"Our research shows that if you will practice this drill everyday, twice a day (10 minutes per session), for three weeks prior to duck hunting, that your shot/kill ratio will improve by 35 to 50 percent," says Gil Ash, shotgun instructor with the Optimum Shotgun Performance Shooting School.
Gil and his wife Vicki have been training students for 25 years with a practice drill that uses a Mini Mag-Lite, Scotch tape, an unloaded shotgun and a dark room in your home. This flashlight drill will perfect your shotgun mount by building muscle memory and making your gun mount part of your subconscious.
The Flashlight Drill
Wrap a piece of tape several times around the flashlight tube just under the head of the light. Then insert the butt-end of the flashlight into the barrel of your UNLOADED shotgun and snug it into the tape so it won't fall out.
Next, select a room in the house where you can dim the lights so that the wall is still visible. Choose a corner of the room where the ceiling and the wall come together to form a seam. This seam will serve as the target's flight path.
Left to right: With the flashlight on and your gun in the normal ready position, stand about 15 feet away from the wall. Keep the beam focused in the left-hand corner of the room and begin to move the beam from left to right along the seam. Don't allow the beam to move above or below the seam. As you begin to move to the right, start bringing your gun toward your face (never bring your head to the gun, this will affect your shot). Your breakpoint or where you will take the shot should be somewhere in the middle of the wall. Only as the beam enters the breakpoint should the stock touch your face and the simulated shot be fired. Move slowly and smoothly as you practice this drill.
Right to left: To practice this shot, swap the left corner for the right corner as your starting point.
"It takes between 2,500 to 3,000 times of doing something before you can do it subconsciously," explains Gil. Once you do this drill everyday for three weeks you will have completed the gun mount about that many times.
To Learn More:
To learn more about the flashlight drill and other ways to improve your shot, check out Gil and Vicki Ash's DVD "Perfecting Your Gun Mount," and their book "If It Ain't Broke, Fix It." You can find these items and much more at the Optimum Shotgun Performance Shooting School.