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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. 12gaugeTim

    12gaugeTim Member

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  2. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    What prevents me from putting any effort into the isosceles grip is I shoot a revolver as much as a pistol. I am better to stick with the weaver grip or variations of the weaver grip/stance.
     
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Our support hand fingers are lining up about the same under the trigger guard...I present the flat face of the finger segment forward.

    Just a bit curious why your support hand is so low on the grip frame. It looks like you are pronating your wrist (extending your thumb toward the target) as I do, but you aren't getting a high on the gun as you could...which I would think would interfere with your trigger finger

    Here is my grip on a wider gripped M&P9

    grip052.jpg

    ...and what the right hand looks like by itself. I'm not reaching around as much as you might think

    grip040.jpg
     
  4. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    OK I got my M&P 9 out so we can compare apples to apples on the same exact geometry:

    One handed
    5pg2Hull.jpg

    Weaver (or my modified isosceles hold) - middle knuckles line up on both hands
    UjO6Un5l.jpg

    Fully enveloped isocsceles
    PEVVUvSl.jpg
     
  5. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I see some differences on our shooting hand. Our hands are about the same size but you've got the rear of the gun more towards the center of your palm. I can't do that with my wrist structure - it bends my wrist out pretty sharply. My natural hold puts my wrist straight and the middle knuckles of my shooting hand in line with the front strap.
     
  6. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    When I hold my gun hand presenting the flat segment of my fingers forward, as you show, my wrist is at a severe angle:

    79dj2DTl.jpg

    Edit: that angle gets MORE severe if I assume a full isosceles presenting the flat of my fingers forward - extreme, even)

    When I hold it with my middle knuckles at the front of the grip, my wrist is at a straight angle:

    KZBRadVl.jpg

    Since I need to keep my wrist as straight as possible to absorb recoil straight back (and without pain, on bigger guns), that leaves the knuckles on my gun hand pointing forward (as shown in the top photo of the 3 pics I posted last.)

    When I wrap my support hand around, having the knuckles forward makes it very uncomfortable to fully encompass the firearm as you do. (pic 3 post 30)

    So the natural hold (for me) is to line up the inside of my middle knuckles on the support hand with the forward pointing middle knuckles on my gun hand (middle pic post 30)
     
  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    This is extremely important. Tightening your strong hand when pressing the trigger will cause your shots to strike low (ignore the Correction Chart; it is less than applicable to two handed shooting)

    Being aware of follow through is very important to beginning shooters, it becomes second nature after a while

    Maybe more than a couple of sessions ;)

    You can start resetting in series to make sure of your follow through, but will will progress to resetting it in parallel with the muzzle flip as you become more skilled
     
  8. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Nothing says that you can't shoot a revolver with an isoceles body position. But I agree that if you do well with the one style it's best to stick with the one instead of trying to learn two styles.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Ah...that really helped. You do wrap your right hand fingers a lot more around. It almost looks like it is coming out of the "pocket".

    Are you lining up the gun under your dominate eye as opposed to the middle of your chest?
    You might try dropping your head a bit to the right

    I line up the backstrap with the pocket formed in my right hand when the hand is relaxed...with the thumb, including the muscle at the base fully on the left side of the grip.

    I see what you mean about your wrist angle. If I had only seen the picture, I'd think your were cross eye dominate.

    I had to pick up my M&P to check alignment. I find that I loosen my right hand grip a bit as my left hand comes in and rotates the muzzle slightly to the right. When shooting one handed, I maintain my grip but cant the sights slightly inward to bring it in front of my right eye
     
  10. murf

    murf Member

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    clatrans,

    can you post pics (like trent)? worth a thousand words!

    murf
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    What I was talking about earlier in this thread when I said people aren't built the same, and why I got the M&P out once I saw you posted pictures so we could compare apples to apples!

    You are an experienced shooter so take what I'm about to say and realize I'm talking to a wider audience than you, and speaking only of what's right for ME. Hopefully someone can find this useful. :)

    I really have no choice but to keep my wrist as straight as possible. IF my wrists were more flexible I'd be able to hold like you do, but 20 years as a computer programmer and carpal tunnel have really taken their toll. I can't bend my wrist more than 45 degrees in either direction without feeling extreme pain - the thought of doing it with a recoiling firearm makes my skin crawl.

    What this means is my "heel" of my hand sits directly at the back of the bottom of the grip (and not slightly to the left side as yours does).

    One upside of this is my wrist bones all align as perfectly straight as they can, and recoil transfers directly up my arm to my elbows; the wrist joint absorbs nothing. I keep my elbows slightly bent so they can act as a shock absorber. I experience virtually NO muzzle flip with this hold even on 45's.

    The downside is with my frigging long fingers, and having the index finger on my strong side further forward than yours by a good half-inch due to the way I hold strong side, trigger control took a long time to master. (Trigger control on your hold is MUCH easier to manage, and 15 years ago, I could shoot in that position..)

    When I bring my other hand up to support, this hold doesn't change.

    If I hold my hand out and point at something with my index finger in direct line with my arm and wrist, I can slip the gun in without rearranging my hand, it is my natural hold.

    If I hold strong side only and point the gun at a target with my index finger straight out, and have someone remove the firearm, I'm pointing straight at the target with my index finger, and my index finger is in direct line with my arm.

    I do not have to shift my grip shooting strong side only or supported.

    Everyone's geometry is different and every firearm has different geometry that you have to adapt to. Sooner or later we reach a point where the gun feels like an extension of your hand. Then you pick up a different gun and it feels dead "wrong" (or at least very odd). There are guns I have a terrible time with - the Springfield XD comes to mind. I took it to the range once, and sold it. It doesn't fit ME.

    But it might fit someone else like a glove. :)

    Anyway that's enough for one post.
     
  12. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    You ninja edited while I was typing my novel. :)

    To answer your question;

    When I draw, I meet the firearm at my centerline with my support hand (in retention hold), and press straight out, both arms equal. I do not move or otherwise cock my head, I bring the gun in to my line of sight with my head straight up.

    When I used to shoot weaver I'd meet the gun by the time it got to my forward hip and press out but this proved slower and less accurate on point shooting. Since I've switched to isosceles one of the main advantages is from the point in time your hands meet at centerline, all the way until your arms are fully extended, any rounds you fire will be hitting center mass out to about 10 yards, even without having use of the sights. That makes reaction / point shooting MUCH faster and MUCH more accurate. Also, by swiveling at the torso, you have a better and EQUAL field of fire - weaver is off-hand restricted when rotating, which has serious disadvantages in a self defense scenario. (YOU know this, because you switched for the same reason(s), I'm just repeating it to give people a background.)

    But I absolutely do NOT move my head to meet the gun, the firearm comes up to my line of sight. In self defense it's vital to keep your head up so your peripheral vision can capture as much as possible. Tilt it, and suddenly you LOSE that, as your peripheral vision is no longer tracking at ground level.

    (I'm right eye dominant/right handed.)

    We're starting to get pretty deep down the rabbit hole, 9mm... this is no longer a "basic shooting" thread. :)
     
  13. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    LOLOL! Thank you guys, and I mean it! I can tell from your pics that I have a much stiffer form, and you guys are getting your grips much deeper into the web of your hands than I am able. First, I shoot from a modified Weaver stance which I find most comfortable. I take the bulk of the abuse in the meaty area of my lower thumb. For me to wrap the butt into my hand the way you do, I think I would hit the trigger with my first knuckle. Also, given the fact that we are gripping different pistols, the end of my right thumb extends beyond the curve of the trigger while in single action configuration, and to break my wrist as far to the right as Trent does in the top photo, I think I would literally have to "break" my wrist. For the heck of it, I am building my grip up with vetrap tonight, and intend to spend tomorrows practice time trying to find a way to make my left thumb comfortable below the right and to apply a bit more pressure with my left hand. That might be enough for one day.

    I have been shooting one thing or another for over 40 years, and consider myself a fair hand with both rifle and shotgun. I have never been able to master the art of the hand gun, though. No time like the present, especially with such obviously capable people to talk me through it. Forgive my stupid questions to come, they are likely to be plentiful! Night all.
     
  14. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Glad we could help c.latrans!

    You come on a board like this, where there's a plethora of competitive and (very serious) recreational shooters hanging around, you're going to get more advice than you bargained for, and some of it will undoubtedly conflict, or have slight variations.

    Just consider it "getting all of the options". What works for one person, will not work for another.

    What's important, is the basics, which we ALL agree on. Once you master the basics, just as with any martial art, you MUST "fit" it to your body to truly advance and make it your own. This takes time, and repetition, and you'll gradually evolve from those basics in to what works for you (sometimes without even knowing or being aware of it happening!!!).

    But for now focus on those basics. :)

    Later, the gun will feel like an extension of your body and shoot where you point it, even if you tape over the sights. :)
     
  15. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Thank you for sharing your experience, it was truly enlightening. I have a much better understanding of your very reasonable adaptions. I have experience working with folks with the same issues. My motto is to work with your body, not against it. There are time I wish my wrist were less flexible...it would keep me from trying to cheat around cover.

    Even with my grip, I'm still backing my finger out of the trigger guard (my finger starts flaring outward at the first joint) to press straight back (I have the Apex Tactical FSS)

    You're right, we might be getting a bit deep. What I'd like folks just starting out to know is that shooting is a learning progression...correct technique isn't a static goal
     
  16. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Totally agreed, it's an ever evolving skill. Just like any other skill involving fine motor control or hand eye coordination (riding a motorcycle, shooting a bow, playing a musical instrument) only practice and good instruction can take you to the next level.

    If you keep going shooting and you always shoot the same, no matter how much you practice... that's called a plateau. And you'll likely STAY there for a long time without some outside intervention.

    So if you are in that spot, consider training. Or at the very least do some competitive shooting, if only because you'll learn so much, so fast. I still remember my first day shooting competition, I learned more in 10 hours about the fine art of putting lead on target, than I had in the preceding 10 years.

    And after over 15 years of shooting handguns, I still learn things or refine things EVERY time I go to the range. I'm getting to the point now that when I pull the trigger, if something isn't quite right (I did something wrong), little alarm bells go off in my head. I don't even need to look at the target. I *know* I missed, and generally, where that round landed.

    One other thing.

    If you practice bad habits, your body will REMEMBER those bad habits. They become ingrained in your very technique. And they become NASTY buggers to shake.

    Consider this scenario:

    Say your trigger finger don't move straight back, you're pushing left on the break. And you're applying light pressure with your strong side thumb, which pushes you right. They USUALLY equal each other out, you're shooting dead center. You decide to work on trigger control and fix your trigger pull, only to start shooting right. If you do not simultaneously realize you are also thumbing, you'll think you're doing the trigger pull wrong and revert to the incorrect trigger pull.

    Later you realize you're applying subtle pressure with your thumb, and relax it. Now you're shooting left. And have no idea why. If you don't soon thereafter realize you've been pulling the trigger wrong, you will assume you need to hold the gun tighter and go back to thumbing.

    But because the thumbing and incorrect trigger pull aren't always exactly in balance, your group sizes are larger than they could be.

    Have an epiphany, fix BOTH, and suddenly your group sizes shrink in half, and stay there.

    Then you realize you are heeling and pulling down with your offhand (incorrect balance in grip), and fix that, and your group sizes shrink smaller...

    And the process continues.

    You have about a hundred little bundles of muscle all working against you AND you have to also worry about lining up your sights on a target, breathing, and so on.

    It's tough to get right. I would argue, impossible to truly master.

    But we all keep trying.

    :)
     
  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    What a great thread. I've really enjoyed reading the exchange between Trent and 9mmepiphany. In many ways, it echoes the discussions that serious golfers will have, with subtle grip changes requiring different mechanics, levels of effort by one muscle group or another, etc.
     
  18. luvit

    luvit Member

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    i like these target pictures, i just re-attached one.. i'm training my teen daughters this week and they are starting-off really well.
    i want to try this target on them in the near future and wonder how large you would scale the black area (7-10) and how far you would you recommend my amateur daughters stand away.
    2" snub revolver s&w 36 -- most often, i have really tight groups at 28ft, when plinking... so would i have to stand further from this target than my daughters?
    i know what size/distance i'd choose, but want to know your opinion for my amateur daughters.
    .
     

    Attached Files:

  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I really don't recommend using that target at all, unless you are teaching your daughters to shoot one-handed as that target was designed/calibrated for. Adding the other hand changes almost all the dynamics that that target is based on.

    However, if you are determined to use it, I seem to remember that the black area (out to the 7 ring) is about 6" and it was designed to be shot at 25 yards (or meters)

    If you are able to hold tight (~1") groups at 9 yards with your M-36, that is quite good. It is really hard to teach folks to shoot revolvers with a J-frame due to the size of it's grip, it's action parts and the coil spring powered action...but it that is all you have that will fit their hands, you'll have limited options. A mid-sized frame revolver would be a better route to go
     
  20. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I'll offer another opinion, just for variety. :)

    The parts of that target that are still valid for two handed shooting are jerking the trigger (you'll shoot low/left), applying thumb pressure with your strong hand (you'll break right), too much trigger can go either way, left or right (if it's in the crease), too little trigger will push left (always). Flinching is a crap shoot on which way it goes.

    Incorrect balance between strong and support hands will cause lots of problems, not all predictable. Generally speaking an incorrect hold will cause a lot of wobble in your sight picture and alignment, while a balanced, relaxed natural hold will reduce wobble.

    Where it starts to get tricky, the larger the recoil impulse, the more firm you have to be with your grip to control recoil, but as you tighten your grip you REALLY have to concentrate on keeping the parts that are supposed to be relaxed, relaxed, such as the thumb, and keeping neutral pressure where it should be.

    Generally I see inexperienced shooters throw wide patterns out, from nervousness, incorrect hold, recoil anticipation, flinching, etc. If shots are hitting everywhere, a target like I, you, and others have linked to will just confuse the living hell out of someone. They'll think they're doing EVERYTHING wrong. That'll destroy their confidence and that will hurt their shooting capabilities more than anything else you could say or do. Might even make them not come back.

    Those targets are best for the EXPERIENCED shooter who is shooting small groups but throws an occasional flyer and can't find out why, *OR* a person putting a good tight group together with a handgun that is known to be dead on, but off center.

    My FiveSeven is my benchmark, I *know* it is dead on. It also shoots wickedly tight groups. If I hand that firearm to someone and they put together a 10 shot group low left, or to the right, I can zero in on their problem in short order. If they put together a centered 10" group with it at 10 yards, then I know we need to back up and work on the fundamentals of how to hold it, breathe properly, relax what needs to be relaxed, and so on. (I can shoot 6" groups at 50 yards with that particular firearm all day long, if someone shoots it 10" at 10 yards, that's ... really bad.). If they are recoil sensitive I break out the Ruger Mk3 target, it is also very accurate.

    It is MUCH more difficult to teach someone to shoot well, than people would realize, because the signs are oh-so-very-subtle, and you cannot FEEL what they are FEELING. You can observe and try to interpret, but it's really difficult to SEE if someone is tightening their thumb when they shouldn't, or pushing left with their trigger finger as they pull it back.

    The best student is one that listens, and spends time self-analyzing what they are doing. I try to explain to people "I can show you the fundamentals and get you started, but I can't climb inside your head and do it for you."

    The absolute best tool for learning trigger and hold control is dry fire exercises, as the person can SEE the sights move when the trigger breaks.

    What you can't prepare for is how it will recoil.

    I bought a new 44 mag and took it out tonight for the first time. I dry fired it a hundred or so times last night, thought "yeah, I got this."

    Then, I damn near broke my support index finger on the back of the trigger guard the first shot I fired. My hold that I practiced when dry firing was nice and stable, perfect sight alignment, sights didn't budge the slightest when I'd pull the trigger. But the hold I practiced was 100% incorrect for a firearm that recoils like that one. :)

    So I'm practicing a different hold tonight (the one I discovered today that does NOT damage ME), and I'm working on getting that sight to not move tonight.

    Click. Cock. Click. Cock. Click. Cock. Click. Etc.
     
  21. luvit

    luvit Member

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    9mm,
    thanks for the tip that this is for single hand shooting. they will eventually get to that point, but it won't be too soon.
    i'm only training them with the style of weapon they will potentially CCW, but that's around 4 years away.. then they can decide what pistol to shoot and (re)master.

    edit:
    "The best student is one that listens, and spends time self-analyzing what they are doing"
    yeah.. in the USAF, guys in my team were screamed at to shoot correctly until they listened. i won't be doing that, but my girls will be safe & excellent plinkers.
    SD training will be done by a professional.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  22. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Heh that's a funny analogy.

    Just remember, I'm a rifleman, a casual pistol competitor (I do hold a couple of local range records but I can't hold a candle to shooters on the state or national level). I guess you could say I'm turning semi-pro with handguns and becoming a certified instructor later this year.

    9mmepiphany, from what I've gathered on this board, is already pro. :)

    There's different levels of expertise, so when you read something I write that's contradicting what he says, understand that A) I might be wrong, or B) I might be doing things slightly differently because I'm built differently.

    Either way, put an emphasis on his remarks over mine.

    I'm throwing my .02 in because (right now) this very topic is front and center for me with the season about to start hot & heavy, I have 60 competitive handgun shoots marked on my calendar this year and 4 training courses.

    So I'm bound and determined to up my game this year, and getting callouses on my trigger finger. :)
     
  23. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Do more dryfiring. When the trigger breaks, the sights shouldn't move. Grip as firmly as you can while keeping the sights steady while dryfiring. With the proper fit and grip angle, you can grip tighter without adverse affects. When everything fits, shooting straight requires much less effort. There's less to go wrong. If you find the perfect gun and grip, it's almost impossible to mess up the trigger pull.

    You have large hands. Try some guns with a larger grip and longer trigger reach.

    The biggest killers to handgun shootability, for me, are too short a trigger reach and too flat a grip angle. Ideally, the trigger is on the pad of your trigger finger. Think about it. That's almost at the very tip of the finger. Most guns will be too short a reach for you, because they have to at least be reachable by the majority of people. These two things have been the most common reasons for me to sell a handgun. I haven't found a way to consistently compensate for those issues. Trying to keep the sights still while dryfiring tells the tale almost as well as shots on target.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  24. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Despite all that has gone before, there is a one-word answer: flinching.
     
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