Blank target point of aim?

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Blank target point of aim?

Post by beeser on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

I'm a little confused, what is your point of aim on a blank target?  This has to do with the first exercise out of the USMC Pistol Team Workbook where it is instructing you to shoot at a blank target to establish a maximum group size.  If there's no reference point or POA then how do you maintain a group?

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Ed Hall on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:29 am

Excellent!  Yes, you do call your shots from the sight alignment.  You have made progress.  I also suggest training with the .22 for now.  In fact, my preferred approach is for a new shooter to train exclusively with the .22 until they can reach 840 in matches.

Now, I'm going to toss in something that might be a bit advanced for you to think about.  Through observation, not only can you see the sight alignment at the shot break, but through keen observation, you can see how the process unfolds.  With enough training, you can tell which shots are unfolding to success and which may fall short.  Only continue those that are unfolding toward success.  Now this next point is very important:  Look for things that point toward a successful shot, never for indicators you should abort.  There's a balance here.  You have to look for success while being able to recognize deviations from your successful process.  Write down your successful process and read it prior to and during your training (and matches).  Modify it as you learn new aspects.

Some more thoughts:

- Be more concerned with the process than the results.  The process drives the results.  If you are too focused on the outcome, you lose some focus in the process.  Shoot all your shots before checking to see what the group looks like.

- (IMO) the trigger operation is the most important aspect of the shot.  The sights allow you to perfect the trigger operation.  Learn from blank wall/blank target training what an uninterrupted trigger operation is.

- (IMO) open sights are more precise than scopes, but you have to be able to see them really well.  I have shot 10x targets with both.

I agree that you had a Great Day!

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by CR10X on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:49 am

Something to think about. Most shooters below Master are looking in the scope to figure out where the shot went. Masters are looking in the scope to see how close they called the shot.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by TexasShooter on Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:16 pm

As I mentioned in an earlier post I'm still trying to figure this out too, and trying to understand why I can find the center of the paper without a reference point of any kind. Could it be like using a peep sight on a rifle? Your eye likes to see things centered whether you do it intentionally or not, and if you stay focused on the front sight post while looking through the ring your eye will naturally center the post in the ring.

I think it may be the same concept using a handgun on a blank target - stay focused on the front sight without worrying too much about centering on the paper, your eye will center that post on the blank paper without much help (unless you let your brain get in the way by overthinking). If you just let that part happen you can pay almost no attention to the target, leaving your concentration available for the front sight and trigger press...

I'm I headed down the right road here?

Thanks
Clay

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Jack H on Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:57 pm

If you want to call it something, call it "framing" the front sight with the blank along with the rear notch.  It is whatever sight picture image works for you.  A full size target back works best.  With the 45 you can adjust the sight down so the impact is below the front sight.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by john bickar on Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:59 pm

CR10X wrote:Something to think about.  Most shooters below Master are looking in the scope to figure out where the shot went.  Masters are looking in the scope to see how close they called the shot.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Jack H on Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:39 pm

Indeed.  If you see a good shot in the sights, and
 follow through, it's an X.  No need to scope or even think scope.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by rreid on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:10 pm

TexasShooter asked how he is supposed to find the center of the paper without a reference point. That's not the point of the exercise. You're shooting for group size and it doesn't matter if it's centered on the paper. Once you're shooting tight groups, you can adjust your sights to put the group wherever it needs to be on the paper. The point of the blank paper is to prove to yourself that you can shoot tight groups if you concentrate entirely on sight alignment and trigger control.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by TexasShooter on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:55 pm

rreid wrote:TexasShooter asked how he is supposed to find the center of the paper without a reference point. That's not the point of the exercise. You're shooting for group size and it doesn't matter if it's centered on the paper. Once you're shooting tight groups, you can adjust your sights to put the group wherever it needs to be on the paper. The point of the blank paper is to prove to yourself that you can shoot tight groups if you concentrate entirely on sight alignment and trigger control.
 
Thanks, I got that. I wasn't really asking how to find the center...just trying to figure out why I do find the center. Shooting blank paper my groups are not only tighter, but usually closer to center. It's a little bit freaky so my brain mulls on it til I figure out a reason...

Thanks!
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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by dronning on Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:16 pm

I was dry firing and then I started using my SCATT for this exercise. I simply turn the target (50ft reduced to 10M) around and begin. I don't watch the monitor but I do check it after 20 shots when the file is saved. The cool thing is I have my history (progress) on file along with all the trace data. I also can enter changes I make or notes in general and see the results. Great training tool. When I go to the range the results are very close to the same.

I had a big improvement when I stopped watching the dot. Now I look at the blank target but I don't focus on it, if that makes any sense. When the dot settles into the picture and my hold settles my shot sort of happens. When it feels right it's almost always a 10.5 or better. If my eye wanders to the dot and I "take" the shot, it's a 7 or worse.

- Dave

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Motorcycle_dan on Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:33 pm

Dave,
I would suggest you use the dot as if it were a red shadow.  Turn down to lowest level you can still see.  Allow your squeeze to drive the shadow over the X.

Be aware of where the dot comes from after recoil and recovery.  For me it comes from 10:00 in the tube.  After recovery where is the tube?  Can you see through it.  Is it the same each time.  I'm doing that from memory.  Been shooting irons for the last several months.  They same type of thing is important in Iron sight shooting but your focus is different.  The triggering process is a fluid thing.  You can not get the dot centered over the X then squeeze the trigger.  Has to be a mental process where your trigger press is in response to the target you are seeing with the red shadow.  Let your trigger squeeze settle the shadow and drive it to the X.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:55 am

Well, my last session out I dropped 5 shots from a mid-size pocket .380 into a 2-inch group at 25 yards using a load I had just thrown together and accepted on velocity alone.

Holding on the bottom of a brown IPSC target. Yeah, from a rest.

Your eye and brain together just want to find the center, so Texas (if that was you), yeah, you're right, it's a bit like the auto-centering we tend to do with peep rear sights.

IMO, the success of this drill, for the majority of us for whom it work and/or who have tried it more than once so it CAN work, includes the effect the *lack* of aimpoint distraction has on jerking the trigger and/or bucking the recoil  When I first got back into this almost two years ago, I even resorted to mentally concentrating on keeping a neutral wrist and uber-slow trigger pull to avoid anticipating the recoil AND mentally "welcoming" the recoil. Wow. My number of 5s and 6s at 50 yards went from 3-4 per 10 rounds down to 1 to none.

Your body must learn (the primitive brain here, the one that jumps at loud noises and freaks when someone gooses you) to ONLY hold the gun and operate the trigger only when you see what you need to see to make the desired shot (paraphrasing Brian Enos). Nothing else. Hold the gun turns into automatically returning the sights to your vision only AFTER the shot and not before. Operate the trigger fills all consciousness without words, leaving no room for any thoughts about when the gun will fire (sorta). Your mental focus on the front sight will care most about where the sights or dot were when the shot broke, AND how things recoiled away from your aiming point.

Plugs plus muffs can help. Sure, you're used to it, but your primitive brain might not be. I shot a friend's Magnum rifle with a can a few years ago, and was left with the impression that hardly anything was "really" happening. Recoil was just a movement of the rifle. It took seeing the distant steel violently snap away to convince me that anything of real power had actually happened.

Now for IPSC-size targets and faster shooting, the next step in this direction is the closed-eyes drill (Never do this alone, lest someone parachute into the berm while you are literally not looking!). First a slow group and then faster. And if you're getting smaller groups at the same speed eyes closed, then you KNOW it's your eyes + brain that are at fault.

Now Beeser, maybe you need to do a little bench drill to learn what you NEED to see.  Put up 4 bulls on a large target card. Without looking for holes (put on reading glasses or something if shooting .45, so you can't see the holes but can see the front sight, shoot three shots with the left side gap twice as big as the right side light gap. Fire three on another bull with the right side light gap twice as big.  Fire three on the third bull with the front sight centered but dipped what looks like 1mm below the top of the rear sight. THEN shoot three perfect.

If your gun can hold the 10-ring with that ammo and you see no difference in center of impact on these, we'll need to discuss more later.

If your gun can old the 10-ring with that ammo and there is a large difference in group sizes, then your bench technique or your vision habits might be whacked and you need a different hobby within these shooting sports.  Well, only if your fifth attempt at this exercise shows no changes at all.

Seriously, if your brain and visual focus too desperately want to look at a nice, crisp bullseye, either rachet back your distance focus with the weakest reading glasses needed to guarantee fuzzy bull, or use something like the sporadically-produced and -available Merit variable disk for the eyeglasses side of life. Then just pinhole the thing down until you really truly have both the bull and the FS in perfect sharp focus.  

The goal here is to train your observational skills so you can tell whether EACH shot is good. Years ago, my rifle scorebooks had a separate box for each shot, to plot the shot call. Then you will have the skills to do what I heard that Brian Zins did once when he fired 5 from the short line into a 10-ring size group out in the 7 ring. He KNEW how far to adjust! The version I heard was that he knew what direction to hit the dot to bang it back into place (Remember to adjust optics like they are the front sight, NOT the rear!). That is why the HP shooters I used to hang with called the 10 rounds slowfire standing in the NMC with no sighters (NRA HP BE typically includes 2 sighters at the beginning of each stage) "10 sighters, standing position."  In the days when you got white-box match ammo issued at the firing line, the good shooters could tell within three shots if that batch of ammo needed more or less elevation than their last batch of anything they had shot.

So, think about it before you go out to the range. Then QUIT thinking about it and focus on what you see and what you physically feel and a little about what you mentally feel.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by beeser on Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:54 pm

I spent 2 sessions at the range since starting this thread and the groups are shrinking and my ability to call shots is getting better with the 1911.  However, I can't seem to focus on the same sight picture or call shots as well with the 41.  Any reason for this?  Is it because I've just spent more time using the 1911 lately?  I was also surprised to find during my last session that my groups got worse when aiming at a bullseye after shooting at a blank target.  Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise but just an indication my focus has shifted back to the target instead of the front sight.

GrumpyOldMan - I plan to try your suggestion tomorrow.  We'll see what happens.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by jmdavis on Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:56 pm

,You could try, if you don't, to hold a sub six, that and glasses that optimize the front sight can help some people.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:48 am

beeser wrote:I spent 2 sessions at the range since starting this thread and the groups are shrinking and my ability to call shots is getting better with the 1911.  However, I can't seem to focus on the same sight picture or call shots as well with the 41.  Any reason for this?  Is it because I've just spent more time using the 1911 lately?  I was also surprised to find during my last session that my groups got worse when aiming at a bullseye after shooting at a blank target.  Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise but just an indication my focus has shifted back to the target instead of the front sight.

GrumpyOldMan - I plan to try your suggestion tomorrow.  We'll see what happens.
IF your 41 has the 7-inch barrel there might be a little more barrel time between the shot breaking and the bullet clearing the muzzle.  But thinking it through the velocity *should* be faster with the .22 and might offset that. I also don't know if there is a significant difference in the lock times between the two pistols. But I would *suspect* or at least hope that the 41 has a faster lock time.

So what I'm searching for here is some factor that gives the pistol more time to move around between trigger break and bullet exit. I do know that with rifles, it makes a huge difference. Centerfires are easier for me to shoot standing than .22s. Less time for anything to go wrong.

So, that said, perhaps follow-through (it takes not much more than an instant, you don't have to make some huge ritual of it) could be compromised. Think I was 10 and shooting a .30 Carbine at 100-yard cans when my Dad told me I was looking over the sights to see if I got a hit so fast, he wasn't sure I was really done firing the shot ... then I started getting a lot more hits.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by beeser on Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:20 pm

GrumpyOldMan wrote:...
Now Beeser, maybe you need to do a little bench drill to learn what you NEED to see.  Put up 4 bulls on a large target card. Without looking for holes (put on reading glasses or something if shooting .45, so you can't see the holes but can see the front sight, shoot three shots with the left side gap twice as big as the right side light gap. Fire three on another bull with the right side light gap twice as big.  Fire three on the third bull with the front sight centered but dipped what looks like 1mm below the top of the rear sight. THEN shoot three perfect.

If your gun can hold the 10-ring with that ammo and you see no difference in center of impact on these, we'll need to discuss more later.

If your gun can old the 10-ring with that ammo and there is a large difference in group sizes, then your bench technique or your vision habits might be whacked and you need a different hobby within these shooting sports.  Well, only if your fifth attempt at this exercise shows no changes at all.

Seriously, if your brain and visual focus too desperately want to look at a nice, crisp bullseye, either rachet back your distance focus with the weakest reading glasses needed to guarantee fuzzy bull, or use something like the sporadically-produced and -available Merit variable disk for the eyeglasses side of life. Then just pinhole the thing down until you really truly have both the bull and the FS in perfect sharp focus.  

The goal here is to train your observational skills so you can tell whether EACH shot is good. Years ago, my rifle scorebooks had a separate box for each shot, to plot the shot call. Then you will have the skills to do what I heard that Brian Zins did once when he fired 5 from the short line into a 10-ring size group out in the 7 ring. He KNEW how far to adjust! The version I heard was that he knew what direction to hit the dot to bang it back into place (Remember to adjust optics like they are the front sight, NOT the rear!). That is why the HP shooters I used to hang with called the 10 rounds slowfire standing in the NMC with no sighters (NRA HP BE typically includes 2 sighters at the beginning of each stage) "10 sighters, standing position."  In the days when you got white-box match ammo issued at the firing line, the good shooters could tell within three shots if that batch of ammo needed more or less elevation than their last batch of anything they had shot.

So, think about it before you go out to the range. Then QUIT thinking about it and focus on what you see and what you physically feel and a little about what you mentally feel.
Rather than set up 4 bulls I used new targets for each exercise.  While leaving a smaller gap on the left side between the front and rear sights and holding the rear sight centered on the bull at six oclock my shots grouped fairly well but low just below the 7 ring and to the left.  Doing the same but to the right the shots again grouped fairly but low just below the 7 ring and to the right.  I then centered the sights but dipped the front one almost to the base and the shots grouped well but about 10" below the center of the bull.  And lastly I lined up everything as usual and found my usual group centered on the bull but abnormally low.  On the first two exercises I can understand the left and right POIs but why were they low?  It seems as if going through this effort my aim pushed all of my shots lower than normal.  I had to fire about 20 rounds before my groups returned to normal height.  Makes no sense to me.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by CR10X on Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:21 am

It may be that now you have also seen the difference in point of impact from different shooting position?  Was the gun sighted in standing or benched?  Did you have the same grip pressure for both sets?

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:00 pm

Um, if I shoot the .45 one-handed at 50 after zeroing with two hands on a rest, the few shots called barely 10-ring good will be at 12:00. I think they center in the 7-ring.

Last time I did that, I actually looked up my click values and boldly dialed down exactly the right amount.

This is irons with a 720-750 fps load with 200-gr SWCs. 1911. Our guy shooting his plastic gun at 100 yards has me truly interested in whether that is common or an aberration for that model.

But yeah, it's pretty common for these pistols to group lower when you bench 'em with two hands. Think muzzle flip. It's real. Easy to illustrate for new shooters using a revolver placed upside-down on its sights on a tabletop. The bore ain't parallel with the plane of the table. They all flip up before bullet exit, the question on light v. heavy bullets and such is "how much"?

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by beeser on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:44 pm

I forgot to mention earlier that I was shooting offhand at my normal standing position.  It still doesn't make sense that the POIs grouped low when all I did was position the front sight a little left and right.  I thought maybe GrumpyOldMan was just messin' with my head and that's what was supposed to happen.  I'll try it again the next time I'm at the range.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Magnusbullets on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:03 pm

Front site front site front site

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by s1120 on Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:53 am

Ive also wondered about the blank target thing. I just never got it. Reading all the posts I THINK its starting to settle in to my oatmeal for brains. I plan to ive it a shot next trip to the range. The match I shot last year, I was all over the place. Big groups, and mostly at the 10 oclock area. Granted it was a bit "first match stress" and also I was coming off a illness, and was pretty weak, but still....  I have a lot of work to do, and thanks!!

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:59 am

I believe that the benefits of the blank target exercise, for me at least, come from essentially aiming at the center of a HUGE reference area. We tend to want to center those perfectly-aligned sights in the middle of the target paper. In fact. "aiming" is happening, but being somewhat "divorced" from the visual input of front sight wobbling all over in relationship to that X-ring we KNOW is in the middle of that black dot removes that distraction and 

1. lets the body settle down into a smaller wobble area than we would have if we were fighting to keep front sight and target bull properly together; and

2. lets us operate the trigger with less mental pressure that can and does screw up #1 above.

Kinda like the sometimes-acrimonious discussions about handgun "point shooting". Even those who make a big deal out of putting masking tape over their sights, or even totally removing the front sight, and then shooting fast and accurate enough for A Zone hits, *ALWAYS* can see the handgun before they break the shot.  IME and going back to some experiments I did at age 17 and confirmed several times since, point shooting goes all to heck beyond 2-3 yards whenever the shooter cannot see the handgun. There is aiming going on, it's just with reference points other than the sights for that little exercise.

So IMO, blank target still involves aiming beyond just sight alignment. The aiming is sooooo different, though, that it can often reveal the shooter's true abilities better. There are probably some people who just can't make it work, which is just a matter of the Human variable. Some iz more diffrent dan udders.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by LenV on Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:06 pm

Blank target point of aim. Hmmm. This exercise works. The mind and body working subconsciously group the shots into the center of the target (or get smaller groups). Taking this to the next phase I often wonder why so many shooters advocate a 6:00 hold. I think the natural thing your mind would be trying to do is center your sights into the middle of that white target that has a fuzzy black center. I know I am a minority shooting center hold with steel sights but it just feels more natural.

Len

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by jmdavis on Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:36 pm

I lose the front sight when I shoot center hold, indoors, with the pistol. It all becomes a big blur.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:43 pm

Try to shoot sub-six hold then.  It will replicate your blank target drill conditions.  Your subconscious will effectively center your sights on the field of white between the black and the bottom of the target.

I prefer the six-o-clock hold.  It is VERY difficult for me to focus effectively on the front sight when holding over the black.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

Post by Ed Hall on Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:09 pm

Let me highlight something I think is important about this drill, in case it didn't come across in my earlier postings:

The point of this drill is to show you tight the group can be if you fire the shot without disturbing the natural movement of your hold.

This can be (and is) said in hundreds of ways, but they all come down to the true meaning of the "ancient" description, "Align the sights and cause the hammer to fall without disturbing that alignment."

When you are trying to hold on a point, you will make an adjustment every time you move off that point.  Every adjustment disturbs the natural pattern of your hold.  It also sends a "Wait!" signal.  Once you can learn to stop making conscious corrections to your hold and operate the trigger without "Wait!" commands, your groups will shrink.  Blank target firing is an effective method to help you learn how tight your groups can be, by allowing you to skip all the adjustments and simply allow your hold to float naturally.

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Re: Blank target point of aim?

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