It was another beautiful, and exciting trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup. After driving through the larger portion of three states, and a delicious stop at our favorite LA Po’ Boy Shop (shout out to Poor Boy Lloyd’s!!!), we found ourselves back in the warm hospitality of the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club.
We were thrilled to see some of our old friends, meet some interesting new folks, and see just how much the competition had grown over the last 12 months. George Mowbray, and Gary Yantis, plus a big group of some of the best volunteers money could never buy, had made even more range improvements, including making The Crawfish Cup 100% wheelchair accessible! From the new rail mover, to the concrete walkways, the range looked perfect.
Our field of competitors had grown, but the elite competitors were unphased. Caspian Shooter Bruce Piatt, Midsouth Shooter Kevin Angstadt, and Black Nitride Shooter Tony Holmes all brought their A-game. A new face in the top competitors bracket was Mark Itzstein. Mark’s funny, energetic, and has the skills to back up the slight ribbing he’d dish out to his fellow shooters on the line.
Some other folks we were excited to see again we’re Jeremy Newell, who amazed us with his skill level last year, and his extensive resume of shooting disciplines in which he competes. The Yackley’s are one of the coolest families you’ll find on the range. They compete with everything they have, which is a ton of talent, and a family bond which lifts each member of it’s circle to do better, try harder, and to always be gracious. Becky set a new ladies record on the mover this year! Tim took the high honors in his category, and Sean tore up the competition as well!
Also, the Army Marksmanship Unit took home top honors in several events, to include Metallic, as well as Production. Newcomer SPC Heinauer took third in the Metallic Sight overall, and First in Falling Plates Metallic. Their group is always one to follow. Their energy is matched only by their skill!
If you don’t know who Vera Koo is, you’re missing out. Graceful, grounded, and generous, Vera had nothing but kind words, and praise for The Crawfish Cup. She also has a ton of skill and dedication! Vera took home Grand High Lady at the cup, and donated several hundred dollars of her own money to be given as door prizes.
The heat and humidity were also in attendance, as well as delicious food, and strong competition. With enough shooters to fill two days, we found ourselves extremely busy with shooting of our own. We’ll have a video of the shoot coming out soon, as well as more write-ups on sponsors, who make the entire shoot possible.
In the end, it all came down to X-rings, and the mover. Pulling off his third win in a row, Bruce Piatt took home the esteemed Crawfish Cup, with Kevin Angstadt coming in second, and Mark Itzstein coming in third. A great group of winners, in a field of exemplary shooters. Everyone tried, had a ton of fun, and made the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Supply Crawfish Cup a huge success. We’re ready for 2018 already. Are you?
We asked Team Springfield™ shooters to assemble some of their go-to tips to benefit the fans out there looking for some pro advice. The first topic we threw out to them was the art of the grip. Let’s dive in.
#1: ROB LEATHAM: WRIST ACTION
The most common email question I get is asking how to correct the low, left shot on the target (from a right-handed shooter). One of the ways to address this problem is:
LOCK YOUR WRISTS, AS IF THEY ARE A VISE ON THE GUN
When instructing, I primarily observe the arm/wrist/hand areas when a student is shooting. I often see prominent movement in the strong-side wrist and hand (and sometimes into the arm) before or as a shot is fired. Even the smallest of movement before or when the shot is fired will cause the gun to move out of alignment, typically in the low, left direction.
I don’t care if you “jerk” the trigger. You can jerk all you want if you are able to hold the gun completely still. IMO, “Do not jerk the trigger” should be replaced with “Do not move your wrists.”
#2: KYLE SCHMIDT: UNSUPPORTIVE SUPPORT HAND
When Rob asked me to explain my No. 1 issue regarding grip, my mind immediately turned to earlier in the day. Less than an hour prior to the text from Rob, I was working with a few struggling shooters. Each one of them suffered from a very common gripping issue that I regularly see:
NOT USING THE SUPPORT HAND PROPERLY
Without proper support (i.e., position and strength) from the support hand, you are essentially shooting one-handed. One of the first indicators of improper support-hand usage is that the primary and support hands separate (partially or completely) when the gun is fired. Many shooters try to correct this problem by continually readjusting their support hands between shots; however, that correction is time-consuming and typically short-lived. The lack of use of the support hand has a significant negative effect on the shooter’s ability to both hold the gun steady when aiming difficult shots and the ability to quickly return the gun onto the target after firing.
#3: KIPPI LEATHAM: GET YOUR SHOOTING GRIP FROM THE GET-GO
I work with a lot of newer shooters, and the No. 1 gripping problem I see is:
PICKING UP THE GUN A DIFFERENT WAY EVERY TIME
One time they grab the gun with their strong hand and the webbing between the thumb and trigger finger is positioned one to two inches below the tang. They immediately have to re-position the webbing higher under the tang/beavertail before they can rack the slide and shoot.
The next time they pick up the pistol with their support hand to seat a magazine with their strong hand, they only to have to switch the gun and grip back to the strong hand before chambering a round to shoot. Or they draw the gun from the holster with all four fingers under the trigger guard, requiring an adjustment of the grip to re-position the trigger finger so it can press the trigger and move the other three fingers under the trigger guard.
My advice is to get the proper shooting grip immediately (if possible), whether picking the gun up off of a bench, drawing from a holster, taking it off of a display rack, etc. Every time I handle one of my pistols, whether I’m loading a mag, unloading the gun, drawing from a holster, just admiring it, etc., I use my strong-hand shooting grip —
Trigger finger rests on the frame (below the slide), visibly above/outside of the trigger guard.
Three remaining fingers are closed and touching under the trigger guard.
Thumb webbing is centered on the back strap of the gun and positioned under the tang as high as possible.
Thumb on the left side of the gun is touching the side of the frame.
If you can do this every time you handle your pistol, you will repeatedly reinforce your proper shooting grip, and, soon, muscle memory should take over.
#4: JASON BURTON: LOSE THE LOOSE GRIP
GRIP THE PISTOL TIGHTLY = HAVE MORE TIME
Whether it is competition such as USPSA, shooting bullseye at Camp Perry, or defensive-oriented pistol craft, time and its effects on the end result are a factor present in most shooting. Time as it relates to competitive shooting can often be categorized in two ways: Expend the least amount of time (or do things as fast as the shooter is capable) or make the most of the fixed amount of time allotted. However, time as it relates to personal defense is neither fixed nor limitlessly expendable, but rather a consideration often used and quantifiable for making decisions. So when it comes to actually shooting the pistol from a personal defense aspect, how can we have more time with which to make decisions and/or react to the evolving situation?
ONE VERY SIMPLE WAY IS TO MAKE THE PISTOL MOVE LESS
Many times in classes (as well as competitive circles) I have seen shooters who wait to move from one target or part of a shooting array to another until they have completely recovered the gun onto their existing problems. While more prevalent in defensive pistol craft, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is essentially an assessment of one’s previous actions and the results they had.
However, the sooner you can get to the point of assessing your previous action, the sooner you can move on to the next problem. Herein, the application of proper shooting technique will contribute to the speed at which you can assess problems. Simply put, the better you grip the gun the less it will move, and the less it moves the sooner it will return to the target, which allows you more time to evaluate if what you did worked. My friend Clint Smith has a saying, “You have the rest of your life to solve the problem. How long your life lasts depends on how well you do it.” So grip the gun like your life depends on it, because it just might.
#5: STEVE HORSMAN: THUMBS DOWN
When I taught concealed carry permit classes, we would spend the first day in the classroom discussing safety, state self-defense law, basic shooting technique, and — did I mention safety? On day two at the range, after discussing safety again, I would ask the students to shoot a group at 5 yards and 10 yards, and my primary objective was to observe how the student gripped the pistol. While I would occasionally have students shooting revolvers, most were using a semi-automatic pistol, such as the 1911 or the striker-fired XD® line. So this is the grip I’ll focus on.
What I immediately noticed was that most shooters would place their primary thumbs over the top of their support-hand thumbs, with the thumbs almost pointing down. If you can visualize a good revolver grip, this is what many shooters were doing while shooting their semi-autos.
THUMBS DOWN TO THUMBS DOWN
However, most firearms instructors and accomplished competition shooters grip the pistol with a high thumb grip. Visualize my primary-hand thumb resting on my support-hand thumb, with both thumbs somewhat pointing toward the muzzle of the gun. Thumbs should look like they are in direct line of the slide/barrel.
With this tip, and the others that my Springfield teammates have suggested, head out to the range, give these techniques a try and see if you don’t just notice some improvement…
Just watch the video below. Turn on the sound, and gape in amazement at what technology has brought forth.
Now, how do you feel about this advancement? What questions do you have for Hornady or Vortex? How will the VIP Warranty work for an optic which is strapped to the end of a tiny missile?
Comments on their respective social media platforms field many of these mind boggling questions. Apparently, the warranty expires once the bullet leaves the barrel. The camera is suspended in a gel similar to that of the human eye. The camera is powered by positive thinking, just like Tony Robbins. Most importantly, you can live stream to Facebook, because Facebook would LOVE this…Right?
This is truly one of my favorite days every year. I’m a self proclaimed gullible goof, so this one got me right in the gut. I literally turned to one of our purchasers and exclaimed, “Why are these not on the website yet???” Needless to say, I’ve earned a new nickname around the office…
Thanks Hornady, and Vortex for playing along. I’m off to track down the Boggy Creek Monster on the back of a unicorn.
So you just bought your first pistol and cannot wait to get some rounds downrange? Congratulations and welcome to the exciting, wonderful world of firearms and shooting! If you’re like most of us, though, you probably don’t have your own private land to shoot on, which means you will be heading to a range on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories out there about poor shooting-range conduct. When range rules get broken, it’s usually because of the lack of education and the lack of practice of proper techniques.
So we’re here to help you avoid being “that person” — the unsafe and disruptive shooter.
Being a conscientious firearm owner comes with many responsibilities, safety being the main priority, of course. And understanding range etiquette is an integral part of firearm safety.
Following and practicing good range etiquette, whether at an indoor or outdoor range, is always the way to go. It only takes one bad apple to reflect poorly on us all. Here are a few simple rules and courtesies to keep in mind when you hit the gun range.
ONE: FUNDAMENTAL SAFETY — FIRST AND ALWAYS
While this may seem obvious, it’s vital to learn and always practice firearm safety. Sometimes even experienced shooters get too comfortable in their routines and become lax with gun safety. This is never acceptable. You should always be a good student and ambassador of the universal firearm safety rules. And always, always be aware of the moment.
Treat all firearms as if loaded.
Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
Know your target and what’s beyond it.
Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target.
TWO: FOLLOW RANGE RULES
This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway — follow the rules of the shooting range you’re on. Shooting ranges all operate on fairly similar rules, but each individual range will most likely have one or more unique rules. If you have a specific question, call the range before heading over. This could save you some time and grief. If you’re wanting to shoot your new AR-15, for instance, some indoor ranges may not allow rifles. Most ranges have specific rules about ammunition also, and don’t allow steel-core (armor piercing) ammo.
THREE: LISTEN TO THE RANGE SAFETY OFFICER (RSO)
Range safety officers are present for everyone’s safety. Unfortunately, they sometimes get a bad rap for yelling (remember, we all have ear protection on) or being mean. Trust us — they have a hard, risk-filled job full of responsibility — a job most people would probably not want. Help make their job easier! If you follow firearm safety rules, practice good range etiquette, and are always listening for and following the RSO’s commands, you should never get singled out or yelled at by the “mean” RSO.
FOUR: SLOW AND EASY
If you are a beginning shooter, you are undoubtedly experiencing a lot of new rules, terminology, techniques and procedures. Simply put: it can be overwhelming.
Slow down! Take the extra time to think about what you are doing — everything you are doing at all times. Think about where the muzzle is pointed, think about where your trigger finger is, the status of your firearm, and your neighbors on the range.
FIVE: LOADING AND UNLOADING
When you are on a shooting line, there are going to be other shooters next to you. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that the muzzle never points to the right or left of you.
Take extra care when loading and unloading your firearm, making certain to keep the muzzle pointed downrange. If you need more leverage to manipulate the slide, turn your body sideways (instead of turing the gun sideways). This enables you to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
During a “cease fire” RSOs require you to unload your gun and lock the slide/cylinder open and then ask you to step behind a visible line on the ground while shooters go downrange to tape and set targets. Firearms are not allowed to be handled during a cease fire. Once unloaded, leave the firearms alone and grab everything you need from the firing line before backing across the line (phone, water bottle, etc.). Cease fires are a good time to chat with the shooter next to you, hydrate, send a text or check some emails. Just do all of this behind the cease fire line!
SIX: DON’T BACKSEAT SHOOT
How many people are fans of backseat drivers? Probably not many. The same goes for the gun range. Unless someone asks, it’s courteous to keep the technique corrections and tips to your own lane, even if the person next you isn’t using the stance you would.
However, if someone is doing something dangerous, it needs to be addressed immediately. Report the incident to the RSO, or, if you are comfortable doing so, deal with it directly.
SEVEN: ONE LAST THING…
Make sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done shooting. Any brass, ammo boxes or miscellaneous trash should be picked up. It might seem like a small ordeal, but leaving your mess for someone else to clean up is frustrating for the next person and leaves a less-than-stellar impression. And make sure you wait for a cease fire before venturing forward.
Looking for a suppressor-ready high-quality handgun? Here it is! Read full review…
by Major Pandemic
Recently I reviewed the H&K VP9 and frankly am in love with that pistol — the quality and the features are all top-of-the-line. As a defensive pistol it has a level of refinement that is competitively only seen on Sig Sauers and the high-tier Walthers, but with features unique to H&K. The P30 line has been one of H&K’s most popular pistol lines and is the reference benchmark for quality in a defensive polymer handgun. That said, H&K fans have been demanding a modern production H&K striker-fired option built on the popular P30 ergonomics and magazine. H&K delivered the hugely popular VP9 and now is extending the line with this VP9 Tactical model featuring a threaded barrel. What really sets the VP9 apart from other Heckler & Koch pistols is the more affordable price tag and is the company’s first sub-$700-priced gun in recent history.
Now with the popularity of suppressors on the rise, civilians are asking for suppressor ready firearms. The Tactical model is about $200 more than the initial VP9 model.
Essentially, the H&K VP9 Tactical is identical to the original VP9 model with the same supremely awesome trigger break and very fast short trigger reset. The VP9 continues to offer swappable rear backstrap and side grips to customize the handle and the substantial charging notches to help with high-speed weapon manipulation. The completely ambidextrous design via ambi-slide and paddle mag release is carried over on the VP90 Tactical Model, as are the luminous sights.
There are only two differences between the VP9 and VP9 Tactical. The H&K VP9 Tactical features a threaded barrel and according to H&K’s site the tactical models do not use an O-ring-assisted lockup like other H&K models. Allegedly the O-ring caused problems when a suppressor is attached and only marginally decreases the precision of the barrel-slide lockup. The barrel threading is the infuriating but well thought out 13.5×1 LH thread. The intent behind the left-hand threads was to not allow the suppressor or other muzzle accessory to loosen while shooting due to a right hand barrel twist. It works but irritates me that I need to buy and swap back and forth between the standard European 13.5×1 LH and U.S. 1/2-28 thread adapters for my Liberty Mystic X suppressor instead of being able to do straight swap like I can between my other other 9mms.
There was some early rumbling that the VP9 had an operating spring that was too weak. I was informed at this year’s SHOT show that all models now feature the same stouter spring I noticed on this VP9 Tactical.
Though H&K is usually a little behind the curve in keeping up with the U.S. market, they may now actually be a bit ahead of the curve with the pending Hearing Protection Act having a good chance of becoming law. This is a durable and well-tested host.
I have found the VP9 line of pistols to be extremely accurate with 124gr ammo. At a recent tactical training we had a drill where we had to run from barricade to barricade and pop out and deliver two shots on a steel torso placed at 15 yards. After the first run and with my confidence instilled in the VP9 Tactical, I ran the course two more times and was delivering quick double tap head shots. The VP9s are very accurate and with the right ammo notably more accurate than my stock Glocks.
The VP9 pistol represents everything we have asked for and whined about on our Glocks with a level of striker fired pistol refinement which that has only previously been represented in the Walther PPQ. The VP9 Tactical, though, is not a Walther or a Glock or a Sig Sauer: it is a Heckler & Koch which has its own legacy of extremely high quality, infallible durability and reliability, with leading-edge innovations. H&K did not only hit a homerun with this pistol, because with the extension of this model to potentially capture a new suppressor market with the Hearing Protection Act pending is a very smart move for H&K.
Major Pandemic is an editor-at-large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival-related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com
Do harsh winter conditions or a full schedule keep you from getting to the shooting range as often as you’d prefer? For us too, but that shouldn’t mean you can’t get in a little practicing. Dry fire practice can be an important (and better yet, inexpensive) part of your training. And it’s convenient because you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
As always, unload the firearm (check and double check to ensure it’s unloaded) and remove all ammo and distractions from the room. Close your curtains, and get to work! It’s easy and useful to log some practice reps by dry firing.
Here are a few drills to get you started.
DRAWING FROM CONCEALMENT
Dry fire drawing from concealment is particularly valuable obviously for people who carry concealed. Quickly and safely drawing your pistol from underneath a shirt, coat or other layers can be more difficult than you might think. Unpracticed, there’s significant potential for snags and fumbling.
Dry fire practicing can help you from coming up short like Fredo in The Godfather.
Don’t move the gun when you pull the trigger! Regardless of the speed you are moving your trigger finger, you need to avoid dipping/moving the muzzle.
How can you tell if you’re falling victim to this bad habit? Set the trigger on your unloaded pistol by racking the slide. Next, place an empty casing on its base on the top of the slide, just behind the front sight. Now, press the trigger without causing the case to fall off.
The speed in which you can do this will be a limiting factor in how quickly you can shoot accurately.
If the case doesn’t fall off, congrats! You’ve pulled the trigger correctly.
Another tricky skill is rapidly and precisely transitioning from one target to the next – especially when dealing with recoil during live fire. Since this is dry firing, though, we’ll have to do without the effect of recoil. Pick out three objects or other visual cues (targets), and practice transitioning the gun from one target to the next.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you’ve practiced the above three techniques individually and have seen some improvement, practice them together. Again, with an unloaded gun, set the trigger, safe the gun (if applicable) and holster.
Start by drawing from a concealed position, acquire a target, align the sights and THEN perform a smooth trigger pull on each target (yeah, we know the hammer/striker only moves the first time, but go through the motion anyway). Gradually build speed on the gun movements and the trigger pull. Hopefully, the next time you’re able to get to the range for live fire, you will be able to shoot multiple targets faster and more accurately.
When a Colorado member was confronted by two angry men in a grocery store parking lot, he tried to defuse the situation by showing his firearm. Watch Member Ambassador Sherry Hale explain why our Member got arrested — and learn the simple step you can take to avoid a similar fate.
In the Lone Star State, cities and counties generally may not regulate the ownership or carry of firearms, ammunition, and knives — with a couple of pretty important exceptions. Click the video link below to watch Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker of Walker & Byington in Houston tell you how to stay legal in the great state of Texas.
Texas is our second largest market in the U.S. so it’s important for us to impart as much info as we can. It also raises the question to many of our other larger markets (lookin at you CA!) What are your state’s regulations, and how well are you familiar with them?
Help you fellow shooters out in the comments section. Feel free to post valid links to state regulation in the comments section as a reference.
Putting it together: follow these suggestions and lose your fear of the wind!
Up to here we’ve talked over the influential factors wind brings with it. Here’s how to take it right back to the wind.
First, there are two essential “types” of shooters with respect to how they adjust for the wind on each shot. Dopers and chasers. I’m a chaser. A doper, wind doper, is one who carefully studies inputs and makes what amounts to a unique correction for each round fired. I say unique because it takes more time. They constantly evaluate and calculate the influence and often do much of it using one of the hand-held wind-meters talked about earlier.
I’m a “spotter-chaser,” which is actually a tad amount demeaning term branded on my style by the dopers. Technically I’m not really “chasing the spotter,” which means adjusting based solely on the position of the last shot. No. I’m anticipating a needed change based on observation between shots, but I’m doing it quickly, and I use the spotter location to confirm or modify my setting. That tells me if I’m seeing what I think I’m seeing. (A spotter is an easily-visible disk on a spindle that’s inserted into the location of the last shot hole by the folks pulling targets in the pits.)
Remember what was said last time about wind cycles? Usually there’s between 6-8 minutes before a cycle repeats, a little more or a little less. I want to get all my rounds downrange, if target pit service allows, during one cycle. Shooting into a build-up, watch for indications of a wind velocity increase. If the wind is moving left to right, I don’t want to see anything too close to the right edge of the 10-ring; I hedge a half-minute of angle or so to guard against losing a shot that direction if there’s an increase I missed, but not hedging so much that I’ll be too close to the left edge if I misread and overcorrect for a pick-up.
Pick one indicator, stay with it.
There are resources that give clues or evidence of wind direction and strength: wind flags, observation of grass and trees, and mirage.
Almost always I use mirage as my leading indicator. Mirage (heat waves) is always present but you’ll need a scope to read it. For 600 yards I focus my scope about halfway to the target. Mirage flows just like water and the currents can be read with respect to wind speed as well, but it’s not clearly accurate beyond maybe a 15 mph speed. The thing is that mirage shows changes, increases or decreases, and also direction shifts, really well.
A couple more things about mirage flow: when mirage “boils,” that is appears to rise straight up, either there’s no wind or the scope is dead in-line with wind direction. And that’s a quick and accurate means to determine wind direction, by the way, move the scope until you see the boil and note the scope body angle. It’s also how to know when a “fishtail” wind is about to change, a boil precedes a shift.
I use a long-eye-relief 20X to 25X wide-angle eyepiece. That setup shows the flow best. And pay attention to where the wind is coming from! See what’s headed your way, because what’s passed no longer matters. That’s true for any indicator. Right to left wind? Read off the right side of the range.
Once I get on target then all I am doing is watching for changes. It’s really uncommon to make a big adjustment between shots. Once a string starts it’s ones and twos, back and forth. The fewer condition changes you are enduring, the easier it is to keep everything on center. That’s why I shoot fast, and that’s why I start at the low point in a wind cycle.
Speaking of getting on target. If it’s an NRA High Power Rifle event, you’ll get two sighters. I put my best-guess correction on before the first sighter, plus two clicks extra into the wind. Example: it’s quartering left to right and I’m guessing 2MOA, so that’s 8 clicks in the “left” direction, so I put on 10. That’s how I find out if I saw what I thought I saw. Then, and this is very important: Make a full correction off the result of that first sighter! Put the clicks on that would have centered that shot. The exception is if there was a notable change sensed between the first and second, but, even so, first sighting shot location lets you know if you got the value (what the wind is worth) under control. There’s one more round to go before you’re on record, so interpret from that and start the string.
If you’re not at an organized event, having a spotter helps! Getting someone to watch for impacts while you shoot is a huge time-saver.
Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen is a card-carrying NRA High Master and earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles available for download visit ZedikerPubllishing.com
Adjusting for wind effect first comes from collecting information. There are two main components and one very important key. These three steps are essential. Keep reading to learn more.
Glen D. Zediker
Learning to shoot well on a windy day involves inputs. A lot of inputs.
Pretty much: wind speed and wind direction are the combining key factors that determine how much sight correction or “hold off” (if you prefer) is needed to get to target center. Speed and direction inputs combine to make a decision on the correction amount. Speed and direction, in tandem, have compounding or offsetting influences on the amount of correction. If either changes, the correction changes.
For instance: if the direction changes and the speed stays the same or the speed changes and the direction stays the same, it’s just more or less correction. But it’s imperative to keep in mind that these are linked.
Most shooting ranges, if construction plans made it reasonably feasible, are set up facing North. That helps. Head- and tail-wind components are less influential than the cross-wind component.
1. Estimate Speed Being a competitive shooter and, therefore, an admittedly unashamed gamesman, employing some sort of short-cut electronic trickery comes first to mind. A wind meter is the fastest and surest way to get a start on a number. There are very good hand-held meters available, and these range in cost, convenience, and complexity levels. Some provide vauable additional information (such as density altitude), the use of which will be talked on another time.
Visible indicators are simply observations. If it’s a shooting range, and if there are wind flags, look at the angle the wind is standing a flag out to, divide that by 4 and that’s a close approximation of wind speed. Of course, that depends on the flag material, and so on. Wind flags mostly help sense direction.
I know this is a serious cop-out, but experience is really the only teacher. There’s an old-school wind estimation guide first published eons ago that provides some input on guessing wind strength based on environmental clues. Click HERE to download an updated copy of the “Beaufort Scale.”
Stop! The wind doesn’t always blow the same the entire span of the range. Especially in the West, it’s plenty common to see faster or slower velocity areas between the firing line and the targets. Trees, ground clutter, topography, and so on, all create either passages or obstructions to the flow of the wind. Up to 600 yards, wind nearer the shooter should be given more weight; beyond that distance, wind strength nearer the targets is likely to exert disproportionate influence on the bullet. Reason is a matter of bullet velocity at the point of more or less wind impact. To be clear: even if we’re seeing relatively calm conditions at, say 500 yards, but it’s a tad amount gusty up close to the muzzle, early deflection of the bullet compounds to exert a stronger influence the farther the bullet travels.
2. Determine Direction This should be easy. However! Direction can change just as can speed. It’s not normally going to swap, but rather will vary in fractional shifts. A ticklish wind is a “fishtail” that waffles between 11 and 1 o’clock.
3. Find The Pattern This may be the most important advice I can give on wind shooting. Wind cycles. Rarely does it blow at a constant and steady rate for very long. Wind cycles every 5-10 minutes. It builds, then peaks, then drops, then as implied, it runs the cycle again. That doesn’t necessarily mean it goes from calm to windy; it goes from windy to windier. But it will change, and most often will do so predictably. Watch the wind for a spell, running a stopwatch, and make notes on what you’re estimating for values at the high and low in the cycle.
At a tournament I want to shoot into a build-up, or, in other words, start my string at the low point in the cycle. And I also want to shoot all my rounds within the timeframe of the cycle! We have 20 minutes at the 600-yard-line, so scheduling can be an important part of strategy for this yard-line.
If you know what amount a 10-mile-per-hour crosswind will (is supposed to) move your bullet at some distance, interpret the initial correction from that. If you guess the wind at 5 mph, take half of it; if the angle is less than full-value, reduce the correction as discussed last time by the fractional value, like half of the estimated amount for a wind that’s moving from 4:30 to 10:30.
None of this is finite. Reading wind is more art than science. Next time I’ll talk about how to put all the inputs to use and keep all your shots on target.
Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen is a card-carrying NRA High Master and earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles available for download visit ZedikerPubllishing.com