27 Dec 12

This question from a friend:

“Is there a stable way of aiming a rifle while standing?

Yesterday, friends and I were engaged in cold-weather rifle drills. I used my AR, equipped with an EoTech optic. Standing and shooting at multiple, steel targets (7″x12″). Several consecutive hits, then movement. We started at 40m, then moved back to 80m.

My shots would break while the dot was still generally covering the plate, but I could not stop all movement, regardless of how hard I tried.

What do you suggest I do differently?”

My reply:

“Your ‘steadiness-dilemma’ is shared by us all!

Holding sights perfectly still on a target happens only in movies! Sights will always move as you’re pressing the trigger, no matter how you’re holding the rifle. In addition, remember that your sights, no matter how steady, only approximate the actual path of the bullet. In our business, nothing is exactly exact!

When your judgement is that the hit-probability for your next shot is in excess of 80%, you need to take the shot as soon as you can, as circumstances are unlikely to get any better! 80% is, of course, an arbitrary rule. You can select any standard you want, but 80% is useable and realistic for most serious scenarios.

So, when you’re holding the dot on target, and it is weaving as you described, just hold it as steady as you can. When it remains on the target more than 80% of the time, start pressure on the trigger. You’ll still miss two shots out of ten, but, when you wait until you’re 99% sure of a hit, you won’t do much shooting!

When you’re unable to maintain an 80% hold, then (1) get steadier via (a) changing shooting posture, or (b) resting the rifle (with your body parts as a buffer) against a solid object, or (2) take a leap of faith and let the shot go at less than 80%, with all risks that choice entails, or (3) disengage and withdraw. Those are your choices. There is no risk-free option!

Being able to accurately predict your individual hit-probability in any circumstance, before you take the shot, is a critical skill, and you sharpen it by trial and error during live-fire, range exercises. Precisely making such predictions with consistent accuracy is more art than science, particularly under ‘field’ conditions, and your best ally in this regard is practice and experience, as noted above.

In a typical Operator-grade AR, you have a 2MOA rifle, and you’re likely shooting 3MOA ammunition. Within that prison of circumstance, make things go your way!”

Additional comment:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

T Roosevelt

At DTI, that’s the “Golden Rule!”