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Thoughts after binge watching Hickok45 on YouTube while away from home

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Post by mikemyers Wed Aug 10, 2022 10:06 am

I don't know where to post this, and I suppose this is as good (or bad) a place as any.  Having worked on learning the fundamentals for maybe a decade now and trying to do what's right, I turn on my computer and watch this "Hickok45" guy pick up just about any gun, hold his arm(s) out straight, take a few seconds (sometimes) and usually blow away whatever he was aiming at - with right hand, left hand, or both hands.

He'll take an expensive 1911 and blast away at several targets - then pick up a plastic Glock and do the same thing.  Revolver, pistol, sub-compact, whatever - it never seems to matter to him.  I know he used to be into competitive shooting, but now he's this huge YouTube personality - and I sit at home, wondering how he does it.

With a tiny Walther PPK/S or the most powerful gun he has in front of him, he can hit "the Gong" which I think is 80 yards away.  He can seemingly shoot as fast as he wants, too.



He and Jerry Miculek make the same impression on me - how'd he DO THAT!!!!!!


I know "it's the shooter, not the gun", but when I see him take a multi-thousand dollar 1911, then do the same thing with an inexpensive bargain 1911, I think he's trying to tell me something, even if I'm resistant to listening.  

Even if it's difficult to accept, I understand it is HIM, and not HIS GUN.  .......and if that is true, that leads to the question "how can I learn to be like him??"

(I've wanted to post this for a very long time, and while it's not exactly Bullseye related, maybe it's worth discussing anyway.....)
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Post by Pinetree Wed Aug 10, 2022 10:31 am

I saw a video once where Jerry Miculek related a story where someone asked him how he could learn to shoot like him... And he said something like "go shoot 300,000 rounds, and then come back and we'll talk".

Hickok45 shoots an awful lot, plus he only has to walk out his door to do it.
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Post by Steve B Wed Aug 10, 2022 3:06 pm

Our outdoor 10 ring is like 3" in diameter.  Hickok45 isn't shooting at a 3" circle 50 yards away, let alone 25 yards away...  As gun enthusiasts go he's doing pretty good, but any Expert level and above bullseye shooter is better than 99% of the shooting population, IMO.

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Post by Jack H Wed Aug 10, 2022 4:29 pm

Long ago I found it easier to hit a 10" dinger at 100y with my High Standard than to hit the X ring at 50y.  I think there was a mental factor about this.
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Post by mikemyers Wed Aug 10, 2022 9:24 pm

Steve B wrote:Our outdoor 10 ring is like 3" in diameter.  Hickok45 isn't shooting at a 3" circle 50 yards away, let alone 25 yards away...  As gun enthusiasts go he's doing pretty good, but any Expert level and above bullseye shooter is better than 99% of the shooting population, IMO.
I mostly agree with you, but his targets range up to 80 yards away, and beyond, with just about every gun he picks up, regardless of brand, size, cost, and power, from a PPK/S up to the largest guns I've ever heard of, let alone seen.  

How many Bullseye Shooters would shoot that well given that huge range of guns, with every type of sight, or even fixed sights, and every possible choice of ammo?  .....not to mention with right OR left hands, along with two hands?  

How many of "us" can hit a target with our non-shooting hand only?
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Post by Jack H Wed Aug 10, 2022 9:43 pm

And he might edit out all the misses
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Post by SonOfAGun Thu Aug 11, 2022 12:01 am

Does anyone recall having this same discussion a few weeks ago?

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t19626-accuracy-in-precision-shooting
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Post by Pinetree Thu Aug 11, 2022 6:35 am

Evidently not.

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Post by mikemyers Thu Aug 11, 2022 6:54 am

SonOfAGun wrote:Does anyone recall having this same discussion a few weeks ago?

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t19626-accuracy-in-precision-shooting
Yes, but that was about "technique", and this post is about the shooter.

Accuracy, or the lack of, is not the same as the seeming ability to pick up any gun, with one or the other hands, or both hands, and almost immediately shoot it well.  

I've been studying his videos after the previous thread, to see what, if anything, he does "differently".  Maybe he and Jerry are just "superman" in disguise, or robots?  Nope.

I do know video editing, and it's pretty obvious if a scene has been cut out.  He doesn't do that - he just expains it, and shoots again.

My best guess is a tremendous amount of shooting, gradually improving over time, for both him and for Jerry.  ......along with a body and eyesight that can permit him to improve.

The previous thread was about "how to", but this thread goes beyond that.

.......and I'll admit, I'm selfish.  I'd like to be able to learn from how he learned, to improve.  It's more than just "the fundamentals".
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Post by BE Mike Thu Aug 11, 2022 7:21 am

The secret to excellent marksmanship is that there is no secret. Bullseye pistol shooting is all about the fundamentals of marksmanship. The mental training part is about applying those fundamentals under duress. Instead of watching entertaining videos, you might want to study "The Pistol Shooters Treasury"  &  the Army Marksmanship Manual. I hear the Marine Corps Manual is very good too, as well as, others. Learning how to be a good bullseye pistol shooter isn't about entertainment, it is about training and dogged determination.
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Post by mikemyers Thu Aug 11, 2022 9:51 am

Sorry, I'd prefer to think of it differently.  I have read and re-read, multiple times, the Pistol Shooter's Treasury, and I do go to the range with one goal in mind for the day, with one of my Bullseye guns at 25 or 50 yards.  But, I *also* read and watch things for entertainment, very often an old Columbo movie, and lately more and more of Hickok45's videos.  I'm away from the range, and can't go shooting right now, but I do enjoy watching him shoot many of my favorite guns, far, far better than I do.

I don't see it as a choice, as I can easily do both.  The book I'm re-reading right now is Bullseye Mind - again.  To me, Bullseye became "serious" long ago, compared to "target shooting" which was just done for pleasure at first.

I enjoy watching most of the Hickok45 videos, even the hours long ones mostly listening to him - but it bugs me because he makes it look so easy.  Maybe it really is easy, and I'm worse than I thought.  

I don't shoot Bullseye because I want to win a championship.
I do shoot Bullseye because I enjoy it.
Maybe if I was 38, not 78, I would have a different view of things.

I may not be able to do what Cecil can do with a Bullseye Gun, but I think I should be able to do what Hickok45 does with a regular gun.  Can I do it now?  No way.  Might I ever be able to do it?  I hope so.


Sorry, I actually do agree with what you just wrote.  I just have a different perspective, which includes "entertainment" and "enjoyment".
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Post by rich.tullo Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:03 am

Editing , and He shoots that range ever day. And most of the guns he shoots are accurate enough to do what he is doing. He is skilled but he is not shooting 2600 in a match.
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Post by mikemyers Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:18 am

rich.tullo wrote:Editing , and He shoots that range ever day. And most of the guns he shoots are accurate enough to do what he is doing. He is skilled but he is not shooting 2600 in a match.
For all practical purposes, I shoot the same range every day, same targets day after day, always 25 or 50 yards.  He shoots at any distance, up to too far to see.  He shoots all kinds of guns.

It amazed me when he shot a series of rounds with a precision 1911, then shot seemingly just as well with a simple Glock.  I didn't expect that.  I wuz wrong.

I know he used to shoot competitively, but I have never read how he did at a bullseye match.  I wonder, how many of us are shooting 2600 in a match?  Does it matter?  As to "most of the guns", how about the hundred-year-old replica guns he loves?  He shot his "Gong" with a PPK/S and hit it with half the shots.  I did not expect that.  He loves revolvers - and so do I.  

One of the posts up above was that it takes a gazillion rounds to get to that level of ability.  Currently, I think I just accept that, along with learning "the fundamentals" first.
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Post by CR10X Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:38 am

Since you used my name:

I may not be able to do what Cecil can do with a Bullseye Gun, but I think I should be able to do what Hickok45 does with a regular gun. 

The fact that you think there is an appreciable difference in either of those examples shows that you still haven't actually learned and don't believe a thing you've been told here (over and over).  Everything of any importance happens at the gun and the gun is one of the lessor components in the equation.  

One can shoot rounds forever, but if they're still doing the same thing over and over without a significant improvement in the results,  all they're going to get is a more consistent level of mediocrity.

The more one says "I can't because" the more likely it is that "they will not be able to no matter what" because listing excuses will always result in a successful failure.  Trying new things may not lead to improvement, but the probability of improvement is much greater sticking with any status quo.  

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Post by mikemyers Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:55 am

CR10X wrote:..........Everything of any importance happens at the gun and the gun is one of the lessor components in the equation........  You can shoot rounds forever, but if you're still doing the same thing over and over without a significant improvement in the results,  all you're going to get is a more consistent level of mediocrity........
Bingo!

I think from what you just wrote that Hickok45 has achieved exactly that.  He is very consistent over the years, and is the same now as  years ago.  I have never seen any improvement.

I don't think I would use the word "mediocrity" in this case, but it "fits".


I would be extremely happy if I was replicating his results, with "any" gun, regardless of whether or not we consider the gun "precise" or not.

I'm guilty.  You are right.  

I would also be even happier if I use what I've been doing in Bullseye, including what you've taught me, but that does not detract from my wishing I could shoot as well as Hickok45, at anything.  It is equally true that I ALSO want to improve specifically at Bullseye.

I have two "graphs" fighting each other.  What I learn here pushes me upwards.  My aging body pushes me downwards.  Maintaining my current level, or lack, of ability is not the worst outcome.  If indeed, Hickok45 is "mediocre", then I ought to be able to shoot that well myself - with any gun I own, with my own "mediocre" ability.   .....sort of.


For better or worse, my real goal is still the same - to learn how to shoot better tomorrow than I could yesterday.

That doesn't preclude the emotions I feel while watching Hickock45.  I enjoy doing so, and I do learn from him too.
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Post by mikemyers Thu Aug 11, 2022 11:03 am

CR10X wrote:Since you used my name:
I used your name, as I think you are at the very top of my list of people to listen to, and try to learn from.  
Ain't nobody above you on my list.
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Post by CR10X Thu Aug 11, 2022 11:13 am

Damn! 

You once again totally and completely missed the point important point.  He is not consistent from where he started. 

Any shooter that has reached a certain level above throwing lead down range DID NOT START THERE OR GET THERE through any amount of repetition of what they were originally going.  

They all got there by finding and doing something different that improved their performance (and it's generally not repetition).  And every time a plateau was reached, I'll bet something different things were tried until additional improvement occurred (or they proved not to work any better and then something else was tried).

Now I remember why I quit responding.  Goodby.

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Post by straybrit Thu Aug 11, 2022 11:46 am

CR10X wrote:They all got there by finding and doing something different that improved their performance (and it's generally not repetition).  And every time a plateau was reached, I'll bet something different things were tried until additional improvement occurred (or they proved not to work any better and then something else was tried).

On that point - any tips on where to start looking for improvement? After years of no real shooting (injuries then the plague) I've finally got back to more or less where I was before (low to mid 2500s if nothing goes wrong) although I need to work on consistency of grip and focus. I know this is a "how long is this piece of string that you can't see" question - but is there a good progression of where you would look for changes that could lead to improvements. I'm guessing it's too individualized to be generic - but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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Post by BE Mike Thu Aug 11, 2022 1:14 pm

straybrit wrote:
CR10X wrote:They all got there by finding and doing something different that improved their performance (and it's generally not repetition).  And every time a plateau was reached, I'll bet something different things were tried until additional improvement occurred (or they proved not to work any better and then something else was tried).

On that point - any tips on where to start looking for improvement? After years of no real shooting (injuries then the plague) I've finally got back to more or less where I was before (low to mid 2500s if nothing goes wrong) although I need to work on consistency of grip and focus. I know this is a "how long is this piece of string that you can't see" question - but is there a good progression of where you would look for changes that could lead to improvements. I'm guessing it's too individualized to be generic - but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Thanks for redirecting the subject towards bullseye pistol shooting. As one who went through all the classes, short of high master, I believe that the road to expert is about as difficult as the road from expert to master. This is from a no-talent has been.
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Post by CR10X Thu Aug 11, 2022 1:42 pm

Straybrit:

Look at your journal.  Where are you losing the most points?  For example do you shoot lot's of 9's or just a few 7, 8's, whatever?  Then it breaks down into which fundamental appears to make the most impact when you train on that specific fundamental.  Keep notes, and read the first comment below to Mike.  Improvement is better consistency and more detail applied to each fundamental until the inner you understands what you want to see and do. 

BE Mike:

I've always given the advise to get out of Expert as quickly as you can. (That's for Dewey) That plateau can mire one down with distractions ranging from equipment to reloading, to trigger jobs and custom grips.  Again, check your journal and look at the targets.  This is where the mental game starts to come into play as well.  Go back through the basics one at a time for a couple of weeks or month at at time just like above, only in more detail.  

And really work on seeing the wobble ALL THE WAY through the shot and then drive the gun back to the center for your recovery even if its just a single slow fire shot.  Minor loss of focus on the wobble at the end of the trigger process can be an indicator that one is trying to "pick off " good shot especially in slow fire.  And I've seen this little trap catch a lot of Experts.  They know how to shoot a consistent 9 or 10 for the most part, but when it does not come within the optimum time they try to keep on with that shot. Try shooting as though you're driving the wobble to the center of your aiming area, not just holding the gun out there and waiting for it to settle down.  That's just one example of trying something different related to a fundamental.  Don't be afraid to explore applications for fundamentals, don't worry about new guns. 

Also from the mental standpoint, for slow fire work on getting the shot off or starting over.  Tell your self its ok to start over, you've still got a potential 10 points in the gun rather than a 7 on the target.

Mentally, for TF / RF work on keeping the trigger moving consistently and believing the wobble will take care of itself.  As Brian Enos and I agree on; keeping the trigger ahead of the sights will produce more center shots that trying the make the trigger catch up to the sights.   

And yes I could not hit the ground when I started and I learned the basics of accuracy through IPSC / USPSA and bowling pins and explored all the way to air and free pistol.  It's all just a formula that has to be balanced for each sport.  How much precision is needed in sight alignment versus how much time you have to complete the course of fire. Bullseye has more time, but requires some more time.  The main issue is that usually it's too much time and that's another obstacle in the precision shooting sport versus action types. In action shooting, beginning competitors usually err the other way, trying to shoot faster than they can see. 

CR

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Post by BE Mike Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:11 pm

CR10X wrote:Straybrit:

Look at your journal.  Where are you losing the most points?  For example do you shoot lot's of 9's or just a few 7, 8's, whatever?  Then it breaks down into which fundamental appears to make the most impact when you train on that specific fundamental.  Keep notes, and read the first comment below to Mike.  Improvement is better consistency and more detail applied to each fundamental until the inner you understands what you want to see and do. 

BE Mike:

I've always given the advise to get out of Expert as quickly as you can. (That's for Dewey) That plateau can mire one down with distractions ranging from equipment to reloading, to trigger jobs and custom grips.  Again, check your journal and look at the targets.  This is where the mental game starts to come into play as well.  Go back through the basics one at a time for a couple of weeks or month at at time just like above, only in more detail.  

And really work on seeing the wobble ALL THE WAY through the shot and then drive the gun back to the center for your recovery even if its just a single slow fire shot.  Minor loss of focus on the wobble at the end of the trigger process can be an indicator that one is trying to "pick off " good shot especially in slow fire.  And I've seen this little trap catch a lot of Experts.  They know how to shoot a consistent 9 or 10 for the most part, but when it does not come within the optimum time they try to keep on with that shot. Try shooting as though you're driving the wobble to the center of your aiming area, not just holding the gun out there and waiting for it to settle down.  That's just one example of trying something different related to a fundamental.  Don't be afraid to explore applications for fundamentals, don't worry about new guns. 

Also from the mental standpoint, for slow fire work on getting the shot off or starting over.  Tell your self its ok to start over, you've still got a potential 10 points in the gun rather than a 7 on the target.

Mentally, for TF / RF work on keeping the trigger moving consistently and believing the wobble will take care of itself.  As Brian Enos and I agree on; keeping the trigger ahead of the sights will produce more center shots that trying the make the trigger catch up to the sights.   

And yes I could not hit the ground when I started and I learned the basics of accuracy through IPSC / USPSA and bowling pins and explored all the way to air and free pistol.  It's all just a formula that has to be balanced for each sport.  How much precision is needed in sight alignment versus how much time you have to complete the course of fire. Bullseye has more time, but requires some more time.  The main issue is that usually it's too much time and that's another obstacle in the precision shooting sport versus action types. In action shooting, beginning competitors usually err the other way, trying to shoot faster than they can see. 

CR
If I'd only had a great mentor like you when I was struggling along! I was lucky enough to catch the first glimmers of computerization with the old e-mail Bullseye List. That helped me immensely.
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Post by weber1b Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:37 pm

I watch guys like Hickock45, when I do, purely for the entertainment. My number one thought when I do watch him is, dang, I wish I had his backyard.

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Post by mikemyers Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:46 am

For anyone serious about Bullseye, I know you guys are right, and most of the time I get to the range it's with a Bullseye gun, trying to improve, and I know that for some people, such as myself, improvement ain't easy.  

There are other times though, like the video below, when I just want to enjoy myself making noise and smoke and hopefully shooting well enough to not embarrass myself any more than I already have.

My club has monthly Bullseye matches, but also Silhouette matches, and Combat matches, and more.  

The video below is my tiny attempt to emulate Hickok45, but as with his videos, the best showed up in slow motion:






I'll stop posting about all this "fun shooting", and go back to my daily holding drill and dry-fire practice, hoping that when I get back to the range, I can continue where I left off.

One last thing - I have a "favorite/best" 1911, and ditto for a 22.  I know that's where my energy and effort ought to go, but I most enjoy shooting my revolvers, including the Ruger Old Army which is in a class by itself.  My "reward" isn't a trophy - it's just a nice target I can smile at, and having had an enjoyable time shooting.

But, starting tomorrow, I'll take off my Hickok45 cap, and put my Bullseye cap back on, and rejoin the more useful discussions here (most useful for me!).
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Post by mikemyers Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:03 am

straybrit wrote:On that point - any tips on where to start looking for improvement? After years of no real shooting (injuries then the plague) I've finally got back to more or less where I was before (low to mid 2500s if nothing goes wrong) although I need to work on consistency of grip and focus. I know this is a "how long is this piece of string that you can't see" question - but is there a good progression of where you would look for changes that could lead to improvements. I'm guessing it's too individualized to be generic - but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Just a thought - years ago, I had people record me shooting, for which I was rewarded with a long list of things that I didn't realize I was doing wrong - blinking flinching, not gripping the gun well enough.

If I had a coach, he would have pointed these things out to me, but I don't, and nobody told me nuttin'.  I used to ask people at the range for advice, but the feedback here was far more useful.  The book "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury" taught me how to cure the flinch I didn't realize I had.  The blinking was obvious in the video - I knew I didn't blink, but the video proved otherwise.  

Sgt. Keith Sanderson's "dry fire and holding drills" helped tremendously.  When I first got my 1911, I literally couldn't even hold it up in front of me for more than a few seconds.  It took months of feedback before I finally started to "call my shots".  Things are different now - my Baer 1911 fits me like a comfortable pair of slippers, and it no longer squirms in my hand.  

As Keith Sanderson said, for every one live fire shot you take, you should take 100 dry fire shots.  Sounded insane, but do a search and watch his training videos.  

Last, post some targets here every so often.  When people got done telling me what was wrong, they also managed to give me a lot of useful advice.  They even got me to sometimes switch to a proper 25-yard slow fire target, despite the horrible damage it did to my scores.

I have no idea if I ever will shoot well one handed - too something or other, but I'm catching up with what I can do with two hands, surprisingly.  

I'm the wrong person to "give advice" but I can easily remember and pass on what I was told, even those things that sounded nuts for quite a while, until I actually understood them.....
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Post by mikemyers Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:16 am

CR10X wrote:Damn! ......You once again totally and completely missed the point important point.  He is not consistent from where he started. 
From watching his recent videos, and comparing with the older videos, while I see huge changes in the shooting range, he could do things ten years ago, or yesterday, in a way that is very consistent.  I don't notice any signs that he is now "better".  Sometimes I think his older videos are better.

The video quality, and the sound, certainly improved, and he has a wider range of targets, but other than that, I can't tell an old video from a recent video.

I don't know much about when he started - I know he was into competitive shooting for a while.  Now he's a very talented internet celebrity.


Me?  I save my old targets, and however bad I may be now, I was far, far worse ten years ago.  Joining the bullseye club, then this forum, are the two best things I ever did.  When I joined the club, I had my Colt Combat Commander and lots of white box Winchester 230 grain ammo.  Then my education began.   :-)
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