This guide covers reasons you should get into long-range shooting, and the valuable life lessons and personality traits you will be able to develop, which can also benefit other areas of your life.
Long-range precision shooting is very different from running & gunning.
It's all about placing an accurate shot in the dead center of the target as small as a clay pigeon at a long range distance on command consistently, and have so much confidence that you only need one round to score.
It's a very difficult skill to acquire and it's not just about turning dials and hitting the target, it's a lifestyle and rich personal development that you get from it.
The “One Shot One Hit” deal is what precision shooters want to master, and the key is to calm the fuck down and focus. It's something that looks easy but extremely difficult to master especially in today's world, where our attention span and brain health are hijacked by the shit we eat and the media we consume.
So let's get into it.
Why Should You Get Into It?
Assuming you're already a gun person and want something a bit more advanced, exciting, and life-changing – Long-range shooting is the way to go.
Learning how to shoot long range requires a tremendous amount of time and effort to mastery just like any other sports, and there are many layers to this that will teach a lot of satisfying skills that are beneficial in other areas of your life.
If you're at a stage in life where you want a new challenge to exercise your mind and to elevate your marksmanship game, this is absolutely one of the best gun things to get into.
Unlike fast action competitive shooting, long range requires patience, willingness to learn, technical proficiency, stress management, mental sharpness and a calm mind to get good.
You don't have to be a bonafide military sniper to experience it, in fact, you can start now as a civilian with plenty of learning resources already available with books and on-demand videos.
So let's talk about what you will learn that will change your life.
8 Reasons Long Range Shooting Sports Can Change Your Life
It's not just about putting a scope on a long-range rifle and shoot, it's a lifestyle that can change your life.
Boost Mental Sharpness
Being a good precision shooter requires
- Focus with undivided attention
- Problem-solving skills
- Attention to details
- Think fast on your feet
- Memorizing rule of thumbs
- Firm decision making
- Curiosity to learn more
Any Guessing or hell marry shoots are not what precision shooters do!
You have to be that type of person that knows exactly what you're doing before you do it, and you only get one shot and there is a lot of pressure there to make sure you get it right.
It's very different than just picking up the sight and squeeze the trigger. The shooter must understand his/her rifle's capabilities and ballistic profile of the bullet inside and out, in order to execute the perfect shot.
It's very much a game of collecting as much data as possible, assess the information that constantly change (like the wind), make a calculated decision to fire at a small target 1000-3000 yards away.
If missed, the shooter has to go back in the problem-solving cycle, identify the root causes, correct the firing solution, and do it again.
All of these require mental fitness to get good.
You don't have to be Elon Musk smart, and all you need is the ability to critically think through a problem, filter out what's important and what's not, and then make a firm decision to tackle it.
It's fun and rewarding once you get it right!
Improved Physical Fitness
So why does physical fitness matter if the shooter is mostly in a stationary position?
Well… even though precision shooters aren't always running and gunning. Long range shooting is a totally outdoor man's hobby, and you have to move around all day like a camping trip.
Besides building up the endurance to hike with heavy gears, there are a completely different set of muscles and physical stamina that need to be developed if you were going to succeed.
So this could be the motivation and the why for you to work out in the gym hard again.
In Olympic shooting, the precision levels are so high that the angular errors higher than 0.016 deg in rifle or 0.066 deg in pistol can lead to not achieving the score of 10 points.
The same thing applies when shooting out to 1000 or 3000 yards.
The research has shown – Physical training influences on the psychological state and it's a key factor in a shooter's performance.
Read More: Why Olympics Shooters Put Emphasis On Physical Training
Some shooting positions require the shooter to be in an awkward posture for a long period of time before the perfect moment to break the shot on a steady hold – That means bending over, laying prone on the stomach, crouched, lean behind cover, laying on uneven surfaces and many more.
Long-range shooting activities aren't always as easy as going to a nice flat range with a comfortable shooting bench. In fact, a lot of it requires:
• Hiking while carrying bulky gears
• Relocating constantly (Competition shooting)
• Building muscle memories and endurance
• Muscle stretching to adapt to awkward shooting postures
• Muscle stamina to hold a rifle tight and steady
Even though the use of bipod and tripod helps increase stability, but the shooters still need to condition their bodies all around to be more effective.
Try these exercises
• Weight training – It builds muscular endurance and it also helps with developing untapped muscle groups required for long-range shooting
• Cardio & stamina training – The key to manage breathing and perform fundamentals of marksmanship with an elevated heart rate
• Yoga & other isometric training – Reduce tightness in the muscle, which allows you to remain still for a longer period of time. It also increases core strength, flexibility, breathing, and mental focus
• Stretching – Reduces muscle tension and loosen joints. It will help the shooter maintain in a relaxed position longer
Significant Shooting Fundamental Improvement
When you have mastered rifle shooting with a calm mind and proper trigger control, There is a new level of confidence with firearms you will experience, and the voice inside you is saying: “I got this”
You can apply the skills learned to pistol, rifle, and shotgun, and make every shot a pleasant experience when you hit the target.
On top of that, long-range precision shooting will also train you on minimizing recoil anticipation because any imperfection will be a missed shot downrange.
If missing the shot doesn't bother you, then it will be bunch money wasted per shot if you don't improve. So that pressure kinda pushes people to get better.
Anyone who has mastered long-range is a significantly better shooter with other firearm platforms.
Check out: Best Long Range Scopes Under $1000
Better Stress Management
Stress management is one core strength in life that everyone needs, and you can cultivate that from long-range shooting sport as well.
This is the one thing all professional shooters and snipers will say is : “Frustration, annoyance and anger don't help you shoot accurately at long distance whatsoever”
Whatever stressors you have at the time of shooting whether, from family, job or other things will impact your psychological state, and it's a known fact that will influence the performance in shooting.
Anxiety, mood swing and other anger induced twitchy behaviors will dramatically reduce the accuracy with a long-range rifle. Maybe on a range trip, you felt great, but the subtle tense physiology from daily stress can still affect your performance.
So learning to be still while shooting long-range is a skill that requires you to be calm, and therefore not let stress take control of the ship. It takes time and physical fitness to get to that peak state, where nothing matters except you and the target.
It's a skill that gets developed over time to calm your mind, control your breathing, put things that bother you aside, and focus on slow trigger squeeze to break the shot.
Long range shooting is a complicated subject that requires tons of self study and in-field experiments with patience.
Many shooters have at one point kept cranking the dials until they score. But in order to get that first shot kill, we need to develop a frame of mind that teaches us to be patient with out shot process.
Go slow, get it right the first time, be decisive and place that shot with absolute conviction!
When you study ballistics and weapon system physics, it can be as close as studying aerospace engineering, so you have to hit the books and learn to joggle through technical data, and be able to understand it and also talk about it intelligently.
Only by developing patience, a good long range student can go to a class and absorb up to 7 hours of study materials just in the beginning to get the foundations right.
If you're somebody that can sit down and read a book or watch a YouTube video without distraction for 60 mins or more, you're more than likely to succeed in this game.
Typically, people who struggle with long-range shooting also struggle with attention to details, putting ego aside, and lack attention span.
In today's world where social media and smartphone technologies have hijacked our abilities to have sustained mental focus, this shooting sport is a good way to retrain your mind to focus better.
It's also a reason to finally put down that smartphone and stop letting instant gratification behaviors control your state of mind.
The male Y chromosome is usually the blame on why some men suck at shooting because some people's success is all wrapped around their egos especially while being watched by others.
This causes people not to listen or learn.
Long range shooting sport will separate the talkers and the doers. You only get one shot, and if you missed then you missed.
You just can't talk your way out of it or blame the rifle, so taking ownership is the start if you want to get good.
To get good, the shooter has to develop a firm attitude that won't make him/her buckle under pressure especially in front of other people, and also not rush through the shot process by missing key system details.
Develop Extreme Ownership
Military snipers are trained to such an elite degree that they can handle anything in life and get what they want, which average people on the streets can't.
One of the key traits is ownership. Take ownership of your own mistakes, shortcomings, and move forward.
It's an important attitude to develop in life to get good at businesses, relationships, and skills.
What not to do
Many shooters quit their journey to growth after constant misses and then start to make excuses. Yet those are also the people who rush through the lessons and never cared about the technical details.
They started things and they quit, and when things go sideways they blame. This type of behavior will never mold a person into a great precision shooter, unfortunately.
When you missed a shot, you can either blame the weather, the wind, the gun, the bullet, Murphy's law and other things.
Do this instead
You can take ownership that you've missed the shot, diagnose the root cause, and get better.
A book we recommend to read: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, Former Navy Seal Commander
“One shot one kill” is the name of the game, and developing that extreme ownership trains you to execute the perfect game regardless of external influences.
Only through taking ownership of your mistakes and lessons learned, then you will have growth.
You're the only one responsible for collecting the data, setting up the rifle, planning the shot, condition your body, and pulling the trigger. and there is no one to blame but you.
Taking ownership is a muscle to build, which translates to becoming a better shooter, and a trustworthy person people can count on.
Better Technical Proficiency
Learn More: Top Long Range Ballistic Terms You Need To Know
Precision shooting requires a heavy upfront commitment of learning ballistics and physics beyond just knowing the basics.
Things like barrel harmonics under recoil, ballistic coefficient, gun powder burn rate, gravity gradient across the terrain, bullet spin drift, Coriolis effect, and many more will affect the bullet in flight.
Attention to detail is the key to success, and the more you know, the more elements you can actively pay attention to, in order to
- Manage the rifle effectively
- Collect true ballistic DOPE data
- Adjust dials appropriately.
All these things set the baseline for a precision shooter, and its the shooter's responsibility to expand their knowledge beyond that.
Once you develop that skill, it will open the door in other areas of your life where suddenly you are able to understand and communicate high complexity topics.
At this point, you can teach and provide values to the long-range community, and there is a chance that industry experts can recruit you to get on board for developing better stuff.
Stuff that gets multi-million dollar contracts with the military. Just think about that for a moment… getting paid for your knowledge.
If you meet the right people, it translates to a large amount of money for you and your family.