Shooting is a very complicated sport. There are so many intricate components. There's a shooter’s mental game, which includes focus, positive thinking, drive to succeed, etc. There's a shooter’s position, which includes body type, consistency, and more. Then there's something that sometimes gets mistakenly forgotten or overlooked— in spite of it being ever-present— often overwhelming nature: equipment.

Travel for this sport means checking two 50-pound bags on an airplane or somehow fitting them into a car. One bag consists of rifle(s) as well as anything else that can fit in around the rifle(s) such as buttplates or handstops. The other bag is the gear bag. It has...well...everything else. Pants, Jacket, sweater, off-hand stand, sling(s), ammo, kneeling roll, sights, other buttplates, wrenches, and maybe even more, there’s seemingly endless accessories. Basically, equipment is a HUGE part of this sport.

So to me, it's mind boggling how shooters, including myself, can sometimes overlook this aspect of the sport. Sometimes it's from being overwhelmed by so much equipment, sometimes it's from being rushed and not having time to check over your equipment before and after shooting, and sometimes it's just from sheer laziness. But surprise! SHOOTING EQUIPMENT IS REALLY IMPORTANT. If you've been shooting outside in the rain and you put your gun away without oiling it, don't be surprised when the next time you go to shoot your gun, it's rusted and not working properly. If your jacket button, which you know has been loose for weeks, falls off during a match, shoudda had a V8. I've even had my sight fall off during a match because I didn't bother to check that it was tight before I started shooting...which really explained why I wasn't calling any of my shots. Probably some of the best stories I've heard, though, involve forgetting a rifle. For a rifle competition.

My message here, shooters, is take care of your equipment. It's pretty expensive and if it's not in working order, you'll probably see it in your performance and scores. Also, don't forget your rifle. It's funny, but tragic.