Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

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Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/19/2017, 3:03 pm

As mentioned in my introductory post, I'm a Service Rifle shooter.  In planning my rifle EIC schedule for 2017, I discovered that I'll be at events that allow me to shoot my maximum of four pistol EICs, one a combat match and three that are National Match Course EICs.  Rather just toss lead downrange, I wanted to make a serious, planned effort in these matches, but have absolutely no experience with one-handed bullseye shooting.  Based on some of the feedback already provided, I decided to take my almost-mint 1987-era Ruger Mark II Target and start to work through the USMC Pistol Team Workbook before transitioning to my Springfield Range Officer.


My first real test will be the Navy East Fleet match in May, hence the title of this topic.  I don't expect miracles in such a short time, but thought this thread might be useful for collecting additional feedback, suggestions for training, and provide a roadmap for other new shooters (or learn from my mistakes).





Today was my first day at the range.  I'm shooting CCI Standard Velocity 40-grain Lead Round Nose (LRN).  I started with a two-handed grip to zero the pistol, but only adjusted windage slightly.  From there, I jumped into the deep end and placed my L-9 target at 25 yards and attempted the goal of 20 rounds in the circle.  As you can see, all ten shots were on paper, but were all over the place.





I then made a slight adjustment to elevation, but turned the screw the wrong way.




Coming back down, I had a centered group, but it still looked like a shotgun.



Albert Einstein is credited with saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results," so I tried something different.  I moved the target to 25 feet with the intent of graduating to longer distances.  I found this distance to be pretty easy and the line of white on either side of the rear sight helped with sight picture, almost like a frame hold in service rifle.  But as you can see, one shot was noticeable outside the group, showing an inconsistent trigger pull.



From there, I moved the target to 50 feet.  My first attempt had 8 in the circle.



My second attempt (on a clean target) also had 8.



Third attempt had 9.  Getting better...



Fourth attempt had 7.  Getting tired?



Since this stage has no time limit, with my fifth and last attempt at 50 feet, I made a deliberate action to rest between each shot.  I got 9 in the circle and 6 seem to show a bit of a group.



With that, my hour and 100 rounds were gone, so I called it a day.  I'm going to try to get to the range each Thursday to validate this training plan.  In between, I'll be doing dry fire practice with my SCATT to train on fundamentals.

And in case anyone is interested, I had one stovepipe / failure to eject with this ammo.


Last edited by Jorha on 1/19/2017, 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by DavidR on 1/19/2017, 4:02 pm

Practice is the key, looks like your moving right along in the right direction 
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by james r chapman on 1/19/2017, 4:07 pm

+1 keep it up.
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Chris Miceli on 1/19/2017, 4:51 pm

I'll plan to be at the fleet match as well, hope to see you there.  Nice work, keep it up
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Cheapshot on 1/19/2017, 5:41 pm

+1 Fundamentals and Practice.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Magload on 1/19/2017, 8:59 pm

I just started the same training but must say your shotgun has a much tighter choke then mine.  I am not convinced that the blank target is the answer using a red dot and a non rolling trigger.  The trigger in my LB has no take up it just breaks.  It looks like you are starting out right.  Don
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by jmdavis on 1/20/2017, 10:44 pm

You don't want to see the circle. You can print one on a transparency and then use it to check your group. But the idea is to center the gun, focus on keeping the sights aligned and break good shots. Then check each 10 for group size. When you have 2 10 shot groups that are 9 ring size you move to the next exercise.

There's nothing wrong with bringing the target closer until you can get to shooting good groups. That is the method that ideas coached to do. But after my groups were good at 10m, the target went out to 25 yards.

When I was working on the 22 section I asked Zins if I should just focus on whatever exercise I might be stuck on. He recommended not doing that. Perhaps for the same reason that the bull can be a distraction when you begin.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jon Eulette on 1/20/2017, 10:52 pm

I would caution bringing target too close. This is a sight alignment exercise. If you bring target too close you will find yourself looking at your shots on the paper. I've seen many new shooters do this and think it defeats the purpose of the exercise. 
Jon
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by jmdavis on 1/20/2017, 10:56 pm

Didn't think of that. That would explain the push to get to 25 too.
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Magload on 1/21/2017, 9:24 am

jmdavis wrote:You don't want to see the circle. You can print one on a transparency and then use it to check your group. But the idea is to center the gun, focus on keeping the sights aligned and break good shots. Then check each 10 for group size. When you have 2 10 shot groups that are 9 ring size you move to the next exercise.

There's nothing wrong with bringing the target closer until you can get to shooting good groups. That is the method that ideas coached to do. But after my groups were good at 10m, the target went out to 25 yards.

When I was working on the 22 section I asked Zins if I should just focus on whatever exercise I might be stuck on. He recommended not doing that. Perhaps for the same reason that the bull can be a distraction when you begin.

Thanks that makes more sense to me now.  T will find a sheet of transparency.  I shoot at a indoor range 4 to 5 times a week and can only shoot 20yds there but I can't see bullet holes that far so should be ok.  I can see the value in shooting iron sights as they show miss alignment far better then a dot.  When dry firing at a blank wall with a dot I don't see much if any movement when the shot breaks.  I have a SA RO with irons and may give it a try.  I sit here last night with the SA RO and the LB WC and with my eyes closes just constrated on the trigger pull.  With both guns I feel no movement till the trigger breaks.  I even used the crease of the finger like Brian says to get a solid trigger to bone feel and both triggers just break.  This makes aiming and squeezing at the same time tough.  Don
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/21/2017, 5:32 pm

jmdavis wrote:You don't want to see the circle.

I can't speak for others, but I don't see the circle when I'm focusing on the front sight.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by robert84010 on 1/21/2017, 7:18 pm

I've never seen or heard of anybody making the circle on the target. I have always seen and used a completely blank target (turn a repair center around) and use a cardboard cutout the size of the nine ring or eight ring to measure group size but it seems to be working for you and that is all that matters.
I have seen huge improvements in newer shooters groups by using a blank target but it does take effort and focus to get the most out of the drill. I've also seen amazingly small groups shot by good shooters doing the blank target drill, far better than they shot with the bull showing. You will know when you start to REALLY focus on the front sight.
Most new shooters cannot believe that in order to shoot something 25 yards away you cannot look farther than your front sight, they always look downrange. Even once convinced it takes dedicated focus to break the habit of looking at the target. I have always considered the bringing the gun back into center, refocus on the front sight, and dryfire (if using CF) before looking downrange a must during this drill.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/26/2017, 8:29 pm

Week 2

Although I practiced daily with my SCATT, I wasn't able to clean the blank target.  If anything, I felt my groups were getting worse and wasn't sure if it was muscle fatigue, frustration, impatience, or all of the above.  Nevertheless, I went to the range today to get a snapshot of my progress.  Not surprisingly, I didn't clean the paper targets either.

The pistol had been sitting in my vehicle for a few hours, so it was quite cold when I broke it out.  I placed the L-9 target at 50 feet and then took 10 shots just under the target as a warm-up.  Loading another mag, I took 10 shots and got 7 in the circle (one shot is from my warm-up).



Second attempt I got 7.



Third attempt was 7 again.



Noticing my groups seemed high, I put up a zero target and assumed a two-handed stance.  Shooting 10 rounds, I confirmed my groups were high and brought it down a few clicks.

Putting the L-9 target back up, I got 6 in the circle, 3 on the line, and one out.



Fifth attempt was an 8.



Sixth attempt on a clean target was 7.



Seventh attempt was another 7.



Eighth and last attempt was a 9.  Better, but I couldn't help but notice all but 2 of the last 30 shots were on the right side of the target.



Since this training session mirrored my SCATT performance, I don't see any reason to expend ammo until I can complete this task on the electronic target.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by robert84010 on 1/26/2017, 8:47 pm

You need to shoot at a blank target, eliminate that circle because you are missing half the point of the drill. You are supposed to just align the sights, focus on the front sight and squeeze the trigger. I guarantee you that you are looking down at the target to try and form a group WITHIN your predetermined circle and that will cause trigger jerking. The group can be anywhere on the target and it will complete the task. You are adjusting sights too early in the process.

Shoot a group, it doesn't matter where on the target. use a separate disc to measure it.

Keep at it with the .22 or 9mm as much as you can because it will feel like starting over if you stop live firing and wait until you do it on the trainer. I'm willing to bet once you get rid of the circle on the paper you will accomplish the task.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Magload on 1/26/2017, 9:07 pm

If he is using The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol which is the one I am doing that target is provided.  The blank target is before this and I am still working on it. The next step is a all black 9 ring size circle.  I can't see the scoring rings at 25yds anyway.  BTW I shoot my 45 better then any of my 22s.  Don
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by dronning on 1/26/2017, 9:09 pm

When training on your SCATT after you have got it set up turn the paper target around or use a blank piece of paper.  Turn your monitor away so you can's see it. At first look at the monitor every 10 shots and only be concerned about group size not placement.  You will be surprised with the results.   Then start shooting 60 shot matches with no bull and no peeking.

- Dave
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by robert84010 on 1/26/2017, 9:27 pm

Magload wrote:If he is using The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol which is the one I am doing that target is provided.  The blank target is before this and I am still working on it. The next step is a all black 9 ring size circle.  I can't see the scoring rings at 25yds anyway.  BTW I shoot my 45 better then any of my 22s.  Don
he stated at the top it's USMC workbook. Step 1 is blank target 2 consecutive 10rd. L-9 groups, no time limit. no circle, no sight adjustments.

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by john bickar on 1/26/2017, 9:34 pm

I have to commend you for posting your progress for the world to see. It has been so long since I was at this stage that I can't even identify with it. 

 "Endeavor to persevere." 

Your methodical approach should serve you well. Don't be discouraged by setbacks, because there will be many. The biggest difference between rifle and pistol is learning to shoot through movement, and learning to start squeezing the trigger well before the sights are aligned on the target. 

OK, maybe that's two differences.
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Magload on 1/26/2017, 9:39 pm

robert84010 wrote:
Magload wrote:If he is using The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol which is the one I am doing that target is provided.  The blank target is before this and I am still working on it. The next step is a all black 9 ring size circle.  I can't see the scoring rings at 25yds anyway.  BTW I shoot my 45 better then any of my 22s.  Don
he stated at the top it's USMC workbook. Step 1 is blank target 2 consecutive 10rd. L-9 groups, no time limit. no circle, no sight adjustments.
Yes that is what this manual was taken from.  I bought it as it was recommended on another post on this forum.  Don
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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/26/2017, 11:15 pm

robert84010 wrote:You need to shoot at a blank target, eliminate that circle because you are missing half the point of the drill. You are supposed to just align the sights, focus on the front sight and squeeze the trigger. I guarantee you that you are looking down at the target to try and form a group WITHIN your predetermined circle and that will cause trigger jerking. The group can be anywhere on the target and it will complete the task. You are adjusting sights too early in the process.

Shoot a group, it doesn't matter where on the target. use a separate disc to measure it.

OK, I just re-read the USMC Workbook and see I may have been doing it wrong.  The task is "Fire at a blank target," but the standard is "two consecutive 10-rd L-9 groups."  I'll try for L-9 sized groups as opposed to groups on the L-9 target.


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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/26/2017, 11:18 pm

dronning wrote:When training on your SCATT after you have got it set up turn the paper target around or use a blank piece of paper.  Turn your monitor away so you can's see it. At first look at the monitor every 10 shots and only be concerned about group size not placement.  You will be surprised with the results.

Already doing that!  

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/26/2017, 11:20 pm

john bickar wrote:The biggest difference between rifle and pistol is learning to shoot through movement, and learning to start squeezing the trigger well before the sights are aligned on the target.

That's just crazy talk.  Laughing

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by CR10X on 1/27/2017, 6:34 am

Jorha:

Congratulations on making the commitment to your goals.  I have read with great interest your messages and information to date.  I hope you can achieve your goals and would like to humbly added the following comments for your consideration and contemplation. I'm like John, its been so long since I was where you are the thoughts, feelings, knowledge and beliefs held at that time are a pretty fuzzy memory.

Basically, I've seen more pistol shooters become really good rifle shooters quicker than the reverse. But in any even, good shooters in one sport generally become good ones in another shooting sport. (I said more and quicker, some got there even faster.  It's generally a combination of commitment, learning and habits, which come through no matter what the sport.) 

That's generally because of how we learn to shoot a rifle (a more stable platform, even standing) versus shooting a pistol with one hand. Mostly it goes back to visual input (how much the sights appear to move on the target) and trigger operation (keeping the trigger moving ahead of the sight picture for pistol).  Eventually that statement will make sense if it doesn't right now.

My best recommendation right now is to learn the difference between the wobble of the gun, hand, arm and body system versus the angular displacement of the pistol from being parallel with the line of intended sight / flight. This looks so much larger than with a rifle.  So on to the first recommendation. 

Take a small take out coffee cup and tape it to the wall, open end toward you.  Take your shooting position with the muzzle of the gun inside the cup.  Do some dryfiring.  Does the gun wobble enough to touch the side of the cup?  Probably not, and usually not even close.  This will show you that the actual "wobble" of the system has very little effect on the group size (and why I argue that for most shooters that training is generally more important than the group size of the gun - but that's another subject.

So, why aren't our groups the size of a coffee cup?  Because the most important part of pistol shooting is not where the pistol is placed visually on the target (sight picture) but the relationship of the front and rear sights which indicates the angular displacement of the gun itself from parallel with the intended line of flight.  With a one hand only holding system versus the rifle, we are in a very different world of how to keep the gun aligned. What this means is we can "wobble" the gun/hand/arm system over 2.75 inches in any "displacement" from a perfectly aligned X path and still shoot a 9.  BUT if we angle the the gun, even very sightly, we'll be out in 7 land or beyond. 

Why do I repeat the obvious here?  Because it's the most important thing about shooting a pistol.  99+% of EVERYTHING that affects your group takes place at the gun, not on the perceived visual relationship of the sight against the target.  John even mentioned this in another thread about firing into the berm, without a target at all. (I highly recommend reading any of John Bicker's posts, I do.) 

We as shooters are so focused on the target and the visual input (read looks like we're wobbling all over the damn place) that we tend to miss the most important thing is keeping the gun parallel with the intended line of flight. 

So my first comment is to keep training like you are, but shift the focus (so to speak) from the group to really training on seeing the relationship of the front sight to the rear sight as you operate the gun.  

When you really see what's going on within that 5 to 6 inch space, when you see where the front sight is as it's silhouetted in the gun's muzzle flash, you will be able to call your shots, see how parallel the gun was with the intended path, and be on the way to making your goal.  (That's what dryfiring and live firing on a blank target are all about.) At this point, belief in getting the alignment as perfect as possible takes precedence over holding the gun "still" or reducing "wobble".  The wobble will get smaller the more you train, dryfire and shoot as you teach your muscles and nerves learn new patterns.  Learning to keep the alignment of the gun takes time and feedback from really seeing the sights. (This involves learning to keep all the other muscles used in holding the gun and operating the trigger from messing with the sight alignment as you fire the gun.)  But please don't concentrate on "what am I doing wrong, look the the good shots and ask "what did I do that time that worked".  And then write it down, which leads to my second comment. 

My second comment is start your diary, journal or whatever you want to call it, NOW.  I went back and read some of my first notes in order to create this post.  Most of the above is a recreating of my notes and words as I discovered what everyone was trying to tell me about "keeping the sights aligned" but at the time I did not understand the overwhelming amount of information the sight alignment (or lack thereof) was telling me.  Keep notes on your journey so you can help others.

Again, I wish you the best. Hope to see you at a match sometime. 

Cecil Rhodes
(I could put a lot of stuff here about what I shoot or scores; but just call me a pistol shooter and that will be enough).


Last edited by CR10X on 1/27/2017, 7:33 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : There's just so much to say and so few keys on the keyboard to say it with......)

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by Jorha on 1/27/2017, 8:35 am

WiCR10X wrote:So my first comment is to keep training like you are, but shift the focus (so to speak) from the group to really training on seeing the relationship of the front sight to the rear sight as you operate the gun.  

When you really see what's going on within that 5 to 6 inch space, when you see where the front sight is as it's silhouetted in the gun's muzzle flash, you will be able to call your shots, see how parallel the gun was with the intended path, and be on the way to making your goal.

Cecil,

Thanks for the feedback. 

I consider myself pretty good at calling shots with rifle and I'm generally on or inside call.  I'm not as good doing it with pistol yet, but I can definitely see my current problem is as you discuss above. I'm not maintaining sight alignment while pulling the trigger.

I've not done a lot of shooting at a standard target, but wobble is not that much of a problem and is very comparable to offhand (standing) with rifle. I've accepted my current wobble and I'm working on recognizing when I'm transitioning through the 10-ring (currently shooting center mass, but considering 6 o'clock hold).

I'm traveling over the next week, but will be taking my Mark II and SCATT. If I get a chance, I post some traces that show pistol movement while working the trigger. 

Joe

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Re: Street to Fleet: A Noob's Journey

Post by robert84010 on 1/27/2017, 10:42 am

Jorha wrote:
robert84010 wrote:You need to shoot at a blank target, eliminate that circle because you are missing half the point of the drill. You are supposed to just align the sights, focus on the front sight and squeeze the trigger. I guarantee you that you are looking down at the target to try and form a group WITHIN your predetermined circle and that will cause trigger jerking. The group can be anywhere on the target and it will complete the task. You are adjusting sights too early in the process.

Shoot a group, it doesn't matter where on the target. use a separate disc to measure it.

OK, I just re-read the USMC Workbook and see I may have been doing it wrong.  The task is "Fire at a blank target," but the standard is "two consecutive 10-rd L-9 groups."  I'll try for L-9 sized groups as opposed to groups on the L-9 target.
I appreciate that you recognize and acknowledge the difference. This being the first drill, for a reason, there is a huge difference and it goes to what Cecil is emphasizing that when you focus on the sights and not the target there is less angular errors induced by the shooter. You will see the difference as you do the drill more and you will be surprised how small a group you can shoot even though there is not defined spot on the target, just relying on NPA and good trigger control.

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