I went to the range today, something wrong with my technique? (pics)


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Dave88LX
February 19, 2007, 09:29 PM
Hey all,

I recently bought a Springfield Armory XD9 service (4") model. Everything I've read about it points to being a great gun, and it is comfortable in my hand. It's my first handgun. No lessons or anything, just trying to read what I can about shooting, and apply it. I shot it once before, with my buddy, just "at" things, not target shooting.

I'm wondering what I might be doing wrong.

You can see at both the 3, 7, and 15 yard targets, I'm shooting low/left, and of course more spread as I get further back. Ignore the hole that's in the top/right of the paper on multiple targets...that was an accident from another target in front of this one. :) I also gave 1-handed shooting a try at 3 and 7 yds, didn't bother with 15 yds yet.

Aside from "aim up and right", what do you think I might be doing wrong? I don't know if it's just my aim, or if I'm pulling the gun in that direction...

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/19feb07_16rds_3yds_2hands.jpg

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/19feb07_16rds_7yds_2hands.jpg

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/19feb07_32rds_15yds_2hands.jpg

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/19feb07_16rds_3yds_1hand.jpg

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/19feb07_16rds_7yds_1hand.jpg

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CNYCacher
February 19, 2007, 09:48 PM
I don't know where this comes from, and have no experience with it, but perhaps it will help?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=33462&d=1136427659

XeRoFuN
February 19, 2007, 09:53 PM
Looks like you may be "milking." Which is, when your trigger finger closes on the trigger, your other fingers begin to close as well (like tightening your grip). You should also see where the tip of your finger is laying on the trigger..too much could make you move the gun enough to make you shoot low and to the left. It could also be a flinch. Practice dry firing and even mix some in with live fire and see if you flinch.

Hardtarget
February 19, 2007, 10:06 PM
everything I thought has been posted.Good luck with your practice sessions!

JCF
February 19, 2007, 10:10 PM
Assuming you are shooting from a standing position, check to ensure that you are bringing the gun up to eye level as opposed to bringing your head down to the gun... which will play hell with your perception of your sight/target relationship.

Guy B. Meredith
February 19, 2007, 10:40 PM
You haven't mentioned anything about your shooting experience or training. Are you familiar with sight picture, making the front sight the main focus, etc?

Shooting 7:00 usually indicated recoil anticipation in the case of a right hand shooter.

rangerruck
February 19, 2007, 10:46 PM
are you lefty?

IDriveB5
February 19, 2007, 10:59 PM
Take a look at this video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4584332856867071363

I think the #1 thing that has helped improove my shooting is concentration. If I concentrate on that front sight all the way up to during and after the shot, it seems my group sizes are remarkably smaller.

HTH

Guy B. Meredith
February 19, 2007, 11:05 PM
IDriveB5 is correct. Shooting is like golf--keep your eye on the ball until it hits down. One of my worst habits is looking away at the last moment--really need to watch where the front sight is until the bullet is well down range.

Dave88LX
February 19, 2007, 11:30 PM
Nice chart! I was given this one too:
http://www.sportshooter.com/images/correction_chart.GIF

I guess I'm tightening my fingers too much. I read somewhere I'm supposed to squeeze hard before I start my trigger pull, that way my fingers are already clenched, so it doesn't yank the gun. Maybe I'm not doing that tight enough?

I will have to double-check where my trigger finger is resting, but I thought I was on the fingertip pad.

I have no shooting experience or training (aside from AR-15 that we do annually...military).

Like the M-16, I've been trying to keep the front sight in focus. Then, equal daylight on either side of the sight, and all even across the top.

I'm righty.

I will check out the video thank you!

thexrayboy
February 19, 2007, 11:34 PM
Excellent video. Live demonstration mixed with explanation is an excellent teaching/learning tool.

IDriveB5
February 19, 2007, 11:39 PM
Yeah, that was a great find and I'm rather thankful to whoever linked me to that video a few months ago.

Dave88LX(5.0L?)- When I shoot handgun, I tend to have a pretty tight grip and try to do everything in that video with the exception of trigger finger placement, I use the first joint (when shooting my 686 in double action). No formal training here, so take my advice for what its worth.

Dave88LX
February 19, 2007, 11:48 PM
I will give it a shot next time out. Probably tomorrow.:uhoh:

Yep, 5.0. I've got an '87 coupe also that I'm in the process of building a 351W for, with a single T-76 turbo kit for it. Have all the parts, just need to build it.

chipp
February 20, 2007, 06:32 AM
Thanks Idrive that video id sweet. I alled about a lesson on friday thae guy never called back.

moparguy
February 20, 2007, 09:58 AM
I found that when i shoot and use just my finger tip to squeeze the trigger that i'm more accurate. when your hand is flat up against the gun and you squeeze the trigger, the muscles in your hand react. Try this. Take your shooting hand, now put your pointer finger from your other hand right on the pad of your hand at the base of your trigger finger. now move your trigger finger like your squeezing the trigger. Feel the movement?
If you line your finger tip up with the edge of the trigger and dont go through, you can arch your finger, and pull that part of the pad of your hand off the weapon. and it seems to make it not pull as badly. Try it with a snap cap and watch a specific target.

RTFM
February 20, 2007, 10:06 AM
Those charts are great, bu remember there is a right hand and a left hand chart.

If you can't find the lefty chart (on the net somewhere) read the offered right as a mirror.

IE: Thumbing at 3 O'clock would move to the 9 O'clock position, 1 O'clock Heeling swaps with 11 O'clock pushing etc etc etc....

EDIT: WOW! what a great video. Had not seen that before. Good post. Thanks.


RTFM

ZeSpectre
February 20, 2007, 10:16 AM
I'm a lefty and shoot an XD-40 but I had the same issue (mirrored) with mine. In my case moving my trigger finger from the "pad" to the first joint (I guess people call it the "power crease") tightened everything up for me. It's a little weird for me because the XD's trigger is the ONLY one I have to do that with.

Gendaito
February 20, 2007, 12:26 PM
A training tip that might help. Get some snap caps / dummy rounds, and mix those in with real ammo in your magazine in some random order.

When you go to shoot and there's a dummy round, you'll be able to do two things:
1) See if you flinching. If the sight picture moves at all, you are anticipating recoil and flinching.
2) You can practice a malfunction drill known as Tap-Rack-Bang.

I suggest some formal training as well. Best money you can spend to improve your shooting.

HTH. :D

Gunpacker
February 20, 2007, 03:22 PM
Not that it could be all of your trouble, but I would throw away that ammo or at least not shoot it in that gun.
Your shots show a definite tumbling and wide throwing of shots due to unstable bullets. The holes that are close to round show irregular tears at various angles of the clock, a few are oblong, and 2 on separate targets are way out at 2:00 hitting sideways. That type of instability can cause a terrible target where the shooting is perfectly well executed.
I had to look closely to see that the sideways bullets at 2:00 were not the same target. They are so perfectly aligned that I cannot believe they were fired separately and hit there coincidentally.
Try another target. Your first shows a reasonable group, that in no way should open up as much as it does without widely divergent bullet behavior. Even the flyers in the first group could have been caused by poorly stabilized bullets at close range. I have usually seen this in reloads. Most factory ammo is reasonably stable in any gun.
Good luck, keep trying for improvement. Just don't blame yourself for things beyond your cause.
In saying this, I am assuming that your target was not blowing around and causing the bullets to hit sideways to the paper.

CountGlockula
February 20, 2007, 03:29 PM
This is what's wrong:

It's my first handgun. No lessons or anything, just trying to read what I can about shooting, and apply it.

I recommend taking some Basic Handgun classes and work your way up. Owning is one thing, accuracy & proficiency is another.

DirksterG30
February 20, 2007, 03:43 PM
Something I've learned recently - the importance of the surprise trigger break. I've been shooting for a little over 2 years, and my targets typically look like yours or worse. I looked at the diagnostic targets, read a lot about sight picture etc, but I still had problems. During the last trip to the range I realized that I was focusing on the trigger, almost anticipating when it was going to let up.

I made a conscious effort to instead focus on the front sight, and more than a few times I was surprised when the gun went off, and the bullet struck the point-of-aim.

Dave88LX
February 20, 2007, 04:44 PM
Not that it could be all of your trouble, but I would throw away that ammo or at least not shoot it in that gun.
Your shots show a definite tumbling and wide throwing of shots due to unstable bullets. The holes that are close to round show irregular tears at various angles of the clock, a few are oblong, and 2 on separate targets are way out at 2:00 hitting sideways. That type of instability can cause a terrible target where the shooting is perfectly well executed.
I had to look closely to see that the sideways bullets at 2:00 were not the same target. They are so perfectly aligned that I cannot believe they were fired separately and hit there coincidentally.

Yeah that was a mistake...I'm sorry I forgot to mention that. I accidentally shot through my whole pack of targets, it was behind another target I was aiming at. Hey, learned that lesson real quick, know what's behind your target! ;)

I'm shooting Winchester White Box and CCI Blazer.

tegemu
February 20, 2007, 05:26 PM
I have found that a ton of dry firing while concentrating on the front sight and keeping it immobile throughout the trigger pull - hammer drop - follow up, works wonders for me.

Lupinus
February 20, 2007, 05:28 PM
work on just moving your trigger finger andn ot all of them. It's hard to do as your fingers are preprogramed to close together. Also how tight are you holding it?

To be honest though aside from shooting a little off center you didn't do to bad if you are just learning handguns. I'm by no means an expert myself but I can hit the broadside of a bard, your targets look better then some of my first handgun targets to be sure

El Tejon
February 20, 2007, 05:46 PM
"Guys say, 'every gun I've hand shoots low and to the left, dumb guns.'" Clint Smith, Director, Thunder Ranch.

As Guy and others posted, you are likely anticipating the recoil and mashing the trigger. (The gun wants to go up and to the right, you are mashing it down and to the left). The Crock has a tricky trigger and it takes time to become familiar with. Don't worry, you're doing great.:)

Dry practice and lot of it. When you notice you are starting to mash, unload the weapon on the line and dry practice. A .22 may help. Classes are beneficial as well. Good shooting. :)

Gunpacker
February 20, 2007, 06:45 PM
Dave88LX, your statement that you shot thru one target and hit your package of targets behind it with a sideways bullet is further proof of instability in what you shot the targets with. A paper target would not turn a bullet sideways.
I suggest that you shoot at a longer range, and I suspect that you will see more sideways bullet holes.
Again I am assuming that the original target was stable when shot, not blowing around. If it was stable, the oval shape of holes and widely varying holes cut is obviously a result of bullets hitting off perpendicular to the paper.

AndyC
February 20, 2007, 07:31 PM
Pull the trigger slowly enough that the gun surprises you a little when it goes off.

Your job is to keep the sights on-target until it goes off "by itself" - once you have more experience, it's easier to control and you won't have to think about it as much ;)

Dave88LX
February 21, 2007, 11:51 AM
Damn I hate to sound like I'm arguing when I'm new...

That one hole is an 'error'... I have one of those target packets where you flip up the next target (kind of like a horizontal notebook). The target being shot is supported, while the rest are unsupported, and dangling in the air (or wind in this case). I can provide a picture of the rest of the target so you can see what I mean. My guess is the pack of targets was bent back around the support pole when the bullet hit, causing the weird hole; but look at all the rest of my shots, none other are like that. This was just a "stray bullet" fluke through a pack of unsupported paper at an angle...

I hope that makes sense. :D

Gunpacker
February 21, 2007, 12:54 PM
Uhhh, nope. You can't get a sideways bullet hole by bending the paper. You can only go from round to very long oblongs. Further, you stating that the target being shot is supported adds further proof that the bullets were unstable and yawing. If you look, many holes are oblong. Some show evidence of tail drag on one side or the other randomly.
Compare your holes to someone else's and you will see the difference.
Look, I am on your side. I am saying that some of the wide flyers are maybe NOT your fault. You just have bullets being fired at an unstable spin condition, probably ammo related only. I have seen it many times, especially in 9mm.
You can prove this by running your target out to 25 yards. Let a friend that is a good shot shoot it for examination. The condition will be exaggerated, and I suspect you will see many sideways holes and terrible dispersion.
A different bullet will likely solve it.

Dave88LX
February 21, 2007, 01:55 PM
Gotcha. I will look at the rest of the holes again, I just meant that we shouldn't get hung up on that one hole because it was made "weird", but if others are like that too then I do have an issue I should look into.

I've been using Winchester White Box, and the CCI Blazer rounds. If you look closely at the bottom, the first 2 targets I wrote CCI Blazer in the "info" box, and then Winchester on the next one. I believe the last 3 targets are Winchester. Which targets should I be looking at for the holes you are talking about?

Gunpacker
February 21, 2007, 07:31 PM
Look at the "15 yd 2 hand" target. The only hole on the entire paper that looks concentric is the one outside the ring at 2 o'clock. Bullet smear around the hole is round and even all around the center hole. That is how they should look, almost without exception. Now look at the 3 furthest out at 9 o'clock for instance. The holes are oval, with bullet smears on 2 sides more prominent. I don't see any others that are round and concentric.
Now look at even the last 3 yd target, and the hole at 5 o'clock. Even there the bullets are yawing. Oval hole. That is just for example.
As stated, try them at 25 yds on a big target. You should see more clearly.
Actually the Winchester targets are the most obvious to me. CCI targets seem to have most holes appearing concentric, with only a couple of suspicious holes. Maybe just paper tearing unevenly on them. The 15 yd target is shouting at me. 25 yds will tell for sure. Unstable bullets will be all over the place and at all angles of impact.

Dave88LX
February 21, 2007, 11:20 PM
I definitely appreciate the advice, thank you! I will try to get out to the range tomorrow and fire some off, and will get close-up pictures of the targets so we can see clearly. I have some of both Winchester and CCI left, so I will annotate which is which.

I will take a closer look at these targets in my hand as well.

kikr
February 22, 2007, 01:59 AM
See if either one of these help you.

Gunpacker
February 22, 2007, 11:47 AM
Just one other thought. Your groups in the first two targets are low left. They are groups. you may only need a tuneup of technique. The fact that they are reasonable groups says that you ain't doing bad. Being low left can indicate that the sights simply need adjustment. Windage is definitely adjustable but if sights are ''fixed'' there will not be an elevation adjustment. That's life with fixed sights.
Different bullet weights and velocities will change point of impact and another bullet may impact higher or to the side of those shown.
If you can rest your hands to shoot slowly and carefully, you may be able to eliminate most of the badly jerked shots, and see a more reliable group where sights are set. If you are hitting on center supported, then if you are off center when shooting without support, you can blame technique of trigger pull/aim/hold.

Dave88LX
February 22, 2007, 11:24 PM
Holy **** thanks guys! What an improvement that made! I did my best to concentrate on the front sight, and try to let the pistol "surpise" me (which sucks)! I also made sure I was using the pad of my finger instead of the crease.

My 7-yd target today looks better than my 3yd target from a couple days ago, and my 15-yd target looks better than my 7-yard target from before. I *think* I made a big improvement.

I was only able to fire off one target at each range before it was about dark and I couldn't see much, so I packed it in and came home. Thanks a ton for all the help, now I just need to get out there and practice more!

I know I have much room for improvement on the 15-yard, but it's way better than the old 15-yard. I think I might be psyching myself out, because at that distance, the smallest tremble and the sight is all over the target, and I think I was wanting to just squeeze it out before the shaking got worse, I don't know.

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/22feb07_16rds_7yds_2hands.jpg

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/22feb07_16rds_15yds_2hands.jpg

Dave88LX
February 22, 2007, 11:28 PM
Oh, I did as you requested and shot a target at 25 yards. I should have done it again, as these were the first shots I fired today, and like I said the gun just wouldn't stay still. :neener: I think if I tried again after doing the 7 and 15 yd, I would have done better after practicing a little with the "new" technique.

I have the target in front of me and I don't think I see any that look like they went through sideways...

They are all stray everywhere because I sucked and hadn't warmed up at all, just started at 25yds. I'll try again and see what kind of grouping I can get.

http://paradox.shacknet.nu/dave88lx/xd9/22feb07_16rds_25yds_warmup.jpg

Gunpacker
February 23, 2007, 11:50 AM
Nice improvement in your shooting. As for the 25 yd target, you used Winchester and that appeared to be the most suspect ammo.
I see several holes that are oddly shaped, but not as much as I expected to see, and maybe it is just funny paper tearing.
You are on the road to being a good shot.

AZLibertarian
February 23, 2007, 07:52 PM
If I may add one technique on stabilizing your sight picture...

As others have mentioned, get some snap-caps to practice your trigger pull. However, put a dime on top of the slide as you practice. You ought to be able to make a smooth trigger pull all the way till the trigger hits the snap-cap without dropping the dime off the slide.

[Now if I could only stabilize my own shooting! :what: ]

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