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Old 07-29-2008, 03:36 AM   #1
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Default Low and left, trigger issue?

I was at the range today and for once I had it all to myself (5 dogs outdoor range-Bakersfield) so I was able to shoot from many different distances and styles.

What I noticed was that when I pull the trigger with it situated on the center of the first knuckle I tend to shoot low and left of center. However, when I shoot with just my fingertip on the trigger my aim improves. Is there a way to improve my aim without having to use my fingertip? Using my fingertip on the trigger just seems unnatural to me. Is there any kind of exercise to give me a straighter pull and less chance to move the gun low and left?

Thanks
Mike



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Old 07-29-2008, 04:02 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mike481 View Post
.... What I noticed was that when I pull the trigger with it situated on the center of the first knuckle I tend to shoot low and left of center. However, when I shoot with just my fingertip on the trigger my aim improves. Is there a way to improve my aim without having to use my fingertip? Using my fingertip on the trigger just seems unnatural to me. Is there any kind of exercise to give me a straighter pull and less chance to move the gun low and left?

Thanks
Mike
A classic! To begin with, it's not your, 'first knuckle'. It's your index finger's distal joint. The most likely culprit is poor trigger technique. You're anticipating the shot and either jerking, or flinching as the sear breaks.

YOU NEED TO SQUEEZE THE TRIGGER FROM THE CENTER OF THE PAD. Do not screw around with the tip of your trigger finger; this may work at the range; but, it's sure to louse you up when you have to fire under stress.

You might, also, be, 'milking' your grip. This means that, again, you are anticipating the shot and tightening your grip as the sear breaks.

The cure is two-fold: You are going to need to dry fire for 15 or 20 minutes a day until you begin to exercise control over the problem. Is dry firing important? I've been shooting pistols for more than 50 years; and I, still, regularly dry fire.

The other thing you're going to have to become aware of is how you are gripping the pistol. I'll save you months of practice and a couple of thousand rounds by telling you that you need to learn how to control the pistol's backstrap. I know from experience that it is impossible to work at controlling the backstrap AND, either, flinch or milk the grip at the same time. (The human brain doesn't work like that!)

Find that spot about half way up the backstap that naturally presses a little harder into your gun hand. Concentrate on that spot while you focus on the front sight. While it's impossible to train someone in how to shoot a pistol over the internet, if you're able to catch onto the gist of what I've just said, you should be able to make a significant improvement in your targets.





ADDED: You may pick it up while dry firing and learning how to control the muzzle; but, first, get your grip straightened out. Afterwards, if you still need it, we can talk about proper trigger finger technique.


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Old 07-29-2008, 04:26 AM   #3
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A classic! To begin with, it's not your, 'first knuckle'. It's your index finger's distal joint. The most likely culprit is poor trigger technique. You're anticipating the shot and either jerking, or flinching as the sear breaks.

YOU NEED TO SQUEEZE THE TRIGGER FROM THE CENTER OF THE PAD. Do not screw around with the tip of your trigger finger; this may work at the range; but, it's sure to louse you up when you have to fire under stress.

You might, also, be, 'milking' your grip. This means that, again, you are anticipating the shot and tightening your grip as the sear breaks.

The cure is two-fold: You are going to need to dry fire for 15 or 20 minutes a day until you begin to exercise control over the problem. Is dry firing important? I've been shooting pistols for more than 50 years; and I, still, regularly dry fire.

The other thing you're going to have to become aware of is how you are gripping the pistol. I'll save you months of practice and a couple of thousand rounds by telling you that you need to learn how to control the pistol's backstrap. I know from experience that it is impossible to work at controlling the backstrap AND, either, flinch or milk the grip at the same time. (The human brain doesn't work like that!)

Find that spot about half way up the backstap that naturally presses a little harder into your gun hand. Concentrate on that spot while you focus on the front sight. While it's impossible to train someone in how to shoot a pistol over the internet, if you're able to catch onto the gist of what I've just said, you should be able to make a significant improvement in your targets.





ADDED: You may pick it up while dry firing and learning how to control the muzzle; but, first, get your grip straightened out. Afterwards, if you still need it, we can talk about proper trigger finger technique.

I'm sorry but I am confused by what you mean by "backstrap". The part about "milking the grip" makes sense to me. I know that the first couple hundred rounds I was anticipating the shot and flinching slightly but I am getting much better. Also, what do you mean by "squeeze the trigger from the center of the pad"?

Sorry for all the questions.
Mike
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:33 AM   #4
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Newbie question; sorry... Are there any types of guns you would not want to dry fire? I heard it can damage some guns????

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Old 07-29-2008, 05:31 PM   #5
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Sound like you're flinching to me. Balance a quarter on the slide and dry fire until you can do it without the coin falling off. As you do this, consciously repeat, in your mind, "front sight, breathe, relax, squeeze"

Find your front sight and target. Your front sight should be what your eye focuses on. The rear and target should be out of focus.

Inhale about 2/3 of the way and hold it. Use this breath to to relax your shoulders and torso. Take a quick second to make sure your front sight is still there.

Squeeze the trigger and finish the breath.

Every time you pull a trigger, use that mantra. After a few thousand rounds, it will become muscle memory. Also, use Google to search for common holds that professionals are using for the XD. try them all and see what works best for you. Once you find that hold, use nothing else.

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mike481 View Post
I'm sorry but I am confused by what you mean by "backstrap". The part about "milking the grip" makes sense to me. I know that the first couple hundred rounds I was anticipating the shot and flinching slightly but I am getting much better. Also, what do you mean by "squeeze the trigger from the center of the pad"?

Sorry for all the questions.
Mike
No, I don't mind. Many years ago, I accepted the responsibility to answer questions when I, first, applied for my instructor's credentials.

Every pistol frame has a front and a backstrap. The front strap is immediately underneath the triggerguard; and the backstrap is immediately underneath the end of the slide. These are the two areas where your gun hand should correctly make contact with the pistol's frame.

I told you to, 'squeeze the trigger' because you are new to the discipline; and, 'squeeze' is a more useful concept. Among those of us who regularly shoot combat pistol a more appropriate expression would be to, 'press the trigger'; but, I don't talk this way with beginners because it tends to throw them off target. (I learned to make this differentiation while teaching children how to shoot rifles; it's just a better initial concept for learning proper trigger control.)

With a pistol you need to know how to articulate your trigger finger separately from the rest of the fingers in your hand. (In other words you don't want any sympathetic movement between the fingers.) Now, while it's impossible to completely disassociate your trigger finger from the rest of your hand, it is possible to make your trigger finger move largely independent from your other fingers.

The way I do this is to put a pretty good crook in the first two joints of my trigger finger while I keep the trigger centered across the MIDDLE of my distal joint pad. I, then, press a pistol trigger straight to the rear with a slightly downward motion. Now, you MUST keep firm pressure on the pistol's front and backstrap while you are pressing a pistol trigger. If you should fail to do this, bad things are going to start to happen on your targets.

It might help you to visualize a, 'magic spot' on the pistol's backstrap. When you set the pistol, straight back, into the web of your gun hand and close your fingers across the front stap in order to apply a strong front-to-back pressure, you will notice that one area of the backstrap is pressing, harder, into the web of your gun hand. This is the, 'magic spot'.

Pistol instructors always tell students to, 'Watch the front sight.' What isn't often repeated is, 'HOW' to control that front sight at the same time as you're watching it. You control the front sight by controlling the pistol's backstrap. If you concentrate on controlling that, 'magic spot' I just told you about, you will be able to, simultaneously, point the front sight anywhere you want the shot to go; AND, the shot will go there!

If you properly control a pistol's backstrap in the described manner, you will find it's impossible to, either, flinch or milk the grip. (Because the human brain is only able to focus on one thing at a time!) This is the reason, 'Why' I always teach students to master their grip BEFORE trying to control either the trigger or the front sight.

Got it!

Remember this: You press a pistol trigger; but, you squeeze a rifle trigger. The trigger technique for rapid firing a pistol is not the same thing as the trigger technique for making a long shot with a rifle - OK.

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Newbie question; sorry... Are there any types of guns you would not want to dry fire? I heard it can damage some guns????
That's what SNAP CAPS are for!

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:14 PM   #7
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Here -

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4871

This might help!
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:17 PM   #8
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While what G21 and Matt say is all helpful and correct but let me try to simplify a few things .

First off are you wearing gun Muffs and not ear plugs for handgun shooting ?

I have found the muzzle blast of many handguns is intimidating especially for fairly new shooters and will alone cause flinching . Ear Plugs just don't cut it especially if you're shooting say a 40 S&W on up to the magnums .

What are you shooting , revolver or auto ? Building a solid foundation of skills is far easier with a revolver with light loads in single action mode like a 357 with 38 rounds in it than starting out with a 9mm or whatever caliber auto with a 22 being the exception .

Now to grip and trigger contact with your finger , face a wall with your gun in hand and point it at the wall holding your arm straight out the , bore should be in perfect alignment with your arm and your finger should contact the trigger at the pad not the tip . Look at your finger and find the point where your finger print is reduced to a small swirl this is you pad area that should be touching the trigger .

If you can't keep the bore inline with your arm and finger pad on the trigger while squeezing it , the grip of the weapon is either to small or to big for you and needs to either be adjusted with different grips or that gun simply doesn't fit you no matter what it cost or how cool it is .

This is why the 1911 is such a great design the short trigger travel and slim frame that if need be can be adjusted with thicker grips .

Dry firing is one of the best tools there are to maintaining correct technique but some people seem to have a switch that throws when they go to live rounds and they are intimidated by recoil . This you must master yourself as the problem is between your ears no where else .

With a firm and correct grip you must NOT let recoil intimidate you .

No standard 38 , 357 , 9mm, 40 S&W , 10mm , 45 or even a 44 magnum is going to rip itself out of your hand and hurt you when you fire it , so relax .

JWIII yes some guns come with a recommendation to not dry fire them but this can be safely done with the use of "Snap Caps" sold at many gun stores and all over the net . Try Cabelas or midwayUSA if you need them for your gun .

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Old 07-30-2008, 05:54 AM   #9
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Thanks for the snap cap info... I've seen them in catalogs, kind of wondered what they were for.

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:16 AM   #10
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Yeah, Big brings up a good point. Use plugs and muffs until you become really comfortable. It'll cut out a lot of noise and help you concentrate on what you're doing with the pistol.



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