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Two handed shooting. Blasphemy or good for the sport as an entry point?

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Post by NWSteve Fri Mar 10, 2023 12:24 pm

A few months ago, I began shooting in an indoor Thursday night match that alternates between 50', 75' (rimfire) and once a month fun shoots, center fire (75' targets at 50') and every other month an aggregate competition combining rimfire and centerfire scores (75'). We are a supportive group, and the camaraderie is great. Most of us shoot two handed with the scores separate from the one handed scores. I have worked my scores up into the 280's (300 possible) but I am reluctant to post my gains due to shooting two handed. Also, I am not sure if there would be any support in the Fundamental's section for a blasphemous two hander.

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Post by Wobbley Fri Mar 10, 2023 3:04 pm

One handed is old school because pistol,shooting evolved from horse-mounted troops.  Whether it was cavalry or mounted infantry fighting while mounted required one handed shooting because the left hand was controlling the horse.  When on foot they used the carbine and one soldier had to hold the horses.  That’s the history and why “Precision pistol” is a noe handed event.
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Post by inthebeech Fri Mar 10, 2023 3:57 pm

Kind of like the irons vs dot elephant in the room that many would rather not talk about.  But the fact that your club separates standings and awards between the two styles is a first class way to handle it.  A final thought since you're obviously more than just "aware" of your scores, is whether your conscience is telling you anything.  I suspect that it is, since you created this post.  You will be a happier person in the end if you follow your gut but it takes guts to do it.  If you are brave enough to be honest with yourself, answer whether you will be more proud of a 240 with one hand or a 280 with two.  Good luck friend.
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Post by Allgoodhits Fri Mar 10, 2023 4:05 pm

Everyone, one or two handed, holds the gun still enough, until we start pulling the trigger. Then it's like a kite in a windstorm.   Laughing
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Post by john bickar Fri Mar 10, 2023 4:14 pm

Generally we allow two-handed shooting until people start shooting at the bottom of Sharpshooter level (255/300 or 765/900), then start urging them to shoot one-handed. Lots of latitude in the previous sentence.
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Post by NWSteve Fri Mar 10, 2023 4:55 pm

inthebeech wrote:Kind of like the irons vs dot elephant in the room that many would rather not talk about.  But the fact that your club separates standings and awards between the two styles is a first class way to handle it.  A final thought since you're obviously more than just "aware" of your scores, is whether your conscience is telling you anything.  I suspect that it is, since you created this post.  You will be a happier person in the end if you follow your gut but it takes guts to do it.  If you are brave enough to be honest with yourself, answer whether you will be more proud of a 240 with one hand or a 280 with two.  Good luck friend.
 If it weren't for red dots I wouldn't be shooting at all. I need reading glasses to see the irons, which puts down range so out of focus it is not fun. Red dots were a game changer and helped me get into shooting period, no less bullseye.

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Post by popchevy Fri Mar 10, 2023 5:14 pm

I lobbied my local club to allow new shooters the option of two handed shooting till they started breaking 200. I encountered a lot of pushback from the old experts but now we are starting to see some interest from newbies. I think it's a good thing, we NEED new shooters. Nobodys gonna get rich shooting Bullseye, this should be focused on fun. We got a 10yr old shooting with us now (with 2 hands )and he says he loves it more than his video games.

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Post by john bickar Fri Mar 10, 2023 5:20 pm

popchevy wrote:I lobbied my local club to allow new shooters the option of two handed shooting till they started breaking 200. I encountered a lot of pushback from the old experts but now we are starting to see some interest from newbies. I think it's a good thing, we NEED new shooters. Nobodys gonna get rich shooting Bullseye, this should be focused on fun. We got a 10yr old shooting with us now (with 2 hands )and he says he loves it more than his video games.

When you start kids shooting bullseye as young as 10, they can end up being sarcastic cynical middle-aged perfunctory middle managers.

But he might have fun in the years between 10 and middle age.
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Post by NukeMMC Fri Mar 10, 2023 5:44 pm

Our league allows new folks to shoot 2 handed, but we segregate their scores.  A few of the folks even older than I are back to shooting 2 handed.

As long as folks are keeping rounds going downrange and don't mind their scores not being in the awards (which they normally aren't anyway) then it's just a matter of promoting the sport.
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Post by mikemyers Fri Mar 10, 2023 7:10 pm

You're all going to shoot me for writing this.

My club (https://www.hrpclub.info/) used to put on "real" Bullseye Matches long ago, until the interest died out.  Now there are many kinds of matches, held monthly, silhouette, bullseye, combat....  Also, a huge percentage of club members preferred a simple and short Bullseye Match.  Start at 10am, and be finished by early afternoon.  Open class - use any gun you prefer.  Open sights, or dots.

Shoot one handed or two handed, your choice.
Shoot at 15 and 25 yards (unless three or more people want to shoot "real" bullseye at 25 and 50, and be scored separately).

The number of shooters for "real" bullseye dropped down to only 3 to 5 shooters two years ago, and now that Covid is over, it seems to be dead.
The number of shooters for the simplified Bullseye matches mostly fills up the "pistol range", and often over-flows onto the rifle range.  It is very popular.

It's not a many hours long affair - one class, "bullseye" - shoot any gun you want.

Other rules remain the same, and the commands/formats are identical to what are available for download to smart phones.  Think of a "300" instead of a "900" and that's what we have.


My person opinion - it's a different world now, and while I prefer bullseye to "action", many people feel otherwise.  I suspect a large number of shooters go to most of the various matches, using the same guns for each contest.  Check the club calendar at the link I posted, and you'll see what we do.

For official NRA and/or CMP competitions, leave things as they are, to fit in with past history.
But, for club matches, would you rather see 5 competitors shooting one handed, or 35 competitors shooting two-handed?




One of my better friends sends me the results of their weekly club match.  Very few people participate.  If the club were to open this up to include two hand shooters, I suspect many more shooters would participate.  Score them separate if desired, but get more people involved.  IMHO.


Personally, I have struggled with one hand shooting ever since I joined my club.  The desire is there, but my body rebels against it.   I'm getting better, as 8 or so years ago, I couldn't even hold up my Baer Premiere II to dry-fire 2 rounds, and now I am good for much more - but I can't do a whole match one-handed....   my hand and arm starts to shake violently, and I need to put the gun down.  I'm not strong enough, never have been, never will be.  But I'm very happy shooting two handed, any caliber, at any distance.
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Post by RodJ Fri Mar 10, 2023 9:08 pm

john bickar wrote:
popchevy wrote:I lobbied my local club to allow new shooters the option of two handed shooting till they started breaking 200. I encountered a lot of pushback from the old experts but now we are starting to see some interest from newbies. I think it's a good thing, we NEED new shooters. Nobodys gonna get rich shooting Bullseye, this should be focused on fun. We got a 10yr old shooting with us now (with 2 hands )and he says he loves it more than his video games.

When you start kids shooting bullseye as young as 10, they can end up being sarcastic cynical middle-aged perfunctory middle managers.

But he might have fun in the years between 10 and middle age.

How did you come to this knowledge? 8-/

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Post by Kp321 Fri Mar 10, 2023 10:11 pm

Our local club has what we call Combat Bullseye matches. Four stages using the standard B-8 target.  First stage 10 rounds free style (two handed), second stage 10 rounds left hand only, third stage10 rounds right hand only, all slow fire. Fourth stage 10 rounds free style in 70 seconds with mandatory reload/mag change. Separate matches for center fire, rimfire and carry gun. Center fire and rimfire at 25 yards, same course of fire at 15 yards with Carry Gun, 3” or shorter barrel. We can shoot all three matches in 3 1/2 hours. Lots of fun!

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Post by rsp Fri Mar 10, 2023 11:07 pm

Kp321, that sounds like the course of fire used for CMP Games pistol matches. M&P and As-Issued 1911.

It's a fun format! I like those matches.

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Post by SonOfAGun Mon Mar 13, 2023 3:40 am

mikemyers wrote:...
But, for club matches, would you rather see 5 competitors shooting one handed, or 35 competitors shooting two-handed?
...

I read that as 5 people shooting Bullseye, whilst 30 others simultaneously shoot something that someone made up that sounds pretty fun but isn't Bullseye. Score 'em in a separate category and move on.
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Post by BE Mike Mon Mar 13, 2023 11:34 am

My question is, Does two-handed shooting end up increasing the number of competitors in precision pistol matches using the appropriate rules (one-hand) or do the two-handed shooters continue to use two-hands and never switch over?
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Post by msmith44 Mon Mar 13, 2023 12:53 pm

BE Mike wrote:My question is, Does two-handed shooting end up increasing the number of competitors in precision pistol matches using the appropriate rules (one-hand) or do the two-handed shooters continue to use two-hands and never switch over?
Why is that important? The current NRA PP Rules include Section 24 that allows two hand probationary two hand matches. However, in two years of searching for data I've never found a NRA sanctioned or approved Two Hand Probationary Match. Until the NRA stages a Two Hand Match at its National Championships and local Match Directors do the same, Two Hand matches will remain an informal activity in local non-sanctioned/approved clubs and public ranges. In short, the use of Section 24 for the purpose of increasing participation in NRA one hand PP matches has been a miserable failure. 

In answer to your specific question: based on one public range's experience, 70 percent of two hand shooters remain two hand shooters. Perhaps a better measure would be to look at the Winchester sequence of firearm skills and see how many potential one hand shooters have completed the Precision Course. My guess is not many. I've asked the NRA for data and have never gotten a response.

In a generation or two PP will be a historical curiosity like black powder events. A historical recreation of a once popular pastime using handguns no longer in general circulation. Maybe there'll be vintage costumes? However, there is no reason why this has to happen.

There is a gigantic market of new handgun owners that are interested in a passive shooting sport (stationary shooter, stationary target) whose interests are not being met. There have been some creative ideas shared by posters on this thread to attract new shooters to PP-type events. Kudos to those clubs and public ranges who are actually interested in expanding participation in shooting sports. BUT there needs to be a next step where Two Hand Matches are actually offered and sanctioned/registered. Section 24 is a start and the NRA is flexible in the type of matches that can be offered and the location (indoor/outdoor). Implement the position restrictions on two hand shooting that are found in the NRA Silhouette Rules and you have a rules structure in place. Separate Rimfire and Centerfire shooters and limit Centerfire to .32 caliber through .38 caliber and have  .45 only section if that will attract people. Include a two hand section in postal matches and sanctioned leagues. Allow new shooters to discover on their own that their current handguns might not be competitive and many will seek out better competitive options in the same way that action shooters have done. Telling someone on the first day that they'll need a $2000-3,000 pistol to compete is NOT the best way to attract new shooters. I've seen this happen over and over.

In any marketing exercise one of the first things you do is identify the barriers to entry. Maybe that's something everyone interested in expanding PP participation might wish to consider. In the meantime, I'll work on trying get a new Pardini SP in my hands before the State of Washington declares it an assault weapon.

-m-

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Post by mikemyers Mon Mar 13, 2023 1:13 pm

msmith44 wrote:......The current NRA PP Rules include Section 24 that allows two hand probationary two hand matches. However, in two years of searching for data I've never found a NRA sanctioned or approved Two Hand Probationary Match.......... the use of Section 24 for the purpose of increasing participation in NRA one hand PP matches has been a miserable failure........70 percent of two hand shooters remain two hand shooters.........

In a generation or two PP will be a historical curiosity like black powder events. ........There is a gigantic market of new handgun owners that are interested in a passive shooting sport (stationary shooter, stationary target) whose interests are not being met. ........ there needs to be a next step where Two Hand Matches are actually offered and sanctioned/registered........
I think the words I quoted are a great summary, and indicator of where we might want to go.  Leave the existing Bullseye Shooting alone, but add a class for two-hand shooting.  Maybe make it an open class, as in shoot any gun you want, any caliber, pistol or revolver, any sights you prefer.  Make it easy for anyone to participate.
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Post by chopper Mon Mar 13, 2023 2:16 pm

Mike would you like to be shooting bullseye next to or between two shooters using magnum cartridges? 
 Stan

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Post by mikemyers Mon Mar 13, 2023 2:21 pm

chopper wrote:Mike would you like to be shooting bullseye next to or between two shooters using magnum cartridges? 
Absolutely not, and my range doesn't allow them.  Only standard ammunition, made for shooting targets, not the Magnum.  

That's a range rule, not a match rule.
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Post by NWSteve Mon Mar 13, 2023 6:15 pm

mikemyers wrote:
chopper wrote:Mike would you like to be shooting bullseye next to or between two shooters using magnum cartridges? 
Absolutely not, and my range doesn't allow them.  Only standard ammunition, made for shooting targets, not the Magnum.  

That's a range rule, not a match rule.
That would be a good rule for my range to adopt during our informal matches. On my first match there was a guy shooting 22 magnum, it disrupted the adjacent shooters and caused quite a stir up and down the line. I was that jackass. It was the "22 rimfire" that I could shoot best, I asked first if it was allowed and was given the green light. The next week I showed up with my Sig 223 and ran that for a couple of months until I picked up my Erma.

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Post by CR10X Mon Mar 13, 2023 6:35 pm

We went over this the last time it was brought up.   NRA Precision Pistol Rules has a provision for shooting in this manner. Just apply for an approved match using this course of fire. 

24. ONE OR TWO HAND PROBATIONARY
PRECISION PISTOL MATCH
Each course of fire would be conducted in accordance with current
rules in Section 3 - Equipment and Ammunition, Section 7 - Courses
of Fire and Section 10 - Range Commands, Control and Operations,
with the exception that the furthest distance fired would be 25 yards
using the B-5, B-8 or B-16 target. Competitors will be able to use
either (1) one or (2) two hands in these courses of fire in competition. 
Classification cards will be issued to any competitor competing in an NRA sanctioned match, 
for either One or Two Hand NRA
Probationary Precision Pistol Match. No classification cards will be
issued above the classification of Expert, these competitors should
be encouraged to compete in the standard precision pistol courses of
fire. No National Records will be issued for this probationary match. 

In the case of a standard 2700 Aggregate match with a 50 yard slow fire target line and trying to incorporate a Rule 24 match at the same time,  the range would need to be split into a 50/25 yard section and a 50 yard section.  
 
We do not have  that option since the 25 yard line is a complete unit with all targets connected.  Therefore we cannot set up to have a portion of the 25 yard line facing for the the Probational slow fire stages.   Others may have different options.

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Post by mikemyers Mon Mar 13, 2023 8:27 pm

I've only been shooting "bullseye matches" at my club, not at official NRA events.  Here's my suggestion, but that's all it is - a suggestion.  My club has chosen rules to keep as many shooters as possible involved in the monthly matches:

Why make the two-hand shooters feel like second class citizens?  Why not let them shoot at the same targets as everyone else, and at the same distances, but score them separately, with the understanding that (for now) they are just shooting for fun, and that their two hand scores won't be included when the results are sent in to the NRA?

In the future, based on participation, the NRA might want to eventually create a new class for two-hand shooters.  For now, this could apply to clubs, not to National Championships.


I think I'll drop out of this discussion.
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Post by mikemyers Tue Mar 14, 2023 12:58 pm

To robert8401011:05 am......


I think you are referring to me, and I have participated in "bullseye" matches for the past ten or so years now, but my local club gave up on the "official" rules and created rules that made the matches much more popular - if they get more popular, they will probably need "relays" to handle that many people.  Of the participants, some are young, some are old, some are amateurs, and some are very serious, with gun ranging from over the counter stuff to high tech and expensive guns.

The real question here should be whether to follow the ancient rules, which are seeing a huge decline in participation, or opening up the rules to get more people involved.  

You are spot on about one thing though - if 50 years ago I would have known more about it, I'm sure there are have always been lots of matches in the mid-west, where I lived, and I could have, probably would have, gotten more involved with the "real thing".  I agree with you there.


I don't agree with your example though - NASCAR and Formula One are both huge, big-time sports, with large amounts of money involved.  For 99.999% of us, the closest we get to this is on our TV.

From the beginnings, Bullseye (whatever it was called back then) was for average people competing against each other, mostly with over the counter guns.  My suggestion wouldn't take anything away from the serious competitors, but would open bullseye shooting to a much larger group of people.

On March 29,2015 our club held the "Old Shooters Match" (bullseye) with 3 shooters in the one-hand group, and 22 shooters in the two-hand group.  (Not that it matters, but I finished 8th in the two-hand group.)  This is the oldest printout I could find, and I suspect my first match.)

My latest printout is from June 27, 2021.  Only one shooter was doing the 50-yard bullseye shooting, and 22 shooters were in the two-hand group.  I got to finish 4th in the two-hand group.

Then Covid hit, and everything stopped.  I stopped going for a year or so, other than days when I expected the range to be nearly empty.

The matches have been going on for a while now, and while I haven't been participating, I've looked over the printouts.  Lots of shooters once again (and I intend to join them soon), but nobody is left shooting in the one-hand group.  The last person dropped out for this year.


A friend of mine sends me results from local matches somewhere in the mid-west.  Participation seems to be around 6 people some of the time.

My thoughts - for the big matches, keep things as they are, but for local matches we should open them up to two-hand shooting, at whatever distance the club can provide.  If it's an indoor range with up to 30 yards or so, just make the shooting distance 25.

-----------

Something else my local club did - instead of using the official NRA targets for matches, they standardized on the B-8 targets for everything, including slow-fire.  I got dumped on here for shooting at that target - at the time I didn't know what an official B-16 target was.  So, because of our on-line matches held during Covid, I used the B-16 from then on.

The club rules allow a large number of participants.  Families show up, with the kids shooting too.  Many guns are "off-the-shelf" whatever.  There have always been some extremely talented shooters.  The matches are fun, and for even more enjoyment they hold a "sudden death" match at the end - people fire one round at the target, and if it's in the X, they continue.  Those who did not, step back.  Then on, and on.  By three rounds a winner is usually determined.  The reason for coming is as much to enjoy the shooting, as to compete.  By allowing two-hand shooting, shooters, wives, kids, any enthusiast can compete.

Rob, you wrote "but could have (competed) for 50 years if he chose to".  Sadly, I agree, you are right.  If I knew back then what I've learned since then, maybe things would have been different for me.  Unfortunately motorcycles, model railroading, computers, and radio control car racing got in the way.  I don't have an answer.  All I had way back when was the Washtenaw County Sportsman's Club, and once I joined, I could shoot at targets there whenever I wanted.  The only matches I remember were the yearly "turkey shoots", where I won a huge frozen turkey that my mom cooked.  I had a 44 Magnum, a Colt Combat Commander, and a S&W Model 41 (that I considered a toy) back then.

Oh well, I don't expect to see any changes, and yes, I do understand where you're coming from.  But please read this link:
target shooting
There is a world of target shooters out there, that maybe we could or should find a way to get them involved in our Bullseye Shooting.  Do we want to do that?
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Post by DA/SA Tue Mar 14, 2023 1:47 pm

mikemyers wrote:
The matches have been going on for a while now, and while I haven't been participating, I've looked over the printouts.  Lots of shooters once again (and I intend to join them soon), but nobody is left shooting in the one-hand group.  The last person dropped out for this year.

Did the "one hand" shooters all just decide that if everyone else is shooting with two hands at shorter distances that they may as well do the same?
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Two handed shooting. Blasphemy or good for the sport as an entry point? Empty Re: Two handed shooting. Blasphemy or good for the sport as an entry point?

Post by mikemyers Tue Mar 14, 2023 2:30 pm

Absolutely not - they had their "bullseye gun boxes" their old bullseye guns, and their own class, and as far as I know, they had no desire to join "the crowd".  All of them were quite old, and they knew what they were doing.  I learned a lot from them.  Some of them had "vision problems", and kept at it as long as they could, then stopped competing.  I don't know of any newcomers with the newer guns joining the "real" group.  They went where most of the shooters went, as you described.
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