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Match directors assign starting points for each competition stage. So, being able to effectively negotiate a stage quickly and safely regardless of that start position is critical. The best way to get comfortable doing this is practicing from various start positions.
Federal ambassador and professional shooter Josh Froelich is here to help. He spends hours drilling various start positions and puts focus into both speed and safety. Heed his advice and you’ll be able to efficiently negotiate any start position you find yourself in.
Where you start in a stage will dictate how you move through it. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in the back of a stage where you’ll work from back to front. Other times you’ll be in the front of the stage and work from front to back. The trick: Be ready to roll regardless of your position.
“When starting in the front of a stage, it’s critical that we keep our muzzle in a safe direction and not break the 180,” notes Froelich. “A retreat with targets on the right-hand side is common when starting in the front of the stage. For this scenario, practice coming up on the first target and making a good shot. Then, bring the gun off the shoulder leaving the muzzle pointed at the back berm. Sprint to your next position and engage the next target.”
Froelich notes the movements required for this position are straightforward and simple. The key is making sure the muzzle never leaves the back berm.
“When engaging targets on the left-side of the stage, the last thing we want to have to do is turn and shoot,” he continued. “This time, after shooting the first target, we are going to leave the muzzle pointed at the back-berm area, extend the rifle away from the body with the strong hand and drag it behind. This allows you to turn, run and engage the next set of targets without breaking the 180.”
Another focus should be the strong-side to weak-side position. For right-handed shooters, this will be moving from right-to-left. A common mistake Froelich sees new shooters make is leaving the muzzle pointed out front when turning, causing them to break the 180—an unsafe act that results in disqualification.
“When moving from right to left, use the weak-hand control position,” Froelich said. “After making your shot, grab the rifle with the weak-hand, being sure to take your trigger finger off the grip. The muzzle stays pointed at the back berm and the gun is brought through stock first.
“Moving from left-to-right, you need to turn your shoulders all the way and get square so that when running, the muzzle is pointed at the back berm. The arms are pumping, and the legs are moving.”
Froelich likes the six-shot speed drill because it incorporates so many different skills that are critical to competition shooting.
“From the port arms start position, we bring the gun up and shoot two rounds at the center target on the array,” says Froelich. “Then, we drop the mag, reload and shoot two on the left and two on the right. This one drill has a hard transition, a reload and a port arms start. This drill will keep your manipulations and transitions tight and get you ready to go for your next match.”
Put rounds downrange and on target. Gold Medal Berger loads’ high-BC bullet provides the flattest trajectories, less wind drift and surgical long-range accuracy.