You can’t hit what you can’t see. OK, I know that some States have programs for hunters with seriously impaired vision, but for most shooters good vision is a necessity. Sure, many of us wear corrective lenses, but wouldn’t it be nice to improve our vision simply by exercising our eyes?
I’m currently following a blog by gun writer Peter Burlingame, who describes various eye exercises to improve our vision. The eye moves in three different ways: Vergence (crossing your eyes), saccades, and pursuit.
Warning! Like any exercise, start slow and work up to it gradually. If you have any physical issues with your eyes, consult an eye doctor before starting an exercise program.
Here’s the exercise to strengthen the muscles used for vergence. These muscles are used for judging distance to an object and for close-up work such as reading, threading a needle or focusing on your front sight:
With both eyes open, hold up your finger at arm’s length and focus on the tip. Slowly bring your finger back toward your nose. You should feel your eyes begin to converge and cross. Stop moving your finger when you see two images of it. Repeat the exercise. Do this every day and over time you should be able to gradually move your finger closer to your nose before you see the two images. Eventually, the goal is to touch your nose. This may take a while, so be patient.
When you can touch your nose, move your finger tip out to arm’s length. Bring it back to your nose and back out gain. Repeat several times.
We get a lot of customers with concealed carry permits coming into the range to practice and improve their shooting skills for self defense. Most limit their practice to simple marksmanship and that’s OK, because our range really isn’t set up for more advanced tactical drills. Good marksmanship and the correct self-defense mindset are important parts of any self-defense plan. But how many people really think through the entire scenario of using a pistol for self defense?
I’d like to share with you the story of an American soldier who took mindset and pistol marksmanship to a new level. His name was Alvin York and he was an American soldier who fought in France in World War One. Fighting in the trenches, a German sergeant and five soldiers armed with rifles and fixed bayonets charged York’s position from a distance of only 25 yards. York’s rifle held five rounds and was slow to reload. He drew his 1911 pistol (which had a 7-round magazine) and proceeded to shoot the last soldier (number 6) at the back of the group. The other Germans didn’t know York had shot one of their comrades and continued to charge York’s position. He then shot soldier number 5 and then number 4 and so on until only the German sergeant was still running and then York shot him. York did all of this with one accurate shot to each soldier and all in less time than it took for the Germans to run 25 yards to York’s position.
Alvin York won because he had the correct mindset to win and because he practiced accurate, aimed fire.