Everyone needs to blow off some steam now and then. Chances are, if you are human, you have a pastime that helps you relax. It could be golf, fishing, chess, shuffleboard, scuba-spelunking or even just grilling some burgers in the backyard with friends and having a beer - nothing wrong with that! If you are anything like the folks here at AmmoSquared HQ, shooting is also at the top of the list.
We know sometimes life gets in the way of having some range fun and the list of to do’s can be a mile long so we’ve compiled some of benefits to shooting to help you justify your weekend round of pews, or “lead therapy” as we like to call it…
Balance, Hand-Eye Coordination, and Muscles
Think for the moment about the last time you were at the range… a lot went into each shot you took. It’s not just a matter of walking up to the line, and squeezing the trigger willy-nilly. You have to exercise complete control over your muscles. Depending on your style of shooting you likely have your entire upper body and probably most of your lower body engaged in some way. If you are shooting long distance from a prone position, the requirements on your body geometry are even more critical - and taxing. You may be lying down but that doesn’t make it any easier on your muscles. (Though a good long range shooter knows how to find their natural point of aim so they aren’t using very many muscles…but we can’t all be Carlos Hathcock!)
Don’t forget about hand-eye coordination. The ability to hit your targets directly corresponds to your ability to fire while maintaining a laser eye-lock on your target (well, technically your front sight if you aren’t running optics). Working your muscles in unison with your eyes and brain is no easy task. This isn’t like playing Duck Hunt on your TV. When you shoot for real it is a lot harder to hit your target unless you have all of your fundamentals down and your eyes know where to look and your hands do their job at the right time.
Lastly, consider the balance required to stand, sit, kneel, or lay correctly while aiming and firing a weapon. Everything from the leverage you apply to a trigger, to how you distribute your weight goes into producing the desired outcome.
It works your brain too!
Shooting is an excellent way to discipline your mind. There is a lot of mental energy that goes into making the perfect shot, not just mindless trigger pulling. You’ll have to mentally take into account variables such as wind, distance, and maybe even obstacle angles. Then after your first round, you’ll need to decide on how to make adjustments to follow-up shots. These variable will be present to a larger or lesser extent depending on what type of shooting you are doing, whether it is handgun action shooting, clays, or long distance precision rifle.
All of that mental effort trains your mind to be diligent, to concentrate, and works out your ability to focus. Some people even find shooting to be a great form of meditation.
There’s a reason it’s called “Lead Therapy”
As we just discussed, shooting requires a lot of concentration. And do you know what you’re not thinking about, during the time that you’re concentrating on hitting that target? Anything else. That’s right. You’re not thinking about your job. You’re not thinking about your bills. You’re not thinking about anything other than the next shot. How relaxing!
Plus, as an added bonus, shooting outside also allows you to spend some time outdoors. Spending 30 minutes outdoors can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Plus, it gives you a chance to get some much needed vitamin D. Take that Dr. Foulcheese!
Training for Trouble
Shooting is a great way to build confidence in your ability to take care of yourself when the chips are down. There is nothing better than taking down some paper bad guys with competence. As Dick Marcinko says: “the more you sweat in training the less you bleed in battle”.
When you go shooting, you’re honoring a time old tradition in our country and celebrating your individual liberties. You’re also helping to support the rights and liberties of others. This is perhaps one of the most important reasons to hit the range! Not that you need any reason other than that it is fun.