Thoughts on technique

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by BlindOldMan, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. BlindOldMan

    BlindOldMan New Member

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    Last week I was at the range and made a deliberate attempt to think about every action as I aimed and fired. There are tons of videos and guides online about proper stance, grip, sighting, etc.. Over years I've tried several things and found a few that worked for me. However, many excellent shooters use different techniques than mine.

    Anyhow, I was thinking about a few things in particular that are not often mentioned:

    Starting with the stance, I generally shoot from the Weaver or Modified Weaver stance, depending on what I’m firing (i.e., I generally shoot larger calibers from a Modified Weaver stance, but not always) and what I’m trying to accomplish (defensive versus target).

    The stance affects several things, most specifically the angle of the strong arm in relation to the torso, the bend of the wrist and the neck.

    In the Modified Weaver, the strong arm is fully extended. I most often shoot with the strong arm perpendicular to my torso (think of it as Right Triangle versus Isoceles). This allows the plane of my wrist and arm to be in a single line. If you have taken any karate classes, one of the first things taught is that the plane of the fist is straight with the forearm. This takes advantage of the cushioning cartilage in the wrist to minimize injury. For smaller calibers or infrequent shooters, this might not be an issue at all, but for some who fire thousands of rounds a month, may be relevant. The downside of the fully extended arm and straight wrist is that in order to use traditional sighting technique, the neck often tilts to the side. In order to keep the neck straight as some techniques advice, the angle of the torso to the target must be adjusted by a few degrees. Note that this also affects sighting as I find it more difficult to sight with both eyes open when my neck is titled.

    So on to sighting:
    I am right-eye dominant but shoot with both hands equally well. If I shoot left handed, I sight with my left eye and vice versa. The corrective lenses that I wear (BlindOldMan wasn’t picked randomly :D ) preclude normal sighting techniques (hold target fuzzy, front sight in focus) so I’ve been forced to learn stillness tricks in order to hit those barn walls. Sometimes I need to move my head to sight, so in some cases I look like I’m nodding ‘yes’ at the target.

    OK, so what’s my point here? When shooting long rifle or longbow, we are often taught to ‘know the nose’. This means knowing where your nose is in relation to your sighting. For example, I was taught to press my cheek against the comb of the stock so that my nose always ends up in the same place. Thought I am relatively new to AR-15 style rifles, I’ve been shown a similar technique where the tip of the nose rests against the charging handle (which may be why I haven’t heard of large caliber AR-15 style rifles, and makes sense if you’ve been “racooned” by some BFG ). In archery, there’s also this notion of knowing the nose so that the sight picture, neck and arm position, etc., are all “known” intuitively (i.e., without looking). There’s no way to develop this except with endless practice, however.

    Anyhow, just some thoughts as I was preparing to take a brand new shooter to the range. What do you folks do differently? (The above is not what's "right", just what works for *ME*.


    http://www.corneredcat.com/article/the-shooting-basics/stance/

    http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/choosing-a-handgun-shooting-stance/
     
  2. msup752

    msup752 New Member

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    I guess it depends on what the shooting stance is being used for.

    I started with a modified weaver stance when I shot on my own and into the police academy. I had trouble hitting my target so my instructor reviewed my stance and grip and suggested I switch to isosceles. I tried it and it worked great. Then I learned that almost all shooters revert to the isosceles in an actual shooting situation. It also has a huge benefit to solve eye dominance problems such as right handed left eye dominance. Moving is also critical in a real shooting situation and the uneven foot position of the weaver based stances make shuffling side to side more difficult.

    For target shooting or hunting or large calibers, weaver might be the best.

    I have not put much thought into rifle shooting positions. I put the butt in the shoulder pocket, line up the sights, and squeeze.
     

  3. BlindOldMan

    BlindOldMan New Member

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    This is extremely interesting and just the sort of feedback I was hoping for. My buddy is trooper in N. Florida. Some of the techniques he has learned are for actual shooting situation (not the scary silhouettes and tin cans that I practice with). They taught isosceles also so it must have merit. It's interesting that none of the target shooters I know use straight isosceles. I'll make it a point to use it for my next few practices.
     
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Acquiring a good stance is important, but there are instances where the one stance you have practiced with does not work, and you have to adapt.

    Practice of other stances introduces one to stance shortcomings and pitfalls. I would rather know them when I am on the range and not have to learn them on the fly in a self defense situation.

    Using the same stance on the range to hit the paper targets is not practice, it is a routine to reinforce the basics of shooting.

    Using barricades, employing other stances, have varying targets, in all weather conditions is practice.
     
  5. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All of us, regardless of our experience level, must occasionally step back and reevaluate our BASICS. It is easy to coach/instruct others but much harder to do a self assessment, I know, I do it on a regular basis.;)
     
  6. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    Truth. I start from the basics every single time I hit the range. Mostly because I don't shoot nearly enough to keep my skills up.

    I think the last time I shot was one mag in August.
     
  7. hareebrownbeest

    hareebrownbeest New Member

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    I have been trying to focus on grip, and breathing to see what works best for me.
     
  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Add sight alignment and follow through.
     
  9. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What I have to keep focusing on is finger placement on the trigger and trigger control.
    "As fast as you can, but as slow as you have to". I teach this to all!;)
     
  10. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    One of the main reasons most LE agencies are teaching the isosceles stance is vest coverage. The Weaver and modified Weaver tend to expose the lighter coverage areas of the lateral chest wall. Isosceles also squares off the trauma plate in a face to face conflict giving a more equal spread of impact forces. As far as isosceles being a stable platform, it is, and it isn't. It may provide a more stable hold for the firearm, but it is not a stable stance for the body as a whole.
     
  11. AustinArmory

    AustinArmory New Member

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    The light comes on when you stop thinking all together and just react, good stance, bad stance, grip etc.

    I use the analogy of typing with students. Most of us can type and not think of all the things or brains are doing:
    Master of the English language - or some where close :)
    Understanding the alphabet and then scrambling all the letters on a key board.
    Understanding of your computer and the systems/software etc.

    I can type fairly quickly and accurately, until I think or look at the key board.

    Another easier analogy is making a right turn in your car. When was the last time you planned it out and thought about every movement - Look, blinkers, feather gas, brake, gas brake, turn, look, gas, finish the turn smooth, etc...you get the picture.

    Train with shooting the same way. Get to where drawing, sight picture, trigger press, follow through is one seamless thoughtless motion.

    :)
     
  12. hareebrownbeest

    hareebrownbeest New Member

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    Muscle memory. The more you do it, the better you get
     
  13. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is the darnedest truth.
     
  14. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    IF you stop and make sure you are doing it right. Repetition can cause you to loose the proper 'form' if you do not constantly get checked by your 'coach' or a critical self eval!!!;)