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Multitasking - Again

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Jon Eulette
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Post by inthebeech 10/14/2020, 5:31 am

"People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves," said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, "The brain is very good at deluding itself."
Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that for the most part, we simply can't focus on more than one thing at a time.
What we can do, he said, is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed.
"Switching from task to task, you think you're actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you're actually not," Miller said.
"You're not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly."
Miller said there are several reasons the brain has to switch among tasks. One is that similar tasks compete to use the same part of the brain.
"Think about writing an e-mail and talking on the phone at the same time. Those things are nearly impossible to do at the same time," he said.
"You cannot focus on one while doing the other. That's because of what's called interference between the two tasks," Miller said. "They both involve communicating via speech or the written word, and so there's a lot of conflict between the two of them."

So, is it going to be sight alignment or trigger control?  You can't have both.  The above is literally a drop of sand among the neurological research that supports the theory (supported by brain scan activity) that you are actually very rapidly switching from "sights, sights, sights" to "keep squeezing" and back again.  Five years and over ten thousand documented dry fire trigger squeezes and I am still not able to start the trigger once and then have it continue on its own while I switch and then permanently stay with "sight alignment" through recovery.  I am always discovering the trigger stops moving and I need to send multiple additional motor control messages in order to maintain some semblance of "pseudo-uninterrupted" trigger movement.
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Post by mikemyers 10/14/2020, 6:27 am

I'm confused here - if I were gradually tightening a screw, maybe waiting for a torque wrench to "click" because it reached the desired tightness, I could do any number of things at the same time.  I don't need to think about gradually increasing pressure any more than I have to think about what or where my foot is doing while walking.

Your example, gradually increasing pressure on the trigger while paying attention to the sights is puzzling to me - there are a lot of things I can't do regarding Bullseye, but for me, that example isn't one of them.  The whole point as I understood it was to NOT pay attention to the trigger, to just continue adding pressure smoothly.

You guys have taught me that trigger control needs to be "automatic", something you do so many times over and over until it is one smooth motion, that you don't need to think about.

My brother's wife can be knitting these intricate stitches while carrying on a conversation.  Same thing, I think.  Repetition.

Am I missing something?
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Post by CR10X 10/14/2020, 6:31 am

I agree you can't "multitask" as describe since that implies "concentration" or "attention" to more than one specific thing. (And "multitasking" is probably the major reason most shooters wind up holding the gun up on the target way too long, go past their best wobble zone, then try to pick off a shot rather than starting over because they have already invested so much time and effort in a shot they should have completed 5 or 15 seconds ago.)  And it is also a major issue that interferes with learning how to train and then translating that to actual shooting.  

But we can be aware of our environment and see what is going on and allow ourselves to respond or complete a task with a high level of consistency and accuracy.  Batters, pitchers, golfers, skiers, etc., do it all the time.  

[To address your specific example; the feedback you are getting that stops your trigger process is what you need to identify and address with some specific training. For example: Yes, it takes guts to keep the trigger moving when the sight alignment / dot seem to go askew.  BUT you have to really learn how not to respond that way when you see it as it has already happened and if you keep the trigger moving the alignment has a BETTER chance of coming back to what you want to see if you DON'T stop the trigger process.  So my recommendation if that is the case is to do a LOT of blank target training to get used to keeping the trigger process moving unless you see a MAJOR issue.  Actually, just start training with just completing the trigger no matter what. You might be surprised by the results. See comment below] 

Now most people will have some specific thing they do, see, or follow to keep from "multitasking" when just performing the shot.  They might say "keep moving trigger" or "see the wobble", etc.  What they are doing is not single or multitasking, but simply keeping the conscious part occupied on something to let the rest of the system follow the process / things that did when training. 

But this response has a better chance of happening only if we have specifically trained well enough on the individual parts.  The training part requires specific attention to one "task".  When actually performing (shooting a match / target for record, etc.) generally requires us to find a single thought / condition / to start our process and then we allow ourselves to see if the action / task is progressing in the way we have learned from previous repetitions that will produce our optimal shot / outcome. 

That's why we train on blank targets to get ourselves used to completing the trigger process without the distraction of trying to find the center of some black area and over controlling the trigger by starting and stopping the process because the dot moved some. 

That's why we dryfire on targets to get used to seeing the wobble pattern without the disturbance of the "bang" and recoil.  Grip / stance / position / trigger timing / etc., need training as individual "tasks" with our full attention to just that part.  

By learning to do the individual portions well and consistently we are setting up the system (shooter) so he can transition to "just seeing and following his process to perform consistently.

So, (1) set up specific training sessions so you don't "multitask" but work on one thing.

Then (2) set up training sessions to just "be aware of the process" NOT "multitask" BUT just see the process and shot let yourself respond as you have trained on the individual pieces (perform).  

When performing; start the process, see the process, call the shot, review the previous steps. Make notes for future training (hesitation on trigger, holding too long, trying to "pick off" the shot, etc.  Identify the key things that distracted or disturbed the process. Those are the things for the next training session when you will focus your attention to that ONE thing.    

Both of these types of "training" take some mental work and preparation to learn how to get the most out of your time.

CR


Last edited by CR10X on 10/14/2020, 12:19 pm; edited 5 times in total

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Post by TonyH 10/14/2020, 6:31 am

There is more to his theories and research that just that, however, take this for example:

This might help answer a question that has long intrigued scientists: How can the human brain store a virtually unlimited number of long-term memories, yet remain severely limited in the information we can hold in our conscious minds at once?
It’s a limit most notably characterized by Princeton cognitive psychologist George Miller (no relation) in a 1956 paper, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.” George Miller, who helped coin the term working memory, argued that seven, plus or minus two, is the maximum number of objects most of us can hold in our short-term memory at once. Researchers have since demonstrated the number can vary far more widely and may even be smaller than seven. But no one doubts there are limits.
If working memory is encoded in oscillations, Earl Miller says it would explain these limits, because a single wave can only rise and fall a certain number of times a second.
“That means you have to fit in everything you want to juggle in your current conscious mind,” he says. “That’s a natural limitation in bandwidth.”

One reads about repetition training moving some things into  your subconscious (long term memory?), so your conscious mind is dealing with only the short duration task it needs to do at the moment. I like to think of it like RAM and PROM or HDD (or modern derivative thereof) in a computer....repetitive training burns those aspects permanently into your brain and can be drawn upon as needed. Trigger control moves into your subconscious mind, while you consciously focus on sight alignment....and the gun subconsciously goes bang when all looks right, or vice versa.

Also, what Cecil says above.....step by step of getting to some of the subconscious programming.Multitasking - Again 3064385617lol!


Last edited by TonyH on 10/14/2020, 6:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Read Cecil's post....)
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Post by mikemyers 10/14/2020, 7:29 am

CrankyThunder's instructions for me were keep repeating one thought in my mind - WATCH THE DOT, WAIT FOR THE BANG.  At some point, my subconscious will fire the shot, but until then, by continually increasing pressure on the trigger, the gun will fire.  As I understand it, the main thing being accomplished is my no longer thinking I want to FIRE now!  The gun will fire without my consciously doing so.

His advice may have helped with many more things than this, but I was pleasantly surprised that I no longer had "wild shots".  It also worked with steel sights, with my mind ONLY trying to keep the sights aligned properly.

Cecil, maybe you can explain one more thing - there needs to be some part of the mind watching over what is happening, and stopping the firing process if necessary - lowering the gun, and starting all over.  Not sure how to fit that into this discussion - it's one more thought process that needs to be present.
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Post by james r chapman 10/14/2020, 7:47 am

I can easily chew gum and rub my belly at the same time.
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Post by Wobbley 10/14/2020, 10:45 am

What you’re attempting to do, when firing a pistol, is training your subconscious to activate your trigger when the sights are aligned and the aligned sights are pointing at the “acceptable area” of the target.  It is akin to a “touch typist” reading copy and his/her fingers hitting the correct keys in sequence.  No thought processes involved.
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Post by PhotoEscape 10/14/2020, 11:43 am

I would argue that there is no multi-tasking in the process of making shot.  The key word here is "process".  Classical definition of multi-tasking specifies execution of two (or more) functions it totally unrelated areas, or, as it is common in the world of computing, execution of multiple programs, at the same slice of time.  All elements of the shot process are related to the same "program".  I suggest drawing parallel between process of making shot and process of playing piano.  If you look into playing piano, two arms and ten fingers perform more than one task at the same time, yet it is not multi-tasking, but rather developing "motor memory" when fingers respond to eyes getting information from partitur.  Ashley's "akin to a touch typist" is another example of same concept of connection between visual information and motor/muscle memory.  I don't know if it properly to call such connection of being "subconscious" though.  Although when someone loses ability to walk, in example, effort to re-gain such becomes a very defined conscientious effort.

AP
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Post by CR10X 10/14/2020, 11:55 am

Mike:  The answer to your question was given in the response and also given many times before.  Sometimes I get tired of typing the same things over and over in various forms, but I will try to answer the question again and I made it a short answer in this post.  Please take some time and search the Fundamentals topic for the many, many discussions on this issue as it has been discussed in many different terms over the many years before. (Sometimes we can learn more from reading other peoples questions and posts than simply continuing to pile onto our own.)  

You know, there is very little in movies that is worth listening to, but a couple come to mind related to this subject.

(1)  "Wax on, wax off."  " Pick up coat, hang up coat, put coat on, take coat off, drop coat."  (Train on parts)

(2)  Naaaa!  Eye, always look eye!!"  (Be aware of the process, see everything, not the individual parts and just perform.)

And the answer was "see the process".  If what we are seeing unfold is not the process that produced a 10 (9, 8 whatever your acceptable shot is) before (you have been reviewing the good shots and making notes?) then we are not in the correct process (call it flow, call it awareness, call it subconscious trigger, whatever) and we need start over (and mentally review what a good process looks like before picking up the gun again.) If we are looking for individual reasons to quit the process (trigger stopping, dot moving too much, trigger finger moving the gun, firming/loosening grip, etc.,) then we are multitasking and missing the overall picture.  That's is probably what is tripping up the OP's trigger.  If we just see what's happening and compare it to our past experience shooting a 10, that's much simpler and not multitasking.  

Sometimes I've said it like "I simply have to determine if I need to abort the shot" but that simply means if I don't see a good shot process (wobble, pattern, timing, whatever) unfolding and need to remind myself I don't HAVE to shoot that SF shot.  As soon as the brain says "I think"...you should end the process before even getting to "...its been too long on the trigger" or "... it might get better."  At the "I think" point, I'm just generally wasting time and energy that needs to go into the  next shot.   

The point is we are trying to respond to the seeing the best process, not trying to figure out what went wrong and correct it while shooting (that's for training time).  For example, after a while, we will get comfortable keeping the trigger moving when we see the dot dipping below and then start back to the center because we will know the trigger is going to finish as we are approaching the center.  Stopping the trigger or finishing the trigger process after the dot gets to the center only means it will have a high level of probability of being headed somewhere else by the time we "decide" anything.

CR


Last edited by CR10X on 10/14/2020, 12:18 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by inthebeech 10/14/2020, 12:06 pm

[quote="james r chapman"]I can easily chew gum and rub my belly at the same time.
[/quote]
Yes you can and you are doing this by SWITCHING your concentration and your messages through neural pathways, between muscles that chew and muscles that move your arm.  You just think you're doing one of them without thinking.  Here's a drill.  Watch the tail light of a car in front of you (when in the passenger seat only please).  Try to make it a competition to identify as fast as you can react, when the light comes on.  A the same time do anything else; such as recognize the sensation of the armrest on your forearm.  Did you really receive messages to your forearm during those moments when you were really mentally and visually focused on getting that light change identified? No.  Your brain was not able to intently concentrate on doing two things at once.  This works for any two stimuli of the five possibilities.  I found that WITHIN the span of one single sniff of a rose, if I made it a challenge to try to detect the primary feathers on a bird, for that instant when I was visually focused on finding those feathers, I temporarily LOST the smell of the rose.  Can't CONCENTRATE (I did not say "Can't do.") on two things at once.
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Post by TonyH 10/14/2020, 12:27 pm

Try tapping the top of head with the palm flat of one hand while rubbing your belly with the palm flat of the other.....
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Post by Jon Eulette 10/14/2020, 12:48 pm

My simple 2 cents on this.
Train each fundamental individually in both dry practice and live fire. When shooting for score focus on one thing/fundamental (part of shot plan) and let the other fundamentals be performed subconsciously. If you do this you will shoot your best. I like to refer to this as having a quiet mind. If you try multitasking you will be inconsistent and scores will suffer. I have coached many people snd once they apply this their scores typically are their very best. There is a fine line between being able to get away with bouncing between two of them but in the long run it's not conducive to consistently good  shooting. So learn what a 10 looks like and 10 feels like while focusing on one fundamental; usually trigger. If your not doing this you are fooling yourself.
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Post by inthebeech 10/14/2020, 1:31 pm

For the past three months I've been applying what both Jon and Cecil describe above - blank target shooting at fifty yards (so I can't see the holes), in two flavors.  1.  Intense visual focus and mental concentration on sight alignment. Nothing else. Result: Very good alignment but I detect my finger stopping which then requires a subsequent message to get it started again.  At this instant sight alignment sxxt's the bed of course and I've lost the ability to call the shot because I did not see the sights the instant the gun fired (because I shifted concentration away from alignment, to trigger process)   2.  Physical concentration on finger pad sensation and mental concentration on continuous, smooth trigger process, letting the sights do as they please.  Result:  Smooth trigger process but my front sight moves more in the notch and I can't call the shot because while I SAW the sights, I was NOT CONCENTRATING on them (Remember?  Concentration was on trigger process.).

It is true that with blank targets, what I concentrate on, goes quite well without the distraction of the bull.  And it appears to be a geographic oddity - with or without a bull my groups are identical.  I'm going to order a custom tee shirt - "The eight ring will have to do."
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Post by Al 10/14/2020, 1:57 pm

james r chapman wrote:I can easily chew gum and rub my belly at the same time.
Me too!
I just have to pick different days to do it in. lol!

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Post by Jon Eulette 10/14/2020, 2:33 pm

inthebeech,
In dry firing trigger squeeze training, you should work on getting shot to break and dot/sight not moving at all when shot breaks. So in order to do this you need to experiment putting trigger finger in deeper as well as pulling it out to find right spot on the trigger pad. Also minute grip changes; slight twist left or right. If you spend the time mastering this it will show when you go to the range. 
Also the trigger job has to be your friend. As I like to say, "3.5# doesn't always equal 3.5#". This means just because your trigger can hold 3.5# weights that it could feel heavier from hand. Excellent trigger job is vital to good shooting. Shots must break inside a narrow window, once you cross that window the shots typically are substandard. Waiting for it to break and knowing its about to break is the difference. Surprise shots are fir newbies. Experienced shooters KNOW its going to break very soon.
Jon
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Post by mikemyers 10/14/2020, 2:44 pm

CR10X wrote:........And the answer was "see the process".  If what we are seeing unfold is not the process that produced a 10 (9, 8 whatever your acceptable shot is) before (you have been reviewing the good shots and making notes?) then we are not in the correct process (call it flow, call it awareness, call it subconscious trigger, whatever) and we need start over (and mentally review what a good process looks like before picking up the gun again.) If we are looking for individual reasons to quit the process (trigger stopping, dot moving too much, trigger finger moving the gun, firming/loosening grip, etc.,) then we are multitasking and missing the overall picture..........If we just see what's happening and compare it to our past experience shooting a 10, that's much simpler and not multitasking......

At the range today, I wanted to create three targets, slow fire, timed fire, and rapid fire.  During slow fire, I tried to identify what it was that caused me to abort a shot.  It may very well be completely the wrong reason, but from my perspective, if things are happening properly, as in when I get a good shot, there's a certain "pattern" to what I do and think.  I know instantly if something is "off".  I also know from past experience that if I take the shot anyway, it won't be very good, but my thinking no longer gets that far - if anything is "off", it's like hitting a kill-switch - I abort the shot, lower the gun, relax, and start over again.  

If this happens three times in a row, I just stop.  Something else that I haven't yet recognized is wrong.


I think I will drop out of this discussion.  I don't have anything to add, only questions.  
As to my "acceptable shot" is for slow or timed fire, last year it was anything "in the black". Now it's "9 or better". 
I may not completely understand what all of you are saying, but I find it helpful anyway.  

Sorry for any disruption.  I'll do more reading and less writing.
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Post by CR10X 10/14/2020, 3:05 pm

Mike:  no disruption and good question.  You've pretty much got the process but need to see more good shots (in your mind) before you shoot them. Especially after an abort. Otherwise what's going to fresher in your memory, a good shot or an aborted / bad shot? Remembering and feeling are the keys to putting performance together. 

Inthebreech:

Ok, not unusual, but deserves some further discussion.  Hopefully something someone says will help.  I'll give it a try.  Don't get discouraged. 

Result:  Smooth trigger process but my front sight moves more in the notch and I can't call the shot because while I SAW the sights, I was NOT CONCENTRATING on them (Remember?  Concentration was on trigger process.).

When training, the above is perfectly ok if you are working on trigger process. But seeing and feeling are two different things we can do without concentration (but with awareness); they are just being added to our sensory memory.  So what if the shot was an 8, the training was to complete the trigger press smoothly and uninterrupted.  Yes, the sight moving in the notch is disturbing, but so what (for this training session).  As a matter of fact, its not that you had a bad shot, its that you completed the trigger without hesitation. If you get an 8 ring group at 50 just working on keeping the trigger moving, then you are about 80 percent of the way to shooting a 9 ring group (and shooting 95's).  

Eventually, you can see the front sight / dot (sensory input) even though you are concentrating on keeping the trigger moving.  The first is just an input, the second is an action / process to be completed (what you're concentrating on).  

However, for another training session right after working on the trigger process, go back to training on seeing the sights (and just trust the trigger).  If you see some movement of the front sight then, do some analysis and check out grip pressure/ consistency, trigger finger placement, impact of lower part of trigger finger on the grip, etc.    Working back and forth between two or more training goals can help with the integration.  

Then go to the range and just shoot 30 shots in as long as you want to take, NOT concentrating or working on anything but simply seeing the whole process.  (A practice swing prior to a golf shot is not fixing or training for anything, its just reminding the mind and body to swing free.) You'll be surprised how many first shots are X's, until you let your brain get in the way and try to start making it better.  When that happens, you  have a learning moment about how you need to shoot a good shot AND how to shoot a match.  Go back to that first shot feeling and repeat it. 

Learning how to shoot a precise shot could be broken down into three steps if you want to think of it that way. (1) Individual parts, (2) integration of the individual parts  into a process, (3) awareness of the process as its happening (sensory input and memory comparison). 

One thing I will say at the end is that too many shooters take too much ammo to the range (to practice or train).  If we have only a limited number of live shots (10, 20, 30, whatever), we will learn to be more selective in our expenditure of those rounds (and do a lot more dryfiring / prep work before the shot).  If you are shooting more than 90 shots per session, to me that's way overkill and wasting ammunition and time and usually results in just "practicing" average rather than finding "better".

Just my thoughts.  Hope you find a good path.

CR

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Post by Al 10/14/2020, 3:52 pm

Mike,
Don't stop asking questions.
I've picked up lots of good answers to questions you've asked that I hadn't thought of.

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Post by Jack H 10/14/2020, 8:58 pm

Great thread.  And as usual CR is right on.
Let me just add 1.5 cents worth.

"Focus" might be a word that is better to say just in training.  Focus on a part of the process.  Focus on the front sight.  There is a subtle difference in these two focus ideas.

After much training, focusing should evolve to "sensing".  Even sensing might evolve to "observing" where you become one of the few who can say "pick up gun, shoot gun, put gun down".
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Post by chopper 10/14/2020, 9:21 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:
Also the trigger job has to be your friend. As I like to say, "3.5# doesn't always equal 3.5#". This means just because your trigger can hold 3.5# weights that it could feel heavier from hand. Excellent trigger job is vital to good shooting. Shots must break inside a narrow window, once you cross that window the shots typically are substandard. Waiting for it to break and knowing its about to break is the difference. Surprise shots are fir newbies. Experienced shooters KNOW its going to break very soon.
Jon
  Jon, this is so true for me especially with the short roll you did on my gun. I know some very experienced shooters prefer a crisp breaking trigger they are really good with em, I'm just glad I tried the short roll, best thing for ME.  I find I can be a bit late on pressuring the trigger, maybe come out of center and 'feel' I have time to get back to center with out rushing the trigger. One other thing I like about the short roll is, I have a lot more confidence getting on the trigger while recovering during sustained, it wasn't like that at first. My timed is pretty fast now about 10-13 secs, I think I should slow it down some. In rapid it seems like eternity, but feels so good. Now to build a stronger grip and tighten the groups more, my arm got fatigued at my last 2700 and my hold was getting weak also.
 Stan

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Post by willnewton 10/14/2020, 9:22 pm

This is the first time I have wanted to lock a thread because it is so good I want to preserve it in this perfect state.
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Post by mikemyers 10/15/2020, 12:42 am

(.....or make it a sticky, so it's easier to find in the future.)
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Post by CR10X 10/15/2020, 5:51 am

Inthebreech:

Sorry I forgot to add that an 8 ring size wobble is perfectly acceptable as a wobble area, its about the size of mine at this age.

But, if you continue the trigger process as the wobble is getting smaller, or headed towards the center AND keep the trigger moving, you will get to the point of seeing lots more 10's and X's appear on the target. This is not "picking off" the shot when the dots / sights are perfectly centered.  It about learning that they will be centered when we complete the trigger.  

I'll shoot an X almost every time the dot bounces around twice at the bottom of the 9 ring as part of the wobble and then starts moving up if I keep the trigger process going.    See your wobble pattern and get the trigger process to complete at the dot or sight alignment is headed towards the center or centering.  

As I was processing how to see the shot I began to think that if the dot / sights appeared to "stand still" it might mean that I'm "freezing" the visual input and not really seeing the process.  Like getting focused on the picture I "saw" rather than allowing the visual input to continue and seeing it as a "video".  Some people may call this trying to pick off the shot, but I think they may actually be using a visual "memory" that's just a millisecond or so in the past because that's what they thought they needed to see or wanted to see. 

Visual input is important to creating the responses we want to attain when shooting a precision pistol shot.  We just have to find out what works for each of us. Just don't get tripped up trying to find "perfect" or "still" as it will inhibit getting good trigger control.  On the other hand, we can't just flail away at the trigger with any old sight picture either.  Visual input to the center, and controlled, progressive trigger process.  Bullseye to IPSC, its just a matter of acceptable sight picture and how long / controlled for the trigger process.  

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Post by Wobbley 10/15/2020, 1:33 pm

In a day or so, lock this thread, and make it a sticky...
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