Shooting for Self-Mastery

I watched a couple of videos on YouTube last night showing some drills that a shooter can move through in order to build confidence. Doing so was productive in giving me ideas on how to progress towards mastery of this skill.

Where I am right now, in relation to handguns:
My first shot is good. Point of impact and point of aim are aligned and within a tolerable margin of error.

As I continue to discharge the firearm, however, recoil-induced flinch begins to negatively impact my trigger discipline. I had a friend record me shooting in slow-motion so that I could see it for myself. The last time that I did this exercise, I made it to the sixth round in the magazine before flinch began sending my rounds off of their initial point of aim.

Upon reviewing this footage, I slowed down, and conducted an exercise in order to better visualize the issue that I was having with follow-up shots. I loaded a single round into the handgun and dropped the magazine to prevent the slide from locking back on empty. I took my first shot, set the same point of aim, and squeezed the trigger again knowing full well that the gun wouldn’t go off this second time. I repeated this exercise a few times, slowly and deliberately.

By maintaining the same point of aim throughout, I’m also able to diagnose any discrepancies between point of aim and point of impact.

The next time that I go pistol shooting, I intend to try HaleyStrategic’s Venti 100 Shot Wake Up Drill:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi5eZqc9H7I

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to shoot the AR-15 with brothers Basil and Brian W. I shot at the same type of target at 25 yards, then at 50 yards, and once again at 25 yards, discharging 70 rounds altogether. I was only able to retain the first of the three targets that I shot at – I wish I’d gotten the other two as well for comparison’s sake, because, well, data. I shot from a seated position.

The diameter of the red circle on the large target is 5-7/8″, and the diameter of the same circle on the small targets is 3″.

1-5/8″ diameter on large target, extreme
2-1/8″ diameter on small target (left), extreme
1-1/8″ diameter on small target (left) w/o outlier
1-3/16″ diameter on small target (right)

Consider the separate skills that make up shooting

Marksmanship: Precision & Accuracy

Mechanics / weapon handling: Controls, reloads, trigger action, recoil management

Defensive shooting: firing from draw

Order Placed: Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Earmuffs

I wanted some hearing protection that would allow me to remain aware of my surroundings.

Enter the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro electronic earmuffs, R-01902 (MSRP $99.99, Amazon.com).

This set of ears is targeted towards pistol shooters, and features a 30dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). They are powered by a pair of AAA batteries, and have a rated runtime of 450 hours. Additionally, in the event the earmuffs are unintentionally left on, there is an automatic power shut-off after four hours.

Noise Attenuation Data for Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro, reproduced from the user manual

Tested and approved in accordance with ANSI S3.19-1974 Standard at Michael & Associates, Inc. (in passive mode, electronics switched off)
Frequency Mean Attenuation, dB Standard Deviation, dB
125 23.7 2.9
250 27.8 2.3
500 35.9 1.9
1000 38.8 3.5
2000 38.5 2.7
3150 41.2 3.2
4000 39.3 2.2
6300 41.0 2.1
8000 41.9 2.7

User-replaceable, foam-filled ear cushions. Hygiene kit Model No. 1030220 (~$14, Amazon.com)

Aimpoint Micro H-1 2 MOA Unboxing and First Impressions

Two items of note before we dive in:
1) this is my first time playing with anything from Aimpoint, though you could say that I’m familiar with the legend of the name, and
2) I’m probably spoiled for unboxing, so take this with a grain of salt.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 (~$600, Amazon.com) has been on the market since 2007. It’s made to be used whenever and wherever needed: a single battery will power the red dot sight for up to five years of continuous operation at position 8 of 12, and over ten months at position 10 of 12.

The box is small and minimalistic, measuring in at x ( x cm). It’s almost boring in semi-matte black, with the playful addition of a clipped corner. A faintly-lit photo of the Micro H-1 in profile adorns three faces of the box.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 box, viewed head-on
The Aimpoint Micro H-1 box, viewed head-on

I was surprised to find nothing securing the flap from being opened. No tamper-evident sticker: quite unusual in my estimation for a high-value product.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 box, viewed from an angle
The Aimpoint Micro H-1 box, viewed from an angle

Upon opening the flap, we are greeted by two inserts. One is a leaflet for four free hunting videos (worth $180!) redeemable upon product registration. The other is the manual (PDF available on Aimpoint’s website: http://us.aimpoint.com/fileadmin/user_upload/2015_Web_Content/Product_PDFs/User_Manuals/Sights/Micro_Series/12035-8_Manual_Micro_Series_ENG_FR_DE_ES_SE_RU_LoRes.pdf)

Literature enclosed within the Aimpoint Micro H-1 box
Literature enclosed within the Aimpoint Micro H-1 box

Pulling aside the foam insert reveals the sight (fitted with rubber bikini lens cover), an Aimpoint Micro tool, and the CR2032 battery (not pictured). These are packaged tightly by another foam insert that lines the bottom of the box.

Aimpoint Micro H-1 box with flap open
Opening the flap and removing the top layer of packing material exposes the Aimpoint Micro H-1 red dot sight and tool

I used the Micro tool to remove and reinstall the battery cap. The power intensity adjustment ring is tight and precise, with a knurled ring for easy operation, and internal stops.

An angled shot of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover on
The Aimpoint Micro H-1 comes with a bikini cover to protect the front and rear elements

The Micro H-1’s housing and mount are both made of anodized high-strength aluminum, finished in a semi-matte black. It looks right at home on any modern sporting rifle (assault rifle [call it whatever you want to call it]).

An angled shot of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover on, alternate angle
An alternate view of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover on

I took a photo of the sight when viewed from the front with the dot set to maximum intensity.

Aimpoint Micro H-1 viewed head-on
This is what the target sees

While the Aimpoint Micro H-1 comes with a base for mounting to Weaver-style rails, it is advisable to combine it with a fixed-height riser for mounting to an AR-15. The use of a riser brings up the height of the optical axis for co-witnessing with iron sights. I wasn’t aware of this until I talked about optics with Basil W. Once zeroed in, I’m confident that this sight will enable me to accurately group shots at 100 yards.

An angled shot of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover removed
The Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover removed
An angled shot of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover removed, alternate view
An alternate view of the Aimpoint Micro H-1 with bikini cover removed

Compared to other products offered by Aimpoint, the Micro H-1 is a step above the the Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO), and lags behind the nightvision-compatible Micro T-1. There is a newer Micro H-2 available, as well as a Micro T-2, both announced earlier this year.