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Learning to shave time while maintaining accuracy is paramount to shooters hoping to climb onto the podium. Moments of transition—whether progressing between targets from a standing position or moving from spot-to-spot—can help one shim valuable stage time. On the flip side, failure to navigate transitions can add time and send you tumbling down the standings.
Federal ambassador and competition shooter Krystal Dunn is a master of transitions. She spends hours drilling, perfecting her process and finding ways to carve valuable seconds off her stage times. Heed her advice, put it to practice and post your best time yet.
Mastering paper-target transitions is a must for the serious shooter. Once you’re moving effectively from paper-to-paper, toss a steel target in the mix and work on the proper fundamentals an added hard-shot requires.
“Add a low-piece of steel between a pair of paper targets,” Dunn says. “This is an important step when shooting a reactive target such as steel that may fall over. It’s imperative that you learn to maintain front-sight focus. Be sure not look at the target, as this will slow you down and hinder accuracy. Instead, focus on your sight picture.
“Once you engage the steel, transition back to paper. Remember, the closer you are the faster you can go and still maintain accuracy. As you move back, watch your speed and really focus on maintaining that sight picture.”
Staying smooth and fast; not panicking and not letting a transition throw you off your game is the key to shimming stage time. Dunn likes to perform a drill similar to a Bill Drill, but with transitions in between. She believes effective transitions are paramount to sound fundamental shooting and cutting time.
“Draw and put two shots on the first paper, two on the second paper and two on the third paper,” Dunn says. “The key is focusing on the transition that happens after each pair of shots. Focus on having a hard-stop point. Look to the next point of the target you’re aiming at, let your sights come in and you’re ready for your next shot.”
Being able to move efficiently through a course will cut time. Effective course movement often takes a back seat to accuracy, speed and the like, but shouldn’t. According to Dunn, there’s a pair movement time-wasters many competition shooters need to work to overcome.
“The first mistake I see happens during a stand-and-shoot array,” she says. “You will see shooters get ready to make their draw, an then they do ‘the lean.’ They tilt at the waist and lean all the way over to get their grip. I see this a lot when shooters go to grab a magazine with their weak hand as well. Focus to maintain a good efficient stance and neutral body position. Extra movement like leaning makes you less efficient and wastes time.”
The next movement mistake Dunn sees involves shooting position entry and exit. Lots of shooters come sliding in, and that wastes time.
“Gravel’s spraying all over. Their legs go apart and it takes them a few extra seconds to get into position to shoot,” she says. “The goal is to come into your next position with your gun up. Having bent knees helps you come into position smoother. Properly bent knees act as shock absorbers and allow you to have a much more stable stance.”