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Shooting offhand

This report covers:

  • B-I-L
  • Discovery
  • Success!
  • Offhand rifle shooting
  • The egg shot
  • Summary

Shooting standing up! Wow! What a novel concept. And yet that is what handguns and long guns were made for. We only shoot them off the bench to find out how accurate they are and perhaps to find the best pellet. Or, do we? Today we look at shooting the way it is supposed to be.


My brother-in-law Bob came up from Huston yesterday, just to say hi and visit for a while. We talked about many things and guns was one of them. He told me that his rifles are all quite accurate but his Predom Lucznik air pistol wobbles around when he tries to shoot it — even when he holds it with both hands!

Welcome to the club, Bob. Wobbling pistols is what being a human is all about. That’s what we try to cancel when we shoot. In fact that’s what I talked about when I wrote about holding a pistol while shooting in the series Teach me to shoot. As I wrote there, Lieutenant Colonel Bonsall, who was my squadron commander (in cavalry, the same as a battalion) was a holder of the Distinguished Pistol Shot medal — a marksmanship honor that’s rarer than the Medal of Honor. Holders of that medal are automatically included in the final shoot-off for the Olympic pistol team.

Distinguished shooter medal
Distinguished Shooter-Medal.

Colonel Bonsall taught me how to hold a 1911A1 pistol after which my groups shrank incredibly. Because of his training I bought a 10 meter target pistol when I later served in Germany and eventually I became a nationally ranked 10-meter target air pistol shooter. And it was what I discovered that made all the difference.


My discovery is that there are ways to reduce the wobble to very low levels. We can never get rid of it entirely, but we can get it so low that there are people who can shoot a pistol and hit the period at the end of this sentence from 33 feet away, nine times or more out of ten!

The secret is the body’s skeleton. If you read the report I linked to above you will discover that holding the pistol the same way and standing the same way (that’s in 10-meter pistol shooting — Part 1) all the time is 90 percent of the answer. The remaining 10 percent is in the rest of the hold to include the arm, the elbow, the wrist and rolling the arm to stretch and relax the muscles of the shooting arm plus breathing and the raising and lowering of the pistol. But a full 90 percent is in the hold and stance. In fact, Once the shooter gets into position the feet should not be moved again for the rest of the match.


I once demonstrated this in the most difficult way in the report titled, Converting an anti-gunner AND teaching a person to shoot 10-meter pistol. Though I don’t talk about the placement of the feet in that report, you can bet that I used that technique to teach the guy how to shoot.

Offhand rifle shooting

Bob was responsible for today’s report, but I was looking for a way to include the next thing in a report anyway. He just made it easier.

I recently wrote about my difficulties shooting the Hatsan Flashpup — and every other bullpup on the planet! Yesterday I wrote about stock design, good versus bad. And before that I wrote about trick shots. I guess I was heading towards a “shooting offhand” report all along. My plan was to use one of my vintage Diana spring piston rifles. Yes, Yogi, my vintage Diana breakbarrels are lightweight, convenient to hold and shoot and reasonable accurate. So fat old BB was going to stand on his hind legs and shoot like a man for you.

And then I wrote the Trick Shots report. In so doing I discovered Kirsten Joy Weiss, a young, attractive and extremely talented trick shooter. I put her splitting the playing card trick video in the Trick Shots report, but the very next video was a long range shot that I had to watch. Well, I didn’t have to — I wanted to.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

The egg shot

In that video she breaks an egg at 300 yards shooting a semiautomatic .22 rimfire offhand! Guys, I have to tell you the only way BB can break eggs at 300 yards is if he shoots down a 300-yard deep well with a pile of eggs lining the bottom. Even then he would need luck on his side.

But this woman is one of the best natural shots I have ever seen. Remember that I admitted some years ago that Crystal Ackley out-shot me on American Airgunner the first time she tried shooting the Makarov BB pistol that I was supposed to be showing her. I forget how that clip was edited but if it shows anything other than me getting embarrassed it was done in editing.

Let’s now all watch Kirsten Joy Weiss break an egg at 300 yards, shooting offhand with a .22.


So guys, rifles and pistols are made to shoot, and not just on the bench!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

48 thoughts on “Shooting offhand”

  1. I got tired of seeing all the great groups others were getting from the bench and started shooting from a rest and lo and behold! Tight groups! I still shoot standing though, to get at least a little bit of the exercise benefit; I’ll also walk over and look at the target about 35 yards away every few shots.

    Maybe this report will get me back into offhand shooting 🙂

  2. B.B.,


    Thank you for the video.
    Although she may have natural talent at shooting she has way more CONFIDENCE steming from the hours and hours practice she has under her belt.
    I am also glad that she highlighted PERSEVERANCE and not just calling it a day when the egg did not just blow up after the first shot Gameboy style.


  3. Tom,

    I am a fan of shooting my rifle offhand as that presents the biggest challenge for me. Shooting from a rest shows me the accuracy potential of my guns. It is up to me to achieve something resembling that accuracy without a rest when I shoot offhand.


    PS Section Offhand rifle shooting 2nd paragraph last sentence: “So fat old BB was going to stanmd (stand) on his hind legs and shoot likje (like) a man for you.”

  4. B. B. I hate you.
    You could have this video posted yesterday and save us from many arguments regarding stocks. Beside the capability and talent of the gorgeous lady it shows why ugly plastics and metals are used in very expensive and accurate guns that are made to hit whatever their user aims at.
    Maybe you can include it in tomorrow’s blog.

    • Bill,

      These reports are writing themselves. All I do is key them into the computer. You readers are as responsible as anyone for what is being written.


    • Bill,

      This video would not have eliminated the argument about stocks. Do you have any idea how much that stock she is using costs?! Likely more than my entire airgun collection. It is also adjustable one hundred ways from Sunday.

      For a mass-produced stock, no matter what it is made of, to fit anyone “just right” straight from the factory, is pure coincidence. It was like I was saying, my Izzy fits my hand, but will not fit most other people’s hand because I shaped it to fit mine. You can reshape wood, but reshaping plastic is very difficult.

      • R. R.
        I hope you will forgive me for some more teasing. First I think plastic and metals are generally cheaper stuff and those stock assemblies COULD be cheaper than wood with same characteristics (adjustable etc). Of course something that looks so futuristic, like the high end stocks, MUST be sold as very expensive. I believe you understand.
        One other thing my friend is that the lady’s gun was also semi auto… Remember that conversation we had about the AEA?

        • Bill,

          Yes, it COULD be cheaper than a decent wood stock, but like you said, the companies like large profit margins. As for semi auto, I myself prefer a bolt / lever action.

          I do have a synthetic stock air rifle, a Maximus. I have also added a Limbsaver slip on butt pad to lengthen the pull. I will be adding a cheek pad to adjust the height also.

    • RidgeRunner,

      Her stock looks like a Volquartsen Inferno Stock tp me.
      And hear is Kirsten shooting it: https://volquartsen.com/retail_mailers/2018-03-07-have-you-seen-this

      So i think it is less costly than your entire airgun collection.
      Unfortunately the stock has been long since DISCONTINUED because grumpy old shooters didn’t embrace the look…of the stock.


  5. B.B.,
    Kirsten Joy Weiss…what can I say? She’s like Annie Oakley and Quigley rolled into one!
    Even all of her misses on that egg were amazing shots!
    Thanks for including that video in the report; it gives us something for which to strive. 😉
    Blessings to you,

    • thedavemyster,

      “Even all of her misses on that egg were amazing shots!”
      I was thinking about the very same thing after shutting down the electronics last night before going to bed. Weiss was probably shooting a 1/4″ MOA (0.290888 Milliradians{MRAD}) rifle.
      She was shooting with about 1+MOA/1-MRAD accuracy on that day since an egg is about 2″ long and she was shooting all around it but VERY CLOSE.


  6. Interesting to see a video of someone plinking long distance. What handicap system would one need to join in the fun? 🙂

    I’m with Bob, I have to admit. But it’s not just my handguns: while I remain as steady as a rock, all of my airguns wobble. I should stabilise that rock! 🙂

    By the way Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), how is Nan? Is her right wrist back to normal yet?

    • hihihi,

      Looks or shooting?


      PS: If you mean personal shooting handicap the MRAD/MOA you can shoot to on average (median)
      and the ratio to her apparent 1MRAD/1MOA ability would be a starting place.

      • My apologies shootski for expressing myself poorly, an observation first made way back when… (I was a kid in school). 🙁

        I meant to ask, what leveller could be applied, to allow lesser ‘snipers’ to plink competitively with someone like Ms Weiss. If it was me, it would have to be twenty shots or more for every one of hers, or, I get to shoot from a benchrest and, when it’s her turn, she shoots offhand and gets tickled, etc… 🙂

        I shall have to research those anagrams to fully understand your comment – you would be surprised how few I understand (and how often I don’t bother to find out). 🙂

    • hihihi,

      Just having fun with your post ;^)

      Just think of them as SMALL cones extending straight out from the Muzzle that contain the Point Of Impact (POI) at whatever distance your target is at. In this particular case she kept everything inside of 100mm (3″+ a little) at 300 yards. It took her projectile about 1/2 second to get to the target egg that is the Time Of Flight (TOF) so if your airgun pellet takes about 1/2 second to get to your target you are about equaling the difficulty of her 300 yard shots.


  7. B.B.

    Please repeat the way that you recommended to “lock” you elbow when shooting one handed pistol.
    I think I have done it correctly a few times. Sometimes I run out of room then shooting inside in my small abode.


  8. I get so tired of people posting their 1 hole groups shot from a rest on airgun forums. The comments generally say something like ‘great shooting’. My reply is usually ‘now try that standing!’
    I also get a bit irritated by people saying they’re ‘pistol’ shooting when they’ve attached a stock and a bipod! Really?

  9. Tom,

    If shooting from a bench rest only shows how accurate the rifle is, does that mean benchrest competitions feature competing rifles, not competing shooters? The most accurate rifle wins?

    By the way, even with a scope I doubt I could even see an egg at 300 yards. I know for certain that at 30 feet without a scope, I can’t see anything, not an egg, a marshamllow, a Buick Regal.


    • Michael,

      “…benchrest competitions feature competing rifles, not competing shooters?”
      That would only be true for indoor Benchrest. For outdoor Benchrest competitions the thing you are forgetting is the WIND and other environmental variables.
      So we could call them Wind Reading competitions with a little bit of Light effects knowledge thrown in.

      The Wind is 99% of Long Range Benchrest shooting.


  10. BB,

    The words for shooting any hand held weapon keep on coming up…

    I shoot a couple of disciplines but 75% of my shooting is offhand plinking at reactive targets at random distances. IMHO, that’s what “real” shooting is. 😉

    Bench shooting is a discipline unto itself. Punching paper was never an intrest but I have to say that it can be challenging to be consistent at longer ranges. The deliberate aiming and breaking the shot is the opposite of the fast flowing way I normally shoot. Fun stuff!

    I use a bench and good quality scoped PCP as a teaching aid as a prerequisite to offhand shooting. With that setup the student doesn’t have to hold or stabilize the rifle and can concentrate on the POA, POI and breaking the shot. I can explain and have him see for himself things like trajectory (hold under, hold over), cant, proper grip and trigger use – cause and effect.


  11. I wonder how one can compare ranges for airguns and firearms, as in Kirsten’s 300 yard .22 shot would be similar to a M yard .22 PCP, or N yard .25 PCP, etc.

    Understood that the are very many variables but a general comparison would still be nice.

    • MisterAP,

      A close approximation in my opinion is not based on how far but rather TOF (Time Of Flight) it is somewhat simplistic but nevertheless eliminates projectile differences which are mostly minor compared to the biggest and hardest to predict variable: The WIND.
      If you need another major variable for your comparison consideration i would suggest Projectile drop which is BC (Ballistic Coefficient) based; still related to TOF but a bit less directly.
      Note that Kirsten J. Weiss used a 20 MOA rail and that it appeared to me she was waiting out the WIND.

      One final thing she did that was IMPRESSIVE was that she was willing to BALK a shot! I had a shooting coach who taught that being willing to halt the shot cycle at any point prior to trigger RELEASE if the progression was flawed was the path to being a Champion.


      • The only way FM can see to becoming a Champion is to be turned into a spark plug. Enjoyable video; good to see the 21st Century’s version of Little Sure Shot in action.

        • FawltyManual,

          You are on the Path the question is will you make it; very few do. But even those of us that don’t make the high marks can still shoot better by applying the methodology.
          I used to use Champion spark plugs but changed to Bosch because their threads do less damage to my Aluminum Heads.


          PS: are you staying dry?

          • Been raining all week. I can’t believe they shut down FLL due to flooding!!! And they still keep building along the coast like there’s no tomorrow!

            On the positive side, the initial portion of the project to restore the Kissimmee Wetlands is showing wonderful results and greatly improving flood control. Folks forget the Everglades are natural hurricane protection. They also forget how extensive they were and need to be to function effectively.

            • Our daughter was visiting from Michigan and flew out of FLL on Tuesday – her timing couldn’t have been better. At the risk of sounding callous, all those people who insist on “concreting” the S FL E coast so they can have an ocean view better be prepared to pay Mama Nature when she hands them THE bill and not expect the rest of us inland dwellers to ante up.

                • True. My friend in W Palm Beach has been doing with just basic coverage for several years now but he’s fortunately able to pretty much self-insure. My late father really risked it, not carrying any insurance on the family home in Miami for over 20 years. Of course, he kept that vewy, vewy quiet. The house is insured again.

                  Had a neighbor who was a State Farm agent; he said once that most property losses were due to fire. Fun fact: his house was insured by State Farm – until he received a letter from them advising they were not going to provide coverage to Florida homeowners. We received the same letter. Ruthless.

  12. B.B. and Readership,

    Do you know that there is an air rifle that shoots as well as Kirsten’s?

    There is at least one off-the-shelf FX airgun that is currently shooting the very same at the very distance Kirsten Joy Weiss was shooting at!


      • MisterAP,

        The cost of the base rifles are comparable.
        The cost of modifications and adding on to either is Sky’s The Limit.
        Life Cycle costs are substantially less for the airgun because of two main things: First, the much lower cost of ammunition (even considering air supply system) and/or fills and second, the frequency of required barrel replacement for the firearm.


          • MisterAP,

            The FX PANTHERA seems to be living up to the Marketing for the moment and the FX Impact MK3 with the Boolit (slug) barrel and Tungsten Striker/Hammer in .22 caliber might be a contender.
            I’m waiting for Hank (Vana2) to get enough good weather and clear enough of a shooting lane to report his results; they won’t be tinged with marketing hype or bad data.


            • I didn’t realize he had the Panthera!! Yes definitely his review is something to look forward to!!

              I know the weather isn’t clear yet—I wonder if I’d be able to wait as long, were I in his (snow)shoes!

  13. BB,
    Thank you for today’s video! I was watching it for the second time, when I noticed the ‘click’ approximately 1 1/2 seconds after the shot. After thinking about it, I think that it is her removing pressure from the trigger, allowing it to reset. That is the last part of what my shooting coach used to refer to as ‘follow through’. He used to tell us that the cycle was not complete until you were done with the follow through.
    Wow! That is, indeed, Concentration!

  14. BB,
    There used to be a local guy named Mark that was an incredible shot offhand. He shot 100 rounds offhand every evening. He told me he actually wore out a Career rifle before buying an FX Gladiator. I was having trouble with a scope on a FWB 124 and he asked if it was the scope or the rifle. I didn’t know the answer so we removed the scope. Mark took the rifle without any sights and shot a raged hole at 25 yards offhand. He handed the rifle back to me and told me my scope was bad. It amazed me how well he shot that 124 offhand without sights.
    David Enoch

  15. Timely subject as I am here with my daughter at the Junior Olympics watching her shoot 60 shots standing in the 10M Air Rifle competition. The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is full of kids under 21 years of age shooting tiny groups offhand. My daughter’s groups are about the size of the diameter of a pencil eraser if you include her bad shots. It’s amazing.

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