The Shooter’s Index Position

“The essence of the great Way is to act purposefully without striving.”
 -T’ai i chin hua tsung chih

Proper technique is a tremendous aid to performance. (I said that because I’m not known as a technique man.)

The shooter’s index position is the foundation of quick, precise, target to target transitions.

With the sights aligned on the target, the relationship of your body from the waist up—torso, arms, grip, and head—is your index position.

Regardless of the next target’s location, for consistent transitions, your entire upper body must pivot as one unit.

Rob Leatham is a master of the index position.

Train to remember the feeling of your index position while dry-firing. Assume your normal shooting position, with the sights aligned on an imaginary target. Close your eyes and mentally scan your body from the waist up. Remember the feeling of your entire upper body as one feeling, or one sensation. Open your eyes to reconfirm a perfect sight alignment. Then close your eyes and pivot to another imaginary target. Open your eyes and check for perfect sight alignment. If the sights are not perfectly aligned, your index “broke” while pivoting.

Do the above drill slowly at first, maintaining the index feeling or sensation while pivoting to various imaginary targets.

Keep practicing the above drill until the sights are perfectly aligned when you open your eyes for each imaginary target. Only then does index training really begin.

A common analogy for the index is a tank’s turret. But that is not an accurate analogy. Because the tank’s barrel moves up or down independently in the rotating turret.

A better anology is a rifle or shotgun shooting position. Once the gun is in position, no matter where the target is, everything from the waist up pivots as one unit.

Imagine a plate rack: six, 8” diameter steel plates, one foot apart—at twenty-five yards. The drill: draw and shoot one plate at a time. A highly trained competitor will make a slight foot adjustment for each shot. Which demonstrates a perfectly developed index.

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Each Monday, I’ll post a new topic 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.

Posted in On Shooting