Reputation in Target Shooting

The following information comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.

My friends, (I hope that I have, by now, earned the right to call you that)—there is one thing in revolver-shooting with which I have never become entirely reconciled. I should like to talk about this a little.

It is human for every one of us to desire to be a top-notcher, to be known as a marvelous shot,—as a dangerous opponent,—as a champion—in short, to have a reputation.

If you should reach this stadium you have a perfect right to be proud of your achievement. Hearty congratulations are in order. You yourself know best what an amount of diligent work you had to go through to get this far.

You will come face to face with the realization by and by, that your work is not ended then—that you must go on and on. It is not possible for you to rest on your laurels. Remember, my friend, there is reputation not to “have,” but to “maintain”—a very fickle thing indeed—and a danger. Do not let this thing rob you of your peace of mind.

Do not let this thing grow into a curse.

I shall illustrate: You have a reputation. You are invited to a friendly shooting party—you go there expecting to have a good time—but you have to show your stuff first—and woe to you if you do not show in top form. Nobody considers whether or not you feel right or that conditions are different on every range.

Just because I was known to have done it, when in form, I was asked time and again to hit a cigarette at 60 feet with one shot with weapons I had never even seen before. I was too good-natured or too vain to refuse. I want you to believe me when I say that, although I succeeded, many a fine day was spoiled for me. Praise and admiration are not sufficient recompense for the silence which follows if you miss.

You are not permitted to experiment anymore. Every shot is expected to be perfect. You are under constant pressure and, sometimes, you wish that people would leave you alone.

The only way out seems to be to make light of your reputation. You may state that any average shooter could duplicate your shooting if he were to try seriously (which, we know, is true)—say anything—but don’t let the thing get you.

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Reputation in Target Shooting

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