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Accepting the Muzzle in the Periphery

The overwhelming majority of what we perceive when shooting a moving target occurs in the periphery. And things we perceive in the periphery are really behind real time.

Remember, it takes the periphery almost 1/3 of a second to process and understand what’s going on. By the time you’re aware of it, what you are aware of in the periphery is old data. Your periphery cannot see sharply, and your primary vision cannot see movement. Your retina is designed to see movement in the periphery and direct your primary or sharp vision to the movement.

As shotgun shooters, we must train our brain through meaningful repetition and deliberate practice to accept the muzzle in our periphery without directing our primary vision to it when the muzzle enters into the shot ahead of the target.

This is why so many new shooters have so much trouble seeing the target past the end of the muzzle. When they’re focused on the target, they see two barrels in their periphery when there is only one. And if they focus on the barrel, they see two targets but there is only one target. Add to this that the target is 30 yards out there and the muzzle is 33 inches in front of their nose and it’s impossible to get them both in focus.

Not understanding how all this puzzle is supposed to come together, they begin to struggle with trying to “not see the barrel!”

Finding it impossible to not see or “unsee” the barrel while focused on the target, they are sentenced to the “cross-eye dominance dungeon!” After running the gauntlet of Chapstick and frosted scotch tape to cover their non-shooting eye, we find all they really needed to do is help their brain understand what they wanted the sight picture to look like.