On Wednesday morning I got up very excited to share this video with you. And then I checked the news.
Suffice it to say that I didn’t think it was appropriate to send out this video on the day of a mass shooting.
But here’s an uncomfortable truth: there’s a mass shooting almost every single day in the United States. 154 in 165 days. And that’s using the narrowest definition. It doesn’t even include the shooting on the same day in San Francisco where four people including the shooter died.
So either there’s never a good day to talk about how to use a rifle properly for hunting or precision sport shooting, or any day is as good as any other.
I sit at a weird place when it comes to guns and regulations. I’ve jumped through the BATF’s hoops and waited through almost year-long waiting periods to have a firearm or a part that meets some narrow and ridiculous set of criteria. I’ve also walked into a gun store and walked out with a handgun I could easily conceal when a convicted sex offender used a house showing to steal my social security number and I had no idea if he was coming back.
And yet in general I think it’s way too easy. I think we need a major re-thinking of gun policy in this country. In fact, if someone could wave a wand and round up all the guns in the country I’d hand mine over. That’s not going to happen, so we need to think really, really hard about making it aggressively difficult to buy firearms, unbelievably costly when you use one in a crime, and impossible to keep when you’ve already committed a crime that demonstrates you can’t be trusted.
That said, as long as firearms exist as a tool to be used for hunting and sport shooting I think it’s well worth learning how to use them properly. This video focuses on the skills you need to shoot a precision long rifle out to long distances, well past the typical 100 yards. If you’re a hunter it’s critical to be a competent shooter so that you can make a clean and ethical kill the first time every time. Even if you’re not a hunter, precision rifle shooting is a lot of fun. In the western U.S. there are great events that combine hiking, navigation, adventure, and difficult shooting challenges into endurance precision shooting events. And even if you’re just plinking steel, long distance shooting involves combining basic fundamentals of shooting with deep knowledge of conditions and even some math.
It’s hard to convey the satisfaction you get when everything comes together and you pull the trigger to hear the distinct “ping” of steel a couple seconds – or longer – later. Or, when you take an animal you’ve been hunting for hours or days and it drops in on the spot and you know you’ve filled your freezer for the next several months with the most natural free range meat there is.
In this Human Skill video I take my good friend Marshal through the basic setup to hit a target 300 yards – imagine three football fields – away. You’ll have to watch the video to see if he gets a hit on his first try.
While I’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg for precision shooting – like anything worth doing you could do it for a lifetime and not learn everything – these are the fundamentals you need to be able to shoot accurately at any distance.
I hope you enjoy this video, and I sincerely hope that some day soon we have more sensible gun laws in this country.