1st Handgun grouping woes

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by falseharmonix, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    Hi All,

    I recently purchased a Glock G19 (9mm) new from the local shooting range. Today I took it to the range to give it an honorary first spin.

    My first shot was dead center of the BG's chest, beginners luck.

    After that, I found myself consistently dropping shots down and to the right. Not all of my shots, but a good enough chunk to leave me feeling in the dumps about my accuracy and a lovely scattered pattern on the target :)

    I'm a right-handed person, but am left-eye dominant and shoot left handed. (long story, but found out when I was much younger while taking a hunter safety course...10 shots with 22 rifle right handed all missed, instructor had me switch to left hand, and 10 shots all hit the target....not much of a grouping, but they left a mark)

    This is my first handgun. Haven't really shot in a few years. Did some shooting with a 20 & 12-gauge (rabbit / squirrel / clay) at a friends farm, and some plinking with the 22 rifle in my younger years. I'm actually not too shabby with a shotgun.

    I tried variations of how much finger was on the trigger, holding full breaths vs letting some out. I occasionally found myself flinching before the gun had fired (not to place the blame on someone else, but there did happen to be a bunch of dudes firing a rented mp5 full auto right next to me, and it was a bit chilly in the range.....but I'm sure most of the blame is on me)

    So, roundabout way of getting there, but, any tips for a beginning handgun shooter?

    I was firing Winchester 115gr FMJ at 10 - 15 yards out. In total about 150 rounds have been fired through the gun so far. I've read postings mentioning a gun needs 300 rds to be broken in. Is this an old wives tale or is there some substance to this?

    My girlfriend (along for the ride, but not for the fireworks) noticed the guy to my left (who happened to be shooting very tight groups, 40 cal, at 15 - 20 yds) had more of a squatted stance, and I was more 'upright'.
     
  2. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    Fist off, don't get discouraged!

    Second, you need an experienced shooter there with you, while shooting. There may be many things you may, or may not be doing correctly.

    Third, 10 to 15 yards is WAY TO FAR off for a new shooter. You should be shooting at 9 to 15 feet! YES, 9 to 15 FEET, until you get acclaimated to shooting properly.

    It will be awhile before you do this kind of target shooting, but it will happen...
     

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  3. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    See if this little pie chart helps......
     

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  4. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    Thank you both. Man oh Man, I wish I could do those tight groups Mark :)

    It may be a week or so before I get back in the range. I do work for a sign company (graphic design, yard signs, vehicle lettering and wraps, etc) and I managed to slice my left thumb quite nice with a razor knife. So, gotta let myself heal.

    The pie chart is actually helpful, if I'm reading it correctly. I do recall wondering about my grip (too tight) and the position/grip of my left thumb.

    Ran into this video, [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQgLmQl1zDw"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQgLmQl1zDw[/ame] in the forums, and I also think my weak hand (right) may not have been as far forward rotated as it should have been. Also, I do know for sure I had the gun centered in my body and moved my head for the gun (As private Pile knows well, 'move the rifle around your body, Pile, this aint your daddy's shotgun!)

    Thanks for the advice, and I'll see what happens the next trip.
     
  5. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    good advice and that video is good help as well.... good luck and keep on shooting
     
  6. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    few more questions

    Couple of quick questions.

    1) Should I be closing my non-dominant eye while I look down the sites? (I have been)

    2) I have the standard sites on the Glock. I know this should probably go in the Glock forum, but does anyone have the G19 with alternate sites they would recommend? I wouldn't say the sites are hard to see (the range is well lit, indoors) but if there are some that would make my job easier, that would be fantastic :)
     
  7. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    The sights on your pistol are probably within a gnat's *** of being perfect. If they are not perfect, at least they are consistent. The other half of the shooting machine (The nut holding the weapon ;) ) will never be perfect or consistent. Like fingerprints, every trigger-squeeze is unique. All of us ( Okay, all but 2 who will deny it) let go a "flyer" every now and then. Some of us (Me) do it more than most, and it's impossible to pinpoint just which one of the variables caused the shot to go wandering. I'm talking about missing the target entirely at 15 yards when you're accustomed to putting half inside the 7 ring or better. I don't count anything inside the 8 because I know it was just luck, because I'm not that good.
    The idea is to recognize that you have 2 things working for you (A well-made gun and a stationary target) and about a gazillion things working against you (Distractions, all of your muscles, your eyesight, ADD, whatever) and to work on minimizing the things which work against you. The thing I have found to be the most helpful is rhythmic breathing. It gives me timing, keeps things fluid, and keeps me from fixating on muzzle wobble. See it, shoot it, inhale; see it, shoot it, inhale. Firearm design and ballistics are studies in mathematics, but shooting is Zen. You have to put the human into it, but you can't force the issue. The big thing is to practice a lot so that you're not caught up with the mechanics of the act and more focused on simply recognizing when the shot is going to go where you ask it to.
     
  8. Franciscomv

    Franciscomv New Member

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    I'm a beginner as well, and have found a good coach to be a very good investment. Basic lessons aren't expensive, with good training you'll notice better results in no time.

    A few weeks ago a coach at my gun club helped me work on my grip, a slight change in the way I hold my revolvers made a HUGE difference in grouping.

    I wouldn't touch the sights on your Glock until you've become more proficient with it. I was going to order some new sights for my CZ75, but I know that I'm still not on a skill level that would benefit from match grade sights (when I miss it's because of me, not because of the gun).
     
  9. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    The OEM sites are EXCELLENT, and you really don't need to change them unless you just want to spend money.

    You really need an experienced "instructor" to spend some time with you. There are a lot of "little" things that you need to learn, that can only come from a REAL instructor... not from a buddy that happens to shoot.
     
  10. sgtdeath66

    sgtdeath66 New Member

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    close quarter shooting should be done with both eyes open. focus on your front sight, bend your knees just a little.also try keeping your elbows bent equally and dont be afraid to hunch a little. as said before start close then work your way back 2-3 yards at a time, also do you shoot stiff wrist or loose. that makes a difference
     
  11. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    Before you get all bogged down with lots of advise, suggestions, and opinions, go to your local gun range. Ask if there's a Certified handgun Instuuctor available. If so, get with the Instructor and schedule some quality hands-on range time.

    All the internet advise in the world won't make up for one hour with a good Instructor...

    If you were here, I'd spend several hours with you (free of charge) just to make sure you can safely handle & shoot a handgun.
     
  12. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    My local shooting range is owned by a police officer, and run by current officers and military personnel while they are not in the sand box. I feel extremely safe and comfortable there. Thank goodness, as Illinois does not allow CCW....stupid laws....As far as safety is concerned on my part, I may not be the most accurate shooter, but I do pay close attention to how I am handling my weapon at all times...Never un-attended, barrel always down range, finger off trigger until ready to fire, you know the drill....the LAST thing I need is to end up in jail, dead (or worse) for being careless.

    They also offer instruction, which I plan on taking full advantage of. In addition to the lessons offered, every tuesday night is 'fight night'. They close the range to the public, set up shooting scenarios, and let members come and show off their skills . I've never been to one personally, but I imagine once I get a little more capable I will be having some fun.

    I bought my gun from there, so I've already got a membership. It gives greatly reduced prices on ammo, guns, and range fees. Personally I think the range fees should be waved, but I'll gladly pay a few bucks to help keep the lights on.

    Sarge, I suppose I keep my wrists stiff enough to help keep the gun in my hands while firing, but not so stiff that it doesn't recoil....so, I'm not totally sure if its too stiff, or not stiff enough. Again, I'm going to be getting some 1-on-1 instruction, just as soon as that thumb is healed...stupid razor knife....
     
  13. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    It appears as though you have a grip on the basics, so keep up the practice!
     
  14. flbandit

    flbandit New Member

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    Good stuff. I see better with my left eye as well. I shoot right handed but sight with my left eye. Weird, I know. I haven't tried keeping both eyes open, but will have to give it a go. I don't really have any advice other than practice as my groups hardly qualify me to instruct anyone! The more familiar you get with the pistol, the better you will get!:D
     
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    DRY FIRE!
    Right handed shooters routinely shoot low left with a Glock and Lefties shoot low right. The cause is generally getting too much finger in the trigger guard. Work on putting just the pad of the index finger on the trigger.
     
  16. dnthmn2004

    dnthmn2004 New Member

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    One thing that helped me when I first started shooting handguns, was using snap caps. Have someone else load them randomly in your magazines so you don't know when they are coming up. The first thing they will help you with, is realize if you have a flinch (the most common problem for first time shooters, including me). Even if you don't have a flinch, the second thing they help with is to learn to clear misfires.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe/browse?TabID=15&Categoryid=17595&categorystring=10615***10558***
     
  17. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

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    You are not keeping your eyes on the front sight, and are looking at the target to determine where your bullets went. Concentrate on your front sight...
     
  18. sgtdeath66

    sgtdeath66 New Member

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    i forgot totally about finger/ trigger placement. another thing i forgot was jerking the trigger as opposed to sqeezing the trigger
     
  19. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    Thought I would post an update for the new year.

    I still haven't been able to get some 1-on-1 instruction, but I have made quite a few more trips to the range and have been dry firing daily. Also have been doing a lot of research on grips and stance, and have been practicing those as well.

    My groups are both more consistent and much tighter, but still down to the right slightly. I've been noticing a few things about my sessions at the range that may be causing some of these issues.

    1) I tend to get 'excited' when some rounds land in the X and begin to fire faster out of rhythm (thus causing inaccuracy).

    2) I also find when I'm excited that I squeeze with my firing hand much tighter, almost to the point of discomfort, without realizing it.

    3) A bit too much finger on the trigger at times.

    All in all, I'm happy with my progress. I wish I had more time and money to be at the range more. As soon as I get some training I'll report back with (hopefully) the good news :)
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Thanks for posting the update - I imagine it will be useful to some of the new members as they move along the same path. :p

    As I am sure you are learning, the more comfortable you become with your pistol, and the more you practice with it, the better you will get. It would appear that you are making great progress over the first post - keep it up.

    One tool that might help is a product called the Rovatec Bullite Training System

    It allows you to dry fire and train at home, while still seeing where your "rounds" hit on the target. I have two for my .45 and my 9mm and it has made a WORLD of difference in the dry fire training that my fiancee' was doing, which has led to drastic improvement in her live fire groups.

    Just a thought...

    JD