(Saddle Up or Deflection Shot?)
by fuze

In air combat you are trying to shoot from a moving target and hit a moving target. As fast as bullet and cannon rounds are they still take time to get to the target. This means you have to fire at where the bandit's plane will be opposed to where you see it. To hit a maneuvering target requires a substantial amount of lead at times, lead being the distance ahead of the bandit you shoot. The amount of lead varies depending on the targets speed and the Gs it's using to maneuver. You also have to maneuver your plane to get it pointing at that spot ahead of the target.

In dogfights there are two basic types of gun shot opportunities you try to achieve. They are related to your style of attack and the position of the bandit and your aircraft when the shot is taken.

The first is a low deflection shot called a tracking shot where you maneuver and saddle up on the bandit. This is usually associated with a turn-fighting style of combat where you are in the rear quarter of the bandit trying to get in-plane with his maneuvers and track him. When you accomplish this you have 'saddled up' and are ready to shoot. The window of opportunity to shoot the target is larger compared to the high deflection shot.

The second is a high deflection shot or snapshot, among other names, where you only have an instant to shoot and hit the bandit. This is usually associated with energy fighting where you are making passes at the bandit from his sides or from the forward quarter. It could also be a rear quarter shot when the target passes your nose for a brief time. The window of opportunity to shoot the target is very small compared to the tracking shot. Similar to a picture or 'snapshot' of a fast moving object.