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  #1  
Old 03-24-2013, 7:53 PM
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Wannawas Wannawas is offline
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Default Tracking skill progress

I am considering starting to track my marksmanship progress. I started shooting handguns 3 months ago, and I mostly shoot at indoor ranges with rented guns (just bought my first handgun - day 3/10 jailtime ).

Today, I wasn't too happy with my groups. When I got home, I started looking at my cell phone pics that I had sporadically taken from my targets after some sessions. This made me feel much better because I can see that I have improved a lot.

So it made me wonder - do you guys track your progress in any way? Do you take pics of your targets? If yes, how do you catalog them? Or maybe just coming up with a scoring system for each session is a better idea...

If you don't, did you ever do it when you got started?
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Old 03-24-2013, 8:31 PM
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When I shot rifle in the military we always kept score, and my score tended toward improvement over the course of one enlistment.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannawas View Post
...

So it made me wonder - do you guys track your progress in any way? Do you take pics of your targets? If yes, how do you catalog them? Or maybe just coming up with a scoring system for each session is a better idea...

If you don't, did you ever do it when you got started?
Didn't do it when I got started (and we didn't have cell phones/cameras back then anyway )...these days I run a course like shown below from BSIS sometimes. And, the Dot Torture test. See it at http://pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture

Occasionally will bring a target or two home to look at overnight and/or record, as far as "catalog" I make simple notes in my weapon log. Like, if I ran a qualifier course, how it scored, which ammo(s) used, if I pulled or pushed a shot or two, etc.

What pistol are you getting? Maybe, after you enjoy it a few weeks, look for a local pistol class and get some training. It will likely help a lot.

Enjoy, be safe.


A. A course of fire. Each individual shall discharge 50 rounds a minimum of two times according to the following schedules: (All stages are unsupported)

Stage 1 15 yards 6 rounds in 30 seconds
 6 standing position

Stage 2 7 yards 14 rounds in 45 seconds (includes 2 reloads)
(load 6, 6 and 2)
 6 standing position
 8 kneeling position

Stage 3 7 yards 6 rounds in 10 seconds (any position)

Stage 4 7 yards 12 rounds in 25 seconds (includes reload)
(load 6 and 6)
 6 strong hand unsupported (reload and switch hands)
 6 weak hand unsupported

Stage 5 5 yards 6 rounds
 3 rounds in 4 seconds (2 stages)

Stage 6 3 yards 6 rounds
 2 rounds in 3 seconds (3 stages)

B. Scoring. The first course of 50 rounds discharged shall be considered practice. The second course of 50 rounds discharged shall be used for scoring.

1. Silhouette targets shall be used. A 5 point score shall be granted for each round discharged in head or body kill area.

...
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:13 PM
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Funny you ask. i started keeping my targets about a year ago. This week i sat down and over a few nights of cutting the targets out and taping them into a notebook and jotting down the range, optic, stance, and ammo used, i now have a small notebook with all he targets from my past year... been shootig for 19 years so its not much of a history.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:41 PM
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use a shot timer and get someone to video tape you.

that's worked well for me and I show marked improvement over the last 6-7 years.
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Old 03-25-2013, 2:06 PM
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I do this. In fact I started a thread in early March somehow documenting my progress over the last 6 months at that time.

I take a picture of my targets with my phone and email them to myself with a note of gun used and date. I then save the pictures on my hard drive - one folder per gun - and use a file name with a date stamp. I find it helpful and fun... Although of course there's added admin work.

This works for me... And btw, I also keep track of round count per gun and my ammo inventory. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet.

Have fun and good luck with the progress. Nothing beats range time with proper technique and a gun that you find best for you.
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Old 03-25-2013, 4:28 PM
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Wsnc27:
Wow, thanks for the great resource. I like the site. I don't use a holster, but I can modify the training a bit to fit me. Do I just print that out on a regular copy paper?

Hossb7:
Great idea. I've used video taping to find weaknesses in tennis. I think it would be great for shooting too.

Trigger945:
I'm planning to do this with Evernote on my iPhone. I could organize by notes and by notebooks. I haven't worked it out yet.
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Old 03-25-2013, 5:01 PM
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One of the things I've done since the beginning was keep a photo-journal of my targets. I write on the targets the date, where, what I was shooting and number of rounds. Usually, I will take photos at the range and also some more at home. Sometimes, I will also videotape myself shooting to see if there are any tell-tale signs of any problems in my technique. But, the targets will usually tell the story of what I'm doing wrong.

I just organize each range day by date. Periodically, I will go back thru the folders and review the pictures to track my progress.

I've only been shooting since July of last year. I would love to get some one on one instruction. Aside from ammo, time seems to be the limiting factor for me. I try to dry fire as much as possible, but it's not always easy in this busy life. Especially since I may not know what I'm doing wrong. That's why I try to spend a lot of time on the forums learning about shooting, maintenance etc.
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Old 03-25-2013, 5:46 PM
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Been shooting for many years and just started tracking my sessions with a simple excel sheet close to a year ago.

I keep records of how many shots fired, normally around 100, date, time, weather (I shoot outside), time between strings, score and outside to outside measurement of the holes that I made. I also know how many perfects and 99's I have, plus the way less than perfects that I screw up on.

Keeping records now lets me know when I'm off a little because my average suffers....or increases if I'm having a good string of sessions.

I really only started tracking to assure that I was basically on course and maintaining a decent average, the other stuff just kinda tagged along.

Pictures sound interesting too though as that would help in analyzing any issues such as anticipation. Cataloging would be time consuming though.
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Old 03-25-2013, 7:24 PM
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I forgot to answer wsmc27's question: Sig P226 in .40, from a fellow Calgunner.
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Old 03-25-2013, 9:14 PM
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Oh, one other thing. You will know that you are progressing as you start placing your shots where you want them, or close to where you want at least. You will feel it, too. Pictures and records are simply validations or things to look at after the fact, maybe to analyze and/or admire. It is range time that will build your confidence. Don't over analyze; just enough to know where you stand.

Good luck. Keep us posted with your progress after 3 months.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:58 PM
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XD: yeah I right on them before taking the pic too.

Revo: An excel sheet with scores seems like a neat way to keep track. How helpful has it been to you to have a year worth of data? Was it worth the time?
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Old 03-26-2013, 8:02 AM
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Pick a standard, stage or classifier type COF that is appropriate for your goals and facility (can't really run a IDPA classifier on a public indoor range during standard business) and track progress based on the results. Don't necessarily just shoot that stage though. Put it in at regular intervals say at the end of your session or once a month. There's plaenty of COF on the net from various instructors, schools or agencies.

If group size is your goal: as an example on an indoor range, put 10 rounds in the black of a 50ft slow fire bullseye (or a 3" sticker) at 3 yards. Once you can do that, increase the distance to 7,10,15, etc. yards. You could test yourself on a NRA PPC course and keep track of the score (and how many rounds per value). If that gets too easy, knock time off each stage.

If you are competing, your classification progression and match results are a good metric. Last year you were a "D" now you got your "C" card. Or I'm a "C" class but beating 1/2 the "B" shooters.

Determine what is important to you and figure out how to measure it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 8:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixicus View Post
Pick a standard, stage or classifier type COF that is appropriate for your goals and facility (can't really run a IDPA classifier on a public indoor range during standard business) and track progress based on the results. Don't necessarily just shoot that stage though. Put it in at regular intervals say at the end of your session or once a month. There's plaenty of COF on the net from various instructors, schools or agencies
This is good advice.

the Dot Torture drill is a good example, and gives you room to grow as you improve your skills (increasing distance and/or adding a time challenge).

http://pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture
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Old 03-26-2013, 8:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hossb7 View Post
This is good advice.

the Dot Torture drill is a good example, and gives you room to grow as you improve your skills (increasing distance and/or adding a time challenge).

http://pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture
Thanks for that link! Very informative.

I saw another article from that same website that pertains to these ammo-starved times that I thought I should share.

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7799

Interesting points that he makes regarding the benefits of dry-fire vs live-fire. When to practice certain drills etc.
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Old 03-26-2013, 5:13 PM
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"Revo: An excel sheet with scores seems like a neat way to keep track. How helpful has it been to you to have a year worth of data? Was it worth the time?"

Well, as others have stated, it's about what you are looking for. It was worth it to me to see how I fared against myself. I knew what my approximate average was before stats, but I not only confirmed my average, I was able to track if I was better after a year. Turned out that I was, but averages creep up slowly, where they drop dramatically.

It showed me that I shot better in warm weather and if I keep a constant pace instead of a rapid or erratic pace. I'm mostly bullseye style shooting so it's not as important than other games, but a bullseye shooter wants consistency and that's what the stats showed when I paced myself.

It also showed how many times per year I went to the range. I like to say that "I go most every Saturday morning." That turned out to be mostly true, but I did miss more than I thought over the course of a year.

It too very interesting to see which strings were my best, by that I mean which of the ten shot strings I consistently run better scores than the rest of that particular session. Turns out that the 'meat' of the sessions were from strings three through seven, that's where I mostly shot perfect scores. Kind of shows that a little warm up (dry firing) is a good idea before just going at it.

The measurements from outside of hole to outside of hole also told a differing story of consistency. If I had a good group, it didn't necessarily mean that I had a good score. I might have grouped low and left for a few strings, but the group was great, just not in the 'X'. That was telling me that my grip was not consistent for the 'X' and I needed to work on that a little. It really makes a difference how you hold the gun. Too light, too tight, too high, too low, it all makes a difference where it impacts the target, even though your sights show otherwise as they were right where they were each time, but the grip shot elsewhere.

I'm glad that I was able to input the information and for such a length of time. It showed me some things that don't normally come up unless you track them. For me it was a good thing.
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Old 03-26-2013, 5:22 PM
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compete. shoot idpa or uspsa.

shot timer is also invaluable!

i have a logbook of every drill i shoot with the course of fire, time and points down.

those 3 things coupled with professional instruction and tons of dry fire have vastly improved my shooting in just 6 months.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:39 PM
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Mixicus: thanks so much. For the detailed examples. They gave me several ideas.

XD: thx for the dryfire link. Awesome.

Rev: that's exactly what I wanted to know and more. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's decided. I'm starting a log including pics, bullseye scores, and drill scores.


Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:40 PM
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Oh, and trigger945, you got it. I'll post progress in 3 months.
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Old 03-27-2013, 5:37 PM
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Wanna -

I think it's cool that you followed your thread, many on this Forum start a questioning thread and never return after great answers to those questions were attained. They either never got those answers, or didn't think enough to say "thanks"

So....from those that gave answers, thanks for the thanks!
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