need some advice


February 23, 2003, 11:50 PM
I've been shooting rifles for a while and do pretty well at that but when I pick up a pistol I'm all over the target, I just can't seem to tighten up my groups. what can I do to fix this?

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February 24, 2003, 12:06 AM
Wow, lots of variables to consider.

Are you shooting one-handed or two-handed?

What sort of pistol are you using? If you are starting out with a pistol that has a trigger pull that is like dragging a duffle bag down a gravel road, that could be hurtng your groups.

Doing a lot of dry firing helped me with trigger control. If you have a chance, try that.

Make sure your stance is comfortable.

I was flipping thru an old ROTCM 145-30, Individual Weapons & Marksmanship (September 1966). Even tho much of it is outdated, it has some good basic pointers. Somebody here could probably refer you to a more recent work.

February 24, 2003, 12:11 AM
Get some instruction.

Rifles are really easy to shoot accurately, but the techniques don't transfer to handguns.

There are many written sources that describe effective handgun shooting techniques.

February 24, 2003, 12:19 AM
Find a good shooter at your local range & ask for help. If you asked me I’d tell you:
Use a small caliber pistol. With your finger off the trigger and your eyes closed, point the pistol at the target. Open your eyes and adjust your foot position so that the pistol is pointed at the target. Use a relaxed stance, firm grip, two handed. For a target, a small paper plate no more than 10' away. Establish sight picture, keep only the front sight in focus. Look for detail in the front sight, is it smooth? Serrated? A dot? Keep it in sharp focus. Don't let your focus flow back and forth from the front sight to the target and back. Squeeze the trigger in a single continuos motion so that the shot is a surprise. When you can put 10 shots into the center of the plate (a 4" circle), move the plate back.
This should get you started.

February 24, 2003, 12:21 AM
Hey bobs, i always heard that dry firing was bad for guns, is there any substance to that?

February 24, 2003, 12:27 AM
If you're worried about harming your guns by dry firing, use snap caps. In fact, use them even if you're not worried.... :D

February 24, 2003, 01:09 AM
Nothing wrong with a basic instruction class. Even though I've been shooting forever, I've never been very good shoot with iron sights at 100 yards to past. I was never taught properly. Scope shooting came pretty easy, even at longer distances though I could certainly improve there as well. I was taught handguns by two exceptional ex-military folks and have shot handguns extensively with several very good shooters.

I'd very much like to take one of the basic rifle or carbine classes.

February 24, 2003, 09:26 AM
BigJake, I do use snap caps. Blackhawk is right.

February 24, 2003, 10:41 AM
My illuminated friend, there are a couple of drills you can try to prove to yourself that your handgun is doing its job, and to show you how and where you need to improve.

First drill: set up a target (doesn't really matter what kind, but one with a clearly-visible bulls-eye is probably more useful for this drill) at 25 yards in front of a shooting bench (or a steady, firm table if a purpose-built bench isn't available). Sit down at the bench, and use sandbags or some other firm support to build yourself a shooting platform so that the gun can be held in line with your eye and the target without too much contortionism! :D Hold the gun in your shooting hand, and support that hand with the other one, in such a way that the support hand is resting on the sandbags, but the gun itself is not touching anything. Make sure that your shooting arm is fully extended - don't break the wrist or the elbow out of a straight line between your shoulder and the gun.

Fire a group of 5 rounds, not trying for speed, but shooting for the maximum possible accuracy. Your handgun should be capable of shooting a 3"-4" group at 25 yards without any trouble. If the group is larger than this, slow down and fire another one, using a different point of aim, and being really slow and deliberate, especially with trigger control. Your objective is group size, not bullseye hits - just use exactly the same point of aim for every shot, never mind where the bullets are actually hitting.

Once you've finished, check your group size. If it's in the 3"-4" range, you're doing fine: if it's larger, your shooting needs work. Then check the group location (i.e. the center point of the group) in reference to your point of aim. Don't worry about elevation at this time: but correct your sights so that the windage is allowed for (e.g. if your group is 4" to the left and 6" below the point of aim, drift the rear sight to center the group, but don't worry about elevation at this point). Fire another test group in the same way, and get the sights properly adjusted.

If you get the group size right, and the windage properly adjusted, you're more than halfway home. The rest is practice, from the bench and other positions, and getting the sight picture and trigger control right.

February 24, 2003, 11:48 AM
Dry fire practice (use snap caps), good instruction & lots of practice. No shortcut, but well worth the effort!

February 25, 2003, 07:42 AM
where would i get me some of these snap caps?

February 25, 2003, 09:47 AM
Spend time and money on instruction. Your rifle habits are ingrained and they will not transfer to a pistol. Get the basics down right then spend time ingraining them.

Pistol shooting is a heap harder than rifle shooting.

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