Reprint with permission from IDPA Tactical Journal
If you watch today’s top-level PCC shooters, they are truly taking the skill of speed shooting to the next level. It is almost unbelievable how fast, and accurate they are running these guns. This article will give you some key tips for shooting your PCC as good as you possibly can. Want to dive deeper? Check out my full training program.
Since I know you want me to get right to the point, let’s get right to the key details. To fire quick follow up shots, recoil control must be maximize, to improve your recoil control, follow these steps (some of these were taken from my book Your Defensive Rifle Training Program):
- Set the feet up so that you are Athletic! This is a key idea that means that your body position and feet must always be set up so that you are stable, and can move. Often times in classes I get specific about foot placement and give examples, but as of lately I prefer student to think in terms of being athletic. For example, a normal Rifle/Carbine stance may have a wide stance with square feet with the strong side foot slightly behind the support side foot. The weight would be on the balls of the feet, and the knees bent. This is athletic. Compare that to a position where the shooter needs to lean around a wall to the right and shoot several targets. A right-handed shooter be better off placing the right foot forward of the left foot in this case since they would be leaning to the right. If the right foot was back, they would be off-balance.
- Keep the weight forward. Most shooters want to blade the body off more than necessary. Squaring up with the strong foot only slightly back allows one to mount the rifle more centered on the chest (see step 4) while staying centered offers the benefit of keeping the pelvic girdle as square as possible to the target improving the stability and mobility of the shooter. “Weight forward” simply means that the nose should be over the toes. One key point here is that if the upper body weight is forward, then to remain balanced (and athletic), the lower body (think glutes!) needs to counter that and be slightly to the rear.
- Grip the gun high with the strong hand. This is a phrase we often use with a handgun, but it applies to a rifle too. Your shooting hand, the one on the pistol grip that controls the fire systems, should be as high on the pistol grip as possible. Once you find this position, ensure you apply grip pressure and pull the rifle straight back into the chest (where the stock is mounted) when shooting. Simply resting the shooting hand there will not do the trick. (Note: ALWAYS ride the safety! A key point with the strong hand position on the AR systems is to ride the safety with that the thumb. If you are shooting with the left hand and do not have an ambidextrous safety on the rifle, you will have to either switch your thumb to the other side of the gun, or use your index finger to manipulate the safety. This ensures that the safety can be clicked off quickly as the rifle is mounted into the shooting position. I have had students fail to disengage the safety many times during training, simply because they did not pay attention to this key point.)
- Mount the gun as centered as possible. This is a big key to controlling recoil and one that almost everyone I have worked with misses to some extent. I, like many of you, was taught a standard bladed stance (by both my father and the U.S. Marine Corps), which is more traditional and places the stock on the outer portion of the shoulder. The problem is that this placement of the stock allows the gun to turn the body as the rifle pushes backward. This causes the sights (or dot) to cycle high right or left (for a left-handed shooter). To find the proper centered spot on your chest, stand mostly square to the target with head erect and looking forward. One key thing to notice here is that mounting the gun in the right sport will dramatically change how effective you are when shooting while moving. If the gun is more centered on the chest, it will tend to move less.
- Grip the handguard as far forward as feasible with the support hand. When mounting the gun, ensure that your support hand is gripping the handguard as far forward as possible while pulling the rifle straight to the rear. Gripping forward on the handguard like this will do several things. First, it will increase the recoil control of that hand due to having greater leverage on the front of the gun. Secondly, it offers a better mechanical advantage if one has to snap the gun to a new target, once again due to leverage. We do this often in stages, so make sure to give it a try!
- Drive the chin into the stock/cheek weld area. This is a secret little key that I stumbled onto in the last few years. One day on the range I realized that while I always worked hard on obtaining a good cheek weld on the stock, I wasn’t putting enough pressure on the stock with my face. Once I pushed my cheek into it with a bit more pressure, the dot settled that much more for me.
- Drop the strong side elbow and drive the shoulder forward. Once you have mounted the rifle in the manner described above, your next focus will be to drop the strong side elbow and drive the shoulder forward. This will do a couple things for you. First, it will flex the front deltoid and pectoral muscle on that side of the chest, which will solidify the rifle’s position and increase the pressure of the stock mounted to the chest. Secondly, it will keep the elbow low and out of the way so that it is less likely to get hit by bullets when shooting around cover or to bump into walls on the stage when you are moving.
- Minimize and press. Now that you have mounted the rifle into a secure “platform,” all you will have to do is minimize the movement and press. The pressure on the gun should be substantial, but also neutral in a sense – straight to the rear except for the pressure required to hold the rifle upright. Therefore, be careful not to pull the rifle off to one side or another.
Let me close with the fact that when you are shooting any long gun, if you learn to apply the right pressure in the right spots you can truly shoot much faster than you think possible. I often have students lock down on a proper stance and mount and then I demonstrate the speed with which they can control the recoil and get hits by pulling the trigger for them. The results are really amazing sometimes. So set up several targets, say at 10, 20, and 30 yards and start working on building that perfect position that will let you really run that Carbine!
Until Then – Train Hard!