Dear Mr. President,

Your shooting form needs a little work.

Frankly, I'd have expected better, what with you being an avid skeet shooter and ardent Second Amendment supporter and all.

But, never fear, Mr. President. I happen to have shouldered a shotgun a few times here and there, and I have this knack for teaching things in terms my student can understand. With a few little tweaks to your form, we'll have you bustin' clays like a bitter clinger real shooter in no time.

First of all, modify your stance. You want those feet about shoulder-width apart, and since you're a lefty (Heh, I slay myself sometimes), you'll want your right foot slightly forward. Picture your right foot pointing at the spot where you want to shoot the bird, and your left pointing just slightly outward. If you picked an imaginary spot in the distance, closed your eyes, and then pointed at that spot with your right finger, your should be pointing at it when you open your eyes. If not, shift your feet until you are. That's called your natural point of aim, Mr. President.

What's that? You thought the gun did all the aiming for you? Not hardly, Sir. And technically, since there's only a front bead and no rear sight to line up, you're not really aiming anything, you're just pointing the… ah, shit. Never mind, we'll get to all that later.

Now, shift your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. Lean into it a little, bending slightly at the waist. Pretend you're bowing to another third world dictator.

No, no, NO. Not that far, Mr. President. We'll get into prone position when we discuss rifle shooting. Just shift that weight forward a bit more… yeah, that's it. Perfect.

Now, about mounting the gun. You're dropping your head, Mr. President. The stock comes up to meet your cheek, never drop your cheek to the stock. Hold your head up straight. You want to look firm, resolute, eyes fixed on the horizon. You know, like a leader with vision.

No, not that way. Now you're wagging your head like a bad Ronald Reagan impersonator. Just keep your head up, eyes forward. Picture yourself posing for another campaign photo like this one:

There, that's much better. Now, when you shoulder the gun, get the stock into the pocket of your shoulder. Lower the heel of the stock a bit. You don't want it riding up above your shoulder. The way you're doing it now, you're only going to get a bruise, unless you're only shooting the gun once for a silly photo op to pander to uninformed voters. That's not what we're doing here, is it?

How many times are you going to have to do this? Well, a round of skeet is 25 shots, Mr. President. In a nice, relaxing day, shooting by yourself, you'd burn up a hundred rounds, easy. Bring a friend, and that's 200 rounds. A party of five could burn up 500 rounds of ammo in a single afternoon.

I know, crazy, right? What kind of sane person would keep an ammo stockpile that big just lying around, huh? I mean, unless you're a terrorist.

Or, you know, an avid skeet shooter like yourself.

Anyhoo, back to mounting the gun. Nestle it right on in there and hold it firmly. It ain't gonna bite ya'.

What's that you say? Now your cheek isn't on the stock at all? Easily solved Mr. President. Just hunch your left shoulder a bit and roll it forward. Lift your left elbow a bit if you have to. That'll elevate the gun stock to your cheek… no, not like that… you look like you have a crick in your neck. Pretend, let's say, that you're chiding Joe Biden for saying something borderline crazy, profane or misogynistic in public again. And you know, you've got him in a headlock and you're giving him a noogie and saying, "I love ya', ya' crazy bastard, and not just because you're the best assassination insurance a black President could ever hope for."

Okay, that's almost it. Now roll your shoulder forward… roll, ROLL your shoulder forward, Mr. President…

Fer Christ's sake, will someone get Carolyn McArthy over here to explain to the President how the shoulder thing goes up, please?

Okay, that's better. Now, let's talk about pointing the gun. Move your right hand back a little bit on the forearm, and point your right index finger at the bird. It's that simple, just like pointing your finger. Yes, I know the Secret Service agents aren't doing that. This is a little trick I use to help novice shooters.

Yes, Mr. President. I know you're not a novice. You shoot skeet all the time. Or more accurately, you probably shoot at skeet all the time, with form like yours. What I'm trying to do is help you hit those little targets. Just do as I suggested. Pretend you're calling on another sycophantic reporter serving up a softball question, if it helps.

Okay, last thing. It's about your swing. No, not undecided voters, Mr. President. I mean your shotgun swing. I mean, in that photo, you almost look… well… stationary, like it was posed or something. And I know that couldn't be true. I mean, that would be way too "George-Bush-in-a flight-suit-on-a-carrier-deck," right?

See, to hit a moving target, unless it's moving directly away from you, like in trap, your shotgun barrel has to be moving as well. You have to swing, and follow through.

Yes, Mr. President, just like your golf swing. Very good.

Now, while you have your feet pointing toward the spot where you want to engage the bird, you want to twist your body a bit to face the house the bird will be coming from. Then, when you see the bird, point that index finger, swing it through the bird, and pull the trigger. If you do it right, you're breaking the bird right as your body passes through your natural point of aim.

Just remember to follow through. If you don't follow through, you'll hit behind the bird every time. Just think of the last two months of Mitt Romney's campaign, and do the opposite.

Now, go out there and bust some birds. Next week, we'll explain length of pull, and why adjustable stocks are not a bad thing…

Browse by Category