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BoyGlock

Calling shots on steel reactive targets

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Hi guys. 

How do you learn to call hits on steel plates, poppers with the sights only w/o seeing/waiting for them fall? Me mere mortal is used to seeing/waiting technique w/c we all know is very slow. Im trying paper plates as simulation targets forcing me to focus on the sights bcoz the paper plates dont fall. Dont know yet where this will lead me. 

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41 minutes ago, BoyGlock said:

How do you learn to call hits on steel plates, poppers with the sights only w/o seeing/waiting for them fall?

 

Calling the shot is knowing where the bullet will impact at the instant that it has left the barrel. If you can't call hits on steel plates without waiting for them to fall then you aren't calling your shots at all. This isn't really something you learn, it is something you see. All the required information is right there in front of your eyes, it's up to you to recognize it.

 

 

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You need to train your vision.  When dry firing, your practice needs to be specific and directed.  Practice seeing the dot (or fiber optic) on target, pulling the trigger the moment it's on target, holding the dot on target through the entirety of the trigger pull which means stopping the gun on target, and then getting to the next target immediately after the trigger pull is done.  Trust that the bullet WILL go where you've told it to go, and you don't need feedback to confirm it.  This is the most challenging skill a shooter needs to develop, in my opinion, but rest assured that it isn't a superhuman power-- if there's anything superhuman about it, it's the amount of dedication and concentration it takes to get there.  

 

Here's an earlier thread where I covered some of my drills: 

 

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1 hour ago, Jake Di Vita said:

 

Calling the shot is knowing where the bullet will impact at the instant that it has left the barrel. If you can't call hits on steel plates without waiting for them to fall then you aren't calling your shots at all. This isn't really something you learn, it is something you see. All the required information is right there in front of your eyes, it's up to you to recognize it.

 

 

Agree. Except on the learning. Thought its learned? Been trying other ways to “learn” but always failed. 

In so many matches, like a hundred maybe, I can only remember doing it 2x w/ utmost certainty. But I cannot replicate it on demand. So I thought I need to train and learn it. If not learned, how do you acquire the skill? This maybe new avenue to me. 

Im on red dot by the way. And its strange also that I could do it 99% of the time in my reddotted shotgun and rifle but not in hg. Maybe my experienced misses in hg made me doubt my sights that I confirm hits on falling plates?

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4 minutes ago, BoyGlock said:

Agree. Except on the learning. Thought its learned? Been trying other ways to “learn” but always failed. 

In so many matches, like a hundred maybe, I can only remember doing it 2x w/ utmost certainty. But I cannot replicate it on demand. So I thought I need to train and learn it. If not learned, how do you acquire the skill? This maybe new avenue to me. 

Im on red dot by the way. And its strange also that I could do it 99% of the time in my reddotted shotgun and rifle but not in hg. Maybe my experienced misses in hg made me doubt my sights that I confirm hits on falling plates?

 

It sounds like what's happening is when you shoot shotgun and rifle the platform is much more forgiving than handgun. You are probably not calling your shots as much with rifle and shotgun as you are aiming and generally hit what you aim at with those guns. Mistakes are generally punished much harsher with handguns. So now what you are aiming at with a handgun you are slightly missing and thus become aware that you aren't calling your shots. That's just my guess though, I obviously don't know you so it's not really fair for me to say but it seems to make sense.

 

I feel like it's hard to teach because it's something you have to experience. What I'd recommend doing is to first make sure you aren't blinking and your gun is sighted in correctly. Then, go put a paper target at 30 yards, shoot it, mark where you think the dot was the instant the gun fired with a paster on a fresh target next to you. Then go downrange and compare. Repeat this until you can reliably do it and produce targets that mirror each other. Then increase the difficulty. Do 2 shots. Then 6 shots, or 2 reload 2, and so on.

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I can decently call shots on paper targets but miserably on reactive targets. I think in reactive targets my vision is transfering to the target as the gun fires its why I could not call the shot. 

Ive been doing those drills you guys are advising but when I shoot metals I revert to the above system I guess so Im looking for ways to work around it. 

The 2 instances I experienced it in matches the conditions were a bit uncommon: the first i was shooting in drizzle and dark skies so the 20y poppers were a bit fuzzy and the dot was very visible vs the target. The other instance, the plate in an array was 30y away and 3 poppers in next array was 50y. In those distances I  felt the targets were taking a long time to fall but I saw the dot on them so I left them for the other targets but in the corner of my eyes saw them falling as I was engaging the next targets. It felt very strange. It appeared everything in slomo. In those two stages I remember my certainty of hits were very high and I finished 2nd and those are lev 3 matches. Proof that confirming hits on plates falling vs sights is very slow. Now, if I could do it more often...

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Actually I double plug all the time when Im shooting. I dont wait for a ding. Way back when I was in Std .40 and now in Open .38s. 

 

 

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Fwiw Im low M in open ipsc at 58 yo. I train often though not as rigorous as when I was in 40s and early 50s due to age issues. But I love to train and learn. Began this sport at 43 and to progress from that late age was a challenge. 

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Ive read years ago in Brian’s book that this skill is very important if not the most important skill to shoot fast and accurate (in all types of targets). I agree. Its also the most difficult to develop. At least in my experience in reactive metal targets. Even top GMs claim they could not do it 100% on demand but do it most of the time. But its not justification for lower level shooters not to work for it. So my quest continues... 

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On 6/14/2018 at 8:24 PM, BoyGlock said:

I can decently call shots on paper targets but miserably on reactive targets. I think in reactive targets my vision is transfering to the target as the gun fires its why I could not call the shot. 

Ive been doing those drills you guys are advising but when I shoot metals I revert to the above system I guess so Im looking for ways to work around it. 

The 2 instances I experienced it in matches the conditions were a bit uncommon: the first i was shooting in drizzle and dark skies so the 20y poppers were a bit fuzzy and the dot was very visible vs the target. The other instance, the plate in an array was 30y away and 3 poppers in next array was 50y. In those distances I  felt the targets were taking a long time to fall but I saw the dot on them so I left them for the other targets but in the corner of my eyes saw them falling as I was engaging the next targets. It felt very strange. It appeared everything in slomo. In those two stages I remember my certainty of hits were very high and I finished 2nd and those are lev 3 matches. Proof that confirming hits on plates falling vs sights is very slow. Now, if I could do it more often...

Put the steel far away so that there is a longer time between when the target reacts and when your sights lift.  It may make it easier for you to focus on calling the shot versus transferring your vision to the target.

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8 hours ago, bluedevil008 said:

Put the steel far away so that there is a longer time between when the target reacts and when your sights lift.  It may make it easier for you to focus on calling the shot versus transferring your vision to the target.

It was the case in my second match experience above. The plates and poppers were so far (for me) that it felt a long time to fall. Maybe I should try it again but in practice sessions.

Thank you

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In addition to the visual cue ("where the dot was before it lifted") here's a neat drill for calling the shot:

  • USPSA target at 25 yards
  • Draw and fire N shots (e.g. N = 2)
  • Mark the shots on an empty target near you
  • Verify

This video shows some excellent camera footage to reveal what calling the shot looks like, and how to run the above drill.

 

 

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The best way I’ve seen to improve shot calling is to shoot at a distance at which you can not see the hits on paper, and then declare where your hits will be before going to check. Steve Anderson uses this method in classes to teach shot calling. I’ve always just said to myself “ok I’m gonna have two Cs when I get up there,” as opposed to the paster mentioned above but that’s probably a bit better. 

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In addition to the visual cue ("where the dot was before it lifted") here's a neat drill for calling the shot:
  • USPSA target at 25 yards
  • Draw and fire N shots (e.g. N = 2)
  • Mark the shots on an empty target near you
  • Verify
This video shows some excellent camera footage to reveal what calling the shot looks like, and how to run the above drill.
 
 


Lol watching him wear those bulky glasses cameras and the BCGs with lens inserts they give for BCT made me laugh pretty hard.

Awesome drill though, I’ll have to try this out myself. I’m getting to the point where I can call shots that are outside on 10-15 yard targets, but my reaction time and accuracy on calling missed shots past that is terrible. I’ll be finished with the next shot before realizing I shot one outside. Granted, I can get the make up shots in afterward, but by the time I’ve realized it in already moving to the next target and lose a bunch of time on the transition back. Maybe trying this drill at a faster pace will really force me to call those bad ones sooner.

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5 hours ago, tacomandood said:

 


Lol watching him wear those bulky glasses cameras and the BCGs with lens inserts they give for BCT made me laugh pretty hard.

Awesome drill though, I’ll have to try this out myself. I’m getting to the point where I can call shots that are outside on 10-15 yard targets, but my reaction time and accuracy on calling missed shots past that is terrible. I’ll be finished with the next shot before realizing I shot one outside. Granted, I can get the make up shots in afterward, but by the time I’ve realized it in already moving to the next target and lose a bunch of time on the transition back. Maybe trying this drill at a faster pace will really force me to call those bad ones sooner.

 

1

Two things I've learned: a) per Ron Avery it takes your brain a while (i.e. days of practice) to learn to "see that fast" b) it's counterintuitive, but trigger manipulation is what allows you to call the shot.

 

The calling of the shot is indeed "the picture in your brain before the dot/front sight lifts," but the way that you get to see that moment is by taking as much time with the trigger as the shot requires. One of the things that I learned from Leatham: you can jerk the trigger (and move the gun) a bit for an easy shot, but for a hard shot you need "perfect trigger" and a still gun. In learning that difference you will start to see the moment that the shot breaks. Whereas most people start flinching and stop paying attention right before they think the shot is going to break. And that's where they move the gun and miss the shot :)

 

Another point (from the same class) is "OK sights, perfect trigger." Per Vickers, it's not the natural drift of the gun that causes us to miss the shot (although your brain will tell you that; per Vickers your brain exaggerates 3X how much the dot/sight is moving), but the jerking of the trigger.

 

Edited by shootmove
correct

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I'll go slightly against the grain on "marking a blank target" to learn shot calling.

 

Marking a blank target doesn't really make one see the shot. If you can see it, you can see it without marking it. If you cannot see it, you won't be able to see it just because you are trying to mark the target. Instead, trying to mark the target is a workaround to make you pay extra attention to the shot itself so you concentrate all the way until it is fired. This is the same "trick" as when telling inexperienced shooters to "concentrate on the front sight" - it's all in the trigger press and not the sights, yet "staring at the front sight" makes them not think about breaking the shot, so they end up pressing the trigger without disturbing the sights. 

 

While "marking targets" works, there are other ways to force attention directly on the "overall sight picture" at the moment the shot is fired. 

 

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Really great advise here. What are you guys doing in dry fire to help with the calling of shots? is it about getting perfect trigger presses in thousands of times to get rid of the jerking?

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5 hours ago, RadarLuv said:

Really great advise here. What are you guys doing in dry fire to help with the calling of shots? is it about getting perfect trigger presses in thousands of times to get rid of the jerking?

Best advice is to listen to Steve Anderson's podcast and or get his books, I think he explains it better then anyone.

Calling the shots in dry fire is about being honest about having an acceptable sight picture on target, if it's not acceptable then shoot it again as if you are in a match. 

Steve explains what accuracy mode, speed mode, match mode is and how to use them to coach yourself.

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I keep calling my shots, but they never answer!

 

Seriously the reason steel seems to get me is the simple fact of shooting a target that then makes noise and moves naturally draws your attention.

My standard reply when I miss a steel is "there's no reason I was looking right at it (the steel)" then laugh.  Because it's true that's what I did.

Another thing I've noticed is lack of focus, as in I'll be 1 for 1 on 4 steel, little voice in my head pops up and says lookin' good, guess what's next.

My only solution is to just practice actual steel shooting more, and focus.  Plan on this year making that negative a positive!

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