I’ve been on a spring cleaning kick lately. I’m trying to pare down my shooting stuff. It helps with cabin fever.
American shooters are too gadget-focused. Many gadgets are plastic and can break down when you need them most. They can also become a crutch — something upon which you become dependent. But there are some shooting accessories that truly are essential.
What Gun Accessories Do You Really Need?
Consider the Professional Hunter (PH) of Africa. This character exemplifies a practical and rugged utilitarianism. He works hard under a blistering sun. He walks, creeps and crawls over many thorn- and tick-infested miles. His rifle goes with him.
Leopards, with claws like razor blades, consume his nightmares — cats from hell that launch onto unsuspecting hunters, reducing them to piles of shredded flesh.
Indeed, his gun can harvest game, but what it absolutely must do is save his sorry hide.
It’s precisely because the PH depends on his rifle at all times that he uses only what he needs. He can shoulder and shoot suddenly if a nasty cat pounces or a buffalo charges; or, he can take a careful shot at a trophy animal from a fair distance.
You can apply this same thinking to your own guns. Get away from the bench and take your rifle hunting. Lug it around. You’ll quickly discover what’s needed and what’s not.
That was my thinking when I lugged a 14-pound Army sniper rifle to the deer blind last season. Now, some might say that’s pushing the bounds of the absurd — and, I admit it sort of is — but it taught me there were three things I couldn’t do without: A sling, a bipod and shooting sticks.
All three of these gun accessories help you get a steady sight picture. And fast. The sling and bipod can be affixed to the rifle easily and don’t make the gun too cumbersome or heavy. What’s more, the sling does double-duty both as a carrying solution and as an additional rifle-steadying measure. The shooting sticks can be carried or set below the rifle to support its weight during a sit.
These three gun accessories help you shoot well in the most elementary fashion. Strive for simplicity. Use gear that helps you be a practical shooter. And chuck the rest.
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