Closing, Fading, and Out of Convergence Shots
The pictures above assume one is traveling at relative speeds to the target, which is true most of the time in a fight.
When rapidly closing on a target that is continuing on a consistent path, tighten the Angle Off by about a third.
When a target is fading (gaining distance on you), increase it by a third.
Firing inside of convergence means your rounds are striking the target higher than the center of the sight – reduce Angle Off a little. The reverse is true if firing outside of convergence.
Know your Aircraft
The Bf-109’s ring is a thirty degree ring, with hash marks every five degrees inside it. So with a 40 degree Off Angle, 200 meters range, 300 meter convergence on a rising and closing target, it looks like this:
He flew into the rounds, just as I knew he would!
Practice Makes Perfect
The only way to get better at gunnery is to practice. We’re far more fortunate than the real heroes that put their lives on the line in that we get as much gunnery practice time as we want (or can make time for). We get unlimited rounds, a dedicated range, and in-flight targets we can practice on.
A few tips that I find helpful:
Get Closer: I rarely hit much outside of 250 meters, do okay at 200 meters, and start making things happen at 150 meters. 100 meters is a cinch!
Double the Lead: Most misses are due to underestimating the Angle Off. If I’m not sure how I’m missing a target, I increase the Angle Off by double. Usually it fixes the problem.
Be Patient: Move the target into position on the sight before firing. The low percentage snap shot made out of eagerness or frustration expends rounds you may need later on.
Visualize the rounds from gun to target: if one can see in one’s mind the path of the rounds, including the time of flight, from gun to target before one pulls the trigger accuracy increases.
Don’t get fixated! When working a target, glance around. Be aware of other aircraft. Most collisions happen when two pilots are working the same target and don’t pay attention to their surroundings. Likewise, I’ve often found a better or more threatening target present itself during the Act part of the Look-Decide-Act portion of combat maneuvering.
Record your fight! Bind a key to start and stop recording when the fight is imminent. We have the advantage to having not only gun cam footage but a complete post-mortem of every engagement available to us. Examine what when right, what went wrong, and why.
Play the Odds: Know your skills and work within them. I very rarely shoot at greater than forty degree Angle Off because my hit percentage is near zero. Firing at targets 400 meters away is a waste of bullets if I’m the one in the virtual cockpit, for example.
The pamphlet itself in original form can be found on my site here. A special thanks to SimHQ Emeritus Andy Bush. I stole it from him several years ago and had forgotten where I put it at the time. I finally put it up on my site.
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