How can that be?

The human brain is amazing. I sometimes look at the things people can do and I have difficulty believing it is possible. I even look at the things I can do and am amazed.

Here is a USPSA stage I shot in April. You have to draw from the surrender position and put 10 rounds on 8 different targets with a mandatory reload in the middle of the string of fire. How long should that take?

Here is my score:

Stage Name A B C D M NS P LS XS XH AP Time Total Points Hit Factor Stg Pts
2P Paper Poppers 7   3                 6.90 47 6.8116 50.0000

6.9 seconds. Right off that bat you can say the average was less than one second per shot. Then you start figuring in the time it takes to draw and reload the gun. Even being generous (I don’t think I am this fast) on my draw and reload by subtracting out 1.25 and 2.25 seconds yields 3.4 seconds for the remaining 8 shots or and average of 0.425 seconds per shot. How can someone even move the gun from target to target that fast? At that speed acquiring a sight picture and squeezing the trigger happens someplace far away from conscious thought.

What is even more interesting is that my score is only 68.6611% of the score by the best shooters. Assuming they get all ‘A’ zone hits (this maximizes the time) they had to do it in a total of 5.04 seconds. Subtracting out 1.0 and 1.5 seconds for the draw and reload and we have 0.3175 seconds per shot.

4 thoughts on “How can that be?

  1. I shot the same stage earlier this year. don’t remember the time but i shot the 2 papers, reloaded and shot the 6 poppers. I finished and 4 poppers were still falling. I surprised myself and there were a couple gasps from the group, as I am not one of the better shooters and had been out of the game for 6-7 years.

  2. That’s what we call being “in the zone”. It’s when training and experience take over and what we think of as the mind is left out of the process. It’s a reflexive response. Sports players, musicians, soldiers, and even laborers have at rare times experienced it. You usually aren’t aware of being there until it’s over, but for example, when a musical group experiences it on stage, and become aware of it, it’s a wonderful thing. Often time it’s as if your ego is entirely separate form what’s happening, and it’s as if you’re an outside observer, watching yourself from some other “place”. A famous drummer once described it as an out-of-body experience, as he seemed to be watching himself from yards away. One piano player said he quit performing after one such experience, as he believed he’d been possessed by the devil for a few seconds and never wanted to experience that again. I’ve referred to it here before as the X-factor.

    I recall a time in football practice when we were skirmishing, and everyone on the field appeared to be standing still, wavering, uncertain as to what to do. I had time to observe the looks on other players’ faces, judging their intent, thinking; “Why isn’t anyone going for the ball? What are you guys waiting for? Oh well, I’m not he obvious one to do it, but I guess I’ll tackle him since no one else seems to want to do it” then weaved my way through the stationary players and nailed the guy. The coach was all impressed, but I couldn’t understand why. I thought he should have been asking why no one else was moving.

    Neither I nor anyone else understood what had happened, but somewhere there must be a coach, or trainer, etc., who knows something about this and how to make it a more frequent occurrence. The notion of “Zen and the Art of Shooting” comes to mind.

  3. Brian Enos: Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals. Yes. It’s a good book.

    I think it was The Inner Game of Tennis where I first read about “the zone” or whatever you want to call it. I’ve felt it many times with many different things including the working of puzzles, running, basketball, tennis, computer programming, and, of course, shooting.

    If you want to know about the changes in the brain (which come from practice) than enable this read The Brain That Changes Itself and Brain Rules.

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