Shot Calling On The Move

“The true purpose is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.”
-Shunryu Suzuki

The true purpose of shooting is to know where every shot will hit the target before it does.

“The most important thing a practical shooter must always do is call every shot.”
-Rob Leatham

At the instant the shot fired, from what you saw as the sights lifted in recoil, you should know where the bullet will impact the target. If you did, you called the shot.

You do not have to see a perfect, stopped sight picture to call the shot. For consistent success, a practical pistol shooter must learn to “read” the sights in motion.

It’s like looking at a picture or watching a movie, you can remember the content of either.

BE, circa early ’80’s Steel Challenge Shootoff, getting his ass handed to him by Nick Pruitt.

Think of every shot you will fire as in one to two categories: moving or stopped. A moving shot means the sights were moving when the shot fired. For a stopped shot, even for the briefest instant, you saw everything become still.

While visualizing an upcoming stage, decide how you will visualize each shot, as either moving or stopped.

Stopped shot examples for me… The first shot of every stage; an 10” steel plate at 10 yards or farther, or any shot past 20 yards. Most other shots were called in motion.

For practical shooters, most shots are moving, so we must learn to call shots when the sights are not still.

Train that skill in practice until it becomes second nature to call every shot, even though you seldom saw a perfect, stopped sight picture. 

Some examples… 

When the shot fired, you saw a perfect sight alignment on the the A-zone’s scoring line, you know that shot will score an A or B. 

As the shot fired, the sights were in the A-zone but the front sight was closer to the right side of the rear sight, you know that shot will be to the right of center. 

Learn how far to the right by training specific scenarios in practice.

Shoot targets at various distances, slow fire, and deliberately misalign the sights; then fire the shot and predict where it landed. Then check the target. Repeat for a variety of endless scenarios. Have some fun with it. What you learn from that will effortlessly transfer to calling shots in motion.

Shoot a Bill Drill at 15 yards—6 shots in the A-zone as quickly as possible—but before you look at the target, call all six shots in your mind. Then check the target. If you can’t call all 6 shots fairly consistently, you’re not reading the sights properly. Everything you need to see is in your hands.

I remember a stage from a USPSA national championship, in late ’80’s. Jerry, “The Burner” Barnhart had just finished a stage. The Range Officer commented—as they often did—“okay, let’s score the targets.” Jerry said, “I dropped one point on the fourth target.” Classic Burner. 

Experiment, get creative and have fun with calling on the move—free yourself from the I-must-see-a-perfect-sight-picture snare.

Comments are welcome, and all questions will be answered.

I’ll post a new topic each Friday afternoon, in one of two categories. One will be on shooting, and the other will be on living. Or: how I learned to live from what I learned by competing.

Thanks for coming in.