It’s official! I finally shot a true Vegas style 300 after focusing on this accomplishment for what seems like a very long time. This is something that I have wanted to do for myself for many years and took a lot of dedication. The journey has been tough and has caused me to evaluate, re-evaluate and evaluate again my shooting form and style.
For the past few weeks I have been very inconsistent and I was having a hard time nailing down what the cause was. Last week I came across the problem by pure accident, and it’s probably something that has plagued me for quite some time without knowing it.
I was headed out to shoot and I couldn’t find my shoes that I normally wear outside. Instead of wasting time looking for them I figured I would just go shoot barefoot; my son does it all the time and I figured I had cleared out *most* of the goatheads (I did find one that didn’t feel so hot!)
What I discovered was that without any stiff soles I could really feel how my weight was distributed between and throughout my feet. I could tell right away that I was putting way too much weight on my forward (left) foot as well as leaning too far back onto my heels. I also noticed that I was not being consistent in how my weight was distributed. Considering how inconsistent I had been the last few weeks, this seemed like a likely candidate for some of my issues.
I spent a good amount of time focusing on properly distributing my weight and making sure I was in good and consistent form. For comparison I eventually did go find and put some shoes on and I was amazed at the difference. The shoes really muted my ability to feel my weight distribution and affected my balance. I also tried shooting in my water socks which have very soft soles; this worked nearly as well as barefoot while giving some protection.
So is ditching your footwear a key to better accuracy? Perhaps it is something to consider, at least for some training sessions to get a better feel for your stance and form.
Anyhow, my barefoot results are as follows:
My practice shots pretty much stank overall and I thought I was doomed to failure. Of course, I tend to put too much pressure on myself on the first shots, just like in the past, so after a few calming breaths and getting myself back into it, I proceeded to shoot nothing but 10s and Xs.
There were a couple of scares with a few borderline 10s; these were definitely lapses in concentration. This whole experience has taught me that while form is incredibly important, the mental game is even more important if you want to push it up to the next level.
So what’s next? I had thought about continuing on with my freestyle/open setup and focusing on increasing my X count, which has a lot to be desired still! However, with hunting season on the horizon I am shooting my pin-sights much more lately and using a scope has less appeal.
Therefore my new goal is to go for 300 with pins using the NFAA rules for BHFS! Can I do this? I think it’s possible but it will take even more work on the mental game and more perfecting of my form. I am best able to concentrate on the X when I use my scope with a ring instead of a dot since I can see through the ring. A pin is significantly different and will take a higher level of concentration to be precise enough to shoot a 300, at least for me.
I believe my best in the past shooting BHFS is 294, so let the challenge continue! (begin?)