What is Gap Shooting?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

Gap shooting is an effective way to hit your target without the use of a sight. Through sheer practice and skill, one can learn the ‘point-on distance’ which means that when you align the arrow point on a particular area of the target, it will hit that spot after letting go of the bow string. 

Although this surely seems daunting to begin with, it’s definitely worth honing if you’re looking for accuracy without introducing too much equipment. Many accomplished archers have found remarkable success using master this gap shooting style and with some time, dedication and focus, so can you!

It relies on the archer’s ability to judge distances and form a mental image, allowing them to become one with their weapon in pursuit of precision accuracy. 

How you can find your gap?

Before learning about finding the gap, lets first try to understand how arch of arrow works.

When you shoot an arrow, it follows an arc-like trajectory (hence, the term “archery”). At the beginning of its flight, the motion of the arrow is relatively calm, and it steadily climbs upwards until it reaches its apex. After the peak of its arch, the arrow then starts to descend at a faster rate than its climb. Understanding these details about the arched motion of an arrow is important for expert archers who want to maximize their accuracy with each shot.

Now how to find the gap? How do you aim with gap shooting?

For those starting to get into archery, the task of properly hitting a bullseye can be tough. With a little bit of practice and knowledge of the principles of GAP shooting, anyone is able to shoot accurately at any distance. 

To operate under the GAP method, start by positioning yourself 5 yards from your target. Position the tip of your arrow towards the center of the target and execute your shot. You will likely hit higher than intended – lets say your arrow strikes 6 inches above the target, so your Gap is 6 inches. Take note of this measurement for future use and refocus on aiming further down than the center to hit your desired mark.

Now try shooting from 10 yards. Firstly, make sure you are standing back at least 10 yards from the target and have the tip of your arrow pointed directly towards it. You may find that your arrows tend to impact higher than intended; this will occur regardless of how perfect your form was while shooting. This means that if an arrow lands 12 inches above it’s intended target at a distance of 10 yards, your GAP at 10 Yards is 12 inches, then you must aim 12 inches below the center of the bullseye in order to hit it accurately. 

You can continue stepping back until your arrow hits on the point you’re aiming at. And the distance from where you are shooting to the aiming point is called point on distance. 

Gap Shooting vs Instinctive Shooting 

Instinctive archery eliminates the need to make precise and calculated guesses when aiming, instead allowing your body to make all the necessary adjustments in order to launch the arrow in a direction that will hit your target. This may feel counter intuitive, but as it relies on body mechanics and experience of shooting an arrow, it is far more accurate than aiming alone. 

Taking away the cognitive load of trying to calculate angles and making small adjustments can really help your arrow fly with greater accuracy and confidence. With instinctive archery, your main focus on the thing you want to hit and trust yourself to do the rest.

Mastering the art of instinctive archery through practice and muscle memory is an arduous process that can take years to perfect. This daunts many, as they are eager to hunt as soon as possible and don’t have the luxury of spending hours shooting arrow after arrow to build up their muscle memory. 

Although this method is effective in the long term, being able to accurately shoot a bow without thought takes too much time for most men and women who simply want to go outdoor in nature, enjoy the environment, and engage with their prey.

Gap shooting gives you the confidence and ability to learn quickly. By honing in on the exact distances you need, you can become a much more confident shot without spending hours at the range. 

In order to determine your gaps, it usually takes an hour or so and with practice, you will be able to accurately shoot any target with precision from typical hunting distances. This method of gap shooting is excellent for those who want to improve shooting accuracy quickly and effectively.

Gap Shooting vs String Walking

String walking is a style of archery that involves keeping the point of the arrow directly on the gold at any distance. This level of accuracy is achieved by moving the fingers down the string, away from the nocking point, and pulling from different places to shoot at various distances. Pulling further away from the arrow will produce a flatter launch angle and as a result, it will travel shorter distances. 

String walking may sound like an efficient mechanism for firing arrows at a target, but it is only suitable for short-distance shots. If used for long distances, the fingers would have to crawl up the string and move through the nock of the arrow, which cannot be done in individual steps due to the size and shape of our fingers. This can cause an issue; as we move down the string, the arrow’s nock will ultimately rise and therefore point at a lower angle over time. Consequently, while we haven’t adjusted the tip of the arrow or changed its trajectory in a definitive way, it shoots at a different angle than was anticipated.

String walking is a method of shooting a bow that works similarly to gap shooting. Instead of changing the height of the arrow point (front sight), as in gap shooting, string walking changes the angle of the arrow by placing your fingers at different locations on the string (rear sight). This way, you can achieve pre-determined points on distances wherever you are shooting.

Everyone has to go out and practice at specific distances to figure out exactly how low or high they should hold their fingers on the bowstring to get consistent arrow placement. Some archers will mark their strings with a tab so they don’t have to calculate again each time they begin respectively adjusting their fingers in order to “walk the string”. It’s really an exciting way of shooting and it can add some consistency to your grouping overall.

Sum Up

Achieving good results with gap shooting requires practice, but once mastered it can be more efficient than aiming through a sight, because there is no need for sighting in the bow for different distances or dealing with the potential errors of scope adjustments. This means you can move from target to target more quickly and have more control over your accuracy between short, medium and long range distances. Gap shooting is also incredibly useful for hunting when time is limited, mostly due to its speed.

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