For guys that shoot for tight groups... how do you do it?


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777funk
September 24, 2013, 04:25 PM
I've had to admit that I shoot worse now than when I first started with autoloaders. I would get 2" groups at 12 yards using a teacup hold and light grip letting the gun recoil as it pleased.

Then I found out that this was how you shoot revolvers slowly and I was doing it wrong for speed with an auto. I've gone from 2" groups to around 8" groups currently.

With that said, I use the both thumbs forward technique and grip as tight as I would a hammer and try to control the recoil to some degree. I used to keep my head high and now I've tried keeping it low with cheek touching my right arm. I'm left eye dominant and I've tried sighting with my left eye and closing to sight with my right eye. Not much of a change. But I did notice a big difference in the grip (tea cup vs both thumbs forward).

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but I figured the best way is not to figure out what I'm doing incorrectly but rather learn from better shooters who are doing it right. Are there any good videos out there on this?

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tarosean
September 24, 2013, 04:40 PM
are you bow shooter? using an anchor point with a pistol is definitely a recipe for contorting your body into a unnatural position, therefore not allowing for repeatability.

A) shoot with both eyes open.
B) you can either be fast or have precision.. Most of us cannot do both.

There is a reason why "A" scores are 6"x6" and 8" diameter in IDPA
3.93"x5.9" and 5.9"x11.02" rectangle in USPSA

we are not shooting for .5" groups.

Bobson
September 24, 2013, 04:47 PM
Without getting into discussing your form (others will likrly tackle that better than I can), I'd say focus on shooting slowly. Take your time, control your breathing, and press that trigger slo o o w l y. Let it surprise you. Put entire mags on paper this way. Your groups should slim down quite a bit.

Corpral_Agarn
September 24, 2013, 04:54 PM
This may not be helpful to you but I find that if I was shooting pretty tight and then I start really having a hard time, more often than not, its because I am over thinking the whole operation.

I just focus on sights and trigger pull. Groups *usually* tighten back up (for me).

I don't try to control recoil at all, either. I focus only on my part: line up the sights, press the trigger. Everything after I press the trigger is the gun's job.

Inebriated
September 24, 2013, 05:00 PM
Let me start by saying that, in most forms of shooting, maximum accuracy isn't required. But, learning to shoot with that in mind is detrimental. No matter what kind of shooting you're doing, you need proper fundamentals. Press the trigger in a way that your front sight does not move, and keep the trigger back until the gun is finished moving. That's about all there is to it. As long as you're pressing the trigger straight back in a way that your sights don't move, you're golden. Whether you let the shot surprise you, or you break it when you want, as long as you do so without the sights moving, you're going to hit your target. My best tip to you is dry fire... You'll see if you're letting your front sight move at all, and you'll get a solid feel for your trigger. Dry fire practice is the single-best thing I ever did. Also, when you're shooting, put some dummy rounds in the gun, or just stop and dry fire. You'll see if you're flinching.

Here are a few really good videos that deal with fundamentals.

Trigger Control (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xa5JPLGIsU)
Grip Video 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDZDttBfock)
Grip Video 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22msLVCtPk8)
Follow-Through (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAni-MCJSUU)

Start with some of that info, maybe watch some other videos from good shooters, and then figure out what works best for you. There are a lot of different grips out there, and you really have to try them to see what you like, but trigger control is always the same. Also, don't be afraid to take a class. If you find yourself still printing 8" groups at 12 yards slow-fire, then having an instructor look at you and your targets WILL make you a better shooter.

9mmepiphany
September 24, 2013, 05:38 PM
I use the both thumbs forward technique and grip as tight as I would a hammer and try to control the recoil to some degree.
I'm not too sure how tightly you grip a hammer, but your grip should be like a firm handshake...not hard, but not limp. It is very common to over grip a gun when you are first learning to shoot well.

I used to keep my head high and now I've tried keeping it low with cheek touching my right arm.
You may think you're adding stability to your head placement, like a cheek weld on a rifle stock, but you're really just adding tension which causes more wobble in your shooting

I'm left eye dominant and I've tried sighting with my left eye and closing to sight with my right eye. Not much of a change.
While shooting with both eyes open is preferable, it isn't mandatory when first starting. When you are sighting with just your left eye, are you bring your eye to the gun or your gun in front of your eye?

But I did notice a big difference in the grip (tea cup vs both thumbs forward).
That's because the support hand is now actually helping manage the muzzle flip by holding onto the gun. That you aren't shooting as well after you've added the support hand is indicative of some negative pressure you're adding with the support hand.

What would be very helpful, to us, would be if you would post up a video of you shooting so we have a better idea of what you are doing.

What would be the most helpful, to you, would be to get some professional instruction to address flaws in your technique. There is only so much that watching videos can do as they can't correct what you are doing and can't see the results of those corrections. While I'm a big believe in Dry Fire, you have to learn the correct techniques to practice before you start to ingrain them...otherwise you just reinforce bad habits

wow6599
September 24, 2013, 05:47 PM
Breathing right and using the pad of my finger.

JDGray
September 24, 2013, 07:40 PM
Lots of dry fire practice, while staring at the front sight, it should not move at all. Shoot like you dry fire, and stare at the front sight, bullets will start stacking for you....

Vodoun da Vinci
September 24, 2013, 07:55 PM
Practice, practice, practice and work hard at bullseye shooting. There are techniques as already mentioned by others that are important like breathing, trigger control and grip.

Many years ago when I tried to learn self taught I failed miserably until one day an old timer was watching me shoot and asked me if he could make a few suggestions. I was thrilled...he changed the way I was standing and the way I was gripping the gun (I was shooting a Dan Wesson .357 with 6" barrel) and gave me pointers about a slow squeeze and trigger control.

In 15 minutes I was shooting groups so tight all the bullet holes touched each other at 50'.

A few lessons sometimes really helps if the instructor is knowledgeable.

For me now, 37 years later renewing my love of shooting sports I have finally learned to point shoot and *not* use the sights but concentrate on the target and shoot accurate and rapid follow ups to a 6" X 10" target. I love bullseye shooting as well but point shooting/quick kill is my passion now and the thing I am working hardest on. Either way, having fun at it and banging it till it gets better is the way.

VooDoo

rcmodel
September 24, 2013, 08:01 PM
1. Focus on only the front sight.
(Your eye can only truly focus on one thing at one distance. That HAS to be the front sight at all time.
The rear sight and target will be slightly blurry. But that's O.K.. your eye will automatically line up the rear sight and target without you trying to focus on them at the same time.)

2. Control breathing.

3. Control trigger squeeze.
(Only increase trigger pressure as the front sight wobbles over the center of the target.)

Sooner or later, the gun will go off while the front sight is centered on the X-ring.

rc

M2 Carbine
September 24, 2013, 09:24 PM
Try to maintain a proper sight picture while squeezing the trigger.

readyeddy
September 24, 2013, 09:33 PM
Some great shooting advice above.

You should also make sure it's not the gun or the ammo. Go borrow a gun and ammo combo that shoots accurate from a friend and see if your shooting improves. If it does improve, then you have an equipment issue. If not, then you know it's you.

stressed
September 24, 2013, 10:05 PM
Get glasses or lasik. You might be surpised

ID-shooting
September 24, 2013, 10:21 PM
We learned trigger control in Army by placing a dime on the barrel and learning to dry fire without the dime falling off. I have found this to be a valid teaching method with new shooters and other shooting having control issues.

CarolinaChuck
September 24, 2013, 10:55 PM
I am not much of one to shoot a sidearm, but holding position for an extended period of time is a bad thing. Do like rcmodel said; align your sights concentrating on the clear front sight post; find your aiming point and shoot. The more time spent between sight alignment and sight picture means more time before you shoot; and that is bad.

A natural point of aim stops most of this... Walk to, or stand, at the firing line; close your eyes for a few moments and then take a firing position; and then open your eyes. You should be looking down the sights on your desired point of aim; if not, work on it...

Always go back to the basics of marksmanship; to heck with how coach Bob stands, or how coach Fred holds his pistola... The basics dude; learn and know the bedrock foundations of marksmanship: if Fred and Bob can not teach you them; you don't need it.

You will get off track all your life; it is natural and human to do so. You always, always, always go back to the basics of marksmanship. This is the only cure, and it is always, always, always some problem with your basic marksmanship.

CC

9mmepiphany
September 24, 2013, 11:37 PM
Something to be aware of is not to let your desire to hold the sights on target affect your trigger press. In other words, don't hurry your trigger press to time with when your sights are "on target"...that is the surest way to miss.

Stay in the process of pressing the trigger smoothly and evenly straight to the rear

tuj
September 24, 2013, 11:57 PM
a. align the sights with the target
b. pull the trigger.

remember to do step b without disturbing the step a.

that's really all there is to accurate shooting. Its just that a lot of us might spend lifetimes learning how to do that.

arspeukinen
September 24, 2013, 11:59 PM
A) shoot with both eyes open. .

Used to. No longer can with all sights. Aging is not fun.

TestPilot
September 25, 2013, 01:36 AM
I wrote a document, part of which is about shooting.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/90303706/Combat-Operations-With-Firearms-Volume-1-Chapter-1-Basic-Gunnery-Release-2012-04-20

Hope it helps.

hentown
September 25, 2013, 08:18 AM
The "teacup" method was taught by the military years ago. Other than an accuracy problem, if you ever have a KB, one place you don't want any of your body parts is under the mag well. ;)

Try pulling back with your "weak" hand @ about 60% and pushing forward with your strong hand @ about 40%. Don't lay your head over on your arm. That's ridiculous. ;)

I'm severely left-eye dominant, and I shoot pretty well, having only fired about 300k rounds through my Glocks over the past 20-yrs-or-so. :D

9mmepiphany
September 25, 2013, 03:38 PM
The "teacup" method was taught by the military years ago. Other than an accuracy problem,...
There really isn't an "accuracy problem" with this method. For that it works fine...see Jay Lim from Top Shot. The problem is that it doesn't help with recovery from muzzle flip

Try pulling back with your "weak" hand @ about 60% and pushing forward with your strong hand @ about 40%.
While more modern than the "teacup" method, this push/pull method has been superseded by the more balanced application of force that allows faster recovery of the sight picture from muzzle flip

Don't lay your head over on your arm. That's ridiculous. ;)
Not completely. This was an integral part of the Quell system, who's weakness was target transitions

777funk
September 25, 2013, 04:08 PM
I think my problem is the balance between the two hands after the shot breaks. It seems like if I put a lot of pressure on one hand or the other I'm off in that direction. I guess that's probably why I did better with the teacup early on.

I also notice it depends on what gun's being shot. I'm not very good with Glocks.

But I noticed that after I colored the front sight black (marker over the white dot), my groups improved noticeably. The dot has always confused me on just about any gun with dot sights. I prefer a traditional black blade sight. The dot just adds confusion for me (and obviously inaccuracy).

SharpsDressedMan
September 25, 2013, 05:05 PM
I hold the gun really steady, and try to delicately pull the trigger when my sights approach the bullseye or target center. :D

tuj
September 25, 2013, 05:29 PM
http://renkucorp.com/jf/pics/guns/izh35m/clean_target_sm.jpg

one-handed.

HOOfan_1
September 25, 2013, 05:52 PM
one-handed.

I can shoot my P-38 one handed very well...maybe better than 2 hands...but certainly not fast.

TimboKhan
September 26, 2013, 12:30 AM
I don't shoot bullseye, and am an average shot. I have always focused more on "combat" accuracy than gilt edge shot placement. I say that to give you a grain of salt to take when I say this:

For anything regarding marksmanship, it all boils down to excellent command of basic fundamentals. Grip, stance, trigger control, breathing and proper sighting. Muscle memory and repetition can improve you generally over the short term, but your potential can only be fully realized by focusing on and striving to improve those basic fundamentals.

I mentioned my style of shooting, so I train for fast shots and quick yarget acquisition and shifts. For years I was frustrated at my progress until I started dry firing and analyzing each shot and then fixing my bad habits. Did that over a winter and my shooting improved dramatically, to include becoming a decent double action shooter. I can keep it all in a paper plate and I can do it fairly quickly, and thats because i focused on the fundamentals and continue to strive for consistency in the application of those fundamentals
sent from my Galaxy Note II.

jon_in_wv
September 26, 2013, 10:40 AM
Personally I use an isosceles stance, thumbs forward grip. Then I incorporate the following.

1. For trigger control, pull the trigger and keep the trigger to the rear after the shot. Reset the trigger after you have recovered your sight picture.

2. After your shot, follow through and re-establish you sight picture on the target every time, even if you are only firing one shot. The front sight should fall naturally into the rear sight notch. If it falls to the left or right adjust your grip so you aren't muscling your sights into alignment. Your front sight should travel naturally straight up and down.

3. Shoot slowly at first. Gain speed slowly. Once you establish a good natural grip and trigger control you will eventually be able to just focus on the front sight through the rear notch. When it reappears you can just squeeze lightly and fire the next shot.

Its really that easy. If your sight alignment, trigger control, and grip are all solid you have all you need to shoot well. A good relaxed and neutral stance is all you need. You don't need any tricks or contortions to make you shoot well.

As a side note the other thing I did to vastly improve my shooting was to buy a 22lr pistol to take to the range with me. The extra 50-100 rounds I fired each session made a huge difference.

Bobo
September 27, 2013, 11:23 PM
I started handgun shooting about 1960 while on the U.S. Army Bullseye Pistol Team in Okinawa. The best thing I learned for shooting a pistol accurately is being able to "call your shots", passed on to me by the best shooter on the team at the time, a Sgt. Gonzales.

The trick is to concentrate on keeping the best sight picture you can while allowing as little sight-wander as possible, slowly squeezing the trigger until the shot goes off, then calling where you believe the shot went by remembering the sight picture you had at the exact moment the shot broke.

Was the shot shot high-right, low-left, a flier? If you can call each shot it means you didn't flinch or pull the shot by mistake, and if you did you could see it because the sight picture was off at the the time the gun fired and started its recoil.

Concentrate on your sight picture, slowly squeeze the trigger, and "call each shot".

Practice this very slowly and deliberately at first, then as you master it you can slowly pick up speed.

You'll be amazed at the difference this technique will make!

Bobo

sgt127
September 28, 2013, 01:59 AM
I think stance and grip are a small part of pure accuracy. Stare at the front sight and press the trigger without moving. It sounds so simple, yet, it's the toughest part.

Thousands of years of evolution make you want to flinch and protect your eyes when there is an imminent explosion right in front of your face. You have to fool your brain so it reacts to the blast rather than anticipate it. Your brain cannot know when the gun is about to go off.

Lots of dummy drills with a partner, never knowing if the gun will go bang or click is the key to not flinching.

Got_Lead?
September 28, 2013, 11:35 AM
A lot of good advice here.

I used to shoot military bullseye, and we were taught "the Grip", which consisted of pressing the pistol back into the web of the right hand, then wrapping the second and third fingers around the grip, pressing then against the front of the gripframe only, and not applying much side pressure. The pinkey was loose, teacup style, and the thumb was loose also, forming a kind of flying V. Then a conscious effort was made to pull the trigger straight back, I used to envision pulling the front sight through the rear one with my trigger finger. And finally the grip strength was supposed to be tight enough to make a good weld, but not so tight that your hand shook.

I'm not sure this works on all pistols, but it's not a bad place to start. I have found over the years, that each gun has its own personality, and prefers a certain hold. I believe my SW 52 likes a looser front/back gripframe hold, while my BHP likes more of a handshake grip.

Centerfire autoloaders seem to be more fussy about how you hold them than rimfires, or revolvers.

As a note, I worked up a load for my BHP, which was shooting about an inch at 25 yards. However, the last time I took the HP out, I was shooting about 3" at the same range, it took a fair amount of shooting to get the groups dialed back in. So if there is a lesson learned here, practice, practice, practice.

Good Luck

Dave

Sheepdog1968
September 28, 2013, 01:28 PM
Increases in group size are often diagnostic of not maintaining focus on the front sight and having your eyes continually shift focus from rear, front, and target. I'd start there. I think the thumb positions are overrated and over discussed.

If you ever get a chance to take a class from Loui Awerrbuck, he will be able to diagnose and fix your problem in 5 minutes. I've seen him do it so many times. It is amazing.

murf
September 28, 2013, 01:50 PM
front sight, squeeze, repeat. any other input from you will open up the group. follow-through is very important. don't try and influence it.

stance, grip, position, one hand or two doesn't matter. do those three things the same every time and your groups will shrink dramatically. oh, and lots of practice.

imho,

murf

9mmepiphany
September 28, 2013, 03:56 PM
I used to shoot military bullseye, and we were taught "the Grip", which consisted of pressing the pistol back into the web of the right hand, then wrapping the second and third fingers around the grip, pressing then against the front of the gripframe only, and not applying much side pressure. The pinkey was loose, teacup style, and the thumb was loose also, forming a kind of flying V. Then a conscious effort was made to pull the trigger straight back, I used to envision pulling the front sight through the rear one with my trigger finger. And finally the grip strength was supposed to be tight enough to make a good weld, but not so tight that your hand shook.

I'm not sure this works on all pistols, but it's not a bad place to start. I have found over the years, that each gun has its own personality, and prefers a certain hold. I believe my SW 52 likes a looser front/back gripframe hold, while my BHP likes more of a handshake grip.
That is still the way I shoot my pistols. I only apply fore-n-aft pressure to the frame...very much a handshake pressure grip. I let the support hand apply the lateral pressure.

The great secret to good handgun shooting is that most of grip, stance, breathing just isn't that important. Even seeing the sights correctly pale in importance to being able to press the trigger correctly.

If you align and focus on the front sight and press the trigger correctly, you should be making pretty good hits. One trick to help is to shoot at smaller targets...it reduces your acceptable aiming error. What working of fundamental shooting skills, I usually shoot at a 1" dot on a 3"x5" card

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