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  1. #1
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    The Texas Sharpshooter

    The Texas Sharpshooter

    (Second Cousin of the Internet Commando)



    Envious of all the attention his cousin, the Internet Commando, receives at the local tavern, as well as on the popular firearms forums on the Internet, our antagonist decides it is time for him to make his mark in the world. He decides he needs to perform some feat of marksmanship that surpasses even the accomplishments of his cousin, the Internet Commando.

    But what can he possibly do that the Internet Commando hasn’t already done? Our antagonist recalls the tales of the Internet Commando. He remembers his cousin boasting of shooting sub-minute of angle groups using XM193. How could he possibly top that? Then, it dawns on him. The Internet Commando was using his sights when he fired those sub-minute of angle groups with XM193. “Anyone can shoot a small group using their sights,” he thinks to himself. “It would take real skill to shoot a good group without using the sights, say . . . as in shooting from the hip!”

    Seeing his destiny laid out before him, our antagonist sets up his target at 25 yards and proceeds to fire on the target shooting from the hip. As our antagonist walks towards his target to examine his results he begins to grin from ear to ear. “Wait until my cousin sees this,” he actually speaks aloud.

    That night at the local tavern our antagonist shows his target (pictured below) to those who have been hanging on every word that his cousin, the Internet Commando has been saying. The people are absolutely astonished that our antagonist was able shoot such an amazing group firing from the hip at 25 yards. Bewildered by the incredible skill demonstrated by our antagonist, the Internet Commando tells his cousin, “You’re quite the sharpshooter Tex!”










    While the above fable is fictitious, it is based based on a real target that I fired from an AR-15. I actually fired that group pictured above from 25 yards while shooting from the hip. For those of you that haven’t already figured out how I was able to perform such a feat, here are the little details that Texas Sharpshooters fail to mention.

    I actually fired 30 shots from the hip at the “target” which was a blank piece of paper measuring 36” X 24” (kind of like the broad side of a barn). I then found 3 shots that formed a cluster and “drew” the bulls-eye around the shots. Those 3 shots occurred randomly. Not from any outstanding shooting skills of mine, nor from any outstanding qualities of the rifle or ammunition I was using, but purely by chance. (The actual extreme spread of the 30-shot group was 31”; that's 2 feet, seven inches.)

    The fallacy of the Texas Sharpshooter is based on the fact that clusters of data can occur randomly or by chance (the clustering illusion). “In making statistical observations, results will not be distributed with total uniformity but will naturally be sparser in some areas and denser in others, purely by chance.”* Human beings tend to want to discern patterns in random clusters where none actually exist. We try to assign significance where there isn’t any.

    In the case of the Texas Sharpshooter “information that has no relationship is interpreted or manipulated until it appears to have meaning.”* More specifically, “although the shots were random, the Texas Sharpshooter makes it appear as though he has performed a highly non-random act. In normal target practice, the bulls-eye defines a region of significance, and there's a low probability of hitting it by firing at random. However, when the region of significance is determined after the event has occurred, any outcome at all can be made to appear spectacular.”*

    If you had not known that the Texas Sharpshooter had drawn the bulls-eye after the shots were fired, you would “falsely assume he's an excellent marksman by reasoning from effect (bullet holes in the bulls-eye) to cause (he fired the bullets).”* The fatal flaw is “assigning significance to the outcome of a random event after it has occurred.”* The danger is in “jumping to a conclusion that a random cluster is a causal pattern.”* The Texas Sharpshooter “takes a random cluster, and by drawing a bulls-eye onto it makes it appear to be causally determined.”*



    Here is a pic of the target before the bulls-eye was drawn on it, shown with a yardstick on the left border.








    Here is the target in negative.








    Lastly, the target in negative with the random cluster (actually two random clusters) highlighted.








    *Sentences in quotation marks are from multiple unknown authors.



    ….
    Last edited by Molon; 16 October 2015 at 19:47.

  2. #2
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    Molon, I wish you were my statistics professor in college. That would have been a great class. :)
    Will - Owner of Arisaka LLC - http://www.arisakadefense.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slippers View Post
    Molon, I wish you were my statistics professor in college. That would have been a great class. :)
    Ha! I was thinking the same thing. Can you imagine? An entire semester of this...

  4. #4
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    Field trip to the range!
    Will - Owner of Arisaka LLC - http://www.arisakadefense.com

  5. #5
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    Haha there's a local guy at the range who measures groups in a similar fashion. He'll dump a magazine at a target and circle the three that are the closest and say his gun is a sub moa shooter...
    FFL 07/ NFA 02
    TWN Certified Hydro Dipper

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIPER 237 View Post
    Haha there's a local guy at the range who measures groups in a similar fashion. He'll dump a magazine at a target and circle the three that are the closest and say his gun is a sub moa shooter...
    1 Round of Target Load, and I'll just circle the best 10

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slippers View Post

    Molon, I wish you were my statistics professor in college. That would have been a great class. :)

    "We all use math every day. To predict weather, to tell time, to handle money -- math is more than formulas and equations; it's logic, it's rationality. It's using your mind to solve the greatest mysteries we know."


    Charlie Eppes from NUMB3RS




    “...and it helps us improve our riflecraft.”


    Professor Molon



    ....
    Last edited by Molon; 16 October 2015 at 16:36.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slippers View Post

    Field trip to the range!
    Can you imagine some liberal college dean having a stroke if I did something like that today . . .

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