Got It On Camera

My Quest for C Class

Note: I thought about delaying this post until I found some good video editing software that I like, so I could illustrate my points. But I think the points need to be made. When I finally settle on editing software I will post a follow-up.

When I first took up golf, one of the best tools I found to help my swing was to watch myself on video. While most people have no problem pointing out my faults, I tend to politely dismiss their help. But, on video, the good parts and bad parts of my swing stand out clearly, without comment or advice. The camera doesn’t lie, and it isn’t trying to get in my head and mess me up to make that $5 Nassau.

This past weekend I was using some software to capture individual frames of my shooting videos as photos. In the process, I got to look at my shooting stance, grip, and follow through in slow motion, and I found out that video works the same way with my shooting as it did for golf.

When I shot video of my golf, I would tape my practice sessions as well as my play, so I could compare what I did when I concentrated on it, versus what I did when I wasn’t concentrating as much as relying on muscle memory and training.

For my shooting, I reviewed match footage, but I don’t have video of any practice sessions. I am focusing on the match, and on making good shots, not on the mechanics. So, what I am seeing on video is my ingrained habits, my training.

Here’s what I found out:

> My draw is smooth, and it does what I think I have been practicing for it to do. The gun comes out and up smoothly, and I press straight out while the support hand takes a grip. It also goes straight to the target, without any oscillation at the top. That’s good.

> I control recoil a lot better than I think I do. From the beginning of my shooting career, I’ve always thought that I did a poor job of recoil control, almost like I was shooting one of those .500 Magnums you see on Youtube. It turns out, however, that my muzzle rise is actually on par with some of the best shooters I’ve seen. It goes up just a little and settles right down. This proves that not only do I have a bad image of myself as a shooter, I’m also focused well on the target such that muzzle flip isn’t even noticeable. That’s good.

> I do a decent job of positioning my body as I shoot. But, as I suspected, I move a lot like a sea lion. That will improve as I lose weight. I full imagine to be moving like a penguin in no time.

> On close up targets, I lack the confidence to make double taps. I will instead take two measured shots. It’s not that I can’t do double taps, so it has to be confidence. That should come with practice.

> I do a decent job keeping the muzzle down range when I move. I’ve never been warned or DQ’ed by a Range Officer, so that confirms it.

> I need to pay a little more attention to my trigger finger when I draw or move. I have been warned about this, so this is something to pay attention to and practice.

> Compared to someone like Dave Sevigny, my magazine changes look like I’m trying to force a live snake into a coke bottle. I think I can make this better by practicing. But it’s not because of the direction the bullets face in my magazine pouch. (Yes, I had someone point this out to me, again.)

> My Glock 17 Bruce runs flawlessly in every video I’ve shot. This jives with the fact that I’ve never had a malfunction of any kind in a match. In fact, apart from a broken extractor and a couple of limp-wristing incidents with my son, Bruce has had exactly 2 failures to extract in the 19 years I’ve had him.

At my next match, I’m going to try to get video of me on every stage. By then I will have some better editing video, and I’ll make another report showing what I’ve found.

I’m also planning a range trip on a week day in a couple of weeks. If the range is clear enough, I will get some video of some standard drills like El Presidente and the Mozambique. I can then compare my results to those I find on line.

2 thoughts on “Got It On Camera

  1. I think my biggest steps forward in improving my score is watching videos of me shooting. I do try to make a point to find something good when I watch them. (That was a really smooth draw. Great mag change.) Or else I start getting too negative. The last match I shot this year I didn't ask anyone to film (trying to not impose in folks) and have regretted it since. Had a good match and would have been a great tool to use for planning practice sessions this winter. Ah well.In his book, Brian Enos says it doesn't matter what your muzzle does after he shot, even if it makes a figure eight, as long as it comes back to the same place each time. "I move a lot like a sea lion. That will improve as I lose weight. I full imagine to be moving like a penguin in no time." I'm using that!


  2. I feel the same way about taking a camera to the range with me. In the past I have even gone as far as using two cameras during practice (one camera on a tripod, setup to the side, and a head mounted camera). During matches I've just been using the head-cam (I'm going to have a buddy start filming me with a flip-cam as well).The video really does show you a lot. My reloads can be described the same way as yours (I need a lot of work in this area). I just received my membership card to a club that offers its members a lot of freedom. I can;t wait to be able to practice drawing from the holster and shooting on the move. it should help my matches a great deal.


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