Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

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Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/19/2017, 8:33 pm

While re-re-reading "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury", I found a fascinating article on pages 40-41, re-printed from Paul B. Weston's book "Target Shooting Today, Chapter 6".  I never read it before because it looked very technical, and I always put it off for "later".  Today was "later".

I've never seen this information before in other books I've read, or on the internet.  In fact, after doing a lot of searching, the only useful links are to where I can buy Paul Weston's book, which I've just done.

I'm not about to say if this idea is good or bad - I'm sure many of you know far more about this than I do.  I will say it's a fascinating concept.  I'd love to hear back from you guys if it's as useful as Paul suggests.


Greatly simplified, he writes that nobody can aim at a point and hit it.  We all hit close to where we aim, some closer than others.  For someone who can shoot within say, a 4 inch 10-ring, there is no need to struggle to aim at the exact center - if the gun is pointing anywhere within that 4" 10-ring at the moment the gun fires, the shot will land inside that 10-ring.

Up until this point, I thought it was interesting reading, but didn't yet realize the implications.  As Paul writes, shooters want to fire at the exact moment when the sights are perfectly lined up with the bullseye, which causes them shift focus off the front sight to see the bullseye, and to jerk the trigger, disrupting their aim.  Paul suggests we just shoot to hit within that 4-inch 10-ring, and we can fire any time when we've accomplished that.  That takes the pressure off, leading to a better shot.

He also writes a lot more than this, and has illustrations showing what he means.  I'm not sure if I'm legally allowed to copy those two pages and post them here, and I can't find them (yet) in searching, meaning the best way to read them is to buy one of the two books, Pistol Shooter's Treasury (now $150, used) or Target Shooting Today (from $15 up to $18,397.46 Really - as shown on this web page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0006ASEQG/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=&sr=

Last comment - Paul suggests we put up a plain white target, no bull, no rings, and shoot at it.  There will be nothing to "focus on", and we will all just mentally try for the middle area.  He says the results will amaze the shooter about how well they did.  On first reading, it sounded silly, but after thinking it over, I now think it will work.  

One more thing for me to try out.....

(As to the prices for books, they go up and down constantly, and the $18,000 is probably Amazon making a mistake.  It can be bought for $15.)
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by Jon Eulette on 8/19/2017, 8:51 pm

That's why we've been telling you to accept your hold which in other words is aiming area. If the focus is on the sights you will shoot within your hold provided trigger control is good and doesn't do anything negative to sight alignment. 
I'm a dot watcher....it's my front sight. I don't focus on the target. Today I tried watching the target and found myself making corrections which lead to shooting 9's. Went back to watching dot and groups tightened snd was cleaning targets. Dot watching is applying area aiming in my opinion. Watch your front sight or dot and keep the trigger constantly moving. That's how you shoot 10's. Hold will improve with practice.
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/20/2017, 9:33 am

Jon Eulette wrote:.......If the focus is on the sights you will shoot within your hold provided trigger control is good and doesn't do anything negative to sight alignment......

Jon, I have a bad habit of sometimes looking so closely at the trees, that I don't "see" the forest.  What you just wrote now seems to me to be the same thing that Paul Weston was talking about - but I didn't understand it fully until last night.  I'm slow I guess.  I've been concentrating on the front sight because everyone "good" says to do so, and because it works.  Now I understand the "why".
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by CR10X on 8/20/2017, 5:44 pm

Are you concentrating on the front sight or are you really seeing it?  

Just because you are concentrating on something does not mean you are seeing it.  You should be able to see a human hair sticking on the front sight clearly.  Not fuzzy, not just looking at a rectangle in a notch, but actually seeing the front sight, the serrations, the position within the notch, etc.  Where its at on the target is not especially important, that will take care of itself in the background eventually.

Secondly, you might want to take a look at some of the other 444 topics and 5398 posts to check out some things that have been discussed before.  

Someone may even have the archives from the old list available for you when there were some seriously good shooters contributing to the the bullseye discussion.  There were some really good posts that I learned a lot from back then.

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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/20/2017, 7:54 pm

CR10X, what I can tell you is that I see the serrations on the front sight, and also the 'scratch' near the top, and I clearly see the top edge which is what I'm concerned with.  If anything goes wrong, and the front sight looks less sharp, I correct it, then start over.  I assume that if I can see the scratch, everything is right, and if not, not.

I haven't gone searching through the older topics, only those on the 'main' page.  I've mostly been reading through Tony's Blog, as I can relate to what he writes.  I've been going to the Bullseye website quite a bit.  Some of it I can relate to, but certainly not everything.  And, I've been working my way through the Pistol Shooter's Treasury.

I thought I was doing reasonably well with the Model 41.  A few weeks ago, I was quite pleased.  Then I started using the 45 again, and with full loads.  That, and dry-firing the larger gun around two hours a day, every day, on/off/on/off for half an hour each session.  

With one exception, just about everything I read here has been helpful, even when it's about things I don't understand (yet).  That one thing contradicts what I'm reading in the Pistol Shooter's Treasury, so maybe things have changed compared to the past.
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by Jack H on 8/21/2017, 12:00 am

"see the top edge which is what I'm concerned with"

In my opinion, this is wrong.  You should see in detail the body of the front sight and "frame" with the notch and relate it to the bull in the way you choose.  Similar in analogy to concentric circles.
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/21/2017, 8:14 am

I no longer know what is right or wrong (better, or worse).  I read in The Pistol Shooter's Treasury that one writer said to concentrate on the top edge - sounded logical to me, after seeing the first target I posted up above, where the spread vertically was much more than horizontally.  I've read here in these forums that the gaps around the front sight should be wider, but the illustration on page 39 looks exactly like what Les Baer did to my sights.  I have always shot aiming for dead center, but I tried the 6 o'clock hold in dry firing, and it made things easier (with a small bull surrounded by white).

Back to this thread, concentrating on the top edge of the front sight, it seems easier to keep it perfectly in line with the blurry top edges of the rear sight, while also framing it correctly in the notch.  Lots of things to try out.

If all goes as planned, I'll get to try all this later this morning, and may still be doing so when the sunlight gets blocked out by the moon.  :-)
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by davekp on 8/21/2017, 8:31 am

At the Camp Perry SAFS in 2012 I asked "where on the front sight should I focus?" The answer was the top edge. If it's good enough for the AMU it's good enough for me.

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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/21/2017, 4:50 pm

Went to the range this morning, with a single purpose in mind – curing my flinch.  The plan was to follow the “old timer’s recipe” of a box of hardball.  So, I brought along a box of 100 Winchester White Box 45 ACP 230 gr bullets.
 
No need to read anything more – the answer is yes, after shooting 100 rounds of this, my flinch was gone, the recoil from the gun was no longer even annoying, the noise was no longer so noticeable, and the bullets were going where they were intended to go.  If you don’t like stories, stop here.
 
 
 
For the long version…..    I set up my stuff at one shooting station, but did most of my shooting from another station in front of a steel plate hanging 50 yards away.  My intention was to just keep firing, until my body and brain got acclimated to the sound and recoil.  That all changed when I heard the ‘ping!’ of the first bullet hitting the plate.  My good intentions went out the window, and I figured why not keep shooting at the plate.  Amazingly, ¼ of my shots actually hit it.  Meanwhile, back in my brain, I figured I needed a test to find out if this idea was working.  So, I loaded up six magazines with anywhere from one round to four rounds, then mixed them up.  The test was to see if the tip of my gun would drop when I got to the empty chamber.  It did, every so often, but the frequency gradually diminished.  I was also trying the idea of gradually increasing pressure on the trigger, so I would never really know that the gun was going to fire.  That worked splendidly.  Success.
 
Went back to my original shooting station, and put up an 8 ½ x 11 blank paper as my target.  I was pleased that there was no sign of flinching, but another shooter said I was shooting low, and I needed to adjust my sights.  At the moment, I didn’t care one way or another about “where” the group was, just so it was a group.  He and his friend were saying I was shooting well, but my definition of “well” was inside a 3” grouping, tighter than I was doing.  Anyway, I adjusted the elevation two “clicks” upwards, which turned out to be good, and continued to shoot lots of holes, none of which were way off at the bottom.  Very happy.
 
The information I’ve been reading in The Pistol Shooter’s Treasury is that my groups should be better when shooting a blank piece of paper.  I put up one last piece of blank paper, and another below it with a single 3” bull, for my last 10 shots of the day.  Turns out the grouping on the blank paper wasn’t terrible, and with my 3” bull it was better, 2” vertically, and 3” horizontally.  If I exclude the two shots that I knew were bad as I shot them, I’d have achieved my goal of a 3” group.  By then it was two hours since I started, and I was hot and tired, and happy, so I packed up.
 
My conclusions (your mileage may vary):

  • Shooting a large box of hardball acclimated me to the sound and recoil, and my flinch went away.
  • Looking at the top edge of the front sight worked beautifully.
  • Moving my right hand thumb so it was right up next to the slide seemed better.
  • It’s fun to shoot at steel plates.
  • After a lot of firing, my hands started to shake, and I needed to rest them.
  • Shooting at a blank piece of white paper is ....interesting!  
  • The more I shot the gun, the easier it was to grip it.  My hands sort of figured out what to do.
  • Mixing magazines, with different numbers of rounds, is a sure way to find if you flinch
  • Black sights in front of a black target gets easier the more you do it.


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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by CR10X on 8/21/2017, 5:09 pm

Curious about "getting used to the noise".  Are you wearing ear plugs and ear muffs together?   If not, please consider doing so.  If you are already, you might want to check the fit of both and make sure you're getting a good seal from the cushions on the muffs.  

Noise is a big impediment to getting better at pistol shooting. 

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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/21/2017, 5:49 pm

I am using the best ear plugs I could buy, and ditto for the best ear muffs I could find.  If there is anything better, I would buy it.  YES, about the noise.  My ear plugs are not good enough on their own.  My ear muffs seem to be good enough, but using both is even better.  I'm not sure how "loud" it really is, but I am certainly more comfortable wearing both plugs and muffs.


  • Ear Muffs:  Howard Leight L3
  • Ear plugs: Howard Leight Shooter's Earplugs 30 Noise Reduction
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/22/2017, 10:36 pm

CR10X wrote:Are you concentrating on the front sight or are you really seeing it?  

Just because you are concentrating on something does not mean you are seeing it.  You should be able to see a human hair sticking on the front sight clearly.  Not fuzzy, not just looking at a rectangle in a notch, but actually seeing the front sight, the serrations, the position within the notch, etc.  Where its at on the target is not especially important, that will take care of itself in the background eventually.....

CR10X, I think I found a video that illustrates what you were explaining.  The video didn't seem that important until it illustrated what was going on, with "distracting" things in the background, where the target would be in real life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMYzJpD4n8 

I thought I answered you honestly, but now I understand I was just fooling myself.  I put a small (horizontal) white line on my front sight at the top, and now my eye can "lock on" to that line, not just "see" it.  Maybe after a while I'll be able to do better at what you describe, without having to paint a mark.

So much to learn....     Thanks again.
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by BE Mike on 8/23/2017, 7:59 am

mikemyers wrote:
CR10X wrote:Are you concentrating on the front sight or are you really seeing it?  

Just because you are concentrating on something does not mean you are seeing it.  You should be able to see a human hair sticking on the front sight clearly.  Not fuzzy, not just looking at a rectangle in a notch, but actually seeing the front sight, the serrations, the position within the notch, etc.  Where its at on the target is not especially important, that will take care of itself in the background eventually.....

CR10X, I think I found a video that illustrates what you were explaining.  The video didn't seem that important until it illustrated what was going on, with "distracting" things in the background, where the target would be in real life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMYzJpD4n8 

I thought I answered you honestly, but now I understand I was just fooling myself.  I put a small (horizontal) white line on my front sight at the top, and now my eye can "lock on" to that line, not just "see" it.  Maybe after a while I'll be able to do better at what you describe, without having to paint a mark.

So much to learn....     Thanks again.
Back when everyone was using iron sights, I remember a top shooter (military IIRC) say that after he blackened his sights he took out his "sight adjustment tool" (screwdriver) and put a scratch on the front sight to give him something for his eye to focus upon.
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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by zanemoseley on 8/23/2017, 8:28 am

One sure way to tell what recoil is costing you is to compare your .22 scores and .45 scores. In a perfect world your .45 score should be higher due to increased hole diameter but in reality most new shooters average a LOT less with the .45 than .22. I'm on my 3rd season and have been fighting recoil the entire time, I think I've finally got a handle on it as the point differential between the 2 is shrinking. 

Occasionally I'll find someone bragging recoil doesn't bother them but then they drop 50 points when they go to .45. I just let them believe their own BS, arguing with them isn't going to do me any good.

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Re: Area Aiming, by Paul B. Weston

Post by mikemyers on 8/23/2017, 3:12 pm

zanemoseley wrote:One sure way to tell what recoil is costing you is to compare your .22 scores and .45 scores. In a perfect world your .45 score should be higher due to increased hole diameter but in reality most new shooters average a LOT less with the .45 than .22. ....

On the way to the range this morning, I was thinking about what you wrote.  Yeah, it makes sense that the larger gun should be easier to do better with, but for all the gremlins that sneak in.

I watched the video I posted last night three times, and painted the very top of my front sight white as was suggested.  With something to "lock onto", I was able, maybe for the first time in my life, to really connect my eyes to the front sight.  I was amazed, and even when I deliberately moved my gun all around, the connection between my right eye and that white line never got broken.  Amazing.  So, with an hour or so of dry fire practice, I went back to the range this morning.  Was wondering if my flinching was really gone, or just hiding.  

Got to the range, set up, and noticed that due to the lighting, I could barely see that white line on my front sight.  Didn't matter - whatever I learned last night stuck, and for two hours, nothing mattered but that front sight.  The flinching was gone as well, first with three targets using what was left of my handloads (way too hot, according to people here), and then through all the WinchesterWhiteBox 230gr ammo.  The "recoil" and the "noise" seemed nonexistent.  Looking back, based on what I felt today, I don't understand how it bothered me so much before.

Anyway, three times today I had "bad" shots, when my trigger finger moved incorrectly.  I knew they were bad the instant the gun fired.  But, for the other 70 or shots, I was amazed at how easy it seemed to shoot well!!!!   The fellow who made the video I just posted said this would happen, but I figured it was just words.  I didn't expect to become reality.   I've never shot this well with a 45 in all my life, and I wonder how much better my 22 would have been, with iron sights.  Truthfully, I found myself amazed that every target, one after another, was coming out so well!   Even the last target, a white piece of paper, not only came out well, the grouping was better than the real targets.  I read about that in the book, but it sounded unlikely.  I guess it's for real...

My goal for a while was to accomplish a 3" grouping at 15 yards.  I guess now I need to do a lot more reading here, to find out how to move to the next level.

Sorry for taking up so much of people's time, with so many questions and writing/reading, but thanks to the information here, The Pistol Shooter's Treasury, several excellent videos, and two hours a day of dry firing, I am very happy.

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