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Getting a new shooter up to speed

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Getting a new shooter up to speed Empty Getting a new shooter up to speed

Post by Sa-tevp 10/7/2019, 8:34 pm

My job involves working with people from all around the world, and often when they find out about my favorite sport they express an interest in going shooting. Since they usually have no past experience we have to work from the ground up: stance, grip, breathing, trigger, aiming and shot process. One recent new shooter shot for the first time using a loaned 22 in the 45 section of 2700 that I took him to to show what a competition was like and actually did well (two lost shots on each 50 yard target, got down to 9 hits on the repair center at 25). We then have shot on a weekly basis after this during the time he is assigned to my job location.

I go over the fundamentals and safety first before any live fire. Then we move to a 22 (or air pistol) with a red dot to learn trigger control. After that onto the USMC Pistol Team Workbook with the 22 with analyzing and calling shots emphasized. ("You just sent $X.XX worth of ammunition downrange. What did you learn? What did the good shots feel like?") The blank target drill is an eye opener. Often the shooter wants to try larger calibers after a few trips to the range but we warm up with the 22 and go back if anything goes sideways and dry fire and closer targets are not settling errors down. I am not concerned if one or two hands are used. 

A lot of online material is made available, with Oleg G's New Pistol Shooter's Treasury being a great resource. I also loan out my DVD set of the CMP Mind Over Matter pistol videos.

With all that stated, what steps do others go through to get a new shooter who is interested in precision shooting started?
Sa-tevp
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Post by mhayford45 11/9/2019, 6:46 am

I recommend new shooters slightly push the front sight toward the target for Irons and for dots to steady the dot within the circle of the of the dot itself with a slight push toward the target. Then without hesitation squeeze the trigger. This accomplishes the following with very a simple recommendation to the new shooter:

1. Helps keeps the focus/attention on the front sight or dot rather than down range on the target.
2. Helps keeps the wrist and grip firm as they are trying to steady the sight picture
3. Helps maintain follow through 
4. Helps to keep the arm firmly extended to accept recoil without breaking the elbow or using the biceps to support the gun.

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Post by Sa-tevp 11/10/2019, 7:09 pm

I like your idea better than my advice to imagine pulling the front sight through the center of the rear sight with a smooth trigger actuation. Your idea puts a lot of pieces together for a better result.

I had to work through some recoil anticipation with a new shooter. They were doing great with a 22 but anything larger caused problems. (I insist on high -db ear plugs and muffs) I don't think my coaching made a difference but the shooter made a strong effort and made his 45 targets close to his 22 results. I had let them try a 9mm and even a large frame 357 revolver to try to accept recoil. They liked the 357 (A S&W 586 6 inch) a lot but I also had a Nelson conversion with a near matching Range Officer to help make the 45 seem like a louder 22.
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Post by mhayford45 11/11/2019, 5:28 am

New shooters see their groups tighten up considerably when they do this.

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Post by Allgoodhits 11/11/2019, 12:34 pm

Most people learn trigger last, if they ever learn it at all. Trigger should be taught first! Trigger is the only element which can unintentionally negate all others in the shooting process. Unless and until trigger is taught, why bother with the other elements. This will reduce months or years of frustration and save thousands of dollars on ammo.

That's all folks! Smile



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Post by mhayford45 11/11/2019, 4:54 pm

I don't think I learned and executed good trigger control until I was shooting master scores. Some of my friends would say  I still do not know what it is.

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Post by Sa-tevp 11/11/2019, 5:34 pm

My attention is on trigger too. I think the red dot helps to show the effect of trigger early on with dry fire as does the blank target drills with live fire.
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