Quicker first shot times ?


Dave P.
October 13, 2012, 11:15 AM
I've been shooting at a local event which is basically falling plates
shot with .22 rimfire.
Question involves getting the first shot off quicker. We go from the
low ready ( gun touching a table about waist high ) at the beep
of the shot timer. On a good night I can shoot the 5 targets in
around 2.3 to 2.5 seconds. I'm about .95 to 1.1 seconds for the
first shot, this seems like something to work on for faster strings.
Other than just more practice are there any ideas to work on
making that first shot quicker, seems like there ought to be about
a 1/2 second or so hiding there.

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October 13, 2012, 01:35 PM
Time can be frittered away getting established in the right place on the stock.
So practice shouldering on command so that your eye instantly falls in the line of sight and your cheek weld is consistently established.

Prep your trigger as you fall into your sight picture.

Soon as you first establish a 'good enough' sight picture on the plate accept it and finish the trigger press, rather than waiting to be perfectly centered on the first plate.

Consider that the match starts on the go signal, not on your first shot. From your times I'm guessing you are probably accepting a 'good enough' sight picture after you've taken the first shot. If the 2nd to 5th plates fall when you get into a fast rhythm (sp?) you have the skill to do the same with the 1st plate. Mindset.

Dave P.
October 13, 2012, 01:49 PM
I should have been clearer, we're talking handgun.
The idea is the same, if I'm not fairly stable on the first
target it seems to screw up the balance of the string.

October 13, 2012, 02:18 PM
The way to break a faster first shot is to:
1. See the aligned sights faster.
2. Break the first shot as, or before, your arms reach extension...depending on the distance involved and the size of your plates.

Are you swinging your extended arms up on the signal?

If you are, it is likely that your are either rising slowly or overswinging (vertically) and having to wait for the sight to fall back and settle. It also means that you likely aren't engaging the trigger until the sights settle on the target.

I'd suggest the ways to address the issues above are:
1. Bring the gun back toward your body, bring the sights up to eye level and push the gun out toward the first target.
2. Engage the trigger as you see the sights, time your trigger press so that the shot breaks as your arms stop moving

Derek Zeanah
October 13, 2012, 02:19 PM
My biggest failing at Gunsite when working on timed tests was that when I presented my pistol my sights were never where I wanted them to be. A headshot from the holster in 1.5 seconds is hard when your sights aren't pointing where they need to be.

The fix was practice. Lots and lots of dryfire. I do not know if this is your problem, but it was what popped into mind.

October 13, 2012, 02:50 PM
Bear in mind that bringing a gun up to eye level coming out of a holster takes a different technique than a gun that is already out coming up from a bench.

A couple of things that will help with both presentations is:
1. Bringing the gun up in line with your dominate eye
2. Properly grasping the gun so that it is pointing toward your target...finding your natural POA.

I found that tweaking the interface between the web of my hand and the inner curve of the rear tang offered greater improvements than varying the interface of my palm and fingers with the grip frame.

OP - which pistol are you using?

October 13, 2012, 07:15 PM
React to the beginning/start of the beep. That can knock 0.3 off the top right away.

October 13, 2012, 07:33 PM
try to bring it up "front sight high", so that you are not "looking" for the front sight thru the tiny rear notch. Also, try to have the trigger about "half-pulled' as your sights come into alignment, so that all you need do is add that last little "touch"
...Each traverse at that range, if the plates are only 1 ft or so apart, edge to edge, should not take over .30 second, with .25 sec each probably "doable" with practice.
Do I detect a shooting style following the Weaver school/philosophy?

If we start discussing engaging the other targets in the array, a common error of newer shooters is confirming the hit on each plate before moving to the next

Dave P.
October 13, 2012, 08:30 PM
Ok, thanks for the discussion I'll try to fill in the blanks.
Shooting at "bowling pin" plates, 25 feet around 48 inches
off the floor. Pins are about 16in apart. I'm shooting a old
Ruger Mark 1 with a 6 7/8 in barrel.....I like it and have had
it for about 30 years.
My stance is mostly weaver style, I'm right handed but
my left eye is VERY dominate. I shoot the targets from
right to left. I start with my arms not fully extended, wrists
tipped slightly forward to get the muzzle touching the table.
Legs fairly far apart to lower my upper body so the gun
doesn't have as far to come up.
Been working on trying to get the gun moving at the first
hint of the timer beep.
My thought is to get a shot timer and see if it will read the
click of a dry fire if it's right next to the gun.
Seems like the biggest chunk of time to be had is on the
first shot.
Edit, I never wait to see if they fall. I complete the pass
then go back after any missed.

October 13, 2012, 10:10 PM
Don't worry about speed, just practice bringing the gun up slowly and consistently so that the sights are aligned and pointing where you want them to be at the instant that the trigger breaks.

TRY to go slowly at first. When you're coming up on target consistently then you can stop TRYING to go slow and just do it at a comfortable speed. It may take a lot of practice before you get that consistency and can stop actually trying to slow yourself down.

Don't TRY to go fast, even after you're consistently achieving the sight alignment/pointing/trigger break coincidentally. What you'll find is that as you train yourself to make this a comfortable and habitual action, you'll get faster without trying.

Trying to go fast will just encourage sloppy technique. Let the speed come as you develop unconscious competence.

The nice thing is that you can do this with dryfire practice at home. Just be very careful about being safe.

October 14, 2012, 02:19 AM
My shot timer won't hear a "click". The timer is useful for the start signal reaction.

October 14, 2012, 01:16 PM
Practice at home with a par time. Start it a tenth below what you are currently capable of and try to back it down a little at a time. End the session with a comfortable par time that you can "easily" make so you end the practice session happy.

October 15, 2012, 01:52 PM
I start with my arms not fully extended, wrists
tipped slightly forward to get the muzzle touching the table.

The advice I was given at my first Ruger Rimfire match was to acquire a sight picture, then lock my arms and especially my wrists, rotating them at the shoulder until the muzzle touched the table/barrel in front of me. I found that this was the fastest way to get from 'low ready' to 'on target'. It was especially important for me since I shoot a 1911 in USPSA but I was shooting my MKIII (different grip angle) for the Ruger Rimfire match.

Dave P.
October 15, 2012, 07:37 PM
I ordered a shot timer, couple people tell me their's will pick up a hammer
drop if it's close to the gun.
Should be able to use it to work out a quicker first shot. Idea
will be to try a few different ways to get the gun up and maybe
train myself to just be quicker on the beep.....we'll see.

October 15, 2012, 08:00 PM
A lot of them have problems picking up a .22 rifle shot, I don't know what brand will pick up a hammer falling.

Dave P.
October 15, 2012, 08:49 PM
I'll report back when it comes in and I get a chance to play with it.
It's a CED8000.
If not I'll figure out something.

October 17, 2012, 09:55 AM
I've got a CED and it struggles to pick up airgun shots even on the most sensitive mic setting

October 17, 2012, 06:06 PM
FWIW, my timer won't pick up an airsoft shot, which is a heck of a lot louder than a dryfire.

October 17, 2012, 08:10 PM
I just discovered today that the Android app "IPSC Shot Timer" will pick up a dry fire shot from my shotgun. I was using it do practice reloads tonight. Got down to 8 shots and a dry fire shot in 5.88.

Dave P.
October 23, 2012, 09:08 PM
Here's the follow up.
Got the CED8000 and played with it a bit tonight dry
firing. First off it will not pick up the hammer fall on my
Mark 1 Ruger, it will pick up off a couple of my revolvers
if the gun is within about a foot of the timer.
Set on a tripod next to where the gun comes up on target
it works pretty good.
Also using the par function with a second "beep" it's
pretty easy to tell if your trigger pull beats the preset
Will get it out to the range in the next few days and
work with it some more.
Taking this to the next level might involve one of those lazer
targets,think combining with the timer might make a pretty
good training tool.

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