15 January 2011
You can't possibly tell me that this picture isn't totally badass.
(And no, I wasn't actually firing the .22 in my basement. I use spent casings for dry-fire practice. Just in case you were alarmed.)
I haven't done any shooting since well before Christmas. I'd say it's been a month, at least. I could try to make the case that I just haven't had time, but that probably wouldn't be the truth, and even if it were, you probably wouldn't believe me anyway. Closer to the truth might be the fact that there have, recently, been various circumstances that made me think it wasn't even worth the effort. I've been tired, or sick (I've been in an on-again, off-again relationship with what is probably a sinus infection for the past six weeks). Who could shoot well with those handicaps?
Tonight, I was still sniffly. And tired. But I went down to the basement anyway and sent some lead through the air rifle, along with a little dry-fire with the .22, just for the sake of the practice.
I knew the results would be bad. And they were. Were they ever. I have about nine meters as a range, a little shy of the standard Olympic ten-meter lane for air rifle. I print off my own targets, which are just white sheets of paper with six half-inch diameter black dots on them. There was a time when I could keep four shots out of five inside, or at least touching, each black dot. Tonight, I could barely graze it.
My body had forgotten how to shoot. My finger was jerking the rifle all over the place instead of pressing the stock back into the pocket of my hand. My eyes wanted to focus on the target, not the front sight post. My hips and back wanted to twist into unnatural positions to bring the rifle to bear, instead of telling me to just move my feet. Or, I would do all but one of these things correctly, but I couldn't put it all together.
But I'm glad I went downstairs tonight and shot. Because sometimes, things are worth doing, even if you know you're not going to do them that well. We don't get any better at anything by avoidance. We can't bank our skill, nor does it cost us anything to spend it. My body remembers a little better now how to send the shot downrange properly. My hand remembered its movements, and the rest of me remembered how not to move. My eyes remembered how to point at the target but focus on the front sight.
I'll do better next time. Even if I know I won't do all that well then, either.