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Need help correcting a habit.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by c.latrans, Feb 14, 2013.

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  1. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    Hello hand gunners.

    I need help correcting a habit, the genesis of which I have not discovered. I consistently shoot hang guns...pretty much all hand guns to the left. If I sand bag up and shoot with either one or two eyes open and pay very close attention to my trigger control and front sight, I can make them go into the center. In other positions, if I take time with every shot and concentrate on front sight/trigger squeeze straight back, I can keep things centered. Beyond that, if my concentration lapses so much as a smidge, my shots bear left, sharply so if I am in a hurry. I literally NEVER miss to the right, and elevation is not a problem...just left, left and left again.

    I have had this problem for many years, and believe there is something wrong with my grip or form that is bringing this issue on. I am right handed and strongly right eye dominant. So to you experts, what are the likely causes of this pattern, and what can I try to alleviate it? Thanks for looking.
     
  2. Fire_Moose

    Fire_Moose Member

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    Have you tried getting someone to load yer magazine with a couple snap caps mixed in?

    Sent from my CZ85 Combat
     
  3. Steel Talon

    Steel Talon Member

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    FWIW,with out the benefiet of watching you shoot and at what distance.. My best guess would be your over thinking your shooting. You should try and clear your mind from the variuos thoughts that percculate through about your shooting. And learn to focus on your front sight and let your ability to come.

    Start with closer targets, and increase distance as things settle into place.
     
  4. returningfire

    returningfire Member

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    Finger

    You might be sticking too much of your trigger finger through the trigger guard and you are pulling it to the left with your finger. try shooting with just the tip of your finger on the trigger. It might straighten it right out.
     
  5. Samir

    Samir Member

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    I have a variation on that.. I have 4 mags and sprinkle snap caps in them, then put them in my range bag. I pull them out of the bag and insert them without looking. Works for me.
     
  6. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    [​IMG]

    Also, if you have the trigger in the crease of your index finger, you can ALSO pull shots right in to the "thumbing" zone. (If the trigger is in the crease, it's a crap shoot which way it'll go, left or right.)
     
  7. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    The "Jerking" zone on this target should really read "jerking trigger" or some derivation, and also cover the zone to the left of it "squeezing finger tips" - if you jerk or snatch the trigger hard, your shots will always hit low and left.
     
  8. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    Great info guys, keep em coming! I am going to master this thing once and for all, willing to try about anything.
     
  9. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    OK the other things you need to know:

    #1 Breath control.

    Breath normally but before you fire, let a half breath out (or breath a half breath in) and hold it. Don't hold it TOO long or you will get tremors!

    THIS RULE IS VOID IN SELF DEFENSE.

    #2 Hold control.


    Weaver or Isocoles, either stance, you want to BALANCE the pressure between your strong hand and weak hand. Your weak hand should wrap around the grip and the thumbs should lay alongside each other, on autos. On revolvers, some people hold differently.

    If you do NOT balance the pressure between your hands properly, and make it neutral, you will be inaccurate.

    DO NOT lock either of your arms, keep them slightly bent to absorb recoil. That'll improve your "split time" between shots as you will remain on target better.


    #3 Trigger Control


    Discussed above some, you want to use the pad of your finger.

    You do NOT have to squeeze your hand to move your finger! Your finger will move all on it's own without help.


    #4 Sight alignment


    Front sight should be equidistant between the rear sight.

    Your EYE should ONLY focus on the front sight.

    IN SELF DEFENSE YOUR SIGHTS DO NOT HAVE TO ALIGN PERFECTLY AT CLOSE RANGE (< 8 yards) NOR DO YOU EVEN *NEED* TO USE THEM IN POINT SHOOTING (< 5 yards). Would recommend practicing both!


    #5 Sight Picture



    Your target should be slightly blurry since you are focusing on the front sight ONLY.

    You can shoot a 6 o'clock or 12 o'clock hold (depends on the gun).


    #6 Followthrough


    Breathe.

    You should not move the gun to look at your target, that forms a bad habit.

    You should remain ready to fire another shot. This is where you build muscle memory to be able to shoot faster, more accurately.
     
  10. Dr. Sandman

    Dr. Sandman Member

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    A few years back, I ordered some Milsurp Pakastani ammo 9mm from the Sportsmans Guide. About half of the ammo worked and some felt like it was +P. The other half was a mix of duds and hangfires. As crummy as the ammo was, I did learn that I was pulling with my hand in order to counteract the anticipated recoil of the gun. This was all subconscious. I am not cured, but better. My point is that some dud or dummy ammo is a good way to evaluate what is going on. PLEASE REMEMBER if you get to the dud or dummy, treat it like a hang fire, because you might have a hangfire in one of the rounds that you think are live!!! I usually point the gun downrange for about 45 seconds or so. Good luck.
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    It takes 5 minutes to teach, and a lifetime to master.
     
  12. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    Very good guys. I just fixed up 3 dummies and will have my wife load mags when the time comes. I am not particularly sensitive to recoil, but I can detect a flinch now and then. Where I am now is that I have a Sig 229 in .40 and have installed a .22 LR conversion. I am able to shoot .22 right at home, as I live in a semi rural area, I have a set up in my shop where I can close doors, turn on a fan above the target that blows out a window and blaze. I am dedicating 50 well executed rounds per day, taking time to execute each shot and analyze it. I have shot quite a bit of target archery at upper levels of the sport, and I am taking the same approach to this problem as I would to curing "target panic" in archery.

    One question...how tight should my grip on the pistol be? Obviously enough to control the shot, but should I give it the death grip or just firm enough to handle the gun? Also, I tend to lay my left thumb on top of the right, rather than under. I have rather large hands, and when I lay it under, the side of my thumb rubs against the tip of my trigger finger in the guard when I shoot with just the pad of my index finger. Comments? Thank you guys again, the help is appreciated.
     
  13. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    If your grip is too tight, you won't be able to hold the gun steady and your hands will tremor. If it's too loose, recoil will be amplified. That's more of a personal feeling than anything. Personally, I don't squeeze it too tight. But I'm not holding it loose, either. (Too vague to convey over text, I know.)

    The tightness of my grip naturally adjusts now based on WHAT I'm shooting too. I tend to hold my 45 ACP a bit more firmly than my 9mm and put more focus in to locking my wrists. I'm fairly fast with it, not earth shattering, but .25-.27 seconds split on the 45. I'm .15-.18 on 9mm. A long way off from grand master speed, but not too horrible.

    Left thumb over right is generally done by revolver shooters transitioning to semi's. And man, you must have some really big hands or a really small gun for your thumb and trigger finger to touch. :)

    So, question of the day. Are you shooting a revolver or an auto loader?

    The techniques can be slightly and subtly different.

    I'm just learning revolvers, and I'm NOT the go-to guy for that stuff by any stretch. When I shoot revolvers with my "usual" semi-auto hold, it doesn't feel good. I've found that crossing my thumbs up like you are doing, feels more solid. I've even tried wrapping my left thumb back around my right hand, feels real solid, but I shoot like crap. So either way I shoot with thumbs parallel. Semi, right over left, revolver, left over right.

    What's IMPORTANT is that YOU feel natural and relaxed.

    Everything NOT involved with holding that gun up should be relaxed, and remember, bring it up to your line of sight, don't bring your head down to it. :)
     
  14. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    (This gets exponentially MORE difficult, by the way, when you try to get faster WITH accuracy.)
     
  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Lots of good advice.

    I've also found that I can induce a case of the lefts if I squeeze too hard with my support (non-dominant) hand. Sometimes the pressure of my left fingertips on/between the knuckles of my right hand can just tug things a bit left. Relaxing the left hand about 10-15% does the trick. One of the range officers where I shoot (a former Marine Force Recon guy, IIRC) pointed it out to me and fixed what was becoming a frustrating, but intermitent, problem.
     
  16. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    ATLDave, good point. I've got another target that shows uneven pressure between support & firing hands, I didn't even realize that one I linked didn't show it. Sorry about that. I grabbed the first Google Image result and slapped it in here, was pressed for time (also working while I'm on here, posting between reboots on these servers I'm upgrading..!).

    I should have went down to the basement (since I work from home most days) and grabbed a pic of one of the training targets I use when I teach people! :)
     
  17. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Oh wait you're meaning your support hand is squeezing, not pulling back to hard.

    I read that wrong the first time.

    I don't squeeze at ALL with the support hand fingers other than what's required to balance out and neutralize the forward pressure from the firing hand. In fact, my fingers on my left hand stick out a little, loose.

    If you are squeezing with your fingertips that activates a bunch of muscles in the lower part of your hand that should be 100% relaxed.
     
  18. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    Hey Trent (and everyone) Thank You for the effort.

    I learned to shoot on revolvers so yes, learned to wrap that left thumb over the top to avoid getting burned from the gap. It feels really weird to try to lay it below my right thumb or even along side, but I have wondered if that is part of my problem. I am shooting autos now for the most part. The old thing about guys with big hands....well....I just have big hands, unfortunately! But the end of my trigger finger does rub against my thumb at about the middle of the thumbnail but on the side. Keeps me from shooting with my trigger finger too deep, I guess, as I shoot with just the pad of my finger. Right now I am shooting a Sig P229 with standard grips, not like I am trying to do this with a Bearcat or something. Steel Talon mentioned earlier that I am likely over thinking things, and that may be the case as it seems that the harder I try the worse it gets. I understand what you are saying about grip, I kind of have a feel for what my old model 66 needs (which, by the way is the only hand gun I own that I can shoot as well as I would like) as opposed to a hi-standard .22. Probably the loose nut behind the grips is mainly responsible for my woes.

    Want to go fast, but when I do my shots start showing up out in the 7/8 rings on sil. targets. Maybe should go back to rifles as that is what I do best, but I am going to get in front of this thing if it kills me!:banghead:
     
  19. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Heh you aren't overthinking it. There is a LOT going on with handguns, it's considerably harder to master than, than rifles (although, each have their own difficult problems).

    But what I would do is focus on ONE thing at a time, starting with front sight, trigger control, relaxed and comfortable hold.

    You'll find that you plateau for awhile and then discover that one tiny little subtle difference will take you to the next level.

    Double action is especially tough to master because the force required on the trigger amplifies everything else going wrong. If the forces your various muscles are exerting are a smidge off, when that trigger breaks, the muzzle is going SOMEWHERE.

    Take an empty shell case and balance it on the front of the gun, practice dry fire. Don't knock it off, don't wobble it. When you're rock solid with that (and you probably will be from the start if you're an experienced shooter), pick a distant target, focus on the front sight, and dry fire on it. When that sight isn't moving AT ALL off the target, keep practicing to build muscle memory. :)

    You don't have to spend a fortune to become a good pistol shooter. In fact, back in my 20's I spent a great deal of time shooting common .177 pellets in to a phone book down the long hallway in my house. :)
     
  20. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Also, one last thing. If you look at that chart above, MOST of the things that you can do wrong involve using to much of one muscle that's unbalanced by other muscles.

    So if nothing else works, relax. :)
     
  21. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    Since elevation is not a problem, I also think it is finger placement on the trigger.
     
  22. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Yes, you are putting uneven pressure on the gun

     
  23. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    edit for rewrite :)
     
  24. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    My isosceles grip lines the middle knuckles up under the trigger guard (same as my weaver grip).

    [​IMG]

    9mmepiphany takes a VERY complete grip and (basically) lines his first knuckles on his support hand up with the middle knuckles on his left hand. As you can see this is very different.

    [​IMG]

    I personally don't find the second method comfortable, and I'm not very accurate with that hold (I have serious trigger control issues when I try, my fingers are long-ish). It might be because I shot weaver for 15 years and only started switching to isosceles last year (weaver is still more comfortable for me, but isosceles is much faster).

    I had to radically alter the muscles used and pressure from the middle-knuckle hold in weaver to make that same shape of hold work in isosceles. It's not even close to the same feeling.

    Everyone is built different and what works for you might not work for someone else. I will say 9mm's hold is by the book correct. He's probably a lot faster than me too. :)
     
  25. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    The other thing about gripping too hard is that it makes it harder to separate the movement of your trigger finger from the desired NON movement of the rest of the hand. So you end up pulling the trigger with your whole hand instead of one finger. The grip strength should be the same as you'd use with a good friend during a firm handshake. If in doubt try a little less rather than a little more. If the gun moves within your grip after a few shots then you need to grip a LITTLE harder and try again.

    I've got a little something to add that I haven't seen yet among the other great suggestions. Make it a point to pull thru the BANG! and hold the trigger back during the recoil. The goal is to focus on a complete and full trigger travel and short follow thru so you are not focusing on the gun going BANG!.

    Oh, and another thing. You don't want to pull the trigger so much as you want to build pressure on the trigger and let it move as and when it wants. And after the recoil you want to ease the pressure in the same manner instead of conciously moving the trigger. During fast fire drills this pressure build and release can be very fast but it's still not ever going to be a sudden snatch of the finger on the trigger which most certainly will jerk the gun around.

    Your only mission, even during fast fire drills, is to hold your sight picture and pull that trigger all the way to the rear travel stop and hold it there for a short time. Then using the same discipline release the pressure with the same care. By doing this you will easily feel the trigger/action reset. At that point you can reverse the pressure and build to the next round going off.

    Start slow with this new drill and build speed over a couple of sessions. In time you'll learn that you can shoot darn fast with this method. Even to where you learn to feel the reset as the gun is coming down from the recoil impulse and you're ready for the other half of a double tap
     
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