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Wobble area

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Post by thessler 11/20/2019, 4:58 am

Hi
I have been reading everything I can about fundamentals,  and actually practicing a few.
I'm no where near mastering trigger control but I'm gaining on it. One of my perceived biggest problems is the size of the wobble area. Sometimes it's not so bad and others in can't keep it in the black. If I can't slow down the gun who cares what I do with the trigger . That's what I'm feeling recently. 
Are there any exercises,  drills or techniques I can work on to reduce the wobble area ?
Thanks, Tom

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Post by Oleg G 11/20/2019, 7:27 am

Actually, in such a scenario, trigger control becomes even more important. Ask yourself this question: even on the worst day, are all my shot fully within my wobble area? If, as I suspect, the answer is "no", it is due to poor trigger control. If the answer is "yes", and your wobble is even as large as the 7 ring, statistically, you are still shooting, at least Sharpshooter scores.

IMHO, Improving your trigger control is MUCH simpler than decreasing your wobble area. The size of the wobble area is dependent on personal health and fitness conditions. Other factors that influence your wobble are things like, caffeine, what you eat before you shoot, etc. Improving your overall fitness level with definitely help to decrease the wobble. However, this will be a relatively long process

Therefore, focus on improving your trigger control to make sure that all your shots are within the wobble area. This will greatly help with assuring that you complete your shot process on every shot you take.

Best Regards,
Oleg.
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Post by CR10X 11/20/2019, 8:01 am

A few things to consider.

Really look at your wobble pattern.  Generally, no matter how small or large, see how it gets smaller and consistent and then gets larger?  Well, we want to complete the trigger operation before it gets to the smallest pattern.  Remember any trigger that finishes as the wobble is headed toward the center will be better than when its at its smallest and headed away.  So yes, trigger control is still most important after sights.  Wobble is way down the list, but getting a more consistent wobble does help mentally with the first two.  But sometimes you just have to shoot through the wobble and always trust the first two. 

Secondly, observe how you are holding and presenting the gun to the target.  Is it just handing out there, slightly bent arm, lax grip, inconsistent trigger finger placement, bouncing around from your heartbeat and breathing and unstable feet, ankle, knee, hip, joints and backbone?   Or do you get everything ready (body resting "bone on bone" from feet to spine, firm grip, arm and wrist feel as one, etc.) on the bench and as coming into the target and really feel like you are either extending or pulling the arm into the shoulder (either works) and really feel like you are driving the dot to the center or presenting the open sight gun directlly towards the aiming area? 

Lastly check out diaphragm breathing techniques on the internet. 

CR

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Post by SteveT 11/20/2019, 9:44 am

+1 for both posts. If your wobble area spends a second or so in the black, you can shoot Expert / Master scores with good trigger control. If it spends a second or so in the X ring you can win National Championships as long as you learn to recognize when your hold is coming into the middle and don't disturb it with the trigger.

Several years ago at a Zins - Moody clinic. We all held a gun on target with a laser sight. Brian Zins did not have the smallest wobble area of the group.
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Post by chopper 11/20/2019, 10:29 am

Cecil, I'm a lot like Tom as far as trigger control, and I am improving by saying to myself : trigger-trigger-trigger before I apply pressure on trigger. It's helped me in slow fire. You mentioned in your response about heartbeat, there are times I can visually see my beats coincide with dot movement, it kind of scares me. How does a shooter try to eliminate that from our holds and wobble? I'm 67 and been shooting Bullseye going on about 4-5 years now.
 Thanks, Stan

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Post by Jack H 11/20/2019, 11:36 am

Years ago I perceived "wobble" to be the front sight wiggling in the rear notch.  Now it's body sway, shoulder swings, and unsteady eye .....
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Post by CR10X 11/20/2019, 12:07 pm

Chopper, if you can see it and know what it is, then just accept it.  Seeing and knowing takes the uncertainty out of why its there and for pistol shooting it ain't going to make a lot of difference as long as the trigger process is consistent and un-interruped.  Check out how bilathon shooters shoot rifle, it's entirely different in that respect from other small bore shooters and more like we shoot pistol. 

Also, think about how many shooters say "I shoot better groups in timed and rapid fire than in slow fire!".  My perspective is the reason is at their level, they are actively (trying to) driving the gun back to the black and completing the shoot process without being distracted too much with the "wobble".  Most of the inconsistent shots at the short line come from inconsistent trigger (jerk or flinch or trigger finger disrupting the alignment).  At the short line, shooters generally wind up letting the wobble take care of itself bacause they don't have time to worry about it.  Worrying about it on the long line generally shows up as taking way too long to complete the shot, and therefore a larger wobble area, jerks, trying to pick off the shot, etc.   

(And yes, like the breathing and other things, I have tried to read and understand the shot process from as many different shooting sports perspectives as possible over the past 40 or 50 years.)

And as for your signature line I generally have to add:  I've always found that if it ain't what you don't know that gets you, then its what you thought you knew that wasn't so that will.

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Post by thessler 11/20/2019, 7:53 pm

OK thanks guys. 
Trigger work it is.
That's what I'm taking away from this.
I am physically fit, and I lock my arm, lock my wrist to the best of my ability and hang on tight. So I'll ignore the wobble and continue to concentrate on the trigger. 
Thanks, Tom

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Post by Wes Lorenz 11/20/2019, 9:56 pm

All,
I'll add what my International coach told me:
"The black area on the target is there to distract you from what you really need to be concentrating on."
A USAR coach told me think about slow-fire this way: "What do you care about recoil? The bullet is long gone by the time you feel it."
I like to reread Bill Blankenship's article on Trigger Control over and over and over.
Hope this helps,
Wes

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Post by Ed Hall 11/20/2019, 10:02 pm

A little bit of extra to think about.  If you do try to work on any type of holding drills, don't use a bull.  You should train yourself to fire the shot when you are hovering over the bull - work on the trigger operation, as mentioned by others.  If you do want to work on holding drills, you can work with separate vertical and horizontal lines and then add them together as a plus sign.

As to actual vs. perceived wobble, we tend to look at extremes when we evaluate things.  Often that means that if the outer edge of the dot (front sight) touches the white, we perceive that as having gone out into the white.  In actuality the center of the dot (front sight) was still well in the black.  As to any really wide excursions, make sure they are not trigger induced and realize that these are a very small time slice of the overall process.  As long as the trigger is not causing the excursion, the shot will probably not happen at that instant.  Stick with the uninterrupted trigger.

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Post by Wobbley 11/20/2019, 11:25 pm

In my working through the Marine Corps work book I’ve noticed my wobble shape changes.  Some times it’s round or vertical or diagonal, (mostly as depicted but occasionally opposite).  What should I look for and is it an issue.  It seldom changes in a shot.  Thanks

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Post by john bickar 11/21/2019, 1:24 am

Some good points in here about arc of movement size, shape, and duration. Another thing to look for is its speed: a slow, predictable hold is easier to squeeze through than a smaller hold that's like a sewing machine needle going through two layers of canvas.
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Post by jmdavis 11/21/2019, 12:19 pm

I was working with a new(er) shooter last night who was having trigger control issues. The majority of his shots were low and left (right handed). We talked and I discovered that at the age of 72, he was attempting to hold an exact six o'clock hold. If the shot was into the black or had too much white, he was interrupting his trigger manipulation. 

I got him to switch to accepting the wobble (ie if it was a little in the black or a little lower than the black to continue applying smooth pressure) and just smoothly operating the trigger, and what had been a majority of 6s and7s became 9's, 10's and X's. 

He thought that the key to accuracy with the pistol was a pin point aim. As many high masters on this topic have pointed out, its not. 

I don't know if it affects everyone. But when you are used to a 10 ring sized hold and it suddenlt becomes an 8 ring sized hold, it is difficult to trust the process. But the only way to succeed is to trust it.


Last edited by jmdavis on 11/22/2019, 12:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by chopper 11/22/2019, 10:40 am

CR10X wrote:Chopper, if you can see it and know what it is, then just accept it.  Seeing and knowing takes the uncertainty out of why its there and for pistol shooting it ain't going to make a lot of difference as long as the trigger process is consistent and un-interruped.  Check out how bilathon shooters shoot rifle, it's entirely different in that respect from other small bore shooters and more like we shoot pistol. 

Also, think about how many shooters say "I shoot better groups in timed and rapid fire than in slow fire!".  My perspective is the reason is at their level, they are actively (trying to) driving the gun back to the black and completing the shoot process without being distracted too much with the "wobble".  Most of the inconsistent shots at the short line come from inconsistent trigger (jerk or flinch or trigger finger disrupting the alignment).  At the short line, shooters generally wind up letting the wobble take care of itself bacause they don't have time to worry about it.  Worrying about it on the long line generally shows up as taking way too long to complete the shot, and therefore a larger wobble area, jerks, trying to pick off the shot, etc.   

(And yes, like the breathing and other things, I have tried to read and understand the shot process from as many different shooting sports perspectives as possible over the past 40 or 50 years.)

And as for your signature line I generally have to add:  I've always found that if it ain't what you don't know that gets you, then its what you thought you knew that wasn't so that will.
  I thought maybe I was drinking too much coffee (I usually have 16 oz every morning) but I don't think that's it, been doing that for years. I did look up that diaphragmatic breathing exercises and biathlon shooter stuff, very interesting that they would be steadier when exhaling. 
  I do catch myself trying to pretty-up-the-shot more lately, maybe it's time to get back to holding drills and do more 1-shot drills, haven't done neither for quite a while. Saying trigger-trigger-trigger maybe too long, probably shorten it to trigger-trigger and start that when I'm entering the black  Trusting the wobble with uninterrupted trigger is rough sometimes when I throw a couple of shots in a stage, then I fall back to that bad habit.
 I really appreciate what you say in your responses, thanks. Isn't it true that, what you thought you knew that wasn't so, that grabs ya.
 Thank you all for the help, Stan

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Post by CR10X 11/22/2019, 11:24 am

Just one last follow up to trying to fix the wobble versus accepting the wobble and working on trigger, grip and dryfiring.  

It seems to me that over time, when there is less concern with the wobble and more training and dryfiring, that (at least in my case) the wobble area seems to get smaller or more consistent or both.  

So while I did not provide any specific exercises for improving the wobble area (which was the OP's concern;, training on the other things mentioned in this thread seems to produce the desired result of getting a little better wobble area.  Or maybe I just don't notice it as much as I'm really looking for consistency the progress to the center of the area and not worrying about how far out it goes....

CR

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Post by xmastershooter 11/22/2019, 7:13 pm

Hi Tom,

I don't believe I read a response about exercise.  You will shoot your best when you are in your best shape.  The wobble area will lessen as well.  When I have an extended break from shooting (which has been often), I do not even bother to shoot at the range until I get back into some decent shape.  The arm and shoulder exercises are fine but they are not not enough.  We also need to pay attention to our core, legs and stamina from doing some cardio.

If you are a senior, start with running or treadmill work, slowly.  I follow this with 5-10 minutes with the rowing machine to gently warm up my arms, shoulder, legs and hip.  When I skip the rowing, I had injured my shoulders, elbows, and knees.  Then PT would be needed and months of recovery time will prevent any trips to the range.

I actually do around 12-14 machines at the gym of various exercises, usually 2 sets of 10-12 reps.  You are not at the gym to show off to the girls or other people, so it is imperative to use lighter weights.  Light, but heavy enough that when you finish, your body feels good but not exhausted.  You should not feel sore the next day either.  I only rest 30 seconds between reps.  Since my next exercise would target different muscle groups, I don't need much resting time.

If you concentrate on only your arms and shoulder, you may not have the stamina to shoot hours during a match.  Leg work is important for a stronger and steadier stance.  During a pistol clinic, the instructor told us that he runs before a match which I recalled he said it calms and settles his body.

Good luck, you received some great advice from others.


Norman

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Post by thessler 11/23/2019, 5:06 am

Thanks everyone for some good reading there is alot here.
As far as conditioning, that is my other hobby. I run bike and swim on a regular basis.
I'm thinking stay with sight alignment and trigger controll and do the best I can.
Thanks, Tom

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Post by mhayford45 11/26/2019, 6:38 am

It could be you are chasing your dot trying to hold it steady in the black. This can cause your grip, wrist and hold to fluctuate trying to center the dot within the black. Instead try holding the dot steady within the circle view of the dot. This keeps your wrist, grip and hold more steady. The black will be visible but in the background and as the dot moves towards the center of the black exercise trigger control.

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Post by CO1Mtn 11/26/2019, 8:04 pm

I practice holding out a 5-lb weight in front of the mirror at the gym. I hold my breath and hold it out as it were a pistol for as long as I can, and I keep it as still as I can. I pretend I'm actually shooting and have my left hand in my pocket and my stance perfect. Try stacking a rimfire shell casing on top and see if you can hold it so steady that it won't fall off. I do four sets of this every time I visit the gym. I started out with a 3-lb dumbbell and went up to 5 and 6 lbs. Sometimes I raise it up to eye level and lower it, 10 repetitions and 4 sets of those 10. I was deployed for a year and had no pistol so that's what I did every week. I think it worked because I got back from deployment and I was shooting better than when I left for the deployment.

Don't forget, focus on the front sight post only. Try focusing your eye on the top of the dumbbell with this exercise.

Also, I think pull-ups are the best thing to strengthen the body. I use an assisted pull-up machine at the gym. You stand on the pedals and it subtracts weight from your body weight. So I set it at half my body weight and do four sets of 10 every time.

I just shot a 95-4 in slow fire because my wobble has decreased significantly. I think if I can do it, anyone can do it. I thought I would never arrive at this point. I started out shooting in the 60s in slow fire and it took me a long time to break out. I think the weight routine helped significantly.

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Post by radjag 11/26/2019, 8:31 pm

CO1Mtn,

Very good comments/advice. I am away from shooting for a few months over the winter and have been trying to figure out a good maintenance routine. I'm not a gym hound, but I have some 5lb weights and your plan sounds perfect for me.

Thanks.

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Post by CO1Mtn 11/26/2019, 8:41 pm

I had a plastic toy 1911 when I was a child and it had a functional trigger and a hammer that snapped every time the trigger was pulled (I suppose that would be called double action?). I have been looking for one similar but I can't find it. Maybe they don't make them anymore because it was very realistic. I was going to get one and fill the handle with lead or lead weights to bring it up to actual 1911 weight. That would have been perfect for dry fire practice. The closest I can find is a CO2 powered air pistol, but I can't shoot that in my apartment due to the noise it would make. If I owned my own home I'd set up a cardboard BB trap and shoot at reduced bullseye targets with that setup. I suppose an airsoft pistol might suffice if I found the right one.

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