« Crooked Reticles and Straight Advice | Main | A Few Kind Words About the .280 Remington »

August 01, 2006

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

Analysis Paralysis: Why You Should Never Think While Shooting

I’m indebted to my friend John Thomas for this one. John is a retiree who teaches rich people how to shoot a shotgun, and we were talking the other day about a client of his who couldn’t hit a crossing target.

“His problem,” said John, “is he thinks about it. It’s a clear case of analysis paralysis.”

Truer words were never spoken. If you want to miss with a shotgun, or a rifle in most cases, just think about what you’re doing. Gene Hill used to say that the ideal trapshooter would be a gorilla who knew how to handle a gun; he’d be too dumb to analyze, and recoil wouldn’t bother him.

A classic case; I’ve been shooting in a summer trap league, and when I stand on Station 5 I stand almost square to the target to give myself a better swing at the hard right angle bird. As I called pull during one shoot, I realized that my feets were in the wrong position, and was thinking about that instead of thinking about nothing. Did I miss? Is a pig’s ass pork? I felt a little better because one of the geezers on the squad completely lost track of what he was doing, thought we had finished, and racked his gun—until we called his attention to it.

A couple of other things: Can rich people shoot, you ask? By and large, no. Can John Thomas shoot? Oh boy.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Analysis Paralysis: Why You Should Never Think While Shooting:


JA Demko

"Can rich people shoot, you ask? By and large, no."

But they can do all that missing with some damned nice guns.

Dave M

And all along I was under the illusion that I had suffered a flare up of my terminal case of "rectal/cranial inversion" when I missed a hard right. Thanks for setting me, if not my trap score, straight.

B. Cameron

Sounds awful familiar... I make no claims about being a good trap shooter, averaging 21 or 22 from the 16yd line... but I don't think I'm bad, either, and I seem to bring down the various game birds over the seasons.

I spent part of this past weekend "thinking" about my technique. Was I predicting? Was I stopping my swing? Following through?

Instead of my usual score, I was dropping twice as many birds - and felt awkward doing it. (We won't discuss the clay I missed after forgetting to load the gun...)

The lesson: decide what's "good enough" and be happy with it.

Peter C.

Some time ago, I went out shooting with a bunch of guys in a desert area. I had a borrowed 20-gauge side-by-side, and was hitting maybe 1 out of 2 birds, when someone standing next to me said, "Stop thinking...just [email protected]#$%*&g shoot!"
I did, and my scores dramatically improved!


I shoot on a spring and fall league in Ringwood NJ with Ducks Unlimited. I have foud that when I shoot low gun doubles all the way around I shoot better. It is a difference of 4-5 birds a round. I guess it is because I am more of an instinctive shooter than a "fundemental shooter". My buddies say it is because I have no time to think about the bird......

craig curtis

david you must of missed the articles how to improve our swing ? i just love reading them but when its time to swing and shoot your right cant even think about the cute target handlers without missing !!!! i always shoot my best when its instinct and not think lead shoot follow through ect.

Our Blogs