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Newbie to handgun shooting, question....

rich1317rich1317 Member Posts: 15 ✭✭
edited June 2005 in Ask the Experts
Hey guys, perhaps you can all help me out with a problem I'm having. I am one of those freaks who do things righty and lefty. I throw lefty, bat lefty, play golf righty, write righty and shoot righty. When I was young, my dad noticed I held my toy guns as if I shot lefty but I would shut my right eye to aim. He did research and found out about the dominant eye and how it was used to aim. My right eye is my dominant one so he got me started in holding the gun righty. Now it's second nature and I couldn't imagine shooting lefty. I shoot a rifle, bow and shotgun all real well and have been doing so for 15 years. I just purchased a Beretta 92FS in 9mm and have took 3 or 4 trips to the range with it (about 600 rounds) and am HORRIBLE! My groups stink and there is no consistantcy. This is the first time ever shooting a handgun. This idea just came to me today though, I currently hold the handgun in my left hand, could this be the problem? I know you are supposed to shoot with both eyes open so I didn't think that it mattered what hand I held the gun in but now I'm thinking I may need to switch hands. I feel just as comfortable with in my right hand as my left. Here's the other thing that made me think this, I like to shoot trap and can't hit anything with both eyes open. When I shut one eye though I am pretty good. Needless to say I'm pretty untradtional in the way I shoot. Any suggestions??? I think I'll make a trip to the range later this week and give righty a try. I never heard of it but does anyone shoot a handgun with one eye shut? Thanks for any help.

Rich

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    ContacFrontContacFront Member Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Rich, remember trigger control, sight picture and sight alignment. When you say bad groups, how bad is bad? Average size and distance?

    What kind of stance are you using? Is this 9mm your first pistol?
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    rich1317rich1317 Member Posts: 15 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the reply. I have tried two stances, the first would be standing almost perpendicular to the target with the right foot out front. The second stance would be an open stance, feet just about shoulder width apart, parrell to the target. This is my first handgun ever owned and actually my first ever fired. I don't think trigger control is the problem, it's single action and the pull is pretty light. I'm shooting at 25 yards which I know is pretty far to shoot at for a first timer but that is the closest I can shoot at my range. I'm shooting at an official NRA 25yd slow fire pistol target which I think has a 12" diameter. I would be happy if I could get the majority in the black right now. In a clip of 10 rounds I may get 2 in the black, another 4 somewhere on the paper another 4 off of the paper completely. I say most of the misses are missing to the right (another reason I think it may be the hand/eye thing). I may just go to a pay range that I can shoot at 15ft instead of my clubs 25yd range just to try and work out of this problem.
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    1KYDSTR1KYDSTR Member Posts: 2,361 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would first of all try shooting the 92 off a set of sandbags to determine it's best possible accuracy. This would be a good start to a series of elimination tests. Thry that first; if the gun still won't group under 4 inches or so, then I would assume you have a bad barrel/gun. Next, if that proves the gun is acceptably accurate of its own accord , I would try rested groups shooting right handed, left handed, right eye sight alignment, left eye sight alignement etc. By using this process of elimination you should see a massive fault in one of these categories, and that will pretty much tell you what the issue is.

    "When I cease learning...I'm dead"(Me)
    "When I was 14 I used to marvel at how ignorant my old man was...by the time I was 21 I was truelly amazed at how much the old bugger had learned in the intervening 7 years!" Samuel Clemens
    "History is written by winners"(Patton)
    "You get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than you do with a kind word alone!"(Al Capone)
    "There is nothing lower than the human race...except the French" (Samuel Clemens)
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    rich1317rich1317 Member Posts: 15 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks, that's exactly what I'll do then. I just bought a couple of boxes of rounds and am heading to the range tomorrow. Hopefully I can figure things out. Thanks again....
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    perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Hello the 25 yard slow fire is a very hard target to score well on It is for NRA bullseye shooting and the BERETTA is far from being a match grade gun . My suggestion is to get a 22 RUGER OR BUCK MARK or best of all an older HIGH STANDARD and when you get good with it "CHEAPER TO SHOOT" then go to a 9mm. or better yet a match grade 45. .see if you can get a good pistol shot to mentor you I am not the sharpest knife in the rack but am still learning after 33 trips to Camp Perry and almost 1/2 million rounds down range
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    gskyhawkgskyhawk Member Posts: 4,773
    edited November -1
    one thing you may want to try is letting some one else shoot the gun , some one that you know is good with a pistol ,, if it shoots good for them then you know its some thing you are doing wrong

    also iif you are right eye dominant you should be shooting with your right hand
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by rich1317
    Hey guys, perhaps you can all help me out with a problem I'm having. I am one of those freaks who do things righty and lefty. I throw lefty, bat lefty, play golf righty, write righty and shoot righty. When I was young, my dad noticed I held my toy guns as if I shot lefty but I would shut my right eye to aim. He did research and found out about the dominant eye and how it was used to aim. My right eye is my dominant one so he got me started in holding the gun righty. Now it's second nature and I couldn't imagine shooting lefty. I shoot a rifle, bow and shotgun all real well and have been doing so for 15 years. I just purchased a Beretta 92FS in 9mm and have took 3 or 4 trips to the range with it (about 600 rounds) and am HORRIBLE! My groups stink and there is no consistantcy. This is the first time ever shooting a handgun. This idea just came to me today though, I currently hold the handgun in my left hand, could this be the problem? I know you are supposed to shoot with both eyes open so I didn't think that it mattered what hand I held the gun in but now I'm thinking I may need to switch hands. I feel just as comfortable with in my right hand as my left. Here's the other thing that made me think this, I like to shoot trap and can't hit anything with both eyes open. When I shut one eye though I am pretty good. Needless to say I'm pretty untradtional in the way I shoot. Any suggestions??? I think I'll make a trip to the range later this week and give righty a try. I never heard of it but does anyone shoot a handgun with one eye shut? Thanks for any help.

    Rich


    I actually shoot best with one eye shut; though that technique is frowned upon for several reasons, not the least of which is because it induces more tension in your face when doing it.

    I do it because though I am right handed, I am left-eye dominant, so its easier for me to see clearly when I do that.

    Most target shooters do use some sort of patch/blind for the their non-dominant eye, but they leave it open. An easy thing to do (which I usually do when shooting targets) is just to put a piece of scotch tape over the non-dominant eye of your shooting glasses. It lets in enough light for your eye's pupil to still work in conjuction with the other eye, but blurs things enough so that that your eyes arent fighting each other on the sights and giving you double-vision.

    For defensive shooting (as opposed to bullseye. . .different objective), most advocate shooting with both eyes open to get a wider field of view and better depth perception. When you're life is in danger, and the adrenaline is pumping, you effectively get tunnel vision anyway. Keeping both eyes open is even MORE important at that point!

    In terms of right hand vs left hand, just do whichever works best for you. If (and only if) they work *equally* well, I'd say pick right, because most guns are intended for use by right handers (including all revolvers), so you might as well get used to that. Nothing wrong with being able to shoot with both hands, but given the choice, realistically you're probably a lot better off excelling with one hand and being lousy with the other than being "average" with both!

    In terms of "horrible" groups. . .shooting pistol IS EXTREMELY TOUGH! Most people don't realize just how hard it is to hit a 12 inch target from 25 yards using a pistol one handed (or even two handed). Keep practicing, and remember *ALL* the fundamentals:

    Stance
    Grip
    Breath control
    Sight alignment
    Trigger squeeze (not pull!) and
    Followthrough.

    Of all of those things, sight alignment is actually the most important. . .minute variations in sight alignment add up to large variations in group size when multiplied by the short pistol sight radius and long distance to the target. Second most important is trigger control. . .bad trigger control, and you move your sights. . .see above!
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    juddroyjuddroy Member Posts: 204 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I shoot bullseye with my buckmark @ 25 all black. Out comes my carry gun(sig 225 9mm) i'm all over the place. I would take PERRY SHOOTERS advice on this one.

    Teach them young ! Teach them often !
    God bless America!
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    ThrockmortonThrockmorton Member Posts: 814 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't think you mentioned whether you are shooting one handed or two.One handed for a beginner at 25 yds is asking a lot.Two handed would maybe get ya on paper at least.And don't fight the recoil,just ride with it.As you press the trigger it should almost be a surprise when it goes off.I would expect your gun to shoot 5" groups minimum with ammo it likes.
    Hope things improve for ya!

    Throckmorton SASS #23149
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    XracerXracer Member Posts: 1,990
    edited November -1
    Take Perry Shooter's advice.

    Go back to square one and learn to handle and shoot a handgun, starting with a .22. When you become proficient with that, then move up to a larger caliber.
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    competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,698 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Assuming there are no problems with the pistol itself, practice tightening your wrist and forearm muscles and just moving your trigger finger.

    Very small amounts of movement at your wrist, when shooting a handgun, translate into significant changes to the impact points of your bullets down-range.

    Tightening the muscles in your entire arms is helpful, but particular focus on locking your wrists tight will probably help you the most.

    "Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness." -- H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
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    wolfdog45wolfdog45 Member Posts: 584
    edited November -1
    .

    Veritas vincit "Truth conquers"
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    drobsdrobs Member Posts: 22,549 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Are you breathing?

    There are 2 theories on breath control. I prefer to hold my breath on the inhale and shoot. The Army taught holding your breath on the exhale as supposedly there is a natural pause between the exhale and inhale.

    Sight picture?

    Make sure you focus on the front sight. Target and rear sights should be blurry.

    Trigger pull?

    Not sure if you can do it with the 92 but in SA trigger mode, how much finger are you putting on the trigger? I find the tip or pad behind the finger nail is the way to go. Using the tip ought to control some of the jerking of the trigger.

    I'm a lefty and shoot best with my left hand left eye. Growing up I shot both eyes open but now find I'm more accurate with my right eye closed. Rifles I can usually shoot either hand but am better with the left.

    If you shoot rifles righty shoot handguns righty too. Find which hand that works best for you but also remember to practice with the other hand every so often. If you ever join a combat shooting club you will find being able to shoot with both hands very useful. Also if this is your 1st handgun you really need to go buy a 1000rds of ammo and practice as much as you can. Then keep buying ammo a 1000rds at a time.

    Regards,
    gadsden.jpg
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    rich1317rich1317 Member Posts: 15 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hi guys, thanks for all the great advice. I just got back from the range where I tried all your suggestions. After the first 100 rounds I saw some improvements over last time out but still think I ought to be better. But today was my lucky day because the only other guy shooting at the range was an Airborne Ranger who is in town for an Army Team shooting match this weekend. Talk about a nice guy. He gave me about a 2 hour lesson and corrected a lot of my mistakes (it was me, not the gun). He helped so much and even let me shoot his .45, 9mm and .22 which were all made for competition so I was able to see that i have the skill to get solid groups with the right equipment and technique. A lot of what he instructed me to do was what all of you mentioned so thanks again, I see you all know what you're talking about.
    Time to clean the gun but just wanted to thank everyone again.....
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    forthhorsemanforthhorseman Member Posts: 656 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    That was nice of that Ranger. There's a lot of very nice gun sports enthusiasts out there and it sure is nice when a complete stranger will take the time to share their sport and know how. As far as your shooting goes, the old adage "practice makes perfect" surely fits. Keep at it and you'll get good. Best of luck and enjoy!
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