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"quote: "aim small, miss small"" Topic

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14,848 hits since 5 May 2005
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rusty musket Inactive Member06 May 2005 9:47 a.m. PST

Can anyone tell me what this quote, "aim small, miss small" means, please? I was watching The Patriot recently and heard it and I finally realize, someone on TMP will know.

I apologize if I am rehashing an old item. I could not find the answer in a search.

Crusoe the Painter Inactive Member06 May 2005 10:08 a.m. PST

Here is my assumption.

Aim Small...

Pick a small area of the target to aim it. Don't just point in the direction of the target, but pick some noticable feature. The second button down his jacket, etc.

Miss Small...
I think this is the 'result'.
By aiming at such a small detail, probably in the center of mass, if you miss the small target, you still have a good chance of hitting the thing it's on ( the person ).

If yer just pointing your gun at a guy, you're probably more likely to miss him totally, than if you try and shoot at say, the third button down on his jacket. You won't hit the button, but you'll probably still hit him...

At least, that's my guess....


Yep, got it!

Google is your friend.

Same term is used in sports.

Playing soccer, aim for a point in the goal, and it's much more likely to go in than if you simply try to kick at the goal.

Waco Joe06 May 2005 10:13 a.m. PST

Another variation is to aim for the center of a mass, so that if you miss yo still hit something. An example given was the difference between shooting at the head of a person and their heart. Aim at the head and miss and there is a good chance you miss everything. Aim at the chest and even if you miss you wind up hitting something which takes the targe out of commission.

ragnar06 May 2005 10:17 a.m. PST

Rusty, I believe it means that if you don't take your time and concentrate on what your doing you end up with a miss.You will get out of it what you put into it, and a miss by an inch is no better than by a mile.
That's what I get out of it anyway.I could be wrong.
It's my Favorite scene from the movie.

Notice how the younger of the 2 boys looks just like the General officer of the Continentals? I guess the General and Martin's deceased wife were REAL good friends.
Can't recall the actors name, but this kid definately looks like him and it seems the old man got him a part in the film.


Gunslinger Inactive Member06 May 2005 10:22 a.m. PST


To aim small takes concentration. The more you concentrate the better placed your shot will be.

The quote would be better worded, "To aim small is to miss small."

Implying that on a large target, if you aim for a small piece of it you are more likely to hit it. Like worded above, if you are shooting at a man and you aim for his 2nd button, even if you are off by a fraction of an inch, you are still hitting the man.

twowheatons Inactive Member06 May 2005 11:27 a.m. PST

I had some F&I re-enacting friends that went to a weekend skills event at Ft. Pricket, WV and one of the instructors there was supposedly the guy that came of with the term and worked on the movie. From what I was told it means basically what has already been noted. But the saying is not all that old.

rusty musket Inactive Member06 May 2005 1:38 p.m. PST

Thanks, everyone! Mystery solved. I hope it helps when I shoot with my Kentucky rifle this summer (at targets, of course, not men).

mikeah Inactive Member06 May 2005 2:30 p.m. PST

Keep the barrel of the musket down. Aim low (small), as the kick will raise the barrel. Important as the firer was a child without the muscle to hold the barrel of the musket on target.

Hacksaw Inactive Member06 May 2005 7:00 p.m. PST

Except that will ensure one also hits low. The ball will be well on its way before the barrel rises due to recoil. :-)

Coyote Fezian Inactive Member07 May 2005 5:00 a.m. PST

Wow, that's so not what I believe it is.

Aim small, miss small.

means to take an easier shot with a greater chance of success. Small is not a measure of physical size, but of greatness.

A headshot, or shooting the gun out of someone's hand is a great shot, or a big shot. But if you miss, you miss completely (thus big)

A bodyshot is not impressive, thus small. However, if you are off by a bit, you will still probably hit (missing small), instead of missing completely

You could also use the Go proverb: Urgent moves before big moves.

The headshot may be big, but killing the guy is urgent

Hacksaw Inactive Member07 May 2005 5:38 a.m. PST

Coyote, I think youre reading too much into the philosophy of aiming to expect a 10 year old boy (raised to learn to shoot but not at people) to get that out of it whilst crouching behind trees, heart pounding in ears, waiting for a troops of British Regulars to come up the path.

At least, based on my own memories of being a ten year old boy. YMMV. :-)

mikeah Inactive Member07 May 2005 9:48 a.m. PST

Most musket balls will go over the heads of their targets. Black powder burns much slower than modern powder so yes, holding the barrel on target does make a difference. That's what it means, take it or leave it.

Ambushes are not conducted at long range, nor was the one in Patriot. At that range it was essentially a flat trajectory. Muskets did not have sights. Aiming low means point it at your target. At medium or long range you aim high to account for the drop in the low velocity ball. A musket ball flies much like a well thrown football, not what a 21st century soldier was used to.

Cincinnatus Inactive Member08 May 2005 3:53 p.m. PST

Most modern rounds go over the heads of the target too. Has nothing to do with the kick of the weapon, it's because people aim too high. Always have. Maybe the musket makes that worse but the main reason always has been misjudgement, not inability to hold the weapons still.

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