column By: Steve Garbe | November, 20
The COVID-19 epidemic has not been without its benefits, however. First and foremost, the world, and especially Americans, have realized the fact that the individual is ultimately responsible for his or her well-being. Governments, grudgingly, have had to admit that it needs the consent of the governed to deal effectively and rationally with a crisis the size of COVID-19. And, at a time when many had begun to question the wisdom that our Founding Fathers included in the Constitution, we have been reminded in a most powerful way that our Constitution is truly a remarkable and ageless document.
A secondary benefit from our COVID-19 situation is the time available for more experimentation and “gun-cranking.” Preparing for matches requires significant time spent on casting and loading. Take that away and one has that same time to devote to new ideas and techniques. I have myself, worked up a new silhouette rifle that I had planned to do for years, but just could never find the time to get started on. Hopefully, when we are back to some sort of normalcy regarding public rifle matches, I can campaign a new rifle that has the improvements that I’ve always wanted to add.
Those of us lucky enough to have a place to shoot and practice at home can also benefit from a relaxed competition schedule. I have long enjoyed the benefits of practicing correct mental shooting, either through dry-firing or actual live-shooting. Our curtailed shooting schedule allows more time to practice shooting in our “right mind.” This can only help our scores when we resume competition. Practicing technique with a proper .22 rimfire is an excellent way to keep one’s hand in trim and has been a mainstay of my own shooting practice for years.
COVID-19 has also made for a very limited social calendar. I’ve used that time to reread some favorite books on competition shooting and reabsorb the knowledge. Two of my favorites and most-read are E. C. Crossman’s book “Military and Sporting Rifle Shooting” and A. A. Yur’yev’s book “Competitive Shooting.” Crossman is one of my preferred authors and his distinctive writing style is a pleasure to read. He knew of what he spoke as well, being a serious and successful shooting competitor. A. A. Yur’yev’s book was the result of serious study of competitive shooting by the Russians and is a comprehensive and solid treatise on all aspects of the game. If you haven’t read these, I strongly suggest getting a copy of both. They are not “onetime” reads; you will find yourself referring to them over and over.
As I’m writing this editorial, the future is somewhat uncertain, especially in regard to the 2020 elections. I firmly believe that solid American values and beliefs will win out in the end and we, as a nation, will move forward much stronger for having our mettle tested. Make the most of your COVID-19 “down time” and let’s turn 2021 into a year for the books in our competitive shooting endeavors.
– Gut Ziel