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  #1  
Old 08-06-2017, 2:52 PM
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Default Tight groupings at up to 12 yards but beyond, pure slop.

Just what the titles says. Need help. Little bit of background.

I shot a gun for the 1st time about 14 months ago. I got my 1st pistol in March. I've been hitting the range consistently since then. I go at least once a week. More in the last month.

I have 2 pistols now, SP-01 and 1911 Loaded Target, both in 9mm. I shoot exclusively at paper, in an indoor range. I have been focusing on increasing the distance to target over time. I'm pretty darn good at up to 12 yards. Pretty tight groups. Within an inch when I am focused and not tired.

The problem is that once I push the target out beyond that, I got sloppy. I just don't get it.

What I mean by sloppy is my groupings are like 6 inches apart. All around the bullseye. All my shots still hit all on the 8.5x11 sheet of paper.

Am I being unrealistic? Should I expect to make 1 to 2 inch groups at distances of 15+ yards? What do you think is wrong? Is it just a matter of practicing more at these dustances?

I think its mental. I get a little anxious when I see the target is farther out and I lose my focus on fundamentals. At least it's what I think is happening.

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Old 08-06-2017, 3:22 PM
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You should be calling your shots by following your front sight on ignition of each round. where are hitting at greater distances? low left?

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Old 08-06-2017, 3:55 PM
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What targets are you using?
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Old 08-06-2017, 4:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rnlinebacker View Post
You should be calling your shots by following your front sight on ignition of each round. where are hitting at greater distances? low left?

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I've read a little about calling shots but can you explain the technique to me?

I am following my front sight through the recoil. When I first started shooting, I would blink with each round. I worked through that and it ultimately improved my follow-up shot accuracy and speed. Able to get off the shot much quicker.

As far as where am I hitting.. It's all around my point of aim. Not consistent to the left or low. It's literally all around. I will get one round off high. Then the next one too low or one side. Then low. Etc.

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Old 08-06-2017, 4:08 PM
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What targets are you using?
This is one i shoot a lot. It prints on a normal sheet of paper. 8.5x11

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Old 08-06-2017, 5:02 PM
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Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
I've read a little about calling shots but can you explain the technique to me?

I am following my front sight through the recoil. When I first started shooting, I would blink with each round. I worked through that and it ultimately improved my follow-up shot accuracy and speed. Able to get off the shot much quicker.

As far as where am I hitting.. It's all around my point of aim. Not consistent to the left or low. It's literally all around. I will get one round off high. Then the next one too low or one side. Then low. Etc.

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https://youtu.be/N4J2JhhTTIQ

Here's the best way to call your shots

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Old 08-06-2017, 8:12 PM
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Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
I've read a little about calling shots but can you explain the technique to me?
Calling a shot is seeing and mentally registering where the sight is at the time the shot is fired and the recoil starts to move the sights.

If you blink, you won't see the correct moment and won't be able to call the shoot. If you flinch, you are likely to lose the front sight at the last moment. If you keep steady and can tell where the sights are at the "bang" time, you've called your shot.

To practice, have a copy of the target on the bench. When you fire a shot, record on the copy with a marker the last position of your sights. When your markings match bullet holes, you are calling your shots correctly. Use target that doesn't show holes (basic paper) so you're not cheating by looking at the target *after* the shot.

Calling shots is a critical skill for action shooting. As you are pulling the trigger fast, your inaccuracy should be from not taking time to get the *perfect* sight picture and not from not knowing where the sights were when the shot was fired. Until you can tell where your shots are going, don't try to speed up. Since you're talking about slow fire in your OP, just work on recognizing where the sights are at the moment the recoil starts.

As the distance increases and you're doing bullseye shooting, your spread should be from having the target blurred, not from being sloppy with the trigger pull or the sight alignment.
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Old 08-06-2017, 9:01 PM
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also try larger target in that you should will be able to put the round circle like a lolly pop on top of the front site, your targets are to small for an accurate aming point.
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Old 08-06-2017, 9:21 PM
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Are you focusing on the front sight as you fire or are you looking at the target?

What you describe often happens when you look at the target. You don't realize it but you make small oscillations with your hand when you focus on the target. I'm assuming what happens is that at 12 yards the bullseye you're aiming for gets so small and blurry that you have to look at the target to feel confident you're pointed in at the right place.
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Old 08-06-2017, 9:26 PM
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Are you minding your breathing and trigger pull?
People often forget the basics when they try to concentrate too much on hitting something far out with pinpoint precision. Relax and worry less about the groupings and focus on your form and front sight picture.

Are you adjusting your point of aim based on where the shots are landing?
Don't try to adjust mid group and land on the bullseye. Keep your point of aim constant for the entire string, otherwise your groups will be all over the place.
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Old 08-06-2017, 9:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
also try larger target in that you should will be able to put the round circle like a lolly pop on top of the front site, your targets are to small for an accurate aming point.
This crossed my mind. Will try a larger target next time.

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  #12  
Old 08-06-2017, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by IVC View Post
Calling a shot is seeing and mentally registering where the sight is at the time the shot is fired and the recoil starts to move the sights.

If you blink, you won't see the correct moment and won't be able to call the shoot. If you flinch, you are likely to lose the front sight at the last moment. If you keep steady and can tell where the sights are at the "bang" time, you've called your shot.

To practice, have a copy of the target on the bench. When you fire a shot, record on the copy with a marker the last position of your sights. When your markings match bullet holes, you are calling your shots correctly. Use target that doesn't show holes (basic paper) so you're not cheating by looking at the target *after* the shot.

Calling shots is a critical skill for action shooting. As you are pulling the trigger fast, your inaccuracy should be from not taking time to get the *perfect* sight picture and not from not knowing where the sights were when the shot was fired. Until you can tell where your shots are going, don't try to speed up. Since you're talking about slow fire in your OP, just work on recognizing where the sights are at the moment the recoil starts.

As the distance increases and you're doing bullseye shooting, your spread should be from having the target blurred, not from being sloppy with the trigger pull or the sight alignment.
Thanks. I will work on this for sure.

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Old 08-06-2017, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottyXbones View Post
Are you focusing on the front sight as you fire or are you looking at the target?

What you describe often happens when you look at the target. You don't realize it but you make small oscillations with your hand when you focus on the target. I'm assuming what happens is that at 12 yards the bullseye you're aiming for gets so small and blurry that you have to look at the target to feel confident you're pointed in at the right place.
You could be right. I know to focus on the front sight. But I may be shifting my focus to the target on these longer shots. Gonna to pay more attention to this next go.

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Old 08-06-2017, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by naeco81 View Post
Are you minding your breathing and trigger pull?
People often forget the basics when they try to concentrate too much on hitting something far out with pinpoint precision. Relax and worry less about the groupings and focus on your form and front sight picture.

Are you adjusting your point of aim based on where the shots are landing?
Don't try to adjust mid group and land on the bullseye. Keep your point of aim constant for the entire string, otherwise your groups will be all over the place.
I think your first point may be what's wrong. I know that I am worrying too much and not relaxed with these longer shots. Not the case when I am at say 10 yards and that's why I get really nice groups on target.

And yes... I think I am adjusting my aim between shots in the same string. Going to try your suggestion of keep my aim constant for the full string.

Really helpful stuff. Tanks!

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Old 08-07-2017, 3:25 AM
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Shooting is easy. Shooting really well is very tough.

You're just fine for the amount of experience you say you have. If you focus on the actions of proper fundamentals, consistently, you'll get better.

My eyes aren't that hot and with indoor lighting I'll never shoot groups as well as I would outside.

Finally, quality professional instruction will be needed at some point to get better. It just will.
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Old 08-07-2017, 4:45 AM
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Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
This crossed my mind. Will try a larger target next time.

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I was going to suggest the opposite. Go down to a 4 inch target for 15 yards, 2 inch for 5 yards.

"Aim small, shoot small" worked for me.
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Old 08-07-2017, 8:34 AM
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Every small error you make gets magnified as your shot gets further away. USPSA has some very difficult distance classifiers that will come up so shooting at a distance and at speed is important. A small error on your trigger pull could result in a miss at 35 feet.

I like the white wall drill. It is simply pulling the trigger with front site focus on a white wall. Nothing to aim at. Your only focus is what that front site does as you pull the trigger. I fixed a horrible accuracy problem when I went from a 1911 to a CZ (1911 trigger can hide a multitude of sins) within a couple of days by doing nothing but the white wall drill.
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Old 08-07-2017, 8:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rmatt View Post
Shooting is easy. Shooting really well is very tough.

You're just fine for the amount of experience you say you have. If you focus on the actions of proper fundamentals, consistently, you'll get better.

My eyes aren't that hot and with indoor lighting I'll never shoot groups as well as I would outside.

Finally, quality professional instruction will be needed at some point to get better. It just will.
Haha. I like that. "Shooting is easy. Shooting really well is very tough."

It's encouraging to hear that it seems I am doing well for the amount of time I've been shooting. Sometimes I get ahead of myself. I'm pretty competitive with myself so sometimes my expectations of where I should be, skill wise, is unrealistic given my experience.

I'm going to try to get out to an outdoor range in the next week or so to see if maybe its the lighting indoors. See where that takes me from there.

But yes, I've been wanting to take some more advanced instructor led training. What I mean is more advanced that the basic safety and shooting course I took when I first started with all this. Probably will do it in Sept.
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Old 08-07-2017, 8:42 AM
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Every small error you make gets magnified as your shot gets further away. USPSA has some very difficult distance classifiers that will come up so shooting at a distance and at speed is important. A small error on your trigger pull could result in a miss at 35 feet.

I like the white wall drill. It is simply pulling the trigger with front site focus on a white wall. Nothing to aim at. Your only focus is what that front site does as you pull the trigger. I fixed a horrible accuracy problem when I went from a 1911 to a CZ (1911 trigger can hide a multitude of sins) within a couple of days by doing nothing but the white wall drill.
I'm assuming this White Wall drill is dry fire. I will try that. I do a lot of dry fire but against scale USPSA targets.

The interesting thing for me is that I shoot my CZ better than my 1911 in 9mm. Go figure.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
I think your first point may be what's wrong. I know that I am worrying too much and not relaxed with these longer shots. Not the case when I am at say 10 yards and that's why I get really nice groups on target.

And yes... I think I am adjusting my aim between shots in the same string. Going to try your suggestion of keep my aim constant for the full string.

Really helpful stuff. Tanks!

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NP dude, good luck - I'm sure you'll get this mastered because the most important part of learning is developing the right attitude which you clearly have otherwise your photography wouldn't be so incredibly good.

About the second tip I gave you, the reason this is important is that tight groupings are the objective. Once you have that, moving those groupings toward the bullseye is very simple. It's often just a sight or hold adjustment, but trying to do this first will make it impossible to be consistent. So just keep your point of aim constant and strive for tight groupings even if they are off center - you can and will correct that later.
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The architects of the assault weapon bans ... are simply trying to fight the Culture War. And we can't win, not in California anyway because you guys, the ones with the most to lose, refuse to do what you need to do to win the Culture Wars, which is to make Calguns and the gun rights community a truly big tent and stop driving people away simply because they are different from you.
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Old 08-07-2017, 1:23 PM
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Originally Posted by naeco81 View Post
About the second tip I gave you, the reason this is important is that tight groupings are the objective. Once you have that, moving those groupings toward the bullseye is very simple. It's often just a sight or hold adjustment, but trying to do this first will make it impossible to be consistent. So just keep your point of aim constant and strive for tight groupings even if they are off center - you can and will correct that later.
Totally makes sense. The whole precision vs. accuracy thing. Once you have precision nailed, obtaining accuracy is easy. That really helps me process and goal set.


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Old 08-07-2017, 1:28 PM
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How is your eye sight?
When did you check it last?
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Old 08-11-2017, 2:48 PM
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Just got back from the range. I focused on shooting at 20 yards. It's the furthest I can shoot in this range. I shot 100 rounds. Concentrated on all the tips you guys gave me.

Making sure front sight is in focus. Worked on precision... aiming small and keeping my aim constant through a string. Tight grip. No limp wrist.

Result... much better. I had a few flyers but most of my strings were tight.

Target posted is my last 25 rounds. I was shooting 5 shot strings. Cadence was about a second, maybe two per round.

I felt much more relaxed today. I thinker that helped.

Is this decent shooting?

It's hard for me to judge. I am better than most of the folks I see at the range but they could all suck. LOL

BTW, This was shot with 115g S&B new ammo.

That's a quarter for scale.

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Last edited by anonymouscuban; 08-11-2017 at 2:52 PM..
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Old 08-11-2017, 3:03 PM
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- Most people at any range I've been to have sucked
- Your shooting looks damn good to me
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Old 08-11-2017, 3:35 PM
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I'd say you're shooting very well - definitely far above average for 20 yds at 1 shot per second, based on what I see at most ranges I visit. Really impressive for your first time out after taking a bunch of new tips on. Stay relaxed, and stick to the form, it's working for you
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Old 08-11-2017, 4:32 PM
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I'd say you're shooting very well - definitely far above average for 20 yds at 1 shot per second, based on what I see at most ranges I visit. Really impressive for your first time out after taking a bunch of new tips on. Stay relaxed, and stick to the form, it's working for you
Thanks. I really wasn't trying to be humble about it. I don't shoot with anyone other than my wife when she goes with me on occasion so I really don't have anyone to compare my shooting against. There are others at the range when I go but as I said, most are terrible. 90% don't even know how to hold a pistol properly.

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Old 08-11-2017, 7:09 PM
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you shoot well enough to shoot steel that's for sure good job just continue to practice.

That's where it gets expensive I shoot 300 rounds a week for that you need to reload.
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Old 08-11-2017, 7:15 PM
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you shoot well enough to shoot steel that's for sure good job just continue to practice.

That's where it gets expensive I shoot 300 rounds a week for that you need to reload.
Thanks. I want to start competitive shooting. I'm considering USPSA Production with my SP-01. I have a basic rig already. I have been dry fire practicing drawing from holster, mag swaps, etc. I had hoped to have done my 1st match by now but been busy and the heat has kept me from it. I'm planning on September now.

Looking forward to it but also a little nervous. Butterflies since it will be something new and I don't know anyone at the local clubs.

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Old 08-11-2017, 9:54 PM
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That's a quarter for scale.
Funny quarter...
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Old 08-11-2017, 9:59 PM
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Is this decent shooting?
Assuming you shot at 25 yards and not at 1 yard (quarter vs. penny reference ), that's pretty good. The key will be to use the same trigger pull while under pressure and at speed.

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It's hard for me to judge. I am better than most of the folks I see at the range but they could all suck. LOL
You answered your own question.

It's not so much that "they all suck" as it is that when you start shooting competitively, your goals will change from being better than "most of the folks at the range" to "shooting well."

The first match will be a humbling experience. Even though you can outshoot most of the guys at the range, you'll be shooting against guys who can outshoot most of the guys who can outshoot most of the guys at the range.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:07 PM
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Looking forward to it but also a little nervous. Butterflies since it will be something new and I don't know anyone at the local clubs.
Don't over-think it, just do it.

I was in the same boat, didn't know anyone and just decided to show up. After the first match, I knew a few guys. After the next match, I knew a few more. Etc.

EVERYONE was extremely helpful with "the new guy" and as long as you are not a complete snowflake, you will quickly get used to it. Remember, everyone at the match is there to have fun and get better. They will welcome you, talk to you and let you know about all the details.

Just remember: (1) safety, (2) fun, (3) shooting, ... (1001) ego. You'll run against some fast guys and you'll be tempted to pull the trigger as fast as they do. If you do, it will look cool for about a minute, until you see the score. Hint: don't try to shoot faster than you can see the sights - the fast guys are not just pulling the trigger, they are seeing every shot.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:11 PM
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If you shoot standards or recognized courses of fire and targets, you can easily measure your ability for a given day.
There are many recognized courses of fire along with suggested scores found on the web.
Working in one or several of these into your practice routines will make it easy to know where you are at.
No longer needing anyone else to measure your ability.

I love the humbler. That is a great all around drill. But, if looking for competition based standards there are others that may be more appropriate.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by IVC View Post
Don't over-think it, just do it.

I was in the same boat, didn't know anyone and just decided to show up. After the first match, I knew a few guys. After the next match, I knew a few more. Etc.

EVERYONE was extremely helpful with "the new guy" and as long as you are not a complete snowflake, you will quickly get used to it. Remember, everyone at the match is there to have fun and get better. They will welcome you, talk to you and let you know about all the details.

Just remember: (1) safety, (2) fun, (3) shooting, ... (1001) ego. You'll run against some fast guys and you'll be tempted to pull the trigger as fast as they do. If you do, it will look cool for about a minute, until you see the score. Hint: don't try to shoot faster than you can see the sights - the fast guys are not just pulling the trigger, they are seeing every shot.
Thanks for the info and advice.

I have no illusions of being remotely competitive. That's not really why I'm interested in USPSA. It looks like loads of fun. Much more than just shooting paper from one position. Fun is my objective.

I've read all the rules a few times over and have watched many match videos. I am amazed by how quick these guys can run stages. I know that comes with time and experience. The only real goal I have is to be safe and not to get DQ'd. If I accomplish that, I am a happy camper.



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Old 08-12-2017, 7:02 AM
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Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
I have no illusions of being remotely competitive. That's not really why I'm interested in USPSA.
This is a good attitude, but don't undersell yourself either. You will be competitive among the newer shooters and those who use matches for practice.

The warning is just about trying to emulate the top 1/2 or 1/3 of the guys. They practice a lot (live and dry), they have very sound fundamentals and they know their limits with speed.

If you are "very good range shooter," look at comparing yourself with high D or low C shooters (you can look up individual ratings on USPSA's website, "member services" page). If you are an "above average range shooter," you're looking at about mid-D. If you are an "average range shooter" you are looking at entry level, low-D level and are likely to be at the very bottom of the match.
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Old 08-12-2017, 5:02 PM
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do this the next time you're at the range. first thing, no warm up. post picture.

https://pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture
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Old 08-12-2017, 6:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rmatt View Post
do this the next time you're at the range. first thing, no warm up. post picture.

https://pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture
Matt,

Seems like drawing from the holster is key to this drill. Problem is that none of the ranges I have around me allow one to holster and draw.

Is the drill still effective without drawing from the holster?

Could I simulate a draw by starting with the pistol in hand at rest on my right side?
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:28 PM
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Of course just picking up the gun off the bench gives you training.
Plenty of stages where the start position is retrieving your unloaded handgun from somewhere. Look to the web for unloaded starts in USPSA. It will show you some ideas of how to prop your handgun to make grasping it easier.
Anytime you bring the handgun up and acquire the sights at extension is excellent practice to develop speed and confidence.
Dot torture is not timed. Shoot 2-3 yards to start. Keep track of your hits between circles. I normally would mark and score each circle for students. Too easy to drop a shot down into another circle and not realize it was a miss.
I have had I think 5-6 students shoot it clean their first time.
If you clean it, shoot it strong hand only. Don't increase distance. Need more challenge? Shoot it support hand only.
So it's a good drill you can increase challenge without necessary increasing distance.
Take a phone pic when you are done. Boom..... Easy to track how you are shooting any given day.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:36 PM
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Matt... thanks for the reply. Makes a lot of sense. I already practice drawing from my holster and acquire my sights through dry fire drills since I can't do that at the range. There are no restrictions keeping me from doing these drills with pistol on the table or at my side. And as you pointed out, this will help me develop speed and confidence.

I already printed out a handful of these targets so I'm going to try next trip to the range. Probably Monday. I will post the results.

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Old 08-13-2017, 7:46 AM
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I'm going to commit one of my pet peeves. I did not read the entire thread


Quote:
I shot a gun for the 1st time about 14 months ago.
This is your problem.
Hate to say it buddy but you're green, Green as hell, You can't expect to shoot nice tiny groups at what ever range without years of practice. I'd say you've come a long way in a short time but refining your skill take time and lots of it.
Unless you have the money to hit the range once a week or every two weeks, And I don't mean doing mag dumps either.

Here's the deal get some formal training even a half day with an experienced instructor or professional level shooter. and someone with a good reputation.

once you go into information overload you can then go back to the range and focus on one maybe to issues and work through them. When i teach a new shooter it's one shot at a time. if you are new to firearms you will not be drawing and firing, you will just be at low ready then aim and fire one round and one round only with a good ten to twenty seconds between shots.

So many people go to the range rent a gun and just go dump mags, We've all done it and all it does is build bad habits. about fifteen years ago I made a concerted effort to rid myself of all bad pistol shooting habits. it took time and a ton of ammo but I'm am a damn good shot with a pistol now.

What you need to do is tackle one problem at a time. trigger control is the first thing. and getting use to recoil eliminate the flinch/jerk. once you can control the trigger and the pistol you can then control where the bullet is going.

I see many people say different things about sight pictures and target focus. This is a simple thing. if the target is not moving or your are not moving your focus is on the front sight. if however you or the target is moving you focus on the target and look through the sights.

one step at a time, trigger control and follow through first, then sight picture, One slow fired well aimed shot at a time. I can have a crappy shooter shooting 1000% better by the end of a one day session and about 300 rounds of ammo.

About 200 rounds of slow well aimed shots working into two to three shots. then we pick up the pace and go one to two rounds per second. Again well aimed slow deliberate fire.
once the progression is showing then you can move to draw and shoot but again it goes back to one round at a time slow methodical movements.

I don't train people to be tactical or three gun shooters. I teach people the basic fundamentals of pistol marksmanship. Once you are a good shot you can apply that skill to any discipline

Basically you have to learn to walk before you run and we tend to want to fly before we've learned to crawl
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Old 08-13-2017, 1:26 PM
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Being an instructor I always encourage getting some training.
Reality is most simply do not know what they do not know. So hard to grasp the value of formal instruction unless you have had some and it helped you.

You can certainly learn on your own. Good formal instruction will help you identify either unsafe handling or fundamental shooting issues.

Like many here I too went through an evolution of instruction.

I consistently encourage instruction from persons well grounded with competition based backgrounds.

Always be a student. Always seek out a better way to self improvement.

Congratulations, you are solidly on the path now. Just by asking questions. Most firearm owners already think they know enough.
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