The best of shooting tips calls for you to treat shooting as an experience
You might think that shooting tips only instruct you on how to be a better
shot, and to an extent this is true; but being a good shot is not all there
is in the enjoyment of marksmanship. Like most hobbies, so too with
marksmanship, you take it up for the enjoyment of the activity. Firing a
rifle, pistol, or shotgun is, first and foremost, an experience.
Not all that we are conscious of constitutes an experience. Most of the
time, we float through time, not in a doldrum, but carried along at a steady
pace, through straits we have traversed over and over again, landscapes
that have taken their places in the blurry background of the ordinary and
the common. We live in a well-regulated world, a world of cyclic
repetitions, and as the years mount, the cycles seem to run, one into the
other, so that what was at first a new beginning, becomes in time the
familiar landmark of a cycle we barely recognize anymore. What was at first
a victorious, glorious end, through repetition, becomes the expected, the
necessary, the suspense that once fueled our imagination now a mist. If we
are able to interweave all the strands of life into a smooth and flattened
fabric, our lives become an unending shroud of blandness and boredom,
until we softly fade into the oblivion over which we had always seemed to
wave like a sleepy banner in a limpid breeze. Yes, we experience our
lives--consciousness of something is experience—but this is not what we
mean by an experience here. Shooting, unlike the rest of our lives, is an
experience. The cardinal tip of all shooting tips is to regard shooting as a
Shooting is something exceptional, an event, a series of moments that are
raised above the commonplace, that stand out shining by its own internal
light, its own drama, its own life. Shooting is a mini-drama, with a
beginning, a middle, and an end. Other advisors giving out shooting tips
may not emphasize this, but without this principal, shooting will become as
common as you daily commute to work, a bore.
Take note of each phase of the experience. In the beginning, when you
first grasp your rifle's stock, you'll notice that it's warm and feels smooth
like sun-tanned skin, and, if it's wood, it will feel soft and alive, like the
trunk of a young tree. When you wrap your hand around the metal barrel,
you'll be mildly startled by its coolness as it contrasts sharply with the
stock. You'll sense its power in its weight as you lift it up. Slip your arm
like a snake along the strap (shooting tips for aim alone instructs you to
use the strap to help you steady your aim), and take note how your
breathing becomes slower, as if your lungs know the play has begun.
Slowly, always slowly, lift the rifle up and set your cheek against the stock,
as if against a lover's cheek. Close one eye, and look along the sights.
Fix your aim. The drama has begun.
In the middle now, hold your breathe—-another common rule among
shooting tips—and when you have steadied your aim, slowly pull the trigger.
The recoil brings you to the end. If you've hit the target as you expected,
a comedy of joy is the result, a miss is a tragedy.
Always approach shooting as the exciting experience that it is. Savor every
action, every pause as you would a drama, a concert, a walk through an
art museum. Shooting is art, and you are both artist and audience.
Shooting is an experience.
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