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Grip 101 and limp wrists

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Post by mikemyers 8/29/2020, 7:36 pm

First topic message reminder :

After watching the "Masters Virtual Panel Discussion" for an hour and a half last night, I finally accepted that these guys have no special ability to hold their shooting hand and gun motionless.  But as was pointed out, if the gun does move, it needs to remain parallel to the original shooting orientation.  This has been churning around in my brain since then (much longer, really).  I was trying out different ways to grip my gun at the range this morning, and for one magazine of 5 rounds everything went great.  I changed magazines without moving anything, and the next five rounds also were good.   I tried to note where all my fingers were, and how I was holding the gun, and everything else, and I noticed my right thumb was wrapped around the gun more than usual, so the end of my thumb lined up with the leading edge of the grips.  Noting all this was so I could repeat it.


I went out on my balcony this evening, just holding my hand up as if there was a gun in it, and it became obvious that there was nothing preventing my hand from twisting to the right or left at the wrist  My right wrist was like a wad of grease, and I couldn't find any motor control, muscles, whatever, to tense it up or even stiffen it slightly.  

Frustrated, on a whim, I pretended to hold the gun in my left hand, which has no idea what it's supposed to do.  Amazing, my wrist was quite a bit stiffer.  The best way to describe this, was I held out my arm/wrist in front of me, and had pivoted my wrist towards my left, so the gun was aiming somewhat to my left.  When it was like that, I found I actually COULD firm up my wrist a little - just aiming my hand that way already firmed it up.  Interesting.

So, I came indoors and held the gun in my right hand, and deliberately pivoted my wrist to my right, so the gun was now aimed a little to my right.  Even more amazingly, I found I had some kind of muscle or tendon or whatever it is, that sort of "stiffened" my wrist in that orientation - something I have never, ever, been able to do.  See photos below.

Feeling excited about this, I left my hand and wrist exactly like that, and moved the gun within my hand, pivoting it so the gun was pointing straight ahead while my wrist was "bent".  

I looked where my thumb had moved to, and it was pretty much right where my thumb was earlier today, when I actually shot a decent group.



I don't know if I've explained this well or not.  What I'm aware of, is that the way I've been shooting, there is nothing to keep my gun pointed "ahead".  I don't have any way to stiffen my wrist to keep things in place.  BUT, orienting my hand this new way, I actually DO have a way to tense up my hand/wrist so the gun is held at a specific angle - and apparently, if I hold tightly enough, it stays there.  I got ten good rounds this morning, shooting this way, but at the time, I wasn't smart enough to recognize why.  


The video session didn't directly tell me what I've just written, but it DID give me the mental tools to come up with this test and explanation.  When I picked up the gun to dry-fire a few minutes ago, while the gun wasn't fully "locked" in position, it was being held there snugly, and it was easy to keep it there, especially compared to before, when it wasn't possible.

(Don't laugh at me too hard if the above sounds totally bonkers.  I may not have the medical terms to explain properly, and if Crazy Thunder was standing next to me months or years ago, he'd probably just have moved the gun in my hands and said to "do this from now on".  Maybe.  I'll find out Monday if I'm on to something.  Or, maybe you're all gonna groan, and tell me how many years I've wasted with a bad grip.....)

Before ---  gun can is free to rotate to either the right or left:
Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Img_3117


After  ---  the gun now feels like it's held in place, no longer free to rotate to either side.
Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Img_3118
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Post by bruce martindale 9/18/2020, 7:28 pm

Mike Question for me is: Can you pull the trigger straight back every time wih the two pictures of your grip above.  All hands are different. I keep trying it but the rotated grip feels good but doesn't work. Inline barrel to the arm works and it puts a different part of the finger on the trigger.

I have been interested in ladies techniques because they can shoot very well and can't muscle it like men do.

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Post by mikemyers 9/18/2020, 9:38 pm

bruce martindale wrote:......Can you pull the trigger straight back every time wih the two pictures of your grip above.......
I can't really answer that - it's an old photo, and everything has changed, based on feedback here.

Cecil wants my grip, wrist, arm, fingers, and anything else I'm forgetting "locked in", so the only things that vary are my feet, and my shoulder.  

Next, CrankyThunder made my number one priority "trigger control".  I'm probably not there yet, as I wonder if anyone anywhere can say they're "done" with this - from what I read, they're always dry-firing and keeping things as close to perfect as possible.  

I'll post a few photos from today after I finish this, but I should add something.  CrankyThunder and Dave both told me I had to use only one gun, no switching around.  Cranky relented, and said "most of the time".  So for going on three weeks, I've only been shooting the Nelson on the Caspian base.  It was still a struggle, but the targets improved.  I thought it was time for some fun shooting, so I went to the range with my S&W 17-5 and my High Standard X-Series.  Once I got them sighted in, the day was just thoroughly enjoyable.  Gripping the guns the way I've learned, and ditto for the trigger, even though I was relaxed and not "working at it", they targets looked good to me.  

With the grip in the photos below, I stopped worrying about hitting anything.  Dave Salyer says to just keep the dot in your wobble zone, which today I found exceptionally easy.  Between the feedback here, and from CrankyThunder, and from Dave, I could "overlook" what was going on, and everything "just worked".

Before I post the photos, I don't know about my grip in the old photo, as it took weeks to get the trigger to do what I wanted (not disturb the gun) but for the photos below, that's how I grip the gun, and hardly ever see the gun jump because of lack of trigger control.  Nerves are a bigger issue, but like I said, today there were no "nerves" to worry about.  As long as I knew the hole would be in "the black", everything else was easy.

This photo is the closest I can come to replicating the photo you asked about...
The gun is "angled" in my hand, so the sight is facing my eye, not my arm.
The gun still wants to "cant" but I'm gradually learning to prevent that.
(It took hours, and S&W Target Grips, to get the revolver to fit into my hand oriented the way I wanted it, and stable.)
Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Img_3216


My thumb rest on the wood grip, in the "thumb groove", with no pressure on the gun, and my trigger finger touches the trigger right at the joint, as shown:
Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Img_3217


Finally, this is the last "official" target from today.  I shot another 20 rounds at a new target, to convince myself that nothing was going to go outside the black.
It's not a target that I'm going to save as a good target, and maybe it isn't all that good anyway, but what was "good" to me was that it was so effortless to shoot, following the new ways of doing things that I have learned.  Dave's advice made for a go/no-go choice - if it was going to go in the black, I went for it.  Applying trigger pressure was faster than what I did before - just one smooth press once I knew the aim was acceptable.  All my body parts were positioned in a way that I wouldn't mess up in all the ways Cecil has described.  
Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Img_3218
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Post by mikemyers 9/19/2020, 9:53 am

bruce martindale wrote:Mike Question for me is: Can you pull the trigger straight back every time wih the two pictures of your grip above.  All hands are different. I keep trying it but the rotated grip feels good but doesn't work. Inline barrel to the arm works and it puts a different part of the finger on the trigger.

I have been interested in ladies techniques because they can shoot very well and can't muscle it like men do.
I was thinking of this after responding, and something you wrote (highlighted above) got me to thinking about this.

A test you can do, to see how this works with your hand, wrist, and arm:

Hold the gun out in front of you, with your barrel inline with your arm.  (Ignore where the gun is aiming, just get the barrel and arm lined up in a straight line.)
While doing this, deliberately change the aim of your gun, right, then left, while holding it.  Go back and forth, while observing your gun, wrist, and arm.
For me, if I aim my gun off to either side, there is minimal resistance to moving it.  Nothing is "holding it in place".
Also, watch what your arm does, while you're doing this test.  Whichever way I turn the gun, to either side, my arm from shoulder to wrist points the other way.

It's interesting to watch this, just to show the interaction between hand/gun, wrist, and arm.

THAT is what prompted me to post this thread.


The follow-up part was to deliberately move my wrist to the right.  Move it a lot, to exaggerate what's happening.
The gun will now be pointing to your right.
Without changing your arm or wrist, re-position your gun in your hand so it is back to being aimed at the target, as you watch your sight.
That is what my second photo was attempting to show - my wrist is bent, and the gun is shifted in my hand so my eye can see the target through the scope.


Lots of people here have given a much better description of what is going on - my post was only intended to show one thing:

First photo - wrist is free to twist right or left, I don't have any muscles to lock it there.
Second photo - wrist is held in position, so it no longer flops one way or the other.



If there is a better way to do this, I'm all ears.  One of these days/weeks/months/years I will meet a Master, who will hopefully show me a better way to do things.
Until then, the second photo from the original post, or the photo from last night, show what I'm now doing.

(After what Cecil wrote, and how others responded, I now try to do any "adjusting" with my feet, after which I re-align my arm at the shoulder.)

You've got far more experience at this than I have, and you've made "Master" - what are your thoughts?
I hope what I just wrote helps answer your question, coming from an ex "95 pound weakling" wannabe, from Charles Atlas ads.   :-)
I'm also hoping you can offer suggestions to improve on what I am now doing.
I'm certainly NOT "muscling" the gun in any way - obviously, I don't eat enough spinach.   :-)
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Post by mikemyers 9/19/2020, 8:04 pm

Bruce, cool news (is "cool" still an appropriate word, or is that ancient history?).

I went to the range today, and was thinking of what I wrote you last night as I gripped the gun and shot my first target.  Which finger goes where, moving feet as needed, and all the rest, like a "checklist".  I only shot at two targets, and while the second one is like what I already posted, the first one is a keeper.  I was flabbergasted (is that still a word?) when I went out to get the target....

It's fascinating to see what you guys write, helping me to do stuff I didn't think I was capable of doing.........    Although, if I trust all the "mind control" books, I'm not supposed to think that way.  Anyway, I celebrated by having my next to last bottle of Grolsh with dinner tonight.   drunken

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Post by bruce martindale 9/20/2020, 5:06 pm

I haven't heard anyone tell me to kick my wrist to the right to snug up the muscles and wrist, nor to tug it down ( for same effect) but to push it out there and squeeze it tight ( thereby tensing the wrist). But I do wonder about it...maybe it works, to a degree. Then becomes a roadblock.


I haven't trained much with the 45 in recent years and scores show it.
Many say dry firing works but if you don't know what is right or wrong, you're only practicing errors.

But all that said, as a has been Master, find what works for you and write it in your journal. Don't be afraid to re-evaluate after 6 months.

I am realizing how important  grip is as recoil goes up, but not as important as really controlling the trigger as the dot stays centered.

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Post by Jack H 9/20/2020, 6:40 pm

That thumb ham press to the backstrap I mentioned before should move the gun right (righty shooter) naturally.
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Post by Schaumannk 9/20/2020, 7:48 pm

Many say dry firing works but if you don't know what is right or wrong, you're only practicing errors.






Bingo.    This is why I recommend an e trainer such as Scatt for new shooters.   You get feedback, on both  your triggering and your hold.

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Post by mikemyers 9/20/2020, 8:05 pm

bruce martindale wrote:.........Many say dry firing works but if you don't know what is right or wrong, you're only practicing errors.......

For what it's worth, I agree with that, but before I learned about dry-firing, I didn't really know what was right or wrong, so I was practicing with live-fire shooting, doing many things incorrectly, because I didn't yet know better.

Once I started dry-firing, only then could I start SEEING my errors.

As I learned, I found even more errors....    but when the gun is wobbling all over the place, and without realizing it, I was also both blinking and flinching.  The two things that started me on the road to improving were holding drills, and dry-firing.  The final "proof" for me, was to calculate the CEP probability of my targets.  All the holes were on targets with graph lines, so I could measure where every hole was.  

Since I didn't have anyone suggesting how to improve yet, I got to experimenting while dry-firing.  What if I moved my gun here, or here, or put my trigger finger in lots of different positions to test.  Everything was fair game to test.  The behavior of the red dot told me if I was making things better, or worse.


I think it was Cecil who wrote "Practice does not make Perfect.    Perfect Practice makes Perfect".
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Post by mikemyers 9/20/2020, 8:11 pm

Jack H wrote:That thumb ham press to the backstrap I mentioned before should move the gun right (righty shooter) naturally.
People told me long ago to NOT put any pressure on the gun with my thumb.  At the time I didn't realize why this was a problem, but while I can feel my thumb touching something, it's never pressing on anything.  

Ditto for my fingers that wrap around the front-strap.  They're NOT supposed to put pressure against the side of the gun.  
If my hands are doing what I'm trying to get them to do, the pressure on my gun is only on the front strap and the back strap.


Agreed with what you wrote - if your thumb is pushing the gun to the right, something in your hand has to be compensating, pushing back the other way.  Yuck.  I had to learn that the hard way....
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Post by CR10X 9/21/2020, 6:24 am

I think it was Cecil who wrote "Practice does not make Perfect.    Perfect Practice makes Perfect".

Wasn't me.  I don't "practice", I mostly train.  Occasionally, I have a practice session, which is just like shooting a match (And even then its not perfect since I'm making notes on what needs to be improved with other training sessions.)     

Understanding the difference is the first step to an overall improvement plan and process.  Practicing is just polishing the surface, training forges raw material into better performance. 

You can pump thousands of rounds down range all day 'with perfect practice" and get better at some level of mediocrity, but if there are ANY underlying fundamental issues it doesn't really find and improve those issues that hold back real performance improvement.  

(In my opinion this is a major reason lots of shooters plateau at Sharpshooter or Expert level.  The issue is that the beginning shooter will see some improvement just practicing through repetition, but not recognize the underlying limitations that will eventually stagnate improvement.  They don't have a (training) process to find and improve the underlying fundamental issues that are holding them back.)  

Specific training with correct repetitions for that one specific part gets one closer to optimal overall performance.   Firing 30 rounds in an hour and a half with multiple dryfires, focusing on only one specific thing to get correct can / will produce better results than the thousands of rounds mentioned above.  

Using the term "practice" can also lead to a mental "cop out" since the term "practice" doesn't convey the importance of the actions we are trying to ingrain into our shot process.  Another reason I shy away from the term as well.  

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Post by DA/SA 9/21/2020, 7:06 am

CR10X wrote:Specific training with correct repetitions for that one specific part gets one closer to optimal overall performance.   

How do you break down and work on the different parts of a shot?

You need good trigger control to maintain sight alignment. So how do you work on trigger control without working on sight alignment, and how do you work on sight alignment without working on trigger control? 

Then if you put up a target you add sight picture and you have to combine all three simultaneously, because you can't maintain a good sight picture without proper sight alignment and trigger control.

Unless I am incorrect, holding drills aren't recommended for Bullseye because you want to train your subconscious to react by breaking the shot when to dot is in the center of the target. So standing there holding on a target without trigger manipulation isn't an effective way to do that.

(Asking for a friend)

Thanks!

Edit: I didn't do much with the USMC Pistol Workbook as all it is is repetition without mention of how to actually achieve the desired results. Just keep dispensing lead down range until twenty consecutive 10's are achieved...


Last edited by DA/SA on 9/21/2020, 7:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by mikemyers 9/21/2020, 7:24 am

CR10X wrote:........Understanding the difference is the first step to an overall improvement plan and process.  Practicing is just polishing the surface, training forges raw material into better performance........

Cecil, what you write makes a lot of sense, but you're maybe too late.  Too many people, even including Doug Koenig (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUadUOC7FJk ) use the term "Dry Fire Practice".  In that video he goes on to explain how he does things, which I think matches perfectly what you wrote up above.  I don't think it's that people "don't understand the difference", but more so that they don't realize there is any difference, as to them it's all labeled "practice".  Regardless of the label, watching Doug's video carefully, I think he is essentially saying the same thing you're saying, regardless of what name he uses to call it.

Maybe the term "Dry Fire Training" is what we all should start calling it, to avoid this misunderstanding?



One big problem, at least from my point of view, is that people (myself included) will do what they think at the time is the right way to do something, but it's hard to get feedback showing that they're doing it incorrectly or poorly.  The majority of what I learn comes from corresponding with people who know and understand these things, and from reading forums in which qualified people are involved in the discussions.   

Suggestion - for a future "Master's Video" to be posted here, maybe the topic could be "what mistakes we've seen shooters doing, and how they can correct them"?  I doubt any of them/us are doing this deliberately - they/we are doing what they feel at the time to be the correct way to do things.  



......and maybe the better way to say what I wrote would be:  Training does not make perfect.  Perfect Training makes Perfect.
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Post by mikemyers 9/21/2020, 7:31 am

DA/SA wrote:.......Unless I am incorrect, holding drills aren't recommended for Bullseye because you want to train your subconscious to react by breaking the shot when to dot is in the center of the target. So standing there holding on a target without trigger manipulation isn't an effective way to do that.......
I would also like to know the answer to your questions - how does a person work on only ONE thing at a time, when they're all inter-related?

Regarding the line I quoted, for me, holding drills were essential to get to where I could hold the gun up without it shaking from the weight.  I was told to just aim at a blank wall, so I wouldn't be forming bad habits regarding the target.   Back then, I picked up my 1911 Baer for the first time with only one hand, and I literally couldn't hold it without it shaking.  It was pathetic, but Keith Sanderson's holding drills eventually cured that.
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Post by CR10X 9/21/2020, 8:24 am

Ok, the purpose of my perspective and discussion is mostly to help keep myself (the shooter) from being overwhelmed with the thousands of things going on during the shot process.  This seems to lead a lot of shooters into the quandary of getting the gun into the target area and then processing lots of other things (that they need to do or see or feel) that eats up the time until they just have to get the shot off or put the gun down.  So why not work on the many things we can file away into the "automatic" area of our brain or physical response so we can just "see the sight alignment, wobble and complete the trigger process" without the other stuff messing us up too much? 

(1) Just because we're training (working) on one thing does not mean we don't have other things going on. Hopefully you're still breathing, seeing, standing, etc.?  So, let the automatic stuff be automatic - in the background, but keep your focus and attention on the thing.  It takes some work to make sure we don't get distracted or focus our attention on anything else except that one part we want to improve on and /or get more consistent for that session.  Write that one down, describe what you want to do, make notes on what you did and the result and especially note when you got distracted.  (That distraction or thought is sometimes a guidepost to the next training subject.  Like you're working on smooth, uninterrupted trigger process, but you see the sights drift to one side occasionally and realize you might have a grip or trigger finger placement issue.  Write it down, but go back to smooth, uninterrupted trigger process training.)  we're just breaking the shot process / components down into parts and seeing how well we're doing each one and trying to get that part into the "automatic background" that we naturally do as well as can without having to think about it.    

(2) Reduce the "other things".  That's why we dryfire on a blank wall to train on seeing the wobble;  train on trigger process with just sitting in a chair and feeling the trigger without "aiming at anything" or even holding the gun out; train on seeing sight alignment using supported position from the bench, train on just getting into position and raising the gun into our target area to ingrain our preferred position and stance; etc., etc.  As you get comfortable with each one and ingrain that part, it eventually goes into the "automatic" background.   

(3) Train on physical things such as physical conditioning, changing diet, getting better glasses, grip strength consistency with exercisers, Tia-Chi or yoga (both of which just kick my butt and are really hard for me), or just some gym workouts for balance, etc.. 

Then every once in a while, on a really nice day, just go to the range and just shoot a "pretend" match (what I call practice - scrimmage game in coach lingo).  Put your box on the line, have a three minute prep period and get started, just like a match.  We're not controlling, we're just observing, having a good time, not judging or "trying"; just shoot the strings, score the targets and move on to the next stage.  This is not just "practice" but also training too, and its training to shoot matches without letting your brain get in the way.  

Then you review the notes you make and what happened after you finish shooting.  What distracted you, what went well, what were you almost trying to fix during the match, whatever.  This is the basis for your next specific training.  

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Post by DA/SA 9/21/2020, 2:03 pm

Thank You! That helps my understanding considerably. 

(Gusting 20 - 25 today, so outdoor dry fire is on the list of things to do as a little exercise.)
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Post by mikemyers 9/21/2020, 4:16 pm

Cecil, when a shooter reaches some level of proficiency, what you wrote sounds like an excellent idea on how to continue to improve.  Simplify, and concentrate on one thing at a time.  I don't know where I stand on the "learning curve", but I will follow your advice.  Thank you.
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Post by mikemyers 11/10/2020, 12:03 am

Cecil (and everyone else), it's about six weeks later, and having tried to follow the essential parts of what you and the other masters seem to be suggesting, I now find myself stretching out my arm with the gun, until it is fully extended and "locked" into one "assembly".  Movement in raising the gun up, then down a little, is done from my shoulder, and I've already got my feet positioned so the gun is naturally aimed.  

I know there's more to it than that, but it's a start.

I'm not (yet) concentrating on when to shoot.  The only thing I'm thinking about is holding the gun so holes will go into "the black", while I continually apply pressure to the trigger until the gun fires, then a little longer.

The gun I'm working with is my Nelson Conversion.  Surprisingly, I now seem to be able to shoot as well or better with one hand, than two hands.  That was an unexpected surprise.

Thanks again to all of you.
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Post by Jack H 11/10/2020, 4:24 am

mikemyers wrote:
Jack H wrote:That thumb ham press to the backstrap I mentioned before should move the gun right (righty shooter) naturally.
People told me long ago to NOT put any pressure on the gun with my thumb.  At the time I didn't realize why this was a problem, but while I can feel my thumb touching something, it's never pressing on anything.  

Ditto for my fingers that wrap around the front-strap.  They're NOT supposed to put pressure against the side of the gun.  
If my hands are doing what I'm trying to get them to do, the pressure on my gun is only on the front strap and the back strap.


Agreed with what you wrote - if your thumb is pushing the gun to the right, something in your hand has to be compensating, pushing back the other way.  Yuck.  I had to learn that the hard way....

Mike
Revisiting this thread since you updated about your progress.

Note in my comment above I wrote "thumb ham".  Let's just say the back of your palm has to press straight forward just like the fingers in front press straight back.  And recall my writing about "flying" fingers and thumb away from the side of the gun.

Also what CR says about training with dry fire doing one thing at a time is absolutely correct.  But make a goal out of each step that improves your process.  Your process is to reach the ultimate goal that in my opinion is stated in the Joe White quote below.
Jack H
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Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Empty Re: Grip 101 and limp wrists

Post by mikemyers 11/10/2020, 8:06 am

Jack, I do "clamp" the gun from front to back as you describe, and don't apply side pressure.  I put standard 1911 slab grips back on the gun, so my hand can't apply side pressure (which it did, with the rubber Pachmayr grip).

For my thumb, I rest it against the top finger on the left.  I used to leave it dangling in the air, but that feels uncomfortable.


I'm mostly doing one thing at a time, but when I notice something is "wrong", I correct it, as with the grips.

Because of what Cecil wrote, I try to combine my hand, wrist, arm, everything into a single assembly.  My understanding of this is that I still have wobble, and will always have wobble, but while the gun may be "moving", the movement before used to disturb the aim.  With the whole thing feeling like a rifle, I've started to accept that I can ignore that wobble.  Strange how in all these years I never thought of it that way before.

My groups are now half the size of what they were a year ago, and maybe 2/3 the size of what they were a few months ago.

(My range is completely flooded again, so I'm not going to get to shoot for at least another week - the water can't drain yet, as the ground is flooded, so there's no place for it to go.  The only shooting I'm getting to do is dry-firing.)
mikemyers
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Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Empty Re: Grip 101 and limp wrists

Post by inthebeech 1/18/2021, 5:02 am

[quote="KBarth"]More people would be shooting High Master scores if they spent less time on the forum and more time dry firing.[/quote]


:lol:
LMAO
inthebeech
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Grip 101 and limp wrists - Page 3 Empty Re: Grip 101 and limp wrists

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