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need help on technique

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by colt.45, Apr 13, 2006.

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  1. colt.45

    colt.45 Member

    Dec 21, 2005
    about two years ago i started to get serious about shooting. while i was buisy becoming a rifleman it seems that i have neglected my sidearm and was hoping for some insight on how to better myself.

    first of all: i am getting about 3" at 10 yards:confused: how is this? good? bad? fair? what?

    secondly: when it comes to pistols i am lost, and im not really sure what to tell you, im pretty much just holding it as steady and consistently as possible and squeezing the trigger. if someoe could walk me through their shooting sequence or give me some pointers that would be great.
  2. v35

    v35 Member

    Feb 8, 2006
    3" at 10 yards, from a standing position, is pretty darn good. If they're consistently off in one direction or another someone could reply with some suggestions but as far as the overall grouping goes I'm sure I couldn't do any better.
  3. AndyC

    AndyC Member

    Mar 21, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Without actually seeing you shoot it's hard to make suggestions...but I've always used 1" round black target-patches as individual targets at 10 yards (stuck to the range-issued target), the object being to try and put the bullet into that patch without breaking the edge. Once you can do that fairly consistently, you can work on slowly increasing your speed.

    Don't force the pistol to fire now - your job is to steer the pistol by means of the sights (95% of your job). Gently add pressure to the trigger (the other 5% of your job) while the sights are on-target and let the pistol shoot in its own time; in other words, you should be slightly surprised when it goes off (experienced shooter less so). I find a lot of people get so hung up on trying to control the trigger that they don't concentrate enough on the sights, allowing them to waver off-target.
  4. DunedinDragon

    DunedinDragon Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    +1 on what AndyC said.

    Firing a pistol accurately is MUCH more challenging than a rifle, and a lot of it has to do with developing a technique (grip, stance) that works for you. In all likelihood you're going to have to experiment a little to find what works best in your case.

    What ALWAYS works best is sight picture control, trigger control, and follow-up. Those are the things that will promote consistency.

    Sight picture: Align your sight picture and then focus ALL of your attention on the front sight. This is much harder than what it sounds like. Check yourself by making sure you see the flash from the muzzle on each shot. That means you held your attention on the front site appropriately all the way through the shot.

    Trigger control: You'll have to find the right placement that works for you but what AndyC says is exactly right. Let the shot come to you, don't MAKE the gun shoot. Slow down your trigger pull and make it gradual until you get the right feel for it. Combine this with sight picture control to see what you're doing to your front site when you pull.

    Follow-up: Don't look at the target after your shot. Focus on re-aligning your sights instead. Keep the trigger pulled back until the sights are back on the target then only release the trigger until you feel the reset. This stops you from anticipating the shot and letting your attention move from the front sight to the target during the shot. It also improves your follow up shots.

    If you master those techniques you will KNOW when you've blown a shot without even having to look at the target.
  5. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Columbus, Ohio
    Self taught shooter also...

    and after 5 years of shooting, reading, experimenting, etc., I finally feel completely confident in my shooting abilities w/a pistol. First of all, a 3" group @ 10 yards sounds fine to me as far as self defense is concerned, especially if you aren't applying any technique to your shooting. Dragon and AndyC have given you good advice. There are only a few things I have to add, but maybe I could be of some help.

    How are you standing? I don't know the names of the shooting stances, but I stand left leg forward (being a right-handed shooter), bent slightly at the waist, leaning into the shot - almost like a fighters stance. I tilt my head and hold the pistol w/ arms slightly bent and a tight grip, keeping the sights level w/my dominant eye (having experience with a rifle, I'm sure you know which is your shooting eye). Shooting this way, the recoil is absorbed with the weight of your body rather than just your arms, wrists and shoulders. I see a lot of folks at the range leaning away from the pistol as they shoot, both arms locked in place. You can see the recoil snap their arms and shoulderblades straight back, which would seem to make quick and accurate follow-up shots difficult. On video I've taken of myself target shooting, I noticed my hands and arms barely move when I shoot, and my body doesn't move whatsoever when firing either my .45's or compact 9.

    Breath control could be a factor at the moment. Take a deep breath, fully exhale. Take another breath, exhale halfway, pause, and shoot. This might help. Not only will you be more steady during that pause, but I find this to be relaxing, especially on those days where my shooting isn't what I would like it to be.

    Obviously, you want to put every single shot through the exact same hole, but I have never met anyone who can do that. It's important to recognize your shooting ability for what it is. A sub 3" group @ 10 yards, to me, says that you can put a bullet where you need to. As you work on your technique, your groups will improve, as will your confidence and shooting ability altogether. Have fun finding out what techniques work best for you.
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