Help please


August 15, 2007, 06:18 PM
Here is my problem. I'm very good with a rifle but when it comes to handguns I can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside. I have practiced as much as my wallet will let me buy ammo. This may not make any sense but my plinking skills have improved quite a bit (still not great) but when I go to shoot a paper target its all I can do to hit the paper. My group of 12 rounds from a full mag. takes up the whole target. Taking a class is not possible as it is over an hour drive to the closest range. Anyone know of any videos or even better any online videos that may help me? Any advice anyone can give is greatly appreciated.

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August 15, 2007, 07:04 PM
Here's a good article with the basics

An interesting video

As silly as it sounds, if you just Google phrases like "How to shoot", there's a lot of good info out there. I've improved my accuracy by quite a bit with some internet advice.

August 15, 2007, 07:09 PM
Sounds like you may have grip and trigger control issues. Possibly stance. It may even be that there is something wrong with your pistol, or the pistol may be too big for you, or the caliber too much for you to control, please list the pistols you shoot & what ammo.

I don't think an hours drive each way is an unreasonable investment if you want to get better with a pistol. (I've flown to the other side of this continent for training.) If you only have some basic handling issues, having a good trainer watch you shoot for 15 minutes will be worth more than all the books and videos you ever buy. This will be faster too.

A good trainer will interact directly with you while no book, video or even the internet can do that.

August 15, 2007, 07:32 PM
I am practicing with an S&W 6906 9mm. I also have a WWII 1911 that I very recently inherited from my dad and an old (never heard of it.) Regent .22 revolver. Saving up for a CZ 75. I just can't bring myself to shoot the colt yet. Still in a stage where I get teary eyed when I look at it. I have shot my friends Sigs, Wathers, and BHP's and had the same problem. Its not my gun its me. As for taking a class they open after I am at work and close 1/2 hour after I get off. Weekends it is just too crowded.

August 15, 2007, 07:33 PM
How is your shooting routine?

Describe it and maybe we can give some suggestions.

August 15, 2007, 08:08 PM
What pistol/revolver and caliber??

I've long known that the best way for someone who is not a handgun shooter to learn to shoot accurately is to start on a good .22 pistol or revolver.

Cheap to shoot, learn the fundamentals of focusing on the front sight and trigger control. and no recoil to cause flinching.

Shoot 1,000/1,500 rounds of 22 L.R., and you should have the fundamentals down pat. Then step up to the larger calibers.

Good luck.


Snapping Twig
August 15, 2007, 08:19 PM

Snapping Twig
August 15, 2007, 08:20 PM
Assuming you know and use a Weaver stance (if not learn it), focus your eyes on the front sight and the front sight only. Use your peripherial vision to align the rear sights and the point of impact.

It's all about the front sight.

After that, it's in the grip and weather you're munching (flinch) or some other such thing other than a steady hold while moving only your trigger finger.

BTW, use only the last 1/3 of your finger tip to pull the trigger back straight. Too much trigger finger moves the gun.

August 15, 2007, 08:41 PM
Bama Checkout the stuff from Valhalla they have some great pointers.

Also I would suggest not getting too hung up on your accuracy not all of us are IDPA champions. If you shoot someone in the head at 15yds with a handgun it's kinda hard to claim self defense. If you get 3 mid core in an assailant at 5-10 ft that is going to be your typical defense instance and alot easier to explain to the cops. Truth be told most people practice at a considerably longer distance than they would ever encounter in a real life event. Try the 1911 you might shoot better the grip is more intuitive for some shooters.

August 15, 2007, 09:40 PM
Some good info here. Stance & grip could be an issue.

You say you're very good with a rifle, though, but lousy with a handgun. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess you're very good with a scoped rifle. Part of your problem may be a sight picture issue, i.e. not getting a good one and focusing on the front sight. If you're not sure, look up what a good sight picture ought to look like. Aim, get this good sight picture, then focus everything you've got on the front sight, and keep your focus on it while you're shooting, i.e. don't peek at the target or lower the gun or change your grip in between shots to see how you're doing. Theoretically, being an accurate shot is easy - just get a perfect sight picture, focus on the front sight, then pull the trigger without disturbing your sight picture. In practice, though, it's very hard to do. Dry fire practice is good for this.

IMO, another temptation with semi-autos (in the context of learning to shoot) is to shoot too fast. Don't rush your shots. Your .22LR revolver would be good to practice with - in addition to being inexpensive practice, it forces you to slow down. I'd start with it by cocking the hammer and shooting in SA mode. A good DA trigger pull takes a lot of practice and a skill well worth developing, but shooting your revolver in SA mode for now eliminates one of the variables you don't need to be messing with now. For that matter, shooting your revolver in SA mode off a rest reduces the shooting to its essence - sight & trigger control. Once you get decent groups this way, stand and shoot SA offhand, then go to offhand in DA with the revolver or offhand with your 9mm.

In addition to Googling, and the links provided, try the search function on forums like this - there's some good info right here.

Good luck!

August 15, 2007, 09:57 PM
OK, I'd start trigger control exercises first. You probably need trigger control for your pistols since you don't have the shoulder stock of a rifle to couch.

Empty hand technique. This is to make sure that you aren't using the wrong parts of your fingers and hands but only your trigger finger. Hold fingers and thumb of your hand flat with the palm (like if you were going to make a karate chop), now bend your index/trigger finger along the middle knuckle until it is 90 degrees to the rest of your fingers. Do this in a smooth manner like your knuckle was a hinge. Make sure no other part of your hand or fingers move at all. Do this with both hands whenever you have free time. It will teach you to only use trigger finger in a pressing motion when firing a gun.

Stressball or wad of clay excercise. Hold either one in your hand and slowly press your trigger finger into the ball/clay. Builds up muscle and trains finger to close in a slow even manner. Clay won't let you jerk your fingers.

Dime on unloaded gun trigger time. Take your unloaded 1911 or maybe the revolver (put snap caps into the gun) and cock back the hammer, now balance a dime on the top of the gun in front of the rear sight. Hold it as if you were shooting and press the trigger to make the hammer drop -but without making the dime drop. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed, making sure that the dime stays in place and you move nothing but your trigger finger.

If you develop a practice routine with all of the above, your trigger control will be better than 90% of the shooters out there. Rock solid hold and smooth trigger action will send your bullets on target.

1911 guy
August 16, 2007, 08:13 AM
Buying ammo and poking holes in paper can be self defeating if you don't have a good foundation of skills to start with. All you may be doing is reinforcing bad habits.

Plan a long weekend at one of the schools. Sure, it will cost you some coin, but so will blowing thousands of rounds downrange with minimal improvement. Think of it like buying work boots. You can spend 50 dollars every few months for cheap ones, or you can spend 300 bucks every few years and be more comfortable besides. Plan ahead and lay down the cash. If you do your homework and pick a school and class suited to your needs, it will be an excellent investment.

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