Practice Tips From Jim “Long Hunter” Finch

In one of the latest videos from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Jim “Long Hunter” Finch talks about how he goes about practicing for a match. While not everything about Cowboy Action Shooting or, for that matter, competition is applicable to daily life, some of the practice tips he suggests are.

I really like his suggestion that you practice not what you are with comfortable with but what makes you uncomfortable. In his case, as a natural right-hander, he’s more comfortable drawing from his right side as well as with moving left to right. In his practice sessions, he reverses that so that he is practicing what doesn’t come natural to him.

Frederick Winslow Taylor Would Be Proud

If you have ever taken any intro management course, you have probably come across the name Frederick Winslow Taylor. I’m sure the same could be said for an intro industrial engineering class. Taylor is considered the father of scientific management and was one of the first management consultants. He brought a systematic study of tasks (time and motion studies) to the efforts to improve industrial efficiencies. He was concerned with stuff like the size of a shovel and how big a scoop a worker should take of coal for optimum efficiency.

So what does a late 19th and early 20th century management consultant have to do with shooting? Watch the NSSF video below featuring champion Cowboy Action shooter Jim “Long Hunter” Finch. Listen to him discuss ways to cut down your time in competition with emphasis on how you pick up the rifle, how you shoulder the rifle, and how you lay it back down on the table. If that isn’t a time and motion study I don’t know what is.

Jim, from what I understand, is a gunsmith and a shooting instructor but his explanations of how and why he does things in SASS competition could teach an industrial engineer a thing or two.

You Can Learn Something From Cowboy Action Shooting

I’ve never participated in cowboy action shooting but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn something from it. In one of the most recent shooting tips videos put out by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Jim “Long Hunter” Finch shows some single and double loading techniques for a pump shotgun. While Jim is using a Winchester Model 97, his techniques would work just as well with a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870.

Even if your pump shotgun has an extra long extension tube and you have 7 or 9 shells in the tube, these techniques could be invaluable if you need to switch from buckshot to slugs or vice-versa. I’m no expert but it just makes sense to me to practice some of these techniques regardless of whether you are using the shotgun for hunting or self-defense.

UPDATE: It occurred to me early this morning that if you are trying to load the shotgun while you have a full tube, there are other techniques you have to add in to prevent the round(s) in the tube from loading.

Using Your Lower Body To Stay On Target

In another of the excellent short training videos from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, cowboy action shooter Jim Finch aka Long Hunter shows how to use your lower body effectively to increase both speed and accuracy.

While Jim is discussing this in the context of a SASS competition, I think his technique is transferable to other competitions like IDPA. More importantly, I could see this as being transferable to defensive situations where you face multiple attackers and no effective cover or concealment. While moving may be preferable, it isn’t always possible.