Feedback = Improvement

Feedback will make it clear what you need to work on.

Immediately after shooting your target, DryFire shows you a picture of your shot-cloud and its relationship to the clay. It also provides five vital facts that will help you apply your training to a real-world shooting environment.

DryFire takes your training seriously and will give you this valuable feedback:

1. Did you hit or miss the clay.

2. How far in front of or behind the target was your shot-cloud. The distance, shown in feet and inches, is from the center of the clay to the center of the shot-cloud.

3. How far above or below the target was your shot-cloud. The distance, shown in feet and inches, is from the center of the clay to the center of the shot-cloud.

4. The distance, in yards, from your muzzle to the shot-cloud at the time you hit or missed the clay.

5. The time, measured in hundredths of a second, from the launch of the clay until the shot-cloud hit or missed the clay.

Let’s start with an incredible statement. Shotgunning is the most difficult sport in the world to perfect.

Please explain: What kind of feedback do we see visually when we shoot at a target?

We see one of four conditions
     Smoke – nothing left
     Visible pieces – broken, but it didn’t disappear
     Two visible pieces – it counts
     Miss – No visible piece break off the target

Can I learn anything by “reading” the direction the pieces traveled?
Smoke – The center of the shot-cloud was very close to the center of the target as
               the highest density of pellets per square inch occurs in the center of the shot-cloud.
               Therefore it is a reasonable assumption.

Visible pieces – Very little can be learned because of two factors:

First Factor: The clay is rotating in a clockwise direction as viewed from above and therefore, if a pellet hits the front edge of the target the pieces (because of centrifugal force) are predisposed to fly to the left.  If the pellet hits the clay near the far edge (example: climbing target where the top of the clay is visible) centrifugal force will throw the pieces to the right.

Second Factor: The pattern from a shotgun produces a pattern distribution, which has the highest pellet density in the center and becomes less dense as you move away from the center.  This creates very low-density places (on the outer edges of the pattern) where only one pellet may hit the target. If the center of the shot-cloud is to the left of the clay and the only pellet to hit the clay is near the front right edge, two things will happen.  Because of the rotation of the clay, the small pieces will be thrown to the left because of centrifugal force and the larger pieces will move to the left because all the pellet energy was applied to the right edge.  You see all the pieces flying to the left and assume the center of your shot-cloud was to the right of the target.Wrong!!!!

Two visible pieces – Very little can be learned.

Conclusion: In the outdoor world it is not possible, from the physical evidence, to determine where the center of your shot-cloud is in relation to the center of the target.  And this holds true whether the target was hit or the target was missed.  When you hit a target, but have no feedback because you are outdoors, how can you tell where your shot-cloud was in relation to the target. And without this information there is nothing you can do to improve.

A parallel example:  You are playing basketball.  You take a shot and close your eyes the moment you felt the ball leave your fingertips.  Your friend tells you, “you missed the basket.”  Now, what are you going to do on the next shot to improve your accuracy?  Simple knowing you “missed the basket” doesn’t give you the feedback you need to get better.

Seriously, think about it.

For a greater understanding of why you can’t read a break, get a copy of “Sporting Shotgun Performance” written by Dr. A. C. Jones (his web-site is  He explains in detail a test he performed with a high-speed camera and eight (8) experienced shooters who tried their best to “read 23 target breaks.”  As they watching a video of the 23 targets (the video was running at normal speed) they were asked to decide whether the center of the shot-cloud was to the left or right of the target. All 23 targets were shot and videoed on a Skeet field (Station 7 Low House). The shooter was asked to shoot the target at the stake (a distance of approximately 21 yards) and shoot 3 target widths (approximately 12 inches) to the left or the right of the target. The video footage was then viewed in slow-motion and it was determined exactly how many pellets hit each target and where the pellet or pellets hit the clay. The 8 experienced shooters were then asked to watch the normal speed video and mark on a sheet of paper whether the shot-cloud was to the right or left of the target center. When the 8 shooters had completed their task and the left and right information was tallied, it was learned there were 93 correct answers and 91 incorrect answers. That’s 1 answer better than 50%.  From this poor result, we could assume that the eight shooters would have done just as well if they had not seen the videos and simply guessed which of the 23 targets were shot to the right and which were shot to the left. The law of probability would suggest a 50/50 split.

So much for “Reading a Target Break.”