Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 2

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Once again we look at a golfing calendar and see how the golf tips apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for January 2019:

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfied the soul and frustrates the intellect.

Arnold Palmer

Once again replace Golf with Shooting and the quote applies perfectly. Shooting is very simple, lining up with the target and firing. But the nuances of trigger pull, sight alignment, optimizing loads, etc, can become extremely complex and frustrating.

The sweet spot on a golf club is a pin-sized location where the center of gravity lines up directly behind the ball providing maximum energy transfer on impact. Missing the sweet spot by an inch (2.5 cm) results in a 10% loss of energy. Worse though, it will cause undesired spin creating a hook, slice, excessive loft or top spin robbing you of distance. While companies advertise clubs with a bigger sweet spot, than their competitors, this is slightly misleading. The exact sweet spot cannot be altered buy by distributing the club’s weight differently, they can make a head that is more forgiving of misses.


So. . .

Shooting precisely requires doing several things correctly at the same time. Aligning up the gun with the target correctly, pressing the trigger with out pulling the gun out of alignment with the target, and following though with the shot. No piece of equipment can compensate or eliminate bad form on your part. But good equipment can make shooting oh so much more easier.

Nowadays it is common to immediately have a trigger overworked or replaced, replace sights or add optics, etc. All those things can be major improvements to the “shoot-ability” of a firearm. But we just need to keep in mind that those might make a gun more forgiving, misses are still our fault.

Traditions and training

I wrote this up as a response affirming and adding to a article I saw.  If it was worth saying elsewhere, it is worth repeating here.

Years ago, I used to read a site made by a former Army Ranger that had a great deal of good advice on it.  But I remember they had written that Night  Vision shouldn’t be used.  That was said because the guy writing it had only used the first gen NV that required IR illumination to work.  Using it let anyone else with NV instantly know where you are.  He was giving good advice for the equipment he was familiar with, but not modern equipment. 

While I was in, our training was focused on teaching us howto win a conventional war.  When we deployed, we did a sort of bastardized combo of policing action, urban warfare,and counter insurgency.  I remember some of the new guys complaining that all the training they had received (for conventional warfare) was a waste of time. I’d try to explain to them that what they were doing was build on those same principles. 

We are left with two issues.

First is that when something works for someone, they can be left believing that it is the only way and/or the best to deal with a problem.  It is discussed with law enforcement that when a cop often successfully does something in one high stress event, they will often try to default to it later.  Let’s say a cop was in a situation where they were justified in the use of lethal force,but they manage to talk the bad guy down, they may be hesitant to use force next time and try to talk to the bad guy in a situation where it wouldn’t work.  Or the other way around.  The soldier that charges the enemy machine gun position and survives might tend to think it easier than it normally is.  When we learn from other people, we need to keep in mind that what worked for them with their situation and tools might not be ideal for us. 

The other issue is that people often blindly follow advice without knowing the reasons behind it.  While I was in there was all manner of stupid stuff we did because it was cherished traditions of the Corps.  For example, we were not allowed to put our hands in our pockets.  Later I learned it was because a century ago it was considered that only effeminate men put their hands in their pockets.  Because some long dead guy had some bias, we were all standing around in the snow sticking our hands in our belt line.  Yea, I’m sure that looks oh so much more professional.  I like that silly example better than the stupid things we did in combat, as those were truly infuriating.

If you know the reasons and reasoning behind a piece of advice,you can better understand if and when it would work for you.  Don’t be like the classic example of the martial artist that makes his fist with a finger extended, not knowing that technique came from an instructor who couldn’t bend an injured finger.

Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 1

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Yesterday, at work, one of the vendors I purchase from sent me a calendar that has golf tips.  Let us have some fun and see how well they apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for December 2018:

Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off.

Chi Chi Rogriguez

Replace “Golf” with “Shooting” in that quote and I would agree.

There are plenty of ways to work on your long and short game in the off season.  Up the difficulty of the shots on your practice may by placing a tee upside down on a coin and try to touch it with out knocking it over.  This will be nearly impossible but will greatly improve your control.  To work on your chipping, place a towel or garbage can about to feet away and practice getting whiffle balls to drop on the towel or in the garbage.  For your drive, head out to the garage and swing a weighted club.  Doing this all winter will make swinging your normal driver feel effortless.


So. . .

They are saying you should dry fire when you can not get out to the range.  If you are sick or snowed in, you can still dry fire at home for free.  Other practice alternatives can include air rifles, air soft, etc, to help you get practical trigger time when you are at home.

Also they say it is good to vary it up with harder to shoot, heavier, or greater recoiling guns.  If you practice a little shooting double action only with your revolver your Glock or 1911 trigger is going to seem even easier to shoot.  If you practice shooting a heavier guns, your standard guns are going to feel lighter.  I like doing the occasional practice with a .40 or my Glock 30 as it makes shooting the 9mm seem like nothing.  Just the same with rifles.  If you can run a 308 rifle well in rapid fire, the 5.56 will seem trivially easy.  Make practice harder than what you expect to need to do.

Standby for the next installment of golf advice for shooters.

Memories of Shotguns in the Corps

At any given time there are a handful of firearms I really want to purchase.  Usually after a few years of looking I manage to find one, quickly get tired of it, and later sell it for a minute profit.  The newest accusation is a Mossberg 500 MILS.  I’ll post more about it some other time.

Not me.  That is a Mossberg 500 MILS that my platoon used in Iraq.

Prior to joining up, I used to see ads for the Mossberg 590A1 talk about how it was the only milspec shotgun and the only shotgun to pass the USMC tests, etc.  Then when I was in I never saw a single 590.

Every shotgun I saw in the hands of Marines was either a Mossberg 500, or a Benelli M1014.  That had me fairly confused for a long time.  Where were those 590s?  Where did all the 500s come from?

It is only long after I got out that I learned that the USMC does buy 590s and issues them out to various groups.  Also the 500s they buy are pretty much built to the 590 spec.

Now this is my guess on the matter.  I used to think that the 590 was the standard line, and the 500 was the economy line from Mossberg.  Now I think the 500 was the standard, and the 590 upgraded.  I think some years back the USMC wanted a shotgun and they tested the 500 and liked it, but wanted some changes.  Heavier barrel, metal trigger guard, metal safety, etc.  So that became the 590A1.  Military orders 500 built to that spec, and those are the 500 MILS.  Correct me if I am wrong, but that is my guess and I haven’t bothered to do my due diligence and research it..  I did hear that the Army decided that rebuilding the trigger groups was too long, hard. and expensive, so they started ordered the cheaper plastic trigger housing and just replace the whole unit should it fail or need to be rebuilt.

Being a rifleman, my experience in the Corps with shotguns was fairly limited.  I was fortunate to have received shotgun training while I was in, we had a range sessions where we are familiarized with the Mossberg and the Benelli shotguns.  I remember that under stress and pushed for speed plenty of Marines would short stroke the pump actions.  We all loved the M1014 for shooting, but people would fumble the controls or forget how to release the bolt, etc.  Even after using both shotguns for a couple days straight, Marines would still fumble with them.

While I was in, I taught a class on Mechanical Breaching.  How to break into buildings.  Part of that involved explaining how to breach doors with a shotgun.  I’d never done it at that time, I would just repeat the spiel that I was taught.  I was actually attached to be a demonstrator for that class, and after hearing the instructor teach it a few times, one time he had to take care of something so I simply repeated all the things he taught to the students that were waiting around.  After that it was decided that they liked how I taught better and I ended up teaching that class.

The blind leading the blind, it is the Marine Corps way.  I did get to do a little breaching later on in Iraq, but never popped a lock with a shotgun.

Back then, the instruction on shotgun breaching was to place the muzzle on the door or lock.  Later I have seem multiple sources teach to stand off an inch or two, and it even became popular to attach a standoff to the barrel of the shotgun.  There was a long explanation back then of why we should press the muzzle to the target.  I haven’t bother to look into which way is actually better.  It is near the bottom of my to-do list.

When we deployed, my platoon received a couple of Mossberg 500s.  The one that was used by my squad had the bead sight broken off.  It is the one in the picture above.  We had a 0331 machine gunner who was issued the Shotgun because it was decided he was not going to carry the M240 during all our foot patrols.

Our ~combat~ use of the shotguns was rather pathetic.  Our guys issued shotguns were maybe given about 20 rounds total for the deployment.  Early in the deployment the Marine issued the one in the picture at one point had to hand it over for use by the Battalion Commander’s personal security detachment for a patrol, and that guy lost most of the issued ammo.  So for the rest of deploying our guy only had maybe 7 rounds total.

If I recall correctly, my squad never breached any doors with a weapon.  We generally were able to either open a door or smash it open by pushing/kicking.  I do know of one case where a few guys I knew tried to breach a door using a M16A4.  I’m told the shooter fired 3 rounds, and multiple fragments came back and struck other Marines stacked up prepared for entry.  I heard that the lock was not defeated.  I do not know if the fragments were part of the M855 he fired or parts of the door & lock.  I also would not put it past the guy to have missed the lock completely.  Sadly I’ll never know the whole story, all I know is that those guys couldn’t break a lock with a M16.

While I was in, I never saw any ammunition other than buckshot.  No one ever seemed to be able to get their hands on any slugs or breaching rounds.  But that is the Corps, they had a hard enough time providing us water & chow.  Hell we couldn’t even get the guy issued the shotgun more than the 7 or so rounds he carried during the deployment.

We all loved the M1014.  It was kinda odd that we were told it was adopted for riot use, but it couldn’t cycle the less than lethal ammo.  So it was suggested to use the M500 if your shooting bean bags & baton rounds.  I remember guys had a hard time cleaning them because no one ever taught them how to clean it.

One of the SAW gunners in a different platoon that I knew was issued a M1014 for a short while.  He would put his issued M145 Elcan 3.4X scope on it and joke that he had a sniper shotgun.  That is the only case I ever saw of anyone using the rail on that shotgun.

An aside.  I was trying to look up some info on Mossbergs shotguns.  I stumbled across a post on the forum where the following was said:

Slam-fire shotguns don’t exist, much less a comprehensive list of them.
Go troll someplace else, most of us here aren’t foolish enough to encourage your fantasies.


The only reason I can see for such a list is to build a fully-automatic shotgun. If that is not the case, perhaps you can explain why you want this rather odd information. If it is the case, perhaps you can explain why any responsible person would help you.


That is part of the problem of doing research.  Not only will the people who are wrong share their knowledge, but will most vehemently insist that they are right.

There are a handful of older pump shotguns that can “slam fire”.  These guns have no trigger disconnect so you can hold down the trigger and just rack the action.  The Winchester Model 12, Winchester 1893/1987, and Ithaca M37 are the only ones that come to my mind that do that.  Modern reproductions of these often, but not always, keep lack of a trigger disconnect so that they can slam fire.  The Mossbergs do no slam fire.  But the stupidity of the above comments forced me to bring this up.  I have no clue how DrMike thinks that a slam firing PUMP ACTION shotgun is going to be converted to full auto.

I’ve heard of Mossbergs modified or malfunctioning being able to slam fire, but those are the exception.

Anyways, that’s off topic.

So often in the Corps, a shotgun was just handed to a Marine with the expectation that they would know how to use it.  That was more often not the case.  I saw plenty of negligent discharges from people with shotguns.  One example, my platoon was going to escort another platoon when they were moving from one patrol base to another.  They had set up in an empty house.  I was the first from my platoon to enter this house occupied by the other platoon so I was sweeping through it.  I was was leaving the threshold of the living room, my team mates were walking into the room.  One of the Marines of the other platoon discharged his M500 into the center of the floor right by the feet of my team leader.  Needless to say some words were said.  On the other hand, I was also the last Marine to leave that building, and I got a whole bunch of free gear that was left behind from the other platoon.  Those guys had a quite the tendency to screw stuff up.

Often guys did not know how to operate the M1014.  The bolt release button on the side of the receiver caused all manner of confusion.  It is not a knock against the gun, but the poor familiarization and training Marines had.

In any event, the use of shotguns in the military that I personally witnessed was rather sad and pathetic.  But I managed to find the exact model Mossberg M500 MILS we used while I was in and was able to buy one at a reasonable price.  That will be a fun item for my collection.  I’ll talk more about that after I get the chance to put it through its paces.

Don’t get injured in training.

I was sent this video on how not to get injured in martial arts training, this is just too important to not share.

I hurt one of my shoulders in a training class.  I was working with a partner who was having a hard time, and I was feeling pretty badass since this guy was having such a hard sparing against me.  What was happening was that I was being a bad training partner, and instead of working with my partner, his difficulty with the subject matter was causing him to use more force, moving wildly and out of control instead of practicing proper form.  Due to him not actually using the correct technique, he was being less and less successful and getting more and more frustrated causing him to escalate the amount of force he was using until he injured me.

What I should have done was when my training partner starting having issues, I should have slowed down and helped the person I was working with to do the technique correctly.

Remember, training isn’t about ego or showing off, it is about learning and improving.