Sunday, 3 August 2014

Fat Woman and the best investment

Fat Woman likes shooting. Sometimes Fat Woman shows promise. Sometimes, like recently, Fat Woman clings to the idea that shooting is fun even if you miss. Fat Woman majors in English Sporting, is enjoying learning skeet, hates DTL with a passion (slow, floppy birds!) and adores Olympic Trap. As Fat Woman isn't going to be able to commit to anything for the rest of this year apart from the expected Small Baby she is having fun with the shooting experience and is less bothered about improving and competing. This is lucky because Fat Woman's shooting ability has rather gone to hell since getting pregnant.

There have been several factors that have helped Fat Woman's shooting progress well during her 18 months of gun ownership. Without the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club Fat Woman wouldn't have shot half as much or a quarter as well or anywhere near so often. Fat Woman is also grateful to have found Shooting Coach, who taught her how to build a score, and Skeet Coach, who sorted out her gun fit and hold and rebuilt her shooting style from the ground up. Fat Woman was also lucky enough to get her own reasonably good gun fairly early on. But the thing that made the greatest difference to Fat Woman's shooting was finding the right pair of shooting glasses. 

Fat Woman doesn't have brilliant eyes but they are healthy and her corrected vision is excellent. Fat Woman was shooting in her polarised sunglasses but after leaving them at a Tai Chi class she faced up to the fact she needed to find a new solution. Fat Woman found she couldn't wear cheap contact lenses because of dry eyes so couldn't wear cheap safety glasses over the top of corrected vision. Eventually Fat Woman ended up visiting Ed Lyons, sports vision specialist and optometrist extraordinaire. Ed cut swathes through the confusing options of sports vision and found Fat Woman a selection of frames that would accommodate her astigmatism, her long-sightedness AND her preference for prisms. Fat Woman was very impressed at this because she hadn't been able to find a supplier who would do that on an individual basis, plus there was an actual choice of frames. Fat Woman chose the ugliest but largest and clearest on the grounds that they offered a fabulously large field of vision and she has no vanity about these things. Having seen later photos Fat Woman wishes she had slightly more vanity, but as she's said many times before at least she doesn't have to look at herself. Fat Woman wears a baseball cap instead of a tweed cap now because tweed cap + big aviator lenses looks so ridiculous that even she can't ignore it.

It is inarguable that Fat Woman had the right shooting glasses and could now see to shoot. Fat Woman also chose some polarised clip on filters, which she rarely takes off her shooting glasses. What was a really, really nice surprise was when she was given the chance of taking part in some research Ed was doing into customised tinted lenses. Fat Woman ended up with the same kind of custom-selected tint as worn by fabulously successful trap shooters (and we're talking Gold Medal, World Championship kind of successful), the most recently successful being 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal winner Caroline Povey. Fat Woman suspects that having seen her shoot DTL (really, really badly), Ed invited her to take part as a kindness, but she doesn't care about why she was included because the custom tinted lenses are utterly amazing and she doesn't care how many people have 46N purple lenses, or whatever the current fashion is. Fat Woman is confident that she couldn't get any better filter for blaze clays.

Fat Woman could see from the first demonstration of her initial personalised tint that the science behind the choosing of the exact tint was pretty damn good but it was out shooting that Fat Woman began to realise exactly what she had been given. Shooting a flush Fat Woman found that whilst wearing her custom tinted filters she could perceive the blaze clays much more quickly. There isn't a lot of time to measure between the release of a clay and your visual pick-up, but the difference between the timings of appearance of the blaze clays and the black ones was so different that Fat Woman was taken aback. Of course there wasn't any actual difference in how fast the clays were flung but there was a lot of difference in how fast Fat Woman recognised that they were there. Fat Woman isn't fast at visual pick-up, which made the difference more obvious.

Fat Woman tested the lenses as she went about her sporting shooting. It could be a coincidence that she was inclined to straight stands where pairs of blaze clays were used because often blaze clays are used on closer targets and Fat Woman is not great at far away stuff, but Fat Woman has observed enough difference in success over several hard competitions to be pretty sure that wearing the custom filters puts a significant edge on her performance. Fat Woman tested the filters at skeet grounds where blaze clays are used and found again that she performed significantly better. Sadly, Fat Woman's skeet is let down by her apparently inability to put all the things she's learned together, but hopefully she will stop getting her foot position and her hold points wrong one day soon. Skeet Coach has custom tinted lenses from the USA a gazillion years ago and approves of such measures. Skeet Coach is inclined to win things so Fat Woman takes that recommendation on board.

Fat Woman has found that forgetting to take off her custom filters for blaze clays in order to return to her standard polarized filters could mean that she ends up blanking a stand of black standards on a sunny day. Or it might have been that Fat Woman was being a bit useless there of course. Fat Woman isn't often quite that useless though. 

It was doing Olympic Trap (OT) that Fat Woman found the custom tinted lenses were the most use. Olympic Trap is fast with blaze clays but Fat Woman finds it easier than DTL. On an overcast day at esteemed trap ground Nuthampstead Fat Woman saw very little contrast between the blaze clays, the sky and the grass. The light levels with a cloudy sky and parched grass meant everything seemed rather yellow through clear glasses, yet when looking through the custom filters the orange clays would burn much brighter. An American might say that the colour "popped". Whatever you call it, Fat Woman's life was made much, much easier by her custom tinted lenses and her shooting was made much, much better. Fat Woman isn't claiming to be a natural at OT by any means, but is pretty sure that she did not disgrace herself and in fact did pretty well for a fairly new shooter using a sporter. 

Fat Woman loves shooting, but freely admits that love is partly because she finds it fun to learn and relatively easy to progress. A huge wedge of that enjoyment comes from having invested in the right things. Investing in getting shooting glasses from Ed Lyons was definitely the right decision, and if Fat Woman ever lost or broke her custom tint lenses she'd be back for another pair because they are the bees knees. Fat Woman thinks that if you are going to shoot trap you should be booking in to get yourself a pair of custom tinted lenses because even if you aren't such a Muppet as Fat Woman when it comes to shooting trap you can't possibly not benefit from the advantage that the custom tint gives you. 

So there. 

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