What do my basement, my roof terrace and the underground garage have in common? They are perfect places for my shooting training. At these different places within the house you can vary depending on the weather, distance and pulsation.

It makes click, click when the trigger is cocked and peng when the shot is released. Nevertheless the whole process is almost noiseless and without any recoil, because I am currently testing a biathlon laser rifle from the company ANSCHÜTZ on a private basis (so far I have mostly shot with small-caliber / air rifles from the brand STEYR). With a weight of 1.8 to 2 kilograms these laser rifles are only half as heavy as the original competition rifles. This variante has advantages and disadvantages. In the ground position it may not matter (at least not for me), but when standing, it is quite exhausting to keep a 3.6 to 3.8 kilogram rifle absolutely calm in the correct position for over an hour. A disadvantage may be that a fairly light rifle doesn’t forgive the slightest hint of movement – all over! A certain balance can possibly be created by adding some weights of 100 to 200 grams in the appropriate places, but I did not do so.

Because of the Corona crisis all sports facilities are closed or only open to professional athletes. Therefore I really welcomed the chance of  testing  for practice purposes and having some variety during the Easter season. In deed a great decision, because it was pure fun and a true challenge for five days.

The shooting on my terrace circuit (11 meters long), of course, arouses the interest of the neighbors and was commented as : “are you practising for an Easter shooting” or “do you want to shoot the Corona virus?”

The degree of accuracy depends, of course, on the relationship between the distance and the size of the target area. According to  the original biathlon targets, you can adjust the target size by a front  attachment on the electronic target box, i.e. to reduce the ring size for prone shooting to 1.5 centimeters; for upright shooting and for beginners to three centimeters.

The classic shooter or hunter may mock about a laser gun, but it has two undisputed advantages: Firstly, the laser beam used here is completely harmless to humans and animals and secondly, you can control yourself when shooting by following the red laser dot. In any case, you can see exactly where the shot hits the wall. A hit point on the target box not only lights up “white” like a shooting  flap, but also shows the laser beam at the same time. If the flap does not fall or the target point does not light up, you can see whether it went too high, too low, too far left or right or whether there is a directional trend. If it is a shooting mistake because you have wobbled or tilted too much, you must continue practicing. Otherwise you can counteract unwanted “tendencies” by turning the rear sight screw on the target device. The biathlon professionals do so as well, some minutes before a competition and/ or in case of crosswinds.

Oh yes, it sounds simple …and  it actually is, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Apart from the fact that of course you have to get used to the shooting characteristics of your rifle, things usually go well for me at first. Then the certainty of the target usually weakens again under a certain “pressure of expectation” before it continues to encrease again through the gained routine. Daily training and many thousands of shots are required to permanently increase the performance. Whenever I think to have reached a higher hit rate and stabilization, there is a setback with unexpected misses. Certainly sometimes it’s luck or bad luck; then the professionals often talk about “marginal hits”. Sometimes even the angle of impact of a shot or beam is important.

Anyway, the rifle is well tuned and shot in, it usually requires a true clean shooting style/ technique.  I.e. aiming the ring circle precisely over the rear sight and front sight. And above all – especially the last shot i soften missed – consistently “keep up”. You can see it again and again that the athletes in the competition pull off the fifth/ last shot too quickly and are already on the way to get up. For me as an amateur, despite this knowledge, it is often the same. In addition, it is always important to achieve a balanced breathing rhythm or breath stop (essential during the shot). At some point you will inevitably run out of air – especially under running load; no matter if on snow with skis or in summer with roller skis / skykes.

Apropos:  the so-called “sewing machine” really exists and  is not an imagination or an excuse. What is meant by this is a “medium pulse”, which is more difficult to counterbalance when the rifle is held exactly centered than with a clam, flat muscle tonus/ heart pounding or a very high pulse rate.

The range of most laser rifles is limited to approximately 12-15 meters. In the test, however, I was still able to hit up to about 25 meters distance respectively to trigger a hit. Although the ring traget of the precision device should be adjusted by then. How the set-up works and how the electronic target box is put in motion can easily be reviewed by an instruction CD.

In competition, the distance to the target is 50 meters. The target diameter of the five flaps is 4.5 centimeters when lying and 11.5 centimeters when standing. Sounds great? Then have a look through the target tube in the stadium. Juveniles shoot a minor distance from 7 to 12 meters; the targets are correspondingly smaller, namely: 1.5 or 3.0 centimeters , just as in the case of my Anschütz laser (precision) rifle.

Other basic rules of biathlon can be read at various points and e.g. here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biathlon

By the way, the rental fee for such a laser system is affordable at EUR 170.- over the weekend. The purchase price for a rifle is approximately EURO 1,200.- to 1,500.-

And once the Corona crisis is over, you can shoot again anywhere and have fun with every hit. Then the year-round available ski tunnel in Oberhof will re-open again to the public. All year round two kilometers of lopes are available for cross-country skiing training in the tunnel complex. Inside there are constantly minus -3 degrees, even when the sun is burning outside. More information at: https://www.oberhof.de/Media/Attractions/LOTTO-Thueringen-Skisport-HALLE-Oberhof

Now I want to shoot another round of training, because even with an average hit rate of 75% lying  and 55% standing, my level is still expandable. So full concentration, let’s go for some other 4 x 5 clack, clack … peng! … in order to create trust in your own performance.


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