It seems that every time you turn around, a former military operator writes a new book or opens a shooting school. Some of these books and schools are good, but far too many don’t offer skills or services that are needed by armed citizens and law enforcement officers.
There are a few, however, that stand out due to the quality of instruction that is provided. Navy SEAL Shooting is one of those that stands out from the crowd by offering excellent instruction in an easy to read format.
Navy SEAL Shooting is a new book by Chris Sajnog. Sajnog is a 20-year veteran of the US Navy and former SEAL Team member and instructor. Since retiring, he founded Center Mass Group and wrote the book How to Shoot Like a Navy SEAL.
I was given the chance to review a pre-release copy of this book, and that is what this article is based on.
Sajnog makes plain that there are no shortcuts to better shooting. To get better, you have to put in the time and master the fundamentals. He states:
Insist relentlessly on the fundamentals with every shot.
If you are an experienced shooter, don’t let a focus on the fundamentals cause you to shy away. While the book is well-suited for the beginning shooter, it offers a lot to experienced shooters as well. In fact, I would argue that the more experienced you consider yourself, the more that you can get out of this book.
Every shooter has a few things that he or she can improve on, and Sajnog lays out a method for establishing your baseline and working up a training program to measurably improve yourself.
Unfortunately, many people who read the book will fail to take action. Sajnog estimates that 75% of the readers will not implement or even try any of the techniques he teaches. Based on my own experiences, I’d say he is being optimistic. Through no fault of the book or Sajnog, I’d argue that 95% of people will not take action simply because they will not overcome human inertia. That’s too bad as the information Sajnog provides is excellent and potentially life saving.
There is probably some witty joke to be made about a Navy SEAL writing a book that is not a dry read. Unfortunately, I’m just not that witty. If wet is the opposite of dry, then consider this “wet” reading.
One of the very real problems in the firearms community is the ratio of poorly written shooting books to the really good ones. Between incorrect information, tortured writing and dismal editing, you stand a very good chance of picking up a second-rate tome when selecting a gun book at random. This book is fundamentally different.
First off, the information appears to be accurate and backed by both experience and solid research. I agree with much of the information Sajnog provides. Those points where I might find reason for disagreement are well presented and have given me information to consider.
Secondly, the editing is exceptional. I didn’t spot any obvious grammatical, spelling or formatting errors. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of reading many gun books in recent years where the editing appeared to be haphazard or even non-existent (I’m looking at you Gun Digest.)
In Navy SEAL Shooting, everything from the type justification to the photos was properly placed and aligned. The text read well, and I did not see the first error. I don’t know who did the editing, but well done!
Lastly, the the presentation of the information was focused and engaging. Sajnog stated early on that he would not spend a lot of time relating war stories, and he held true to that promise. The chapters were concise and remained on point.
Even though the content is information dense, it is not boring. The writing is grammatically correct, yet still conversational and easy to read. Sajnog inserts just enough humor to maintain interest without getting silly. Consider a point he was making about shooter impatience with longer-than-expected trigger pulls:
…so you just start slapping the trigger like it owes you money.
The relaxed humor is not so frequent as to be distracting, rather it is enough to keep things enjoyable during what would otherwise be very dry material.
Sajnog takes a holistic approach to firearms training. That is to say, he does not take any one aspect and consider it in a vacuum.
To make one an effective warrior – whether a dad defending his family or a soldier deploying into hostile territory – Sajnog states there are three things a person needs: education, equipment and experience. He breaks things down and offers a clear examination of the fundamental elements of each of these areas beyond the obvious.
While a great deal of the book covers the hard-core topics like grip, weapon manipulation and the use of optics, I found the chapters on physical fitness and mindset to be equally important.
Sajnog recommends conducting an honest assessment of your current level of shooting ability and then determining what you would like to become as a shooter. By knowing both the starting point and the desired destination, you can then develop a roadmap on how to get there. That map is the training plan.
Sajnog implores readers to keep an open mind and at least try the techniques in the book prior to dismissing them. Far too many people will dismiss ideas because it does not fit in with their preconceived notions of what is the “right” way to shoot. Put another way, some folks let their ego get in the way of becoming a better shooter.
All of the techniques Sajnog teaches in the book are valid and combat tested. If you invest in the book, you should also invest the time into trying the techniques out.
Bottom line: buy this book. It is well written and offers a lot of very practical and actionable advice on how to become a better shooter in a lethal force encounter. It is perhaps the best written instructional shooting book on the market currently. I don’t think I’ve read another firearms book that offered such a complete approach to self-defense shooting, and as a guy with a very large book shelf, that is saying something.
With every review I complete, I provide a disclosure to advise of any potential biases and influences in my writing.
An advanced copy of this book was provided to me in .pdf format for the purposes of a review. No promises were made or solicited for me to provide a positive review of the book. Read through my other articles and you will see plenty of harsh evaluations of failed equipment that was provided for review.
At the time of this writing, neither Sajnog nor any business he may be connected to is a an advertiser or supporter of the site. Nor am I in any talks with them to be one.