The Secret of the Mystical 3P’s!

Today I will reveal to you the secrets of the mystical shooting system know as the “3P’s” that will turn you into the envy of your shooting Friends & Buddies. So! Bolt all the doors close the curtains and nail crooked pieces of wood across the windows and I will tell you of the mystical “3 P’s”. This system, if applied in the correct way, is fool proof and I am so confident in its ability to give you the power to hit any Sporting, F.I.T.A.S.C. or Skeet target consistently, I will offer you a life time “Money Back Guarantee!”

This system, if applied in the correct way, is fool proof and I am so confident in its ability to give you the power to hit any target consistently, I will offer you a life time “Money Back Guarantee!”

What are these 3 P’s I hear you ask, well it’s the formula I use for getting a pupil to focus on what is the most important element in making a successful shot and that is to use their natural ability to simply “Point” and override the brains conscious desire to make them “Aim”.

When shooting, our competitive nature subconsciously demands we generate success, this means seeing the target break, so the first thing the majority of shooters start to focus on and think about is “How Much Lead Do I Need To Give The Target’, which is in fact the very last thing we should think about as it’s the end of the process, not the beginning or even the middle!

So when we step up to the plate or enter the shooting cage what should we concentrate on first?

Well it’s the first “P” of the system, this is to look for and find the correct visual “Pick Up Point”, the place on the flight path where our eyes first focus on the target as a solid object, so we can “Pick It Up’

The next “P” in the system is to simply point the barrels straight at the target once it’s released and to stay in contact with it on its flight path with a moving gun, so we “Point At It”

Now having made accurate contact with the target, the final “P” in the system, that is required for you to complete the shot, is just to accelerate the barrel movement ahead of the target, so we “Pull Away”.

You are now armed with the 3 P’s formula, so, all that is required for you to do when you call for the next target is to solely concentrate on saying this phrase in your mind as you carry out the movement, you must not, I repeat , must not, think about breaking the target, just the 3 P’s:

Pick It Up………….Point At It…………………. Pull Away………

Don’t attempt to shorten the words, it will break the rhythm, just say it as you do it, if it’s a quick or slow moving target just say the phrase at the same speed, just focus on this and nothing else and the target will automatically break, I guarantee it!.

Concentrating your mind on this simple phrase will override the on board computers (The Brain) demand for you to break the target and will allow you to concentrate on creating the perfect technique, which will then always result in success.

The true advantage of this system is that by making accurate contact with the target, it gives the Brain a base point from which to make a judgment. So if you miss, the onboard computer will automatically now know where you missed and will be able to tell you to either increase or decrease the distance in front you pulled away.

As one of my Coaching mentors, the late Chris Craddock used to say; “For many shooters, What’s Missed is a Mystery and What’s Hit is History”, meaning that many shooters never truly understand the reason for their miss or actually understand why they hit it.

Well using the “3P’s’ will take the mystery out of the missing and will ensure you have the ability to hit whatever you point your barrels at and know how you did it. So next time you find yourself missing and not knowing why, give the “3P’s’ a try!

When planning the series “Only perfect practice makes perfect’ I intended to cover in this fourth article the correct technique and the reasons for shooting “Gun Down’ and the advantages it gives the Clay Shooter particularly in the disciplines of Sporting Clays and Skeet.

Little did I know then how relevant it was to become especially after I had been a spectator and an observer at the Dubai Nad Al Sheba, Sporting Clays Championships.


It was during my time at the Nad Al Sheba Sporting Clays Championships, where as an expat that cannot have his own guns in his possession in the UAE I was relegated to the role of observer, it became very evident to me that a considerable number of the competitors were unable to effectively shoot “Gun Down”, which was a requirement of the F.I.T.S.C. Sporting rules that the competition was shot under.

This to me was amazing and on talking to some of these shooters it was clear that many did not understand the principles and correct techniques required to shoot from a gun down starting position at a moving target. Many could not even basically mount the Gun correctly and by the time they had got the gun in their face and in line with their eye, the target was either long gone out of range or had landed.

We all know that the Shotgun was originally designed as a hunting weapon that relied on our instinctive skills of split second reaction and our ability to point without conscious thought to shoot at and hit a moving target, either in the air or on the ground.

That is why there are no sights on a shotgun because it is not meant to be aimed as when out hunting there is no time to aim, just point and shoot.

It is also physically impossible, when hunting in the field, to either walk or stand for any length of time with the gun already mounted up to the face and held in the shoulder and it would also considerably restrict our ability to move our arms, rotate our upper body and to point effectively.

These are the reasons why shooting a Shotgun from the Gun down position is by far the most efficient and natural method to use when shooting moving targets that cross our view, fly directly at us, quarter away, run along the ground and even when lifting up from the ground in front of us and flying away.

So, to shoot from gun down what are the techniques required to do this?

Well, the first and most important of these is the ability to mount the Gun consistently up to the face without conscious thought in the correct way.

This is the bedrock of all good shooting and as is covered in my very first article of the series. To perfect the mount takes time and practice; at least 2,500 repetitive movements before it becomes “Muscle Memory” (See my demonstration photos in article 1).

Image (left) - The great Robert Churchill showing how to mount a shotgun for shooting in the field.

Once this is achieved then we need to start looking at other elements such as; how low down do I start the gun?

At what angle should I have the barrels?

Where is the correct start point for my barrels on the flight path?

And how much movement should I generate to enable me to make contact with and then pull away from the target?

Of course the answer to all of these questions depends on the target you are about to shoot.

The objective of shooting gun down is to generate one single movement that allows the barrels to converge on to the target in a flat diagonal approach by coming up from underneath its flight path, making contact with it at exactly the same time as the gun comes into the face and the stock locks into the shoulder pocket.

Image (right) - This is Stuart Clarke one of the UKs most successful Sporting Clay shots, you will see his stance is relaxed and upright with his weight resting over the front foot, his barrels are set at the right elevation to approach the target from underneath, his eyes are focused on the pickup point and his gun start point is set a little further out on the targets flight line.

I see so many shooters start with their gun held out of the shoulder at a level and in a position that has no relevance to the target they are about to shoot. As soon as they call pull they just throw the gun up to the shoulder with a pivoting incorrect mount, which drops the muzzles, so they are now off the line of the bird and all this before they have even seen the target appear.