Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

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Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/7/2017, 4:41 pm

I have been working on the blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol. Initial attempts using a 5 shot air pistol was not very successful due to being able to see the pellet holes develop on a 10 meter range. Taking a Nelson Conversion with a red dot to a 25 yard indoor range gave better results due to not being able to see the bullet holes in the blank target. I had occasional 9 ring size round groups shooting a Slow Fire pace but never on consecutive targets.

I've noticed a retired AMU team member that competes with us in an indoor league often shoots Slow Fire with a Timed Fire pace. With that in the back of my head along with KNOWING I can make almost clean Timed Fire scores in 22 I decided to try a Timed Fire pace on this exercise. Whaddayaknow, back-to-back round groups inside the 9 ring.

Was/is there an intended pace for this exercise? After all the trouble with a Slow Fire pace the Timed Fire pace felt as easy as falling down, like cheating.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by SteveT on 3/7/2017, 4:53 pm

If you shoot smaller groups in Timed Fire than in Slow Fire, and many of us do, then you are doing something wrong in Slow Fire. Most likely the trigger pull is smooth and continuous at Timed Fire cadence and you are trying to be perfect in Slow Fire and interrupting the trigger pull. At least, that is one of my constant challenges.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/7/2017, 4:54 pm

SteveT wrote:If you shoot smaller groups in Timed Fire than in Slow Fire, and many of us do, then you are doing something wrong in Slow Fire. Most likely the trigger pull is smooth and continuous at Timed Fire cadence and you are trying to be perfect in Slow Fire and interrupting the trigger pull. At least, that is one of my constant challenges.
Preach brother
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/7/2017, 5:11 pm

I think you called it.

Damn, I just knew I was going to have to eat my vegetables with this book. No way to hide bad habits, they all have to be confronted. 

Thanks
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by dronning on 3/7/2017, 5:28 pm

I changed to a "modified" timed fire pace with good results.  By modified I mean the time I am on target is the same as if I was shooting a timed fire shot - I don't try and hold the black.  I start the trigger just before I enter the black just like I do with timed fire and if something is wrong I abort.  The abort part is still an opportunity for improvement.  When I do abort I put the gun to ready position and start over.

- Dave
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by CR10X on 3/7/2017, 5:32 pm

Sa-tevp, it sounds like you are trying too hard to center the sight picture on the blank target. The object is to see the dot or front sight, and just have the white in the background.

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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/7/2017, 7:26 pm

I think you all are making good points. I was dressing it up too much in Slow Fire as CR10X mentioned. Looking back at my good targets my first two Slow Fire targets met the exercise requirements but since I had 80 more rounds with me I wanted to get five good targets, as I can't see the point of squeaking a successful exercise when I should be mastering it instead before moving on.

It wasn't my top level thought but when shooting Timed Fire I was working for Center Dot In Tube/Steady Smooth Trigger.

Stephen
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by rreid on 3/7/2017, 8:07 pm

The blank target drill is really effective when you're using iron sights. With total focus on sight alignment, not trying to hold in the black, you'll be surprised how much your groups shrink.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by CR10X on 3/8/2017, 6:35 am

You said it yourself.  Centering the dot in the tube or the relationship of the front and rear sights are even more important at 50 yard than 25.  Simple trigonometry.  The real "secret" to the blank wall / target exercise is to learn that the position of the gun parallel to the intended line of flight and not disturbing that when operating the trigger is paramount. Sight alignment, trigger control, then sight picture are the three levels in decreasing order of importance, with the first 2 being pretty much equal in importance as they are so interdependent.

The third is way down the list, and is really learning the complete the first 2 when the sight picture is approaching the minimum wobble area as the sight picture will never remain perfect for any appreciable length of time. The blank target helps take the snatching, jerking and just plain bad trigger control out of the picture because there is no perfect sight picture to try and hang on to. 

Just align the sights (front / back or dot / tube) and learn to operate the trigger without messing that up.  I've been shooting for years and I still do a LOT of blank target drills.

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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by bdas on 3/8/2017, 1:29 pm

Not to take anything away from the previous suggestions and discussions, as it's all good stuff...
But IF, during this blank target drill:
a) in slow fire, you are putting the gun down (resting on bench) after each shot, and
b) in timed fire, you are not putting the gun down between shots

Might that suggest a problem with your stance or body positioning?  In other other words, could it be that the motion of raising the gun from the bench is inconsistent, and that is why your groups are worse in slow fire than in timed fire?  I think part of the purpose of the slow fire blank target drill is to test / reinforce consistency of your stance and grip, too.

Here's what I was taught (assumes you are using a red dot)... 
If you assume your usual stance and grip, and raise the gun and aim (but don't fire), then put the gun down, close your eyes, raise the gun and "aim" (as best you can with your eyes closed; in particular, make sure your head is in the position you put it when shooting), and then open your eyes... 

Can you even see the dot? If yes... good.  If not... you probably need to fix your grip.  Make sure the gun is aligned with your eye, not your arm/shoulder.

Is the dot centered in the tube? If yes... good.  If not, does it become centered when you move the dot to the center of the target?  If yes... your grip is probably ok, but you need to adjust your stance.  If no, you probably need to adjust your grip first.  Once that is ok, you might also need to adjust your stance.

Is the dot centered in the tube and centered on the target?  If you are a little high or a little low (say, within a foot or so at 25 yds), that's probably ok, but you might consider raising or lowering where you staple the target onto the backer (if you can).  If you are off to the left or right a little (within a couple feet at 25 yds), you should adjust your stance (start by moving your rear foot a couple inches to rotate your entire body a small amount... ideally you should be rotating around the ball of your front foot).  If you're way off, you might need to make bigger stance adjustments.  The best description I've seen for getting a good stance is the [url=http://www.bullseyepistol.com/chapter1.htm]AMU Pistol Guide, Chapter 1[/url].

Now, do it again (close eyes and re-raise), at least 3 times in a row.  It should be consistently close. If these are not consistent, I cannot see how you could be good at the blank target slow fire drills when you cannot see the holes to give you an aiming reference point. 

To check the consistency of your grip and stance... Without moving your feet, take your hand completely off the gun, then re-grip it.  Close your eyes and re-raise. It should still be consistently close.  Now put the gun down, take a few steps away from the bench, come back, re-assume your stance, and re-grip the gun, close your eyes and re-raise.  Ideally, it should still be consistently close.

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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/8/2017, 2:32 pm

I'd like to think my air pistol coach from a few years ago would look at my stance, check for natural point of aim and shot process and give me a thumbs up. My current fault seems to be trying to ambush the X (or shoot the center of the repair center).

I'm looking forward to trying this exercise again with iron sights.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by willnewton on 3/8/2017, 10:24 pm

On occasion, I have tried timed fire pace on slow fire and I will admit there are days that my physical or mental state makes SF harder to deal with and a faster shooting pace helps cut down on the over-thinking.  On those days, I have chosen to sacrifice the accuracy and drop a couple of points rather than risk a couple of complete misses.

That being said, after spending lots of time dry firing, shooting more air pistol, blank target drills, and removing my red dot, I have finally started to see some grouping improvement in my SF.  I am to the point where I am still not "all in the black" for SF, but getting closer.  As a result, I am shooting SF slower than ever and my scores have improved for the work I put in.

SteveT pretty much nailed my situation.  Shooting faster may get you a temporary reprieve, but it is not going to resolve the underlying issue.  

Snappy shooting that rewards you with five points temporarily will never beat the practice ethic that rewards you with ten permanently.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by CR10X on 3/9/2017, 7:12 am

Ok, maybe this will help.  It did for me when I was trying to figure out how to approach slow fire versus sustained fire strings.  And these work during blank target drills too, so we're not straying too far off the original subject. 

Slow Fire gives the shooter the opportunity to shoot a 10 (what would be a X at 25 yards) every time by allowing the shooter the opportunity to abort the shot if it is not progressing or completed during the smallest wobble duration.  The abort is the one of the harder things to learn as the shooter really has to learn what a "good shot" looks like from the beginning to the end. Basically, its not just calling the shot, but calling the entire shot process.  And an abort is not a negative issue or saying what not to do.  It is a positive thought because it produces positive results (more potential points). (My process here is to let the shot flow automatically as possible and I'm actively only determining if I'm going to abort the shot if it doesn't develop according to what I'm supposed to see and feel for a good shot. And I'm not as good at this as I used to be as I know I'm not aborting some shots that I should.  This is a major training area for me right now.) 

Sustained fire gives the shooter the opportunity to complete the trigger process 5 times within the required time limit as the sight alignment is approaching the desired area (what would be a 9 ring or better at 50 yards).  Here, complete, continuous and smooth trigger operation is one of the harder parts to master and this is where a consistent grip (throughout 5 shots) pays off.  Getting the trigger moving as the sight picture is developing is the goal here.  (My process here is trigger, trigger, trigger, trigger, trigger; and again this is a training area for me right now as my short line wobble is a little inconsistent when coming back down on the target for either the 2nd or 5th shot theses days and that's what interferes with the trigger.  Sucks getting old.) 

The thing that similar is that for me, for SF or sustained, the trigger process should be completed with the very best sight alignment possible as the sight picture is approaching the optimum (smallest wobble area).  If its there and the trigger is not done the process took too long and creates conditions for less than optimum points. 

Keep the trigger process smooth and timely. Trigger too quick is a "jerk", trigger too slow is a "flyer"; both can be classified as trying to "pick off" the shot. 

Anyway, as you can see, I approach shooting from how to see and think about the shot rather than repetition and "what not to do".  Hope this helps.  I always welcome any other perspectives and comments.

Thanks, 

CR

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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Wobbley on 3/9/2017, 8:26 am

Well said.  

If what you're doing is learning slow fire on front facing or rear facing targets, much of this can be learned at 50 feet with a 22.  Even a Marksman should be able to keep all his shots within the 7 ring black of the 50 foot target. As you progress you can begin to spirit the scoring rings, i.e. The acceptable 7s should be almost scratching the 8 and so on.  When all your shots are 8s or better, your wobble and shot discipline will begin the refinement stage.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/9/2017, 9:59 am

CR10X,

I am a big fan of Ed Hall and his ideas, like focusing on positives. In my day job I often have to write plans, policy and procedure to create an environment for success to arise by combining time, manpower and logistic resources to achieve a goal. In teaching troubleshooting of mechanical and electrical systems I point out that troubleshooting should feel like a fencing match. If it feels like wrestling it is going wrong and one should step back and reassess the situation and/or ask someone less close to the problem to describe it.

Something that has caught my attention in the past was my best Slow Fire shots, the ones I called an X before looking in the scope, felt stupid easy, and the bad shots took a lot of work. I try to remember everything that took place for the good shot and try to abort on any deviation from the good process. I enjoy watching Master and High Masters go through their shot processes and noting how many times they put down the pistol and reset the hammer in Slow Fire.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Jon Eulette on 3/9/2017, 10:51 am

Don't get to wrapped up in this exercise/drill. It's just a tool to give you another way to watch the pistol when live firing. It's exactly the same as dry firing on a blank wall except for recoil feed back. It provides an opportunity to see the shot break while looking at front sight/red dot. It also allows you to FEEL the shot break; both trigger feel and recoil feel. When you master watching sight and recoil feel you can tell as soon as shot fires immediately that it was a good shot or not. I personally could care less how good my group is on a drill like this. The value in this exercise in my opinion is more about what you see and feel with the pistol thsn what's happening with shot placement on the blank target.
Jon
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Ed Hall on 3/9/2017, 8:39 pm

When I was an active shooter on the USAFNPT, we had training sessions with top shooters like Bill Blankenship and Steve Reiter.  A couple of things they told us, seem pertinent to this discussion, so I'll pass them on.  This is from memory - I don't have those notes handy, although I should - so, they aren't true quotes, however you should get the gist:

Teammate to Steve Reiter:  "How can I improve my Slow Fire?"
Steve Reiter: "Don't shoot bad shots!"

Teammate to Bill Blankenship:  "How can I improve my Slow Fire?"
Bill Blankenship: "If you study your shot process in enough detail, you will be able to recognize how a good shot progresses.  If your process isn't progressing in that manner, start over.

I personally adapted that in my mind to mean that I should be able to call the shot before it is ever fired, by watching the process unfold.  If it isn't unfolding to be a ten, I should start over.

Presently I have slipped a little and in competition when shooting the .22, I have been firing two shots at each raise, because my first shot is often a little wide and I can't keep raising and aborting throughout the full ten minutes without firing.  My second shot is most often a ten.  Now, Steve Reiter also told us never to fire additional shots in slow fire, unless we are planning to fire those shots.  IOW, don't look to see how it's progressing and then decide whether to add another shot.  I have found this advice very sound in my personal experience.  Invariably, if I try it, I always fire one shot more than I should have, the last one being wide.

Obviously I need to work on the first shot, by itself, in my training.

Now I'll add in something from Brian Zins, from long ago, since I'm putting out names and such.  He once told us that in your shot process you should work toward the first shots of all your targets to be the same process - keep it simple.  He told us that we should mentally go through each slow fire shot the same as the first shot of every sustained fire string.  In fact, he suggested that we learn the process that produces a ten in slow fire and then use that timing to determine when we raise and proceed for sustained fire strings, such that the shot breaks at the turn.

Now, to bring this back to the original topic:  All of these dry fire, blank target and live fire first shots should be conducted the same.  The optimum process should be consistent whether is is blank, training, competing, or, just as important, visualizing.

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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by jmdavis on 3/10/2017, 5:44 pm

Thanks Ed.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by Sa-tevp on 3/10/2017, 7:16 pm

I got to go back to the indoor range today with my iron sights Nelson Conversion and shoot ten targets at a Slow Fire pace. Rounder and betterer, 21-30, 41-50, 51-60 and 71-80 were in spec, the others had one or two outside the group ring. I'm calling this exercise complete. Some couple six bays down was shooting a FAL rifle about halfway through to add to the challenge. I have hot-rodded David Clark Mickey-Mouse ear defenders and deep foam ear plugs so not too much of a problem.

(Stance and NPA was checked every string. Why lose points?)

Thanks all.

Stephen

Oh yeah, some of the suggestions need to be read about 20 more times and puzzled out more. Some of you are many laps up on me.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

Post by rich.tullo on 3/14/2017, 8:00 pm

I shoot the blank target drill (not enough) with my 45. Generally at a timed fire pace. 5 shots. Check the group then check the stance and check my grip if the group is not grouped. I check my sight alignment, stance etc....
I will staple a photocopy paper to a blank backer and if all the shots with a flyer are not on it something is wrong. If 3 or 4 of the shots are not touching something is wrong.

I use this drill when shooters are having trouble range qualify at my club. A shooter has to shoot 10 shots on the 25-yard backer to qualify at my club. If someone is having a lot of trouble, I run the drill. It is amazing when someone that could not hit the target, provided they are not shooting a Highpoint, can group 7 or better.  In my view like the dummy round drill the blank target is a drill that helps overcome a deficiency by isolating and highlighting the problem. 

I think if you are trying to shrink the groups you have to shoot the black dot drills, by first counting how many shots it takes to get ten in the black and then by going to the smaller sighter black dot. 
Another thing, I have tried is a newspaper drill. I take a Newspaper Tabloid pick a headline and try to group all my shoots on the article.
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Re: Question on blank target exercise of The Progressive Method for Precision Pistol

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