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New to handgun shooting

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Handyman, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. Handyman

    Handyman Member

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    I'm relatively new to handgun shooting . So far I've shot about 500 rounds . I know I have to practice a lot more than that to get good but I 'm a little discouraged because I don't seem to be getting much better . I'm right handed and left eye dominant . The indoor range I go to is 25 yards long . I shoot a 2.25 inch SP101 and a 4 inch GP100 . So far I've been shooting with 2 hands and both eyes open . At close range , 10 yards or less I do ok . At longer ranges I don't do so good . Should I try closing my left eye when shooting long range ? Should I always shoot the same ammo ? I usually shoot D.A. at short range because I figured this would be the defensive shooting practice . At the longer ranges I shoot S.A. . I don't think I flinch because I 've been shooting shotguns for a long time and so a gun going off is nothing new . I can't afford to hire a shooting instructor so I was hoping that some of you more experienced shooters here could give me some pointers . I rented a Ruger 9 mil. once just to see if I'd be better with a pistol but it turns out I was worse . Thanks in advance for your replys .
     
  2. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

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    Practice, practice, practice. The first pistol I shot I emptied a whole mag at a target 10 yards or so away. Two hits at the bottom left corner :eek: . Needless to say I felt discouraged and ready to sell my pistol and go buy some more long guns. There is no one right way to shoot. Try keeping your targets closer to start. Find your form, try using your right eye, try one eye closed. Try holding the gun in different ways. I would say find a good ammo and stick with it. You do not want load variations to become a factor. Also what type of pistol are you shooting? Some guns are just junk no matter who the shooter is.
     
  3. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Handyman, it will be awkward, but most folks advise learning to shoot with your "weak" hand if you're cross dominant, and learning to make that your "shooting" hand. I'm not an expert though. There was a thread here recentlt addressing cross dominance http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=229933, shoot a PM to scottw and see what he can do to help you out.

    As for the reduced accuracy with the Ruger auto, it's entirely possible that it didn't fit your hand. Gun fit is important, more info can be found here; http://www.corneredcat.com/FirstGun/TryOnGun.htm. THR Moderator Pax (Kathy Jackson) maintains that site. She's an instructor up near Seattle and really knows her stuff. Take a look at the rest of the site because it's full of good info.

    Finally, don't give up. Get some advice on the x-dominance, take a few classes, or look for an experienced shooter who can help you. It takes time. Find a gun that fits you, and keep after it with practice. A good 22 LR pistol is also a great idea; it's cheap to practice with and is always there to work on fundamentals that will cross over to other guns you buy in the future. Welcome to THR and please let us know what we can do further help you as you get into handguns.
     
  4. FrogClan

    FrogClan Member

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    Use only one eye at longer range so you make best use of the sights. If you use an isoceles stance you should be able to shoot right handed while still using your left eye for sighting. Get your shoulders forward of your hips to help steady yourself. Getting rid of your hand & arm wobble will take practice. Lifting weights can help too.... get a light barbell (5 lbs or so) and lift it up from your waist to shoulder height with arm fully extended... hold it there for 30 seconds, lower, then repeat... you can do it while watching TV.

    Find a cartridge you like and stick with it. Different cartridges (bullet weight, MV, etc) put the point of impact in different places. Find one and stick with it to reduce the number of variables at work while you are working on technique.

    Try long range shooting using the sights with your left eye and shooting right handed while seated at a bench. Put the gun on a bench rest and get down at arm's length behind it while you work on using the sights. Once you can get good groups that way, move to standing but with your gun / hands supported against a pole or something. Once you get good groups that way, go back to trying it standing and unsupported.

    And take a class from a certified instructor if you can find one in your local area.
     
  5. FrogClan

    FrogClan Member

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    And to add.... work on trigger pull. What works on a shotgun doesn't always transfer to rifles and hanguns... use a nice, smooth pull to prevent your sights from coming off target. And "follow through" by keeping your eyes on target as the gun goes off.
     
  6. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    Get formal training if you can. It may seem expensive but the ammo you save trying to figure out what works best for you will quickly pay for it. I just got done taking a course from Target Master Shooting Academy and improved dramaticly. It wasn't even a target shooting course, it was the Defensive Pistol Shooting Level 1 course.

    That may not seem too amazing for 9 hours of training, but keep in mind I'm NOT a new shooter. I've been shooting handguns since I was about 10 years old and have put well over 15k rounds downrange from all sorts of handguns in the last decade, including in competition. Some of those competitions I even won.

    They corrected many bad habits and showed and explained not only what works but why. It was a huge boon. I think training is the single best investment anyone can make in firearms period. I saw shooters at the begining of class who had trouble keeping it on the paper at 3 yards do quite well at 20 yards at the end of the day.

    For the "cross-wired" shooters the recommendation was turn your head. Don't tilt it but turn. That puts your dominant eye in the correct position behind the sights and your weak eye is blocked by the nose so you can keep it open and relaxed but it won't muddle your brain with an extra sight picture.

    Good luck, be safe, and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2006
  7. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Your story reminds me of the Paducah, Ky., cop who was dry firing his revolver at the Coke machine of the department's basement. Another cop came over in front of him to see which eye he was aiming with. Suddenly the gun fired on a live round and hit the vending machine right in the kill zone. The other cop looked on the table and sure enough, there were five cartridges laying there. One got stuck and the first cop didn't notice!

    I'm left-eyed, too, and it's not an advantage. I'd suggest shooting single action until you start getting good groups, then try double action. Dry fire the gun repeatedly at home, but aim at the television and not the dog. That way, if you do leave a round in, you can always upgrade your TV. Seriously, dry firing is a great way to smooth out Rugers. Just be careful.
     
  8. moewadle

    moewadle Member

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    I am right-handed and left-eye dominant

    and I shoot using my left eye and shoot right-handed with my handguns. I just started started shooting handguns 6 months ago but I do this because I read an article by an expert shooter in Gun Digest or somewhere and he said that is a very good way for right-handed/left eye-dominant people to shoot. I think I shoot pretty well that way for a beginner and can only see myself improving if I practice. It feels comfortable. Unfortunately, as far as long guns I am trying to shoot left-handed. It works okay as I shoot mostly at the range from a rested position in some manner.
     
  9. AStone

    AStone Member

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    It's all about retraining your perception.

    I started out RHLED (right handed, left eye dominant). It was a problem because I lined up my sights on the "wrong image" (produced by my right eye).

    I'm still RHLED, but can now hold a gun right handed yet line up the sights with my left eye quickly with no problem and no hesitation.

    Why? LOTS of pointing practice, including LOTS of dry fire practice. I can now point any of my guns and find the "correct" perceived image to line up my sights on. It's now second nature.

    Yes, for those of us who are X-dom, there are two images. Using blinking, first of one eye, then the other, one can LEARN which eye is dominant when you first point your firearm. Once you LEARN which eye dominates, and you see two images, TEACH yourself to point at the CORRECT image.

    Now, when I point my gun (handgun, shotgun, rifle...) and I see a double, I know which image is "real". When I close my right eye, the sight is "on" the target (using the image constructed by my left eye).

    At the range, when I squeeze the trigger with my right hand, I hit the target (not the ghost image constructed using my right eye).

    Work on grasping this. It's a "zen" thing: hard to describe in writing, but very doable once you grasp it. It's like riding a bicycle: hard to describe how to those who haven't done it (yet), but easy to do once you figure it out on your own.

    It's NOT rocket science. It's not difficult. It's a matter of learning what you do now, then teaching yourself something new.

    Learning, teaching. Humans do this well.

    Learning, teaching. LOTS of practice.
    (TRIPLE check for EMPTY gun before dry fire practice.)

    Hope this helps.

    Nem
     
  10. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    Honestly, the best instruction I ever got was from a stranger at the range when I first started shooting. His advice...invest in some quality firearms instruction, build up a good base and practice, practice, practice. Be patient and it will come ;)

    Oh, :eek: where are my manners? :eek: Welcome to THR :D
     
  11. Rebeldon

    Rebeldon Member

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    Dry fire at home.
     
  12. SJshooter

    SJshooter Member

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    What are you doing for breathing when you shoot? I think so many new handgun shooters are so busy thinking about placing the sight correctly and holding the gun still that they forget to change their breathing to their shooting. I alway try and breath slowly and when a slow exhale ends, I wait a half-beat and then fire. At just the end of that breath is when I am most still.
     
  13. greener

    greener Member

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    All good advice. Shooting with one or two eyes open is a subject for debate. I think I'm better with two eyes. When you close one eye, the pupil of the open eye will dialate slightly and reduce the ability to focus. When I changed from one eye to two eyes, I often saw double. If you are left eye dominant, shoot the one on the right. Or, just slowly blink the right eye and the double image will disappear.

    Getting the stance "right" so that you are naturally point at the target is important. proper sight allignment. trigger control and breath control are all important. Follow through with the shot. Get the short distances down before you go to longer distances. The longer the distance the more flaws in shooting and the firearm are uncovered.
     
  14. shu

    shu Member

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    I don't see that you mentioned what ammunition you are using. I assume your SP101 and GP100 are 38spl / 357mag.

    I'd stick with the lowest power 38spl you can find inexpensively untill you get your stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger squeeze and stuff sorted out. By all means stay away from hot 357mag stuff in that SP101 snub for a while.

    Oh - and check this out...
    http://www.mattburkett.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=1&Itemid=2&Itemid=75
     
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