This past September pro rifle shooter, Marcus Blanchard, released his Practical Shooter’s Guide. The book illustrates Marcus’s various approaches to obstacles encountered in rifle shooting and practice tips to improve accuracy. The book is written where both competitive shooters and hunters can gain valuable insight into long rang shooting.
Before getting into all the fancy and unconventional stuff, the first few chapters go over basic fundamentals all shooters should get down if they want to master the advanced methods. These fundamentals include Trigger Control, Sight Alignment, Breathing, and Body Position. Marcus does a great job of explaining shooting terms that the average person may not be too familiar with such as ‘Parallax’ and ‘Sight Picture’. Also Marcus does a great job of explaining some tips on how to adjust your sights and control your breathing without actually having a rifle in your hands. For shooters who like to hunt, Marcus briefly goes over his advice on wind dialing and firing through brush.
“Most wasted time is spent on trying to get into the right position for a shot”
In professional rifle matches, you never know what obstacles they are going to throw at you. Because of this, Marcus explains which positions are most efficient for rooftops, reverse rooftops, slops, side slopes, and tank traps. This is the meat and potatoes of the book. Marcus gives a full explanation and reason for which body position to implement for specific obstacles. What is great is that Marcus not only gives one suggestion for each scenario, but multiple ones so the reader can experiment and decide for themselves which one works best for them.
Marcus goes over the importance of overlooked practices such as support-side shooting, bolt manipulation, and magazine changing. These practices are very much ignored because they are not as fun, and Marcus stresses that is the very reason why they need to be practiced. Like before he explains multiple techniques to experiment with so the reader can figure out which one fits their style.
Marcus then goes over the pros and cons of using bags, backpacks, tripods, bipods, and shooting sticks. Marcus makes a good point that some shooters tend to use equipment during competition just because it’s brand new, even though it’s not necessary. Knowing the situations when to use a bag or bipod could be the difference maker in a match.
Matches are won at Home
Marcus goes over his training regimen at the end of his guide. He is a huge proponent of dry-fire practice. The cost of dry-practice is zero, because no ammunition is consumed and there is no travel time required compared to going to a range. During your dry-practice, competitors can practice position prediction to apply all the tips that Marcus explained earlier in his guide. What is practiced in dry fire is later confirmed through live fire at the range. Marcus provides step-by-step drills that competitors can do at the range such as ’12 Second Position Building Drill’, speed drills, and drills to combat nervousness.
Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide is an easy-to-read book for competitive shooters and hunters. He goes over basic fundamentals that all shooters should learn before they move on to unconventional tactics. What is great about the book is that Marcus gives several suggestions for each obstacle that challenges the shooter to test each position and decide for themselves, which one works for them. Not everyone can afford each piece of equipment, so Marcus teaches shooters how to make the best of what they got. All tips are supplemented with pictures on what your stance should look like, which helps the reader better understand the concepts. I would recommend this book to any competitive rifle shooter interested in taking their game to the next level, or any new shooter who wants to learn the basics of rifle shooting.