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Thread: shooting accuracy advice question

  1. #1
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    So the last couple times that i've gone to the range, I have noticed something quit interesting and i'm not sure what i'm doing wrong. perhaps some of you guys can help me.


    If i try to take my time and use the sights to shoot, my shots end up ALL OVER the target. close enough to be effective, but not close enough to be impressive or brag about.

    but if i don't bother with sights and simply draw and fire i hit an average of 3/4 of the shots within 1-2 rings of bullseye.

    i'll try to post some pics of my good targets up later (i throw all the bad ones away at the range. LOL), but i just can't figure out how i can be so accurate just shooting by instinct (not sure what else to call it) but if i try to shoot with sights for accuracy then i can't hit the broad side of a barn.


    what do you guys think???



    in this picture there are only 9visible holes. there are 2 holes on the 8/9 line at 12 o'clock. according to my buddy and my wife i put two rounds through the left hole. in person you can see that that hole has a different pattern and slightly larger tear through it. but whether or not it's truly 2 rounds is hard to say. they say it is. i say i only see 9 hits. no idea.


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    Regular Member altajava's Avatar
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    It sounds like what I have/had. I'm right handed and was left eye dominant. It took a couple thousand rounds and some basic training to get over it and I still fight it from time to time.

    might be a good place to start!?

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    I too am cross-eyed, right handed but left eye dominant.

    Without thinking hold your right and left hands together to make a viewport between the index fingers and thumbs and look through the port at something. Now close the right and then the left eye to see which you have sighted with. Surprise, surprise.

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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    I too am cross-eyed, right handed but left eye dominant.

    Without thinking hold your right and left hands together to make a viewport between the index fingers and thumbs and look through the port at something.* Now close the right and then the left eye to see which you have sighted with.* Surprise, surprise.
    ok i just tried doing this several times, and i'm not sure what you mean. everything that i sight up seems to be centered in the "window", but if i close my right eye, then the object is in the left side of the window, and if close my left eye then the object is in the right side of the window. but with both eyes open the object is centered.

    not quite sure if i'm understanding what you mean or want me to look for.





    the 2 targets above where both shot WITHOUT using the sights. the targets shot WITH sights were so horrible that i threw them away right on the spot. i've seen blind people shoot more accurate than what i do when using sights.

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    Regular Member altajava's Avatar
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    or hold your handgun on target with both eyes open(as is the proper way), close one eye at a time. Whichever eye keeps the sights on target is your dominant eye.

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    Well, it's obvious that what you are doing wrong is... using the sights. If you shoot better without them, just shoot that way.

    I only use the sights on my hanguns for distance shooting. Anything within 30 ft, I shoot both eyes open and focused on the target - point and shoot. I think I do well enough, can't shoot whisky bottles off of logs from the hip, but hey, criminals don't come that small.

    edited to add

    In a real emergency shooting, it's doubtful that you'll have time to line up your sights anyway. Praticing quick "point and shoot" techniqueis a good thing for all of us to do.


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    I shot Skeet for 20 years before taking up pistols.
    In Skeet, your head is down and canted, both eyes are open and you do not look at the sights when pulling the trigger. Holding the gun steady when pulling the trigger (stopping the gun) guarantees a missed clay target.
    This accounts for my sloppy pistol shooting on bad days.
    To me, it seems keeping my head up and focusing on the front sight are the hardest things to do.
    Oh, and no follow-through with pistol.
    I think pistols are much harder to shoot than shotguns.
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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    I too am cross-eyed, right handed but left eye dominant.

    Without thinking hold your right and left hands together to make a viewport between the index fingers and thumbs and look through the port at something.* Now close the right and then the left eye to see which you have sighted with.* Surprise, surprise.
    |_..x.._| |_..x.._| |_....x_|
    ..both........left.......right

    I am left eye dominant too.

    Practice makes perfect but practicing bad technique makes things worse. :-) If you can ask some more experienced shooters to watch you or give some tips at the range. Everyone has different skills and potential so keep practicing to get better.

    I am no expert but a few things I learned,

    1) left right errors typically are trigger pull issues. Finger position on the trigger, pulling too hard/fast.
    2) up errors typically for me were lack of grip
    3) down errors were anticipating the recoil. This was a damn sneaky problem that dry firing exposes.

    I have gotten better over time but still am not a crack shot!

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    45acpForMe wrote:
    |_..x.._| |_..x.._| |_....x_|
    ..both........left.......right

    3) down errors were anticipating the recoil. This was a damn sneaky problem that dry firing exposes.

    I have gotten better over time but still am not a crack shot!
    ok. that's what i thought, but now i'm sure. i'll have to try and focus on that and see which eye seems to be acting up.

    what do you mean by "anticipating"??? can you explain that a bit better???


    nice target. mine looks like that too when i use my shotgun.

    what caliber did you use, and from what distance. that's some impressive shooting to chew a hole like that.

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    I believe 45acp was referring to pushing the barrel down to offset the rearing up of the gun when it recoils.

    I caught my daughter doing this big time. She wa hitting the ground in front of a target about 30 ft away. I was standing behind her and saw that she was "pushing" the gun just before it fired. I told her what she was doing and she corrected, bringing her hits "up"on target after that.

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    I believe 45acp was referring to pushing the barrel down to offset the rearing up of the gun when it recoils.

    I caught my daughter doing this big time. She wa hitting the ground in front of a target about 30 ft away. I was standing behind her and saw that she was "pushing" the gun just before it fired. I told her what she was doing and she corrected, bringing her hits "up"*on target after that.
    Yes if you anticipate the recoil you unconsciously move the barrel down when you think the trigger is pulled. If you have a dummy round you can insert it randomly in the magazine and see if you are jerking the gun down.

    I was shooting my Para Big Hawg (45acp 1911) at 7 yards so it's not all that impressive. At 15 yards I still get 5" groupings which I am trying to improve. I am amazed at people that can shoot at 25 or more yards like I shoot at 7. :-)

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    45acpForMe wrote:
    Task Force 16 wrote:
    I believe 45acp was referring to pushing the barrel down to offset the rearing up of the gun when it recoils.

    I caught my daughter doing this big time. She wa hitting the ground in front of a target about 30 ft away. I was standing behind her and saw that she was "pushing" the gun just before it fired. I told her what she was doing and she corrected, bringing her hits "up"*on target after that.
    Yes if you anticipate the recoil you unconsciously move the barrel down when you think the trigger is pulled. If you have a dummy round you can insert it randomly in the magazine and see if you are jerking the gun down.

    I was shooting my Para Big Hawg (45acp 1911) at 7 yards so it's not all that impressive. At 15 yards I still get 5" groupings which I am trying to improve. I am amazed at people that can shoot at 25 or more yards like I shoot at 7. :-)

    i'll try to pay better attention to that and see if i'm doing that.

    and thanks for really making me feel bad. i was also shooting at 7yards. and now my bullseye doesn't seem so impressive anymore compared to your "gutted section". LOL


    i was showing my wife the replies in this thread hoping she could give me some pointers since she used to shoot M16's in the military. I also tried the little left/right eye test again and noticed that i was sighting with my wrong eye. so we took our walther p99 airsoft gun down into the basement and did some target shooting, and one thing i noticed that i do on both my airsoft gun and my 9x18 CZ82 is sight every shot slightly different due to "slop" in the sights.

    i told her to watch my barrel while i moved my "view" of the sights from left to right, and she said i was moving the barrel way to much to keep a consistent target. what i noticed (please explain if you see what i'm doing wrong) is that if i try to light my front sight between the rear sights, it doesn't line up "solid". there is room on both sides of the front side and the inside of the rear sights. so i try to move the front sight to the left until it "touches" the left rear sight, and then to the right until it "touches" the right rear sight, and then back to center.
    and while i'm standing there trying to acquire center on my sight, my hands shake/move ever so slightly which then causes me to move the view on the sight. so i end up almost trying to "time" the sight and pull the trigger when it looks close.

    as far as trigger pulls, she said i don't seem to be "yanking" the gun side to side with my trigger pulls, so she doesn't think it's a trigger issues. specially since i do better when i just draw/shoot without giving myself time for my hands to move. i tried doing a couple rapid fire dry fires with my CZ82 and she says i seem to have very clean and smooth trigger pulls. at least from what she can see and/or her opinion.


    tomorrow we're going to pick up her new PX4 storm and heading to the range with it, so i'll try to implement some of the new techniques that i've learned her and see how i do.



    this is really bugging me now though, because i KNOW that i can shoot better than that, but if i'm having wrong technique than i obviously need some help. but i don't know anybody to ask for help.

    for what it's worth, when i was younger and would go squirrel shooting with my bb/pellet rifles, i could take out a squirrel 99% of the time if it was within reach of the rifle. no matter how far. i could shoot the heads off of thumb-tacks from across our backyard. so i know that i can shoot. but apparently there is some difference between what i do with a rifle and what i do with a handgun and now it's really ******* me off, because i KNOW i can do better and now i WANT to find out HOW.

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    I'll chime in and give my .02 as to what makes a successful target engagement.

    First and foremost are 2 factors I have seen ruin all other considered factors when it comes to target engagement.

    #1. Tremoring/Flinching:

    This occurs for a variety of reasons and is counterproductive to every shooter I have ever seen fire down range. If you do not have stability, then all other aspects of marksmanship are in the toilet.

    As a product of habit, these counterproductive reactions will, or should, diminish the more familiar you become with your firearm.

    It is hard to find that "zen zone" when shooting, but as with many other facets of life, freaking out or becoming agitated, nervous, or just flat out "anxious" never really seems to help situations much.

    Ideally, your form is stable, yet calm. You learn to not just expect the squeeze of the trigger (and you ARE squeezing right? Ok, just checking...), but rather learn to accept it. You develop a natural process when firing, that does not invoke a anxiety reaction in yourself. Firing your form of self-defense should be as 2nd nature as sipping a latte, and reading a book. This assists all other factors by providing foundation, and adds to your ability to engage what you are aiming at, without causing unwanted collateral damage.

    If you are already here, GREAT! Let's move on to #2.

    #2. Breathing:

    This is typically measurable in North to South round deviation. Drawing pencil straight lines up and down? Might want to check your breathing.

    How do you breath properly? Oh, I am so glad you asked...

    Breathing is a natural product of the body. Can't live without it, am I right? That being said, there are natural flat spots in your breathing that are optimal to fire in. Think of it as a "breathing window".

    Where are they? The answer; top breath, and bottom breath.

    Practice this.

    Breath in naturally, exhale naturally
    Bottom breath, squeeze trigger.

    Breath in naturally, exhale naturally
    Bottom breath, squeeze trigger.

    Repeat like a broken record.

    Since the lungs are filled at top breath, the window is traditionally smaller. Meaning if you wish to utilize top breath as well, you need to understand that prolonged holding of breath can induce the counterproductive tremors.

    Regarding holding your breath. DO NOT DO IT. Contrary to popular belief and display in video games, holding ones breath is not taught in BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship), and doing so in a defensive situation will only add to your anxious state and fatigue.


    Once you have all of this down through tireless repetition, find some place that will allow you to move through tactical engagements, so that you may practice for the appropriate response, developing your SA.

    (Any place in the great NW that has a shoothouse?)

    In my opinion #1 and #2 are foundational to all other pieces of advice. Get past that, and everything else has a great place to start.

    Again, just my .02, and I am sure others will be able to chime in with more insight!

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    Here is a feedback target that is supposed to give some feedback on shooting issues. I used to put a lot ofshots inthe jerkingtrigger section. I've since learned how to pull the trigger straight back andit's much better now.



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    All I know is what I was taught in the service. Left/right is trigger sqeeze, up/down is usually breath control. Anticipating the recoil does play a part too though.

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    I also have a CZ82 and really like it. It's really accurate.

    I'm assuming that you are shooting 2 handed, right? Are your shoulders square with the target? If so try turning slightly to your strong side. (I tend to stand with my shoulders at about 45 degrees to the target) I use a push/pull technique in which I lock my strong arm elbow straight and pull back against my strong hand (right) with my weak hand (left). This helps steady the gun and reduces recoil effect. It also helps if you are a bit weak wristed, to lock the wrist.

    I'm a much better shot if I get my shots off quickly. the longer I stand there lining up my sights the more wobbly I get. Not so much with my CZ, but with my heavySA .45 revolver it gets pretty bad.

    I can't hold a rifle still for nothing. My best shooting with a long gun is if I shoot from the prone position. I have to place my body as well as the rifle against something to keep both steady. A bi-pod helps allot too.

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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    Well, it's obvious that what you are doing wrong is... using the sights. If you shoot better without them, just shoot that way.

    ...

    In a real emergency shooting, it's doubtful that you'll have time to line up your sights anyway
    Using the front sight & proper trigger control is the only way to make consistent, accurate hits on target.

    as to the part you added after the edit, it's rather evident you've never been involved in anything close to a self defense shooting. You've got no idea what you're talking about.
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    I really disgree with this one! That means that we can have any yahoo running around with a gun with out the proper training. This really scares the hell out of me. Just my two-cents!
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    Joe Schmedlap out there with a loaded weapon thinking he's going to deter crime and he's not even trained to fire his weapon safely just kinda makes my hair on the back of my neck stand up.

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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    I also have a CZ82 and really like it. It's really accurate.

    I'm assuming that you are shooting 2 handed, right? Are your shoulders square with the target? If so try turning slightly to your strong side. (I tend to stand with my shoulders at about 45 degrees to the target) I use a push/pull technique in which I lock my strong arm elbow straight and pull back against my strong hand (right) with my weak hand (left). This helps steady the gun and reduces recoil effect. It also helps if you are a bit weak wristed, to lock the wrist.

    I'm a much better shot if I get my shots off quickly. the longer I stand there lining up my sights the more wobbly I get. Not so much with my CZ, but with my heavySA .45 revolver it gets pretty bad.

    I can't hold a rifle still for nothing. My best shooting with a long gun is if I shoot from the prone position. I have to place my body as well as the rifle against something to keep both steady. A bi-pod helps allot too.
    This is the Weaver stance.
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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I'm going to take a little different perspective on this gleaned from my own shooting shortcomings. I think part of Scorpio_vette's problem is that he is experiencing normal things and doesn't realize that they are just normal.

    While it is impressive to stand on the firing line with a pistol and put an entire mag through a 1" circle from 15 yards, the fact is that 1) few pistols are capable of this and 2) few shooters are capable of this regardless of the weapon. There is a reason that people shoot at 8" round steel plates and not at 1" plates. There is a reason that many (most?) run of the mill round targets are 8" diameter. Keep it in the 8" and you have hit center of mass on the bad guy.

    What I'm saying is to not get bunged up on putting an entire mag through one hole with a pistol. This isn't sniper training and in real life self-defense situations rarely is there the time or need for a precision aimed shot to a couple inch accuracy.

    You said that the your sight/gun wobbles when you hold it on target. This is called, obviously enough, wobble. It is just normal physiology. Stress and muscle tension such as when trying too hard to put the round in a very tight group add to the wobble which stresses you out and adds to the wobble, etc. In other words, the more you worry and think about it the worse it will be.

    You also wrote about moving the front sight from one side of the rear sight to the other. That would suggest to me that you are too focused on the rear sight instead of the front sight. Focus on the front sight, line up the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight and put it on the target. Both the rear sight and the target will be blurry as you can't focus long and short distance simultaneously. If the gun is pointed at the target and you can see the front sight it is necessarily between the edges of the rear sight and from 7 yards in, with proper trigger pull you should be within that 8".

    I'm no expert marksman and am not claiming to be such. I had to learn to quit getting all uptight about trying to put an entire mag through one hole and getting frustrated and aggravated with myself when I didn't do so and then see my shooting deteriorate the more tense I became. An instructor got me out of this cycle by telling me to quit worrying about the hole in the target, the natural wobble, the rear sight, etc and to just focus on the front sight and the holes would take care of themselves. He was obviously right as that is the proper way to shoot.


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    To get an idea of what you may be doing during recoil, put dud rounds in the gun such that you do not know when to expect they will come up. For a revolver this is easy-fire a round, spin the cylinder, fire, repeat. For a semi-auto have a friend put in magazines with either 1 to 3 rounds or empty (weight can tip you off).

    Then look at the wheel listed above. Does wonders.

    When using sights pretend you are golfing and rather than keeping your eye on the ball, keep your eye on the sights for 2 seconds after firing. You may find you are looking away just before or after firing, losing the lineup.

    Make sure you are looking at the front sight. Rear sights and target should be blurred unless you have a phenomenal depth of field in your vision.

    For the wobbly arms mentioned above, try lifting about 5 to 10 pounds with each hand to a pistol holding position, pause to the count of 10 and repeat 10 or 15 times. I HATE HATE HATE HATE exercising, but do this, push ups and stiff for the sake of marksmanship now and have seen improvement.

    By the way, I was at the range Sunday and not happy with my 15 yd results. I got tired and so went to 7 yd to console myself that I could actually hit something. HOWEVER, my marksmanship improved markedly after I complemented the shooter in the next lane on her shooting and talked with her and the gentleman with her for a while. Don't know whether it was just distraction to give me a break or karma for having been pleasant to the other shooter. Whatever, sometimes you have to take a real break.


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    For those of you wondering what the Army specifics are in regards to pistol qualifications and what is taught, here is FM 3-23.35:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2471581/Ar...ols-M9-and-M11


    Becoming familiar with the techniques in this document can help.

    Also, the target shown several posts above, is also a M9 range aid. Printing it off and taking it to your local range will help.

    I hope some of you find this helpful.
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    If you are practicing for self-defense and using one eye, lining up the sites, you are doing it wrong. Find an instructor who can teach you point shooting at 10 yards, and you'll do it right.

  23. #23
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    Saw the target and read the post. going to throw a new term at you. It's called Bull gazing. You were not looking at your sights and you were not looking at your target you were focused hallway between your sights and the target. That chart and it is a good one is good for diagnosing shooting problems but not so much sighting problems. When you find your way to my side of the state we can work on that.

    First hint is your shotgun pattern typical of bull gazing. First year and a half as a competitive shooter I couldn't get it through my thick Bohunk head what my instructor was trying to tell me. When I finally caught on my advance up the ranks was fast but I had to be hit between the eyes with my dumbness first. Second hint was time and rapid fire groups are groups, not patterns. You didn't have time to look wrong.
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