Double Action Technique Question


PDA






webfox
November 1, 2011, 01:41 PM
Hi Everyone,

I have tried the "pull the front sight through the rear sight" idea, but I'm shooting low and slowly as well.

Does anyone have good resources I can look up to see how to shoot DA with a revolver, please?

I do the monthly bowling pin plinking thing, but I need to get faster. (Wouldn't hurt to be faster in an emergency, either.)

Thanks for any advice!

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MrBorland
November 1, 2011, 02:24 PM
I have tried the "pull the front sight through the rear sight" idea, but I'm shooting low and slowly as well.

Below are some links that might help. If you like Cunningham's article, you might like The Book of The Revolver (http://www.amazon.com/Gun-Digest-Book-Revolver-Books/dp/1440218129/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320171326&sr=8-1) he just published.

From your description (low & slow), it sounds like you may be staging the trigger, then snatching it to get the shot off. "Staging" is an incomplete pull - the DA trigger is stopped just before the shot breaks, then started again to get the shot off. "Snatching" is a quick yank of the trigger, rather than a smooth controlled pull.

The underlying reasons for staging & snatching is the shooter sees the sights aligned, but isn't confident they'll stay aligned throughout a smooth continuous pull. Thus, the shooter stages the trigger to make double check the sights, and snatches it to get the shot off before the sights misalign.

Both are bad habits, of course. With good control, your sights can & will say aligned throughout a smooth trigger stroke, but your brain won't accept that yet.

Some dry fire drill might be helpful: A smooth even stroke - without staging, and while focusing on the front sight. Try the coin-on-the-barrel variation, too.

A dry fire drill that may sound nutty but works is to dry fire to a metronome. Not for speed initially, but for smoothness. Go to this on-line metronome (http://www.metronomeonline.com/) and do some smooth relaxed strokes while focusing on the front sight. You may find it tough to dry fire along with a metronome, but that's an indication your pull isn't relaxed & smooth. Once you can dry fire to the metronome, add the coin. Then speed the metronome up a bit.

At the range, a drill that's good for trigger pull is to simply get rid of the target. Look at the front sight while shooting, but shoot into the berm, or into a blank target. Without a target, you're not interested in a nice tight group, so you're not anxious about keeping the sights aligned, and your mind is freed up to simply pull the trigger back smoothly & consistently.

The technique for shooting faster really isn't much different than shooting slower - one sees what they need to see and applies good sound trigger control - it all just happens a bit faster.

Don't be afraid to experiment with grip & trigger placement, too.


http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/articles/handguns/dealing-with-the-double-action-trigger/

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob85.html

BCRider
November 1, 2011, 03:14 PM
This is one place where dry firing practice really helps. If your gun has a flat upper barrel rib stand an empty casing on it and work your DA trigger pull so that the casing stays in place. If you have a rounded upper barrel then you may have luck with laying a coin on the crown of the barrel and balancing it there. If you find the coin just falls off way too easily go and buy a 6 inch metal rule or similar piece of flat metal strap which is fairly narrow and tape it to the top of the barrel to form a "rib" which you can use to balance an empty casing on. From there do some dry firing while keeping the casing or coin balanced on the barrel. When done well it will tend to walk back towards you along the rib due to the hammer falls. But it should not walk sideways or fall off if you're doing it right. As you get good at it work your trigger pull speed up.

I like to think about the trigger pull as more a case of "building pressure" where I smoothly increase the force of my trigger finger. The key being that I let the trigger move as it wants to move from this pressure. I also find that if I pull THROUGH the hammer fall and resulting BANG! so the trigger is conciously pulled all the way to the rear stop and then just as carefully released that I have a better trigger pull discipline.

This build and release of trigger finger pressure does not need to be slow. It just needs to be controlled. But it helps to start slower. At first I'd suggest about a one second pull and one second release. As you get better at keeping the casing or coin perched on the barrel speed things up. You should be able to get to where you're dry firing about twice a second without the casing falling off. When you can manage that I think you'll be pleased with your trigger control during matches.

When I shoot my revolvers in my club's Speed Steel matches I can get 5 hits with no misses on the steels in roughly 3 to 3.5 seconds when I'm in a good zone. This is shooting DA at 6 inch rounds at about 10 to 15 yards and with the targets placed all over hell's half acre. I couldn't do this if I didn't use the style of trigger pull I described above.

Red Cent
November 1, 2011, 04:21 PM
YES!!

"At the range, a drill that's good for trigger pull is to simply get rid of the target. Look at the front sight while shooting, but shoot into the berm, or into a blank target (emphasis mine). Without a target, you're not interested in a nice tight group, so you're not anxious about keeping the sights aligned, and your mind is freed up to simply pull the trigger back smoothly & consistently."

Very good advice. I have shot a revolver for over 60 years but never, until now, got serious with the revolver. After you spend a significant time doing the aforementioned, load up some "woose" loads. Get rid of the recoil for the time being and practice the smooth and continous trigger pull. Then step up the velocity on the cartridge.

What revolver are you shooting? Tuned? Give us some particulars.

Red Cent
November 1, 2011, 06:27 PM
Be aware this approach to trigger control is taught in archery. When I was heavy into 3-D, some very good shooters advised that I arrange a blank target, head high, to stand in front of it and practice the draw, anchoring, and setting up the body. And they said to close my eyes. That way, your mind was not loaded with targets, scope dots, and other clutter. I used back tension releases (no trigger) and with the stance achieved, you started exerting the back muscles until the release popped.

Dry fire is your friend. Ya gotta know the trigger. As in the archery release, I knew "about" when it was going off. Pulling evenly through the trigger stroke not anticipating the break is taught to your subconscious. Then it will happen automatically when that crazy "beep" is herd.

oldfool
November 2, 2011, 08:10 AM
another ditto on "targetless' practice for DA

I do prefer, though, to toss a 15 oz plastic bottle or 12 oz can or hard foam practice baseball out against base of reactive (dirt) berm backstop, at about (deliberately imprecise) 15-18 yards.
It allows you to maintain mental focus on your technique and gun, instead of 'looking to the target' which people tend to almost instinctively do in between shots if not mentally focused.
It's not plinking, it's not shooting for groups, it is just shooting at an object against a background, and it probably helps in avoiding trigger staging syndrome, working on one continuous smooth trigger pull through.

Hits and close misses will register in your mind without focusing on some precise target, and that instantaneous feedback is always very important in learning theory, re: any learning exercise for learning anything.

This is not terribly different than what some advocate re: rapid fire at a 7x11 sheet of paper at 7 yards, which is not about group size, it all about no hesitation technique.

I just like a more practical distance, and for "something/anything" to move when hit, so I am naturally obliged to follow it as I shoot without pause or hesitation, not just some precise immovable fixed point of aim. That seems to me a plus, not a minus.

Super Sneaky Steve
November 2, 2011, 10:12 PM
If it's always low it may not be technique. It may be the load you're using. Different bullets hit different points of aim. Most target sights are adjustable for a reason. You can either dial it in or switch loads. Or you could just hold a bit higher.

StrawHat
November 3, 2011, 07:56 AM
Even easier than a blank target is to just dry fire at a blank wall. Cocentrate on keeping the sights lined up through the entire trigger pull and amintain the sight picture after the hammer falls. Start out slowly. When you can keep the sights aligned, increase the speed. A smooth rythmic cadence is much better than a faster choopy one. I shot PPC competition. Lots of timed fire DA shooting. It was easy to spot the new shooters, they were the ones firing out of cadence.

ArchAngelCD
November 4, 2011, 01:19 AM
This is an oversimplification but you need to focus on your front sight. as long as your front sight is on the target you will get hits (within reason) especially close up in a SD situation.

woad_yurt
November 4, 2011, 10:21 AM
While tips are sometimes very helpful, the one thing that'll get you going good is practice, practice, practice. I shoot primarily 4" .38 SPL K-frames and I've been reloading .38 SPL for a while now. The cheapness of the ammo permits me to shoot much more than I would if I had to buy store-bought. I recently got a Model 18-2 so I can bang away even more cheaply.

My tips: Concentrate on consistency. Use the same gun and the same ammo always. Also, dry fire like crazy. I use the TV as a pop-up dry-fire target often.

oldfool
November 4, 2011, 10:52 AM
"Use the same gun and the same ammo always. Also, dry fire like crazy."

obliged to disagree, but only just a little bit

do the coin balancing, yes, good to do
dry fire, yes, use snap caps, good to do
stick a pulse laser in the muzzle end when loaded with snap caps, better yet
but, practicing with a rimfire clone gun (same size, frame, grips, barrel, etc.), even better
all good to do, but there is no ultimate substitute for live fire, of course

and do not hesitate to vary your loads in your centerfire either
because if they don't all hit same/same at 15 yards or less, you are still not doing it right
trigger control
you cannot fix it, if you don't know it needs fixing

PS
what strawhat said, yes, cadence beats striving too mightily for speed alone
you have to find your groove, speed will come with practice

StrawHat
November 5, 2011, 06:04 AM
The problem with the coin trick is most folks end up watching the coin, not the sights. If the sights don't move, neither will the coin. Get rid of the coin and watch the sights. Start with the basics, they will never let you down.

MrBorland
November 5, 2011, 08:32 AM
The problem with the coin trick is most folks end up watching the coin, not the sights.

I agree that a smooth pull and aligning the sights are 2 very different things. Lord knows where this shot would've gone, for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmy5mkjpUNI

Still, a smooth pull is important, and the coin drill is just that - a specific drill for a specific purpose. It's remedial in nature, so you must consciously think only about a smooth pull. The thing is, you can only consciously think of one thing at a time, and choosing sights over coin defeats the purpose of (or need for) the drill.

9mmepiphany
November 5, 2011, 04:25 PM
I'm impressed every time I see that clip

It is very true that sight alignment and trigger stroke are very different things. Over time, I've learned that you don't even need to look at your sights to coordinate them with a good trigger stroke. Practicing them together is fault with temptation to compromise one or the other

StrawHat
November 6, 2011, 07:19 AM
Maybe we are talking about the same thing, maybe not.

When I dry fire against a blank wall, I am fully aware of how my sights are aligned and how the trigger is stroked. A smooth stroke and the sights stay in alignment, (or the coin doesn't wiggle or fall), a crappy stroke and the sights are all over the place.

MrBorland
November 6, 2011, 08:35 AM
Maybe we are talking about the same thing, maybe not.

Agreed.

A smooth pull must be done while maintaining a good sight picture, and the 2 must be practiced together, so the standard coin drill isn't one I recommend as a routine dry fire drill*. It's simply too remedial, and as you point out, does little to train one to keep the sights aligned. But for those who have basic trigger control issues they can't seem to get past, a drill that isolates that skill can be helpful before they try moving on.

I think of it like teaching someone to drive a car with a standard transmission: It takes simultaneous gas & clutch control to keep the car from stalling, but if the student is having trouble with a smooth clutch release, it'd be very helpful to have them start over by simply let the clutch out slowly & smoothly in 1st gear without touching the gas pedal and without stalling the car (of course, I'm hoping it's not my clutch they're burning out ;)). Once they can do that easily, we'd move on to working the gas pedal as well.



*the coin-on-edge drill, however, isn't really a trigger control drill, as trigger control is a prerequisite. It's more a relaxation drill. You need to be completely relaxed to just place & keep the coin on the barrel with your weak arm to the side. It's an exquisitely sensitive readout, and if you can pull it off, you'd be amazed at all the little places you hold tension even when you think you're relaxed.

9mmepiphany
November 6, 2011, 12:33 PM
A smooth pull must be done while maintaining a good sight picture, and the 2 must be practiced together
This isn't an argument against, but just an observation...and maybe it isn't even applicable to a revolver as it comes from a technique for shooting a SA trigger on a semi-auto pistol... and I'm still thinking it through.

When dry firing, if you accept that the sights will never be perfectly still when holding on target, aren't you training you subconscious to cue a trigger release when the sights aren't aligned on target?

Bear with me on this as I realize that the technique for driving a revolver quickly is almost the complete opposite to that of a pistol...waiting on trigger vs. waiting on sights respectively

webfox
November 6, 2011, 01:11 PM
This is all great information. Thanks everyone!

9mmepiphany
November 6, 2011, 03:31 PM
I do the monthly bowling pin plinking thing, but I need to get faster.
Something occurred to me that I sometimes take for granted and forget to ask...I mentioned it in my post of the technique of running a revolver quickly.

When are you resetting your trigger?
When are you starting the trigger stroke for your followup shots?
When do you start your target transitions?

BCRider
November 6, 2011, 04:11 PM
Some revolver shooters also learn to pull the first part of the travel quite quickly and then slow down or even stop to "stage" the trigger just before the release. They can then finish the pull when they are sure the sights are accurately aligned.

The description makes it sound like a "step1, step2, step3...." sort of thing but in actual shooting the whole "pre-pull, stage, follow through" happens in a very fluid manner. It also takes beaucoup practice and a big ammo budget to learn to do it well.

Anyhow this isn't something you should actively work on at the moment. I only offer it for later. For now just work on the Zen of the whole sights and smoothly building pressure and the mental control to conciously hold the trigger back at the end of the firing stroke before releasing it smoothly and evenly with the same degree of control.

As with most things work on the technique first. Learn to do the whole sights and trigger focus thing so it works for you and comes as naturally as the "clutch and gas pedal" story of Mr Borland's post a few above. As you get better and more natural with it the speed will come on it's own. Once you realize that you're doing decently at it THEN you can work on actually upping the speed. But never up the speed at the expense of control. Speed without control equals misses. And when you've only got six to work with you need to emphasize control and accuracy over speed because reloading is SLOW!

StrawHat
November 6, 2011, 09:29 PM
In target work and gunfights, you can't miss fast enough to win.

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