Natural point of aim and grip questions

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Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 1:20 pm

As a new shooter, I am reading everything I can about how to shoot BE.   Recently there were links posted on a thread about "reaching master" which I read and printed out.

Last night I was doing dry fire exercises and think I stumbled across something based on a small comment in one of those articles.

As I understand it, Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) is most often used to discuss the relationship of pistol aim across the horizontal axis where stance, grip and muscle efficiency best line the barrel up in the top-to-bottom middle of the target.  If not centered, the stance is adjusted or the pistol is repositioned in the hand.  I have no problems setting up in that axis, but have been aware that my preferred grip and arm tightening yielded a situation where I would have to tip the muzzle of the gun down before settling the dot on the target (adjusting the barrel in the vertical axis).  Therefore, I couldn't be in the most "natural" position as I was constantly loosening my wrist to tip it down and the article mentioned that aiming "parallel error" would create more problems at 50yds.  The article also mentioned that, in building up the grip, after placing the gun in your shooting hand (with your non-shooting hand) you tip the wrist down before closing the grip.   As I played with this step in the grip I could get my red dot to move up and down in my preferred natural arm tensed position by adjusting where my fingers contacted the front strap. By tipping my wrist the three fingers moved down the front of the grip and I was able to get the middle bone of my middle and ring fingers evenly on the front strap so I could apply direct pressure backwards (prior grip had put the 2nd joint over the front strap).  That new grip allowed me to raise on the dry fire target and make zero wrist adjustments but yielded roughly a finger-width gap between the bottom of the trigger guard and top of my middle finger.  I mentally started thinking of this grip as giving me a NPOA in the vertical axis.  The only negative I can think of is that other articles have talked about getting the middle finger tight up against the trigger guard.

Is the concept of a "vertical NPOA" something which is commonly known but I have not yet read about it - or does it have another name?

Do you agree that my approach to building a parallel alignment of barrel to target with that adjusted grip is productive?

Thanks!

Ian
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 1:31 pm

Ian,

 To lower your natural point of aim did you try moving your hind leg closer? In other words narrowing your stance. New shooters will often take up a stance that pulls down their non-shooting shoulder raising their shooting shoulder and making their natural point of aim too high. Just a thought.

Len
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 1:32 pm

Thanks Len, that is something I will experiment with but I'm not sure if that will address my arm and the barrel not being parallel.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 1:43 pm

The AMU manual talks about a defines these 6 basics. Stance, position, grip, sight alignment, trigger control and breath control. Just trying to understand what you just typed it is possible that you have substituted stance for position. Use you stance to change your NPOA up and down. Use the position of your feet by moving your stance (both feet) in a circular manner to change your natural point of aim left or right.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Tim:H11 on 7/29/2016, 1:47 pm

I'm not a coach and certainly not the know-all, end-all, be-all... But there is no way my arm is parallel with my gun barrel... Yup just checked.... I stand about 45 degrees or more off target. I'm not 90 degrees or in a "duelist" stance. If I were in such a stance then yes I could lock up the arm, raise and hold tight and sight right down my arm to the gun and sights but that's uncomfortable. You gotta be comfortable in your stance. I'm not sure I buy into the NPOA with grip. Stance yes. If I'm shooting left or right then I can adjust my stance to turn in or turn out. But as for grip...? I learn what I need to do to recover and get back on target for the next shot. Grip needs to be firm. Gun can't slide or shift in your hand upon recoil.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 1:54 pm

Sorry I am having a hard time expressing myself.   Let me try a different way.  

Let's say that I adopt my stance and first bring up an empty hand to check and find NPOA.  When satisfied with stance and adjusted position all that is left to add is the pistol and my grip.  The grip can induce left-to-right error where the sight is not aligned with dominant eye.  Adjusting grip can fix that and now the sight is in alignment with the eye when viewed from the top.   However, in my case when viewed from the side, my eye and sight were not in alignment.   The pistol was cocked upwards and I could not center the dot until tipping the pistol down to make it parallel (from side view) to my eye.

Does that better illustrate the situation?


Last edited by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 2:22 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : edited to "change gun parallel to arm" to "sight aligned with dominant eye")
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 1:55 pm

Every one of those 6 steps are equally important. I should have mentioned that once you have found a comfortable position to acquire your NPOA then use/change your grip to keep your sights naturally aligned. Properly done and with enough practice you could practically close your eyes and keep your shots in the center of the target (not recommended). It takes practice but once you have found the right combination then stepping up to the line and lining up becomes automatic. Even after all these years I will still step up to the line and make sure I am there by closing my eyes rotate my arms and check my position. The steps do work.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 1:59 pm

OldMaster66 wrote:use/change your grip to keep your sights naturally aligned.
Len, is this in both axis?
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 2:14 pm

Aprilian,
  That last makes perfect sense. I was still answering the first part of the question when you responded. Both of you guys are too fast. Smile  In a perfect world every body would be the same. You could address the problem by changing your grip or changing your grips. I am fortunate that my sights align without any contortions. I just grab a 45 with my left hand and put it into the V of my right hand like I was putting on a glove. That does not work for everyone. Custom grips might help but so would training. It really does have to feel like you don't have to fight the sights back in line. To answer the last post then yes this would be in both directions. My natural grip has the barrel pointing right straight down my arm. Your natural grip may be different but don't fight it. It is just as important that the grip be firm and natural as it is for your stance and position to get you there. You can always re-address your stance and position to work with your natural grip.

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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Tim:H11 on 7/29/2016, 2:16 pm

Maybe it's a gun model or type of grip issue. I know for me not all guns in my hand will center right. Vertical or horizontal. You might just have to learn how to grip that gun to get it right. Or learn the position your wrist needs to be in. 

If I were looking down on myself from above - the gun is not going to be in line with my arm. I'm more concerned about being comfortable and having my head and eyes in line with the target. I raise the gun to eye level and put the sights between my eyes and the target. I'm not saying being in line with your arm is wrong. Heck maybe I'm wrong! I have no clue. But I know for me - I get in a stance or position that doesn't add strain to my arm and I make sure my head is in line with the target. And in such a manor that there is no strain on the neck. I don't want to be cranking my neck all day at a match to see the target. I have not fired a full 2700 yet but I have shot black powder pistols all day for three days on end.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 2:19 pm

Tim, good point I'll edit the above post to indicate the pistol is in alignment with the dominant eye.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Wobbley on 7/29/2016, 2:25 pm

In some respects, this is over analyzing the issue.  Grip and stance and position affect the NPOA.  Each has its adjustments with various effects.  They have to be in unison.  The key is to develop consistency so adjustments to one doesn't affect the other.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Tim:H11 on 7/29/2016, 2:29 pm

I have found that there are a lot of texts on pistol shooting and not one is more wrong or right than the other. Marine, Army, Russian, Civilian just to name a few broad sources. I for one like the information found in Gill Hebard's (Spelling?) Pistol Shooters Treasury. Great stuff in that book. I own two copies. Laughing
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 2:30 pm

Out of curiosity do either of you lock your elbow? It is something that a shooter that mostly fires 22s or single shots may not have thought they have the need to do. If done correctly and "everytime" then it is easier to both recover and get the same grip. Just curious

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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 2:32 pm

Wobbley, I love your screen name - I have often been known to "throw a wobbly" (using the UK definition).  

I'm not overthinking this, just look at it as a single question.   "What should I do differently to eliminate having to constantly tip my wrist up to get my dot in center of the sight?"  I proposed one idea related to grip.


Last edited by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 2:34 pm

Yes, I have the same problem elbow locked or unlocked and use locked - but not hyper-extended.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Tim:H11 on 7/29/2016, 2:37 pm

Just an idea but maybe more or less material in the heal of the pistol grip could raise or lower that muzzle.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 7/29/2016, 2:52 pm

I should re-word my last question. Did you know that this way of locking your elbow will naturally drop your wrist? Try this. With the pistol empty ( and everything else you need to do to be safe) Go into your stance and grip your pistol like you would everytime. Now rotate your entire arm clockwise (if right handed) until it almost hurts. Now, just rotate your hand back into vertical. Your elbow should be flat and locked in position. This will pull the tendons on the bottom of arm and stiffen the muscles on the top forcing the barrel down slightly. Try that. If it didn't help bring your sights closer into alignment then you don't have to send me the 2 cents for my opinion. Smile
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Jack H on 7/29/2016, 2:59 pm

How high is your dot.  If dot.
A low dot = higher arm = lower wrist

And grip a bit stronger with your ring finger.

If you purposely tense your arm, do it in the big muscles just forward of the elbow.  Takes practice to do this.

But first, the only thing natural should be getting the sights lined up with your eye.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Wobbley on 7/29/2016, 3:01 pm

Aprilian wrote:Wobbley, I love your screen name - I have often been known to "throw a wobbly" (using the UK definition).  

I'm not overthinking this, just look at it as a single question.   "What should I do differently to eliminate having to constantly tip my wrist down to get my dot in center of the sight?"  I proposed one idea related to grip.

Thanks.  But it does describe my hold of late.  Also, when I signed up I scored an uncut Webley of Boer War vintage.  Hence Wobbley (Webley)
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/29/2016, 8:16 pm

OldMaster66 wrote:I should re-word my last question. Did you know that this way of locking your elbow will naturally drop your wrist? Try this. With the pistol empty ( and everything else you need to do to be safe) Go into your stance and grip your pistol like you would everytime. Now rotate your entire arm clockwise (if right handed) until it almost hurts. Now, just rotate your hand back into vertical. Your elbow should be flat and locked in position. This will pull the tendons on the bottom of arm and stiffen the muscles on the top forcing the barrel down slightly. Try that. If it didn't help bring your sights closer into alignment then you don't have to send me the 2 cents for my opinion. Smile
I just tried it and it unfortunately twisting the arm and resetting does not impact the alignment of the sights.


Last edited by Aprilian on 7/31/2016, 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by dronning on 7/29/2016, 8:39 pm

Not all people will be able to follow their suggestions to the letter because of physical/structural limitations - both the AMU and Marine manuals state this fact.

The 3 SAFS instructors at Perry drove home that point by discussing their own physical differences and how those differences (& injuries) impacted their own grips/position.  Another statement was if something is comfortable it doesn't mean it's correct, only your results will help you determine if an adjustment is correct or not.

- Dave
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Jon Eulette on 7/29/2016, 9:28 pm

You are going to find that you will be evolving as a shooter. We start with what seems to work and be correct. Then we learn from watching, doing and questioning/being taught. Throughout the course of a 2700 you will tire and have to compensate with minor changes: you will have to learn those. And after you've been doing it for a while you will make changes that require more time/effort/work to change because they are habitual. I made a change last year to my thumb position; it took 6 months but was well worth it. Dry firing is key to learning most of this. So don't overthink it Smile  Also try and find a local master to work with you. That'll get you off in right direction the fastest with least bad habits to correct. 
Jon
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by Aprilian on 7/31/2016, 9:50 pm

OldMaster66 wrote:I should re-word my last question. Did you know that this way of locking your elbow will naturally drop your wrist? Try this. With the pistol empty ( and everything else you need to do to be safe) Go into your stance and grip your pistol like you would everytime. Now rotate your entire arm clockwise (if right handed) until it almost hurts. Now, just rotate your hand back into vertical. Your elbow should be flat and locked in position. This will pull the tendons on the bottom of arm and stiffen the muscles on the top forcing the barrel down slightly. Try that. If it didn't help bring your sights closer into alignment then you don't have to send me the 2 cents for my opinion. Smile
Playing again with your suggestion today and I think I owe you $0.02!!!   I found that if I made sure my arm was locked, the dot was centered.   If I  let my elbow go loose then the dot drifted up.  I was able to do this without modifying my grip in the way I proposed in the first post.  Plus it worked with with both pistols which have slightly different grip angles.

I think my other contributing problem was standing closer to dueling stance than 45 degrees.   Going back to 45 degrees let the other pieces work.

Thanks Len.
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Re: Natural point of aim and grip questions

Post by LenV on 8/1/2016, 12:32 am

Your welcome. Don't worry about the .02. Pay it forward someday.

Len
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