Long Range Shooting Tips: Concentration

Long range shooting accuracy takes concentration

Concentration is key to long range shooting

A day at the shooting range is a lot like Christmas morning for a kid; especially when you have a new rifle you’re itching to get to know. Work done, gun case packed and you’re out the door, adrenaline pumping. But just because you’re ready to go  doesn’t mean you are READY to go.

The same way a football player needs to mentally prepare for the big game you need to prepare for a day of hunting. Concentration is as much a part of a successful hunt as knowing your firearm and trigger pull. Accuracy demands concentration – especially when you are doing long range shooting.

Last time, we talked about getting to know your rifle to develop your game. This time, we’re focusing on ways to improve concentration so you can control some environmental factors and learn how to ignore others. Practice this even at the shooting range so it comes naturally out in the field.

Your mental prep doesn’t begin at the shooting range. It begins BEFORE.

Rule One: Limit disturbances

Use the time it takes you to get to the range to clear your mind from any outside influences that aren’t  important. Yes, you might need to pick up milk on your way home but it isn’t something you need to think about just now. The only thing on your mind should be what you’re going to do next.

Rule Two: Breaking it down

Focus on one task at a time, even the small ones, like paying the cashier or putting on your ear/eye protection. By doing this, you’re training your mind to stay in the present moment. It might seem like a good time to joke around with your buddies; it isn’t. Staying focused in the moment amid this hustle and bustle is great practice for when you’re on the hunt.

Rule Three: Focus on yourself

You’re an island. Not literally, of course, but at a shooting range the only person you should be concerned with is yourself (and the range safety officer but that is for a different blog). It will be tempting to look around, to engage as you make your way to your bay. Don’t. What someone else is doing three bays down is absolutely none of your concern. That is unless the range safety officer called a cease fire. Keeping a clear mind and focus on yourself helps you learn where to give your attention and when.

Rule Four: Control what you can

You can’t control people, places or things. But you can control your reaction to them. Even on a hunt there is going to be white noise; a bird chirping or an airplane flying overhead. It may be people talking or a barking dog. Your presence isn’t going to control how or when these things behave. You can only control how you behave. And if you have your game day face on, you’re going to perform like a pro; hitting your mark every time.

Rule Five: Easy come, easy go

Even seasoned hunters can break concentration. Simply stop, close your eyes; inhale/exhale a few times thinking about THE shot and watching it shatter the target. You can get your concentration back again. Wait for it. Then move on with the hunt.

Image credit: Dave Menke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at the rest of our series on long-range shooting tips:

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About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

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