With Chief AJ
World Champion Instinct Shooter
Congratulations on taking the first steps to becoming a Champion "Quick Point" Shooter! This involves learning balance, gun mount, grip, trigger control and how to move your gun with a target. You will be involved in some sports physiology as well as human kinetics (the study of functional movement).
Chief AJ's style of "Quick Point" shooting has been developed over the past 30 years and has evolved into very enjoyable shooting. Placing the projectile on a target down range with ease is the overall goal.
Whenever you touch your air rifle, BB gun, shotgun, rifle or slingshot, you always want to wear eye protection. Back in '87, when I was shooting my way onto the front cover of Guns Magazine, I had two .22 rifle bullets bounce back off of the wood blocks in the air and hit my eyeglasses. I still have two good eyes today, which is why you should also wear eye protection.
The first lesson should be performed with an unloaded rifle, shotgun, BB gun or a slingshot with no ball in the pouch.
Lesson 1 - Learning to Mount
Firstly, you are going to learn how to come to mount no matter how you pick up your piece.
Head up straight - do not cock to one side. Get a good grip on the pistol grip behind the trigger. In the above photo, Jeanne was looking at a target, continued looking at the target and then brought the BB gun up to her line of vision. The gun is brought up to just under the line of sight that you have at your target.
At this point, we are not concerned about speed, but we are trying to find the "sweet spot" on our face which we hit when we mount. Learn where the gun is on your face when in the mount position, looking down the barrel at the target.
You are to learn to hit this same spot on your face each time you mount. Archers call this the "Anchor", I call it Hitting the Sweet Spot.
With your unloaded gun, do some of the mounts in front of a mirror. This will help you get your hands, elbows, and head in the right position. I want your mount to look like Jeanne's.
For at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening (and anytime you can), I want you doing mounts. Look at a target, bring up your gun hitting your "sweet spot" and keep looking at the target seeing just straight down the top of the barrel. You mounted the gun to your line of sight, hitting the "sweet spot" keeps you doing this the same way each time.
Put the gun in your carry position, look at the target and mount. Over and over and over again.
No need to pull the trigger or "dry fire".
Lesson 1 is mounting. My Olympic Shooting Coach for the Running Boar Olympic Event had me doing just mounts over and over much more than actually shooting at the boar.
Mount and "sweet spot". No need to have a ball or rock in the pouch.
I want you to practice the slingshot mount in front of a mirror. When you do, I want you to see the photo above with the pulling hand in the "sweet spot".
All is even! The draw is straight back in-between the forks, equidistant between the top and bottom. Put the slingshot down like you would carry it, ready to shoot. Then, come to mount in front of the mirror until you have it all even.
Here's a right handed shooter:
Now the "Quick Point"
In this photo, you can see why this slingshot is called "Quick Point" because it gives the shooter a very large sight window. Only with this large sight window was Chief AJ able to get on flushing pheasants with a 45 caliber lead ball.
When you get all evened up in the mirror, hold your slingshot in a carry position. Look at a target and come to mount. Do this over and over and over. Mount is what's important. Do no dry fire your slingshot.
Lesson 1 does not stop. Lesson 1 is "ongoing". I still do my mounts each day just like my Olympic Coach had me doing at the Colorado Springs USA Olympic Training Center.
Lesson 2 - Trigger Control
In this lesson, it will help to have your bb gun/slingshot backstop ready. This can be done indoors or outdoors.
Trigger control is the key to instinct "Quick Point" shooting.
I, Chief AJ, want you to place your trigger finger on the trigger like so:
This is a real trigger just inside the tip of my trigger finger. Note that it is not in the joint, but there on the tip of the forefinger.
Now a real handgun where I want you to place your trigger finger:
See how this enables me to bring the trigger straight back. I do not want to push the gun to the right or pull the gun to the left as I bring back the trigger. The trigger must be pulled back straight in your line-of-sight to the target, straight back under the barrel. NOTE: When you are shooting, the only thing that moves backward is the trigger. You are looking straight at the target, the barrel is straight towards the target, but the trigger moves backward. This backward movement must not throw off your aim or get out of sync with the target.
If during the backward movement of the trigger, you pull the muzzle off by ⅛" it can mean a miss at 10 yards.
Before we start, practice moving the trigger straight back.
Your grip must be the same from shot to shot. Thumb and middle finger together, 4th & 5th fingers working to help hold the grip. Do not grip loose on one shot and then tight on the next. The idea is to have the same pressure on the gun, bow or slingshot.
Here is how to have a very consistent grip:
Take hold of your bb gun as in the photo above and grip just as hard and tight as you can. You can not hold this grip for very long without starting to quiver and shake. From this "all out" grip, back off to about ¾ grip strength and work on being able to consistently maintain the ¾ grip comfortably.
Here is where finesse comes in. You are gripping your gun or slingshot tight and then trying to finesse the trigger straight back without a "jerk". Being able to manage a tight grip and finesse the trigger back is a learned skill.
Now it is time to start shooting your bb gun, handgun, or whatever you are training with. Do not worry about hitting the bullseye at this point in your training. Just shoot at the backstop and focus on your grip and bringing the trigger straight back. Grip and trigger control are all you should be focused on. Shoot with this in mind, grip and trigger control. Mount and as you are looking down the barrel at the target, make sure that your muzzle does not move as the trigger comes back. Do this over and over and over.
You can learn trigger finesse without a gun around. I practice trigger control by gripping the thumb of my other hand with ¾ grip and then finessing my trigger finger back and forth. You can do this many times a day (it actually counts as range time, really). Now you are thinking and practicing shooting most of the day.
In the photo, you can see that I am holding a white ½" marble just like I do the trigger of a slicked up 10/22 rifle. I use the exact same place on the finger. I also release the ball like I'm finessing the trigger.
Now grip your slingshot like above and shoot, shoot shoot!
Lesson 3 - Shooting
We are building our "Quick Point" shooting layer upon layer. Do not forget lessons 1 & 2!
Here's a photo of me wearing eye protection with backstop ready. Here's my basement shooting range shooting into a ballistic kevlar curtain.
Looking straight at the bullseye ready to mount.
Mount and shoot over and over until you can put a bb down range as the stock but hits your shoulder. You should be all lined up.
Now add more clay targets:
Cock and shoot, cock and shoot all while continuing to focus on mount, grip, looking down the barrel and trigger control.
Now on a paper target:
Repeat, cock and shoot while focusing on mount, grip, looking down the barrel and trigger control.
When the target is shot up (when the bullseye is shot out - which may take 50 bbs.), I want you to sit down and meditate. Continuing to go over mount, grip, looking down the barrel and trigger control in your mind.
Then I want you to meditate all over again how you shot out the bullseye. To finish out Lesson 3, shoot until your arms are aching.
Shoot and shoot and shoot until the target is torn up. Then do the meditation above.
Lesson 4 - Aerial Shooting
Do not stop practicing Lessons 1, 2 & 3! Continue repeating these lessons as each new lesson builds upon the last. "Quick Point" is all about combining what you've learned in the previous lessons to master the art of "Quick Point" shooting.
Now that it's time for aerial shooting, I want you to continue to make sure you're wearing eye protection! BBs can and do bounce back! I go to the edge of town where the bbs will not come down on any cars, buildings, windows or people.
Now with the hand that you put on the forearm of the bb gun, hold the 4" POOF ball. I am left-handed, so I toss the 4" ball with my right hand and hold the bb gun with the left hand ready to shoot. At this point, the US Military used a softball as a target and this also works. You can also use a 4" Nerf ball or a 4" POOF ball.
It should come as no surprise, that the way to hit a moving target is with a moving gun! Take a look at this shooting clip:
Here is where the previous lessons come into play. Hit your sweet spot while keeping your eyes on the ball. See the ball just above your barrel while looking down the barrel moving your whole upper body while keeping the rifle locked in your sweet spot. (Do not lift your head off of your sweet spot)! To pull the trigger and hit the ball, you must see all the ball just above your barrel. Keep that firm grip and bring the trigger straight back while moving with the ball in the air.
This is like a tennis serve toss. You will see and hear the bb hit. This will take a lot of practice in the toss and then "getting" on the ball, but when you are successful, you will hear a THUNK. Do not think that you will hit ball after ball. You will get "on to" this in one session. Better to do this first attempt at aerial shooting in short periods of 15 minutes.
Then, move down to hitting a tennis ball tossed in the air. Soon it will all come together through lots of practice. Only by doing will you be able to master the art of "Quick Point" shooting.
The two green golf balls are soft, foam practice golf balls. They come in many colors. These are great practice targets to toss up.
BB gun ready, I'm about to toss the soft golf ball up about 12 feet high.
The ball is going up and at the same time, I am bringing my right hand down to grab the forearm of the Chief AJ bb gun. You see that at the same time, I am about to hit my sweet spot. I will then follow the ball while keeping the ball in sight just above the barrel. I see the entire ball just above the muzzle as I am moving with the ball. When pulling the trigger, do not stop moving with the ball. If you stop moving the bb gun to shoot, the ball does not stop and you will miss. Stay locked on your sweet spot, keep the entire ball in your line-of-sight just above the barrel and follow through as you pull the trigger.
When a bb hits the soft golf ball, the ball will take-off and you get instant feedback. This will cause you to learn "Quick Point" shooting. At this point, it is hard to quit shooting sessions. It's a hoot!
During the fall of '08, I was getting ready for pheasant season and I did a lot of one-man aerial slingshot shooting with 4" soft POOF balls.
There is the POOF ball, the World Record Slingshot and 50 cal. paint balls. Get ready for some physical activity!
Slingshot loaded and gripped. The 4" ball has had pheasant feathers stuck into it and a green practice golf ball has been attached with a toothpick for the head. The mock pheasant is sitting on top of my slingshot hand.
I am bent at the knees getting ready to come up fast to a standing shooting position at the same time launching the mock pheasant forward as hard as possible.
Pheasant in the air being hit by a 50 cal. paintball. I used paintballs as ammo so that the ball would not end up hitting the wrong thing. This is very physical and at 70, I can still do this. So can you.
Here I just threw (launched) a plain ball. This really works. It is much easier to get someone else to toss the balls for you when using a slingshot.