Although the art and science of tactical precision shooting isn’t new, it has evolved quickly — to the point where much of the information, methodology and even equipment is so new and revolutionary that it invalidates that which preceded it. Yet, having said that, some things never change. The concepts of fundamental marksmanship — trigger control, stock weld, proper support of the weapon, as well as the correct use of telescopic sights, slings and bipods — all remain valid and thus, state of the art.
But there have been significant advancements in stock, telescope and ammunition technology, as well as technique efficiency. The understanding of interior, exterior and terminal ballistics have resulted in rifle/operator performance levels previously thought to be impossible.
Nonetheless, because of its inherent complexity the concept of tactical precision shooting is often bewildering to many. Despite proven axioms like KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid) and “Remember Murphy’s Law,” its inherent elements remain far more complex than virtually any other shooting discipline. Even when things are kept as simple as possible, they’re still sufficiently complex to not only baffle the novice, but can cause considerable dismay among the experienced.
Formula For Success
As an instructor and practitioner in this particular shooting discipline for the last 25 years, I’ve found that a systematic approach to the subject yields the most effective results. Here is my 8-point formula for success:
1. Decide what you want from the rifle (mission definition).
2. Choose which kind of rifle (semi-auto or bolt-action) best satisfies your needs.
3. Buy or build the specific rifle you need.
4. Select the cartridge/load that provides the best balance of accuracy, range, recoil and terminal ballistics.
5. Pick a scope and mounting system that brings you, the rifle, cartridge and load to the highest possible level of efficiency.
6. Set your trigger at a release weight that also allows you to shoot your best.
7. Choose ancillary equipment — binoculars, anti-cant device, lens caps, bipod (if preferred), sling, range finder, shooting rest and mat —
that enhances, rather than hinders your skill achievement and general effectiveness.
8. Zero and calibrate the rig for best use of trajectory and terminal ballistics.
With these requirements met, you will save yourself not only a great deal of time and energy, but a great deal of money too. Everyone who enters this particular kind of shooting quickly discovers that surprisingly large sums of money can be spent without any guarantee of performance if not spent wisely. Conversely, following the methodology I’ve outlined guarantees that you will have done everything humanly possible to insure performance, thus eliminating everything but the human element from the shooting equation. Then, if you miss, it’s your fault as a marksman, rather than an equipment or ammunition failure.