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Have a shooting problem

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by J.Gillespie, Jan 5, 2003.

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  1. J.Gillespie

    J.Gillespie Member

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    I have been shooting handguns for quite some time now. I take to the range with me my G21, PM9, 22/45 Ruger.

    This is the problem: I don't know how much info you all can give me here without seeing my stance and grip etc,etc. When I shoot, my groupings are 3-5 inches to the left and a little low at times but always left.
    I have tried moving my trigger finger around alittle but that has not solved it. If anyone has any pointers I would appreciate it. This is a very taxing thing on me and frankly TICKS me off!:banghead:

    Oh! I have also had the Glock and Kahr bore-sited just to make sure it wasn't the gun.

    Thanks much!
     
  2. Kukri

    Kukri Member

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    Do you squeeze, not jerk the trigger. I used to have that problem but I figured it was this, so I achieved better accuracy.
     
  3. triggertime

    triggertime Member

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    Sounds like a trigger control problem that can be alleviated with alot of dry fire practice.
     
  4. pax

    pax Member

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    The basic cause of low-and-left is usually a flinch.

    My prescription for fixing a flinch:
    • Dry fire. Lots of dryfire practice.
    • When you are squeezing off a shot, let the hammer fall surprise you. Concentrate only on that front sight and upon your smooth trigger pull. Do not try to figure out when the trigger will break; it will break when it breaks. Keep your concentration upon the front sight.
    • Dry fire some more.
    • Mix snap caps into your magazines in a random order (better yet, have someone else do it) so you don't know where the snap caps are and where the real ammo is. As you're shooting through the mag, when you get to a snap cap you will discover whether or not you are still flinching. It's embarrassing to discover that the flinch is still there ... The best way to get over that embarrassment is to get over the flinch. Front sight, squeeze the trigger smoothly, don't anticipate.
    • Dry fire some more. Pay attention to your sight picture, to a smooth trigger pull, to your front sight. Do not try to anticipate when the trigger will break; just let it be a surprise.
    • Dry fire some more. Try balancing a coin on the end of your barrel while squeezing off a dry fire. Did it stay balanced there?
    • Dry fire some more.
    • Then go back to the range with your snap caps and try it again.
    • Repeat as necessary.

    Follow-through is also important. To work on follow through, you should continue to hold the trigger down with your sights realigned on target for a full two seconds after each shot. Feels a bit silly at first, but it really helps teach your muscles not to 'mash' the trigger -- which in turn helps get rid of flinch shots.

    After working for several hundred reps with an exaggerated follow-through on a single shot, you can begin to speed it up a bit.

    For multiple shots, realign your sights while relaxing your trigger finger only enough to reset your trigger. Do not take your finger completely off the trigger! Just relax it enough to reset the trigger, and shoot as soon as your sights are lined up again. Then follow through by holding the trigger down for a full second or even two seconds after the second shot.

    If you're practicing on multiple targets or changing your point of aim on one target (ala mozambique), then think of your second shot as your follow through. Keep your finger just relaxed enough to reset the trigger, and "re"align your sights onto the second target. Squeeze off your second (or third, or fourth) shot without taking your finger off the trigger. Just relax your finger enough to reset your trigger. On the last shot, follow through by continuing to press the trigger with your sights on target for an extra second or two after shooting.

    After several hundred reps of multiple shots and multiple targets, you can begin to shorten the amount of time you spend on follow through, but it can never be eliminated entirely if you want your muscles to remember not to mash the trigger when you're in a hurry.

    Hope that helps some.

    pax

    You can buy guns, but you cannot buy marksmanship. – Col. Jeff Cooper
     
  5. sm

    sm member

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    Yep
    pax - great post
     
  6. J.Gillespie

    J.Gillespie Member

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    Thanks for the advise everyone. I will start doing dry- fire drills more often now. Pax...thanks much for going into detail...much appreciated!
     
  7. Fred

    Fred Member

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    This sounds like an eye dominance problem to me. Are you shooting with both eyes open?

    Generally, trigger control problems will be low and slightly left if you're right handed.

    The above advice is great stuff, but I don't think the diagnosis is correct.
     
  8. J.Gillespie

    J.Gillespie Member

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    Response to Fred

    I am right handed and I shoot with one eye closed ( my right ). Another thing I am wondering is: I have an astigmatism and I don't wear my perscription glasses when I shoot (just my saftey glasses). It's nothing major but I do know it affects me sighting in. Even if I take the time to let my left eye adjust to the sight and then fire, the round still goes left and sometimes slightly low.:banghead: and a:banghead: and a:banghead: and then:cuss:
     
  9. Fred

    Fred Member

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    Yep, your cross dominant. Right hand, left eye. That's not a problem, but you will need a little tweak in your technique.

    I'm not sure what type of stance your using. A frontal (ISO) or slightly bladed off (Mod Weaver) will both work. Rather that just moving your head to line up your left eye behind the sights move the gun so that it's just left of your bodies centerline and then position your head so that its just slightly to the right of your bodies centerline.

    Try shooting with your glasses also. As long as your sights are in focus you'll be good to go. The target looks blury for folks with perfect vision

    That will put your dominant eye behind the sights. When your move just the gun or just the head to compensate it creates an error in how the sights are perceived resulting in a point of impact shift.

    Give that a try and let me know how it works out.

    Take care.
     
  10. New_comer

    New_comer Member

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    You can use this to diagnose your errors:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. J.Gillespie

    J.Gillespie Member

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    Thanks Fred and Newcomer

    I am going to download the target and I just happen to be going to the range today so I will see how things go. I definitly have a little more insight to what I should try to do thanks to everyone here who has responded.:)

    Update

    Just got back from the range. Did what you advised Fred and I shot 100% better! I was smacking the bullets dead on from 7-10 yrds. Couldn't believe it..:what:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2003
  12. Fred

    Fred Member

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    Good deal!

    I'm glad that worked out for you.

    Good training!

    www.wct.4t.com
     
  13. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    Nemo sine vitio est
    Nice visual aid.
     
  14. Island Beretta

    Island Beretta Member

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    What Fred is talking about is called the 50/50 rule and we should also use that when practicing with our weak hand (which all of us do, right?)
     
  15. J.Gillespie

    J.Gillespie Member

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    I don't pratice with my weak hand as much as I should but the "50/50" rule helped me out tremendously!
    I will have to try my weak hand this weekend and see how things go.:uhoh:
     
  16. King

    King Member

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    New_Comer....thanks for the correction target recommendation.

    Would the advice on the target (the problem) be universally recognized ? (ie; breaking wrist up when consistently shooting too high for example).

    Or anyone for that matter........are those symtoms universally agreed upon?
     
  17. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    I guessed you might be right handed before I reached that post ...

    The eye dominance issue isn't normally related to your anticipatory flinch & trigger control problem, although it can certainly feel that way when you're experiencing the problem.;)

    Relax, eye dominance is a consideration that's easily adapted to in shooting, and can be dealt with at any time ...

    While there's a LOT of really good advice in this thread ... download it and refer to it occasionally, as it can be easy to forget ... I'd like to offer one more training technique you can use at home during your dry fire practice ... and a couple fo thoughts.

    With your EMPTY :scrutiny: pistol ... (Sorry, it's not directed specifically at you, but I've become a real safety freak over the years of teaching cops to shoot.;)) ... Simply get yourself a wooden dowel approximately the same diameter as the bore of your pistol, about 3 feet long ... stand close to a wall ... locate a specific spot on the wall to use as your "aiming point", which is where the far end of the dowel will be located, and hopefully remain stationary ... and start dry firing.

    Expect to see the end of the dowel shake slightly. No big deal, although it'll lessen the more you practice. But, the dowel shouldn't move downward & to the left unless you flinch. Now, as soon as your mind accepts that there isn't going to be any "recoil", you'll probably feel that this is an easy thing to do in practice. It's easy to do if the pistol isn't "rocking & recoiling" in your hand, because you know there's no recoil to fight, right? You may only benefit from this practice during the first few minutes of such dry fire, and that's fine. It's just another way to check your "cold" tendency to unconsiously "anticipate" recoil, and subsequently unintentionally "flinch".

    This is only regarding the downward flinch, though, as the trigger control issue is generally independant of recoil ... and will often be noticeable during even extended dry fire sessions ... until you can resolve it. So, you can use this technique to work on the leftward "jerking" tendency, even if you don't flinch downward away from the range.

    You'll get a lot of advice, online and in print, regarding how "much" of your distal trigger finger joint should reach into the trigger guard, and cover the trigger itself ...

    All of our hands are differently sized, and that's even more true for our finger reach, girth, joint size & position and general finger flexion. The index finger & thumb are enervated by another nerve from the middle, ring and little fingers ... which makes it easier to separate the trigger finger movement from the other 3 fingers applying the "grip", but then you have to isolate & overcome the tendency to "sympathetically" contract the trigger finger when you "clench" the grip frame with your remaining fingers in anticipation of the recoil impulse.

    Whenever I encounter someone exhibiting this problem I always try to carefully isolate the trigger finger movement from the grip ... don't want to confuse the shooter by introducing anything more than necessary ... and focus on the basics of the trigger finger's purpose. The trigger is similar to a switch, to use a poor analogy ... You wouldn't apply unnecessary sideways pressure to a lightswitch that moved up & down, right?

    Well, once the shooter can "consciously" operate the trigger finger separately from the pressure being exerted by the rest of the fingers, during recoil, when there's an unconscious tendency to tighen the trigger finger along with the other fingers ... THEN, I examine the specific size, shape and position of the shooter's trigger finger, and its placement on the trigger face, and whether it may be limited due to grip issues ... "reach", as it were.

    When it comes right down to it, I'm less concerned about which exact "part" of the finger is placed upon the trigger face, as I am whether the shooter can now exert proper control over the tendency to "jerk" the trigger to the side. As long as the shooter can easily and consistently pull/press the trigger straight to the rear, and no longer off to the side ... and place the hits exactly where they desire ... I'm happy.

    Of course, there are always ways to fine tune these things, but that's something for later, not when the shooter is initially trying to address what can be a multi-faceted issue. Keep it simple, and resolve one or two little problems at a time ...

    Naturally, nothing I say should be accepted as gospel ... just an opinion, among many ...
     
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