I had always wanted to write a book about shooting. Turns out, I would be asked to publish it.
While spending 2003-2010 as a mobilized small arms instructor with the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program I noticed a trend in the different range of skills found among typical military-trained personnel and skilled marksmen, such as those involved in competition. On average, skilled competition shooter were able to exceed Army “expert” qualification standards by 300% or more. Military qualification standards are such that even an “expert” score may still be a novice-level effort as the course of fire isn’t capable of measuring higher skill.
Note I said “skilled competition shooter.” Not National champion or Olympian, just a competent marksmen among competition shooters. As one of my fellow instructors put it, a shooter that doesn’t finish in the top ten percent at a match isn’t competing, he’s participating. Now, there’s nothing wrong with participation (I still do it sometimes 🙂 but a skilled competitor will manage to top out in the top ten percent of his/her shooting peers. That is good enough to at least earn “leg” points towards a Distinguished badge, earn a Master classification or something similar.
After managing to stumble into the Gunzine game and getting some articles published, I queried an Editor at Harris Publications to write this up. He agreed (see, sometimes gun magazines do publish actual marksmanship material.)
I originally wanted it to be a series of articles but was directed to make it a single, very large article. I titled it 300: Tripling Military Shooting Skills and it published as Shoot 300% Better (http://www.tactical-life.com/magazines/tactical-weapons/shoot-300-better)
Of course, my originally-intended-series-turned-article piece was considerably larger than most. When it wound up in the word processor of a Harris copy editor, he was directed to cut it in half! He sent me the cut-to-fit revision to review in an email with the subject “Buol Chainsaw Massacre.”
Turns out this copy editor was friends with the Editorial Director at Paladin Press. While lamenting over hist chopping and dissecting assignment, he quipped that she should ask me to write a full length book for Paladin about it because, “he practically wrote a damn book about it already.” So I was contacted, contracted and the rest is the ISBN-indexed dead trees package here: