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kpw001
06-27-2009, 1:36 PM
I'll preface this post by stating that I am novice (and that's being nice) shooter by all means. That being said during last night's trip to the range I brought out my SA 1911 mil-spec for the first time. I also brought my S&W Sigma 9 which I've had for almost 2 years now. Some other bits of useful info is that I am right handed, left eye dominant so I tilt my head to line up my eye with the sight. After reading up on stances I have tried both Weaver and isosceles and prefer the isosceles. I worked on my grip following the techniques that Todd Jerrett discusses in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48) and can apply the grip naturally to either of my guns now.

The photo below is after 50 rounds from each guns aimed to the right of center, the .45 on the left 9mm on the right. Both targets were on the same hanger at 20 feet and I alternated 5 shots from each gun. As you can see it seems like I lost all control of the 9 between shooting the .45. Normally I would be able to put at least 75-80% of shots inside of the shoot-n-c target. I though the extra weight/recoil of the 1911 would help me control the longer/heavier trigger of the Sigma but I guess not. Also the last 10 shots I had flipped the targets upside down so most if not all of the shots to the right of center are the result of still landing left, just that the target was upside down.

So is there anything I should be doing to keep from drifting left? Any tips and pointers would be greatly appreciated!

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_GlJcm58JFNs/S3j6335YepI/AAAAAAAABl0/eU3KDmkj5Ws/s800/IMG_1249.jpg

ojisan
06-27-2009, 1:47 PM
If you get to the point in your skills where your shots land consistently in one area, but not the center of the target you are trying to hit, it is then time to adjust the sights so they look where you shoot.
Everyone shoots a handgun different...different hand shapes, hand strength, grip pressure, finger length and more all affect the direction the gun moves when firing.
You will find that often when you shoot someone else's handgun that is "sighted-in" exactly for them that it will have a different point of impact for you.
Handguns are the most personal of all firearms.

emilio
06-27-2009, 2:05 PM
If you get to the point in your skills where your shots land consistently in one area, but not the center of the target you are trying to hit, it is then time to adjust the sights so they look where you shoot.
+1. if it groups consistently, every time, then you can trust adjusting the sights. if the bullets are flying willy-nilly with little grouping then work on shooting technique and ask someone else to try the gun to make sure it's not a mechanical issue.

i can creep left, even after years of handgun shooting. in my case, it's a lot of grip and trigger discipline. your firing grip should be solid throughout the entire shot: sometimes i find myself gripping the gun harder as i pull the trigger, and that's a no-no. when shooting for maximum accuracy, the only things that should be moving are the trigger, your heart, and the burrito you had for lunch. (yes, no lungs: exhale, hold, squeeze, inhale.) get in to the shooting position and sight alignment, the forget everything but the trigger and sight picture. make sure to have the first pad of your trigger finger squarely on the face of the trigger and pull straight back. sometimes i find my trigger finger is placed more towards the joint and i'm not pulling straight, nudging the gun slightly to the left.

also: use a rest! ask if the range has sandbags or a rest, bring a tightly-rolled jacket, or just rest your wrists on the lane bench.
- emilio

Greg-Dawg
06-27-2009, 2:12 PM
I'll preface this post by stating that I am novice (and that's being nice) shooter by all means....Both targets were on the same hanger at 20 feet...

Novices don't start at 20 feet. Take a basic handgun class and all your bad habits/problems will be over.

Unit74
06-27-2009, 2:15 PM
Is your target blurry? Focus on the front sight.

Hard to make a call with so many rounds on the left target but the right target looks like you may be staring at the orange dot. You may be anticipating the shot as well.

Beelzy
06-27-2009, 2:51 PM
Try a more consistent hold on the gun. After that many rounds, it is common
to start "limp wristing", especially when just starting out with handguns.

Nice grouping nonetheless.

JTROKS
06-27-2009, 3:15 PM
First, have you shot your handgun and ammo combo over sandbags or rest to see what kind of accuracy they are capable of? If you do that and you consistently get a 1 - 2" group at 20 ft right on the center POA then you can start analyzing your shooting technique. That said, confirm your accuracy and zero, then make necessary adjustments. After you accomplish that go ahead and start shooting off hand and see where you're at. Shooting with a rest can teach you several things in shooting accurately.

kpw001
06-27-2009, 5:34 PM
Thanks for the tips. Anyone have any recommendations for a sight pusher for my 1911? I'll be sure to take some shots off a rest next time out as well as working on refining my overall technique.

Beelzy
06-27-2009, 5:43 PM
Thanks for the tips. Anyone have any recommendations for a sight pusher for my 1911? I'll be sure to take some shots off a rest next time out as well as working on refining my overall technique.


For a sight pusher, I use a brass punch. ;)

Buddhabelly
06-27-2009, 5:44 PM
Novices don't start at 20 feet.

How far do novices start then, according to you?

Stockton
06-27-2009, 5:58 PM
How far do novices start then, according to you?

I dont know about him....but...... when I take a new shooter or someone wanting advise on their handgun skills I set them at 5-10ft away depending on how new they are to pistols. A lot of habits can be fixed with very clear immediate results in such a short range as well as I've found that this builds confidence during, after, and for future practice. Lastly I tell them when they can point,aim,and shoot groups at 10ft repeatedly then its time to grow some distance 5ft at a time. Just my 02.

Buddhabelly
06-27-2009, 6:21 PM
I dont know about him....but...... when I take a new shooter or someone wanting advise on their handgun skills I set them at 5-10ft away depending on how new they are to pistols. A lot of habits can be fixed with very clear immediate results in such a short range as well as I've found that this builds confidence during, after, and for future practice. Lastly I tell them when they can point,aim,and shoot groups at 10ft repeatedly then its time to grow some distance 5ft at a time. Just my 02.

Mine was a rhetorical question to the dawg, because he seemed to scoff at the OP for starting out at 20 ft. But the OP stated that he hits 80% in the black already. :confused: That's pretty good for a novice in my book.

Buddhabelly
06-27-2009, 6:31 PM
Follow up to my earlier post... Look at his target with a 45. It's darn good. And he's approaching it the right way, checking Todd's video, know the 2 basic stances, etc... I just wonder as dawg scoffs at his shooting at 20 feet, which is only 7 yards, if he's looked at the target. I also wonder if dawg his 80% of his target with a 45 from 20 ft.

To the OP, when you miss left, you're "anticipating recoil" hence you overcompensate early while you aim. In this case, it could be because you were anticipating a 45 recoil in a 9, which of course exabetating the effect. Use the first pad of your trigger finger, make sure you are calm and ready for the shot before squeezing the trigger. You are making very impressive inroad. Perhaps don't go 5/5 on the switch.

Stockton
06-27-2009, 7:07 PM
Mine was a rhetorical question to the dawg, because he seemed to scoff at the OP for starting out at 20 ft. But the OP stated that he hits 80% in the black already. :confused: That's pretty good for a novice in my book.

I understand....just trying to stay neutral and still provide some help to the op. Yes absolutely, his targets are very good for his skill set..no argument there! I believe he may be having a finger issue.

For the OP....this is a target I'm really fond of when it comes to assisting others in their mechanics. You can also get this from reloadbench.com (http://www.reloadbench.com) for free in a printable version.

http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff174/macarmy19d/correction_chart_logo_smallgif.jpg

maxicon
06-27-2009, 7:10 PM
Yeah, I agree, 7 yards is a fine distance for starting at. It's close enough to build confidence but far enough to see problems.

Likewise, those targets aren't half bad for a beginner. I've seen much worse at the range, including people hitting the hangers, walls, etc (you did get close to the hangers on a few). Sure, they can be a lot better, but practice makes perfect.

I'll also add to the recommendation to shoot from a rest. One of the first things you need to do is figure out what your gun and ammo combination is capable of, leaving your technique out of the equation as much as possible.

Use your range bag, a towel, a sweatshirt, whatever (but be aware it may get scorched).

Rest the gun on it, get on your knees or in a chair if they have them, and line up the sights carefully.

Sllloooowwwwly squeeze the trigger until the shot fires. Feel for any imperfections in the trigger travel - if you can't feel them, you're not squeezing slowly enough.

When the shot fires, ignore the holes in the target. Keep the sights lined up exatctly like before, keep slowly squeezing the trigger, and put 10 rounds into the target. Don't try to adjust for where they're hitting, just keep lined up on the bullseye.

This should make a reasonably tight group, and will be the best group you can get out of your gun and ammo combo. Anything bigger after that is due to your technique.

Next, lean against the side of the stall, and using the same slow squeeze and aiming, put 10 rounds in the next bull. This group is affected by your trigger squeeze and hand/arm stability. Be sure to notice where the round will end up, as you'll be shooting at an angle - you can either hit another shootier's target, if theirs is further down the lane, or the wall if you're next to it. Don't do either of these!

Next, stand up straight in whatever stance you like, and do it all again. You should be getting a good feel for the slow squeeze by now, and you'll know when you muff it (which you will). This group shows the extra inaccuracy due to your stance.

If you want, go to single handed strong hand, then single handed weak hand - again each will get bigger and bigger, showing where your errors are coming from.


Do the first 3 sets every time you go to the range. Really pay attention to the slow, steady squeeze, as that's a critical step towards accuracy. The more you do it, the faster you'll get, while still having a good trigger pull.

Report back with more target pics.

BigDogatPlay
06-27-2009, 7:31 PM
Some really great replies in this thread.... and here's a bit more for what it's worth.

Assuming that results in the past were better than current, left and down left are typically indicative of a right hander pushing the shots. This would most often either be a flinching or jerking the trigger type of situation as noted above or, secondarily, a grip alignment issue.

+1 on the above as to not white knuckling the grip, that is squeezing so hard your knuckles go white. Gripping too hard, and tightening more as you go through a string will lead to more pushing off of your shots.

I like to start new shooters at five yards / 15 feet and I do not start anyone with bullseye targets. New shooters get worried about laying them into the bullseye too much and can discourage easily at what they interpret as poor results.

I would recommend the following for the OP:

** At home, evaluate and refine your grip, for both pistols. A 1911 and a Sigma are going to feel and work differently in your hand.

** At home, dry fire. Both weapons. Work on consistency of grip, sight alingnment and breathing as discussed above. If you have a few extra bucks, order an inexpensive laser, either a boresighter or a seperate laser unit if your pistols have rails. A laser will show you in dry firing what you are doing.

** +1 on shooting some test strings off a bench or rest. You might also ask a more experienced shooter on the line to fire off a few rounds and let them evaluate if your sights are in play.

** Get hold of some 50 foot rapid fire NRA B-24 (http://images1.opticsplanet.com/750-500-ffffff/hoppes-50ft-rapid-fire-silhouette-12x20-target-b24.jpg) targets. These have a somewhat tombstoned sillouhette shape and at 15 feet they give a very good sense of defensive shot placement without the mental need to "hit the bullseye". I have used them a lot introducing new shooters. Concentrate solely on keeping all your rounds inside the 7 ring to start with. Once you can do that effectively, then work on keeping them all inside the 8 ring, and so on.

** Over time, and as you move out the distance, change to the larger B-27 sillouhette (http://speedwelltargets.com/cart/images/speedwell/b27e.JPG). This target is useful both as a defensive training target and as a "bullseye" target. Anything inside the 8 ring is going to be a potentially fatal or incapacitating hit in the real world. The smallish 10 ring and X ring are excellent for continuing to develop precision shooting once you have them all within the 8 ring at a given distance.

As your confidence and ability grow you can certainly move back and forth to more formal bullseye targets. And you'll have plenty of fun getting there.

Rivers
06-27-2009, 8:30 PM
Check out this post:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=194263

I posted a reply on page two with some basic tips that can be very helpful. Here's a copy with a minor edit for clarity:

I shoot with a USPf .45 LEM and P2000sk .40 LEM. I've also shot the USP as a DA/SA. Here is the solution for your low/left placement:

Unloaded, visually and digitally (finger) cleared, no ammo in the same room to avoid confusion. (Rack the slide as normal with a fresh magazine.) Now grip your pistol as you are ready to shoot. Pull the trigger normally. Visualize the mechanics, the centerpoint of the pivot of your trigger finger (your trigger finger's knuckle) and the arc that it's moving.

[Edit: Repeat this, only now viewing your trigger finger arc from above the slide and sights. Hold the pistol pointing downrange and as waist height. You should easily be able to see the sweep of your finger and the centerpoint of your finger's motion radius.]

Now back your trigger finger out until no more than the middle of your "fingernail" is resting on the trigger, as opposed to the trigger meeting up almost with the joint on your trigger finger. Pull the trigger and watch the mechanics. You're pulling the trigger by not using your knuckle joint but the two joints on your trigger finger instead.

When you over-engage the trigger, your finger's arc as you pull the trigger will push the muzzle to the left. Instead, back your trigger finger out so the middle of the pad of your trigger finger is on the trigger. When you now bend your finger at the middle joints, the direction of the fingertip pad is straight back.

Last item is do not pull the trigger. Simply continue applying pressure on the trigger until the gun goes "bang." Consciously do this often enough so you do not need to think about it. Just apply pressure while keeping the gun on target. No flinch, no anticipation, just accuracy. If you can practice with a revolver, don't fully load the cylinder. Leave a random hole empty. When you drop the hammer on that hole, you'll quickly see if you're anticipating or flinching. For a pistol, load some snap cap dummies randomly.

One variation I made starting with my P2000SK, owing to its rather "snappy" kick, was to move my left hand forward so my left index finger rests on the knurled forward part of the trigger guard. While before that pistol kind of "owned" me, with that change in grip, I regained my control over the recoil for quick and accurate follow-up shots.

kpw001
06-27-2009, 8:57 PM
Thank you all for this wealth of information. Also for clarification, I feel that my abilities are of novice level simply based on my own experiences when viewing the abilities of other shooters that I have met including a number of fellow CG'ers. Judging from the amount of info that has been shared here I feel that I still have a lot to learn about the art of shooting.

As far as the comments about what distance to start out at, when I started shooting in the last few years I did have the targets set at closer distances. The 20 foot mark the above targets is simply the distance I have worked up to at this point.

So again, thank you all for your input. I will incorporate all of this knowledge into my technique and future range visits. Also thanks for that link Stockton, I've seen that target before and always forget to pick some up at the range. I'll be sure to print out some to keep with my range bag.

Keith92555
06-27-2009, 10:25 PM
Novices don't start at 20 feet. Take a basic handgun class and all your bad habits/problems will be over.

+1 here... Take a handgun class. Let an expert analyze your technique and give you some tips, then practice, practice, practice. Good luck:25:

GoodEyeSniper
06-27-2009, 10:30 PM
I rented an xd40 and was pretty accurate with it, for being relatively new to pistol shooting. But my shots went high right on occasion.

with my cz75, also .40 caliber, I shoot to the left when I start drifting away. Kinda strange. I think the really long takeup of the xd was my reason for that gun. And with the little bit of takeup and da/sa of my CZ I think I find myself squeezing the trigger too sharply when I'm not "in the zone".

Though my first shot of the day with my CZ has always been dead center bullseye. It slowly deteriorates from there. :P

HCz
06-27-2009, 11:12 PM
Get a professional training. Nothing fancy, just a basic NRA certified marksmanship class should do. The group is ok, but you can do better.

I think Magnum range might have one, and if not, Jerry at Annie's get your gun also does marksmanship training.(They are in Coronoa)

NotSoFast
06-27-2009, 11:55 PM
I started at 7 yds (21 ft.) and practiced until I got to the point I was shooting a tight pattern. Then I began working on finger placement on the trigger, grip, etc. until I was hitting the bull at 7 yds. And I agree with shooting off a rest to start. You need to learn the correct aim and shooting freehand to start will just slow you down.

aplinker
06-28-2009, 12:14 AM
You need to dry-fire practice and watch your sights until they don't move.

You need to work on applying pressure and strength with your support hand, not your trigger hand.

Until you can do that, your targets will be wide and tall.

You're on the path, bro, just do some more dry work. It's free!

If you get to the point in your skills where your shots land consistently in one area, but not the center of the target you are trying to hit, it is then time to adjust the sights so they look where you shoot.
Everyone shoots a handgun different...different hand shapes, hand strength, grip pressure, finger length and more all affect the direction the gun moves when firing.
You will find that often when you shoot someone else's handgun that is "sighted-in" exactly for them that it will have a different point of impact for you.
Handguns are the most personal of all firearms.

Judging from those targets, he's not at that point. 20ft is close enough that you should be able to hit them all within a 2" circle. A skilled shooter will be putting them all in one ragged hole.