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How to Build Shooting Discipline with Standing, Despite the Panic

While chatting with Brian, one of the Everyday Marksman postal match winners, he mentioned a YouTube channel about high power shooting. The channel, simply called Konrad, is loaded with excellent information about shooting, and I couldn’t NOT post about it.

Standing is the most difficult position to master. In both the original marksman challenge and in high power, it’s the one that causes people to drop the most points. 

I’ve got an article dedicated to the basics of the standing position, and also posted a few tips and tricks from other experts on the topic- but I’m always on the lookout for something new and helpful.

Key Takeaways

This video is about drills, and Konrad focuses on three items:

  • Developing a consistent natural point of aim (NPA)
  • Mastering mental discipline to only take a shot when you know it is a “10”
  • Calling the shot
Konrad goes through several dry practice drills involving establishing a position, finding NPA, and dry firing the shot. He only does this for sets of five shots at a time so as to keep his mental focus sharp.
One of the things I found interesting here is his discussion of the “shot process.” I’ve read about this concept many times in the past, starting back when I first read With Winning in Mind by Olympic shooter Lanny Bassham. The process is much like a programmed sequence of events that happen the same way every time. If you deviate from the program, then stop yourself and start the program over. 
This is the key to developing mental consistency. 
In the video, Konrad makes the point that practicing this sequence of five dry fires followed by a single live-fire shot took him five minutes per every live shot. If you’re ammunition constrained, this ratio of 5-to-1 dry to live is an incredible way to build skill regardless of the position.

One of the best ways to be disciplined in your shot selection is to avoid spending too much time in the aiming process. Once your window to shoot a good shot has passed, don't try to force the window open again. 

Another important point is not lingering too long in the aiming process. If you’ve missed your chance to take a clean shot, then don’t force it. Bring the rifle down and start the program over again. 

Shot Discipline

As a bonus, here’s another video by Konrad about his concept of shot discipline. He does this in the context of his offh-and shooting, and it has a lot of useful visual to understand what he is doing mentally.

Another Perspective

Of course, YouTube being interested in pushing m down a rabbit hole, while studying Konrad’s video another one came up from SavageAccuracy discussing some off-hand position. This video is not focused on high power shooting, but involves some techniques borrowed from the sport.

It is taught by Patrick Kelley, the “king of heavy metal shooting,” and involves his experience with steel challenges and action shooting. 

He finishes the video echoing advice I’ve gotten in the past: if you can master this with standing, then every other position gets easier. 

But What About Going Fast?

I’m sure the tactical enthusiasts out there will look at these videos and think they don’t apply. However, I argue that the fundamentals of good marksmanship always apply. By building a solid base of marksmanship fundamentals, you will automatically shoot better in other circumstances. It’s all about building the discipline and “muscle memory” to get things aligned quicker.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that that practice sessions focused on slow dry fire will make you clean a 3-gun stage faster just because. You will still have to work on several of those individual skills, like target transitions and improvised positions. But you will come into it with a dramatically better grasp of your natural point of aim, sight picture, and mental discipline.

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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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Never thought about combining the two but I really like this method of incorporating a dry fire routine before squeezing off the one that counts as a training tool to build a consistent routine! The final act of firing a live round with a measurable result would seem to provide instant feedback and effectiveness of one’s technique. Before I watched the video I wondered if the act of dropping a live round in would deviate from the consistent dry fire routine but since he starts the drill from the same neutral position it doesn’t affect the rifle mount technique. Your… Read more »

Replying to  Paul

Reminds me a little of the book ‘Zen and the Art of Archery’ by Eugen Herrigel. A german professor travels to Japan and takes up the Japanese long bow discipline which requires a strict methodical routine which must be practiced perfectly each time to become selfless or ‘one with the art’ at which point the nooking of the arrow, drawing of the bow and releasing the arrow become an unconscious effort – perfectly executed.

Replying to  Paul

I actually have a copy of this book…it was an interesting read.

Replying to  Cutright

I actually verified the title of the book as Zen ‘in’ the Art of Archery but nonetheless it is a good read about mastery of an art. I thought my comment might be a little esoteric for this crowd!

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