Split Time and Shooting
Dr. John Woods 02.28.17
Is it splitting very thin hairs to worry about the time span between shots when the riflescope or other optics are temporarily out of alignment with the target? What possible difference could it make to be “off target” for just a second or two before the shooter refocuses on the target for a follow up shot? Whatever that nano-second is, the term to refer to it is split time.
Perhaps in 3-gun matches when the MSR portion is being fired, the shooter may be keenly aware of the need to get back on target as quickly as possible. Since shooting speed time if of the essence in these cases, the shooter practices to get his scoped or red dot rifle back on the targets as soon as possible.
Split time can factor in to hunting success sometimes as well. I know from experience in elk hunting out west that just that second after a shot on a big bull, the focus on the target is removed. Often trying to see quickly again through the scope for a potentially needed follow up shot is fouled by that second the recoil of the magnum rifle causes the scope to rise off the target. In that short span of a time, a running elk or one that is hit can cover ground very quickly. In worse cases the game is lost from sight altogether.
In such cases as in big game hunting, the issue then becomes having to lower the rifle completely to once again regain that eye spot on the location of the quarry, either running or having now moved to be hiding behind cover, or perhaps even down from the first shot. That split time is an annoying circumstance when hunting in such situations.
It is not uncommon either for the popular sport of deer hunting, especially in heavy woods cover or brush areas where white-tailed deer are hunted. Just that quick second after the recoil of the initial shot, a deer can completely disappear from the scene. By the time the average hunters recovers, however quickly, the deer has jumped into the thicket or busted out of the area.
Well, you say, so what? It can’t be that critical. All of these type situations also point to the realities of split time as it impacts self-defense scenarios, too. In your firearms training then, be mindful of the effort it takes to get back on target as quickly as possible. That next shot might be the one that saves your life.