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Trigger Mash on Second Shot

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by luzyfuerza, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    When I really try to speed up my splits on controlled pairs, I find I tend to mash the trigger on the second shot. Here's an example:

    Trigger Mash--small.jpg

    This target has two controlled pairs, at 10 yards, from the holster. Each pair was about 1.7 seconds to first shot, with about 0.30 splits. The first shot is in the center circle, and the second shot is low and left. I saw the front sight on the center of the circle for each shot.

    When I extend the split times just a little bit, say, to between 0.40 and 0.50 seconds at that distance, I can consistently keep both shots in controlled pairs at ten yards in the center circle.

    The problem isn't with my first shot; it is always with the second shot. The mash always occurs on the second shot in a controlled pair.

    Just slowing down is one solution for sure. But I want those fractions of a second.

    Has anyone here overcome a second-shot mash? Do you have any drills or other practice techniques that might help?
     
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  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    And did you see the sights move to that low left location when the second shot broke? Did you know it as it happened? If not, then you are in the land of a blink/visual-non-processing flinch. You must address that first, if that's what you're up against. May I humbly suggest this thread? https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-sights-and-quit-missing-low-and-left.854242/

    If, on the other hand, you are aware of it happening, and you are not blinking/blacking out, then it's time to look at the more mechanical factors. The most common reason for this shot pattern in a non-flinching situation is too much reliance on the right hand to control recoil - or, stated differently, not enough left hand grip - combined with a misunderstanding of what you're trying to do with recoil management.

    The vast majority of non-n00b shooters have at least a B- right hand grip. But the majority of the shooting population has about a D- left hand grip. They have the left hand somewhere in the vicinity of the gun, but the amount of control they get out of it is trivial.

    This has a bunch of unfortunate consequences. One of them is that it induces the shooter to try to apply a lot of compensating force with the right hand to get the gun back down out of recoil... and that tends to lead to pushing down and left. If you mis-time that input and put it in before shooting, the gun goes low and left. If you apply too much after the prior shot, then the gun passes back through the target zone and keeps moving down and left.

    If that's what you're dealing with, there are two things to address. One is conceptual/intentional, and one is technical/mechanical.

    First, you need to understand that effective recoil control for rapid shots is about getting the gun to return on its own. It should not consist of a shot, gun rising, and then a subsequent push back down... although that's what a lot of people think, and what a lot of people do. Don't think about it that way. What you want is positive, neutral control of the gun.

    Think about walking a dog that is not well leash-trained. Or holding the hand of an unruly 5 year old as you walk through the toy aisle of the grocery store. They may pull left, they may pull right, they may go forwards or backwards. You can either end up jerking the leash or the kid's hand in a series of small tug-of-war contests. Both you and the dog or child will not move in a straight line... it will be miserable.

    However, if you are significantly stronger than the dog or the child, then you could just focus on holding your hand in a fixed position relative to your body as you walk. Rather than actively jerking the kid or dog around, you simply hold your point of control static. You don't let the dog move the handle of the leash... it stays next to your right hip, if that's where your hand is supposed to be. Your hand may oscilate a little as the dog or kid bounces around, but you are not going to let them move you or your hand's position in space. You have positive, neutral control. No matter which direction they apply force in, your hand and arm muscles are already engaged, locked in place, and not going to allow much movement to occur.

    That's what you want for your grip on the gun. You're not going to let the frame move vertically in recoil and then push it back down. You're not going to try to precisely time a big push down. You're going to hold your hands still in space. The gun will oscilate, but the sights will come back on their own when the slide closes. That's the attitude/concept you want.

    Second, in order to make this happen, you do need to apply a substantial amount of that continuous neutral force to the gun with your left hand. You need to get your left hand in a position of leverage, and you need it to stay stuck to the gun frame in a fixed relationship. If you have to re-grip the gun after a shot, you have lost grip and your left hand did nothing for you. Because the left hand's relationship to the gun is a "friction fit," rather than "interference fit," you will need to squeeze hard. Hard enough that, when you take your left hand away from the gun, the imprint of any checkering on the left side of the gun should be visible in your left palm's heel for a few seconds.

    Photos of your grip could help us diagnosis and offer specific advice. Video of your grip while shooting would be even better.

    Once you get that sorted out, the simple drill is Stoeger's doubles drill. Which is not far off from what you're doing, except you take away the draw and do a series of doubles with attention to grip and sights and seeing and processing the way the gun behaves. You will likely find that getting more help from your left hand makes the gun and sights behave better, and the impulse to shove with the right hand will be diminished.
     
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  3. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Bill drill, Bill drill and Bill drill
     
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  4. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    What is Bill Drill? My telepathy is inoperable.
     
  5. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Bill drills are a multipurpose drill. There is a lot you can get out of it. The procedure for the bill drill is to draw, and fire 6 rounds into the target. At closer ranges, you should strive for all “A” zone hits. At longer ranges, the occasional close “C” is no big deal.

    At closer ranges, you will see that this drill tests two things primarily.

    First, your draw is obviously a huge component of your time. You need a fast draw and you need that draw to end in a correct grip. If you miss your grip, you will have a hard time doing well on the drill. You may have to adjust your grip when you are already on target, or shoot slowly as you fight to keep your sights in the center of the target, or maybe you will just drop a lot of points. In any event, getting your grip right is extremely important.

    Second, the bill drill is a test of staying relaxed. If your body tenses up, you lose the ability to draw quickly or to run the trigger fast. You may suffer some “trigger freeze” where you try to pull the trigger but then can’t do it.

    At longer ranges, this really turns into a trigger control test.

    If it sounds like there is a theme to this drill where you learn what it takes to shoot “As” at different distances and then make it happen quickly, then you are right on the money. This drill is a great way to learn. Work down to the goal times as quickly as you can, and then work within the goal time to hit the “A” box. You will need to have a highly developed draw to be able to make it happen, so I would recommend working on “Doubles” before you progress to this drill.

    copied and pasted from Ben Stoeger's site
     
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  6. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Trigger control - Are you slapping the trigger on the second shot or only letting the trigger go till it's reset? Controlling the trigger by only letting it go to reset reduces unnecessary hand motion. Easy practice but requires patience - pull trigger till gun goes bang, stop trigger movement and let the barrel settle down, slowly let off the trigger till it resets and stop there, take the next shot, repeat. Go slow. Speed comes later.
     
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  7. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    ATLDave had a great post.
     
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  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I'm afraid I must beg to differ. Nobody ever missed a shot because of how they reset the trigger. Moreover, while some great shooters claim they are "riding the reset," many expressly disclaim it - and slow-motion video shows that few, if any, actually do this. Riding-the-reset is, at best, superstition. Some people get a placebo effect from it because it does draw attention to trigger manipulation, as opposed to conscious recoil control, which is where a lot of misses (particularly the low left) come from.

    For anyone who is drawn to the idea that restricting the forward travel distance of the finger should speed up shooting because it has less far to come back, watch slow-motion film of a drummer who is playing fast. They don't play faster by keeping the tip of the stick closer to the head before the next stroke. Or try tapping your finger rapidly against the surface of a table. If you try to restrict your finger's upward motion and keep it within a couple of millimeters of the table top, you will not be able to tap as fast as if you just let it "cycle" naturally at your limit of speed.

    I think this is affirmatively bad advice for anything other that group shooting (and the OP is trying to learn to shoot quicker pairs or strings). The idea of resetting after the recoil cycle is complete is just totally backwards from what needs to be done for rapid shooting. Given that the OP's perception of rapid shooting is "about .30," he doesn't need to introduce any retardation (in the literal sense) into the part of the trigger manipulation (getting off the trigger and letting it reset) that literally does not influence accuracy.

    Frankly, the reset is not anything that needs conscious attention for about 98% of shooters. There's a lot of dogma out there about it, but it just doesn't matter unless the shooter is doing something absurdly wrong. Fire the shot, see the sights at the moment of ignition, get off the trigger, and start working on the next shot.
     
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  9. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  10. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    I was taught in this order - safety, accuracy, group shooting, speed. I'm certain millions of shooters have learned the same way. You can't shoot good groups fast (even 2 shot groups) until you learn to shoot them slow. Glossing over the part where you first learn to shoot good groups introduces bad habits.

    Learning proper grip, as you explained in your first post, is only part of the process.
     
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  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The OP explained that he has no problems with this issue in slow-fire.
     
  12. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Yep. To me that means he is doing something right and hasn't practiced enough to do it fast. As long as the fundamentals are solid (grip and trigger control) and well practiced speed will follow.

    Learning to shoot fast and accurate requires patience and practice.
     
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  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I disagree with this, too. No amount of slow shooting will make someone fast.

    Speed brings additional challenges/problems with it. You will never encounter those challenges in slow fire. You can't "solve" those problems in slow fire. It is essential to first encounter, then solve those problems in rapid fire.
     
  14. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    I don't disagree with your approach. We have different solutions to the same problems. Hopefully the OP can get something out of our different insights.
     
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  15. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Thanks for all of your suggestions and comments.

    I have to admit that I've kind of gotten lazy...my grip has just become automatic. Hand positions feel consistent from shot to shot, but whether they really are or not is another question. I'll have to have someone take some still and video to answer that question for sure.

    One thing that IS sure, though, is that I haven't been concentrating on a firm (crush) support hand grip, and that almost certainly means that my support hand is loafing when it should be a steady force that guides the gun back into position through recoil (thank you Dave!).

    I'm planning on going down to my range in the morning to work on support hand position and grip force. I'll see what kinds of splits I can get with that firmer grip on a Stoeger's drill. I'll also do a few Bill drills to see what kind of accuracy and splits I can achieve with the firmer grip.


    I typically get little if any separation between finger and trigger on quick shots. But check out this video of none other than Bill Wilson:



    I've never seen anyone lift the finger that far off of the trigger between shots...
     
  16. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Well, my lazy left was a big problem. I focused this morning on 1) tightening my support hand grip, 2) holding my hands steady to give the gun a place to return to after recoil, and 3) on seeing the motion of the front sight through the entire cycle of the slide. Essentially, I focused on recoil control.

    As an initial comparison, I repeated the drill that I described in the OP: 10 yards, controlled pair, from a strong-side holster. Same gun and ammo.

    The other day, I shot 1.7 seconds to first shot, with 0.30 splits, and very messy second shot placement. Today, on eight controlled pairs, I averaged 1.6 seconds to first shot, with 0.25 splits and better shot placement (still lots of room for improvement though):

    20190812_134250_resized.jpg

    Then, I ran eight Bill Drills from seven yards. Average time: 2.86 seconds, with 1.56 second average time to first shot, and average 0.26 second splits. I have no doubt that the target looked much better than it would have without the attention to recoil control:

    20190812_134341_resized.jpg

    Thanks for your coaching! Those slow, and low- left second shots had me scratching my head!
     
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  17. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Looks good. I will be paying more attention to my support hand grip next time out.
     
  18. jpy15026

    jpy15026 Member

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    My solution is to count backwards as I squeeze the trigger,my mind can't think of two things at once,works everytime for me
    The other thing I learned is never take your eye off of the front sight till the shots are done.don't keep looking at the target to see where they hit.just concentrate on that front sight and nothing else
     
  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The OP was trying to get splits down in the 2/10ths of a second range. How much counting are you doing in 2/10ths of a second?
     
  20. jpy15026

    jpy15026 Member

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    I start counting backwards as I prepare to shoot then the shots go off "unconsciously" for me be it 2/10ths of a second or 5 seconds slow fire.doesn't matter,just works somehow for me
     
  21. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

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    Surprisingly enough, but counting is a taught technique. Count 3-2-1 is also called "slop-stack-squeeze", for striker-fired handguns. Of course articulating or even subvocalizing the actual count is impossible when doing 0.2 splits, but it's important to have this progression, even at speed.
     
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  22. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Slow down and concentrate on the fundamentals through the entire exercise. Do it right slowly before you try to do it right quickly. You can't miss fast enough.
     
  23. Apuesto

    Apuesto member

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    You've just called Jerry Miculek superstitious. :rofl:
     
  24. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Mike Schmidt swears he swung down on the ball, too.
     
  25. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    LOL. I had to search for this quote - from the LA Times August 10 1986

    Schmidt said he has always believed in a level swing, in hitting through the ball, and that he frequently achieved it with a variety of techniques. “But at the point where I made the change last year, those techniques weren’t working for me,” he said. “I couldn’t keep my shoulder in or my swing level. I didn’t change physically, only mentally. I’m trying to drive the ball down.
     
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