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Discussion Starter #1
My first gun was purchased last week (M&P 40), so I am a newbie at all this. Consequently, I am an awefully bad shot!!!
I keep reading reports from all you seasoned shooters, and I feel that I am even worse than I think I am.

To quote some reports that I have read: "5-shot groups off-hand at 7 yards and got all the holes to touch. Then I shot off-hand at 25 yds. and got a 2" group" and "standing freehand at 15 yds... I was getting groups of 2-3[inches]" and "I shot the M&P starting at about 15 yards, I was presently surprised when 3 of the first 4 rounds hit the 1 inch red center on my rifle target".



I gotta say, either you guys are certified experts or I should be certified as blind 8) By the way, my eyesight is very good, better than 20/20. Where can I find advice or tips to suggest the proper things I need to practice (form)???



I am right handed and I think that my right eye is dominant. I have tried the thumb-test, but I can't really get it to work. When focusing on my thumb, I still see 2 of the distant object that I'm covering. I stand with my left foot forward, feet pointed at about 10:30 if the target is 12. I grab the grip as high as possible with my right hand, wrap my 3 fingers just below the trigger guard, and place my index finger just under the slide, pointed toward the target. I then place my left palm over the end of the fingers of my right hand, wrap my 4 left-hand fingers over the 3 of my right hand, place the meaty part of my left thumb/palm in the concavity below my right thumb, and place both thumbs along the left side of the frame and under the slide. My right arm is mostly straight, but not locked. My left arm is slightly more bent. Note that my right index finger is still not placed inside the tigger guard.

Sighting.... I don't really know what I should be doing. I was most accurate before I started trying to follow advice; in fact, I was pretty good, better than friends with years of experience. Since then.... I have tried to use both eyes open. If I focus on the front site, I see 2 targets; the one on the right is the one I need to aim for. If I focus on the target with both eyes, lining up the sites is very hard. I need to shut one eye first, to get things lined up, and then I can proceed with 2 eyes open. Using only 1 eye is easier. Focusing on the target or the front site seems to make very little difference.

I have a flinching problem! My shots are regularly low, but they are usually reasonably inline with my point of aim. If I try hard to relax my wrist and concentrate on squeezing the trigger, I do well. The other thing I do is aim high; sort of a pre-flinch flinch. Maybe this is 95% of my problem??



When I feel good about my sights being on target, I move my right index finger inside the trigger guard. I place my finger on the trigger so that contact is made just outside of my first knuckle. I concentrate on keeping both thumbs pressed against the gun's frame on the left side and squeeze the trigger straight back. At 7 yards and 15 rounds, 1 or 2 shots may have hit the bullseye, but the grouping is centered ~5" below my aim. The overall grouping is probably 8-10", just from estimation.



At my 2nd range visit last night, I reached 700 rounds through the gun (no failures of any type and no cleaning yet). Most of my ammo has been from a factory reload place in Butte, MT (H&M?), but I have also used 200 rounds of WWB and 20 rounds of Federal Hydra-shock.



You guys are hitting a 2" diameter at 15+ yards?!?!? What the..... Help a newbie out here!!! I'm happy to hear any pointers you can give, or any links to proper shooting form.



Thanks.
 

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1, to start with, use one eye and focus on the target. When you get better move to 2 eyes open.



2 Practice practice practice. I started shooting mostly by myself, I watched myself shoot, and corrected myown problems.



3 dry fire. it will help your flinch.



4 don't go to fast. don't try to double tap when you cant hit the target consistantly as it is. GO SLOW. Slow is fast, and faster, and faster.



you might wanna ask your reloader to do up some lights loads for you to start out on.



Last, your worrying about the numbers to much. don't... that will only frustrate you. shoot to shoot. make yourself comfortable, do what is comfortable. My father can't do a high hold, but he is still accurate, just slower. He uses a modified weaver grip, works for him, just slower.



I can't stress enough, practice. I have put 100s of thousands of rounds through verious weapons, I didn't get the way I am with 300 rounds, nor am I still even very good.
 

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Jester, Thanks for all the helpful links and the advice. I will read through it all. You are totally right, PRACTICE is what I need most. I'm trying to avoid reinforcing all the bad habits, as I start off.



I'm thinking about making some snap caps, as I saw described in another thread. I have too many projects going on, as usual
 

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There are a number of very good books out there. You can go to Brian Enos' site (Google him as I dont have a link handy). Same goes for Matt Burkett. Hell I think Gunsite even has some books and videos. The 5" low is probably flinch from not having fired a gun too often.



Couple of things that I would recommend.

1) Find a decent instructor locally. Does not have to be some intensive combat clss, just basic marksmanship. Around here I can do a day long class for less that $100. WELL worth it. so you dont develop bad habits that will later have to be broken the hard way. I am talking from experience here.

2) If at all possible try using a 22 to start with. If you cant afford one just now, beg, borrow or rent one for a few sessions. the low recoil will help you focuso n fundamentals like sight pictreu and trigger control.



If all that isnt possible, get some books, read them and they try to apply them during range sessionsd and dry fire sessions at home. Start at SHORT ranges like 3 yds, use one eye and, I will disagree with Jester here, focus on nothing but the front sight and make sure that it does not move during the trigger pull. The muzzle flash should be like the flash of a camera with your front sight in focus and aligned with the rears, which are fuzzy as is the target.



When youre at home dry fire as much as yuo can. It will help immensely.



On a different note, dont worry about what others can and cant do. There are people out there who are very good shots, but it is highly unlikely that they just picked up a gun yesterday and got that way. It time to master. Heck I have been shooting for a number of years on and off and still have days when it looks like I was using a shotgun; more than I care to admit




Also, without hurting anyone's feelings, you have to take some of what you read with a grain of salt. Its not very often that people will offer up a range report saying that they couldnt hit the blind side of a barn today
 

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If you can get to any kind of handgun class that is a great help. Instructor's can pick up easier than we can what is causing our shots to go off bullseye.



The videos and books recommended are well worth the money. You can also find a lot of videos for sale at this site. http://gunvideo.com/



If there is any kind of IDPA, USPSA or Steel local competition's in your area that's another resource. You'll meet a lot of good shooters who who are more than willing to help you out.



Have you had an experienced shooter try your M&P just to make sure the sights are correct?



Your M&P might also benefit from a trigger job. I've been shooting for about 10 years - and no I'm not as good as many here - but I did find my M&P's accuracy was greatly improved by Dan Burwell's trigger job. Yeah I know, it was the shooter not the gun.



Oh, and check out this free target that you can print and take to the range that shows you what you are doing wrong from your shot placement. http://www.sportshooter.com/improving/targetgallery.asp There's also a ton of good info on how to improve at that site.



Good luck - you will get better.
 

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As another inexperienced shooter, I agree with TAZ, many people posting tiny group sizes are trying to show off. From what I've seen there are two types of shooter, those that want to hit center mass ASAP from 3 yards, and those that want to hit bulls eye targets at long range with no concern for speed.



I'm not saying what you should do, but here's what is helping me.



-I try to avoid any motion of the sights when dry firing. This is the time I really focus on the trigger pull and the mechanics of the grip, that I don't pull the sights off when I squeeze. I was having a little trouble at the start with sympathetic motion from my other fingers as the index finger squeezes. The problem is decreasing with dry fire practice.



-When I started, flinch didn't seem to be a problem. Then I took a shooting lesson with a guy at the local gun shop. He focused on shooting faster and recovering faster. He noticed that I was actually creating recoil by letting my whole arm float upward after each shot (like in the movies). The instructor demonstrated that even with a very relaxed hold, recoil only pivots the wrist, not the whole arm. After the demonstration I was able to consciously not do it, but trying to impress him with faster second shots, I found myself flinching. If I focus on not flinching I can avoid it, but cannot also aim and squeeze the trigger correctly. My understanding of this is that more practice is needed. I mixed some snap caps in at the range so that I would get the occasional surprise dry fire. Every time I was amazed by the flinch. Then the next shot wouldn't have that problem.



I think even more than practicing for number of rounds fired, I need to practice identifying what I did wrong on each shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's all great info for me to start with. Thanks!!



As far as dry-firing goes, I'm not comfortable with it. I was always taught NOT to dry-fire a gun, and some people still say that it is not the best thing to do with modern semi-autos. My gun has the magazine disconnect, so if I drop the magazine the firing pin will not release. Can I just practice pulling the trigger with the magazine removed? With all my current projects, I probably won't get around to building snap caps for some time.
 

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lil inside scoop. I never dry fire. I always just go shooting when I get the itch to pull the trigger. I really don't need to dry fire if I have a backyard range.
 

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Jester said:
lil inside scoop. I never dry fire. I always just go shooting when I get the itch to pull the trigger. I really don't need to dry fire if I have a backyard range.


Stop trying to make us jealous.....its working waaaaaaaay too well. I would love to have a backyard range, heck I woudl settel for being able to own some acreage that I could use as a range whenever I wanted. Unfortunately the financial picture for these endevors is looing rather bleak at this time.



Dry fire will definitely help if your like the rest if us mere mortals




As for building snap caps; that is one option. You can go to the nearest guns shop and buy a set of them fro probably less than $20. Get on-line and you can find them cheaper. DEFINITELY use them though if you plan on dry firing in quantity. $20 is well worth the investment in minimizing the chances of firing pin/striker damage.
 

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Jester said:
lil inside scoop. I never dry fire. I always just go shooting when I get the itch to pull the trigger. I really don't need to dry fire if I have a backyard range,and money .


There, fixed it for you.





As for getting better, the only real way is training and practice. Teaching oneself in a vaccuum doesn't work very well. At the very least you need a little instruction and some good examples to learn from. It'll save you LOTS of ammo. Also, as the saying goes: Practice doesn't make pefect, practice make's permanent. It's a bit of an overstatement, but essentially true. Practicing bad habits is bad, and even minimal instruction helps avoid some of the worst but subtle bad habits.



As for practicing with a .22 or getting a .22 first, it's one of the things my opinion has changed on. If you shoot, you should have a 22. However, I don't think it is good for developing good habits. They tend to be heavier guns with decent triggers and very little recoil, and thus mask a lot of sins. You can REALLY ingrain a bad habit with a .22. However, they are GREAT for breaking bad habits that you discover with your centerfire pistol.



I'll second the burkett videos as very useful. But my best advice would be to search out local competitions and see if you can get someone to help you out. USPSA.org has a listing of local clubs that host USPSA matches.
 
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