help i suck at shooting


April 15, 2008, 02:02 AM
ok i dont really suck but im not as good as i want to be, i have shot glocks, berettas, ruggers, keltecs, smiths and a few other various guns and it seems like the only thing i am satisfied with are the revolvers. my current pistol is a beretta px4, and i shoot it better than anything else, but its just because i have shot it more. so my question is, what can i do to learn how to shoot better? ive been shooting all kinds of guns sence i was little but was just never really shown very much about simiautos, just about everything i shot untill i was 16 (im only 18 now) or so was a revolver.

If you enjoyed reading about "help i suck at shooting" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 15, 2008, 02:30 AM
Well, the following is heavily 1911-oriented, and also Jeff Cooper slanted, but it's not really wrong, even if you are more into Sigs or Glocks...

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article about modern pistol technique

And here is a link to a book about Cooper's technique

http:// (

There is an awful lot of material about pistol shooting. IPSC, IDPA, etc. etc. However, I believe the above is a good starting place.

April 15, 2008, 03:16 AM
son, nobody's EVER perfect.

deal with it.

and practice is fun. If it isn't fun, go play golf or something.

chris in va
April 15, 2008, 03:22 AM
Check your eye/hand dominance. Are you able to focus clearly?

Try shooting a CZ 75 sometime, I think you'll be impressed.

April 15, 2008, 03:29 AM
My reply was kind of a hint - see if you can borrow a 1911. Full-size is easier to control than the chopped "Officer's" and "Compacts" (And the Commander length, which I have, is a compromise between the two.)

This is not the only pistol available (obviously), but to the true believer, it is the only pistol that matters.

(Now all I have to do is duck while all the Sig, Glock, and Springfield fans throw things...)

Kind of Blued
April 15, 2008, 03:41 AM
(Now all I have to do is duck while all the Sig, Glock, and Springfield fans throw things...)

Like 9mm bullets?

I'll be waiting in the wings with some vitamins to help your body deal with the bruising process.

April 15, 2008, 03:43 AM
search amazon for book reviews. good thing about revolvers is dryfiring.

April 15, 2008, 03:53 AM
Reading books is good, but I suggest that you try to find someone competent to train you.

When I was in high school (late sixties), one of the teachers had a sportsmans club for students and once a month after school he would bring two 22 rimfire target rifles and bullet traps and set them up in the old gymnasium. He was an NRA certified instructor and very good at teaching shooting skills. During the course of four years I worked my way through a complete NRA training course shooting in four positions, and became an expert marksman. The shooting skills I learned there was a fantastic foundation to build upon, and later when I taught myself to shoot pistols it was an easy transition for me.

The point I'm trying to make is that training with an expert is a great thing. And it doesn't necessarily have to be formal training with an NRA certified instructor. Maybe you can find an older person like myself who would enjoy teaching someone to become a better shot.

Also there is nothing wrong with using a revolver instead of semi-auto.

April 15, 2008, 04:03 AM
I reccomend getting training. Formal or informal. If you know someone who's been shooting pistols a long time and can pass along some wisdom, then ask for help. It's a great way to get better. Or sign up for a class and have an instructor give you a few pointers.

April 15, 2008, 05:08 AM
See who shoots the best at the range and ask him (or her) for some instruction. If he says "no way", then ask the next best shooter.

April 15, 2008, 05:47 AM
If you have the money get a .22LR pistol and practice, practice practice.
If you don't have the money for that get a pellet gun or an airsoft and practice while you save up for a 22 LR.

April 15, 2008, 09:40 AM
Hey Clayton, welcome.

I shot a semi-auto for many years, with fair accuracy as an instinctive shooter.

When I finally decided to shoot a revolver, I was shocked at the instant improvement in my instinctive accuracy.

I don't know why this is. Maybe I'm just stupid?:uhoh:

April 15, 2008, 09:49 AM
I'd say it doesn't hurt to take a formal class. I'm at the point where I'm about to sign up for one so that I can learn from someone more experienced (and better) than myself.

April 15, 2008, 11:00 AM
Want to learn how to shoot better?

Then compete.

April 15, 2008, 11:25 AM
I learned how to shoot in JROTC in high school. My school actually had an indoor .22 range. They've since torn down that school and built a new one in it's place. Care to guess if it has a shooting range anymore?

I never did go on to a military career, but I used my JROTC training to win a bunch of .22 rifle shoots.

My skills are rusty, and my body is older and shakier (coffee anyone?) but I still know how to form a sight picture, and slow my breathing, and squeeze off shots.

April 15, 2008, 11:31 AM
I agree with BruceRDucer. My semi-auto centerfire shooting has always been fair-to-middlin'. I bought a Ruger GP100 and SP101. With both guns, I shoot considerably better. I'll admit I load softball stuff in .38 cases for most range sessions (cheaper and easier on my wrists), but even with some warm .357 loads, I still shoot better than out of my MP9.

Try revolvers. You might be *very* surprised at the difference.

That said, I want a 1911 in a big way. :P


April 15, 2008, 11:39 AM
The key to learning to shoot WELL is a lot of intelligent practice.

Just blasting away will probably accomplish little more than using up ammunition.

You need to learn and concentrate on the fundamentals, such as

sight alignment
trigger control

I highly recommend that you take the NRA Basic Pistol course.

Owning a .22lr handgun such as a Ruger MkII or S&W Model 17 will allow you to practice enough at manageable expense so that you can reinforce your ability to use all of the fundamentals of shooting in a consistent, repeatable way.

April 15, 2008, 11:47 AM
I suck at basketball, that's life, usually we gravitate to things that we are good at, I also suck at pool so I don't play often. It depends how determined and how important it is to you. If you really want to learn and have no money, it's easy, join the Marines, or Army, they will spend millions of dollars training you in all aspects of shooting, and then you really won't suck. That's why a lot of older guys are in to guns, they served and in the process, handed down thier knowledge to thier sons and grandsons. Now that we don't feel it necessary to have a draft. and rely more on professional soldiers and newfangled wepons systems, you have less men and women learning this and other skills. Man, I watch survivor the tv show, and wonder how these kids get out of bed in the morning, without help. Most old timers would consider that a paradise, to be on a desert island full of food woman and no one shooting at you, where do I sign up for that.

April 15, 2008, 11:56 AM
Buy a 22 caliber pistol and practice till you got it down. Then move on to bigger more expensive calibers. The 22 will allow you to shoot all day long for less than $30. You can get 1000 rds of 22 lr for less than 150 rds of 9mm.

April 15, 2008, 12:06 PM
Taking a class helps. I highly recommend it so you can get some one on one/personal help.

Black Majik
April 15, 2008, 12:14 PM
I agree with others, a NRA pistol class may go a long way. Any class really that'll teach basic fundamentals should help your shooting.

That said, dryfire, dryfire, and dryfire more. Place a penny on your front sight and dryfire without letting the penny fall off.

Also email the Grayguns guys for a Dryfire packet at

Larry E
April 15, 2008, 12:18 PM
Practice sure helps, and some people can evidently shoot anything well. I had a Browning Hi Power and an S&W 5906 that I could shoot but not well. Small hands and big grips. I have a couple of Kimber 1911's, a Ruger P345 and can shoot them better because they fit my hand better. I have an S&W 22S that has a large grip that I can't shoot as well as my Ruger Mk II. No problems with a GP100 .357 or a couple of Blackhawks either.

I find that if the grip is too large, either to thick or too long front to back, that I can't hold the pistol well, even two handed. The only way to find out is to shoot them for me because they all felt very good in the gun shop.:o

April 15, 2008, 12:19 PM
I've been on a quest to improve as well, let me share some of what I have learned.

For me, shooting at the range is exactly the wrong time to begin work on fundamentals. Ammo is expensive and range time should be considered application time, not practice time, IMHO.

Practicing the following fundamentals is free and can be done at home:

(in no particular order)

1. Trigger Control
2. Both Eyes Open
3. Front Sight Focus
4. Sight Alignment
5. Proper Grip
6. Proper Stance
7. Presentation/Sweep Safety
8. Holstering
9. Simulated Tactical Reload
10. Dis/Assembly, Trouble-Shooting

I'm sure there is more, this is just a list of what I have been concentrating on. In my case progress is slow but noticeable. For some reason I'm the kind of guy that needs lots of time to internalize what I am learning. I can go months with little improvement, then suddenly I'll have an epiphany and the pieces come together. For example: I still have difficulty keeping both eyes open. At one point I literally could not do it. But I practiced and practiced, a little here and a little there, and then one day I was able. I still catch myself closing my left-eye, but it is happening less-and-less.

So, be patient. The best didn't become the best overnight, and we all have a lifetime to improve.

Pat McCoy
April 15, 2008, 01:13 PM
There are lots of little things to consider, but only two basiscs: sight alignment and trigger control.

Lots of dry firing with attention to these two basics will improve your shooting with any rifle or handgun you pick up.

Practice without a goal will not always get you where you want to go. What if you just practice your mistakes? They will become more deeply ingrained.

Find a club or certified instructor offering a basic class, and practice the proper technique you will learn in the class.

Pat McCoy NRA Certified Rifle, Pistol, PPP Instructor

April 15, 2008, 01:15 PM
Here's a short, but informative video featuring Todd Jarrett giving shooting tips.

Joe Gunns
April 15, 2008, 01:44 PM
One gun. Shoot it all the time until you know and shoot it well, then, while keeping up with the one, concentrate on another. Probably will take much less time to become competent with that one. From then on, you should be able to do reasonably well with any you pick up. YMMV.

April 15, 2008, 01:55 PM
I did several things, one of which was get some snap caps so I could dry fire at home when I had 10 minutes or so to practice.

Another unintentional, but EXCELLENT training tool I happened across was a pair of CT Lasergrips. When combined with a snap cap, you can immediately see the effect of your trigger pull and correct the placement of your finger on the trigger, etc. Dry firing with the CT grips cut my group size by 50% at least. You can contact Bruce Gray at GrayGuns and get his free dry fire packet that will help get good results. Someone here may have a copy and can send it to you.

I also shot about 4-500 rounds per weekend for several months two years ago. Practice does indeed help. Get to the range!

April 15, 2008, 02:15 PM
+1 on just focusing on one gun. I find I do my best shooting when I just take one gun with me to the range, and not 2 or 3.

Something interesting I came across a few months ago for practicing dryfiring is snapcaps and a dime. Hold the pistol as you normally do, with a snapcap in the chamber. Balance a dime near the muzzle-end of the slide and practice dry-firing. My CHP instructor mentioned this technique for learning to control your flinch.

April 15, 2008, 02:48 PM
Regarding the dime on the barrel method, it works. Keeping the dime on the barrel is easy though compared to keeping the red dot from the laser grips stationary.

April 15, 2008, 02:56 PM
1. Narrow down your efforts to ONE gun to begin with. Become as proficient as possible with that ONE gun.

2. Get some actual TRAINING, even if it's just having a competent shooter coach you. The key thing is to have someone else watching, who can recognize and correct mistakes. If you don't have that, you might be training yourself in bad habits. Practice doesn't make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect.

2nd 41
April 15, 2008, 03:00 PM
If no one at the range will help you....take a professional lesson or two from a certified instructor. Otherwise the same mistakes keep getting repeated.

April 15, 2008, 04:26 PM
I've found this video to help quite a bit.

April 15, 2008, 04:31 PM
dry fire...DRY FIRE...DRYFIRE!!!

Cock the hammer, sight in on your close range target, begin to apply pressure to the trigger, and calmly tell yourself, "front-sight-press, front-sight-press, front-sight-press..." until the hammer falls.

Re-cock the hammer.


What are your questions on this block of instruction?

April 16, 2008, 08:28 PM
more often than not, you arent hitting what your aiming at becase of the sights... (ruling out you are not flinching, pulling off ect)

i am a decent shot, but for some reason when i first got my glock 30, i couldnt hold a decent group, so i swapped out the factroy plastic sights, with square profile adjustible sights,

this is based on personal preference, but i shoot (handguns) better with square sights that give a sharp picture, as opposed to sights with rounded corners, or blade type front sights.

i prefer sights with a little ammount of space between the sides of the front sight and rear sight notch, so i can tell if the left-to-right alignment is correct. you can be surprised just how accurate the human eye is to alignment...

also, because your px4 is a polymer frame, do you have problems with it getting slippery? i know if im shooting, sweat, water, rain, mud and gun-oil can make the grip very slippery and hard to hang on to...

remedy this with some black electric tape. on polymer frames it wount harm the grips. but be careful with wooden grips.

also, hold the sights the same way and try to break the shot on the same place each time...

just keep practicing, you WILL get better with time and expirence. it takes time to get used to a particular gun, and a handgun is the hardest weapon to master...

3rd Generation American
April 16, 2008, 08:34 PM
Dry fire and do it till it hurts.
also check out this site;

Lots of good infomation here the chart helped me(remember to keep your targets when you go shooting)to figure out what I was doing wrong. Good luck

If you enjoyed reading about "help i suck at shooting" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!