By Monica Taliani
Today was amazing! I woke up to fresh coffee and bagels. I did some yoga and then got ready. I even wore my favorite shorts. I was so excited for today’s adventure…My local gun club was hosting its monthly match!
Not quite where you expected that to go, right? But maybe it was if you frequent any number of the online forums and communities for shooters. A valuable, not to mention entertaining, tool that many competitive shooters use is a range diary. Whether yours is a college ruled model with a lock and hearts dotting the i’s or you utilize an online format, this can be a technique that can prove helpful without ever stepping foot onto the range. All it costs is a little time or the money that goes into a notebook and a pink gel pen.
There are about as many philosophies on how to keep a range diary as there are spent nine cases after one of my practice sessions. The biggest piece of advice when getting started is knowing what your goal is.
If you are not as worried about your quick acceleration to the top of the match results and are more of a “enjoy the ride there” kind of girl, doing a narrative style journal – just like a real diary- would be really effective. You can record your thoughts and adventures on the range for enjoyment later. You might note if you like new equipment but you probably are not going to have pages of data tables and the outcomes of practice sessions. If you choose this type of diary and want to share on it on a public forum it can be a wonderful way to not only meet shooters but to start conversations and ask questions. You will get a lot of feedback and should always try to sort out what answers make sense for you.
If you are a die-hard results-driven type-A personality then doing a more data intensive range diary would suit your needs a little better. This is the perfect place to record what drills you are doing for live and dry fire. You will be able to look back and see your progress and use the data to decide which methods have worked out for you in the past. Narration and personality are not lost in this type of range diary. Reflection on your performance, strengths, and weaknesses will help round out the benefits of keeping records. Without careful analysis of what you are doing all those numbers are for nothing.
If posting your thoughts for all the world to see is not your cup of tea, I highly recommend at least logging onto some of the online forums with an actual cup of tea for some light reading. Other shooters’ accounts of practice, successes, and mishaps are often entertaining, ranging from whimsical to statistical. And it still feels just as satisfying as reading your sister’s diary did when you were a kid.
Until next time, stay safe and shoot straight! – Monica