1st range trip=fail!


September 14, 2009, 02:07 PM
Shot a SW MPc 9mm in the NRA First Steps Class yesterday. The good news is that all bullets went into the target. The bad news is they were all down and slightly left. The instructor said I was 'limp wristing' and I think I was also anticipating the trigger. I got *really* good at racking the slide since the cartridges wouldn't properly eject. (Maybe a couple times out of 25 they would). It wasn't the gun-the instructor did just fine with it. The annoying thing is that even though I knew I was doing something wrong, I couldn't figure out how to not do it. :banghead::fire: Oh, and my right wrist is a bit wonky due to previous injury. The trigger seemed to take *forever* to pull back far enough-I had plenty of time (too much?) to think about things. My target did end up with one bullseye when the instructor had me hold and aim while he pulled the trigger. :rolleyes:

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Yo Mama
September 14, 2009, 02:19 PM
Well, they can't all be great days!

You seem to have a good instructor, and I'm guessing your guns not cycling due to you limp wristing as it didn't happen to the instructor.

Keep working at it, you'll be fine.

Also, I'd suggest a trigger job by a Smith to take some problems off your hands.

I know some may disagree, but I found the 9mm to have more recoil than my .45s.

September 14, 2009, 02:25 PM
Right Handed Target help


Left Handed Target help


Not sure your prior experience in shooting but I am guessing it is a push or a anticipation flinch. May I suggest snap caps and have someone load your magazine mixing in the snap caps among the live ammo.

Seat the magazine and shoot. You will be able to see quickly if it is a flinch or not.

September 14, 2009, 02:36 PM
If the limp wristing is caused by a injury. Why not consider shooting a revolver or learning to shoot left handed.
You still a beginner and now would be a good time to try the left hand.
You might be at risk of damaging your weak wrist if you continue to shoot right handed.

Blank Stare 73
September 14, 2009, 03:05 PM
+1 on the snap caps

This is an interesting post. My Dad recently came by and we shot my M&P .40, It's always cycled well for me, but it kept jamming with him! I was starting to think something was wrong with my gun. The 40's recoil can be a little snappy (never shot the 9mm) you definately need to get used to it. With practice you should be able to alieviate this. My Dad broke that wrist some years ago so that could have been the cause, but then he has no problem with his Ruger............Just keep practicing with it........all guns are a little different.........good luck

September 14, 2009, 03:20 PM
definitely get busy on some dry fire drills.
anticipation of recoil is a big thing for new shooter, and it happens to almost everyone that i take to the range and teach how to shoot. alot of times they don't even know that they are doing it. so i do the old dummy round trick. they pull the trigger and there is no bang and you and they see both how much they are low on the target. also maybe a laser devise would be good for this too, and i recomend them for dry fire practice atleast until you get the basics down.

the low and to the left is normally do to the trigger press, not being even and smooth, that is somthing that you will work on and get better with with time, this is also very common but unlike the above this is one of the hardest things for students/ new shooters to overcome. you will get better at this with dry fire drills.

there is no secret way to pull the trigger, use this joint or that, use the tip etc, does not matter what part of the finger that you use, or what you use for that matter as long as it is smooth from begining to end. and a good trigger pull that is smooth does not have to be a slow one either, you should start slow of course, however with time you will get better with it, once you know where the trigger is gonna "break".

also something that would be great for you to understand is trigger reset. you can do this with live rounds at the range or in dry fire.
live fire, pull the trigger until the round is fired, keep the trigger pressed to the rear, let out the trigger until you hear/ feel and audible click. that is the trigger reset, you do not need to let the trigger any farther foward to fire again.

why is this important? the more trigger weight and length of pull there is the more opportunity you have to mess up the shot. also once you are good at it it will make you a very fast and accurate shooter.

dry fire, is simple to do the trigger reset drill. once the gun is cleared of course, take aim on target, pull the trigger, keep the trigger to the rear, rack the slide, get back on target, release the trigger just enough until you get the audible click, and there you are.

if you had a laser device of some sort this would be a great way to see for yourself how important understanding trigger reset is.

September 14, 2009, 05:28 PM
Thanks, TRguy. Those charts looks worth printings and taking to the range. While I find I can keep everything in a nice 8" circle at 15 yards, I often wonder if it is me or the sights that are grouping shots here or there.

Those charts are "sticky" material.

September 14, 2009, 05:51 PM
Thanks, TRguy. Those charts looks worth printings and taking to the range. While I find I can keep everything in a nice 8" circle at 15 yards, I often wonder if it is me or the sights that are grouping shots here or there.
i would have to say that it is most likely you. what are you shooting exactly? there are not many modern made handguns that will only group 8" at 15yds.

September 14, 2009, 05:54 PM
If you have a right wrist injury, try shooting left handed. With a hand gun, it -really- isn't all that difficult.

September 14, 2009, 06:04 PM
I've never had a semi that didn't jam on me at one point or another (other than a Sig P225). I'm sure some of it was my fault, but I just opted to ditch them and stick with revolvers. If your wrist strength is OK you could try a wheelgun. A used S&W K frame in .38 Special with a 4" barrel produces very little recoil. The model 10 for example. Perfect beginners handgun. I find it much less snappy and a lot more friendly to shoot than the 9x19s.

Don't give up! Part of the fun of shooting is the challenge. I've been actively shooting for over a decade now and still have range trips chock full of fail. I recently snapped a wedged ramrod off in the barrel while cleaning my muzzleloader. Took me four days to get it out. That makes the times when everything goes right all that much sweeter.

September 14, 2009, 06:09 PM
additionally i would like to point out that you didn't "fail" the guys that go to the range and fire a 1000rds and don't miss once they are the ones that have failed. if you push yourself like everyone should you will do what is considered "failing" however it is the right opposite you failed to get that one round on target however if you know what you did wrong and know how to fix it then that was an opportunity to better yourself, your training and your shooting.

how does this translate to you? you see that you have an issue, you recognize the fact that you need assistance, and you ask, you get things like the charts above and you begin to do what you must to improve. that is not failure at all there my friend.

September 14, 2009, 06:24 PM
Don't get discouraged,it takes time and lots of dry firing. I go to the local Sheriff's range and I get better every time. The first time I couldn't even hit the target because the trigger was so stiff my hand would jerk the gun down and right. Now I can get decent groups for a newbie,I've been 6 or 7 times now.

September 14, 2009, 06:28 PM
As everyone else said: pistol shooting is difficult and takes time to learn. Keep at it.

A professional trainer will help out tremendously.

September 14, 2009, 06:59 PM
Shoot weaver stance and GRAB that gun! Yeah, I think .38 revolvers make better beginner guns. JMHO, though. I started with a .22 revolver, myself. My first serious center fire handgun was a Ruger Security Six stainless 4" gun and, for a while, I shot .38s to keep the flinch down until I learned to control the gun.

last to know
September 14, 2009, 07:46 PM
I've had similar problems, when I shoot my buddies Glock .40 I might get three rounds off before I get a stovepipe but when I shoot my para-ordanance pda. i can go untill I run out of every .45 round in the range. The glock just dosn't feel right after breaking my thumb.

September 14, 2009, 08:38 PM
Shoot weaver stance and GRAB that gun! Yeah, I think .38 revolvers make better beginner guns. JMHO, though. I started with a .22 revolver, myself. My first serious center fire handgun was a Ruger Security Six stainless 4" gun and, for a while, I shot .38s to keep the flinch down until I learned to control the gun.

Very sound advice, listen to MC.

I'll add that even the best shooters have times, or even sessions where they are fighting the flinch. When this happens to me, I put down the .38s, 44 and/or .45 and pick up a .22. Actually, I almost always shoot a 22 at the range, but I'll shoot it more if I'm having a bit of an off day. If I'm having a bad enough day, I'll stop shooting altogether. Remember, practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice does.

One other thing that may be factoring in: do you know which eye is the dominant one? My father was shooting right handed and did fair until he realized he was left eye dominant; he switched to shooting left handed (sighting with his left eye) and realized a pretty dramatic improvement in his shooting ability after only about 100 rounds of getting his left trigger finger trained. Something to think about.

September 14, 2009, 09:51 PM
sorry computers acting dumb.

September 15, 2009, 01:34 AM
Definately practice trigger pull.

Next time out, pay attention to your hand muscles as you pull the trigger, and keep the wrists stiff. You want recoil to move your forearm instead of your hand, if that makes any sense. You'll find you'll need a very slow trigger pull to really analyze your hand muscles....pay attention to where the shot lands, then try it differently and see how it lands.

Soon, you'll understand how you specifically grasp the pistol and what you need to do to keep it firing where you want it. On my pistol I take about 5-10 seconds to do a full DA trigger pull when critiquing my hand/pull technique. It's helped greatly.

So far it's brought this handgun newbie down from a 12" spread at 15 feet to a 6" spread at 25 feet within a couple of weeks. I think this next time will be even tighter. 15 yards is quite a distance....you're already a pretty good shot.

Keeping the wrist stiff may take some work...you'll notice most shooters have pretty decent forearm muscles...it's for a reason...they help keep the hand stiff. Perhaps some exercises with some 3-4lb dumbells will work that into shape. I have a iron ball that weighs about 3lbs I hold in the palm of my hand for forearm workouts....just rotate my hand slowly with it in each hand for 5 mins a day. I'm usually doing that while online or studying, so it's not really an impact on my day.

September 15, 2009, 02:07 AM
May I suggest snap caps and have someone load your magazine mixing in the snap caps among the live ammo.

Of all the range exercises I've done, and all the reading, and all the dry-fire ... ball and dummy drills (snap-caps randomly in the mag) have produced more dramatic improvement in my shooting than anything else. Once you can pull that trigger every time as if it was on a snap-cap, you're going to get tighter groups, move closer to the POA, and build valuable muscle memory. Flinch all you want AFTER the shot goes off, it won't affect the POI much. You can work on follow-up shots after you solve the flinch on the first.

As to your "limp-wristing" ... get a good weaver or modern isosceles stance with the 2-hand push/pull, and grip the pistol like you're keeping someone from taking it away from you, using 9 fingers. Strong hand grips first, weak hand clamps down on top of strong hand. Do some healthy dry-fire in this position with the nice new snap-caps you're going to buy for the above ball&dummy drills.
(My snap-caps look like crap, by the way. They were shiny and new only 4 months ago, and in that time they've been chambered/extracted uncountable times, dropped on the concrete floor, stepped on, ridden around in the range box, been used for function testing, etc etc)
I've been using a beat-up tennis ball for a grip exerciser, gripping with three fingers until I see a tremble, and then smoothly working the trigger finger. You can do the same with your steering wheel as you drive. Actually, you can do that exercise with just about any squeezable object in your hand. Strengthening the grip will help you ride the recoil and maintain your hold, rather than the gun working into a new position every shot.
(I bet you needed to adjust your grip frequently while shooting ... that's why, the gun wasn't staying clamped in your hands)
Good dry-fire basics HERE (http://www.corneredcat.com/Practice/dryfire.aspx) (sorry for the pink ladies' page, but it is the best dry-fire primer for a new shooter that I know of) Actually, if you haven't, go read cornered cat's entire site ... she doesn't update much, but there's a wealth of info there for new shooters of any plumbing style.

ribbit, you're now more proficient than some law enforcement professionals or active-duty military ... and better armed than a huge fraction of the population.
Don't panic, keep shooting at a level that challenges you, and if you don't have one, get a .22 pistol that mimics your desired defense pistol. If you don't know what your desired defense pistol is yet, get a .22 anyway! (I like Ruger rimfire pistols, but get whatever fits your hand best)

September 15, 2009, 03:58 PM

Thank you much for the encouragement and advice! I have lots to think about and study now. I will certainly take a .38 or .22 revolver out next time. Also want to use up the rest of my 9mm ammo. A quick search suggested that a metal larger autoloader might help with the limp wristing over the light MPc. Not sure I can use snap caps in the rentals (I don't own a gun-the MPc was a rental as well) though. Yes, I am right eye dominate but given that my right trigger finger (and wrist and whole arm, really) is sore to hurting all the time, I may need to learn left handed. Oh, and I have the right plumbing for the cornered cat, but still hate pink. ;) Seems like lots of practice-hope my bank account can stand it between range membership and ammo.

September 15, 2009, 04:12 PM
Don't listen to the advice about buying a heavier, larger pistol to overcome limp wristing.

Your 9c can be shot just fine if you just put the tension in the right place. Empty your gun and aim at something. Have someone grab the slide near the muzzle and attempt to rotate it up and backwards towards your head, simulating recoil. They should only use about a firm handshake's worth of pressure, as this should be about the pressure you need to overcome their force and keep the slide level. Now, have them lighten the force, but keep hold of the end of the gun. If they can add the same amount of pressure a few times without you knowing when they are going to do it, and you can maintain a fairly level slide, then you should be ready to go live fire. Just remember not to lean into them with your shoulders or waist, as this is likely to make your anticipation worse. Minimizing muzzle flip happens primarily in the wrists and elbows.

September 15, 2009, 07:01 PM
If you are consistently low and left, with good grouping, you just need to adjust your sights up and right.

If you aren't consistent, or you are seeing horizontal or vertical stringing, it's your technique.

Ky Larry
September 15, 2009, 07:38 PM
Is your wrist pain permanent or is it healing? I hope you don't pick up some bad habits trying to compensate. Maybe you would be better off if you took a little time off from shooting until you heal properly. Good luck and keep us posted.

September 15, 2009, 10:12 PM
This is your first time at the range? Don't worry about it. Go back and have fun putting holes in the paper; it seems you're already getting good instruction.

It's supposed to be fun...don't worry too much about all the variables at once yet. Work one one thing at a time.

September 16, 2009, 01:44 PM
If your wrist pain is something permanent that you'll have to live with and it can't be helped with wrist braces or other aids then switch hands if it lets you shoot with no pain. Just hold the gun over a bit more and turn your head slightly to line the sights up with your eye of preference.

Yes, a heavier gun will reduce the impact of the recoil a little and it may well be enough for your wrist to not hurt. You'd have to try one to see. But the correct hold where the gun sits down as deeply as possible in your grip can also do wonders at reducing the upward twist to the wrist.

If you're flinching it may well be that you're anticipating the shot or it may be the reaction to the stab in the wrist you know you're going to get. Neither is a good thing. The snap cap exercise mentioned already is an excellent one. But not if it's pain related.

The other great trainer is a similar style of pistol in .22. The softer kick allows you to really work on your grip, losing the flinch and achieving a good trigger pull followthrough.

When the instructor had you hold the gun on target while he pulled the trigger the reason you shot it accurately is because you didn't know when it would go BANG. One of the factors in shooting a handgun accurately is that you have to learn to let the BANG be a surprise with each shot taken and just let it happen. Easier said than done I know..... I found for myself that shooting a magazine or two of .22 and then immediately picking up my 9MM and shooting ONLY one magazine of that and then going back to the .22 worked wonders. The good habits learned with the .22 carried over for a magazine of 9mm. Then, with more practice, the .22 lessons stay with you and you can finally shoot the center fire stuff without any flinch. But again, if the issues are pain related you'll need to deal with that first and foremost either with a brace or shift to your left hand.

If you've got small hands getting the right hold on the gun where it sits down deeply in your grip may be hard. Some searching for the best option will be needed. Read and watch the links I've added below and study how deeply the gun cradles down in their grip. That's what you somehow need to achieve with whatever gun you find that allows this to happen. Getting the gun to sink down lower in your grip like this will also lower the recoil forces so they are more directly in line with your forearm. This will lessen the twisting up and back forces and shift them to a more directly back direction. That alone may help a lot since the gun won't be trying to twist your wrist upwards as strongly.

Finding a gun that allows you to achieve this sort of grip may not be easy in 9mm. One option is to try holding a 1911 single stack gun in any caliber. If you find that it has a better position in your hands this may be an option. 1911's come in 9mm even if they are not as common as in .45. And when chambered in 9mm they are a sweet gun to shoot.

If your hands just do not fit any of the 9mm options the next option may be to shift down to some of the .38ACP guns. These tend to be more compact and you may well find the best gun for you in that size range.

Here's the two links to look at. Remember to really study the grip and how the gun sits down deeply in their hold.



1911 Operator
September 16, 2009, 03:22 PM
i have an mp40c and an mp45c.

i think the triggers on these are more difficult to master as well. it's that nondescript "break" of the trigger coupled with the overtravel. they're heavy trigger pulls too.

i seem to shoot left with both my mp's. kind of annoyed enough by it that i'm considering selling both. smith shoulda done a better job with the trigger on these.

i think the grips has a lot to do with this problem as well. it is too long forward to back, and not wide enought in the middle (even with the large grip on). when i dry fire mine the front sight always wobbles side to side.

i have a buttload of guns and have never experienced this with any, until the mp's.

September 16, 2009, 08:23 PM
I had the same issue, that no matter how gently and smoothly I pressed in dry fire, the front sight would wobble as the trigger broke, and again this was only on the M&P. However, a standard trigger job from Dan Burwell eliminated this issue.

1911 Operator
September 16, 2009, 09:18 PM
I had the same issue, that no matter how gently and smoothly I pressed in dry fire, the front sight would wobble as the trigger broke, and again this was only on the M&P. However, a standard trigger job from Dan Burwell eliminated this issue.
thanx for the info on the burwell trigger job solving this issue.

now i just have to decide if i like my mp's enough to spend that money on them.

September 16, 2009, 10:23 PM
Its a very inexpensive job. The wait time is the worst part.
He also provides a do-it-yourself PDF for a "almost as good" job.

September 17, 2009, 11:57 AM
I had anticipation problems. Now, it didn't cause any failures to fire, but shooting many rounds simply erased the surprise element. Just continue to shoot, make sure the grip of you non-primary hand is very tight, and enjoy.

Your primary hand may be trying to anticipate the impact and you're losing
a bit of control of the gun. Don't worry, the problem will most likely take care of itself.

September 17, 2009, 01:18 PM
Watch this video. It helped me! There are many quality videos on how to properly handle a firearm. And practice, practice, practice!


I see this video was posted on the first page. Opps. Must mean it is really awesome.

September 17, 2009, 07:22 PM
Focus on the front sight. Sometimes, problems come from the wrist. However, if you can see the front sight, it means that the sights are aligned and will hit the target. The front sight should be crisp.

September 19, 2009, 02:51 PM
Again, thank you for all the replies. I have been studying! I won't bore y'all after this but since everyone was so helpful I thought I'd post an update.

Just got back from 2nd range trip. I started feeling adreniline as I was pulling into the parking lot, lol. Took out a Ruger 22/45 Mark III Hunter. Barrel looks funky with the 'fluting'. Love at first shot. My hands fit it well and the trigger was smooth and light. Only problem was I couldn't seem to aim/focus on the front sights without closing my left eye. Did 100 rounds then wanted to finish off my 9mm ammo.

So, got out a CZ P01. Loved it as well. The sights were nicer than the Ruger or last week's S&W MPc. I was out of time and ammo but I didn't want to give it back. (The triggers on both the Ruger and the CZ are much, much, nicer than I remember the SW being).

I was much more relaxed this week. I didn't flinch at the other shooters, the guns weren't as 'scary' etc. Of course it helped that most of the time there was an empty lane to my left and another 22 shooter to my right.

Here is my target. It is the NRA 50yrd pistol (I think). Shot at 7yds.

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