Some of the geometry issues can be addressed by changing recoil pads and there is some cold weather clothing out there that will help with the range of motion issue. Eventually, however, the amount of clothing needed to beat the cold will exceed the limits of the thinnest recoil pad and will restrict your movement.
So what to do? During times of extreme cold you can work on things that do not involve gun mount or swing. A bone chilling day is very distracting and you can use it to your advantage:
- The discipline required to maintain hard focus on a target when you are uncomfortably cold will make you a stronger shooter. The following summer you will find it easier to block out distractions and zero in on targets with laser-like focus.
- You can strengthen your pre-shot routine. Regardless of what that routine is, step into the box, ignore the cold and run through your routine. A consistent routine under these circumstances is a strong routine.
- Strengthen your post-shot routine. Step out the box, ignore the cold and reinforce all of the positive aspects of shooting the station, close the books on any issues you may have encountered, and ready yourself to break all of the targets in the next station.
OK, so all of that may be a little academic, and since most of us shoot at a level that does not require such intensity, winter shooting also offers:
- Fun. Provided you are properly dressed, getting out there and shooting with other like-minded (crazy) shooters is a ball. Everyone will complain about the cold, but they’ll all come back next week and do it again.
- Almost no rabbits. Rabbit targets hibernate as soon as the first snow falls. Well, mostly hibernate, the Scarborough Fish and Game Club in Maine has access to a lot of heavy equipment and they will clear a very large area to throw some rabbits.
- Bragging rights. If you have shot on a particularly cold day, from that day forward when the topic of cold weather shooting comes up, you can chime in with your cold weather story. There are a lot of people who regularly shoot in the high 90s. There are only a select few of us who have shot in the minus 20s.
For those of us in the higher latitudes, the winter can make us stronger and strengthen our connection with the sport. And I always take solace in the fact that, around February, just as it feels as if winter will never end, it’s time for Caribbean Classic and Seminole Cup in Florida! Grab your gun and suntan lotion!
Ken is a technical writer and has spent the majority of his career documenting storage hardware and software products for start up companies. Although start ups demand long hours, he always finds time to get to the club and break some clays. Ken is not a shooting instructor and he is not a professional shooter. He’s part of the majority of people who love to shoot clays just for the sheer fun of it.