July 15, 2009
Petzal: Test Your Reaction Time
By David E. Petzal
The essayist Roy Blount wrote back in the ‘70s that the difference between professional football players and other football players is Great Quick. I’m not sure how much good Great Quick does for rifle shooters, but it sure as hell helps shotgunners ...In 1973, I was at the Grand American Trapshooting Championship at Vandalia, Ohio and got a chance to walk down the line marveling at a young Texan named Britt Robinson, who was then a terror on the trap circuit and became the youngest man ever inducted into the ATA Hall of Fame. Robinson broke birds before normal people could see them. He’d call for the target and the report of his gun would come with no discernable interval. PULLBANG!
However, speed alone is no guarantee of hitting anything. One of the fastest shots I’ve ever seen—a skeet shooter by preference—did no better than average on a Sporting Clays course where you have to look at the birds for a split second to see what angle they are taking. He would get his shots away before I could even get my gun up, but he was not seeing the angles.
In any event, you can take this easy test in the comfort of your own home and see how quick you are. Just click the screen when the dot changes color. If you are too slow, drink more coffee, or chew ibogaine root, or administer electric shocks to yourself. And if Phil Bourjaily would like to write something about rifles, my having poached on his territory, that’s fine by me.