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Thread: So I've been doing some learning...

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    So I've been doing some learning...

    ... and boy! has my shooting improved.

    I hope by telling my story I can help readers choose the right gun, learn to shoot better, and avoid my mistakes. I do not consider myself to be an "expert" but rather a student who has been shown a better path. Things I state here can be proven in person and can be done better by those who have taught me. I am not a gifted shooter, just willing to learn and lucky enough to have good teachers.

    I really saw the fruits of my training and practice earlier this year when I used my Ruger SR 1911 to shoot a 12" target at 100yd and got 5 out of 5 on the target. My buddy I was shooting with looked at me totally flabbergasted.
    "How did you do that?"
    The only answer I could give is that I practiced a lot and I had the right gun for me.

    My first personally owned gun was an S&W J-frame Airlight. I took it to the range, put up a standard military pistol qual target at 7ft, and proceeded to completely miss the paper with every shot. I took this gun to the range every day for four months. In all that time I only managed to improve my grouping to 18". Add to that, the J-frame kicked like a mule even with the softest loads I could get. I was depressed.

    After a little internet reading and budget review, I acquired a Taurus Tracker .357mag. Immediately I saw an improvement. The better sight picture and better recoil management allowed me to shoot a 5" group at 7ft right out of the gate. Wohoo! Another 3 months of shooting and I was realizing that I could do that out to 7yd. The problem was that the ammo was eating a hole in my budget. This became my carry gun for quite some time.

    My next gun was a Taurus .22lr revolver. With this I was able to do the same shooting for a lot less money. Except the trigger pull on this little boat anchor was 13lbs. I took it to a "gunsmith" (he did a terrible job on it) and couldn't get it improved.

    I got a Ruger 22/45 LITE next and really enjoyed it. For a year I had it out at the range almost daily feeding bricks through it. I got to the point where I could shoot 2" holes in the target at 10yd with a box of ammo with very few flyers. This translated well to the .357mag.

    One day I had extra money and happened to be in my favorite outdoor store when I met and fell in love with a 1911. It sang to me. It was like a romance movie meeting. At the range it showed that it was everything it felt like at the gun counter. I could consistently hit the target at 25yd. I wasn't a handgun sniper like Riggs but I could get qualifying scores. It was amazing but I could never feel right carrying it so I carried the .357mag.

    Then I broke the Taurus Tracker.

    I was panicked. this was my SD carry gun. I wasn't going to go back to the guy who couldn't help with the .22 so I looked in the directory for another smith. I found a listing for one that looked promising. As it turned out, he fixed my gun and we became friends.

    My gunsmith is now one of my best friends, a mentor, and my shooting coach. Through him I was introduced to others that have taught me more than I could ever learned at the range by myself. He also introduced me to the writings of Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan, Jeff Cooper, and Ed McGivern.

    From this, I went out seeking the perfect revolver. I looked at the Smiths, and while beautiful, they didn't fit me. The Ruger GP 100 practically jumped into my hand. My friend to did an action job on it, and I've got a gun that's practically perfect for me. I carry it and I shoot it. With a little practice and the right technique, I can reload it and get back on target in under a second.

    If you'll take my advice on getting a gun, do it in this order:
    1. Read "Cooper on guns" by Jeff Cooper, "Sixguns" by Elmer Keith, "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting" by Ed McGivern, and "No Second Place Winner" by Bill Jordan. While a lot of it focuses on revolver shooting, much of the info is gold for any handgun short of a Draco or AR pistol.
    2. Take a course with a skilled shooter. Learn basic shooting from someone who actually shoots the way you want to. Develop a relationship with them and get some one on one training.
    3. Find the gun that fits you. Go to gun ranges and rent different guns. Any money spent this way will be savings when you don't have to exchange a gun that just doesn't work for you. It should be something you can use at the range comfortably and carry confidently. Just remember that all metal guns are a lot easier for a gunsmith to do an action job; polymer guns are pretty much stuck how they come out of the box unless there are good aftermarket parts. Consider getting a .22 conversion for your gun or a near identical companion in .22 so that you are training on the same gun.
    4. Train a lot. Go to the range 2-3 times a week and use 50-100 rounds a visit. Stick with the same gun all the time. Go to your instructor periodically for coaching.
    5. Get snap caps for your gun. Use the to practice your draw and to dry fire at a target. Your goal for dry firing at a target at home is to be able to pull the trigger and let off to reset smoothly without disrupting your sight picture.

    I can personally recommend the 1911's made by Remington, Springfield Armory, Colt, and Ruger. All of them are well made, priced for normal people, and can tuned with an action fit and hone by a quality gun smith to perform amazingly. Les Baer, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, ect are beautiful, well made machines but beyond what is necessary for carry and won't make you a better shooter.

    If you are a revolver guy (like me), look at Ruger and Smith & Wessen. They are different in operation and feel so one will fit you better than the other. There are other excellent revolvers out there but these two brands are widely supported. As a companion to either brand, get Safariland speedloaders. I am able to reload so fast in part because of them.

    Get what works for you. A single well placed shot can take care of business no matter what gun you have.
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  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA
    The only answer I could give is that I practiced a lot ....
    Do that with any gun and, presuming you are doing the right kind of practicing, you will get good at it. I have seen Jerry Miculek pick up somebody else's gun, run a magazine through it to get familiar with any sight pecularities and such, and pull off speed and accuracy stuff similar to what he does with his own guns.

    Jerry did not practice hitting a balloon at 1,000 yards for 100,000 hours but he has practiced for far more hours than that on sighting, trigger control, and even Kentucky windage. Still took him 2 shots, and the second one popped the balloon because of splatter, not because he hit the target dead center.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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  3. #3
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    northern wis
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Do that with any gun and, presuming you are doing the right kind of practicing,
    stay safe.
    I seen what some people call practice is nothing more then a noisy waste of ammo.

    Good dedicated learning practice helps a whole lot, making the same mistakes over and over is a waste of time and ammo.

    Just blasting ammo down range while it can be fun learning from each shot makes you a better shooter.
    Personal Defensive Solutions professional personal firearms, edge weapons and hands on defensive training and tactics

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