In observing the top guns shoot, I noticed most of them mount the gun to the kill point, then wind back to the hold point and call for the target. Why do they use this pre-shot routine, which seems like it draws attention to the gun?
This is an interesting observation. Yes, many top shooters mount to the break point during their pre-shot routine, but it is not for the reasons you might imagine. Many students at the novice to intermediate level pre-mount as part of their pre-shot routine in order to visually “check” the alignment of their shooting eye over the rib. This habit can also be a subconscious compensation for an ill-fitting gun. If you are pre-mounting and visually “checking” the bead/rib as part of your pre-shot routine, stop! It serves as a subconscious “reminder” to look at the front bead during shot execution, which is a destructive practice.
When a Master-class shooter mounts to the break point as part of his or her pre-shot routine, what you are seeing is a final “loading” or rehearsal just prior to calling for the target. By physically moving the gun to the break point and visually focusing on the break point (not the rib), the shooter accomplishes two very important elements of the pre-shot routine. 1) the shooter is reinforcing his commitment to break the target at the break point. Since the shooter will be focused on the target (and not the muzzle’s location) at the time the shot is executed, it is important for the shooter to be able to “feel” when the muzzle reaches the break point. 2) In moving from hold point to break point and back to the hold point again, the shooter is essentially conducting a last-minute rehearsal. The shooter is experiencing what it will feel like to move to and arrive at the break point and execute the shot.
Pre-mounting and moving the gun to the break point, while focusing on the break point (not the bead/rib), can be a very useful part of one’s pre-shot routine. I use and teach students to incorporate this element into their pre-shot routine.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.