Any trip to the public range will demonstrate the shameful decline of civilian rifle marksmanship in this country. The decline is not due to lack of enthusiasm for shooting, but rather lack of understanding practical training principles in the (rapidly dissolving) art of rifle marksmanship.
From Col. Jeff Cooper comes the following definition of practical rifle marksmanship. In no uncertain terms, Col. Cooper’s explication defines the practical rifleman, and offers the astute a guide to practical rifle training. Read the definition slowly several times, understand it, and commit it to memory.
The goal of the practical rifleman is to secure first round hits, on targets appropriate to his weapon, at unknown distances, from improvised positions, against the clock.
At FRONT SIGHT the art of practical rifle marksmanship has not been lost. For those motivated to learn the skills that tamed the Wild West and won the last two World Wars, FRONT SIGHT is one of the last bastions of the rifleman. The line forms on the right.
Several years ago I stumbled upon following definitions. At the time, I was unconsciously incompetent and could not appreciate the message. Now, the meaning rings as clear as a center hit on the 400 meter steel.
- A marksman is a man who can make his gun do what is was designed to do — most of the time.
- An expert marksman is a man who can hit anything he can see — within the effective range of his weapon.
- A master marksman is a man who can shoot up to his gun.
The ability to hit anything one can see bestows comfort that is unknown to the common man.
Quotes to Contemplate
And we do each of us, for ourselves respectively, promise and engage to keep a good Fire-lock in proper Order, & to furnish Ourselves as soon as possible with, & always keep by us, one Pound of Gunpowder, four Pounds of Lead, one Dozen Gun-Flints, & a pair of Bullet-Moulds, with a Cartouch Box, or powder-horn, and Bag for Balls.
Let your gun be your constant companion to your walks.
"Be not afraid of any man, No matter what his size; When danger threatens, call on me, And I will equalize." "No matter what His strength or size Depend on me I equalize." Inscribed on rifles during the 19th century. Short verse often engraved on handguns presented to the woman in one’s life.
"But the truth is that all modern rifles are efficient weapons. It is the man behind the gun that makes the difference …"
"Wars are fought with weapons, but they are won by men."
"A warrior’s instincts make him a student of his craft. The best warriors regard skill with their weapons as high art. However, we frequently find two substitutions for this belief in fundamentals: first, the involvement with technical specialization at the expense of personal skill; and second, the complacent assumption that the burden of victory rests on the weapon, not on its wielder. The fact remains that skill with weapons is the essence of the warrior’s craft."
Commander John Byron, USN
Have you trained with your weapon today?