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Thread: Stabilizer Muscles

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    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    Stabilizer Muscles

    So I have been focusing my workouts on "stabilizer muscles." I have been having a difficult time tightening up my groups, and I think that it might be because I do not do focused exercises on those small muscles that keep you from rocking back and forth.

    Anyone got any suggestions?

    I have also been working on drawing my sidearm. We should all remember that all of these things are perishable, and should keep up on maintaining peak level of performance just in case SHTF, and we are forced to act quickly.

    *I know someone will likely ask what this has to do with OC/CC--it has everything to do with it...if you are not working on shooting tighter groups, that is your right, some of us actually give a crap*

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    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    I'm overweight. I have been for almost 15 years. This last year I've dropped about 30 pounds and still run close to 6 miles a week. This is not too brag but to encourage anyone else on this forum, I've been to meet & greets so you know who you are, that may need some push.

    Here's what I've been doing and it's mostly to try and help with USPSA shooting. Either a 5lb kettle bell or dumb bell but hold it in front of you using the same sight position that you would your pistol. Hold it for 10 seconds and back down. Also, the one thing I hate that's helped the most is crunch's. Getting my core strength up has steadied my hands.

    I hope this is what you're talking about and I didn't derail.

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    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    I have been doing that--taking a dumbbell 10Lb. and holding in front of me for ten seconds. I need to start doing crunches. I am probably 50 pounds overweight. I weight...too much LOL

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    Regular Member Machoduck's Avatar
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    Sylvia, don't let the "Relevance Nazis" get you down. So people would fail to see the relevance if you drew them a diagram. Your question, and the larger issue of accuracy are absolutely germane to OCDO.

    MD

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    The way your muscles and motor memory work you should be improving their strength every time you shoot... basic repetition is all that is needed for strength building.

    There are hundreds of things that can affect your accuracy, grouping in particular.

    I would focus on your stance, breathing and grip... trigger pull and bracing for recoil tend to be big'ns

    As long as you are comfortable with those things then look at muscular. At that point I would focus on your abdomen... your stability comes from a strong core, abdomenal muscles, lower back and butt.

    Just my two cents... hope it's helpful

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    I used to hold very heavy hammers (like 5 and 10 pound sledge hammers) with various length handles out at arms length and using them to point straight ahead with. Just holding it in that position puts a lot of strain and works those muscles in the wrist and forearm that control the up down motion of the hand. Then I would work on slowly raising and lowering the hammer head.

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    Great timing on what is a very relevant topic indeed. Just in recent weeks I've begun exercising more, and attending regular handgun competitions, to accomplish the very thing you point out. Repetition, strength, familiarity. If ever I employ a firearm in self-defense, I intend to be mentally evaluating the situation, not wondering why my handgun isn't aiming itself.

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    Smile

    Very timely indeed. I have (used to have) weak wrists due to injuries sustained in rear end collisions. When I shot my .45, it used to actually hurt. What has helped me the most to strengthen them is using a 2lb dumbell to do wrist curls. I sit, rest my arm on my thigh and do 2 sets of 10 reps for each wrist. I also use a squishy isometric ball to strenghten fingers. I usually do this 2 or 3 times a week when I work out at the gym. It has helped my hand and wrist strength a lot. Sometimes I still have to use an elastic wrist support, but I will not quit shooting my .45. Ditto on the ab muscles, having strong abs gives you a stable "platform." Sometimes if I am having problems with the recoil that day, I will modify my stance and put one foot slightly behind me to brace. Hope this helps.

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    So it's back to basics

    For accuracy work you need to focus back to basics.

    1) Good solid grip - not a death hold but up high and firm.
    2) Good sight picture - this means way too many things for folks. Depending on how you sight in with either a center mass or whatever technique it needs to be the same.
    3) Trigger control - this is the most important for accuracy work. Are you using your pad on your finger or the first joint? Both are good but for pure accuracy you might want to use the pad of the finger (fingertip). The joint is good for "tactical situations" where you are shooting fast and with some force.

    As others have mentioned - good comfortable stance and do take a break - don't shoot a whole string of fire (rest). Fatigue is your enemy for accuracy work.

    Try those and work on the basics. Focus on your front sight and have fun.

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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldkim View Post
    For accuracy work you need to focus back to basics.

    1) Good solid grip
    Yup. Grip strength. Have you seen Todd Jarrett's Popeye forearms?

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    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    I just got done watching a bunch of Todd Jarret Youtube videos.

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    Oh, just to clarify

    So, what distance and how tight are your groups now?

    Are you shooting semi rapid or very slow (for pure accuracy)?

    It does make a difference.

    I usually shoot at 1" Shoot n c targets at 7 yards - I'm usually within a 3" group, semi rapid fire from a low ready position.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    Standing, I am shooting 2 inch groups or tighter at 10 yards slow fire. Rapid fire I can keep it in 8 inches, my shots drop about five inches but stay vertically center...I am anticipating the shots. I have been working on my grip a lot more lately, it should tighten up my groups.

    I have not had much trigger time in the past two weeks because my conversion kit is being fixed, but when I get it back I will be back to shooting a few times a week, that should also help.

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    Anticipation.... aka "jerking"

    So, you don't really need to work on the grip, sight picture - maybe the trigger but most importantly you know what you need to work on.... it's the anticipation (when you rapid fire).

    2" at 10 yards (30 feet)? Pretty good - you want to start shooting the wings off a fly?

    If you are looking at getting tighter groups at 10 yards - you might want to bring it in a bit (meaning the target) - so you can see exactly what you are doing. Try it and see if you can make sub 1" group or even one ragged hole. Now if you are looking at bringing in that group even more - do you have adjustable sights? And what are you shooting? It does make a difference as shooting a subcompact and expecting it to shoot as well as a full size firearm at these distances is a bit of a stretch (for the vast majority of shooters).

    The rapid fire group is something to work on but still good (if that is at 10 yards).

    Rapid fire group:
    What you are trying to do is offset the recoil and with the anticipation jerking the trigger or using more muscle which will "unknowningly" throw off your POA (point of aim). Shooting faster (rapid fire) it like anything else - practice.

    So back to original question: if you can shoot 2" groups at 10 yards - its not strength you need to work on but the fine trigger control. Really nice and easy. Take a break and repeat.

    For the rapid fire group - you need to let the recoil happen and work on getting that front post back on target (not during the recoil but after). Start slow and shoot slow. Progress your speed between shots until you are comfortable with the recoil and can return to POA. You'll develop muscle memory over time but it doesn't come easily. You'll also note your eye catching that front sight faster and faster over time. So, let the recoil happen and work on getting it back on after the recoil.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by oldkim; 06-30-2010 at 03:09 PM.
    Young Kim, NRA Endowment Member
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    2" groups at 10 yards is pretty dang good!

    I was taught that the majority of civilian-handgun-shootings take place within 7 yards... which takes the average person 1.5 seconds to cross, btw

    We used to do speed drills to see how many shots we could place in the rings, from a semi-ready position, as the target advances from 7 yards to point blank. Most ranges don't like you doing this... but with the instructor present it didn't seem to be an issue. And it was a lot of fun.

    For accuracy try this little game: Take a friend along and choose a target with numbers or small dots... see who can shoot out a particular dot first, or number... I have done this with a friend of mine for years. We see who can shoot out the #5 using the fewest bullets, for example... or each take one of the bad guys eyes.


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    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    I have a Beretta 92 FS 9mm. I switched out the factory rear sight for an adjustable sight, which helped me significantly.

    Trigger control is an issue for me, I feel inclined to move from the pad of my finger to the joint, and I need to get that bad habit out of my system.

    For a little while I was shooting at 20 yards then bringing it in to 10 yards to try and tighten up my groups, it worked pretty well. When you sight out far then come in close it is much easier to hold your sight IMO. I get horrible left eye fatigue when I shoot for extended periods of time, I am right handed, but shoot with both eyes open, squinting LOL.

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    What to use.... pad or joint of finger

    Do know both have their uses (benefits and cons).

    For accuracy folks tend to use the pad of the finger tip - as you have the most use of your finger "touch" without using larger muscle groups in your hands. The sensitivity and ability to move that little portion benefits accuracy shooting.
    The con is that for "tactical" agressive shooting - rapid fire you don't have the power of the whole hand.

    For the joint - as mentioned above it's good for rapid fire. Con is that you lose some of the sensitivity and use more muscles in your hands which can alter your POA a small bit.

    Learn to use both and understand that they have their uses. When I draw from my holster and intend to rapid fire I always use the first joint. For pure accuracy I'll switch to my pad of my finger and touch that baby off.

    A Beretta 92 is darn accurate. Some may need some work to get it to shoot really fine groups (but that goes for almost any gun). You may want a gunsmith to look it over and see if it needs any work (just know that they're in business to work on guns - so I'm sure they'll come up with something). Tighten up the slide, nice trigger job, etc.

    If your looking at Bullseye type shooting (typically 25 and 50 yards) you might want to push your target out so you can see how you compare. I guess what do you want as for group size? Another factor is your eyes - fatigue and also do you wear glasses, etc is something you may need to look at. For me my eye sight is getting worse so I tend to keep it close (if you can't see it then good luck hitting it).
    Young Kim, NRA Endowment Member
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    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    I have a bad right eye, and do not wear glasses, I should. I changed out the factory spring to a "D" spring so the trigger is about 2.5-8 LB. now. I will have to switch it back 3.5, for competition.

    I was going to try and get in the IDPA that is coming up this year in Renton. I shoot a lot when I have my conversion kit for it...then once a week will shoot 50 some-odd rounds to acclimate myself to 9mm again, and there seems to be no big issues when I do that, as far as accuracy.

    I am getting the feeling I need to just keep shooting, shoot more and maybe send the target out further more often so the closer shots will be easier.

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    my carry pistol is very heavy and has required me to work out with it on a regular basis. this usually means holding the pistol at the firing position for 1 minute then resting and then lifting again (5-10 minutes twice a day). the bugger weighs around 4#s fully loaded so this is a pretty tough work out. my back also needs to be worked since carrying the gun for lengthy periods of time will make my back a little sore.

    -matt

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    Well why didn't you say so....

    :-)

    For IDPA your groups size is fine.

    What you really want to practice is drawing from holster, magazine changes (reloads) and strong and weak hand (one handed shooting). The other is shooting on the move but that's a tough one to practice (finding a range that is).

    Most targets are relatively close 3-7 yards. You'll engage multiple targets. Scoring for IDPA is how fast with the added how accurate. So you can be super fast but if you can't hit anything - just like in life.... your score is poor. But same for if you are super accurate but really really slow - that other BG may have shot you dead.

    Renton Fish and Game Club has IDPA every 3rd Saturday, all year long. Do know the State Championships are coming up in August. For new shooters they want you there by 8am to go through a short new shooter orientation. Cost is $15 per regular match. More info on www.nwppa-idpa.com

    Be safe and have fun. The first few matches should be learning experiences. Then once you're setttled in.... compete all you want.


    So back to shooting on the move - it's tough to find a range so it's a catch-22. Go and shoot a IDPA match as you'll get the shooting on the move "practice." Do know the folks at RFGC IDPA are really good at taking under their wing. When you go just ask to talk to the match director or one of the safety officers -- let them know this is your first time and they'll hook you up. They may even team you up with someone to be mentored by.

    Do know the matches are really really popular - with over 100 folks shooting at the matches. This means longer lines so your day may start at 8 and go until 2 or even 3pm. The benefit for someone new is that you'll get to see other folks shoot the stage and you can learn by watching and talking to the folks in your group. It's a great day to spend a day out with like minded fellow shooters.

    My last hint to you: Just go and do it! The rest will come with experience (and practice)!
    Young Kim, NRA Endowment Member
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  21. #21
    Regular Member Beretta92FSLady's Avatar
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    I practice strong and weak hand shooting....not as much as I should. I will work on that more.

    I did not know that it was every 3rd. I am going to go in July!

    Get in a lot of practice before hand.

    I have been practicing holster draw and mag change here at the house. I have thought about once a week traveling out to the gravel pit south of Olympia and getting my running/shooting time in.

  22. #22
    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    2 inch groups at 10 yards is plenty fine. As someone else suggested, practice different reloads, shooting on the move, and multiple targets within a time limit.

    Personally I'd be happy with 2 inch groups at 10 yards and my rapid fire sucks. But that's what practice is for.

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    Regular Member Leatherneck's Avatar
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    rapid fire

    okay, it's not really "work out" related, but it is rapid fire practice related.

    at the range there was a guy rapid firing 2 shots at a time. 2 separate pieces of paper about 2" wide. One hanging from each clip. I was impressed!

    How the heck does one get to the point where they could double tap these - left/right.
    The only thing I thought of was light loads.

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    Practice

    My brother-in-law can do this...he can shoot the same bullet hole in the center of the target over and over at a rapid fire. And he does not shoot a light load, he does so with his duty gun Sig P229 in .357 Sig! It is quite impressive, but that is what he does for a living.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leatherneck View Post
    okay, it's not really "work out" related, but it is rapid fire practice related.

    at the range there was a guy rapid firing 2 shots at a time. 2 separate pieces of paper about 2" wide. One hanging from each clip. I was impressed!

    How the heck does one get to the point where they could double tap these - left/right.
    The only thing I thought of was light loads.
    Live Free or Die!

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