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How To Keep The Shakes To A Minimum When Aiming?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ATTHECROSS, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. ATTHECROSS

    ATTHECROSS Member

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    Hello Everyone-

    Just wondering if anyone had any training technique or personal preference on how to best develop a nice steady gun when aiming and then pulling through the trigger. I don't shake wildly or anything but I would like to learn to be as still as possible.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    Two things that work for me:
    1. Keep your eye(s) focused on the sights even after you pull the trigger. (Thanks, Jeff! :))
    2. Consciously tighten your chest muscles to grip the gun, rather than putting a death grip on with your hands. A good exercise for this uses a weight plate (I use 5 lbs but I'm an old lady, you might rather use 10): While standing up straight, hold the plate out in front of you patty-cake style (i.e. your fingers are straight, not bent over the edges of the plate) for 30 seconds. Variation: turn from side to side while doing this.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
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  3. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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    In one of his revolver books, Grant Cunningham mentioned a trick that has worked pretty well for me-- don't try to hold it rock-steady, but move the sights in a small circle while gradually increasing the tension on the trigger. It's easier to make a small, deliberate movement than to hold the sights still.
     
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  4. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    I have some shake in my hands and find it transmits to the gun much worse if I grip too tightly. Sure, you have to have a firm grip, but a death grip will shake the gun like crazy. Finding your perfect compromise grip force is very important to minimizing the shakes while still controlling the gun, having it cycle properly, and staying on target. I am pretty much self-taught and was amazed the first time I softened my grip and saw the shake in the gun just start to disappear. That was the beginning of me really improving my shooting.

    I also find that I sometimes shoot better by firing with the sights on the move through the desired POA as AZAndy said above. The biggest mistake is thinking you will ever stop moving the gun completely. For most of us that just doesn't happen. If you wait for it, you will get fatigued and shoot worse, not better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  5. tcj

    tcj Member

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    Turn your arms in slightly which will result in your upper body muscles exerting more force to help your grip without inducing as much shake as a tighter hand grip.
     
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  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Practice, practice, practice. You must teach the body motor controls. Holding a rifle or a pistol is a physical exercise. I have been primarily a sling rifle shooter and it takes years to teach the body to stay in position and be steady. But even then, the crosshairs are only perfectly still between heart beats. My best shooting is when it is cool, my heart beats are slow, and I can time the trigger pull between heart beats

    I occasionally shoot good groups with my antique BSA Martini, all prone with a sling.

    100 yards:

    wV0LqXB.jpg

    50 yards:

    cr6tM13.jpg

    wgC0uwx.jpg


    Once in a Blue Moon shooting I am shooting cleans in Bullseye 2700 Pistol, with a 22 lr. Not doing it yet with a 45! That pistol is just impossible!!! Offhand with a pistol, the most difficult thing I have had to work on is the flinch reflex. Even with a 22 LR the body flinches. I end up pushing on the pistol, slapping the trigger, pulling on the trigger. And, you have to teach the brain, through practice, that when you see a ten, to take the ten. Without flinching!. You will still be wobbling, but with years of practice, the wobble will be less.

    HTsKjB7.jpg

    zKitH6m.jpg

    YctPHs1.jpg
     
  7. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I’m not sure how far you want to go to improve aim, but supposedly your diet and meds play a role. My asthma meds seem to make me more shaky, but without them I am a goner so I can’t fix that, but you can talk to your doc if you are on things like that and get swapped over to other meds with less side effect. Caffeine is bad too, nicotine probably, pretty much any stimulant.

    Aside from those lifestyle changes I do much better with a compact grip in which I lean back and rest my arms against my body so that my body is holding the weight of the gun. Looks and feels awkward, but you get used to the feel. Greatly reduces my flinch as well when I’m shooting the more ridiculous guns like AR pistols, Draco, but is a marked overall improvement.
     
  8. vito

    vito Member

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    As I get older and older I find that my hands just as not as steady as they used to be, nor my eyesight as good as it once was. Plus my arms get tired a lot quicker than they used to. The cure? Reincarnation into a young body.
     
  9. ATTHECROSS

    ATTHECROSS Member

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    Thanks everyone for the info! I really appreciate it!
     
  10. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Not to brag (well, maybe a little) but my wife did very, very well in IHMSA competition back in the '80s, and the above was the technique she used. She puts it like this, " Relax, and keep your sights aligned even as the gun goes off.":)
     
  11. SouthernBoy

    SouthernBoy Member

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    You should concentrate on gripping your handgun firmly with both hands but more so with your support hand... quite a bit more, as in a 60/40 load share of your grip. You'll be surprised how this simple technique can improve your accuracy and consistency.
     
  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Assuming you are firing standing offhand (no support) the 2 things that work the best for me with rifle or handgun are 1- fire as soon as you can deliver a well aimed shot, and 2- stay away from caffeine and other stimulants.
     
  13. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    My Uncle Carroll was taught to shoot a pistol by Uncle Billy Tilghman, "The Marshall of the Last Frontier."

    He used to say, "Uncle Billy, I can't hold it still."

    And Uncle Billy would take the gun and say, "It don't have to be still. It just has to be <BANG!> on target when it goes off."

    My recommendations are:

    1. Keep your eyes focused on the front sight -- the target should be just a blur.
    2. Increase your squeeze as the sights are moving toward the target, hold when the sights are moving off.
    3. Do not try to make each shot perfect -- just strive to have the sights somewhere on the bull.
    4. Don't force the shot. If you can't get the shot off in a reasonable time, lower the gun and try again.
    5. Keep aiming AFTER the shot. You should have a clear mental picture of where the sights were when the gun went off -- and that's where the bullet hole should be. (This is called "calling the shot.")
    6. Exercise -- both aerobically and with weights.
     
  14. ATTHECROSS

    ATTHECROSS Member

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    I appreciate people saying that they have issues with keeping the gun still like I do. I have always thought that it was just me.
     
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  15. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    Don't smoke. I personally noticed a big difference when I quit.

    Lay off the caffeine. I rarely drink anything with much anyway.

    Like someone else mentioned, checks meds if you're on any.


    AND, don't even think about shooting after trimming your yard with a weed eater. AMHIK. ;)
     
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  16. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    In the vein of Vern Humphhrey’s last post I am pleased to be able to tell where a shot will hit much of the time. I am seeing where the sight is aiming when the shot goes off. That feels good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  17. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yeah, and it's kinda surprising too! Most of us on these internet message forums never admit to shooting anything over 1" groups at 100 yards with a rifle, or 2" groups at 25 yards with a handgun. I know I never do.;)
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    You're half-way there! If you can call your shot, you know WHY a particular shot went astray, and you can learn to correct it.
     
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    One can't expect to be able to hold a gun perfectly still, although physical conditioning and technique, as others have described, can help.

    But I think the first principle of accurate shooting is trigger control -- being able to press the trigger and cause the gun to fire without moving the gun. In that regard, this thread might be helpful.
     
  20. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I could not agree more. Well said.
     
  21. Highcaliber

    Highcaliber Member

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    Embrace the wobble. Let your eye and your trigger finger operate in unison, yet separate from each other. Thus, the "surprise" break.

    .
     
  22. TheSquire

    TheSquire Member

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    When using a rifle, I try to not hold my breath too long before taking the shot.
     
  23. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    I found breath holding doesn't work for me because my heart beat has a greater shake effect.

    Instead, one deep breath 5 seconds before shot with normal exhale then another deep breath with slow exhale while aiming, ideally making the shot when I've exhaled about half way, between heart beats. I've found that the slow exhale covers or masks the heartbeat some resulting in less wobble between heartbeats.

    If not ideal, for example a wind gust at trigger pull time, I hold the shot and repeat breathing sequence. I usually cannot do two deep breaths with slow exhale in a row because on the second one I feel like I'm running out of breath, so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  24. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    One very fundamental thing that can accomplish a lot in this area for some folks (depends upon the source of the shaking) is to develop some specific exercises to strengthen the muscles involve.

    I do mine every morning. ;)
     
  25. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I was trained to do small figure-8s over the target, squeezing slowly each time the sight crosses the X-ring. Trying to hold the gun still CAUSES shaking.
     
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