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My name is Robert. I bought my first handgun in April 2009 for home defense. It is a Ruger SP101. I took the NRA Self-Protection Course and qualified using that revolver. I got my Ohio CCW permit and then bought a Ruger LCR to carry in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster.
I practice once a week. I have a 35-round routine that I follow which concentrates on shooting at a target 7.5 yards (22.5 ft) away. I was told that there is some collelation between 7.5 yards and a definition of self-defense. Regardless, I have no desire to be a long-range target shooter. I just want to be good when it will really be necessary to me to be good. I shoot 5 slow-fire as a warm-up, 25 starting from a low-ready position and 5 rapid fire after acquiring the target in my sights. I always hit the paper and almost always somewhere in the body image area. But I do not seem to be getting any more accurate. The guys at the range told be not to get discouraged since the snub-nose LCR is tough to shoot and the target is "small" - and I should follow the "aim small, miss small" approach. Herein lies my question and the main reason I joined the Group.
I use a B-34 REV RC target. I cannot find any information as to how the size of the target relates to its intended distance. I cannot find out what the body size on the target is supposed to represent. Is the B-34 designed to present the size of an opponent at a specific distance ... like 50 ft? If so, what am I accomplishing by using that target at a much-shorter distance ... like 22.5 ft? Is it giving me a 50% smaller target "size" and should I be tailoring my expectations accordingly?
Any insight would be appreciated.
welcome to the forum. I cannot comment on that particular target, but I shoot a lot of drills to "simulate" self-defense as well as help practice for IDPA competitions. I just put a piece of paper up with a 8in diameter circle drawn on it. I shoot various drills and distances just aiming at that 8 in circle. The way i look at it, if I can hit 8 inches from 3 yds, 7 yds, 15, or whatever.....I can hit a normal size attacker in the chest.
I know this doesn't answer your particular question, but it's something else to think about. It does sound like you are on the right track.....at least you realize that using a gun for self defense is serious and something that should be practiced.
I found the following description of the B-34 target:
14" x 24"
Police Pistol Silhouette
(Reduced from 50 yard B-27) -- Reversed
(for improved sight picture) w/ Red Center
So apparently the B-34 is intended (ideally) for 25 yards (75 ft). If I bring that target closer to 7.5 yards (22.5 ft), am I making it:
a) easier to hit
b) harder to hit
c) somehow properly sized regardless of the distance
I really do not want to overthink this. My son shoots a CZ-75 compact and does exactly as you do ... he uses 8" paper plates taped to a piece of cardboard ... at all distances. I am just trying to understand target design while getting better at the same time. I promise not to beat this horse to death.
Snub nosed revolvers have a pretty sharp learning curve, so don't be too hard on yourself. You miight consider adding Crimson Trace laser grips to one of them, and then using it do a lot of dry-fire practice. They are a wonderful training aid, even if you don't want to trust them for self defense. I personally have them on my S&W Airweight, and dry firing it has improved my trigger control on every other gun I own.
When I first started trying to master my snubbie, I started out shooting lightly loaded practice ammo, from a rested position, at five yards, using only the conventional sights. I quickly got good enough to shoot cloverleafs, so I stood up and shot unsupported until I could do the same thing. Then I moved the target out seven, and eventually 10 yards.
As I started getting better, I began to use paper plates with a stick-on dot in the middle, and on a good day I can put all five on that plate at 15 yards, firing slowly. The aim small, miss small approach is the best, in my opinion. Seven yard practice is great for rapid fire...after you have gotten your marksmanship skills 'up to snuff.' But don't neglect to do that first, and don't get frustrated, if you spend half of each range session just getting back to the level you were up to at the last one.
It 'sounds' to me like your approach is methodical, and I'm betting you will get where you want to be, with enough practice.
Welcome from Texas,sounds like your doing things right. Practice makes perfect.
Thanks for the response and the encouragement. Only two final questions and I will clam up.
1) What shooting distance do you consider appropriate to get my "marksmanship skills 'up to snuff?" Are you suggesting I become proficient using deliberate slow-fire at 50 ft. before trying to master rapid fire at 22.5 ft? Also, I was hoping that someone knew the formula/math/etc. used to design the size of range targets.
2) Is there any truth to the idea that I could "over-clean" my revolvers? I use a variety of spray cleaners, solvents, brushes and lead-removing cloths after every session to try and get the Rugers back to brand-new condition. I read in another forum that, if you get the gun "really" clean, it could affect the accuracy of the first cylinder of rounds fired after cleaning. Since these rounds could be the ones I need to fire accurately in a real gunfight, at what point is clean "clean-enough" but not "too clean?" And, since I fire only FMJ ammunition for practice, do I need to use a copper remover - somewhere, sometime?
I am suggesting that you become confident in your ability to hit a small target at moderate distance. With a snubbie that would probably be something like a 4" or maybe even a 6" circle at seven or ten yards with all five shots. You can judge that by how difficult it is for you - keep challenging yourself by making it hard, but not unachievable. You can mix your type of practice with each range session, if you want, but do concentrate on marksmanship first and foremost, because this will develop the fundamentals of trigger finger control and sight picture that will make you shoot consistently good.
Think smooth, rather than fast - start out slow and smooth, and increase your speed slowly without giving up the smoothness. In this way you will retain the good marksmanship skills you learn with the aim small-miss small approach. A person who shoots fast at close ranges only impresses me if they are hitting close to the bulls eye with most of their shots.
If you practice a lot, you may need to use a copper cleaner occasionally. Personally, I just dip a brush in Hoppes #9 and give the bore a few strokes (and the chambers in the cylinder on a revolver), then run clean patches through until they stay clean. Then I spray the gun with Breakfree CLP, brush it with a nylon brush and wipe it clean. With a revolver, I will use a wire brush on the face of the cylinder and the forcing cone occasionally.2) Is there any truth to the idea that I could "over-clean" my revolvers? I use a variety of spray cleaners, solvents, brushes and lead-removing cloths after every session to try and get the Rugers back to brand-new condition. I read in another forum that, if you get the gun "really" clean, it could affect the accuracy of the first cylinder of rounds fired after cleaning. Since these rounds could be the ones I need to fire accurately in a real gunfight, at what point is clean "clean-enough" but not "too clean?" And, since I fire only FMJ ammunition for practice, do I need to use a copper remover - somewhere, sometime?
But, on the other hand, I have a brother-in-law who is a superb hunter and excellent marksman who never cleans a gun until it stops working. He has a 4" Dan Wesson with thousands of rounds through it that has never had a serious cleaning. It is still very accurate and works fine.
I don't think you can 'over-clean' one, if you are cleaning properly. You do want to avoid letting your cleaning rod drag on the crown of the muzzle, though, because it will eventually wear the crown down enough to affect accuracy. This is more of problem to be found with rifles though, and not that common with handguns.
As for a handgun shooting differently with a clean bore or fouled bore, some do 'throw' the first round, but most of them won't shoot enough differently for the average shooter to notice. This is a phenomena that is much more noticeable with a rifle, and not really much to worry about with a handgun.
Good questions and good answers - your on the right track.
Welcome to the forum from North Central Texas - I think you'll like it here.
Slow can be faster than fast. The point is to work on the basics or mechanic's of shooting. Working with a snub nose steepens the grade. Here is what I do with a 4.25" barreled 1911 Commander. I'll work on good sight picture and form to start out. Doing this develops muscle memory for the whole body including your eyes. After awhile, maybe twenty rounds or so I'll go for quicker shots of a full mag. Working on sight picture recovery. As stated above, if it hits on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper that's good. I use Midway's free downloadable pistol target. Most of the time 5 or 6 of the eight are in the black and the rest are on the page. All this is done at the same yardage you are working with. Start slow and step up the speed a bit at a time. When it starts to get out of hand slow up a bit. Take breaks between your strings of fire. Wait for the right sight picture before you pull the trigger. If you start to anticipate or flinch stop and take a break. Start again slower and work on the flinch. You want to be smooth and in control at all times of what you and your gun are doing.
Here's a link to that target. Saves a bit when you can print your own:
Thanks very much to all of you for your guidance and encouragement. Since I cannot find the design logic behind the targert I am currently using, I think I am going to stop using "man figure" targets and simply concentrate on "a dot in a paper plate" idea. These simple bullseye targets are called "Helen Kellers" at my range. I started with them and changed to the man-figure targets to try for something more "real world." But in a gunfight, I guess putting the bullets on whatever target point is all that matters.
Best regards to all,