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An Unexpected Surprise (that’s a little redundant)

Wow, the things I learn while doing this project never cease to amaze me. I was surfing the internet with the intention of figuring out how to shoot accurately while on the move; up until that point I had been dealing with a sight picture that bounced so much that it was nearly impossible to even hit the target. I discovered while scrolling through numerous forums that the main strategy for maintaining steady aim while on the move is something that I have actually been mastering over the course of four years without even realizing it. How is this possible, you ask?

The answer is… wait for it… marching band? It turns out the glide-step that we learn in marching band is actually extremely similar to how most marksmen try to walk while shooting. They recommend that a shooter attempt to roll his foot through his step, trying to make contact with the ground with as much of the sole of his shoe as he can. Amazingly, this is exactly what I have been rehearsing by being on the Westwood Drumline since freshman year. Who knew that being a band nerd could pay off in the shooting world?

I was astounded by the nearly instant results when I changed my typical lope to a well-rehearsed glide. Immediately, my accuracy increased by an immeasurable percentage, as I went from virtually being unable to hit the target to actually be able to aim some. Naturally, mastering the skill of shooting while moving will take a vast amount of practice, but I was surprised and excited to learn that I had a head start in the area.

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Darts, Round 2

This may sound sad, but I have another random Wal-Mart purchase to report. While airsoft guns, throwing knives, and even compound bows have been realistic considerations for inclusion in my ISP, for some reason I never thought of a blowgun as something that would be in the cards. However, I found a way around that problem in the form of an off-brand nerf-dart blowgun in the toy aisle. For what I think was 3 bucks, I received a surprisingly effective blowgun, 6 darts, and quite a large helping of happiness.

For a short time, this “weapon” made me go so far as to wish I hadn’t chosen to be a percussionist in band; I can only think of the possibilities if I only had a little more lung-power. Regardless, the blowgun is difficult to aim and difficult to put much power behind, but is very satisfying when I actually manage to hit the target. Another cool, if puzzling feature of my new toy is that I seem to be able to put as many of the darts into the tube as I want without seriously affecting the velocity of the darts when I fire the gun. This results in some cool spraying effects, and these are interesting to test. I’ll be sure to post some results of this nature in a future blog post, but haven’t really yet achieved the level of accuracy that I desire to do such a test. Who knows, maybe I’ll even find a cheap real blowgun (one that fires darts) before I have to present my ISP.

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Darts anyone?

I was walking through Wal-Mart a while ago, and discovered a delightful combination in the form of a spring-powered airsoft pistol for 12 dollars and a really cool sticky-gel target dartboard for 8 dollars. The advantages of owning such items were obvious and numerous to me, so I immediately made the purchase with the hope that doing so would provide me with limitless hours of entertainment and, of course, some valuable ISP research.

What truly excited me was the prospect of finally being able to shoot something indoors. Whereas my other airsoft pistol was loud, gas-powered, and shot pellets with a high velocity, this one (the Stinger P311) is significantly quieter and less likely to damage the walls without sacrificing accuracy. In fact, this one quickly became my favorite of the two in that it has a grip similar to the Colt M1911 (which I absolutely loved firing) and is probably more accurate than its gas-powered counterpart.

But the real key to this combination’s coolness is the dartboard; the gel surface allows airsoft pellets to stick to its surface without violently bouncing off and slowly roll down the front of the target until they fall off (into an area designed to catch and store the pellets, of course). This trapping ability has allowed me to place it in an incredibly convenient location at the end of my hallway and use it often.

Some of these shots were better or worse than they appear, as the pellets begin to roll down as soon as they hit the dartboard.

As I had hoped, this combination has been invaluable in my attempts to improve my marksmanship. While it is obviously not the same as shooting a real pistol, I am able to work on nearly all the basics for pistol shooting in a safe environment almost every single day. Not only that, I’m able to try out some fun things like shooting on the move, shooting with my left hand, and even shooting upside down without a serious risk to anyone or anything. All in all, I’ve had a lot of fun with this gun and target.

My sweet set-up :P

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Shooting the Compound Bow

A shorter, more fun video of me shooting my new compound bow at some more exciting targets. If you just want to see me shoot the bow, and DON’T want to learn all about it and hear me talk for a while, I would probably recommend you just watch this video in place of the other one. Hope you like it!

 

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Compound Bow!

After a long and painful process that I may or may not choose to relate over the internet, I have obtained a Bear archery-brand compound bow from Dick’s Sporting Goods. And it’s awesome. Here’s a video overview that will hopefully tell you everything you need to know, AND show you just how cool it is to actually shoot.

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Skeet Shooting

My dad recently purchased a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun for the purpose of skeet shooting, since he and I recently discovered at a fundraising event that we aren’t half bad at the sport. So, to test our skill with the new gun, we headed up to Eagle Peak Shooting Range, where I had previously gone pistol shooting with my neighbor and mentor, Tom.

The skeet shooting range was actually completely separated from the rest of the range, and had numerous skeet-throwers that were quite nice. My dad and I quickly got the hang of it, and managed to pull off a lot of great shots. Rather than tell you about it, though, I can just show you a video of me shooting one and then two clays out of the air. Enjoy!

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To the Pistol Range! (with my mentor!)

As you might recall, I have chosen my neighbor Tom as my mentor for this project, but he hasn’t really been included in any of my posts so far. So, Tom, being the awesome mentor that he is, offered to take me pistol shooting at a nearby shooting range. Without hesitation, I gladly accepted.

Prior to going to the range, of course, there were a number of safety measures to be addressed, as the use of firearms requires the utmost caution and can be extremely dangerous for everyone if even one person is being careless on the range. Thus, I learned proper gun handling, grip, and etiquette in his garage prior to rolling out. While I was a little nervous about the whole idea at first, I was amazed at how well Tom knew what he was talking about and how safe he made the whole process seem.

So, without further ado, I’ll talk about our actual shooting. The range we went to is called Eagle Peak Shooting Range, where we were fired at targets 7 yards away on the pistol range. We used 3 different pistols from Tom’s personal collection: The Glock 19, the Springfield XD, and the Colt M1911.

I started out using the Glock 19, a very popular handgun that fires relatively small and cheap 9mm bullets. This was my first time to ever even fire a pistol, so I was just happy to hit the target, but I got quite a few good shots in as I fired round after round into the target. Tom spent the majority of his time helping me with my shooting or taking pictures of me (which I really appreciate), and I saw a significant improvement whenever he pointed out something that I could fix.

I liked the Glock 19 quite a bit, and spent the largest amount of time firing it.

Next I tried my hand at the Springfield XD, which I really disliked due to its bizarre kick and awkward feel. Tom said he also dislikes that gun quite a bit, so no pictures were taken of the event.

Lastly, I attempted Tom’s favorite and most expensive pistol, the Colt M1911. It fired a huge .45 caliber bullet and had an awesome feel to it. I REALLY liked this pistol, and shot extremely well with it in relation to the other two firearms. As you can see below, only two of my shots even landed outside the red area of the target!

Thanks again to Tom for taking me out to the range! I hope we can go again soon!

*Note: Date of Post has been changed to reflect the date of the activity.

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