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Tips for a beginning shooter?

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Old 02-19-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default Tips for a beginning shooter?

Hello all. I just recently purchased my Browning HP and this forum seems to be pretty helpful with these kind of things, but I'm curious if anyone has any tips for starting shooters? My gun is a Browning HP 9mm.

I went to the range for the first time today and was able to hit the target decently, but not as consistently as I would like. It seems like I would aim for the X in the center but would hit somewhere else. I even had an issue where it jammed on me. I'm pretty sure my form was really bad. My question I suppose is if anyone has any tips for:

Holding/Stance/Grip on gun
Aiming down the sights/focus

and anything else by chance? I saw someone on here posted a chart that tells you what you are doing improperly by the way the shots were placed. The guy at the range said I was anticipating the shot and it was throwing me off. For instance, I would shoot and kinda jerk the tip of the gun a little bit. I know a lot of it is just practice and getting the feel of the gun but I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to make each shot a hit and maybe even hit 2-3 inch grouping. Any help would be appreciated friends. Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:44 PM   #2
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Make sure you're pressing/squeezing the trigger and not jerking or pulling it. Squeeze trigger slowly until you get it right. Feel it. It should almost surprise you when it goes off. Don't anticipate the shot. Also work on finding/feeling the trigger reset. That's when it moves forward after the shot, until you feel it drop in to place again for the next shot. Just shoot slow, and feel the gun. Shoot it, don't let it shoot you.

"...rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." /G\
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:54 PM   #3
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Welcome to the shooting world. Be glad that u hit the paper on any shot ur first go round. Practice dry firing (with or without snap caps). Make sure u check to make sure the firearm is cleared. Choose a target on the wall (maybe put a target up). Again before practice make sure the action is clear. Slowly squeeze the trigger. Some gun triggers have a slight stop before the firing pin initiates. Make note if u jerk the gun, muzzle takes a nose dive etc. With ur support hand squeeze tight. (if u never fired a semi auto make sure u talk with an experienced pistol shooter to make sure ur not supporting the gun like a revolver). At the range, make every shot count. Don't be like the other yahoos and send ur target all the way down. Ur just starting off...3 yards or 7 at most. Don't let ur ego take over and send it further until u hit consistently. On targets...don't get the biggest target or zombie, etc. 5-8 inch targets to start. Aim small miss small or think of it as shoot big, miss big. Before u shoot, dry fire again a few times. Until u get used to the bangs and recoil of ur gun, u may jump or get nervous. Breathe slow, dry fire then load live. 5 at a time at most. Just cause ur gun can hold more this is just practice plus it gives u a chance to see what ur doing. After many trips to the range, u should start to see ur shots grouping in a certain area regardless if u hit the bullseye or not. For example, I practice a lot of 1 inch dots at 7 yards. I'm a lefty who shoots lefty and is lefty dominant. My groupings now are 1-3 inches but most of the time it's like 1 inch left and 1 inch up of the bullseye. U can find a chart online that may explain what u is happening. In my case too much thumb on the support hand and trigger pull. This chart won't help though if u are not consistent with ur shots. Some other things I learned is from the range master or other experienced shooters. U will know the by their slower pace and snickering at the weekend warriors who shoot all 50 rounds in 30 minutes. Most of us r willing to give our two cents. If u find one that can help out. Listen, but remember that each shooter is different but the fundamentals are the same; safety, trigger pull, sight picture and having fun. My wife gets frustrated sometimes at the range as well as I so remember to take a break if need be. Be safe and if u are near the jax fl area let me know...I go about every other week.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:34 AM   #4
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There are way too many things to type, especially when it comes to things like grip, stance and trigger control. There is a lot to be said and it's hard to demonstrate with words alone. With that said, I will give you three bits of advice.

1. Get some professional training of some kind. I would start with a class that is on Basic Gun Handling. If you're a member of the NRA, they hold these types of classes all over the country. I'm not sure on the cost though. If you're not a member of the NRA, then what are you waiting for?

These classes teach basic gun safety, as well as the basics of grip, stance and trigger control.

Any money you spend on professional training is typically money well spent. I would do this as soon as possible. The less bad shooting habits you form before taking any classes, the better.

If you absolutely can't afford of find any professional instruction in your area, most ranges have some pretty experienced staff that would be more than happy to help.

2. Before you go out and buy all kinds of fancy triggers, sights, extended this or that; the accessory that you should buy first is as much ammo as you can afford. 9mm can be gotten pretty cheaply online, I've gotten it for as low as $8 for the steel cased stuff, which is pretty much all I shoot.

Practice will help your shooting out more than anything else. As stated before, said practice would be better if it was post professional instruction.

3. Slow down. Almost all new shooters I see try to shoot WAY too fast. It's not a race. As the old saying goes, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."

That saying holds very true. Shortly after I started out shooting, an old man that I work with told me to write that saying down and tape it to the shooting bench every time I go shooting, and let me tell you what, it helped tremendously.

You could even do something a little more simple, like just writing "Slow down" on the backside of your hand or arm, somewhere it will be easily visible when shooting.

4. I know, I said three, but this one is important also. Another thing I see new shooters doing is shooting at targets much too far away. I've been shooting for several years now, and still do I very rarely shoot at targets farther than 7 yards. Starting out, I would do something like 3-4 yards.

Other than that, have fun, and try to get as many of your friends and family members as you possibly can involved in the shooting sports. I always offer to take people who have never been before and show them a good time. The more people we get involved, the better.

If you have any specific questions, just ask. There are many here that would be happy to help to the best of their ability, including me.

"Breathe when you can, shoot when you should."
-Rob Leatham


"Qui desiderat pacem, bellum praeparat; nemo provocare ne offendere audet quem intelliget superiorem esse pugnaturem"

Last edited by FCross7; 02-20-2012 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:21 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of your input guys. Yeah, when I went to the range I think I put my target a bit too far out. I will try a little closer next time.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:42 AM   #6
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Follow the four steps for each shot:
Breath control
Sight alignment
Trigger control
Follow through
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:03 AM   #7
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So I went to the range yesterday and followed the advice. I slowed down, fixed my grip properly and didn't place the target quite as far out. My shots were much more consistent. I would feel confident in hitting my target for concealed carry purposes and self defense. I still need a little work though. I'm not going to be able to pick a target off from 50 yards quite yet hahah.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:14 PM   #8
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Good point on range to Tgt. I find myself shooting at 50 ft more often then not and since I no longer shoot bullseye, I have no rationale as to why ? Well, other than its the first place tgts stop at the range I go to. Path of least resistance ?
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