ASKING THE EXPERTS
Each month our students and inquisitive callers ask very good questions. We strive to answer them on the spot, but sometimes it takes research and a return call or email. This page is dedicated to answering frequent questions, concepts, general information.
Q. Of the Six Fundamentals,
What is FOLLOW THROUGH, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
A. FOLLOW THROUGH: This means continuing to apply all the other fundamentals throughout the delivery of the bullet to the target. This is true with most sports, the golfer hits a ball and continues the swing until the muscles and skeleton limits the movement. The quarterback throws the ball with a spin and accellerating forward movement of his arm. If any of these stop in mid swing/throw, then the chances are slim to complete the desired outcome.
In shooting, the other five fundamentals (body position, grip, breath control, sight alignment, trigger control) are maintained "allowing the bullet to reach the target" without moving the sights, allowing the recoil to happen, bringing the sights back on the target, and preparing the trigger for another pull.
With proper front sight focus, you should be able to call the shot as it breaks the muzzle. This is all part of follow through.
THE LION STORY
It was 1981 when I attended GUNSITE Rifle School to be the SWAT Rifleman (Sniper) in Law Enforcement. The training was very good and the 40 of us had a good time. All week we focused on follow through with cycling the bolt rapidly after a shot, and getting the scope back on the target. I got to the point I could shoot 3 rounds in 5 seconds out of reflex. Col Cooper was very nice to me. I had lunch, 1 on 1 with him in his house. He gave me the grand tour of his modern fortress. I was impressed with his home, but mostly with him. Jeff Cooper Died in September 2006. I'm sure he had a gun in hand on his last journey.
The last day we had a multiple target course which lasted most of the day. Distances ranged from 50 meters to 400 meters. The course was tough, rocks, hills, sand, hopping over trees, crossing streams, running the whole time. It was difficult to stabilize the scope while breathing so hard.
The last target, was at 110 meters. Jeff Cooper, who was my coach / evaluater, explained that I had 10 seconds from the time I moved to engage the target, which was a lion near a bush. The sun was setting and shadows were long. I scanned the distance as I set the bullet drop compensator by feel and the range finder by pre-set marks. I saw the lion, shifted my feet which activated the clock, 10 seconds to engage. I stepped out and took my shot. Immediately cycling the bolt loading a second shot, I saw something move out of my left eye (always keep your eyes open). I pivoted and fired striking the second lion in the shoulder. This second lion was on a sound activated catapult which was released with the sound of the first shot. It had been hidden flat under a bush about 15 feet to my left flank. After I shot it, it spun to the ground.
There were 40 of us that finished the course with this situation, and only 2 of us cycled the bolt and shot the 2nd threat as it charged.
The whole point, FOLLOW THROUGH allowed the first shot to hit the target, FOLLOW THROUGH allowed me to cycle the bolt while maintaining situational awareness, and FOLLOW THROUGH allowed the 2nd shot to hit the 2nd target as it charged.