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The Cure for a “Chippy” Break

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

The Cure for a “Chippy” Break.

Never a day goes by that I don’t hear a student “autopsy” a target during a lesson. “I barely broke that!”, “I took the front off that target” or “I took the tail off of that target”. What should you do, as a shooter, when you don’t like the quality of your last target break?



When I train Level I instructor candidates, I teach them that the cause of a miss, or a chippy break, on a target inside of 35-40 yards is rarely lead. Lead is often the symptom, and rarely the cause. The cause is most often lack of visual focus and soft visual follow-through on the target through the breakpoint. In most instances, if you fix the cause of the miss, the lead will fix itself.

So what should you do in response to a chippy break? The answer, and solution to the chippy break is quite simply to focus harder on the target and maintain good visual intensity through the planned breakpoint. As Steve Shultz, of Targetline, likes to say, “Watch impact!”. The quality of focus will, more often than not, determine the quality of the break. Our tendency to relax or soften our focus in the last milliseconds prior to shot execution is our subconscious effort to “check” the lead. It reflects a lack of confidence and our desire to avoid a miss, rather than our reliance on the subconscious portion of brain to properly position the gun and kill the target. So, next time you experience a chippy break, kill the target with your eyes. Apply intentional and acute focus, to the focal point of the target, through your shot execution. Kill the target with your eyes. I always say, “If you don’t like the break, focus harder.”  –  DC

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