Dessert Plate Accuracy by R. Ann Parris
How accurate do we need to be? It’s situationally dependent. Even saying hunters need to be “more” accurate leaves some wiggle room, because soda-can accuracy works for quick-drop hits on vitals for deer, but when it comes to small game and pests, we have to tighten down further.
On the other hand, sometimes we focus on accuracy a little too much.
In tactical settings, from household and super-short self-defense distances to CQB clearing streets, houses, littered yards, and even brush woods and forest scenarios, the required accuracy is more fluid.
We do need to have solid, consistent fundamentals, regardless of our platform and primary purpose – pistol, rifle/carbine, shotgun – and be able to get off a well-aimed shot.
However, time becomes an important factor when we’re fighting for lives.
Hold up a soup or soda can, or grab a light bulb. Snag a golf or ping-pong ball or fold a dollar bill in half or thirds.
If you can make those shots, great. (The latter is what you need to be able to hit for small game hunting and snake-rat pest control.)
How long does it take you?
How long does it take you drawing from a holster, grabbing a long gun from its typical propped/hung position, and lifting a gun from a close-chest pistol hold or low ready?
How long does it take you, shooting at multiple targets from 10-100 yards?
How long does it take bad guys/dangerous animals to cross or shoot the same distance?
If slow-fire precision shooting is the only or primary type of practice we’re getting, we’re training ourselves to some very bad habits for everyday defensive shooting and CQB/dense brush scenarios.
We don’t rise to the occasion. We fall back on our training.
That includes the muscle memory we build while we stand at static ranges or lean against something taking the time to line up a one-shot drop.
Now snag a 22-36 ounce coffee tub, a dessert or bread plate, or a slipper. Hold that in front of your face, your neck, right around your ear and jaw, down beside and in front of your hip, and up beside your shoulder IVO your armpit.
If we can make that shot, we can make the standard center-mass shot that’s so commonly taught.
Better yet, those 4-8” objects are also generally the same size as the capability-reducing and stop-and-drop areas commonly left vulnerable by body armor.
If we can exploit that coffee can and slipper, we also stand a really good chance of being able to drop or lean and exploit the angles and inches commonly left vulnerable inside and behind vehicles, between books on different shelves, and the amount of human that does not actually get covered by the 2×4 and 4×4 lumber inside our walls as they pop back and forth behind a corner.
Choose your caliber carefully…
…and remember: If we can use a caliber to exploit non-cover, it is also a risk to the innocents beyond our walls.
Those exploits mean that level of accuracy is pretty much all we really need.
That is the shot we need to make by taking a beat and aiming in. All we really need to add from there is the ability to consistently make them quickly.
Don’t go too loose with center-mass shooting.
Do practice fundamentals.
Do spend some time refining aim.
If you want to save a life, though, practice shooting off that front sight and working quickly just as often as aiming small (ideally, more frequently). When we’re faced with A Bad Thing that has heartbeats pounding, putting multiple fast shots on a dinner plate is better than taking 3-5 and heaven forbid 10-30 seconds to pop a button once.
For defensive purposes, perfect is the enemy of good, and “good enough” really is good enough.