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  1. #1
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    Default The sad state of civilian marksmanship- an observation

    This is not a rant. This is not self-aggrandizement. This is not profound, or eye-opening to anyone here; nor is it surprising to me. It's probably not even worthy of comment... I simply think I'll feel better if I do.

    First off, I tend to avoid indoor, commercial ranges, instead reserving the bulk of my live-fire work and all of my real training for when I'm at The Farm. However, there are those occasions where the temptation/desire to shoot a new gun or Midwestern winter weather overcomes my distaste for such places. This afternoon was one of those times, as I just picked up another STI 2011 and really wanted to get some trigger time on it. This particular indoor facility has a split range- six lanes on either side, with distance limited to 30 yards. There are full-width windows between the range and the gun shop, with barstools so that folks from the gun shop side can observe the shooting.

    There were not that many shooters there, and the RO was putting everyone on the same side- four of the six lanes were occupied, myself included. Each of the other three lanes had two shooters each, all men (or male, anyway), ranging in age from 60's down to 20's. I won't even comment on their fitness levels. The guns I observed being shot in those other lanes were a 4" .38 revolver of some sort with target grips and target sights, some model of 5" 1911 and a Sig P226. I was shooting my new STI DVC Carry, a 3.9" 2011 9mm.

    Now, I think I'm a pretty good shot with a pistol- something to which I give a lot of credit to the instruction I've received from SI instructors. I know there are many here who can shoot better than I can, but I'm no slouch and I continue to work on improving my skills. If I'm having an off day marksmanship-wise, I tend to slow down and focus on fundamentals- maybe even decrease target distance- until my groups become acceptable to me, then slowly increase speed and/or distance until I reach my limits. Today was a quick 100 rounds of FMJ and meat ammo to get a feel for the new gun- I was very pleased with the results. I was also very aware of what was going on around me, as I'm always at least slightly uncomfortable in such settings, given their clientele.

    I am not exaggerating when I say that none of the other six shooters could keep it inside a pie plate at 5 yards with those guns I mentioned. The reasons were both various and obvious to anyone who knew what they were observing. What I still can't grasp is how there no concerted effort on the part of any of them to get better. They just continued to do the same thing over and over again (insanity, anyone?) while never improving nor even trying to improve. There was a lot of loud joking and laughing, though, so at least they were having fun (smh) I guess. None of them set their targets any farther than 10 yards, and my groups at 30 yards were as good or better than their groups at 5 yards.

    When I put my STI away and pulled my last target, one of the guys in the lane next to me asked, "Are you a cop?" I politely responded that no, I wasn't. The guy behind the counter had apparently been watching thru the window, because as I was checking out he asked, "Are you a cop?" Again, a polite "No, sir."

    I don't begrudge any of them being there. I'm glad they're exercising their 2A rights, and at least shooting the guns they own. I just don't understand their acceptance of mediocre-at-best results. I always walk away from those places swearing not to come back unless it's absolutely necessary. Sadly, I rarely live up to that commitment.

    Here's a gratuitous pic of the new STI...

    DVC Carry left_2.jpg
    Waitin' for a squeeze...

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  2. #2
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    Indeed. When I read the title I thought "yeah my groups at 100 yards with crap ammo are the type that most get excited about at 10 yards." It is pretty fun I think.
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  3. #3
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    If you recall the original purpose of the NRA in the aftermath of the civil war was to promote civilian marksmanship. Apparently many years later civilian marksmanship competency is still lacking.

    Early history


    William Conant Church, one of the NRA's founders


    A few months after the Civil War started in 1861, a national rifle association was proposed by Americans in England. In a letter that was sent to President Lincoln and published in the New York Times, R.G. Moulton and R.B. Perry recommended forming an organization similar to the British National Rifle Association, which had formed a year and a half earlier. They suggested making a shooting range, perhaps on the base on Staten Island, and were offering Whitworth rifles for prizes for the first shooting competition with those rifles. They suggested a provisional committee to start the Association which would include: President Lincoln, Secretary of War, officers, and other prominent New Yorkers.[15][16][17]
    The National Rifle Association was first chartered in the State of New York on November 16, 1871[1][7] by Army and Navy Journal editor William Conant Church and Captain George Wood Wingate. On November 25, 1871, the group voted to elect its first corporate officers. Union Army Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, who had worked as a Rhode Island gunsmith, was elected president.[18] When Burnside resigned on August 1, 1872,[19] Church succeeded him as president.[20]
    Union Army records for the Civil War indicate that its troops fired about 1,000 rifle shots for each Confederate hit, causing General Burnside to lament his recruits: "Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn."[21][22][23] The generals attributed this to the use of volley tactics, devised for earlier, less accurate smoothbore muskets.[24][25]


    Ambrose Burnside, Union Army general, Governor of Rhode Island, and first president of the NRA


    Recognizing a need for better training, Wingate sent emissaries to Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany to observe militia and armies' marksmanship training programs.[26] With plans provided by Wingate, the New York Legislature funded the construction of a modern range at Creedmoor, Long Island, for long-range shooting competitions. The range officially opened on June 21, 1873.[27] The Central Railroad of Long Island established a railway station nearby, with trains running from Hunter's Point, with connecting boat service to 34th Street and the East River, allowing access from New York City.[28]
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
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    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    If you recall the original purpose of the NRA in the aftermath of the civil war was to promote civilian marksmanship.
    I thought that very same thing as I was typing the thread title.
    Waitin' for a squeeze...

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  5. #5
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    how many places teach the youth anymore how to shoot? How many schools and youth organizations still have shooting programs. Some, but not many and when they do it is often airguns. How many kids get to roam around with a .22 or air rifle in rural areas. Some do, but not so many anymore.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  6. #6
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    Self selection. Uncompromising, high standards. Discipline. Desire for knowledge.

    It’s not hard to stand out from the crowd with even a little of these traits.
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  7. #7
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    Its not just marksmanship...it is fitness, strength, education, mental and physical toughness.

    I really think that what we are seeing is the dawn of a new species...homo pacificus. They are not at all like us, nor we like them.
    Gabriel Suarez

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  8. #8
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    When dinosaurs roamed, I used to do sucker bets for $5 on being able to put one shot out of 5 from my J-Frame into the 5 ring at 100 yards. i usually landed 3 or 4. Many lesser men bought my lunch.


    Boys in my family went from pacifiers to pistols.

    Choirboy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    Self selection. Uncompromising, high standards. Discipline. Desire for knowledge.

    It’s not hard to stand out from the crowd with even a little of these traits.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Suarez View Post
    Its not just marksmanship...it is fitness, strength, education, mental and physical toughness.

    I really think that what we are seeing is the dawn of a new species...homo pacificus. They are not at all like us, nor we like them.
    Yes and yes to both comments. It also comes down to a matter of personal integrity and pride earned through the very things mentioned above.

    For me, that also means passing on the training I sought and received, and the lessons learned through experience to each of my sons and daughter, and each and every one of my grandchildren as they have come to an age of responsibility.

    The most recent one I took to the range was one of my granddaughters. We began lessons at home with a blue gun, then dry firing a pistol and revolver to teach grip, sighting, function, and (safe) handling. One hour on the range and she was shooting better than the Friday after work Yahoos one usually finds at an indoor range. Pretty good kid, that one.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by choirboy View Post
    When dinosaurs roamed, I used to do sucker bets for $5 on being able to put one shot out of 5 from my J-Frame into the 5 ring at 100 yards. i usually landed 3 or 4. Many lesser men bought my lunch.


    Boys in my family went from pacifiers to pistols.

    Choirboy
    I had to teach myself. But I made sure to teach my sons.
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