Competitive shooter Dwight Stearns started shooting competitively in 1980 as a young police officer in Earlham, Iowa and immediately found a love for steel shooting. Since 2010, he has had multiple top 5 finishes in Rimfire Challenge matches, highlighted with a World Championship in 2013. But Stearns said he is even more proud of the young shooters he has coached in this sport. Among those youth shooters he has trained is a three-time ladies champion, a 15-year-old runner up and, this year, three junior shooters that finished in the top 10 overall, two youth champions- including his granddaughter Riley Joy- and a junior runner-up. That, Stearns said, is his true success.
In our latest blog post, Stearns shares his secrets of steel shooting - the speed shooting training tips you need to succeed in the shooting sports.
Dwight's Secrets of Steel Shooting
Dwight's Secrets of Steel Shooting
1. The only thing worse than a fast miss is a slow miss.
2. If you never miss, you are shooting too slowly.If you miss slow, you pick the shot up fast. It's better to miss fast and move on quickly.
3. Always hit the first shot.This is related to the first tip. To shoot competitive times, you have to push the edge on speed. A limited number of misses done at a high speed will be faster than never missing. To improve your speed, you must first move faster than is comfortable. You will have some misses as you increase your speed.
4. Keep going until you are finished.This may seem somewhat contradictory to the last two tips, but the first shot sets up all the other shots. Miss it and you will probably miss one or more of the rest.
5. Tickle Me Elmo.Keep the gun pointed at the stop plate without pulling it back out of firing position at the end of the string. Be ready to take a follow up shot in case of a miss.
6. Get a good grip.Tickle the trigger back until the sear releases, being sure not to over pull the trigger. Over pulling makes the trigger stop hard against the trigger stop, moving the gun and causing the shot to be low.
7. Slow down and move faster.Grip the gun like you mean it. Be sure to use a proper grip (squeeze) on the gun. Concentrate on keeping a firm support hand grip so you don't get lazy.
8. Positive vibes only.Trying to move too fast causes muscles to tighten. Tight muscles cannot move as fast as relaxed muscles. For speed you need to start relaxed and stay relaxed throughout the string of fire.
9. Use your success.The subconscious mind does not understand negatives such as "don't." When you mess something up and think, "don't do that again," the subconscious hears "do that again." Instead, when you make a mistake (and we all do), think "knock that off" or something similar. Focus on what you want to do to improve and the subconscious will understand perfectly.
10. Show off.Shoot the stop plate at the same speed you shoot the rest of the targets, even if it is a little more difficult. You may miss, but you can pick that shot up just as fast as if you had slowed down for the final target.
There is nothing better than hearing positive comments from the crowd after a great run! Show off those skills and don't let negativity or nerves keep you from performing your best!
Try out these firearms training tips during your next speed shooting training session and improve your performance at your next Rimfire Challenge match or other competitive event. Interested in learning from from Dwight Stearns? Contact him via email at [email protected] or via Facebook.