Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

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Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Cd627 on 9/19/2016, 4:01 pm

I have done some significant training since my last post but have not seen any improvement. I am looking for an experienced coach/mentor near Hampton Roads that may be able to help me determine my shooting issues. I am, essentially, a beginner shooter that has been shooting for years and I have a ton of terrible habits. I (sort of) enjoy shooting but I'm tangibly facing the end of my time shooting if I can't turn this around. I have a limited budget but I am willing to pay based on the individual's qualifications.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Wobbley on 9/19/2016, 6:38 pm

Maybe contact the navy shooting team and see if they have a member stationed in Norfolk. http://usnmt.org/

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by jmdavis on 9/19/2016, 7:27 pm

Where are you shooting? You can try to shoot the NCRR or Lafayette winter leagues. It's not coaching but it will put you around some good shooters and give you good practice,
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by jmdavis on 9/19/2016, 7:34 pm

Also don't be afraid to throw away the things that aren't working and start over. Get the USMC workbook, talk to the good shooters that you know, and don't quit.

There are some good resources here, at Bullseye Encyclopedia, in the AMU guide, and in the pistol Shooters Treasury. It's not easy to learn to shoot from books, but people have done it.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Cd627 on 9/19/2016, 10:02 pm

I threw everything out and started over. I quit action shooting. I have focused only on fundamentals and my progress has been very slow. I am doing something fundamentally wrong but I don't have the perspective to correct it.

I am not really interested in going to matches. I'll have terrible performance and it's just mentally going to nail in the "You are bad at shooting" nails into the coffin. If I can't master my basic drills, I have no desire to just shoot bad scores in a league. 

What I do know from my time in action shooting and other disciplines is that, frankly put, is that frequently the people most willing to give advice are frequently the least qualified to give it. What I do not want to do is start using incorrect, anecdotal stuff and develop another set of incorrect shooting habits.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by jmdavis on 9/19/2016, 10:35 pm

If you look at the top indoor and outdoor bullseye shooters in the country (as noted by the results of the 2016 Indoor sectionals and 2016 Outdoor Nationals) you will see some if the names that shoot the matches at those locations. 

You are not going to get help until you meet people to help you. The place to meet them is at matches. 

If you were in a Richmond, I would invite you to Coached Practice on Wednesdays in Charlottesville. But the best I can tell you in Tidewater is to get out and meet the shooters there. It took me two years to find a Zins clinic. In that time I met a number of Masters who helped me to develop the shot processes that I am now improving upon. But shooting matches is an important part of my own improvement and a lot of the people you need to meet don't spend much time on the internet. 

Good Luck.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by DonBrummer on 9/19/2016, 11:08 pm

CD627
My first piece of advice is to focus on positive reinforcement.  You can shoot all 8's (pick a ring) and keep telling yourself that. On your bigger question, I can relate to your challenges.  Here is what worked for me.  I wrote down a shot process, I tweaked that process with slow fire.  I made sure to read it several times a day.  Before I dry fired, I read my process.  Before I did any live fire, I read my process.  In the middle of dry fire or practice I read my process. If I was doing something other than what was written down, I carefully reviewed my actions and made a conscience decision to either update my written process or commit myself to doing exactly what I had written down.  My written process was very detailed.  It was 3 full pages, in bullet format. some bullets were a single sentence.  Others were 4 or 5 sentences.  It included my approach to taking 5 deep, cleansing and relaxing breaths. I identified a signal or a condition I needed to achieve before I would raise my gun. Can I hear/feel my pulse in my ears.  Unit I get to that point I don't feel ready.  I wrote down exactly how I raised my gun.  The little mental drill I told myself as I settled in (slower, smaller....). The feel of the trigger as its moving, the shot breaking, recovery, and calling the shot.

After a few months I wrote a new process, an abbreviated version.  It was fundamentally the same but lacked many of the details.  It serves as a check list for my process.  I keep a printed copy of both the detailed and summary version of my shot process in my gun box. Its on my clipboard.

When I follow my shot process I shoot well.  When things aren't going well I'll eventually realize I'm not following my process.  So I push myself to follow my process.  I can usually turn things around simply by following my process.  For me its the best solution to an alibi.  It keeps the demons out of my head.  If I'm thinking about my process I can't think of anything else. Once I felt very comfortable with my process in slow fire, it was a matter of following the same approach for timed & rapid fire.  There was a transition period for me but I got there.

I honestly believe that my process gave me the ability to be consistent.  It took me to sharpshooter and now I shoot expert scores when I'm shooting well.  Like you, I don't have a coach but I never miss a league match. I sign up for every 2700 match within 100 miles.  I write to the match director a week before the event and ask him/her to squad me next to expert or master shooters.  I talk to them, ask questions and hope to benefit from their knowledge and experience.

Don't nail your coffin closed.  You can do this!!!!
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by DavidR on 9/20/2016, 9:56 am

My opinion may not be worth much to you but the first thing I would do is lighten up! The best way to advance in a slump is to loose the pressure to do better and turn it into simply having a good time. A Zins clinic would help you I'm sure too. Also look into a new gadget called I target, its a laser training dry fire system that is very cool and only 99.99 with shipping.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Cd627 on 9/20/2016, 10:37 am

Well, let me pitch it this way. Say you've been shooting for years. You get out to the range and all you can shoot are 6s, 5s, and misses regardless of the money and time you put into it. Would it be fun to you? For some people, yes, they would have fun even if they were shooting into the berm. I wish I was in that boat but that's not how competition works, so I'm sure you can understand my position. I'll check out some local leagues next year and keep my eyes peeled for clinics.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Aprilian on 9/20/2016, 10:50 am

As a new shooter, I can say that I agree with the suggestions above which are methods other than finding a coach.

I'm sorry to be blunt, but you might need to first convince yourself
1) that you are a decent shot who is capable of slowly improving (through hard work)
2) that you are able to understand and study your own shooting and then figure out what needs to improve (or what is inconsistent)

As a motorcycle coach, one of my tasks is to get students to break down their riding into pieces where they can self analyze what they are doing and constantly improve.  Then they can continue to improve without my constant coaching.  I love to tell them that there is no light switch to go from one skill level to the next, just constant self awareness and conscious improvement.

The suggestion to write down a shot process was helpful to me.
Breaking everything into those small bites, i.e. trigger pull, and working on one skill at a time also helped.

You won't get there simply by finding a coach to get better scores.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Wobbley on 9/20/2016, 11:11 am

Cd627 wrote:Well, let me pitch it this way. Say you've been shooting for years. You get out to the range and all you can shoot are 6s, 5s, and misses regardless of the money and time you put into it. Would it be fun to you? For some people, yes, they would have fun even if they were shooting into the berm. I wish I was in that boat but that's not how competition works, so I'm sure you can understand my position. I'll check out some local leagues next year and keep my eyes peeled for clinics.

Ok. Do all your shooting for now on the 25 yard timed and rapid target. Move the target in to 10 yards and shoot every shot slow fire. Shoot only the 22. Try to make every shot a good shot. When you get every shot in the black move the target back to 15 yards. Repeat this process with the 45. When you get to being able to keep a nice round group consistently in the black at 25 yards, start training for sustained fire with two round drills taking good shots each without a specific time limit. Just work on speeding things up until you can do this at 2 to 3 seconds. Then you're ready for sustained fire. If you can't seem to get a nice round group all in the black within 100 rounds at 10 yards, turn the target around so there's no aiming mark so you can concentrate on looking at the sight.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by DavidR on 9/20/2016, 11:23 am

Cd627 wrote:Well, let me pitch it this way. Say you've been shooting for years. You get out to the range and all you can shoot are 6s, 5s, and misses regardless of the money and time you put into it. Would it be fun to you? For some people, yes, they would have fun even if they were shooting into the berm. I wish I was in that boat but that's not how competition works, so I'm sure you can understand my position. I'll check out some local leagues next year and keep my eyes peeled for clinics.

Ok so I went and read your earlier posts first thing have you ransom or at least sand bag tested the 1911 you bought with the loads your using?  Will it shoot less than 4'' 10 shot groups at 50 yards? If not that's a problem. If so then the next thing is decide if you really want to do this I( you say you only sort of like shooting) if so then think positive!!, then go to the bullseye encyclopedia website and read all the articles from bullseye champions and learn the game from the start, stance, attitude, grip, fundamental's and all other bits of knowledge there for the reading. Then practice, start at 25 yards and work on one simple task, getting everything on paper and work toward all in the black as the goal.  you can contact B.Zins and find out where and when his next clinic's will be.


Check these out too,     http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/tag/brian-zins/   and this too http://www.odcmp.org/0314/ACliniconFundamentals.pdf


Last edited by DavidR on 9/20/2016, 12:20 pm; edited 11 times in total
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by carykiteboarder on 9/20/2016, 11:39 am

If you are shooting a lot of 5's, 6's & misses, I suggest the problem is TRIGGER.  Try putting a paper plate at 10 or 15yds. With any reasonably comfortable stance, point the gun at the plate but concentrate ONLY on smoothly pulling the trigger straight back. (i.e. Don't try to AIM at the middle... just try to keep the gun pointed at the white and CONCENTRATE on smooth trigger pull.) I think you'll quickly be grouping on the paper plate if you don't flinch (recoil anticipation) or jerk the trigger.  If one of your "terrible habits" is jerking the trigger without knowing that you are doing so, that's the thing that will most quickly turn frustration to enjoyment.

Now, before everyone jumps on me for presuming to know the "solution" to your shooting woes, I'm just making a friendly suggestion from someone who wasn't that long ago a total novice.  Once you have basic trigger control, there are lots of things to play with regarding grip, stance, etc.

As always, if anything I say is contradicted by a High Master or Master, ignore me and listen to them.  For most of us, our scores are still determined by our trigger mistakes.  For beginners, those mistakes are misses.  For HM's, those "mistakes" are 9-ring.
I hope this helps.
Glen
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by dronning on 9/20/2016, 11:57 am

Simplified goals for beginners and it's all about learning the fundamentals first and mastering the trigger is #1.  Having equipment that doesn't hold you back is a given.

1) All shots on the backer
2) All shots in the scoring rings
3) All shots on the repair center
4) All shots in the black
5) All shots 9 or better - by this time you have figured it out!  Smile

- Dave

When you develop a smooth trigger release, you will jump to #3 or 4 almost immediately.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Cd627 on 9/20/2016, 1:57 pm

Honestly I don't know what I'm shooting on an actual target. All of my drills are indoors. I put a paster on a piece of paper and send it to about 20 feet and shoot at it with my 22. I try to call every shot. I get a lot of shots not on the paster, and some yanked shots that go everywhere. On occassion I'll send a target to the full 50 feet and the group sucks. I rarely shoot the .45 since I think it's a waste of ammo if I can't get the .22 down. The .22 does not have a good trigger but it's not bad enough to where I should be milking shots like that. It's fundamentals. I understand the concepts of shooting. I've done thousands of pages worth of reading on it. I know the concept of valuable practice, I've spent a LOT of time on it. The flaw is clearly in execution, which is why I'm hoping someone can figure it out from an observational point of view.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by DavidR on 9/20/2016, 2:04 pm

Dry firing is important but  is not shooting, go to a range and shoot real ammo at real targets. There is no gratification in what you are doing, you need to do it for real. As for the 45 many shooters shoot it better than their 22.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Aprilian on 9/20/2016, 2:11 pm

Cd627 wrote:It's fundamentals. I understand the concepts of shooting. I've done thousands of pages worth of reading on it. I know the concept of valuable practice, I've spent a LOT of time on it. The flaw is clearly in execution, which is why I'm hoping someone can figure it out from an observational point of view.
I hope someone steps forward to help you, I admire your wanting to crack this puzzle.  In the meantime break down each of those fundamentals and practice them separately - plenty of great advice in the Fundamentals section.  Alternately, consider taking a video of you shooting for the High Masters here to give you feedback.

Since you have identified the problem is in execution, might you either not be practicing the right things or not practicing enough?   That is where the Pistol Team Workbook might be helpful.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by joy2shoot on 9/20/2016, 2:13 pm

Cd627, I would like to congratulate you on your perseverance.  Let me tell you a true story.  A local public range offers the Winchester/NRA Markmenship Qualification program.  I have occasionally helped with the training.  One evening the instructor asked me to help a couple.  They had completed the pistol  and rifle qualifications and wanted to earn the Conventional Bullseye Pistol qualification.  The instructor said she put them on range 1, which is a 50 yard range, and had given them some repair centers.  So I went down to range 1, introduced myself and starting to explain the format of bullseye shooting.  When I got to the part where I explained shooting at 50 yards, they said 'you mean where the targets are currently set up'.  I looked down range and said 'No, those targets are at 15 yards.  The targets need to be all the way to the end of the range, which is 50 yards'.  They just looked at each other and walked away.  They gave up before they fired the first shot.
 
Bullseye is not easy and I am like you.  It is not fun to me unless I am shooting to my potential.  But when I do shoot to my potential, I feel really good about myself.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by motorheadjohn on 9/20/2016, 2:18 pm

CD627, I am a member of Lafayette and NCRR and shoot in both leagues.  Are you a member of either club?

The NCRR league is open to the public (all events on their calendar are).  At Lafayette you will need a member to bring you in as a guest.

I am no master but shoot pretty well thanks to coaching from Charlie Petrotto when he lived here, and I do the same for folks in our league.  I'm an NRA-certified instructor and run the Practical Pistol matches and Win/NRA Marksmanship Program at Lafayette.  Send me a private message if you'd like to meet and do some shooting.  Can't hurt.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by willnewton on 9/20/2016, 5:03 pm

So you don't want to show up for a match until you can put up some kind of whatever version of a respectable score you have in mind.

Yet you do not shoot at scorable target.

Do you see how you have set yourself up?  Your mind is protecting you from leaving your comfort zone in such a slick manner.  Humans are good at that.

Let me tell you a little story.  I shot at BE match with an older lady standing next to me that had not owned her .22 a week.  She was nervous as could be and intimidated by the many folks that had obvious shooting experience.  I told her every other person on the line was having the same thoughts she was no matter how good they were.  We shot our first round of slow fire and I scored her target.

She scored a 5.  One shot hit the target.

You know who made fun of her, mocked her score, and told her to go home and practice?

NO ONE.

She finished the match and kept coming back for every bi-weekly match until the range closed a few months later.  Her scores kept improving and she always kept an optimistic mindset.

She taught me one of the best lessons I have ever learned in Bullseye shooting.


Get over yourself.
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by willnewton on 9/20/2016, 5:17 pm

You are welcome to drive down to Rocky Mount, NC and shoot with us on Thursdays from 4-6 at Shooters Indoor Sports, as is anyone reading this.

Just show up in time to take a brief written range test and watch a safety video to be allowed to use the range for your first visit.

You will find Bullseye night a perfect cure for what is ailing you.  Motivation through fellowship!
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by Cd627 on 9/21/2016, 9:46 am

Willnewton -

I was reluctant to post this because it precludes background into my training methods. I will post them for people's interest. To be honest, I don't really care what people at any random club think about my performance. I, however, care about my performance. As a result I only want to train in a manner that is going to propel my performance as quickly as possible.

I mentioned in another thread that I did action pistol shooting for some time. I realize a great deal of Bullseye competitors don't respect action pistol, but it is a remarkably difficult thing to do and be a top dog at. Something that definitively delayed my progress was constantly going to local matches. Bullseye certainly has a multitude of nuances, but action pistol has a great diversity of other skills required along with the shooting and mental elements. Objectively speaking, this means you might only get to test one type of skill (for example, rapid splits and target transitions on open targets at 7 yards, disappearing targets with hard cover at 15 yards, a steel plate rack at 20 yards, etc) a few times or maybe even only one time during a match. Without practicing that element of shooting with any repeatability, its impossible to improve. It's 2+ hours of driving, 6 - 8 hours of standing around, and 2 minutes of shooting. I realize the bullseye course of fire is different, but the concept is somewhat similar. I figure I will not benefit from the aspects of match pressure and atmosphere until I have the shooting element down. 

I place a target paster on a target and send it to 20 feet. The paster represents a 1x1 inch square. I place this in the midst of other 1x1 inch squares (seen on most of the cheap 100 yard rifle targets available from big stores). The majority of my focus is on development of 100% shot calling and hitting the paster every time. I've had a lot of Bullseye shooters tell me that their 1911s need to shoot 1 inch groups at 50 yards. If I can't shoot a one inch group at 7 yards, what good is it going to do by lobbing them at 50? Through math, one can apply the margin of error to a 25 yard target. If the shot was low by 1/3 of an inch at 7 yards on the 1 inch bullseye, one can calculate the distance and scoring ring ratio at 25 and find out where it went. From time to time (one a month) I will throw up a 25 yard target and shoot it with the 1911 but the main thrust of my effort is on the paster. A similar version of the drill (using downsized targets at close range) has been utilized very successfully by action shooters in the form of the "Dot Torture" drill.

The great thing about bullseye compared to action sports is that the course of fire is repeatable. I cannot set up a 10 stage IPSC match at my local range and shoot it. I can replicate the full Bullseye course of fire and shoot it multiple, multiple times. Therefore, from the aspect of gaining maximum trigger time and skill development, I'm currently thinking that practice is more useful than shooting matches.

As for your advice, I have accomplished a great deal of things through the method of observation so I should not want to get over myself, however, I do appreciate the invitation.

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by willnewton on 9/21/2016, 12:17 pm

You have mistaken the tolerance of a gun to shoot from a machine rest with the ability of a human to shoot the same gun.

1", 1.5", 3" gun nomenclature is a measure of tolerance, not a measure of skill.  

If you can shoot a six inch group at 50 yards, a "one inch gun" means you can potentially shoot as large as an 7" group at fifty yards.
If you can shoot a six inch group at 50 yards, a "three inch gun" means you can potentially shoot as large as a 9" group at 50 yards.

If you can shoot all shots in the black at a 25 yard slow fire target, you are shooting a 5-6" group.  It also means you are better than most recreational bullseye shooters you will encounter at a local event.  You must shoot a ten inch group to score any points at 25 yards, most new shooters starting out can not accomplish this 100% of the time shooting single-handed.

At 50 yards, the black is 8" so the group is even larger and you have to shoot a 20" group to score any points.  For a new shooter, simply getting ten shots to hit the backer board, much less the target, is going to be a challenge in the beginning.

So right there I hope you can see that you only need to shoot a six inch group at 25 yards from an average gun to be a middle of the road shooter.

The way your posts look to me is that because you can not shoot better than the best BE shooter on the planet is capable and that you cannot out perform the most accurate barrel available shooting from a barrel tester, you do not merit shooting in front of others.

Just go to a league night to watch, you don't even have to shoot.  Look at scores and targets people are actually shooting.  You will realize that you have nothing to fear, because everyone in that line is a human, not a barrel testing rest.

When I posted ,"Get over yourself.", it was not meant in a derogatory way.  You truly need to have a conversation in your own head about what is really holding you back and give your ego a smackdown.  Read your own posts in this thread from the view of an outsider looking at them for the first time and try to help that guy throwing bullets at pasters.

My personal worst 25-yard slow fire score in a league night is a 25.  I made the mistake of getting coffee on the way to league night and was late, and my adrenaline was pumping as I rushed to settle in for shooting.  When the shakiest first round ever was over, I wanted to hide under a rock.  I was ashamed of myself and embarrassed for shooting so poorly.  Not one of my fellow shooters looked down on me or judged me because of my score.  They understood the situation and helped me get through it.

 I would like to offer you a challenge.  Find a B-16 25-yard slow fire target image online, print it out, get sighted in, and take 10 shots at from 25 yards with your .22 and add up your score.  It will probably not be a 100-10X nor a 5 with nine misses, but somewhere in between.  You may even beat a 25!
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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by r_zerr on 9/21/2016, 12:22 pm

I am going to make a couple of training suggestions to change things up, and hopefully explain the reasoning for it.

Take a piece of notebook paper and put it up at your 20 feet. Use plain white paper, no paster, no aiming spot, nothing, just a plain white sheet of paper..While placing your visual focus on the front sight put it near what you conceive to be the center of the target, and press the trigger.

The purpose of this is to work actively on nothing but focusing on the front site and pressing the trigger. Nothing more, nothing less.  As you improve on getting all the shots on that piece of paper at 20 feet, work to make the groups smaller, then move out in distance.
 
Your goal of hitting the paster every time, while noble, is very likely causing you to bypass the fundamentals of maintaining your visual focus on the front sight and look at, and react to the aiming point. With the use of a blank piece of paper, you will not have the paster to gaze upon, and your reaction will not be based on that.  The desire is to build confidence and skill to deliver the shot, and work on shooting smaller groups. The reaction of most people to this is to initially proclaim that they have nothing to aim at, yet their groups when shooting on this are better than with a bullseye.

The Marine Corp handbook has been mentioned before, and a lot of what they emphasize is based on this concept, and when used with understanding, it will work. In part it teaches that the scoring rings can be very generous if one follows the fundamentals. You have already shown the dedication and drive for excellence, so you have great possibility already.



-Ron

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Re: Looking for a Coach/Mentor in VA

Post by jmdavis on 9/21/2016, 1:59 pm

In another post you talked about trying both the AMU method and the Art Sievers method. This intrigued me and I talked to a friend who shot on the Navy  team, is Double Distinguished, and also taught shooting to midshipmen, in the late 60s and early 70s.

According to him, Art Sievers insisted on two things being taught. 

1. align the sights
2. Press the trigger without moving the gun

With 2.5 hours of individual training per midshipman over the course of a week, 1/2 hour per day, my friend had a 70% Expert rate for the students he taught. Now expert for qual is different than expert for Bullseye but the point is made.

The AMU, Zins, Sanderson, the USMC workbook and all of the successful bullseye shooters I know teach the same thing. Align the sights and make the gun go off without it moving. Some of those people 
 Zins and Sanderson, and a bunch of other Marines will tell you that much of your dryfire should be at a blank wall to work on trigger control. This is like the blank target fire but uses no ammunition. 

If you would listen to nothing else I tell you, try that for a month at least 2 days a week. Using irons. Focus on nothing but aligning the sights, focusing on the front sight with your eye, and smoothly triggering the gun. If using a dot focus on centering the dot and smoothly triggering the gun.


Last edited by jmdavis on 9/21/2016, 2:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling)
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