Monday, December 29, 2008

Shoot Where You Look

Shoot where you look is an instinctive method of aiming that has been highly developed by a few throughout history. Some of the great exhibition or trick shooters developed this technique and were able to shoot small objects repeatedly out of the air. The US military later used a method of shoot where you look in training combat soldiers. One of the greatest shoot where you look masters is Tom Knapp. Many of you may have seen him put on an exhibition shoot or at least watch him on one of the outdoor channels. Watching others perform great feats of shooting is fun but what if you could do almost as good yourself. I say almost because few of us will be willing to take the time and expend the ammo it takes to become great, we can however use the same techniques to shoot better than most of those we know and much better than we ever were before.

The shoot where you look technique is not some black magic trick it is simply refining and teaching your senses and focus. Your vision is one of the keys to this system and it is being taught by great shooters all over the country. I practice my focus going down the highway or to the store. I often practice on walks in the woods or parks when I am not even carrying a gun. The trick is to see the center of an object and not focus on the whole object. Tom Knapp explains it by saying the center of clay bird, a quarter and an aspirin are all the same size. If you shoot the center it does not matter how big the rest of the target around the center is in size. If you would like to take a class, Leon Measures offers a shoot where you look school that I have heard great things about.

Now for the method to the madness. Many of you will think this is baloney as I did the first time it was explained to me. An instructor who will remain nameless told me he was going to shoot a BB through the center of a lifesaver. I thought that is a neat trick because no one can say you missed as nothing is broken. He threw a lifesaver in the air and fired a shot with a common BB gun that had the sights removed. He then picked up the lifesaver and proclaimed that he had shot right through the hole in the middle. We all laughed and said yeah right! He then asked one of the class to lick a postage stamp and stick it over the hole of the lifesaver and again he tossed it up in the air firing the BB gun. This time as he passed the lifesaver around with a hole through the postage stamp at the center, the class room was silent. I listened to every word that man told me from then on.

This is the way I learned and I can assure you it will work if you put in the time and effort. Many of my students have called to tell me when they realize the technique. First get a simple single pump or lever action BB gun. It needs to be one that is simple to cock and load. I have found the Daisy Grizzly to work very well. Here is the part that hurts and why I recommend an inexpensive BB gun. You need to remove the sights. You will have to take a pair of vice grips or pliers to roll the rear sight off many guns. The front sight on the Daisy Grizzly I removed with a pair of wire cutters and filed that rest of the plastic ramp smooth with a file. Black any shiny metal left with a black permanent marker.

Now get a large cardboard box and draw a black circle about the size of a nickel. Shoot about 100 BBs per session or until you are tired. Stand about 15 feet from the box and mount the gun solid with your face firmly against the stock and focus on the center of the black circle and shoot. Focus only on the center of the target, there are not sights to look at on the gun anyway. The large box will let you see where you hit and you will learn to automatically correct until you are shooting the center of the circle. Repeat until you are shooting most of the time in the black. Then move back in distance. Repeat until you can hit the black from most anywhere in range. Remember not to look at the whole black circle but focus on the very center. I imagine a red dot the size of a BB at the center of the black and that is where I put the BB each shot. Eventually you will be shooting leaves, bugs, sticks and anything else that draws your eye without sights. As you get more skilled go to rolling targets, coke cans in the air and if you really work at it you will be able to hit things in the air that will amaze you and others. This method will help make you a better shot with all types of firearms. Shoot where you look is a valid method and one you can learn. Maybe the next time you watch an exhibition shooter some of the magic will be gone but the pride that you might be able to make that shot is worth it. Good Shooting, Wild Ed

Related Links: Learn to Shoot, Learn to Hunt

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Albert A Rasch said...

This is a GREAT post Ed! I've linked to it and I am going to highlight it too! Just fantastic!

Best regards,
Albert A Rasch
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Cap'n Kent said...

Well, I'll be a hound dog. What a method. I'm gonna do it. I've always loved to shoot and learned in the mid-seventies that I didn't like killing deer or even maybe rabbits. I just loved to shoot and scored expert in the air force my entire career. But I wasn't using the shoot where you look method.

Along the line of shoot where you look: Before I retired ten years ago I owned a carpet cleaning business. I'm 68 now.

Carpet spots needed to be pretreated and for small spots I used a spray bottle hitting the spots as I walked through a room.

I must have been doing something like the shoot where you look method because I got so good at it I could hit those spots "shooting from the hip" with the spray bottle set on the single stream setting.

Gosh, Wild Ed, maybe I was on to something. I used to think that what I was doing was like a wild west six guner shooting from the hip. I never aimed at a spot.

Over time my brain just instinctively made those small corrections and I was hitting mostly in the middle of each spot. It became easy.

I haven't done any gun shooting since 1977 but I just bought a .22 and a youth size 20 gauge semi auto.

I think I had better order your course and get started. Maybe my brain has retained something from those thousands of spray bottle shots.

My name is Capt. Kent and I live just north of Austin. Anyone can contact me at

Wild Ed said...

Cap'n Kent glad you liked the article. I am in Round Rock just north of Austin. Ed