I explain to American Jews unfamiliar with shooting that precision marksmanship is actually a mental sport–a combination of chess and poker that you play against yourself. I recently decided to return to practicing 10m air pistol, and by occasionally blogging about my progress, I’ll establish a record that others can examine for my mental approach.
About a year ago I made the decision to transition from pistol to rifle, primarily because there are more rifle competitions in my area. I wanted to spend a year focused on rifle shooting only. It has worked out well, and now I feel I have time to keep shooting rifle and get back into pistol. I’m going to focus on 10m air pistol
. 10m air is, in my opinion, the ultimate in pure slow fire pistol. No wind, no expensive equipment needed, no nonsense.
I sold my PCP air gun
to finance a competitive Service Rifle
. The air guns I have now are a FWB65
springer, and a Tau-7
co2. Both were world-class guns about 20 or 30 years ago, and can be picked up today between $300-400. Each will still shoot one-hole at 10m and have excellent triggers, which is all I need to get started. I put a lot of work into restoring the FWB65, so I’ll start with that gun.
When I left air pistol I was shooting between 550 and 560 (out of a possible 600…to even consider any kind of regional competition, you need to be shooting in at least the upper 570s) or approximately 92%. My goal is to hit 560 within six months.
So I hit the range today. The results:
10 9 9 8 8 44
10 9 9 9 8 45
9 9 9 9 8 44
10 10 10 9 6 45
9 9 9 9 8 44
10 9 9 9 7 44
9 9 9 8 8 43
10 10 9 8 6 43
9 8 7 7 7 38
10 10 9 7 7 43
9 9 9 9 7 43
10 10 8 8 7 43
Well, a 519 is not horrible (86%). I can see that I started strong, shooting closer to 90% for the first 20 or so shots. But I definitely felt my hand, wrist and shoulder fatigue after that. I tried making some adjustments, like gripping harder and trying to get off quicker releases, but right now I don’t have the crisp muscle-memory to rely on. I forced shots I should not have. I also felt my sight picture was not consistent, which tells me my head position and stance are inconsistent shot-to-shot. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!
I can see that simply eliminating the sixes and turning them into 8.5s will get me four or five points, and turning those sevens into 8.5s will get me another ten or so. By just eliminating my bad shots, I can pick up fifteen points. When I don’t see what I like, I’ll put the pistol down and begin the sequence over, rather than force a shot.
The major thing I need to work on is rebuilding my grip, wrist, arm and shoulder endurance and strength. For now, that is all I will focus on. The reason being is that my first twenty shots showed me that I can still execute when my hold is steady and my arm feels good. By just getting a little stronger, it will improve my ability and confidence, leading to better shots.
This task is fairly simple. I’ll just use hand grippers, a wrist roller and a 5lb. dumbbell for 10-15 minutes a day.
Wish me luck and mazal tov!