Article 5 – 2016
Question: I am in my late forties and I noticed that my eyesight is starting to get a bit blurry at distance. I hate the thought of wearing glasses and have had people tell me that you had laser surgery to improve your eyesight. I am not sure about that sort of drastic action, but is it really necessary to have perfect eyesight to shoot well.
Keith Garrett, Sunshine VIC
Answer: I had laser surgery on my eyes after winning the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. I was becoming quite short sighted (trouble seeing things at a distance) and had to wear prescription glasses to shoot in. Did I have to wear glasses? Well no, but it helped see the things that I was shooting at much better! I guess it is a similar to asking how fit do you have to be to run a marathon? The fitter you are the better you will run. With shooting there is no doubt that the better you see something the more accurately you will shoot it.
I was provided with a great example of this recently at a week-long tournament in Wagga Wagga. I was squadded with a former Olympic teammate who was also a former World Champion. I hadn’t shot with this guy for quite some time and I was very surprised how badly he shot one day when it was overcast and dull. I would still rate him as one of the best trap shooters in the country, but when there was low light his performances clearly suffered. Over dinner we discussed his shooting and he admitted he was really struggling. Within the month he was booked into a prominent laser eye surgeon to have his eyesight restored. I would expect a different caliber of shooter the next time we meet.
My advice is to get to your optician as soon as possible. If you need prescription glasses to try then there are plenty of cheap shooting frames on the market that have “pop out” lenses perfect for your optician to insert you’re a prescription lenses. If you hate glasses and don’t want to spend a few grand on laser surgery then there is still the option of contact lenses. I would always advice wearing glasses even if you go down this path simply for safety purposes, but the added bonus of wearing glasses is that it provides the option of wearing side blinders that not only give further safety protection, but also the benefit of sun and wind protection as well as aiding in concentration due to less visual distractions.
Good eyesight is just one of the pieces of the puzzle that determines the makeup of a competitor. Technique and mental toughness are just as important, but there is an old saying in our sport that “you can’t shoot what you can’t see”.
Question: I heard that gun stocks need a “winter” stock and a “summer” stock. Can you explain what that means?
Adam Curry, Leongatha VIC
Answer: I am pretty sure that this term would be referring to the length of the stock. This is commonly measured from the trigger to the end of the recoil pad. If you are shooting in a climate that is cold you will generally find that you are adding layers of clothing to cater for the weather. This is reality is also adding length to your shotgun. Even though the physical length may be no different the “feel” of the firearm will appear longer and in many cases harder to mount to the shoulder. I certainly shortened my stock by 3 mm when I was competing in the colder climates to make the consistency of the shotgun feel the same no matter what weather I was experiencing.