Inside Darrell Holland's Long Range Shooting School
After a period of time, students pair up and take turns spotting and calling wind while the other is shooting. With everything that is done, whether in the classroom or the range, the instructors are watching, giving counsel or answering questions. There is individual time spent with each student, helping them improve from where they started. It was pleasing to watch students grow in their understanding and shooting skills.
Photo taken by Steve Lovejoy
When you come to Holland’s Long Range Shooting School you will notice quickly the commitment for each shooter to be able to make a perfect shot under duress from field positions. When hunting or if you are in a field or tactical match, the ability to shoot well when tired or emotionally stressed is paramount.
To be able to shoot consistently you must have correct shooting form that does not add stress or muscle fatigue.
Some Topics Stressed During The Four Day School:
Proper placement of the butt stock into the shoulder pocket, a light but firm grip on the rifle, (no death grips) with the tip of the trigger finger compressing the trigger in a straight line thru the rifle to the shoulder pocket is emphasized.
The rifle stock should provide a proper "stock weld" allowing the shooter to have a full field of view thru the scope. Stock weld is a necessity that many overlook for solid field shooting.
Accurate sight alignment and focus on the target are keys to success as well. As a side note, often shooters will allow their rifle to “buffalo” them by recoil, noise or a combination of the two. I have seen grown men flinch, treat the trigger as if it burned their finger, shut their eyes or even turning their face away from the rifle, when shooting or preparing to shoot. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the ability to shoot accurately will be greatly hindered if one is reacting in these ways while attempting to shoot.
The aiming point (reticle) must be on the exact spot we wish to hit and our focus on that spot is so intense that it completely crowds out any other thoughts about noise and recoil. Instead of attempting to tell yourself not to flinch, focus on the very thing that will cause you to shoot better. Sound easy? It may not be as easy to break old habits as we think, but with time and proper practice you will become a better shot.
Correct breathing and focus when shooting will help you defeat the embarrassing disease of “flinchitis.” There is great attention placed on the importance of shot execution and breathing. Shooting small groups on paper or in the field is all about consistency, which becomes part of the shooting ritual. This also applies to breathing practice when shooting. Breathing during the shot, holding our breath the next, and shooting on empty lungs will all change point of impact.
Darrell believes that about 90% of the shooters that have gone through the school have a flinch of one degree or another and the brain simply overrides or interrupts the shot process by reminding the shooter about the recoil, noise, and or pain he is about to experience by squeezing the trigger. When one does not have proper focus, the result is a flinch of some kind and a less than perfect shot. Sadly, this becomes a habit as the mind and the body remembers the experience.
The Holland Long Range Shooting School teaches a proprietary technique of shot control that has produced exceptional results from the students. It is based on the belief that we can only process one conscious thought at a time and in order to undo the conditioned response of flinching we must give the brain something else to focus on. Much easier said than done, however if we give the brain something else to focus on we can be more successful. With proper hold and sight alignment we must intentionally focus on our aiming point. Inhale (oxygenating the brain) and begin the exhale process. When we reach our “Natural Respiratory Pause,” this is the subconscious mind’s signal to compress the trigger while we maintain our intense focus on the target. We must not allow the brain to intervene or distract us from that focus. If the brain gains control over the shot, we must start the process over.