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Area Aiming; Accepting Your Hold

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Area Aiming; Accepting Your Hold Empty Area Aiming; Accepting Your Hold

Post by Jon Eulette 9/2/2022, 7:59 pm

This little lesson is geared toward sharpshooters and below. It does everyone good to hear it, but hopefully this can help the shooters who are struggling to attain a higher level of shooting.
One of the very important things we hear over and over again when shooting bullseye is accepting our hold. It’s really important foundationally and what I consider part of shooting the pure fundamentals.
So for our example, let’s say a shooter can assume a one handed bullseye shooting stance and extend arm and aim at the bull. And the shooter can keep the red dot within the bull/black. At 50 yards the largest black scoring ring is the 8-ring, and at 25 yards the 9-ring.
So worst case if we are shooting our worst hold yet still holding the black, this would equate to ten shot scores of 80-0X at 50 yards, and 90-0X at 25 yards.
Doing the math; three SF targets would equal 3x80=240 points at 50 yards and 6x90=540 points at 25 yards. The aggregate score would be 780 points. Making the Grand Aggregate 2340 points. Again assuming the shooter shot absolute worst score for their hold being in the black at each line; 25 & 50.
NRA Classification for a 2340 points is 2340/27=86.67 average score. Which happens to be Sharpshooter (85.00-89.99 points).
This is what I think most of us refer to as shooting our hold. 
Ok so now let’s factor in the obvious….the trigger finger.  We can shoot our hold but actually be shooting it because of trigger pulling error. For example if your red dot was aimed at 3 o’clock in the 10-ring but the shot ended up in the 8-ring at 9 o’clock, more than likely it was a forced shot that with good trigger squeeze would have been a 10, but poor trigger squeeze put it into the 8-ring.
So where am I going with this?
Most shooters just shoot and don’t develop and grow. Let’s just accept this as a fact and move on. By shooting the pure fundamental of accepting the hold and squeezing the trigger without affecting the hold/aim, you will truthfully shoot your hold. Shooting pure fundamental means “so what the gun is wobbling/moving, I’m just gonna squeeze that trigger and let it break without forcing the shot off”. Trigger squeeze failures can be attributed to really just not having a good trigger squeeze, or not accepting your hold and snatching at shots, or waiting too long and going beyond ideal time when you should have broke the shot.
So I encourage you to train at truthfully accepting your hold and breaking the shots without interrupting the aim from trigger failures identified above. This lesson is is basically an attempt to turn off your “now”thought process and create a “new” thought process. In other words, many shooters are mentally trying to do five things at once and they will never perform well. Keep it simple. Lift gun, aim gun, squeeze trigger, shoot gun. Pretty simple. Leave ego at home and just work the fundamental. 

So in summary,that would be shooting your hold. If shots are out of the black in this case, the trigger finger is putting shots out of the black. It’s not the hold.

We all shoot errant shots, that’s ok. If you do this exercise and 95+% of the shots are in the black (if that’s your true hold), then you should see that it has been a positive experience for you. Keep working at it and I believe you will see improvements. Also shot plans should be simple and short. To the point of turning on a switch and turning it off. Very simple.
By the way, you will shoot lots of 10’s when accepting your hold!
Jon
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Post by james r chapman 9/2/2022, 8:37 pm

Thanks Jon
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Post by TonyH 9/2/2022, 8:51 pm

Area Aiming; Accepting Your Hold 3064385617 Tried and true! Getting the ego out of the way is the challenge for most…. Very Happy . Great post, Jon.
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Post by Merick 9/2/2022, 10:50 pm

By the same token; if you have a 9 ring gun, 9 ring hold, 9 ring trigger pull, 9 ring eyes, and skipped breakfast, you'll shoot your share of 7's.

It's the curse of root sum squares. Starting out, when most everything has room for improvement,  fixing one thing will have small if any effect on score. But as you clean the garage, the mice have fewer places left to hide.

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Post by robert84010 9/2/2022, 11:38 pm

Merick wrote:By the same token; if you have a 9 ring gun, 9 ring hold, 9 ring trigger pull, 9 ring eyes, and skipped breakfast, you'll shoot your share of 7's.

It's the curse of root sum squares. Starting out, when most everything has room for improvement,  fixing one thing will have small if any effect on score. But as you clean the garage, the mice have fewer places left to hide.
missed his point completely. good job.

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Post by Merick 9/2/2022, 11:40 pm

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Post by Jack H 9/2/2022, 11:42 pm

This seems like a good time to post this exchange from long ago.  This is maybe the third time out for this.  New shooters need to see it and old shooters need to be reminded. 



Seeking Zin......


I'd like to have a talk again about converting your conscious shooting efforts into subconscious.


As you train and drill in the conscious on trigger, hold, or eye discipline, and try to eliminate them
from conscious thought, what is your last point of conscious attention that can still bring a good shot together?


What is the one last conscious thought you can keep that does actually help channel the subconscious shot? Jack H





Jack, Excellent question.....been awhile since someone asked a shooting question.

If you are having a conscious thought in the last second before you shoot, then your subconscious mind is not yet been "freed" to take over and act. You need 3 seconds of quiet mind before the subconscious is asked to perform what the conscious has asked of it. Your last conscious thought should be one of the two most important fundamentals.....sight alignment or trigger control. Which ever is the least automatic for you should get your conscious mind's last attention and then go quiet for the subconscious to take over. Not that I'm so smart, I learned the 3 second "rule" from Jan Brundin. Ron S


I needed to shoot many hundred perfect shots before I noticed that I was doing it without thinking about it. This happened to me in 1970 while I was shooting on my High School Rifle Team. Until a few years ago it was a mystery to me just how and why this happened. It is not something easily
understood by means of logic. Perhaps one of those wise old sayings will help:
(crudely paraphrased) A man could chase a cat around for hours without catching it but sit quietly and the cat will jump up into your lap.


~Trying~ to shoot with subconscious control will bring only frustration and failure.


I try to have nothing in my mind when shooting. The absence of words in my thoughts seem to be especially important to me. Think in pictures instead of words. Visualize the sights in the perfect
position when the pistol fires. The trigger must be ignored as long as the sights are not disturbed by the trigger. This is often described as a race to get the sights right before the weapon fires.


It works the other way too; The sights must be ignored as long as the trigger pull is smooth and straight (notice I did not say it should be a slow pull). I seem to recall that Zins concentrates on the trigger. Depends on which one needs your total concentration.


You are not actually ignoring either of the fundamentals, the subconscious takes over the part you are not concentrating on.


I play a few seconds of instrumental music in my head to help get rid of the voices when I insist on nagging myself. I do not try to rid myself of the extraneous thoughts I simply distract myself with something unrelated to shooting. Preparation helps too. I sit and think about any and everything that might drift into my mind and I think about it however long it takes to solve the problem or become comfortable with the fact that I cannot do anything about it. This really helps cut down on the random thoughts that will distract me while I am attempting to concentrate on the task at hand.


Zen, on the other hand, is dangerous for competitors. Zen does this by not caring about the outcome (score) but only about the act of shooting. Many top shooters have "burned out" because they no longer care about the competition between shooters. Without Zen I probably would have never understood what was happening but now I do not care much about matches. I will get back to you when I figure out how to keep the cake and eat it too!


This is not the secret shortcut for the apprentice to suddenly begin shooting High Master scores. You MUST get all the fundamentals and the details correct first. Remember that a flinch is also
subconscious! Bob Fleming


Hi Jack, As the New Year approaches I've been changing my thoughts on training the subconscious. Actually, this has been happening for a little while, but I haven't put much of this new concept to words yet. My previous belief centered around the idea of creating a set of steps to practice until they are ingrained and can be left to the subconscious to perform as we taught.


My current belief is that this procedure is actually limiting the subconscious in its capability. It's like your boss telling you what he wants done and then telling you how he wants each step performed. A result can be achieved, but there can be no advancement over what the boss knows. In a way, the conscious developing a routine and then forcing it onto the subconscious is providing a way for the conscious to still be in control. It is also telling the subconscious not to stray from the provided course.


So my thoughts now go to the idea of giving the subconscious more latitude and tasking it with finding the way. It order for this to work the conscious needs to be able to let go of the process and become the observer we've addressed before. The conscious also has to provide the goal information through visualization so that the subconscious knows where you want to go. The conscious then provides feedback of how the experimentation of the subconscious is proceeding by being the observer in the process. The subconscious performs all the activities to prove or disprove what it tries. The conscious refrains from judgment and lets the subconscious judge the value of the intricate actions.


This new concept does not disagree with earlier thoughts. It actually explains why we have some of those moments when we get mixed up, everything happens on its own and we find a pleasant surprise when the target faces for scoring. It also ties in to the fact that we can improve by shooting without actually following a training schedule. Perhaps it even explains those "naturals" a bit more. You might remember my contention that "naturals" aren't alien, and the way can be learned by those that aren't "naturals." I've always put forth that it is in the attitude that these individuals excel. Perhaps a big part of that confidence they display is in the ability to turn the important stuff over to the subconscious.


So where am I going with all this? I'm developing the idea that instead of training the subconscious to perform my consciously developed routines, I should simply tell my subconscious what I want and let it determine the way. In order to see this through, I must let the subconscious find out what happens when the trigger is activated in all the little ways it can be and take that all the way to letting my subconscious determine all the aspects through experimentation. I must become the true conscious observer and let the subconscious decide the training. Perhaps, more to follow... Take Care, Ed Hall




I hear you Ed and think you are right on. And yes. Follow up.
The biggest obstacle then is to get into a mental state free of dirty laundry. If you know what I mean.

LtC Miller always said "trigger control, sight alignment, and an empty mind". One would think the empty mind part is easy, but it is the harder of the three. (Although an empty mind might be easy for some people:)


Learn the basics. Learn the goal. Learn the simplest way to present the goal to the subconscious sans detail. The subconscious is probably kind of mixed up if you give it too much detail. I think there is a simple single key for the subconscious to work off of. Give it that key, and turn it loose. Of course you have to be prepared first to a certain level before you can let it go.
Now at what level of shooting do you think these deep ideas really become critical?
Taking care, Jack H




Jack.....In slow fire I just observe the dot. In rapid I just say to myself , "smooth on the trigger".
In timed I try to cherry pick and that doesn't work! :-( Dave




The biggest obstacle then is to get into a mental state free of dirty laundry.


This is where I like what Bob Fleming wrote:
"Preparation helps too. I sit and think about any and everything that might drift into my mind and I think about it however long it takes to solve the problem or become comfortable with the fact that I cannot do anything about it. This really helps cut down on the random thoughts that will distract me while I am attempting to concentrate on the task at hand."


Some excellent info! How often do we take the time to address all the issues? For most of us, we don't address them until we are forced to. The above routine described by Bob has to be an ongoing thing. It is best done as a scheduled sitting and all pending issues should be addressed. Those that can't be immediately resolved should be set aside with the firm determination to address them at the next scheduled time. An even more important part is to address them the next time and sincerely try to resolve them. If we keep putting off an issue, it will keep trying to get our attention at any instance it sees an opening. What better time than when we're trying to be calm and think of nothing? Once you've established a good routine, you will find it easy to set aside something that may crop up during that quiet time of shooting. Simply take a moment to address whatever it is and then resolve to fully address it at the next scheduled time. Then you should be able to get back to the task at hand. Thanks for that description, Bob.


Take Care, Ed Hall


**
Ed S, You had something great going on in what you wrote until, "forget the trigger". Never can you forget the trigger. Everything else sure but not the trigger. It is the only thing we are moving during a shot process. If you had a good day at the range understand that it things came together for you. When I have a day where I cannot seem to come out of the ten ring, it is like I am on auto pilot, not thinking about anything but just letting it happen. I am not forgetting about the trigger or the target, everything is just coming together naturally. Some people may never experience that, but when you do,you must understand that you are still focusing on the fundamentals it is just on a different level. A subconscious level. That is where we need to be in a string of fire, not consciously thinking about it but subconsciously. I only say this because it may confuse new shooters. They need to focus and focus well on the fundamentals when shooting. What you described is you reaching a new level for yourself. It is a great thing. You have experienced what they call the "zone" or the term in sports is "flow", where it seems you are not in control. I have one question. After the match were mentally fatigued? Let me know and I'll explain why I ask. BZ
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Post by robert84010 9/2/2022, 11:56 pm

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Post by Merick 9/3/2022, 7:53 am

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Post by robert84010 9/3/2022, 8:47 am

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/3/2022, 9:16 am

Equipment and alibis for another post elsewhere. Let’s stick to the original fundamentals post.
Thanks 
Jon
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Post by L. Boscoe 9/4/2022, 2:52 pm

Having taught meditation for over 30 years, mostly to inmates, empty your mind
is on point exactly. Surely the rest is proper training and repetition so the zone
begins?

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Post by Texasref 9/5/2022, 9:09 am

Jon, thanks for the post. 
Two years ago when I started shooting BE, I would have not really understood the concept. When I first started the goal was to keep everything on the target. (Never shot 25 or 50 yards before. Needless to say "quite a shock")
Now I want every shot in the black. Not there yet but improving. Accepting the hold as you said has helped me a lot. It won't be perfect, but it will be what I'm capable of at this point.

Thanks again for the positive reinforcement, and guidance.

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Post by tovaert 9/5/2022, 11:45 am

I've been working on this all summer (irons only). What I've noticed is that, while my scores aren't great, it has allowed me to call my shots much more accurately, especially with my .22 (not so great with the .45). That "skill" has built my confidence.

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Post by Merick 9/5/2022, 12:44 pm

The asterisk I would put on the area aiming concept is as I understand things it applies to red dots more than irons.

While a dancing red dot is somewhere between distracting and discouraging and should be accepted, iron sights divide aim perception over 3 optical planes and require the utmost of concentration to be productive.

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Post by Wobbley 9/5/2022, 1:17 pm

It still applies to irons, too.  The difference is that with a dot you get to see your hold much clearer.  Much of the “wobble” you see is from the variances in the wrist and the rest is in the shoulder/elbow.  Grip helps the wrist and conditioning helps the other wobble inducers.  But most people hold better than they think at least briefly.  The key here is to learn to break a clean shot when your wobble is centered on the target without waiting for perfect.
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Post by Oleg G 9/7/2022, 6:57 am

Merick,

Just an FYI: Captain Paul B. Weston had a chapter on area aiming in his 1950 book "Target Shooting Today." The book's subject was shooting revolvers in Bullseye competitions and it was written and published long before even the concept of Red Dots was conceived. Just saying... Smile
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Post by Merick 9/7/2022, 2:36 pm

I'll phrase it this way; the harder I can look at my front sight the better the score.

Tolerating a sub optimal sight picture doesn't help on balance, and being tolerant of a sub optimal sight alignment I might as well put my ammo straight in the trash can.

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Post by Jon Eulette 9/7/2022, 3:24 pm

Merick wrote:I'll phrase it this way; the harder I can look at my front sight the better the score.

Tolerating a sub optimal sight picture doesn't help on balance, and being tolerant of a sub optimal sight alignment I might as well put my ammo straight in the trash can.

Sight alignment is sight alignment. Should never tolerate sub standard alignment. 
When accepting hold it is assumed and implied that sight alignment is correct; red dot centered in tube or proper iron sight alignment. This is also why looking at the target vs red dot has it’s place. If your hold is excellent you CAN look at the target (focus), but if your hold is not so good, you will be forcing the pistol past the target as you try to “steer the dot”. It will help you force and snatch shots off vs accepting your hold and breaking good shots. 
Watching front sight is no different than watching the red dot, if your not focusing on them your not going to be able to execute good shots nor call them.
Area aiming is obviously individualistic, everybody’s hold not the same, but what you do with your trigger finger is the key to the 10 ring.
Aim gun, shoot gun, pretty simple.
Jon
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Area Aiming; Accepting Your Hold Empty my penny and a half.

Post by mageepeak 9/18/2022, 11:03 pm

My penny and a half:  I've been shooting awhile and even had a private lesson from Jimmy Dorsey (went from 699 to 811 in the next match years ago). I shot a 284 NM and Jimmy said you're trying to shoot 10's and that will hurt your scores. So I tried what is being discussed here. I found this whole "shoot your hold" to be baloney. You have to aim at something and try and hit it. So i went back to trying to shoot x's now and continue to improve towards master. Aim, trigger, bang. Works best for me and may not for you.

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