructor running the group line dance (er, I mean “defensive shooting and tactical training course”) to spoon-feed every tidbit of information.

People selling instruction, especially classes which are the most expensive (and profitable), don’t profit from students learning on their own. However, the simple fact is that everyone wanting to go beyond novice levels must do so on their own.

The following is based on material from James Clear.

We all have goals that we want to achieve in our lives… but there’s a point when you need to stop planning these goals and start working towards them. In fact, learning something new can actually be a waste of time if your goal is to make progress and not simply gain additional knowledge. It all comes down to the difference between learning and practicing.

The Difference Between Learning and Practicing

Thomas Sterner’s The Practicing Mind explains the key difference between practicing and learning.

“When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words deliberate and intention are key here because they define the difference between actively practicing something and passively learning it.”

Learning something new and practicing something new may seem very similar, but these two methods can have profoundly different results.

1. Learning Can Be a Crutch That Supports Inaction

In many cases, learning is actually a way to avoid taking action on the goals and interests that we say are important to us. For example, let’s say you want to learn a foreign language. Reading a book on how to learn a foreign language quickly allows you to feel like you are making progress (“Hey, I’m figuring out the best way to do this!”). Of course, you’re not actually practicing the action that would deliver your desired outcome (speaking the foreign language). We make the mistake of being in motion rather than taking action. Learning is valuable until it becomes a form of procrastination.

2. Practice Is Learning, But Learning Is Not Practice

Passive learning is not a form of practice because although you gain new knowledge, you are not discovering how to apply that knowledge. Active practice, meanwhile, is one of the greatest forms of learning because the mistakes you make while practicing reveal important insights. Even more important, practice is the only way to make a meaningful contribution and have the ability to express your knowledge in a meaningful way.

3. Practice Focuses Your Energy on the Process

“Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything.”

—Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind

It is not the things we learn nor the dreams we envision that determines our results, but rather that habits that we practice each day. Fall in love with boredom and focus your energy on the process.

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