Tons of Issues

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Tons of Issues

Post by Cd627 on Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:47 pm

Warning, wall of text ahead and typical new guy sort of questions.

I've been trying to re-build my pistol shooting techniques. I'm cognizant of the many publications champion shooters have put out there and I understand the concepts of shooting basics, the purpose of having a good mental game, etc. However, I feel like I'm in a rut. I concluded that I have always had bad fundamentals and now I have to overcome the difficult process of amending that.

My hand gun goals are to become proficient as bullseye and, in doing so, improve my action pistol abilities. I mostly shoot revolver for action pistol. I have a Ruger 22/45 and a 1911 I bought from a gentleman on this site. All of my guns shoot well, I just need to start doing my part. Tangibly speaking, for action pistol, I want to be able to shoot the centermost scoring ring out of an NRA D1 and/or the upper Alpha headbox (not the entire head area, just the A zone) on a standard USPSA target at 25 yards. For bullseye, I'd like to be able to put everything in the black at 25 yards. 50 yards can come later.

Some small additional notes that I am struggling with. I have very poor vision. I am left eye dominant and right handed. I've tried shooting left hand a bit. Depending on the light, sometimes I have a lot of trouble focusing on the front sight. I've spent years doing dry fire and doing exercises to focus on it, so I am pretty confident that it's a physical limitation and not a training issue. My prescription is -8.50 and -8.75 diopter with astigmatism in the 2s. I've read some articles about people trying to get special prescription glasses, etc. For me, the way I hold pistols with both hands brings the gun in closer and I have a much easier time seeing the front sight. I think it's because the gun is in front of me, I'm shooting a modified isosceles, and my elbows are slightly bent with my head forward, so the gun is probably closer enough to make a difference. Secondly, I have a smaller than adult female hand size. I know this isn't an obstacle to shooting because juniors put up great scores, but it's relevant to trying to experiment with different grip angles and such. I fee like I have limited options.

My main issue is that I don't know how many of my problems are due to poor grip, trigger control, or angular errors. I suspect all three are at play. Firstly, while shooting one handed, I was always used to canting the gun slightly. This is somewhat common in action pistol because the bullseye on action targets are obviously significantly bigger than a bullseye target. I suspect I may have unintentionally created a bad habit of acceptable sight picture based on that. But I know I have typical trigger control issues, mostly from spending too much time practicing the speed element of shooting. Secondly, also related to speed, I'm used to clamping down on the gun for the best control of the double action pull. Despite this, I'm either disturbing the gun, or not pulling the trigger fully to the rear without anticipating, or probably both.

With my Ruger/1911 I am trying to focus on gripping only with the fingers, not disturbing the gun with the thumb/pinky, and only pulling the trigger straight back and to the rear. I have experimented both with the AMU's "arc of motion" concept as well as the "Just shoot the gun confidently when you have a good sight picture" concept as per Bob Hickey and Art Siever's "Successful Pistol Shooting." I either run into unintentional trigger snatching or fatigue. I also noticed that my default grip generally results in noticeable horizontal oscillation of the gun. Is this just poor endurance? I'm looking for ideas and tangible exercises I can accomplish.


Last edited by Cd627 on Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edited for brevity.)

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by AllAces on Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:47 pm

Here are my rather simple recommendations (strong opinions will certainly follow):

Start with the fundamentals, sight picture, focus on front sight, grip, trigger control, breathing and stance. Dry fire daily to reinforce muscle memory. Once you've established a good core of fundamentals you can begin to diagnose your shooting problems and make corrections.

As for prescription glasses, I've found that most optometrists can accurately write an Rx for what are call computer glasses which is approximately the distance for most people to the front sight of a 1911. Have a friend measure the distance to the front sight for a more accurate measure. Tell the optometrist that how far you are from the computer screen. 

Don't worry about establishing bad habits. Lay down the core fundamentals and then you can begin to make changes that result in better groups and discard changes that don't work for you.

If anyone offers a bullseye clinic in your area, sign up.  Also, try to get another bullseye shooter, a Master or High Master help with some coaching. Some may act a little gruff during a match, but afterwards nearly all are more than willing to help an FNG.

Good luck, keep up the dry fire exercise and report back here.

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by Jon Eulette on Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:01 pm

I believe a shooter can make expert only applying a 75% understanding of the fundamentals. If you watch a lot of experts on the line they look as good as a master shooting. When you look at the target its another story. The master has mastered trigger control! Trigger control is the decisive make you or break you as a shooter. I have excellent trigger control, but the pistol has to be set up for me. I just finished building a pistol with a crisp trigger. When I test fired the pistol I had to work twice as hard to shoot it well. I don't like a crisp trigger. Having said that I am a firm believer that you have to know your trigger. I spend enough time dry firing that I really know my triggers. I have a new Pardini.22 pistol that hates me! I've spent about 3 hrs messing around with 2 stage trigger pull and then short roll; the trigger has no feel. It feels dead to me. I can shoot one hell of a nice shortline but 50 is eating me up. I cannot feel the trigger moving. So basically what I'm saying is learn your trigger and it will improve your scores. The rest of the fundamentals are important, but not as crucial as the trigger. Also just because trigger pull is 3.5# doesn't make it a good trigger! Get a master to look at your pistols. Your guns can hold you back if not set up properly. Practice each fundamental seperately. Understand each one seperately. Then when shooting focus on trigger squeeze, the rest will fall into place.
Jon

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by Cd627 on Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:29 pm

I'm more worried about destroying old bad habits than making new bad habits. I've been shooting for a few years. I edited my first post so it didn't go on and on, but I have an action pistol background and was making a lot of strides in that. I think ultimately, there are so many other things involved in action pistol besides shooting that you need to develop that I never developed my core shooting ability as well as I should have when I was starting out. I didn't have a coach so I just sort of emulated what people around me were doing. I'm an IDPA Master and a USPSA A class shooter. I just feel like I somehow "lost" my ability to shoot. I know that's BS deep down, but it's becoming a mental challenge.

I have a lot of guns and I'd like to shoot them all well. I know action shooting is a different discipline but I know some USPSA Grand Masters and they can pick up ANY hand gun (and some of them, any long gun) and absolutely dominate: striker fired plastic, 1911s, revolvers, fancy custom guns, rimfire guns, it doesn't matter. They bring the gun up and shoot Alphas. And I think what will always stay with me is at the International Revolver Championship (ICORE, another format I shoot) an extremely good GM came to the practice range to verify his sights. He takes the gun out of the bag, loads the cylinder, and aims at 25 yard targets that were not terribly large and goes one for one. He then shoots at the 50 yard targets (all steel), no problem. Then for fun he shoots three at the 100 yard ones, no problem. Puts the gun back in the bag and leaves. It was about 2 minutes of shooting, if that.

I know enough about handgun shooting to know I don't have a gear problem. The wheelguns do have different triggers but they're all set up by a world champion revolver shooter and I have custom grips by Hogue. The 1911 was purchased from someone on this site and I believe it's a 1968 Springfield National Match gun. The Ruger is just stock and the trigger sucks, but that shouldn't matter I feel. 

I just literally don't know what other variables I can do. I mount the gun, focus on moving the trigger to the rear, and hope it happens. How can I tangibly tell that I'm NOT doing that, aside from the results on paper?

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by robert84010 on Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:56 pm

Cd627 wrote:I'm more worried about destroying old bad habits than making new bad habits. I've been shooting for a few years..

I know enough about handgun shooting to know I don't have a gear problem. The wheelguns do have different triggers but they're all set up by a world champion revolver shooter and I have custom grips by Hogue. The 1911 was purchased from someone on this site and I believe it's a 1968 Springfield National Match gun. The Ruger is just stock and the trigger sucks, but that shouldn't matter I feel. 

I just literally don't know what other variables I can do. I mount the gun, focus on moving the trigger to the rear, and hope it happens. How can I tangibly tell that I'm NOT doing that, aside from the results on paper?
I don't really understand what you mean by "hope it happens", what Jon is saying you must learn to make it happen. Not relying on hope is what set shooters apart.
How can you "tangibly tell that i'm NOT doing that". ONE WORD: DRYFIRE! That will tell you, if you are honest about what you are seeing, that you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing, or better yet, are doing what you are supposed to be doing.. When you do get it right you must develop a checklist of the things you are doing so that you can repeat it.

btw: Springfield Armory did not make 1968 National Match pistols, Rock Island Arsenal did.


Last edited by robert84010 on Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by Cd627 on Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:06 pm

I feel like I'm holding the gun properly during dry fire, I look intently at the sights on a white backdrop so I have maximum opportunity to observe if the sights are spaced properly, and I pull the trigger. The hammer falls, the front sight does not appear to be disturbed. I don't know what else I can do to translate that into my shooting.

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by dronning on Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:25 pm

As said above but differntly:
If you focus on only one thing it would be trigger control period. Dry fire dry fire dry fire.  Pay attention to what is happening.

Good trigger control and you will see groups developing, as it gets better your groups will shrink.  Poor trigger control and you will toss shots off the target.
Slightly off sight alignment may still keep you in the black.
Inconsistent grip will move your group around (if you have good trigger control).

Also anticipation with live rounds could be an issue.  Ball and dummy drill and see what happens or have someone watch you.

Mental attitude and what you are focusing on plays a big role in your results and progress.  Focus on what works and good results not what doesn't or bad results.  I'd suggest reading "With Winning in Mind" by Lanny Bassham, it's also available on a media file so you can listen to it.

- Dave

If you aren't detecting any movement during dry fire on a white wall, put a vertical and horizontal line on the wall focus on the intersection then dry fire and see what happens.

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by BE Mike on Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:55 pm

dronning wrote:As said above but differntly:
If you focus on only one thing it would be trigger control period. Dry fire dry fire dry fire.  Pay attention to what is happening.

Good trigger control and you will see groups developing, as it gets better your groups will shrink.  Poor trigger control and you will toss shots off the target.
Slightly off sight alignment may still keep you in the black.
Inconsistent grip will move your group around (if you have good trigger control).

Also anticipation with live rounds could be an issue.  Ball and dummy drill and see what happens or have someone watch you.

Mental attitude and what you are focusing on plays a big role in your results and progress.  Focus on what works and good results not what doesn't or bad results.  I'd suggest reading "With Winning in Mind" by Lanny Bassham, it's also available on a media file so you can listen to it.

- Dave

If you aren't detecting any movement during dry fire on a white wall, put a vertical and horizontal line on the wall focus on the intersection then dry fire and see what happens.
I agree that ball and dummy is very useful. If you can have yourself videoed that would add even more to the training. Another good exercise is to shoot at the back of a target so you make sure that you are looking at the sights and not the target or somewhere in between. I think you are handicapped by learning to shoot fast first. Learning the fundamentals of marksmanship first and then picking up speed is IMHO the way to learn any type of shooting. I've shot in bullseye matches where IPSC shooters competed to keep their trigger control honed. They did very well (expert scores). You can learn the fundamentals and fine trigger control, but you are going to have to build a new platform from the ground up and not try to patch up the old one. You also need to keep a shooting diary and have a written shot plan, so you can have the correct focus and see what areas you really need to work on. Right now, it is probably trigger control and that is always the most important. You may also have to do some light weight training as shooting with one hand is different and more physically demanding than shooting two handed. You can do this, but it is hard work.

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Re: Tons of Issues

Post by robert84010 on Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:07 pm

Cd627 wrote:.....
My hand gun goals are to become proficient as bullseye and, in doing so, improve my action pistol abilities. I mostly shoot revolver for action pistol. I have a Ruger 22/45 and a 1911 I bought from a gentleman on this site. All of my guns shoot well, I just need to start doing my part. Tangibly speaking, for action pistol, I want to be able to shoot the centermost scoring ring out of an NRA D1 and/or the upper Alpha headbox (not the entire head area, just the A zone) on a standard USPSA target at 25 yards. For bullseye, I'd like to be able to put everything in the black at 25 yards. 50 yards can come later.

Some small additional notes that I am struggling with. I have very poor vision. I am left eye dominant and right handed. I've tried shooting left hand a bit. Depending on the light, sometimes I have a lot of trouble focusing on the front sight. I've spent years doing dry fire and doing exercises to focus on it, so I am pretty confident that it's a physical limitation and not a training issue. My prescription is -8.50 and -8.75 diopter with astigmatism in the 2s. I've read some articles about people trying to get special prescription glasses, etc. For me, the way I hold pistols with both hands brings the gun in closer and I have a much easier time seeing the front sight. I think it's because the gun is in front of me, I'm shooting a modified isosceles, and my elbows are slightly bent with my head forward, so the gun is probably closer enough to make a difference. Secondly, I have a smaller than adult female hand size. I know this isn't an obstacle to shooting because juniors put up great scores, but it's relevant to trying to experiment with different grip angles and such. I fee like I have limited options.

My main issue is that I don't know how many of my problems are due to poor grip, trigger control, or angular errors. I suspect all three are at play. Firstly, while shooting one handed, I was always used to canting the gun slightly. This is somewhat common in action pistol because the bullseye on action targets are obviously significantly bigger than a bullseye target. I suspect I may have unintentionally created a bad habit of acceptable sight picture based on that. But I know I have typical trigger control issues, mostly from spending too much time practicing the speed element of shooting. Secondly, also related to speed, I'm used to clamping down on the gun for the best control of the double action pull. Despite this, I'm either disturbing the gun, or not pulling the trigger fully to the rear without anticipating, or probably both.

With my Ruger/1911 I am trying to focus on gripping only with the fingers, not disturbing the gun with the thumb/pinky, and only pulling the trigger straight back and to the rear. I have experimented both with the AMU's "arc of motion" concept as well as the "Just shoot the gun confidently when you have a good sight picture" concept as per Bob Hickey and Art Siever's "Successful Pistol Shooting." I either run into unintentional trigger snatching or fatigue. I also noticed that my default grip generally results in noticeable horizontal oscillation of the gun. Is this just poor endurance? I'm looking for ideas and tangible exercises I can accomplish.

I think you have identified in the above paragraphs the right areas that need attention and as Dave and Mike have pointed out, anticipation and being too aggressive on the trigger are what you should focus on perfecting. I personally think that an almost daily dryfire routine is the bare minimum needed to just maintain a person at mid NRA expert but it takes a steady diet of air pistol or live 22/45 training drills to get into consistent master scores (which is basically keeping EVERYTHING in the black.)
I found that even though I could hold decent metrics and hold patterns on a RIKA trainer once I put a 22lr or even a pellet into a chamber my hold and mostly trigger control deteriorate significantly. I, without significant practice, have significant let's call it "round in the chamber anxiety" and maybe that is what you have. There should not be, but there is to some, a huge difference between dryfiring 10's and actually shooting 10's. It's mental focus more than anything that separates the masters and high masters from us also ran's but the physical skill needs to happen first.

Since you have identified an eyesight reduction you might try shooting with a dot sight which should allow much clearer indications of what is happening when breaking a shot.

What got me there more than anything was dryfire but I highly recommend an air pistol instead of dryfire, dryfire, dryfire. Even a cheap Daisy 717 or comparable pistol, to me, is much better feedback of what you are actually doing while shooting. With an air pistol it is easier to make fine adjustments and see the cause and effect. Then you are not just improving your dryfire you will be improving the process you need to execute to actually shoot a 10.

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