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Figure 20. Center of Mass Hold
Each sight picture has practical uses. The center of mass hold is generally used for closer distances (up to 200 yards). This is because the target is big enough to not be obscured by the front sight. Also, this has a lot to do with trajectory (the bullet’s flight path), which will be covered later. Scopes will always use the center of mass hold since the cross hairs mark exactly where the bullet will go.
The Six O’ Clock sight picture puts the target on top of the front sight post. For this reason, it is often known as “pumpkin on the post.” The main advantage of the Six O’ Clock hold is visibility of targets at far distances. When a target appears small, it is best to use a Six O’ Clock hold so that the target is not covered up by the front sight post.
For most Riflemen-type situations, the Six O’ Clock/pumpkin on the post sight picture is preferable. Consistency is key to accuracy. Once a rifle is zeroed (sighted in) for a certain sight picture, one must always use it for distances equal to or further than their zeroing distance.
3. Respiratory Pause
In proper position, you will notice that breathing affects your sights. With each breath, your sights will move vertically. When you inhale, your diaphragm pushes off the ground, raising your shoulder and lowering your front sight. When you exhale, the diaphragm empties and your front sight raises to where it rests naturally.
You want to fire the shot when you have exhaled. This is for several reasons. First, it is a consistent place as once you have exhaled, there is no more air to raise or lower the front sight. Also, holding an inhaled breath requires muscle. Since the use of muscle is contrary to firing a good shot, the exhaled state of breath is preferred.
I personally use the half exhaled as it does a couple of things one is a state that the body goes through. Fully exhaled state will or rather could cause your body to panic and want to breathe “NOW” half will allow a good compromise use which ever works best for you however once you pick it use it throughout your shooting session do not deviate
At this point, the shooter will acquire Natural Point of Aim, using the technique that was discussed in another post as a guide.
4. Focus Your Eye on the Front Sight
When aiming, there are three things your eye can potentially focus on.
1. The target
2. The front sight
3. The rear sight
Your eye can only focus on one thing. It should focus on the front sight. The front sight should appear crisp and clear while the target blurry, and the rear sight hardly noticed. By now your do not need to see the target. You should have found your NPOA on target during step three.
One must focus their eye on the front sight as this is what determines where the bullet will actually end up. The shooter is aiming the rifle, not the target. Therefore, focus your eye on the front sight.
5. Focus Your Mind on Keeping the Front Sight on Target
Firing a rifle is requires the attention of your whole being. Like your body, your mind has a specific job. This step requires that the shooter focus their mind on keeping the front sight on target. This means that the shooter should think only about keeping the front sight on target.
While the front sight is visually focused upon, the mind should repeat over and over “front sight on target, front sight on target, front sight on target.” While one is saying this to themselves, they should . . .
6. Trigger Squeeze
. . . Squeeze the trigger. This does not mean yank, jerk or even pull. Firm steady pressure should be applied to the trigger. It should be squeezed steadily and straight back. Once the shot is fired, hold the trigger back for a second or two. A yank, jerk, pull, or flicking your finger off the trigger once it has been squeezed will throw your shots off.
7. Follow Through
After the shot breaks, the shooter must hold the trigger back for a moment. This allows the bullet to leave the barrel before any extra movement affects the shot. Also, Follow Through requires you to “ride the recoil.” The positions taught in this book are built so when a shot goes off, one’s body position will absorb recoil yet stay solid. If your position is built correctly and you are truly firing with your natural point of aim on target, recoil will settle your sights back on target. Technically, steps 8 and 9 are part of follow through, though they are important independent actions.
8. Call the Shot
Feedback is important to the Rifleman. One should take a “mental snapshot” of where your front sight was when the shot was fired. This allows you to know instantly whether or not your shot was a hit. If you front sight was on target when the shot went off, then you can call the shot “good.” If the front sight was not on target when the shot went off, then you can call the shot “a miss.” However, if you called it “a miss,” then it is not a wasted shot. Also, watch for downrange feedback, such as a splash in the dirt. Or in the case of my first M1 Garand tree tops falling because the barrel did not have any real lands and grooves. Use this information to correct your next shot, or in my case buy a barrel.
9. Trigger Reset
Once the shot went off, your finger should have held the trigger back. This allows time for the bullet to leave your barrel without disturbance. After completing steps 7 and 8, slowly guide your trigger forward again until you feel a “click.” This click is your sear resetting. Keep your finger on the trigger, maintaining slight pressure. Do not remove your finger from the trigger while your sights are on target.