Learn more about Shooting

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Shooting is the act of firing a gun or other projectile weapon such as a bow or sling. The word shooting can refer to the practice of hunting, where it implies hunting of upland game birds such as grouse or pheasant. Shooting can also mean the sport of target shooting, which includes shotgun sports like skeet, trap and sporting clays, precision rifle and handgun shooting at stationary paper targets or reactive metal targets, or the growing sport of cowboy action shooting, where participants wear clothing from the late 1800's and fire period weapons at a variety of reactive targets. The topic of shooting also encompasses the practical shooting sports of IPSC and IDPA competition which strive, with varying degree of success, to simulate the conditions and requirements of defensive pistol combat and to train participants for real-world self defense with their handguns. In addition, there are other practical shooting sports, such as 3-Gun competition, where participants use handgun, rifle or shotgun to engage various paper or steel targets during the course of fire.

All of the various forms of shooting can be fascinating and rewarding activities for people of all ages. But the utmost consideration, which takes precedence over everything else, is safety. Like many other activites such as cooking or skiing, there is an element of danger involved in shooting, and this danger demands a sober understanding and respect for firearms and the rules for safely handling them.


[edit] The four rules of firearm handling

There are four basic rules for handling firearms<ref>Four rules of gun safety PDF flyer</ref> as codified by the late Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC(ret), the father of modern shooting.

  1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
  2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger-guard until your sights are on the target and your are ready to fire.
  4. Know your target, what the firearm and ammunition can do, what's between you and your target, and what is beyond.

There are many and varied lists of rules, for example the NRA Firearm Safety Rules page lists twelve rules. But Colonel Cooper's Four Rules are the essentials of firearm safety, and most other rules are restatements or special cases of one of these four rules. An example is "Never fire at a sound or a flash of movement." This is part of Rule Four: Know your target.

It is more correct to refer to most gun "accidents" as negligent discharges. Adherence to these four rules precludes virtually all possibility of a negligent discharge.

In addition to the basic Four Rules, certain behaviors are customary. When handing a firearm to someone else, the giver should either already have the action of the firearm open, or open it to show the receiver that it is empty. On receiving the firearm, the receiver should open the action and check for him or herself that it is unloaded. Even though the firearm is determined to be empty, it is always treated as loaded, according to Rule One(Always Loaded). It is very rude and dangerous to point a firearm at any other person at any time. This falls under Rule Two (Never Point), as well as Rule One (Always Loaded). Pointing a firearm at another person should be considered a threat, and violations of Rule Two should be acted on by explaining the error to the committer, and correcting his or her behavior.

[edit] Civilian shooting technique

Precision marksmanship in shooting competition (unlike in combat) can be achieved by proper execution of the seven step checklist in shooting:

  • Stance
When handling a pistol, close your eyes and raise the gun naturally without thinking, (however, do this with an unloaded weapon with its safety on, as not doing so is extremely dangerous and not recommended) then open your eyes to see where your natural arm position points to. Move your feet along with your body to align the arm with the target. That is the best stance compared to pointing straight forward. Your body is less likely to move in this natural position when the trigger is pulled. Feet should be slightly apart. The shooting arm extended with straight elbow. Proper stance for two hand shooting can be achieved in similar way, though the natural stance will definitely be different.
When firing a rifle, the shooting stance is generally different, whether standing, crouched or prone. However, the same general principle applies - the body should be relaxed in the most natural position possible, to limit body sway and weapon recoil.
There are four basic shooting positions: prone, sitting, kneeling and standing (offhand). In the real world, standing is most used position while it is also the most difficult position to shoot.
  • Grip
There should be no gap between the top of the grip and the part of hand between the thumb and the index finger. When held tightly, this will prevent slippage when the gun recoils. For a spring piston-powered air gun, however, because of the subtle vibration and lack of felt recoil when fired, a loose grip tends to be favorable.
  • Sight alignment
When using iron sights, the eye and the sights at the muzzle and the back of the gun must align first. The front and back sights must be aligned both horizontally and vertically.
  • Target alignment
Align the "aligned sights" to the target.
  • Breathing
Accuracy will be at its best when the body is most relaxed. This moment is known as the "natural respiratory pause" and is the point at which two-thirds of the lung's capacity have been exhaled. During normal breathing, this usually lasts from about 2 to 3 seconds, but may be extended up to 8 seconds to allow time to aim and squeeze the trigger before lack of oxygen begins to adversely affect aim.
  • Trigger squeeze
A quick motion of the finger will jerk the gun and change the aim. Instead, slowly squeeze the trigger and apply no less then 4 pounds 3 ounces to the trigger. You should not anticipate the exact moment of firing. The anticipation actually makes you nervous and causes unconscious movement in your hand which affects accuracy. The firing should ideally come as a surprise in every shot.
  • Follow through
After the firing, align the sights with the target again. According to shooting coaches, the discipline of realigning the gun to the target after the bullet has left the barrel somehow improves the steadiness of the hand, probably due to unconscious muscle memory that works against the recoil.

[edit] Stovepipe

A stovepipe is a common firearm malfunction.

It occurs when the shooter fires a semi-automatic pistol with a limp wrist, causing the muzzle to rise excessively. As a result, the spent case is not totally ejected and the base (rim) gets caught by the slide slamming home. The end result is a shell case that sticks out of the chamber like a stove pipe, and must be manually removed, usually by racking the slide. However, this may also happen in a semi-automatic rifle if the feeding ramp is dirty or the cartridge has a malfunction. This can be remedied as stated above for a handgun.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />bs:Streljaštvo bg:Стрелба ko:사격 it:Tiro (balistica) he:קליעה lt:Šaudymas ja:射撃 sl:Strelstvo sv:Skytte zh:射击


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