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Pistol Induced Motion

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mikemyers
RodJ
Wobbley
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straybrit
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NukeMMC
SteveT
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Steve in MI
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172snowhawk
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Jon Eulette
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Post by Jon Eulette Mon Jun 27, 2022 9:21 pm

Ok, so basically we all stand angular to the target and attempt to hold perfectly steady while executing a pistol shot one handed.

What area of our bodies can attribute to unwanted movement?
Grip
Grip strength must be consistent to get consistent groups. Inconsistent grip can contribute to pistol moving left or right especially with Euro grips. Weak thumb lends to high shots at 1 o’clock on the long line.
Wrist
Breaking wrist up or down. Can be from flinch, poor trigger control, not understanding how to keep it firm when shooting.
Elbow 
My elbow hyperextends naturally, so not much of an issue for me, it’s solid. Some people not getting it firm enough. But not Marine Corps tight lol. I think they over did it back in the day.
So you need to learn how to make it rigid.
Shoulder 
High shoulder or low shoulder? Some hold it high and are successful and some (myself) force it low for scapular support.
Lower back
Weak back equals poor torso support. As we shoot a one day 2700 the lower back fatigues. I know that as match proceeds I lean slightly more to the rear to counteract the fatigue.

Ok the affects of these areas:
Grip fundamentals are extremely important to shooting consistently good groups/scores. Learn how to grip!
Wrist contributes to high or low shots or for right handed shooters the dreaded 7 o’clock shots when trigger finger not being your best friend.
Elbow looseness or lack of tension can cause sustained fire recoil recovery issues. Makes shooting successive shots inconsistent.
Shoulder health is really important for shooting great scores. If it’s medically problematic I feel for you, mine are in need of surgical repair.So if it’s healthy it’s much easier to have a decent hold. As we age how long we can hold shortens. Got to break the shots sooner. Holding to long contributes to fatigue and low shots. Also can lead to heeling shots in effort to correct the drooping arm.
Back muscles need strong abdominal/core muscles to help reduce muscle fatigue.

So what’s happening at the pistol? If you can have stable body/arm position then not much is happening at the pistol. Easier to shoot good shots. But when brain sees the pistol oscillating, moving up and down, shaking side to side, it gets more difficult to squeeze the trigger uninterrupted. The resultant errors from not accepting our hold have large affect on the muzzle of the pistol. If you imagine the shoulder as a rigid pivot point and the affected muzzle as the moving point from shooter induced error/errors, you now have angular velocity. This is a measurement of the muzzle in an arc from the shoulder. If the muzzle is moving away from the X ring as shot is broken, the resultant error down range is magnified. The shot error is truly magnified from this movement. How many times have we heard someone say the shot looked good when it broke, but the shot is out in the white? They were probably moving towards the center of the target as the shot broke, but the muzzle was moving angular (to the side) and muzzle flipped bullet along its path.

So having said this, if we really are shooting the fundamentals, we will not make these errors. Most common error I see is holding too long and breaking a shot that should’ve been aborted. 
Another thing that doesn’t help is having a trigger that’s too crisp. Lends itself to forced shots.
Your training/shooting mentality really needs to reflect accepting your hold and squeezing the trigger with purpose. It will lessen the poor shots.


I look forward to comments.


Jon
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Post by sayracin Mon Jun 27, 2022 9:55 pm

Only thing I can say is thank you.


Bob
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Post by Greg Walloch Mon Jun 27, 2022 10:48 pm

Keep.
Print out.
Review daily.
Keep.
Print out.
Review daily.
Keep.
Print out.
Review daily.

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Post by 172snowhawk Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:27 pm

Thank you very much.  Excellent points!

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Post by Jack H Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:02 am

You are right about shoulder and low back.  After surgery in both, I never fully recovered. 
Now age and arthritis are big factors.
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Post by Steve in MI Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:30 am

Thank you for taking the time to post this.

Steve

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Post by Thin Man Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:50 am

Thank you.

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Post by SteveT Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:12 am

I would add ankles to the sources of motion. It's a slow swaying motion, so it's easier to manage, but it's there. Angle to the target (and to the wind) can make a difference.

That said, I don't think hold area or wobble area is the most important factor for shooting good scores. At a clinic several years ago we all took turns holding a laser sighted pistol on a target. Brian Zins did not have the smallest hold area. IIRC his hold was the black or even a little bigger. Several of us had smaller wobble areas.
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Post by NukeMMC Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:40 am

What about balance over your feet and head position?  I find myself creating somewhat of a "fighting stance" foot position to minimize "sway" over my feet, but early-on, found an inconsistent head position could affect "sway" over my feet noticeably, as does an inconsistent arm position.  So essentially, a consistent position, as a whole, should be considered in your whole build-up of a pistol shot.
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Post by Steve K Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:48 am

Great comments! I will reread these points before my next match. I hope I can follow the advise.
Thanks

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Post by chopper Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:34 pm

Great article Jon, I was practicing yesterday at range with 100 SWC's to improve my long line with the 45. I noted, my hold was wavering so I started my trigger earlier, I changed to when I was bringing the dot down to the bull. All I accomplished there were some higher shots that were still spread out. So I changed my stance to stiffen my rear knee more, not much different.
 Jon I think it's more in the arm strength or conditioning, what do you do to make for a steadier hold? I always liked my hold when I leaned my head forward towards my shoulder a little, but was told to stand upright with my head erect shooting the slow. I lean more aggressively when shooting sustained and don't know why there would be a  difference when shooting slow. It actually helps me by looking more though the "sweeter spot" in my glasses, I have progressive bifocals. I'm getting older and do need to work harder in those areas, and dry-fire is always my trigger workout or training. Thanks for your ideas.
 Stan

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Post by straybrit Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:53 pm

>Breaking wrist up or down. Can be from flinch, poor trigger control, not understanding how to keep it firm when shooting.

I've recently been focusing more on consistent trigger motion in sustained fire. To the point where I can almost call it training as opposed to practice. This has resulted in 2 major things. An increase (from zero) in cleaned targets and identifiable wrist movement. Given that (when I get it right) the trigger is always in smooth motion I don't think it's either of the first 2 issues and I've only noticed it once I've consistently smoothed out the action. So - a deeper dive into just how to firm up the wrist would be interesting.
The movement I'm seeing is vertical downwards. Not breaking left or right. Which makes me think it's not anticipation or flinching. It's not huge - but it's enough to turn an X into a 10 or a low 10 into a 9.

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Post by bruce martindale Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:10 pm

Finally! A post about shooting. Excellent information.

Glad to see it, we need more of this. There is so much more to the mechanics as well as the mental aspects of shooting well.
Thanks

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Post by Jon Eulette Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:47 pm

straybrit wrote:>[size=40]Breaking wrist up or down. Can be from flinch, poor trigger control, not understanding how to keep it firm when shooting.[/size]

I've recently been focusing more on consistent trigger motion in sustained fire. To the point where I can almost call it training as opposed to practice. This has resulted in 2 major things. An increase (from zero) in cleaned targets and identifiable wrist movement. Given that (when I get it right) the trigger is always in smooth motion I don't think it's either of the first 2 issues and I've only noticed it once I've consistently smoothed out the action. So - a deeper dive into just how to firm up the wrist would be interesting.
The movement I'm seeing is vertical downwards. Not breaking left or right. Which makes me think it's not anticipation or flinching. It's not huge - but it's enough to turn an X into a 10 or a low 10 into a 9.

Does it happen when you dry fire practice?
Firming the wrist is pretty basic. When firming up the grip, the forearm is tensed. As a result the wrist is tensed.
When we train its easy to only focus on the individual fundamentals. But it's also a good idea to focus/train on the problem areas. I recommend dry firing and focusing purely on your wrist. Then go to the range and live fire focusing on your wrist.  It's very possible you are relaxing just as shot is about to break producing the drooped lower shot.
I'm a strong believer in dry practice and real training,  not just shooting.  The learning/mastering curve is shortened when we really train and not just shoot.
Jon
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Post by straybrit Tue Jun 28, 2022 6:51 pm

I've not noticed it in dry firing, nor do I see it on slow fire or the air pistol. Up to now it's been masked by the poor trigger control - between injury and the plague I let the basics slip and I'm trying to eradicate the bad habits that seem to have crept in.

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Post by Wobbley Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:00 pm

SteveT wrote:I would add ankles to the sources of motion. It's a slow swaying motion, so it's easier to manage, but it's there. Angle to the target (and to the wind) can make a difference.

That said, I don't think hold area or wobble area is the most important factor for shooting good scores. At a clinic several years ago we all took turns holding a laser sighted pistol on a target. Brian Zins did not have the smallest hold area. IIRC his hold was the black or even a little bigger. Several of us had smaller wobble areas.
International 3-Pos rifle shooters are known to micro-adjust the rifle-body orientation as the body sways when shooting standing or kneeling.  So the body is swaying, the position is moving/swaying yet the rifle remains aimed at the center.  I believe that 2600+ shooters do the same.  It is nothing more than physio-kinetic control of your body.
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Post by RodJ Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:13 pm

Something dawned on me recently, as a novice. That somewhere in my heart of hearts, as much as I focused on the fundamentals and executed to my best ability, there was some luck or chance involved in every shot. That belief that a good shot was ultimately a result of random perturbation in the universe was causing me to “let go” of one or more or all of the fundamentals… at the most crucial moment… So that belief actually created the randomness in my shots.

I mention this in the context of straybrit and Jon’s discussion about relaxing at the last moment. Of course, my lack of full confidence may not apply to better shooters. Or I could be completely wrong and my whole process is messed up. Not enough experience to know!

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Post by bruce martindale Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:00 pm

RodJ...l think TIM's Trigger Induced motions especially at the last 
Oh-No second are a big contributor to bad shots. It comes from making the shot go ie knowing exactly when it will go off vs a continuous triggering process while attempting to keep center pointed.

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Post by Jack H Wed Jun 29, 2022 4:42 am

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Last edited by Jack H on Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by mikemyers Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:06 am

Jon, you might want to say something about the way different sights behave on the same gun.

For example, on my Model 41, using the 1" Ultradot sight makes the gun feel like it has a built in gyro.

By comparison, if I replace it with an Aimpoint Micro, the gun amplifies my wobble considerably.  It feels "nervous".  This happens at the range, or if I'm home, dry-firing.  

My best guess is a tube type sight like an Ultradot is inherently more stable because of the length and weight distribution.  I posted a thread about this a year or so ago, but nobody seemed to understand.  I think this is similar to where a barrel weight at ihe front of the gun might make the gun more stable in the hand.

If you know what I mean, maybe you can describe this far better than I can.
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Post by RodJ Wed Jun 29, 2022 1:46 pm

bruce martindale wrote:RodJ...l think TIM's Trigger Induced motions especially at the last 
Oh-No second are a big contributor to bad shots. It comes from making the shot go ie knowing exactly when it will go off vs a continuous triggering process while attempting to keep center pointed.

More Gold from experienced and highly proficient contributors. Commit to a trigger process, not to making the gun fire.  Hmmm

Thank you, Bruce.

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Post by Merick Wed Jun 29, 2022 1:57 pm

Wobbley wrote:International 3-Pos rifle shooters are known to micro-adjust the rifle-body orientation as the body sways when shooting standing or kneeling.  So the body is swaying, the position is moving/swaying yet the rifle remains aimed at the center.  I believe that 2600+ shooters do the same.  It is nothing more than physio-kinetic control of your body.

Rifle does not move when it's done right. Positions are built with minimal muscle tenstion maximum bone structure. Things get harder as the rifle gets farther from the ground, not because it takes more muscles per say, but there are more bones involved so it takes better cordination to control them.

Pistol requires active muscle engagement,  especially between the ribs and the fingers. Opposing muscle groups are both engaged to hold joints stable. Each muscle fiber tremors as it contracts, some tremors cancel each other out, others combine and magnify.  Then somehow your trigger finger has to stand up in the already busy canoe without rocking it.

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Post by msmith44 Thu Jun 30, 2022 2:29 pm

SteveT wrote:I would add ankles to the sources of motion. It's a slow swaying motion, so it's easier to manage, but it's there. 
Eliminating insoles and soles that have gel inside will help control motion. PP rules do not include a section on shoes unlike ISSF. So, for PP the stiffer the better.

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Post by mhayford45 Fri Jul 15, 2022 10:37 pm

A consistent grip pressure is one area I work on every practice session. I have found that if I can keep my dot steady and in the same spot within the circular viewing area that this promotes the following:
A steady grip pressure. For the dot to remain in the same spot grip pressure must be consistent.
The wrist must remain firm or the dot moves out of the spot 
The arm and elbow must remain firm and extended or the dot moves out of the spot
The thumb must be engaged and remain firm or the dot moves. 
I also like a high positioned thumb as this aids my trigger finger to move more freely
When the shot breaks, i want the dot to remain in the same viewing spot or to return quickly.

BTW John Zurek taught me to keeping the dot steady with the viewing area. I took me 3 years to understand why.


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Post by mhayford45 Sat Jul 16, 2022 12:16 pm

@ mike myers

I also find that having a well balanced or correctly weighted gun promotes stability both in sight picture and recovery. The placement of the dot and weight distribution definitely affects this.

Shooting Air Pistol taught me this as most APs come with weights and most AP shooters use the weights. If you grip the AP and wag it in your hand and watch the movement of the barrel you can see a area in which movement passes through. There will be more movement of the arc of the barrel forward or behind this area. I think of it as a node. This node coincides with the place most AP shooters put there weights usually by trial and error as they are trying to find the best overall stability. This seems to make sense to all the physics training I had in college. 

This can be applied to BE guns and I do have lead tape weighting on all of my BE pistols. I do shoot with AIM point micros but have been considering moving to the 9000s.

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