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Practicing for accuracy?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by p89cajun, Sep 4, 2008.

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  1. p89cajun

    p89cajun Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    Lafayette, LA.
    I have been scouring the internet all night trying to find some info on this and while I found some, it wasn't really what I was looking for. My accuracy at 5-7 yards isn't bad but past that isn't good. I would like to improve to where I could at least hit a coke can at 25 yards while standing. Not shooting fast just taking my time to aim and shooting. I know the first step would probably be more range time, which I will spend time at the range, I just want to spend my time there wisely. I just got a .22 so I will be able to get a lot more practice in.

    1) Is there a right way to practice to get accurate at farther shots? Do you just gradually get farther away?

    2) If you have adjustable sights, what do you zero them in on to shoot from 5 to 25 yards.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction for some info or share how you practice for farther shots. I know a lot of people have been shooting since they were little and are just good shots by now but I didn't have that luxury and am trying to learn all of this as an adult.
  2. sailortoo

    sailortoo Member

    Aug 5, 2007
    NW New Mexico
    cajun - first, try to get some professional help, if that is practicle. Hands on help will show you some basic grip and stance options for you to find your own "best way". Advice on a blog is maybe helpful, but not the best way to get off on the right foot. I feel that grip is most important, with stance useful, but less important - where you may be firing in a stress situation, not target shooting, stance is whatever is happening at the moment, but grip is control of your weapon. A slight shift from your proper grip can have a major impact on your accuracy. As to the sighting in of adjustable sights, you need to eliminate your gun movement, to get only the actual impact point when fired. A sandbag or rest of some sort, to steady the gun as fired, is mandatory. There are a variety of "how to" books on sight picture, grip, stance, etc. if you need to do it yourself, but that is a second best way to do it. There are a number of training pros. on THR, and they will chime in with some useful ideas for you. Good luck, and enjoy as you learn! :)
  3. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Mountain Home, ID
    There are two drills you can do to improve your accuracy tremendously.

    First doesn't cost anything, but you'll need a dime. You do this one at home with an empty gun. So first step is to make absolutely sure that your gun is empty. Check the magazine well, check the chamber visually not just pulling the slide back, check the mag well again, check the chamber again, you get the picture. Just make absolutely certain the gun is empty. Balance a dime on the front sight of your pistol while it's held out in a shooting stance. Smoothly pull the trigger to the rear until you get a click. The goal is to be able to pull the trigger without moving the dime. The more you practice it the faster and smoother you'll get. Also you'll get to know your gun much better, helping it become an extension of your hand.

    Second drill can be performed during dry fire and live fire. Once again, when dry firing, make absolutely certain the gun is empty. Then get into your normal stance, focus on the front sight, and squeeze the trigger. Keep telling yourself "front sight, front sight" repetitively. Drive it into your muscle memory that you must focus on the front sight. This can also be done with live fire. Same thing, just make sure you're at the range when you try it :D.

    Another one, to see if you're doing anything wrong, flinching, anticipating recoil, etc. Take a couple of magazines and load a dummy round into one of them. Mix up all the ammo you'll be loading before hand and load the mags by feel. Mix the mags up then start shooting, when you get to the dummy round, if nothing unusual happens other than you get a click instead of a boom, you're doing everything right. If you're doing something wrong you'll see what it is.

    Also the NRA has a book called The Basics of Pistol Shooting that's worth the $7.00 it costs. It has some tips to help you become a better shot.

    Lastly, get some professional assistance. Find a local class (NRA hosts several) and have someone coach you. They can tell you anything you're doing wrong and how to fix it.
  4. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    The Old Dominion State
    When you are struggling to improve accuracy make sure that you focus on the front sight, always focus on the front sight.
    Trigger control is where its at and you will not see how the pistol will shift as you shoot.
    Apply opposite thumb pressure to equalize the trigger finger pressure.
    Do not anticipate the recoil and when you do your rounds will find the target low. Its called bucking the gun. Make good and frequent use of that .22 pistol for practice.
    If you are right handed and your shots go left then your trigger finger is moving the gun over and vice versa.
    Pistols are much more sensitive to movement because they are a pistol.
    Relax, relax and relax some more, this goes with any firearm. The more you tense then the more you shake. When you stop shaking and start shooting great its called zoning in.
    Expect to flinch. Even good shooters will expect flinching. To say that you should never flinch is going down the wrong road. This is what makes me a pretty good shot with the heavier calibers. I can group a .50 cal almost as easy as a .45.
    Great shooting doesn't happen overnight but good shooting should with a good instructor.
    Shooting goals

    Familiarity and ease of use with the pistol. Tighter groups each time you go and shoot. Confidence with that selected firearm you shoot with.
    When firing a pistol you should know where that round is going to go after firing. This is vital.
    If you know where the round is going then you are well on your way to becoming good and becoming better.

    Last but not least.
    Dependability of the ammunition and that you get a feel of the cheapest vs the good. Cheap ammo will not group well. Good ammo will group better
  5. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Point of aim/point of impact difference between 7 and 25 yards is virtually non-existent. Don't even worry about it. If your sights are on at 25, they will be on at 7.
  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Apr 29, 2006
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    The first principle of accurate shooting is trigger control: a smooth, press straight back on the trigger with only the trigger finger moving. Maintain your focus on the front sight as you press the trigger, increasing pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Don't try to predict exactly when the gun will go off nor try to cause the shot to break at a particular moment. This is what Jeff Cooper called the "surprise break."

    BY keeping focus on the front sight and increasing pressure on the trigger until the gun essentially shoots itself, you don’t anticipate the shot breaking. But if you try to make the shot break at that one instant in time when everything seem steady and aligned, you usually wind up jerking the trigger. Of course the gun will wobble some on the target. Try not to worry about the wobble and don’t worry about trying to keep the sight aligned on a single point. Just let the front sight be somewhere in a small, imaginary box in the center of the target.

    Also, work on follow through. Be aware of where on the target the front sight is as the shot breaks and watch the front sight lift off that point as the gun recoils – all the time maintaining focus on the front sight.

    Also, while practice in very important, remember that practice doesn’t make perfect. It’s “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” More frequent practice shooting fewer rounds, but concentrating hard on what you’re doing, will be more productive than less frequent, higher round count practice.

    Practice deliberately, making every shot count, to program good habits and muscle memory. Dry practice is very helpful. You just want to triple check that the gun is not loaded, and there should be no ammunition anywhere around. When engaging in dry practice, religiously follow Rule 2 - Never Let Your Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy." As you dry fire, you want to reach the point where you can't see any movement of the sight as the sear releases and the hammer falls.

    Finally, some instruction is always a good idea. I try to take classes from time to time; and I always learn something new.

    Think: front sight, press, surprise.
  7. scrat

    scrat Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Monrovia, CA
    What josh has written does work. Its all about self discipline.
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