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Thread: Improving accuracy

  1. #1
    Boolit Master deerslayer's Avatar
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    Improving accuracy

    OK I will be the first to admit that I am a poor shot. i do good with my handgun out to about fifteen yards but at 25 I can't seem to find the paper. I feel that it is probably got alot more to do with Nate then the gun (a full size glock .45 auto).

    I have read threads here touting superb accuracy with handguns and I do not doubt that most are able to do what they say. I would just like some input on the ways I might improve my skills. I would say even some repeating of the basics may be in order as if i continue to do the fundementals wrong then I may be developing some real bad habits.

    Please don't beat me up to bad on handgun selection the price was right and it is what I have for now. Although I would love to have a Kimber or colt or good springfield the glock will have to work for now.

    Thanks Nate
    Remember the average response time of a 911 call is over 4 minutes. The average response time of a .357 is around 1300 F.P.S.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    MtGun44's Avatar
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    Trigger pull is a major big deal for top accy. Personally, the Glock trigger is the biggest reason
    that I will never own one. It sure makes your task a lot harder. My 1911s all have about
    3 1/2 lb trigger pull or better.

    Study the standard manuals on pistol shooting. A big issue is breath control - a critical point is
    that the human eye is ultra sensitive to blood oxygen levels. If you have the slightest urge to
    breathe just give up on that shot, release the trigger and take several (3 at least) deep breaths
    and start the sight alignment and trigger pull again. Also, pulling the trigger progressively so
    that you add a slight bit of pressure to the trigger as the front sight is aligned perfectly -
    freezing the pressure as it INEVITABLY drifts off of the target, then adding just a touch more
    pressure as the sights are properly aligned again. You should be adding no more than about
    1/5th of the pressure it takes to break the trigger each cycle, somewhere near that. Keep going
    until the shot breaks, or you run out of breath, release the trigger and start over.

    Many people try to "catch" the sights as they pass the target, almost guarenteeing a jerked
    trigger. This can be done in hunting with a long gun to some extent, especially on closer shots,
    but is very difficult. Not recommended until you totally master the regular trigger pull.

    Try buying an airsoft pistol and working on your trigger pull and aiming. Cost is zero with a
    spring gun and sticky target, a few minutes at a time are about all you can sustain concentration
    for. Dry fire is a VERY powerful tool, too. I would suggest that if you do a true 3 minutes
    of dry fire practice every night for a week you will see MARKED improvement.

    Sad to say, it is mostly the standard stuff - breath control, grip, sight alignment and trigger
    squeeze. I'd say about 65% trigger squeeze, 20% sight alignment, 10% breathing and
    5% grip consistency. This is based on which needs the most work, any one can totally wreck
    a shot. Good luck.

    Start with some dry fire. You can immediately see your trigger jerk and work on 'wearing a
    groove' with the correct technique.

    PS. Use a rest or reclining position for ammo testing, too. The stand up stuff is for fun, competition
    or just to learn how. My ammo testing groups are all rested groups. I can approach it with
    standing, but it is FAR harder and the concentration and effort is too much for ammo testing.

    Bill
    Last edited by MtGun44; 05-25-2010 at 12:33 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Focus on the front sight. The target can be fuzzy.

    Sight alignment. It is better to have the sights properly aligned and slightly off target, than to misalign the sights.

    Grip. Hold the pistol firmly, Glocks don't normally like weak holding; but you don't need to squeeze it like you are trying to strangle a weasel either. If you can (the fullsize Glocks are rather large), postion the pistol so the barrel is in line with your forearm.

    Trigger realease. Press the trigger straight back.

    Practice, dryfire is good.

    Don't try to anticipate the shot, that is an easy way to hit the ground fifteen yards in front of the firing line.

    Good luck,

    Robert

  4. #4
    Boolit Master S.R.Custom's Avatar
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    For me, my most significant accuracy gains came when I started weight training and I increased my hand strength. It's much easier to get your hands to do what you want when they're capable of more.

    Related to that is grip consistency. A handgun's point of impact can vary wildly with just subtle changes in your grip. Practice getting the exact same grip and grip tension with every shot. If the gun moves in your hand with recoil --even just a little bit-- readjust your grip.

    Lastly, know the feel and heft of your weapon thoroughly. I dunno how the constraints of having others around in the household are for you, but during downtime here at El Rancho Custom, I practice my grip while watching TV or reading. I don't even dry fire. Just practicing my grip with the gun in my lap helps develop feel and muscle memory. A magazine full of dummy rounds helps with the realistic feel of the gun.

    When you are able to combine all three of these factors, it becomes much easier to do all those things the others here prescribe. (I could quibble a bit with some of the points here, but so far, it's just about all good advice.)

    And don't think you've handicapped yourself with a Glock. That gun is a fine service weapon, and capable of every bit the accuracy of a Beretta, Sig, High-Power, etc. The trick to attaining that accuracy is intimate knowledge and feel for the weapon, and that comes through practice. Even if it's just practicing your hold while watching NCIS re-runs.

  5. #5
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    All good information and the gun is good enough to hit some targets to 100 yards, not group shooting of course but it can clang steel down there.
    Two very important things mentioned above to work on. Never make the gun shoot as you wiggle past the bullseye and never jerk the trigger thinking about recoil. The first usually goes over the target and the second makes tater furrows in front of you.
    About breathing, I rarely hold my breath while attaining a sight picture, just breath slowly and normally. This cuts down on the shakes and blurred vision. Just before trigger break, then hold it.
    I shot IHMSA from Creedmore and always kept breathing until the last second.
    Once you get the hang of it, it is easy. Holding your breath for a long time with a hard trigger makes things worse at the time the gun is ready to go off. You just need to learn your trigger and even a hard, creepy trigger can be shot well.
    Use the pad of your finger and pull straight back, you would be surprised how many come here to shoot and stick their whole finger in the guard. The inside of your finger should not be touching the side of the gun.
    Point both thumbs at the target and use a slight push forward with the right hand and a slight pull back with the left.
    The most important thing is to ignore gun wiggle as long as the sight picture is around the center, just keep adding pressure. You should never know when the gun will go off and even the speed steel shooters remain in more control then you think. That is from tons of practice.
    Very few can hold still while aiming, those that can shoot thousands of rounds a day and have developed nerve and muscle strength control.
    I would laugh at myself trying to shoot off hand with a 10" barrel. The barrel would slowly dip down and I had to keep raising it. Now I have no problems but a light, short gun will wiggle like crazy because I got used to heavy revolvers.
    Every time you shoot a shot, stop and determine what you did wrong and correct it right away. Work on that for the next shots.
    A few shots done right is better then 100 done wrong because you don't want the bad habits to become ingrained, they get harder and harder to recognize and cure. Shoot one shot and sit down to think about it before shooting another. After you remove each mistake, one at a time, you can increase speed.
    Don't get discouraged. Pick through these answers from the guys and ask yourself which ones you were doing wrong, write them down if you must and set the list on the shooting bench.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Good advice from those above but I'll chime in.

    I heard Brian Enos say once to "let your eyes break the trigger" meaning quit thinking about the trigger so much and let your eyes tell your brain when the shot should go off...your brain knows how to make that happen. Granted this is easier with a clean light trigger but it still applies to your Glock.

    That sounds a little esoteric but if you have a good clear focus on the front sight, and just let the shot happen when your eyes say it can I bet you fill find much smaller groups downrange.

    Other points:

    Grip(assuming right handed, if not flip everything)-start out 60/40 with more pressure from your non trigger hand. If you are shooting right consistently then use a little more right hand and a little less left. Also, the grip must be THE SAME every time or you are herding cats here.

    Trigger-make sure your trigger finger is not riding the frame. It should only touch the trigger.

    Eyes-are you blinking? if you can't see muzzle flash you are probably blinking. If you blink then your eyes were closed when you needed them most. Force your eyes to stay open for a few shots just to learn what it feels like. I bet 90% of the world blinks when they pull the trigger but would swear they don't. They only way to prove it to them is closeup video of their face when they shoot. You can check yourself though, all but the lightest loads will show some muzzle flash and you should be seeing it.
    "You need only reflect that one of the best ways
    to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
    - Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)

    "The most effective way to find ourselves enslaved
    will not be done openly. If weakened we will sink gradually. I ask, who are the militia? They consist of the whole people,.... except a few public officers."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
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    More good info and I like the herding cats thing!
    Brian is right and that is what happens to me when hunting. I never remember pulling the trigger, the gun goes off when the sights are correct, I have no control at all even with the bow. I have never been able to hold on a deer and squeeze because the shot is gone before I even feel the trigger.
    But this does not happen when shooting targets off hand, the brain gets in the way! I have to think all shots through. I fail a lot.
    I only have total control from a rest. No control when hunting.
    Does anyone else see this? Might be why I almost never miss a deer unless I use the wrong bow sight or figure drop wrong.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master deerslayer's Avatar
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    Well my finger is definately all the way in the trigger I have not been using the pads. Also I do not normally see the muzzle flash so I will work on that. I am a good size fella and I think I have a pretty good grip on it and I have watched a few videos on youtube to have the correct grip. Just tried using the pad of my finger on a dryfire that feels awkward I will have to work on it. I should probably work some more with a rest to verify the gun and ammo but right now I still think I am much more inaccurate than the gun or load.

    I am not sure what the trigger pull is but it is much easier than my Glock .40 was. I bought the gun used and maybe it had a trigger job. It has a nice clean predictable break to it. Although I played with a friends Kimber with a breath on it trigger and that was neat but unless I was shooting competition /target only with it, it would scare me atleast for carrying.
    Remember the average response time of a 911 call is over 4 minutes. The average response time of a .357 is around 1300 F.P.S.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master BABore's Avatar
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    My brain goes full-auto on critters as well. It's usually only have a vauge recollection of the sights, dot, or CH pasted on the appropriate spot, a distant bang, and feet in the air. I have and do shoot quite a few deer in the head to save meat and cleaning duties. With these, it more like bench work and watching the head motions and feeding routine. Sometimes they get a whistle first so they lock on me for a second too long.

    I still am learning to shoot a handgun well and will probably never stop learning. From the bench I try different rests and bag placements for each gun. How I hold my hands, grip tension and the like. Even where each finger lies on the gun. Every gun is different as is how every person holds it. Consistency is everything. Burn up a few boxes and find out what works for your gun, then stay with it. Never let the trigger finger contact the side of the gun with only the tip applying straight-back pressure.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Today they may say “let your eyes break the trigger” but way back when we called it “timing” and good timing only comes from a lot of practice – both dry firing & live firing. Perfect sight alignment will get you on target. Take a look see here and maybe something in there will assist you.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...3-35/chap2.htm

  11. #11
    Boolit Master




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    Lots of good info above, to which I can add only a little:

    Trigger control - finger pad, not joint (as mentioned above).

    Breath control - a couple of deep breaths, then hold until recoil, or until wobble starts to indicate oxygen depletion or muscle fatigue, requiring re-start. The head gets about 30% of the oxygen the lungs bring in, and the eyes get about 30% of that (or so I have been told), so breathing is important (NO S**T!) as is breath control. When you start running low on O2, your eyes start losing the ability to focus as well as wobbling increases.

    Front sight - focus there. As above, sight alignment is more important than sight picture. Every shooter wobbles, more or less, and practice will reduce that wobble. Don't worry about the wobble - maintain your best sight alignment and let the shot break.

    Grip - should be fore-&-aft. Finger tips should NOT contact gun grip, and trigger finger should only contact trigger (as mentioned above). And try to squeeze the magazine out of the gun. If that causes wobble, you need more conditioning. Appropriate only for one-hand shooting.

    And dry-fire. It improves trigger control. The gun shouldn't move when the hammer drops. When the trigger-pull gets organized on the spinal cord, you just have to send the command 'Start the Pull', and the spinal cord will take care of the rest. But that does take a lot of practice.

    And finally - When I say focus on the front sight, I mean Put All Your Concentration On The Front Sight! Be Intense! You will be aware of the surroundings, but should not attend to them (unless safety related, and your brain should alert you to those). Can't stress that enough.
    Last edited by Echo; 05-25-2010 at 11:14 AM.
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, and dry fire a bit more. I've had more than a few dry fire targets about the house and garage, and you can use them over and over again.
    Just because change doesn't make a difference doesn't mean that change is bad.

  13. #13
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    44man's Avatar
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    Try shooting a .475 or one of the .500's off hand without moving!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Dry fire and practice.

    And when I say practice I mean spend time practicing shooting, not actually shooting. Mental drills are important, are you concentrating on the front sight, can you pull the trigger and still focus on the front sight, and when it goes click is your eyes open and still on the front sight.

    Visual yourself with a consistent firm grip and a rock steady hold with your eyes focused on the front sight and the target and rear blurry. This is something you can do right before you go to sleep.

    Also I found a problem I have been having and did not know, I put new sights on my 45ACP, hoping that it would help my tired old eyes, and hopefully remove the flyer I get once in a while (a foot or more away at 10yds). They are fiber optic and when I put my gun up to shoot it outside I could not focus on the front sight with my master eye, my "weak" eye would focus on the front sight. Turned out my vision is better with my left eye than my right eye (right eye is my master eye), so with both eyes open when I concentrate on the front sight I have a hard time lining up the sights, have to close my left to shoot, but it is not as clear.

    Free advice, and worth every penny

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    I found two things that helped me with the handguns. One; to keep me from flinching or blinking was to unload into a berm. That's not even aiming, just point and shoot from a safe distance and concentrate on keeping the eyes and hand steady through a couple of mags or cylinders full. Secondly; as has been mentioned several times, start shooting from a rest, whether it be from a bag or Creedmore. This will help you realize what you have been doing from a free-hand style. You may want to load up a few blanks or duds, interspersed with full live rounds, to see if you are flinching or jerking, or blinking.

    Well, one more fault that I found that I had; looking up too soon. I was not doing a full follow through and looking to see where the shot went.

    It's fun learning if your progressing,
    EW

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Great info here. I might add a couple things here. Do not antisipate the gun going off. It should be somewhat of a surprize. If you antisipate it going off you can fall into the bad habit of pushing the gun down as it fires throwing off your aim. I watched many a people on the range do that. Some so bad they are shooting into the dirt at 15y. You also should be at ease and relaxed when shooting(taht comes with practice). It you are tence and nervous because you are not used to shooting, you shoot much worse.
    Lastly you are shooting a Glocks. They have a trigger set. After you fire the first time, let up on the trigger easy and you should here and feel it click. The trigger is now reset and it takes less pressure to pull the trigger again unless you let up all the way. This is something you can practice while dry firing. It's not really that hard as long as you get it in your head that it isn't hard.
    Aim small, miss small!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    If you have a .22 RF handgun or can borrow one shoot that for a while. Shoot it at the distances that you plan on shooting. Prove to yourself what a good shot you are with the .22.

    After you are happy with the results you are getting with the .22 start shooting the .45 again.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by deerslayer View Post
    OK I will be the first to admit that I am a poor shot. i do good with my handgun out to about fifteen yards but at 25 I can't seem to find the paper. I feel that it is probably got alot more to do with Nate then the gun (a full size glock .45 auto).

    Thanks Nate

    I'm going to take another twist. Ain't always you.

    What makes me consider this is the fact that we are taking about a single gun. A single gun with what kind of rifling?

    We have had numerous posts where guys have a great load at a certain distance only not to hit paper when the distance is increased. With cast or with jacketed.

    Don't clean your barrel well and what you describe is guaranteed after awhile. Makes like a smooth bore. Some rifling types are more prone than others, like polygonal types.

    So hand your pistol to someone else and see if the pattern holds. If it is bad for him too, then maybe you have to look farther. If it ain't the gun / load, then the other guys covered that.
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    + 1 on the 22. The only reason I ever learned to shoot a pistol was free 22 rimfire at the ROTC aromery. Light recoil, the ability to shoot long strings and reletvely cheep.

    Ten years I went to qulify for the PD just before I had open heart surgery. I forgot my glasses and thought what the heck, my cert would expire before I would be released to work. I shot 234/240 and could not see my sights. This proves two points, one it dosen't take a lot to qulify for the PD and pratice had tought me where the gun was pointed.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master deerslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bass Ackward View Post
    I'm going to take another twist. Ain't always you.

    What makes me consider this is the fact that we are taking about a single gun. A single gun with what kind of rifling?

    We have had numerous posts where guys have a great load at a certain distance only not to hit paper when the distance is increased. With cast or with jacketed.

    Don't clean your barrel well and what you describe is guaranteed after awhile. Makes like a smooth bore. Some rifling types are more prone than others, like polygonal types.

    So hand your pistol to someone else and see if the pattern holds. If it is bad for him too, then maybe you have to look farther. If it ain't the gun / load, then the other guys covered that.

    I understand what you are saying about letting someone else try it but unfortunately I am geographically surrounded by "experts" that do not shoot any better than I do so I will have to figure this one out. That is why I am asking.

    I do have an uncle that truly is very, very good and when I asked him he explained I had two problems No. 1 was that it was not a Colt Commander and No. 2 That I had not drank the blue kool aid. Yeah he is one of those guys his way or it cannot be done. BTW I am in no way knocking his equipment I simply cannot afford his taste.

    I plan to sandbag it ASAP at 25 yards to begin with and see what kind of results I get.

    As to barrel fouling, I have found that brake cleaner and a nylon brush returns it to like new condition every time I shoot it. I have checked extensively for leading and have not had any leading issue's yet. Even after 4-500 rounds no leading only powder fouling and is cleaned per above methods.
    Remember the average response time of a 911 call is over 4 minutes. The average response time of a .357 is around 1300 F.P.S.

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