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Winter 2015

Panel discussion ASRA newsletter Fall 2015

How you would advise someone to manage the 15 minute sighting period


Hi Wynn, I like be ready before this time, in the first 15 minutes when you can be in the shooting line I try to prepare all fast and make dry shots and find a good position, in this way you can be really ready to start sighting shots and think about shoot with special attention your body position to the target, relax position and good aiming. When the shoots are in the center I try to think that the competition has started. To prepare me, I run my emotions before the start of the competition and try to relax. In prone I use to shoot in this model in beginning and take a little pause to shoot strong again in the final 10 or 8 minutes to relax the muscles and sight picture. Regards from Spain. Rober


Before my first trip to Camp Perry, I asked others who had been there what to expect. Common advice was to empty the shooting cart of anything not needed, and get wheels. I borrowed a fancy and expensive cart from a fellow competitor, but didn’t pick it up until a few days before I left as he was still using it. The wheels were nice but I was unfamiliar with its layout. I had to figure out how to secure rifle, scope stand and other gear to it at nationals. It also had a propensity to flip. I hadn’t trained for setting up my gear with my usual stool let alone this new one. At each stage, I was just barely ready and very frazzled when the string began. None of this was conducive to good scores, and good scores were forthcoming…

15 min prior


– due to the small amount of time

to set up between relays each

competitor must have their equipment

ready to go;

– the barrel should be cleaned out prior to arriving at the range;

–  a few minutes should be taken to assess the environmental conditions. Ie. light on  target, wind strength, wind direction;  assess the firing point area : flat or angle,  location of mat, amount of space for your mat, lighting. If a change to another firing point is required make

a quick fix plan so you are comfortable for your event.

–  make sure you have enough ammunition for your  sighting in period.


15 min of sighting in period


–  note lighting in rear iris. Adjust the iris immediately.

–  fire a couple of fouling shots regardless what your  barrel is like.

–  start your mental program from the first sighting  shot on the target.

–  fire some shots in as many conditions as possible.

–  another theory is to shoot in one condition and  and maintain your shooting using that one condition.

–  some competitors may take a break in the 15 min.

–  keep firing right up to the 15 min

–  maintain mental program during the 30 sec prior to

the beginning of the competition.




15 Minute Prep.

The relatively new 15 minute prep and sighter period has put a bit of a new spin on how we start our matches. In reality it’s not much different in many ways for most shooters as they tended to use the first 15 minutes of the old time allowance sighting in and getting settled. What is different is that now we are forced to deal with a set amount of time. This is only a problem if we allow it to be. It will affect us if we allow ourselves to feel rushed or ill prepared at the end the time limit. The old saying is “If if you feel like you’re not ready you’re probably right.”

15 minutes is an adequate time to do final prep and sighters but we need to have a plan on how to deal with the change. First just throwing shots down range for 15 minutes isn’t a plan and if those shots don’t go well it can cause all kinds of anxiety. Second the final 15 minutes isn’t a time to be doing prep that can be done before final prep time is called. The match really starts the moment you walk through the door of the range with your equipment. While you are waiting to be called to the line you can start your prep by getting your equipment in order and ready to go. Once you are called to the line you should have a check list for what you can get done before sighting time is called. This is the time you can prepare yourself mentally so you can start the 15 minute prep and sighters relaxed and confident.

When the sighting time starts you need to make the best use of the time allowed. The shots you take during this time need to be quality shots not quantity. Follow your shot plan just like you would for scoring shots. You may not need the whole time to sight in so practice taking time to relax. Take a break if you’re comfortable with the shots you have taken. If there is lots of time remaining you might consider taking a break and leave time for a couple of shots just before the end of the 15 minutes. Have your own timer unless the time is displayed on your monitor.

The time limit is something that is easy to practice. Use a timer and run through the whole match prep from when you are called to the line through to the end of sighters. If you train with others it would be a good training session to run the time together. Get your coach or a volunteer to call the range commands so you can get comfortable with the whole scenario. The more comfortable you can become with the new process the more ready you will be when the “START” command is given.


I would spend the time observing the weather and wind to see what was predominate.  After setting up I would spend part of the 15 minutes dry firing, checking my natural point of aim and then zeroing and seeing where the bullet strike went in the extreme conditions, shooting my last several zero shots in the condition I picked out to shoot the competition.


As I raised the question I feel I must contribute to this discussion.

Before this last quadrennial the start of a match was a call to the line. Prior to that time the athletes could set up their   equipment but not do any dry firing. The athletes received a start command and the athlete had unlimited time to do final preparation and sighting.

The current rule gives 15 minutes to set up equipment and do any amount of dry firing. Athletes then have another 15 minutes to fire sighting shots. At the end of that second 15 minutes a cease fire is called and after about 60 seconds the command is to start. Athletes then have a specified time limit to shoot all record shots.

When this first got rolled out officials got the information confused and I was at two matches that started with shooters to the line. After 15 minutes they called cease fire then called Start for the record shots. Ie equipment set up, dry firing and sighting was all in the initial 15 minutes.

I use a rifle set up that takes a long time to set up so each time this occurred I only had time for a small number of sighters before the start of the match. My solution was to purchase a soft case for my rifle so I didn’t have as much assembly to be ready.

Future matches had the officials correct their rule interpretation and allow the 15 plus 15 minutes.

The point is that presented with a situation I had to work out a plan to counter act a problem.

When you look at the training time and the sighting time look at how you can best make use of it.

Take in your environment. If it’s outdoors be especially observant of the wind and the various flags. If it’s indoors look at the lighting and the potential problems from those around you.

I suggest shoot enough sighters so you feel comfortable then take a break until about 5 minutes left and start your routine so when the cease fire comes you are in a rhythm and can carry on with the start command.



In addition to thinking about and planning how to use your 15 minutes preparation and 15 minutes sighting time, my recommendation is to go one step further and develop some coping strategies. Prepare for and train several different scenarios so that you are confident in being ready for the match to start under a variety conditions.

For example:

Scenario 1)

Athlete has lots of time to come in and set up. They are in position will several minutes of dry firing and aiming exercises completed before the 15 minutes sighting start.


Scenario 2)

Athlete is allowed to set up their equipment at the back of the range, allowed to bring gear to their point 15 minutes before sighting time and then has the 15 minutes sighting time


Scenario 3)

Athlete can bring their gear to their point but not allowed to unpack or set up anything until the 15 minute preparation time is called. If they use more than 15 minutes to set up then they are using up the 15 minute sighting time.


Scenario 4)

Athlete is interrupted in middle of equipment set up time and or sighting time by a range equipment malfunction. Sometimes extra prep is given and sometimes not.


Scenario 5)

During sighting time athlete has an issue with their gear and must get up and fix the problem – no extra sighting time is given.