Newbie with Handguns, can't hit the broadside of a barn

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    1. #1
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      Newbie with Handguns, can't hit the broadside of a barn

      As the title suggests, I recently purchased my first handgun, a Springfield xd 40. I have put 150 rounds through it at the range with horrible results. My first 50 rounds found the paper only 20 times. Not the target, mind you, just the paper. I went back to the range the next day and shot 100 rounds with ever worse results, only having 30 rounds hit paper. It's hard to get an idea of a spread when only 30% of the time you see where your shot went. Having said that, however, I did start to change my point of aim from the center of the target to get an idea of where I was off. I noticed that when I would aim at the top/right of the target, I would, more often than not, hit low/left on an 18" sq. paper. I am an experienced shooter with rifles and shotguns, and am quite accurate, having been an avid hunter for nearly 20 years, but I've never shot a handgun before this weekend. I would love to blame the sights, but my father-in-law was with me the first day and was able to shoot on target without problem. I have watched several videos on proper stance, grip, etc. and am fairly confident that those are not issues (however trigger pull may be, it's the only thing I can come up with). Next time I go, probably this weekend, I will buy a larger target, like a human silhouette, so that I can get a better idea of my spread pattern, but I would love some tips that I can take with me to the range.

    2. #2
      Junior Member USVI's Avatar
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      This might help.
      To get value from the target, you must:

      1. Shoot one handed
      2. Use the appropriate target (right or left handed)
      3. Shoot slowly
      4. Have a perfect sight picture for every shot

      You can go to the site and download this and other targets.
      http://pistol-training.com/archives/292


    3. #3
      Junior Member jasmine2501's Avatar
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      What range are you shooting? Start with like 5 yards if you can...

    4. #4
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      I'm shooting from 50 feet. My local range has a 25 ft. section closed for maintenance, so 50 ft is the closest I have. I'm sure there are other ranges I can go to, but this one is less than 10 minutes from my house.

    5. #5
      Member acepilot's Avatar
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      Get a bigger barn. I don't have an indoor range anywhere close by, so this is easier for me...

      At our gun club range, I put up an opened newspaper sheet up on the 25 yard range (our shortest range) so I could see where I was hitting. I draw a 6 inch by 6 inch black square in the center with a marker

    6. #6
      Senior Member chessail77's Avatar
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      If you have a friend who is a good shot, have him or her try the pistol to double check the sights.

    7. #7
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      Your sights are OK.
      Pistols are hard to shoot.
      Pistols with difficult triggers are the hardest for rifle-shooters to shoot.

      You have a trigger-control problem.
      You need to do some dry-fire practice, to acclimatize your finger to the pistol's difficult trigger.
      When you can dry-fire the pistol without seeing the sights move during your trigger press, you will be ready for live fire.

      You are also "milking" your pistol's grip. This means that you are squeezing with all of your fingers, rather than pressing with only your trigger finger.
      This is a typical beginning-pistol-shooter problem.
      You need to learn to "isolate" your trigger finger. That is, you need to learn not to squeeze with your other fingers, during your trigger press.

    8. #8
      Junior Member Popeye7751's Avatar
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      This is a good drill I use at home. Put a Snap Cap in the pistol. I leave the magazine out. Put a penny flat on top of the gun behind the front sight. Pick a target and dry fire with the snap cap in until the penny stays put (doesn't fall off) on the top of the gun. Then try it with the penny on top of the front sight. Got that from somebody on this forum I think. Should help you with trigger control. I did this first on Single Action. Doing it now on double action

    9. #9
      Junior Member Jonny_Cannon's Avatar
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      That target pic is an excellent idea; thank-you.

      Cannon

    10. #10
      plp
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      Do the same procedure you do when sighting in a scope, start off close, figure out where you are hitting relative to where you are aiming, and adjust accordingly. Both the wife and I use the diagnostic targets shown above, first at 8 yards, then at 15 yards, then at 25 yards. Yes, I know it is wrong to expect the average shooter with the average handgun to be consistent at 25 yards, but it exaggerates the bad habits and has helped improve both our accuracies closer in.

      I figured out yesterday why I couldn't hit anything with a Colt Python .357, was lining up the front blade all wrong. When I lined up the base of the blade with the top of the rear sight instead of the top of the blade, both the low and the left thing went away. I have to do the same thing with my wife's .22, as we have the sights dialed in for her eye but I have to aim about 3" left at 25 yards to hit in the black.

    11. #11
      Senior Member hideit's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      Your sights are OK.
      Pistols are hard to shoot.
      Pistols with difficult triggers are the hardest for rifle-shooters to shoot.

      You have a trigger-control problem.
      You need to do some dry-fire practice, to acclimatize your finger to the pistol's difficult trigger.
      When you can dry-fire the pistol without seeing the sights move during your trigger press, you will be ready for live fire.

      You are also "milking" your pistol's grip. This means that you are squeezing with all of your fingers, rather than pressing with only your trigger finger.
      This is a typical beginning-pistol-shooter problem.
      You need to learn to "isolate" your trigger finger. That is, you need to learn not to squeeze with your other fingers, during your trigger press.
      DITTO - thats what i was about to type
      paractice a lot
      the .40 as a first gun was gutsy - more recoil than 45 1911 or beretta 92fs

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