Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/749

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Popular Science Monthly


��instantly as the sights are alined on the run- ning mark and yet go smoothly and accurately, not with the convulsive jerk on the trigger by which the untrained man fires the rifle

��careless with rifle sights; the matter of care is a habit. Moreover, the use of the transit and the tape and the stadia rod make for delicacy of touch and training of the muscles.

���Here is the trained eye, the trained hand and the perfect command over the muscles which the rifleman needs

��hurriedly. This sort of shooting forms the greater part of rifle shooting in trench warfare, outside the highly special- ized pursuit of sniping which calls for the highest skill of the trained shot.

Wherefore we find by theory, which is borne out by practice, that the men with highly trained hands and eyes make the best rifle shots, or else they make good rifle shots more quickly than the untrained, un- skilled man from civilian life. Sometimes the man who is stubborn enough to per- severe, gets the training of muscle and eye he needs with the rifle itself, and turns out to be a fine shot, but his path is always more difficult.

Surveyors make good rifle shots. One of the best rifle shots I ever saw, a man who practiced but little but still shot on the American Pan-American rifle team of 1913, was a surveyor. Considering the amount of rifle shooting he did, he came near being under the mythical classifica- tion, "born rifle shots," but a study of his work in civil life removed the time-worn legend as ex- planation for his skill. The surveyor possesses to a high degree the ability to aline the sights accurately and to repeat the process from shot to shot. Care- fulness is acquired by him by long practice. The man who can run out a series of levels for twenty miles for a canal is not likely to get

���Some of the finest shots in the army were formerly dentists

��Why the Den- tist and the Sur- geon Ought to Be Crack Shots

Surgeons and dentists make fine rifle shots. More of them than of any other one pro- fession, are found in the ranks of skilled marksmen and some of the finest shots in the country wield scalpel or the various electrical dental instruments during their business hours. Here is the trained eye, the trained hand, and the per- fect command over the muscles that have to do with alining the rifle and letting it off. No man able to work neatly around the exposed nerve in the back of a tooth is lacking in hand-training and co- ordination. No man who can cut skillfully around a pulsat- ing tube carrying the life stream is going to be both- ered long in mastering the quick but smooth release of the trigger when the eye says that the mark is perched on the front sight.

The mechanic (the skilled mechanic, not the butcher) has the ad- vantage over the man who has used the pick and shovel to make his daily bread. Here again is eye training, the care- ful use of accurate tools, and the ability to make the hands do what the mind tells them to do.

One of the best "natural born" woman pistol shots of my acquaintance was a girl who had done china painting for years and who had acquired the smooth, certain

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