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Just How Much Do Shooting Superstitions Actually Help?

Superstitions are about as successful as those performing them judge them to be. This certainly is true of shooting superstitions.

Websters dictionary defines superstitions as “a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.”

We all have them right? We have all seen them.

Those little rituals we believe in to make things go well for us. Some baseball players will tap the plate or adjust their gear in a certain order when they come up to bat. Hockey players will tap the goalie on the shin pads right before the game starts. In basketball, it is believed the last person to make a basket at the end of the layup lines will have a good game.

I know some people who play in local leagues that won’t shave while their team is winning. I could go on and on and on. Each sport has a myriad of superstitions and rituals that players believe in and are positive cause them to perform at a higher level.

Shooting, being a sport, is no different.

I have some of my own shooting superstitions. Now, I am not saying I sacrifice a chicken before a match, or do a dance around a bonfire the night before, but I do have little quirks I use to make sure things go smoothly.

For the most part in my life, I am not a superstitious person. I don’t go out of my way to avoid a black cat. Well, I couldn’t anyway, since my wife and I have one as a pet.

I walk under ladders. I try not to break mirrors, but only because they’re expensive.

My shooting superstitions are more subtle, but they’re still there.

Here are a few:

  • I always have to wear the same ball cap when shooting. Even if I am going to just practice at the range.
  • After I load my magazines, before putting them in my mag pouches, I tap them on the palm of my hand.
  • When I put my electronic ear protection on, I always make sure the microphones point to the back of my head.

If I don’t do some of these things I might shoot poorly, and not rank well in a match. No really, it’s true! These are all things I have done since I started shooting. Some might call me borderline obsessive about it, but I just call it being smart, and playing it safe. Why in the world would you tempt fate?

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Out of sheer curiosity, I posted on Facebook and sent emails to my shooting and firearms friends, asking them if they had any superstitions they wouldn’t mind sharing. Why did I do this? Well, mainly to make sure my sanity was intact.

Some of the responses made me nod and whisper “I understand…”

Here are some of the best:

  • “I always wear a hat with an NRA logo on it. Doesn’t have to be the same hat, but it has to have an NRA logo.”
  • “I always put my pistol into the case with the barrel towards the top and facing to the left.”
  • “I check my magazines obsessively.”
  • “Not necessarily related to shooting, but I have bought my last few guns with my tax return money.” 
  • “I always run proper grip, sight alignment and trigger control through my head before I shoot.”

So there you have it. Some of the little charms and habits we use to make sure we perform well, even though we all know it all boils down to mechanics.

As human nature goes, however, we also all hold belief that we can control our fate by performing some small ritual.

They do work, right?

Do you have any superstitions you use when you are shooting? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Just How Much Do Shooting Superstitions Actually Help?