Wow, I did at better at range this time, thanks everyone!


February 16, 2009, 05:30 PM
Well, after the sad day at the range last week and also posted a thread about here in a desperate attempt to find out what I was doing wrong, I've got good news. I've taken peoples information as best I could. I had a lot of good incite, suggestions and tips to better myself as I have a lot to learn about handgun ownership and training. Today, following peeps advice the best I could, I was pretty amazed at my difference in shooting quality.

I shot at 10 feet, 20 feet and 30 feet distances at a bright show target on cardboard backboard to easily see how my shot patterns would change. The whole time, I kept in mind the tips I was told from all of you:

1. Kept legs shoulder width apart, slightly bent at knees
2. Finger OFF trigger along breadth of gun until ready to fire
3. Leaned slightly forward
4. Grasped gun tightly with right hand and brought up to eye level then wrapped left hand best I could according to Todd Jarretts videos
5. Extended arms to nearly locked position. Tougher to do then I thought, my muscles kept wiggling so the longer I waited to take shot, the more my muscles spasmed. If it got too bad, I brought arms down again, rested and tried again and to shoot within 5 seconds
6. Aimed with dominant right eye and closed left eye
7. Aimed with front site sharp and clear and target slightly blurry as best I could manage
8. Breathed in slowly and breath out slowly between each shot
9. Very SLOWLY with tip of finger pad behind nail, pulled trigger and followed through with shot
10. If arms were tired or sore, I put arms down and rested for a few seconds with deep breathes before taking next shots

I loaded my two mags with 6 shots of Brazer Brass 115grain 9mm. I was in the shadows of the mountain so it was a bit cold, but no wind and no sun in my eyes. I guesstimate that I shot 36 times in a 20-30 minute period, 12 bullets each target at each distance spread.

These are my results:

So, how'd I do? Anything peeps suggest I try different? Any more tips or tricks? I won't get any hands on professional training till spring time, so in the meantime, I'll try to learn and implement what I can via internet posts, thought its somewhat a bit hard to visualize vs someone showing you on onsite, but I think I'm getting somewhere. This is only my 4th time going out and shooting this new gun with with no previous handgun ownership and almost no experience besides years with a .22LR Marlin rifle

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February 16, 2009, 05:36 PM
I think you've got the idea :D

February 16, 2009, 07:30 PM
Good job! You're getting it. Keep reading and practicing. Professional training will surely help. I'm going to seek some of that myself in the spring.

February 16, 2009, 08:10 PM
good job!

i would dry-fire (triple check that your gun is unloaded) alot at home. i'm not sure what gun you have, but if your front sight has a flat spot on top, balance a dime on it while dry-firing.

February 16, 2009, 08:13 PM
Awesome improvement. Keep it up. :)

February 16, 2009, 09:06 PM
Thanks Quack!!!! I just went and picked up my gun, tripled checked it to make sure it was unloaded, found a dime, triple checked it again.... then proceeded to dry fire with the dime balanced on the front sight. I was only successful at keeping it there 10% of the time utilizing double action. This is some great advice and I think that I will spend a whole lot of time utilizing this suggestion. What a great piece of advice:D

February 16, 2009, 10:13 PM
Nice job freezebyte

February 16, 2009, 10:20 PM
It appears you are shooting a bit low most of the time.A big mistake many people make is after they shoot,they then focus on the target to see where the hit went.They then get their sight picture and shoot and peek at the target again.What is occuring is you are shifting back and forth from the target back to the front sight.Try shooting 5 rounds at a time without looking at the target.Stay focused on the front sight and your groups may be more precise and a bit higher where they should be.Good luck.

February 16, 2009, 10:32 PM
good job!

now ask the range if there's a pin shoot or steel shoot night and have some fun. :)

Big Daddy Grim
February 16, 2009, 10:33 PM

February 16, 2009, 10:35 PM
Frankly I think you're doing fantasic. Keep practicing.

February 16, 2009, 11:43 PM
you're doing very well for just listening to post on the must visualise very well.

if you start shaking, you're exerting too much pressure...relax more.

have you had a chance to take a look at the Bruce Gray Dry Fire packet on sight alignment?

February 16, 2009, 11:49 PM
You are doing great. Here is what I do.

I will load 3 magazines with 30% of the rounds snap caps. Randomly load in the snap caps and put the magazines in your pocket. Not looking insert a magazine and take your time. Focus on the front sight and break the shot. When you hit a snap cap you do not want the sights to move at all. Using this method after 10 range sessions I have shrunk my groups by 50% or more. The added bonus is you go through much less ammo with much better results. This has the added bonus of a faliure drill. Good shooting and be safe. Sammy

February 16, 2009, 11:53 PM

Dry Fire (Be sure it's unloaded and NO ammo in the vicinity)

Keep stressing the basics: Grip, stance, sight pic & trigger pull.

Next time you shoot: slip "1 cap' in each mag and shufffle the mags. There's a chance you'll see the barrel "dip" when you hit the cap. You may be anticipating the recoil/flip causing the low hits. Was the very first round you fired one of the best?

You'll be giving advice on the forums if you keep progressing this fast.

+10 Burning squirrels: Get involved in a USPSA or steel league and you'll see what works, get good advice from SHOOTERS, and have lots of fun.

Above all, stay safe, enjoy yourself and save your money for the dodads and other guns you're sure to want soon.

Sammy, we were writing at the same time

February 17, 2009, 12:49 AM
I thought you were supposed to look to see where you bullet went after the shot, or is that just for rifles? I heard dry firing is bad for the guns from alot of peeps, yet others say it isn't. Just what exactly is "dry firing" anyway?

February 17, 2009, 01:01 AM
Do NOT look for your bullet hole after each shot!

That's a great way to develop a bad habit. By lowering the gun slightly and looking over the top you'll ruin your follow through. Often times when a student does this every shot will go below the last in a nice vertical string. It's very obvious.

Here's what to do instead:

Have a SHARP focus on the front sight. The rear sight and target will be blurry.

Keep your focus on the front sight as you pull the trigger smoothly.

Keep your focus on the front sight as the sight moves up during recoil. Do NOT "fight" the recoil. Just let the gun move.

As the gun settles back down, keep your focus on the front sight and put the front sight in EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE as it was for the first shot.

Then, do everything again, just the same as you fired that first shot.

After you've fired all your shots in the string, five or six is good, then look at the group on the target.

You want a nice group with the shots close together. That shows that you did everything the same way each time. Consistency is the key!

Once you get a nice group, then you work on moving the whole group to the bullseye, if it's not already there.

So, ALWAYS WATCH THE FRONT SIGHT, pull the trigger smoothly, WATCH THE FRONT SIGHT, and repeat.

Get it?

February 17, 2009, 01:05 AM
Oh, and dry fire is practicing with an unloaded gun.

Always double and triple check that the gun is unloaded, especially if you dry fire at home.

Always point the gun in a safe direction while dry firing. The best thing to do is to aim at something that would stop a bullet if all else fails.

Never dry fire where you store the gun. Never dry fire with live ammo in the same room.

At the range, you can dry fire for a minute or so before you load and shoot, or dry fire periodically in between courses of fire. It can help you find out if you are flinching. If you jerk the gun down when it's empty, that's why your shots are going low and left (for a rightie) when you shoot.

Dry firing is fine for any modern centefire gun. Most .22's should not be dry-fired and any authentic replicas of the old Colt Single Action Army with a fixed firing pin should not be dry fired.

February 17, 2009, 01:06 AM
But I can't see the hole with my gun in the way, I gotta know where it went or I'll go nuts!

Two steps forward and one step backwards I guess for me

February 17, 2009, 01:16 AM
Great job keep at it. Soon you'll be giving others shooting tips.

February 17, 2009, 01:19 AM
you don't want to see the holes in the target. as a matter of fact, one of hte courses we run during our classes involve cutting the center out of the target and shooting for the empty space...the goal is no holes to tape up on he target.

looking at your holes in the target leads to the bad habit of "chasing your shots"

February 17, 2009, 02:11 AM
But I can't see the hole with my gun in the way, I gotta know where it went or I'll go nuts!

Read your own words, friend, and I think you will see that you do, indeed, still have some learning to do.

Your shooting was fine, but I think that those of us with some experience under our belts would agree that the results would have been similar, if not better, had you not looked at each shot. Trust us, it is a bad habit!

At your level of shooting, consistency is probably the skill you need to work on more than accuracy. That statement might seem a little weird, but consider that accuracy really boils down to nothing more than consistency. If you shoot a 5 shot string, and it groups tight and low, you can figure out what you did and adjust accordingly on your next string. You do that until those motions become second nature, and there you have it. If you try to adjust every shot, consistency will never happen. Ever.

The basic tenets of good marksmanship are pretty simple, and easy to learn. It's just a matter of learning the fundamentals properly and then building on them through practice. Your shooting was really pretty good, but work on the fundamentals that a couple of guys here have mentioned, and it will get better, guaranteed!

February 17, 2009, 06:38 AM
looking at your holes in the target leads to the bad habit of "chasing your shots"

the results would have been similar, if not better, had you not looked at each shot. Trust us, it is a bad habit!

I agree. Peaking at your target between shots is a bad habit lots of people have to some degree; unfortunately, it's a real accuracy killer. Take a deep breath, obtain a good sight picture, focus - really focus - on the front sight, then mentally commit to never removing your focus from the front sight during the entire string (not just the next shot). Your focus should be uninterrupted, i.e. you should be watching the front sight continuously, even during recoil. It's tough to do.

FWIW, those Shoot-N-C's are fun, but they tempt the shooter to peak at their shots, which helps reinforce a bad habit. Personally, I use them sparingly. I'd recommend using a standard target, such as a B-4 you can print for free from the link below.

Kudos to you for looking for input to improve your shooting. I think you're doing great!

February 17, 2009, 07:06 AM
can anyone suggest a way to maintain focus on the front site? I always find I lose focus on mine.

Thomas Garrett
February 17, 2009, 07:08 AM
Freezebyte, Way to go !, work on your basics, and start extending your distance. you'll be fine. Enjoy!:)

February 17, 2009, 07:47 AM
freezebyte... with regards to "seeing your holes coz the gun is in the way"... learn to call your shots. there used to be a video on youtube from the army marksmanship unit about learning to call your shots, but i can't find it.

basically, without looking at your target, and concentrating only on the front sight as you would normally do, lay down a group of 5 shots. then, on a piece of paper, write down where you think the shots went. recall your paper target, and compare. once your mind is able to make the mental distinction of where your bullets are going, your shooting will continue to improve.

a good way to practice concentrating on your front sight is to just have lots of dry fire practice.

February 17, 2009, 08:13 AM
seeing that you have an XDm, i would only load up 5rds at a time.
focus on the front site and don't look at the target until you fire the 5 rds.

Lord1234, dry fire practice will help alot.

this is pretty close to what you want to see.
a sharp front sight, with the rear slightly blurry.

February 17, 2009, 08:20 AM
that looks like a cyborg cyclops robot, lol.

Thomas Garrett
February 17, 2009, 08:24 AM
Quack, Nice camera shot !

February 17, 2009, 08:57 AM
Another thing that might be hurting you is extending your arms almost to lock. That's probably why your arms get tired so fast. Try extending your arms about 2/3 of the way out, a little less. Point your elbows at the guys in the lanes next to you. Now you should be able to maintain shooting position for a fair amount of time. Also, take a step back with your shooting side foot, might be more comfortable for you.

When you breathe, try breathing in, then out halfway and hold it. If you need to, let it out and try again. I'm not sure why this works but it helps me a lot.

One last thing, experiment with your finger placement on the trigger. When I shoot double action, I put my finger further in on the trigger (almost to the first joint), but for single action I use almost the thickest part of the pad of my finger.

Hope this stuff helps. Good job, amazing improvement! Keep shootin'!

Just One Shot
February 17, 2009, 09:25 AM
That's a great improvement!

Take heed to all of the advice you have received and keep practicing so that you are very familiar with your firearm when you do get some one on one training.

Keep us posted!

February 17, 2009, 10:32 AM
Question...are you aligning the target correctly at your front site? from 10 feet, you should be able to hit center pretty easily. You seem to be consistently shooting low. Are you viewing your target "above" the top edge of the front site? (which would be incorrect alignment). Otherwise, great job on picking up on all those tips. I will be doing the same with some more work on stance, grip, and trigger pull for my next trip to the club, assuming my ammo order shows up today!

February 17, 2009, 10:37 AM

proper sight picture to hit center of circle in target.

February 17, 2009, 01:51 PM
can anyone suggest a way to maintain focus on the front site? I always find I lose focus on mine

first dryfire on blank wall and get used to seeing your sights not jumping around when you break the trigger, then progress to calling your shots (how the front sight moves as the shot breaks)

are you saying the sight jumps out of your line of sight or that you're distracted?

Big Bill
February 17, 2009, 02:00 PM
Excellent comments - and great job following expert advice. Keep up the great work and soon you will be the expert.

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