Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Follow-Through Blog

Ya wanna know what pisses me off? Ya wanna know what makes me so angry I could scream? So angry I just want to stick bamboo shoots under my finger nails? So angry I want to swallow a bunch of helium and untie my belly button so I fly around backwards until I land flat as a pancake???

It’s when a DJ is playing a song and talks throughout the instrumental introduction and/or finish of the song as if only the singing matters. The other day on the radio I was jamming along with my man Mark Knopfler’s Speedway at Nazareth. The old boy got done singing and I was ready for the searing and precise and under-stated guitar work at the end when the DJ started yakking.  Inexcusable under any circumstances!

Well, it’s inexcusable unless the DJ is Elizabeth Cook. (You might remember her from my March "Devil’s DNA" blog.) She can talk endlessly and I’d listen to that all day. Her accent is hot.  Hell, she’s hot. A bit under fed, but still hot….  

Anyway, “what the hell has this got to do with shooting,” you ask?

Plenty, it turns out.  A good song is like a good shot.  I’ve blogged about topics like breathing, trigger control and shooting on slopes. Here’s a blog on follow-through. Think of the final instrumental jam a the end of a song as the composer’s or arranger’s follow trough. It is, to the composer, and indispensable part of the song and the song is incomplete without it.

When teaching shooters, one of the hardest things to get them to do is follow through.  Hell, they just navigated their way through sight alignment, sight picture, grip, stance, breath control and trigger control. They want to see where they hit. And right now, damn it, they want to see what they hit.  So what do they do?  Almost as one motion with the trigger breaking, they drop the gun a tad and look. And they miss. Duh! Of course they missed. They moved the gun out of alignment before the damn bullet could clear the barrel.

This is where follow through comes in, and it is crucial to any shot. After the trigger breaks the gun is going to buck. It’s physics; nothing can be done about it. The key is to roll with it and to maintain the exact marriage between you and the gun. The same grip, cheek weld, everything. As the gun settles down from the recoil, it should return to where it was before the shot. This is follow through. And it can make or break a shot.

So, you in the back with your hand up. I know what you’re going to ask. “How do I develop follow through?”

Easy. Start with a decision. A decision to follow through. Then practice with dry firing. Remember dry firing? It is one of the most important practice techniques.  Dry fire endlessly until follow through is ingrained. Then head to the range. And do it all again. Dry fire a few times and then add ammunition. After each trigger break, picture yourself in concert. The shot is the end of the words, but you still have to play some more. Give it just a second or two of follow through and see the results. Shooting fast-action combat? Fine. The idea is the same. If you ingrain the follow through, even the smallest amount, your groups will improve. In the end it isn’t the duration of your follow through, it is simply the act of doing it.

The weather is fine now. Winter cold and spring storms have mostly passed. Get some ammo, head to the range, and put some rounds down range.

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