Doing What Mel Said…

I’d like to focus on another type of training, that is shooting at non traditional targets. There is no doubt that the standard silhouette target has an important place in training sessions. The law in Missouri requires that we use a B-27 target or one that is “equivalent” for concealed carry qualification. For all intents and purposes, I believe that this is a good idea. A lot of my students are first time shooters and a few of them have never even held a firearm before they come to my class. I feel that shooting a B-27 would make the new shooter more at ease and more confident after seeing their results as compared to what they may observe after firing at a target the size of a paper plate. The B-27 target definitely has it’s uses.

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I’d like to bring up another type of target. My favorite type, in fact. Basically it’s any type of target that is small and reactive. It doesn’t have to be an expensive metal spinning target or anything that is even professionally manufactured. My son and I like to shoot (from about 7 yards) small used 12 gauge shell casings that we often find left behind on the range. He sets these up on my target stand and plinks away at them. He is overly excited when he shoots one off of it’s platform. I do the same thing.

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As we move further down range we sometimes pick gradually larger targets depending on exactly how far back we actually are. Often at further distances we use old 2 liter soda bottles filled with water.

Now let’s recall some fictional history presented in Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot.” One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Mel Gibson’s character tells his two youngest sons to “Aim small. Miss small.” For a little bit of background on this, the technical adviser for the movie, Mr. Mark Baker, was giving instruction to the actors and actually used this phrase. Gibson liked it so much that he incorporated it into the scene. The theory behind this concept is that if you aim at a chest and miss…you’ve missed a lot but if you aim at a button on a shirt you will probably still hit somewhere in center mass.

Aiming for, and hitting, a small target the size of a shotgun casing can be fun and exciting. When this type of shooting is done it should be done with care, utilizing the fundamentals of marksmanship. Do not haphazardly fire away like a drunken Billy the Kid. Make it useful. You will continue to develop your skills as well as the much desired muscle memory that is desired to survive a gun fight.


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