Focus Ratios and Lower Gun Mount
It’s Monday, which means we must be on an airplane going home to Houston. We had a great weekend at OK Corral in Okeechobee, Florida. Yes, we were back at OK Corral in three weeks, as the demand was so great that we filled three more days.
Focus Ratios and Lower Gun Mount
Focus ratios and having a lower gun mount were the most important things that students learned. The animations continue to surprise even us as to how quickly people learn where the eyes go and that the gun and target must move together in the last 5 to 10 percent of the flight path.
Now, let’s talk about the gun mount.
Ladies, (and some gentlemen) we need to get that gun out of your face so that you can see the target and begin to make the move and mount. Too many people want that gun right up in their cheek before they call “pull.”
Why is this not good? For one thing, you cannot see the target as you are looking right down that barrel. Oh, you can see it, but not until it has gone past the barrel. You are behind from the get-go. You must have your eyes behind the gun so that you give the eyes time to see the bird and make all the calculations.
Science has proven that the retina of the eye can actually predict the lead on a moving object as long as nothing is in the way of the eyes seeing the lead. That means in this game the gun gets in the way all the time, especially if it’s already mounted.
There are times when having a higher shoulder-mounted gun is okay. On a trap-like target where the trap in is front of you 10-15 yards, go ahead and have the gun almost mounted but have your head off the stock so you can put your nose to the focal point so you can see the target. On a real fast target that you are taking in the first third of the flight path, go ahead and have the gun mounted a little higher in the shoulder. But here again, have your face off the stock and back around toward the trap. You must move on the blur of this target and then get laser focus at the breakpoint. This isn’t going to happen if the gun is already mounted to the cheek.
Learn to Mount the Gun!
This is not a hard process, and it’s one that you must practice at home. The flashlight drill is a great way to learn to move and mount the gun. The three-bullet drill is a great way to learn to mount the gun and not look at it. These cost you very little – ten dollars for the mini-mag light and nothing for the three bullets or three glasses or anything you have in your house.
One of our students from Montana has put three plastic cups on the refrigerator and does her drills there. It does take time and effort, but the rewards of making the gun a part of your move are great.
Having the gun and face as one thing reminds me of having to stop at a stoplight before getting on a freeway. It’s hard to go from zero to 70 in a short time. It’s the same thing here. You would have to go from a dead stop to equaling the speed of the target. It’s not going to happen. You are always behind the target and have to chase the target to catch up. Not a good feeling. Even folks who shoot with a higher gun mount have a perfect gun mount. You will never shoot better than the quality of your move and mount.
Learn to mount the gun! I think I might have said that before.
Also, if the gun is already mounted you are holding the gun up 80 percent longer than I would be with my gun, which is always down. Do you wonder why you get so tired in a 100-target course? I get tired of watching. I saw arms quivering this weekend by lunch, as the ladies were so tired of holding up that gun. And they wondered why they got so tired. Well, duh!
How Focus Ratios Work
Focus ratios were also big this weekend. How much focus should be on the target? 95 to 98 percent, with a 2 to 5 percent awareness of the gun.
I had several students who would start on a stand breaking everything, then after three or four targets, they would not be able to hit anything. Everyone has been there. How do you get out of it?
My question would be “what percentage of focus was on the target and how much was on the gun?” The answer at the beginning of the stand was 95/5, but by the third target, the percentage had dropped to 60/40. Why does this happen? Fear is the answer; fear of missing will always put the barrel between the target and the eyes.
The barrel becomes what you are focusing on because you don’t want to miss. You have already hit three targets. Why would you change anything now? If you are aware that the focus ratio has changed, you can then fix the problem by making sure you have the 95/5 ratio of focus.
I am always amazed that people still get in the stand without a plan of where to see it and where to break the target and where to look on the target. You have to have a specific breakpoint or there is no timing to the shot. You need to have a specific place to put your eyes so they are not wandering all over the place and you need to keep telling the conscious mind where to go on that target to get the 95/5 focus ratio.
Plus, if those places create a broken target I would keep doing the same thing over and over again. But I find that not many folks do that. They hit the first pair, but because they don’t have a specific place to put their eyes and where to break the target, they cannot reproduce the break. Now, I’m sure that has never happened to you but it’s something to be aware of just in case it ever does.
Be specific with your focal points and breakpoints so that if it works you can keep on doing the same thing. If it didn’t work, then you have a place to start to fix the miss.
Another thing: instead of going off half-cocked, don’t go into a long dialogue about what you did wrong. Think about what you did wrong, and speak the solution. You have just switched brains and gone conscious and have become very judgmental. That doesn’t help fix the problem.
Just fix the miss by going through the questions of “did I have good focus on the target, did I move the same speed of the target, and did I have a good gun mount?” That is the way to fix the miss. Not “I was behind.” “Why were you behind?” is the question. Fix that and you will get back on track.
We’re taking a few days off to hopefully go fishing, then the Advance School at 74 Ranch south of San Antonio. We will let you know what we have found out. On our next adventure.