Drill of the Week – Calling Your Shots


We are continuing with improving the Steel Challenge stage, Pendulum. Since the plates are 18 yards away the ability to call your shots is very important to shooting the stage quickly and efficiently. If you aren’t already familiar with the concept of calling your shots it’s a pretty simple concept, but difficult to execute at speed. Calling your shots is basically know where your rounds went simply by watching your sights. Listening for the report of the steel or watching a target to see if the bullets are hitting it is very slow. Especially at 18 yards. Just the delay in sound is long enough to slow you down and keep you from quickly transitioning to other targets.

In the example below the top row shows the sight alignment and the bottom row shows the round impact. The first illustration on the right shows a proper sight picture. The following examples show a few possible combinations that let us know the shot didn’t go center. On a smaller target or one further way errors illustrated in the examples below can cause a miss. Keep in mind just because you initially had good sight alignment doesn’t mean you will maintain it when you break the shot. Poor trigger control, a flinch, unstable shooting positions etc can contribute to a miss after aligning the sights. The good news is if you closely watch your front sight post you will see these errors as they happen and call the miss. This gives you the opportunity to quickly make up the shot.

Calling Shots

What you will need

Warm Up

Spend a little time firing some slow fire groups starting at 7 yards and work your way back to 25 yards. Don’t spend more than 20 rounds warming up.

Calling Your shots

Target: Place 1 metric target 25 yards away and 1 target right beside you on the firing line.

For each shot you fire place a paster on the target next to you in the place you think the shot went. After 3 to 5 shots go down range and compare your two targets. Are the shots where you though they would be? This can be a very hard drill, especially for new shooters. Don’t get frustrated if the results aren’t good. Keep working on it. Remember to focus on your front sight post, do not focus on the target.

Some common problems I see with newer shooters are blinking, lack of follow through or maybe even a bad zero. If you are blinking or think your are blinking try doubling up with muffs and ear plugs or try using a .22 pistol. Follow through is waiting for the gun sights to lift and begin returning forward. If you yank the pistol back to see where the bullet went chances are your focus isn’t on your front sight. To help break this habit let the gun complete it’s cycle and return to the target. If you suspect your gun isn’t zeroed either bench rest it or let someone else shoot and see if they have the same issue.


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