by Brian Zins - Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Editor’s Note: In his latest article for SSUSA, 12-time NRA National Pistol Champion Brian Zins shares his thoughts on aiming the red dot and anticipation in Precision Pistol competition. Read Part I here.
Aiming the red dot
Before I get into my theories on looking at the target or the dot (not iron sights), let me share an observation—many shooters think entirely too much. This is not rocket science, because if it were, I would not be a shooter. Hence, I am not smart enough to shoot badly. When Erich Bujung was the Olympic Pistol Team coach, he always said, “No stinking thinking. The mind is a terrible thing to waste and in Bullseye on the firing line, the mind is just a terrible thing.”
Thus, I submit to you another way of accomplishing the goal of shooting better. I learned to shoot under the guidelines that legends such as Don Nygord and the late Bill Blankenship wrote about. I learned from some of the greatest marksmanship instructors the U.S. Marine Corps had to offer. I can take only partial claim to the ideas presented here, as it was a collaborative effort of Andy Moody, Mitch Reed, Mario Lozoya, Chris Hill and myself.
Our goal was to get Marines to shoot a 2600 as fast as possible because unlike the Army, the Marines do not get the luxury of staying on the Team for life. Therefore, we came up with ideas to get Marines to shoot better and faster.
I use an Aimpoint Micro with a 2 MOA dot, not the match four dot, though that is an awesome scope and recommend it for anyone with failing vision. On a bright day my dot level is on about an eight, in order to have a small dot. Additionally, with a dot I am not a big advocate of the iris on my shooting glasses but with iron sights, that’s okay.
I am sure at some point or another you have thrown a ball to someone, right? When you threw the ball, what were you looking at? The ball, or the person or object you were throwing at?
Let me explain. With iron sights, three items come into play. Front sight, rear sight and the target or aiming area. However, with the dot you have but two items in play. The DOT and the target. Before I forget, I do understand the difference between sight alignment and sight picture.
Target vs. sight
When I began shooting, Andy Moody and I were talking about looking at the target vs. looking at the sight. I was young and didn’t know any better so I tried it. Keep in mind this was my first year as a bullseye shooter. I then proceeded to shoot my first ever 100 long-line with my .22LR. Heck, it was my first 100 long-line period. The team captain called everyone into a circle and asked me to tell them what I did during that string and if I learned something. I told him I turned my dot down and looked at the target as opposed to the front sight. He about had a fit, but some learning had occurred, and not just for me. From that moment on, it became not so uncommon for Marines to look at the target.
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