What makes a good marksman?

nealm66

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I definitely feel it helps to be practicing at a busy range. Especially close to a loud muzzle brake. Really seems to help me anyways and learn how to time my shots away from the closest shooters. One thing that helped was someone left some clay pigeons on the dirt bank that helped them to learn to spot impacts which I believe helps follow through plus focuses they’re aim. Would be interesting to have a skilled instructor there to help them improve and I could see what I was missing
 

nealm66

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I definitely get the will part. It’s like tunnel vision, not consciously thinking about trigger squeeze or recoil management, crosshairs, just the target. Thanks for bringing that up.
 

LRNut

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I would also agree practice is absolutely key, but I would say competitive shooting is where the rubber meets the road. The stress of competitive shooting is unlike anything in hunting. You either fall apart or you get better under pressure.
 

xsn10s

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I definitely feel it helps to be practicing at a busy range. Especially close to a loud muzzle brake. Really seems to help me anyways and learn how to time my shots away from the closest shooters. One thing that helped was someone left some clay pigeons on the dirt bank that helped them to learn to spot impacts which I believe helps follow through plus focuses they’re aim. Would be interesting to have a skilled instructor there to help them improve and I could see what I was missing
For me I'd consider your neighbor and kid as new shooters. If all he's shot was 22 LR he may need some time to adjust to centerfire rifles. Really if they want to pursue the 600 yard competition they need a starter rifle fitted to him to practise dry firing at home. He needs to be able to dry fire in a safe setting so he can practice on his mental game and check list. Just my 2 cents worth from the peanut gallery.
 

LVJ76

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Darn it LVJ76 you drew me in lol. I'm a vet, non combat, and I used to train LE. I've helped train state, federal, and even college students going into LE. I've also helped coach a national champion in HS wrestling. And finally I helped teach in elementary school. The common link to all of them is positive re-enforcement. Especially in firearms, simply because firearms is truly a mental game. With kids it's even more critical. Be gentle and preplan the session. Make it fun. But above all make it safe. Don't let your standards apply to all people, except in the case of safety. Focus on the good things that they accomplish. And let them signal to you their level of proficiency they want to attain.

Thank you for all your service.
 

LVJ76

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Usually, I boil it down to one word: Attitude - For it implies most everything included. However, here is one set of criteria that often I agree with.

The 5 Traits of Expert Rifle Shooters
To be a fine marksman you have to be in control of yourself.
  1. Diligence: You must practice regularly. The way to improve performance under stress is through constant drill and rehearsal. When it's for real, you fall back on what you have learned instead of succumbing to panic. At the U.S. Army Sniper School, the conventional wisdom is that you expend 5,000 rounds in practice for every round you fire at the bad guys.
  2. Cold Blood: This means you are not undone by pressure. In hunting it also refers to a willingness to kill. I think a good many cases of buck fever are caused by a reluctance to take life. Good shots do it impersonally; they don't relish it, but they don't shy from it, either. If you are able to kill with complete indifference, perhaps you should take up another sport.
  3. Faith: That is, faith in your rifle—and the way to become a true believer is to use a gun you shoot really well. Yet we often go astray. We read about which cartridges will do what, at which ranges. We obsess about making shots far beyond our practical limit. Then we go out and buy veritable cannons whose recoil and muzzle blast keep us from shooting as well as we can.
  4. Experience: A friend of mine who has been hunting for six decades and has the skills to show for it said that after you've taken 300 head of game or so, you start to calm down and figure out what you can and can't do. This is one part I can't help you with, but I hope you have fun figuring it out.
  5. Will: I've known at least two shooters who simply willed themselves into a state of excellence. A couple of weeks ago, I was shooting against one of them at a contest in which a perfect score is 50, and there are very few of those. I had a 48. So my competition sat down and stared at the ground awhile, thinking I know not what, but willing himself to beat me. And he did.

You nailed it.
 

LRNut

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Not everyone is good at basketball, football or soccer or any other sport. Some are better than others no matter how much they practice.

Not everyone can be a good shooter either. That said, your neighbor and his kid have potental. And regardless of talent or not, practice is always needed.

I think that if you wear a uniform to protect our country you'd hav
Milatary/LEO training asks you to do it all under pressure. It gets you good at operating under the pressure and making the shot. Personally I consistently just go through the checklists in my mind when I am shooting. But muscle memory is your friend when it counts. Whether it's the pistol range or a 890 yard shot. It's also just trigger time and practice.

e to meet some marksmanship requirement, same for law enforcement, but I'm no expert in this subject.

Maybe some of our veterans or currently serving members can chime in on this.
I served a long time ago, but back then, marksmanship in the Army was pretty much a once per year activity.
Milatary/LEO training asks you to do it all under pressure. It gets you good at operating under the pressure and making the shot. Personally I consistently just go through the checklists in my mind when I am shooting. But muscle memory is your friend when it counts. Whether it's the pistol range or a 890 yard shot. It's also just trigger time and practice.
Delta Force used to practice hostage rescue by strapping operators in chairs, with bad guy targets on either side, including at night wearing NODs/NVGs. That would be the ultimate pressure situation. However, they discontinued it after a few fatalities.
 

LVJ76

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I served a long time ago, but back then, marksmanship in the Army was pretty much a once per year activity.

Delta Force used to practice hostage rescue by strapping operators in chairs, with bad guy targets on either side, including at night wearing NODs/NVGs. That would be the ultimate pressure situation. However, they discontinued it after a few fatalities.
Thank you for your service
 

Hugnot

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Wifey & I are real old and consider our selves above average marksmen(women). I served in the military as a detail person, looking for info & evaluating & reporting same. Wifey worked as a industrial safety consultant, looking for potential hazards & evaluating & reporting same. Both required attention to detail. I got as high up as expert class in NRA hi-power (pressure) and was closing in at the master class. Wifey refuses to shoot any living creature but is a terror at hitting steel way out there with her little quick twist .22-.250 (positive re-enforcement & innate competitive attitude). No combat experience for each of us except for being the occasional target of work place hostility. We practice about 48 times per year not including when the big man shoots rodents. Careful records of each session are kept. Weapons are carefully maintained including records of use. Component inventories are maintained. Google map info is incorporated for rodent shoots. Attention to detail is a priority.

The "marksman" class in NRA hi power is where competitors start on their way to master class.
 

nealm66

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I recently watched a state high power match. The national champ in standard was there but shooting hunter class. Bunch of locals holding they’re own pretty good. Definitely an investment in time but really liked the fact that no amount of money in equipment was going to trump practice and skill.
 

LRNut

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Thank you for your service
Thanks, it was truly a privilege to serve but my service cannot be compared to those who actually saw combat. I know two guys who were in the Battle of Mogadishu. One tried desperately to stem the femoral artery bleeding of Cpl Jamie Smith, all the while trying to get in a medevac that never came because it was too hot; the other was involved in the rescue operation involving Pakistan tanks, etc.

I recently re-connected with the finest leader I have ever met: my 1SG when I was a CoCdr (he came from Delta Force). He wrote this in an email:

"I watched first hand the toll of the long war on a generation of service members. My daughter was a LT in the 101st and went into Iraq with the first wave; her husband (WP 2000) had several tours before he got out. Our son was on the initial invasion of Afghanistan and did multiple tours also. I have a picture of 5 LT's together in Afghanistan in 2001, all proud and out to save the world. Of those five, only one lived thru the next 10 years."
 
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Alberta Wexit

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I believe that something not mentioned is valid. Great eye sight. Most great marksman have extremely good eye sight. I have had to wear corrective lenses since the age of 13. Most people who I would class as marksman do not wear glasses. Also practice makes better. I started a Grandson shooting this year he was with us for 3 weeks. We shot almost every day. We kept each target and as he got better we would look at the difference or improvement over the three weeks. I posted his results back in August about shooting to 300 yards hitting a gone. Positive reinforcement also very beneficial and personal achievement. Some shooters are fine with being able to hit a ten inch pie plate at 100 yards. They are mostly out to hunt. I love to shoot and get smallest groups out to extended ranges. A lot see it as a waist of time to each their own. I still say practice, eyes sight and for teaching positive reinforcement.
 

Pro2A

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Milatary/LEO training asks you to do it all under pressure. It gets you good at operating under the pressure and making the shot. Personally I consistently just go through the checklists in my mind when I am shooting. But muscle memory is your friend when it counts. Whether it's the pistol range or a 890 yard shot. It's also just trigger time and practice.
When the pressure is on, one's performance falls to at least the lowest level of training. Many enter negative territory........
 
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