Dry Firing a 1911

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Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Magload on 11/29/2017, 8:04 am

First topic message reminder :

I really need a lot more dry firing then I been getting and have a question on doing it with a 1911.  I read before on here that the gun needed to be cocked using the slide not just the hammer when testing the trigger because of the disconnect, but does that mater when dry firing?   I also want to try putting something between the hammer face and the firing pin  or maybe if just cocking the hammer then a drywall thing in the chamber.  I know the Nelson conv. is ok to dry fire I was just taught different as a kid.  Don
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by CR10X on 4/1/2018, 11:51 am

Actually, I think my dry firing contributed to 2 broken firing pin stops and a couple of cracked hammers.  But then again, I was dry firing a lot back then, one or two sessions, about every day.  Stuff seems to last longer if you don't use it........

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 12:02 pm

Hmm, is "one or two sessions, about every day" a lot?   What I've been "trying" to emulate is the "one live fire for every 100 dry fire" ratio, not that I'm even close to it.  I feel guilty as I'm only at five sessions a day, six days a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Chris Miceli on 4/1/2018, 12:39 pm

mikemyers wrote:Hmm, is "one or two sessions, about every day" a lot?   What I've been "trying" to emulate is the "one live fire for every 100 dry fire" ratio, not that I'm even close to it.  I feel guilty as I'm only at five sessions a day, six days a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.
doing better than me....i dried twice this year so far
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 1:03 pm

Hmmm.....    you're already a master.  I doubt I'll ever get there, but the only way I know how to try is by following advice, and dry-firing so much I can tell if it's making a difference.  I would like to say I'll never get there, but Mr. Borland in The Highroad Forums told me that was just negative thinking, and with enough effort, people can accomplish what used to seem impossible.  So, I'm not going to say it, both because of what Mr. Borland told me, and the fact that year after year I'm doing more than I "expected".  

With the 1911, I accept that I can dry fire it as much as I want, with no damage.  I'm going to wear out my body long before I'll wear out anything on the gun.  How much did you dry fire, before you became a Master ?
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Wobbley on 4/1/2018, 1:29 pm

Even on a 1911, dry fire can take its toll. Remington found that dry cycling was harder on their shotguns and rifles than actual shooting. So they’d dry cycle their guns to find the weak points and fix those that would cause premature failures. They strived for 40000 to 50000 dry cycles for major components.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Jon Eulette on 4/1/2018, 2:03 pm

Dry fire it until it breaks....fix it.....dry fire some more.
Just do it or never progress as a shooter unless your gifted like Miceli!
The BE gun is a tool. Use it!
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by BEA on 4/1/2018, 2:18 pm

What Jon said. If you dry fire regularly, in a meaningful way, you will enjoy shooting better scores so much that you will not be concerned about anything else. Yes, Chris is definitely an anomaly. We used to be friends until I found out the truth about what kind of powder he uses. And then there's the time he told me I was lame because I liked a 4MOA dot...and then I accused him of cross firing on my target. Another time he said he could go down and score/repair my target if I couldn't make it. I never would have helped him if I knew he would start beating me.


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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by zanemoseley on 4/1/2018, 2:29 pm

I rarely dry fire, I know I should but its just SO boring. I've broke 2520 with just live fire practice and 10m air pistol practice. I would love to hit master this year so I should probably kick up the dry fire.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 4:03 pm

zanemoseley wrote:I rarely dry fire, I know I should but its just SO boring. I've broke 2520 with just live fire practice and 10m air pistol practice. I would love to hit master this year so I should probably kick up the dry fire.
Dry firing is probably the most boring thing in shooting, until/unless you realize what it accomplishes, and. how - and that you'll learn so much faster this way.   Long ago, I thought like you do, until I found this video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfARgCqWCvQ    Done properly, there's a lot more to it than just holding up the gun and making it go click.  The word "boring" will quickly be replaced with the word "frustrating" once you become aware of mistakes, and find out how difficult it is to correct them.  At least it was for me.  As Keith Sanderson describes things, first you do "holding drills", and then you start on "dry firing" drills.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Chris Miceli on 4/1/2018, 4:29 pm

I really should dryfire , we all should. But I spend most of my day comforting Ben
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Wobbley on 4/1/2018, 4:56 pm

The problem with holding drill is that they teach you to hold far too long without pulling the trigger. Get that hammer back and dry fire.

As for me, dry fire is fine up to a point. That point is getting to know your trigger and sear release “feel” intimately and how to release the hammer within a half second and not disturb the gun.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by BEA on 4/1/2018, 6:03 pm

That is funny. I am just one of those high maintenance over the hill bullseye shooters

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by CR10X on 4/1/2018, 7:05 pm

Well:

mm, is "one or two sessions, about every day" a lot?   What I've been "trying" to emulate is the "one live fire for every 100 dry fire" ratio, not that I'm even close to it.  I feel guilty as I'm only at five sessions a day, six days a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.

It ain't the quantity, its the quality.  If anyone can maintain the focus, concentration, awareness and make notes for more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time to truly do proper dry firing; I stand in admiration.  To do so twice a day, its really work.  

Anything else is just exercising muscles; which ain't bad, but it will not get one seeing what needs to be seen.  It should take just as long to visualize perfect a shot as it does to make a dry fire or real shot. And it should take just as long to replay a shot to mentally to confirm the call on the dry fire shot or real one as it does to make the dry fire or real shot.  So that's 2 mental shots and an assessment for every dry fire.  (And it keeps one from jumping in the scope at the range.)  Not specifically thinking about anything, just visualization, seeing and recalling.  Then reinforce the good and forget the not so good.  

Again, just my process.  

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 7:27 pm

Cecil, the first part of what you asked, is what I'm doing.  I've got a log book, with notes, and each "session" is half an hour long.  After doing the same thing for a while, I change just ONE thing, and see if it makes me better or worse.  If worse, I give up on it.  If better, I write down how/why and continue to do it.  The goal is to get the red dot to stay closer to the center, and to hold it there for several seconds after taking the "shot".

I'd love to do the things you mentioned in that last paragraph, but I'm not "good enough" to do that yet.  Visualizing a "perfect shot" won't result in a "perfect shot" if the gun isn't pointing in exactly the right place - although Dave's "area aiming" allows me to do much better at the range.

I'm "fighting" two things that seem to generate a wobble in my dot.  The first is the weight of the gun, and holding it up in front of me.  Keith's "holding drills" eventually got my arms a lot stronger, or acclimated to holding the gun out in front of me.  When I first started, holding the gun out front for 75 seconds was difficult.  With a 1.5 pound weight on each wrist, it was impossible.  After a year of this, I can hold the gun and weights up in front of me for the full time.  ....but I agree with Wobbley, which is why I now take several shots during that time.  Anyway, that's the first cause of my "wobble".  

To control all this, I downloaded the "Interval Timer" app on my phone.  I set it for a warmup, then to alternate between 1:15 of "exercise" (dry firing), the 1:00 of rest.  It repeats this for 10 "sets", which is about half an hour.  Lately the first half of the time I'm wearing my wrist weights, and then taking them off - at which time the 1911 feels like it's a toy plastic gun.

What I think is the second reason for my wobble is tricky.  It seems to be a natural "wobble" from my body, not nearly as bad as the other causes, but still enough to move the red dot out of my 1/2" diameter bull.  As of half an hour ago, I cut that wobble in half, by following the words on the Bullseye Website and gripping the gun with less force.  

I'd love to be able to do what you can do, as you described it up above.  I do make an "assessment" for every dry fire, but I don't yet know how to "visualize" a wobble.  Maybe next year I'll be able to do what you're describing.


Interval Timer works on Android and Apple: 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/interval-timer-hiit-workouts/id406473568?mt=8


Web:  http://www.bullseyepistol.com/mikelav1.htm  
"Hold the gun like a handshake when your ready to shoot"
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by CR10X on 4/1/2018, 8:55 pm

You are struggling with a concept that is not a good basis for shooting good shots.

Visualizing a "perfect shot" won't result in a "perfect shot" if the gun isn't pointing in exactly the right place

Quit fighting and start seeing.  The gun does not, should not and will not be pointing in exactly the right place to get a 10, or 9 or even X when you are operating / completing the trigger press.  

If you are seeing the complete shot, you will see the wobble moving into / toward the acceptable area and will complete the trigger as it is doing so.   Waiting for "exactly the right place" and trying to operate a trigger while keeping the sights there will make you way behind on when the trigger needs to be completed.  

Secondly, if the red dot is only moving out of the 1/2 inch bull, then why aren't your groups only an inch or so in diameter?  Because it does not matter how far the dot wobbles as long as the pistol remains parallel to the intended line of sight!  Quit worrying about the wobble, just see it and understand it.  Learn what it looks like as the wobble is getting smaller and that is the limit of your trigger operating time.  Once you start seeing  how far is goes out, might as well start over. 

What most shooters should be working on when dry firing is pistol as parallel as possible, that is the front sight centered in the rear sight, left / right and vertically while completing the shot.  And you can only really learn this by watching and using open sights.  Wobble only determines the linear displacement on the target IF the pistol is keep parallel to the intended line of sight.  Angular misalignment of pistol / sights; and trigonometry steps in, and 1/1000 of an inch at the sights is about 7 inches from your intended point.  If the sights are aligned, wobble to the edge of the black and beyond if you like, the shots will be in the center.

Most shooters need to really focus the learning to keep the pistol aligned and quit focusing on the "wobble" issue.  

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 9:45 pm

Oops, I didn't mean to imply I'm trying to fire when everything is perfect; I meant the opposite, as when my wobble was pretty huge, many of the shots would to be awful.  As Dave Salyer put it, just fire when your "wobble area" is centered on the target, and that represents the best you're capable of doing.  This also implies the smaller the wobble area, the tighter the group, and vice versa.

When I try to visualize what I'm doing, I've been trying to "see" what I saw in my sight, and then picture what that would be like on a B-8 target.  As I said, "try".  I'm still learning.

I made the half-inch bull to be mathematically the same appearance in my sight as the area in a B-8 target at 25 yards that is currently my goal (group size).  I'm not that good yet, but the "area" I see the wobble within through the sight represents the group pattern that I see on the target.

I'm confused about one thing you said.  Aimpoint claims that the dot in their sights represents where the hole will be, even if the dot is not in the middle.  As they put it "No need to center the dot in the sight - when the dot is on target - you will hit it.".  I agree with what you wrote, but as the dot is "wobbling" around, that represents where the hole can be on the target.  What you wrote is true, but with the Aimpoint, if the dot is not on center, the gun can't be aimed at the center.  That matches what you wrote, about what happens when steel sights are mis-aligned.

(That was not true of my Ultradot as I remember - I don't think it was corrected for parallax.)

I am trying to do what you write I should be trying to do, but I'm probably not describing it clearly.


I have a question for you - when you're shooting a 1911 how large is your wobble area compared to the diameter of the X-ring on a B-8 target at 25 yards?
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 9:58 pm

CR10X wrote:If you are seeing the complete shot, you will see the wobble moving into / toward the acceptable area and will complete the trigger as it is doing so.   Waiting for "exactly the right place" and trying to operate a trigger while keeping the sights there will make you way behind on when the trigger needs to be completed.  

Specific answer - my acceptance area on a B-8 target is 3 1/2 inches, and yes, I see the dot wobble around within that area, and simultaneously I am putting more pressure on the trigger so I don't disturb the dot.   I don't think about when the trigger needs to be completed, I just try to apply it smoothly.  If I don't mess up, my group size is usually 3 1/2 inches.  I can post a typical target.  (And I believe if I can ever get the wobble zone down to half what it is now, my group size may decrease to two inches.)

If you feel that is not what I should be doing, please tell me specifically, and I will try it your way.  I'm wide open to advice.  I've already switched to 6 o'clock hold for steel sights, and "area aiming".  I'll keep changing as needed.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Jon Eulette on 4/1/2018, 11:52 pm

Wobble area is individually different. A HM will practically hold x-ring at 25 yds for majority of shots. A lower classified shooter will be larger. But trigger control has a large effect as well (gripping can alter it as well). So wobble area/area aiming is a process. Just keep the trigger moving and the majority of the shots will be within your area of hold. The shots that are out can be for several other reasons. So focus on your hold not someone else's.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by CR10X on 4/2/2018, 5:55 am

If your group size is 3 and 1/2 inches at 25 yards, then you should be cleaning the short line and why are you asking me any questions!

I have never "held" the  X-ring in my life with my wobble from start to finish for a shot!  

It ain't about what you see "on the target" during visualization or an actual shot, its what you see that references how parallel the gun was being held during the shot, from the combination of holding the gun and operating the trigger.  Open sights aligned and (harder to see and do) dot centered in the tube.  Damn dot sights are the biggest detriment to shooters actually learning how to shoot really good shots outside of that "what you are doing wrong" pistol correction target. Dot's make shooters try to pick off shots, try to be too precise in holding, not give a good reference point to how parallel the gun is being held (since angular misalignment is combined with wobble using the dot as a reference point), its harder to see what the trigger press is doing to the gun, etc. etc. 

As for comparing dry firing to an actual target.  Why?   The most importing thing from drying firing is learning how to hold the gun parallel to the intended line of sight while operating trigger; not where the dot is, but finding out what is making it move more than it should from normal wobble.  

Trying to remember where the "dot" was on the target (for me) seems to create the situation where the mind picks up a single visual snapshot and then we act upon that static picture, not realizing the real world has changed from that time on.  Learning to see the flow and movement in a fluid process will get us closer to really seeing what is going on.  But even that is not perfect since even the best visual processing is in the past.  

So for me, I'm working on processing the trigger as the sight alignment is perfect as I can maintain, but also as the sight picture (wobble area) is getting better, not waiting for perfect sight picture. Again, learning / dry firing with open sights is much better for me, but when I use the dot, its to see (and make sure) the trigger does not make the wobble worse or interfere / add any additional influence in the wobble as it is getting smaller.  When using dots, I'm trying to see (pardon that word) if there is any interference with the normal, acceptable wobble process getting smaller, not necessarily the specific location so the trigger can keep moving.  The other part of my brain will take care of helping keep it centered where I want (like) it to be.  

Wobble does not have stay within some (small) specific area all the time, we just need to recognize and act as its getting smaller and not act when its getting larger.  The brain will help center the wobble if we give it positive feedback when the results are good.  (One on the thing about the "watching the target" method using dots is that is reduces the tendency to "pick off the shot" and lets the shooter naturally hold the pistol more parallel since they will not be "trying" to control the perfect location of the dot, reducing the influence on the pistol orientation, and accepting the wobble area.)

Language is difficult, but hopefully the concept is understandable.

Biggest advise I can give is if one is improving scores, then stay the course.  If one is plateaued or getting worse, try something different.  Shooting is a continual evolution.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/2/2018, 1:38 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Wobble area is individually different. A HM will practically hold x-ring at 25 yds for majority of shots. A lower classified shooter will be larger. But trigger control has a large effect as well (gripping can alter it as well). So wobble area/area aiming is a process. Just keep the trigger moving and the majority of the shots will be within your area of hold. The shots that are out can be for several other reasons. So focus on your hold not someone else's.
Jon
Jon, I still have (and use) the tips you gave me long ago.  I made some major changes to how I did things after discussing Dave Salyer's article on area aiming that I typed for him to post here.  Yep, the majority of my shots are within the "wobble area", excluding an occasional shot that was on its way to Mars or Venus.  As time goes on, those get fewer (unless/until I get tired).  What I'll call "my hold" right now is based on a lot of things I read or watched, all of which got changed around as I dry fired.  I know exactly what it is now, and my fingers go right back to where I think they belong.  Strangely, gripping the gun more loosely seemed to help at home, but today at the range the groups improved when I applied a little (just a little!) more force.   

I spent the morning at the range, sighting in the gun again after installing the Kodiak mount.  I like the Kodiak *much* more than the one that came from Aimpoint.  Here's the last target from today - my current goal is a 3 1/2" group at 25 yards.  This one is 4".  Maybe by next year I'll get there (but just like every year in as long as I remember, any time I make a goal, I set a new one......).

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/2/2018, 2:01 pm

CR10X wrote:If your group size is 3 and 1/2 inches at 25 yards, then you should be cleaning the short line and why are you asking me any questions!

..........As for comparing dry firing to an actual target.  Why?   The most importing thing from drying firing is learning how to hold the gun parallel to the intended line of sight while operating trigger; not where the dot is, but finding out what is making it move more than it should from normal wobble.......  

.........Wobble does not have stay within some (small) specific area all the time, we just need to recognize and act as its getting smaller and not act when its getting larger.  The brain will help center the wobble if we give it positive feedback when the results are good.  (One on the thing about the "watching the target" method using dots is that is reduces the tendency to "pick off the shot" and lets the shooter naturally hold the pistol more parallel since they will not be "trying" to control the perfect location of the dot, reducing the influence on the pistol orientation, and accepting the wobble area.).......
Wow.....

Why am I asking?  Because I didn't think  3 1/2" was "good".  Good, in my mind, would be two inches.  I guess I'm not being realistic.

Why am I comparing dry firing to an actual target?  I just assumed that was the way to do it.  Almost everything I know about dry fire is what I learned from Keith Sanderson, and the most important benefit is trigger control.  I need to re-think this, based on what you've been writing.  I think I was wrong.

From what I learned from Dave, wobble is just "there".  Better shooters have better control.  What I'm supposed to do, is just accept it, place the wobble over the target, and concentrate on the trigger.  Since I can't shoot better than my ability to shoot, I assume the resulting hole will be anywhere within that wobble zone.  That's why I never try to aim at a specific spot on the target, I just want my wobble zone to cover the target, and eventually I'm hoping the wobble zone gets smaller.



If I ask too many questions, it's because I'm trying to learn, and everything new needs to be assimilated into the way I think.  The only "coach" I have is you guys.     :-).
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by CR10X on 4/2/2018, 3:42 pm

Group picture from TF or RF string?

How many strings during sight in?  As in the last group of how many?

Did the grip feel the same as the other strings when changing from previous grip pressure?

Do you have left hand in pocket, along side, hooked in belt, or what?   (Sometimes to get consistency in the grip, I'll hold a magazine in the off hand and try to make sure the same grip pressure is on the gun grip as on the magazine in the off hand.  That helps get consistency when I'm trying to keep the grip pressure on the gun constant.)

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Oleg G on 4/2/2018, 3:51 pm

Mike, Cecil was being facetious Smile
What he meant was that the size of the 10 ring on the 25 yards timed and rapid target and the 50 yards slow target is 3.36 inches. Therefore, IF you are shooting from 25 yards, one-handed and keeping your shots in the 3.5 inches group, then most of the time your 10-shot targets should be scored a 100. Meaning, you've cleaned (scored 100) the short line (25 yards distance). If your shooting is that good, you would have mastered the fundamentals and should be giving advice, not asking questions Smile
Reading your posts, I think that you are mostly shooting two-handed and not always from 25 yards, sometimes using shorter distances. If that's the case, your shooting is still pretty darn good, judging by the group size. And you still have a lot to learn, as do we all.

So, keep asking the questions and you will always receive great support from this group.

Regards,
Oleg.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/2/2018, 3:55 pm

CR10X wrote:Group picture from TF or RF string?

How many strings during sight in?  As in the last group of how many?

Did the grip feel the same as the other strings when changing from previous grip pressure?

Do you have left hand in pocket, along side, hooked in belt, or what?   (Sometimes to get consistency in the grip, I'll hold a magazine in the off hand and try to make sure the same grip pressure is on the gun grip as on the magazine in the off hand.  That helps get consistency when I'm trying to keep the grip pressure on the gun constant.)
1 - Slow fire, taking my time.
2 - 30 rounds, sighting in, loading one round at a time in the magazine.
3 - Shooting two handed still, still dry firing one handed also, but I'm lousy at it.
4 - It's two handed, but the grip felt identical, just less pressure (fingers on front, and clamping together at top).
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 4/2/2018, 4:01 pm

Oleg G wrote:Mike, Cecil was being facetious Smile
What he meant was that the size of the 10 ring on the 25 yards timed and rapid target and the 50 yards slow target is 3.36 inches. Therefore, IF you are shooting from 25 yards, one-handed and keeping your shots in the 3.5 inches group, then most of the time your 10-shot targets should be scored a 100. Meaning, you've cleaned (scored 100) the short line (25 yards distance). If your shooting is that good, you would have mastered the fundamentals and should be giving advice, not asking questions Smile
Reading your posts, I think that you are mostly shooting two-handed and not always from 25 yards, sometimes using shorter distances. If that's the case, your shooting is still pretty darn good, judging by the group size. And you still have a lot to learn, as do we all.

So, keep asking the questions and you will always receive great support from this group.

Regards,
Oleg.

  • Other than for sighting in the gun, I am always shooting at 25 yards.  One less thing to think about.
  • I am always shooting two handed at the range.  At home I'm alternating between two handed, and one handed.
  • Other than today, when I just came to the range to sight in the gun, I am always using a B-8 target.  I print my own.
  • When I score targets, the number is in the 90's, never 100.  Yet.
  • Yep, I know I've got a lot to learn.  And yes, this is a great place to learn from!!!
  • (I have only been in two matches, and was 1/3 of the way down in the finishing order.  I need to start going to as many matches as I can, other than when I'm out of town.)
  • I have mostly been using the Salyer gun this year, but want to start shooting my M-52, just to enjoy shooting.
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mikemyers

Posts : 1279
Join date : 2016-07-26
Age : 74
Location : South Florida, and India

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

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