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what loads do the pistol pros use?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by UT PROSIM, Aug 11, 2010.


    UT PROSIM New Member

    May 8, 2010
    i watch a few shooting shows on the outdoor channel a few days ago and i was absolutely amazed by the talent of some of the marksmen. one particularly talented individual was able to shoot 8 shots into a very small group in maybe 2 seconds with a commander sized 1911? is this due to extremely practiced recoil management and/or a fast burning load that enables them to get back on target so fast with such a hi power round?

    now i am not a expert with a pistol but im not a beginner either, but it seem to me that im still dealing with the slow push of bullseye powder powered recoil from my first aimed shot when these guys are on there third- fourth.
    now with the 22lr conversion i can almost get similar speed and hit percentage results as the pros with a 45acp... but i have a 22 and there shooting a 45...

    so what loads do these guys use to help them shoot, recover, re-aim and fire again at such a fast pace?
    (by the way i know these guys shoot crazy amounts everyday, have years and years of experience and special training, $ 3-4000 guns, and are just plain gifted by god to have such reflexes)
    but all pros have highly tuned tools for their trade
  2. griz

    griz Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Eastern Virginia
    Disclaimer: I am not an expert shooter or gun designer.

    I think the design of the gun has the biggest influence on the speed at which it cycles. As long as it cycles the action, any load will operate within the normal range of the gun. I've heard of shooters who could operate the trigger faster than the action could cycle, but that makes me wonder how bump firing would ever be possible.
  3. GW Staar

    GW Staar Participating Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    I've often wondered the same thing. Then I got to know one of the "very" gifted 3-gun competitors. Like anything else, it's 90 percent technique and 10 percent skill. It's that 10 percent that allows them to wow the rest of us.

    What's in the 10 percent? great eyes, reflexes, strength, control and focus. It's the focus, where they can tune out everything else, that is a common thread with the best in any sport or skill. Being able to see only the target and the sights, when the sights are moving in a blurr...is an example of focus, and then having the reflexes to fire when the blurr is on target, and at the same moment having the control not to pull the sights off. All of that requires a great deal of focus.

    If you're not born naturally with those abilities, you can make up for it to a point, with practice. My friend shoots more in a week than I do in a year. He can afford it because Wilson buys all his ammo, and furnishes his guns. Wilson actually requires the practice, and he shoots alone 90 percent of the time. (who can shoot that much to go with him)

    The difference between the 90 percent technique and the 10 percent skill is that technique can become a habit with practice. The skill? Practice helps all right, but....and the focus??? Some people...like me just aren't made to focus at that scale.:banghead: Also even the best skilled, with the highest ability to focus, Tiger Woods for example, can be distracted. The winners in a sport (at the highest level) are the ones least distracted.

    Oh, about the loads the pros use? Don't have a clue. In this case its a Wilson secret. My friend, when shooting the pistol part of 3-gun, only shoots 45 ACP. Many shoot 9mm for the lighter recoil if the rules allow.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    It's not trick loads.
    Those professionals have grip & wrest strength that could squeeze chocolate milk out of a turnip.

    Some of them don't look that strong, but they spend hours on end exercising & shooting every day.

    Training is the word I am looking for, and the answer to your question I think.

  5. jmorris

    jmorris Mentor

    Sep 30, 2005
    Most stages in competition shooting, loads and equipment counts for tenths of a second and the shooter counts for the additional several seconds of disparity between times. Given the same number of reloads at normal distances there is very little difference between my times shooting SSP,CDP or ESP pistols on the same stage.
    That’s the funny part about the mental aspects of the games. I remember my first $3000 “magic wand” pistol, it did help out my mental game (way more important than loads or equipment) but my very first overall win at a sanctioned match was with a mostly stock (except for springs and sights) Glock.
  6. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Senior Elder

    Jan 21, 2004
    Norra Texas
    But, to be fair, most competition and promo/show loads are set up as light as possible to aid the pro shooter in recoil control.
  7. 1SOW

    1SOW Senior Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    UT Prosim:
    I'm a 64yr old "C" shooter so I can relate. I recently had to shoot a 'qualifier' where two targets at 4yds had to be shot "in the A zone" with 5rds each and using two 5 rd magazines. Draw, shoot 5, reload shoot 5. Our better local shooters were in the 6 second-all A-zone category. I'm trying to break 10 seconds. I can hit all As using only the front sight and pulling the trigger as fast as I can. My son is 2 secs faster and point shoots.

    re "first aimed shot" At shorter ranges either 'point shooting' is used or 'front sight' is used to make fast shots. They ARE 'aimed' shots but much faster than 3-point/conventional formal sight picture.

    re you're faster with the .22 conversion kit: same trigger, same reset point. The recoil and or sighting technique is slowing you down, not the gun

    I got to handle a $6K .45 and the trigger was fantastic. 1 3/4#, virtually zero take-up and crisp break and the same movement for reset. This definitely helps the shooter. Money and 'tuning' does help, but the same shooter with a less tuned gun can shoot within a few tenths of a second as fast. Same thing goes for light powder loads.

    I shoot light loads and it makes it 'easier' to shoot faster. Those good shooters can do it with heavier loads, but they might lose another very small amount of time.

    I believe 'most' of it is the shooter which includes inate abilities. Practice is where you learn, and shooting is where you show what you learned.

    I'm still trying to practice what I preach.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  8. bds

    bds Elder

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    Good point. Check out this 6 part US Army training video using compensated pistol - small shooter, small hands, but fast shots with technique/skill - http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid61181609001

    Todd Jarrett shooting non-compensated pistol in this 8 part training video - http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid61264484001

    Other match shooting/training links - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=508844

    UT PROSIM New Member

    May 8, 2010
    thanks for all the help and info, this is why i love the high road.
    so now what i really gotta do is work on focus and the mental game, something i hadn't really thought of amidst thinking about the sights and my breathing and trigger control ec...
    this is a great excuse for me to go ahead and buy a progressive press!
    thanks again

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