Despite owning both a Nook and Kindle and having Apple’s iBooks on my phone, laptop and iPad, I’m still a book person. It’s great not lugging books around in my briefcase and having (literally) hundreds of books at my fingertips digitally, but there’s just something about books that resonate with me. Fortunately, my back and knees have played that resonance to a tie, and I’m regularly traveling with a reader full of things I want-or need- to read.
For the analog reader/shooter, consider a copy of Scott Olmsted’s “Make Every Shot Count!” (above). For the shooter who wants great instruction available wherever they are, Shoot Like A Navy Seal by former SEAL Instructor Chris Sajnog (below) is one of the most insightful common-sense instructional books I’ve ever read. The techniques aren’t always the “accepted norms” but the ones I’ve tried worked.
First, for the analog reader, I’d suggest Scott Olmstead’s Make Every Shot Count! (2013 Long Beach, 258pp, color photos, illus., 6×9, hardcover, dj ISBN: 978-1-57157-388-9).
Olmstead’s not worried about helping you shoot tiny groups off a shooting bench with your favorite tack-driver. Instead, he’s more interested in helping you make those tough shots when hunting. You know the ones: the long greenfield shot at the monster whitetail in the fading light and increasing crosswind, or the sudden shot you must take from an uncomfortable position, or my personal nemesis the seemingly simple, offhand shot at the limits of your comfortable shooting distances.
That shot, FYI, makes me nervous because I don’t normally determine “comfortable” shooting distance while standing…but I should. So, too, should you if you want to get an accurate determination of your real “comfortable” distances. It’s safe to say that both these gentlemen are comfortable shooting off-hand at distances where I would be forced to pass.
The first thing you need to know is that both these men can shoot.
Olmstead’s a former Marine, NRA-certified instructor, graduate of some high-speed shooting schools, and editor of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine.
Chris Sajnog is a retired Navy SEAL firearms instructor. If you’re concerned about shooting both quickly and accurately in high-stress situations (think – combat), then you don’t need to know much more than that.
Olmstead uses his experience- and the knowledge he’s collected from other instructors and in the field through his career to give you concrete steps to become a better shooter. Make Every Shot Count! is copiously illustrated with photos showing everything from foot placement to how you create the steadiest shooting platform possible using only your arms and legs.
It’s divided into four sections to give you a by-the-numbers approach to shooting. “Before the Shot” helps you choose a rifle, sight system and bullet combination that’s right for you. “On the Range” takes you through the setup of the rifle and establishing a zero, then how to use available rests in the field to shoot better. “In the Field” is where Olmstead ties the parts together, with instruction on how to carry your rifle so you’re prepared for the quick shot, how to mount the rifle in the field and the techniques for “scanning and assessing”. Finally, “References Every Hunter Needs” is a section that gives information you should have before you consider hunting: where you need to put your shot on an animal (placement), trajectory tables and a list of several shooting schools.
It’s a very comprehensive, detailed look at how to shoot as a hunter that’s not designed to turn you into what I call a “ballroom dancer” style shooter. You know the type, they have a careful choreography to everything that’s done in the field that’s more machine-like than natural. Using Olmstead’s advice, you’ll find yourself rearranging how you put your “kit” together to best suit you- not an instruction manual.
At $29.95, it’s a gift you can give knowing that all good hunters want to be great shooters when it comes time to make the shot-of-a-lifetime. You can get it through Safari Press (www.safaripress.com/Make-Every-Shot-Count/productinfo/Olmstead99z/)
Sanjog’s book is also straightforward in its approach, but it’s not designed for hunting, it’s designed for fast, accurate application of combat marksmanship fundamentals. If you’re a practical-style competition shooter or concerned with personal defense, he’s going to be talking to you.
And his conversational style is like the SEALS: straight forward in their approach and intended to get the job done as quickly as possible. It, however, isn’t one of those books designed to impress you with his combat experiences. He has them, and it comes through in his writing, but his applications of euphemisms (like “customer service” when he means “putting rounds into your target”) not only keep his tone light, they draw very insightful mental pictures. Regardless of your learning style in a VVK assessment (are you best when learning in a Verbal, Visual, or Kinesthetic method), you’ll find his instruction technique works for you.
But there’s a wrinkle in the digital version that makes it especially appealing: you can go to “secret videos” online where Sajnog will take you through some of the techniques he uses when teaching at his Center Mass schools (www.centermass.com).
He also explains the goal of “shooting like a Navy Seal” is to teach you to shoot with “virtuosity” -and he explains by using Michael Jordan’s basketball abilities as an example. What Jordan did, Sanjog explains, was “perform the common, uncommonly well.” That, he explains, requires mastery of the basics…and sets the stage for “How to Shoot Like A Navy SEAL”.
Throughout the book, he focuses on the basics, instead of resorting to a bunch of “high speed tricks” to impress readers. Reading through his emphasis on the basics of the shooting platform, your grip, sight refinement, sight picture, breathing, trigger-control and follow-through, you’ll realize that in combat or competition “you can’t miss fast enough to win.”
Having tried a couple of his suggestions during those pre-dawn hours in a shooting house, I know his insights on the importance of rifle placement when determining your natural point of aim has made already me a significantly better- and faster- shooter.
As he writes, “In firearms training, you really need to nit-pick the fundamentals of marksmanship and insist on them relentlessly with every shot you take.” He offers the common-sense instruction and drills you can master to help you move toward “virtuosity” in your own shooting.
“How to Shoot Like A Navy SEAL” is available digitally for $27 via Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Shoot-Like-Combat-Marksmanship-Fundamentals-ebook/dp/B00F597P90) in the e-book format, or through Center Mass Group’s website.
You can download a 10-page sample via www.sealshooting.com.
The reader/shooter/hunter on your list will thank you for either -or both.