IN order to become familiar with the arms and develop skill in shooting, careful and systematic practice is necessary. This can be most conveniently and intelligently obtained in target-shooting. At a properly equipped range, each shot is " spotted"* as fired, so that the shooter can tell instantly where each shot strikes. This is a great aid and advantage, as it enables the shooter to note the effect of changes in light, wind, slight displacements in sights, etc., and modify his work accordingly. The usual distance is 50 yards in the outdoor matches and 20 yards in the indoor contests. Very good shooting has been done at 100 yards, and even at 200 yards, but such longrange shooting is rarely attempted except by the very best shots. The whole target being so small at that distance, a shot need not be very wild to miss the target. Such an occurrence is very unsatisfactory and disconcerting even to a fairly skillful shot. There is, moreover, nothing to be gained by extremely long-range work. The pistol and revolver are not designed for it, and there is much more pleasure and satisfaction at the shorter ranges.
It is customary and desirable to practise at the target under conditions governing the annual championship matches. This accustoms one to those conditions, and is a decided advantage if one expects to enter the competitions. It is also excellent training for record shooting. In target practice with military arms, regulation full-charge ammunition should be used in all cases, especially when practising rapid-fire shooting. With target weapons, reduced charges are frequently used, and the shooting is generally slow and deliberate.
Target practice is required in all the branches of the military and naval service of the United States. This practice varies somewhat from year to year both in character and amount. The recent adoption of the magazine pistol as the service weapon by the War Department has resulted in a number of changes in the regulation target practice, the conditions and details of which are fully explained in the " Small Arms Firing Manual" for 1914.
The Manual also details a prescribed course of target practice for the Organized Militia, which includes the National Guard of the various states. This is adapted principally to the revolver, as the National Guard has not yet been armed with the regulation automatic pistol. As fast as the latter is issued, the organized militia will adopt the target practice prescribed for the army with the regulation weapon.
The revolver until 1915 was the service weapon of the United States Navy, but it has now been superseded by the automatic pistol (Colt, Government Model, .45 cal.). The 1917 firing regulations are novel and drastic, in some respects are much more elastic than those formerly in effect, and are very practical. They are published in a pamphlet of 62 pages.
Himmelwright, A.L.A.. Pistol and Revolver Shooting. New York: MacMillan, 1922.
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