Why Shoot Firearms

Non- Shooters and anti-Shooters never seem to understand the reason why people enjoy the shooting sports. As a lifelong shooter, I often find myself in the untenable position of attempting to explain my sport to these individuals. What is the reason people shoot guns they ask? It starts with the fact that most people do not like violence, whether it is related to war, crime or perhaps even hunting wild game.

That sport shooting necessarily has something to do with violence is probably the number one misconception non-shooters have about this activity. I encourage them to forget about that unrelated philosophical debate for a moment at just talk about SPORT SHOOTING. The second prevalent misconception non-shooters have about shooters is that they think the allure is some kind of rush from things that go "bang” or “a sense of power”? Sport shooting is neither of these things.

What it is really all about is self-control. The practical goal is to hit as close to that little X in the middle of the target when without magnification, if visible at all, looks scant more than a pin prick in your field of view. That little post at the end of the barrel, the front sight, often appears several times wider than the X ring when you aim.

The whole "shooting match" is really just an indicator of how well you silenced your body before, during, and just after the shot. The pin prick you are aiming at is so small and so far away that when you breathe you move enough to miss the whole target board. When you swallow you move enough to miss the paper. When you blink and when your heart beats you move enough to miss the X ring.

So like any meditation activity you need to be aware of and control all of these things. You need to relax the tension in every muscle of your body. You need to reach that state, and do so in spite of the fact that you know at the peak of your stillness an explosion is going to occur mere inches from your face and the firearm is going recoil. I dare to say that attaining the required stillness to hit that X ring in this scenario is a far more challenging meditation than anything that could be required of you in tai-chi or yoga class. How well you have reached the required peak of stillness and self-control isn’t left for esoteric interpretation, there is an indication for you and anyone else to see tacked to a board waiting for you down range. Proof.

Sport shooting is not about feeling power or a simulation of violent activity. Sport shooting is an exercise in self-control. It is a setting for a meditation. It has the components that some people recognize in other meditative activities in self-control, and then some. That's why I and many others enjoy it.