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  1. #1
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    Question Frustrated. What am I doing wrong?

    Here are a couple targets from my trip to the range today. I'm shooting my brand spanking new Smith M&P 9. The first picture is literally shots 60-70 and the second is shots 80-90. Keep in mind this is only my second session shooting this gun and about my 6th trip to the range shooting any pistol. I'm confused because my shots are consistently landing low and to the right, but yet my groupings seem decent. These targets are 6 inches in diameter, I'm a lefty, and I was shooting at 7 yards (21 feet).

    I think I might be unconciously flinching. Am I jerking the trigger at the last moment? I dry fired several times before I started shooting to try and keep my sight picture and squeeeeeze. Any help is appreciated.






  2. #2
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    Shoot 10 from the bench, at 20ft, off a jacket, or sandbag.

    Take the human element out. You may be fine. It may just be the sights!

    Jeff

  3. #3
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
    TOF is offline Senior Member
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    The typical error for a new shooter is:

    Right handed = Low Left
    Left Handed = Low Right.

    You have probably not yet learned proper trigger manipulation. It may take some time but time and practice will fix the problem.

    Take the pistol home and Unload it

    Remove the magazine then check the chamber to be certain it is unloaded.
    Check again to be certain.

    If your pistol has the magazine safety you must have a magazine BUT NO BULLETS in the pistol to enable dry firing.

    If you do not have the magazine safety leave the magazine out in following steps.

    Empty the magazine.

    Take all amunition and spare magazines to a different room.
    Return to a comfortable spot such as your recliner in front of a TV.

    Lock the slide back and feel in the chamber to make certain it is empty.
    Check the magazine to make certain a bullet didn't jump back in there.

    If you have some snap caps place 1 or more in the magazine.

    Insert magazine in pistol.

    Look in eject port and make certain there is no brass visible.

    Release slide to load snap cap in chamber. If no snap caps no problem, the M&P is tough.

    Aim at a spot that can stop a bullet without injuring anybody then pull the trigger.

    If it did not go boom you have passed the first test.

    The M&P can be cocked by pulling the slide back a small amount. It is not necessary to go fully to the rear which would eject a snap cap and, if you failed test 2, load a fresh round.

    On the premise the pistol can no longer go boom you should practice aiming at a spot and pulling the trigger then re cocking and do it again over and over.

    The objective is to learn how to pull the trigger without causing the point of aim to shift when the striker moves. That is referred to as GOOD trigger control.

    You should probably try the different grip inserts to determine which one works best for you while going through this process.

    Try picking a grip size that causes your trigger finger to naturally fall on the trigger at the middle of the end pad, not at the crease.

    Do this a bunch and you have to get better.

    In the meantime your groups are good so don't worry yet about absolute point of aim.

    If you know someone with lots of experience you could have them shoot your pistol from a sandbag rest to verify absolute point of aim.

    I believe you had new sights installed and if they were not checked by firing they could be off a bit. Left right adjustment is not much of a problem but verticle is. If you have the original sights, compare them to the new ones and determine if the height of old and new match. If they don't let us know what the dimensions are and we will suggest a next move.

    So now get busy practicing that trigger pull.

    Enjoy


  4. #4
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    TOF is spot on. Your groups are showing the classic error with trigger control, especially on guns with "two stage" triggers like the M&P, Glock, XD, etc.

    I will also add that when shooting, pay attention to resetting the trigger properly. Don't let it fly all the way forward after a shot. Rather, ease it forward slowly until you hear/feel the "click" of the mechanism re-engaging. Then start your next trigger press.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  5. #5
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    That's normal for new shooters. You're just pressing the trigger a little too hard. Try to press the trigger right up to the point where you think the gun is about to fire, and then stop. See how close you can get the gun to firing without actually firing. If the gun actually fires, say "S__t" and try again. Magically, all your "S__t" shots will be grouped tightly in the center of the target.

    Your gun requires X pounds of pressure to fire. You are applying X+2 pounds of pressure. Apply X+.01 pounds of pressure, and you will be pleased with the results.

    Two time-tested methods of learning to press lightly:
    - Coin on the front sight. Practice dry-firing ("unloaded" gun pointed at something bullet-proof and cheap to replace -- not your TV, not your dog, not your children's bedroom wall -- in case it is not as unloaded as you thought) with a coin balanced on the front sight. When the gun goes click, the coin should not fall off.
    - Ball and dummy. Load some magazines randomly with live ammunition and plastic dummy rounds.
    http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con..._Training_Ammo
    At the range, practice as normal, and see if, when the firing pin hits a dummy cartridge, the gun jerks hard low and right. It will take only two or three of those before you get the hang of it. From then on, when the gun goes "click," it will remain motionless. That's the perfect trigger pull.

  6. #6
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    Thanks!

    Great. Thanks for the detailed response and the sense of humor TOF.

    Yeah, I figure it is me being a new shooter and not having good trigger control yet. I've had no modifications done, I don't even have true possession of the gun yet. I can finally take it home with me this Wednesday evening. So I have the original sights. Do you know if S&W dials in the sights at the factory with a few function fires like some other manufacturers do?

    Maybe I'll try going back to the medium grip. I switched to the small just because it felt more comfortable and I have smallish, skinny hands. But I noticed that it did put my trigger finger on the trigger at the crease rather than the pad.

    But as soon as I have custody, I plan on following your advice and dry-firing as much as I can.

  7. #7
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    All S&W does at the factory is check to make sure the gun will fire. One or rounds and that's it. Sights are set in a jig. TOF and Mike told you some good info there. You'll be OK and good luck.

  8. #8
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    S&W, according to a tour of the factory shown on the Outdoor channel, fires two full magazines for function testing, a proof test load and I believe additional accuracy tests for each and every M&P. If I haven't mixed you up with someone else, you had Night Sights installed which would cancel out any S&W accuracy testing. That is the only reason I mentioned a possibility of the sights being off a bit. I expect you don't yet have full control of the trigger. Only time will tell. My M&P9 and 40 hit approx. 1' above and slightly (1/2") off center from point of aim at 15 yards as delivered. I expect yours was shipped in similar condition.

    I define point of aim as that position immediately above the front sight with top of front and rear sights held on a single plane and front centered within rear from left to right. I state this in case being a new shooter you have a different understanding of sight picture. I prefer to hit 1 inch high so the target is not hidden by the sight.

    Bottom line is you will just have to play with it for a while and then everything will begin to click. I can tell you are hooked so just start having fun. PM me in the future if you wish. I prefer however to post in the open so others have tha opportunity to correct any bad advise I might give.


  9. #9
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Rightturn, I did have you mixed up with tbay. Please disregard my comments regarding sight changes etc.


  10. #10
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    Question Thanks again! And an unrelated question...

    Thanks for all the great tips everyone. This forum has really been helpful for all my newbie questions. And yes, TOF, I'm definitely hooked.
    Now I just need to convince my wife (the boss) to allow me a bigger budget for ammo and range fees.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know of a good deal online to buy paper targets? Does it save a lot of money to get those stickers to cover up previous holes so you can use the same target several times?

  11. #11
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
    Thanks for all the great tips everyone. This forum has really been helpful for all my newbie questions. And yes, TOF, I'm definitely hooked.
    Now I just need to convince my wife (the boss) to allow me a bigger budget for ammo and range fees.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know of a good deal online to buy paper targets? Does it save a lot of money to get those stickers to cover up previous holes so you can use the same target several times?
    What type target are you refering to?

    I print bullseye targets with my computer. It doesn't come much cheaper than that. I believe you can probably download targets from Lee and Winchester plus various other places.

    I also purchase IPSC cardboard upper body type targets from MGM http://www.mgmtargets.com/. The last price was $40 + $20 UPS fee per hundred. They are heavy and that was, I believe 2nd day delivery. We use masking tape to plug holes in them.

    Some ranges in Arizona will not allow man size silhouettes. They also may require you to purchase targets from them.

    We do most of our shooting in the National Forest so that isn't a problem.

    Have fun


  12. #12
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    Google "Free Targets," and you'll find a ton of downloadable PDF files.

  13. #13
    PanaDP's Avatar
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    There's some great advice above that I wamnted to thank you guys for. I'm having the same trigger control issue to overcome (except I'm a righty) and I'm going to get right on some of those exercises.

  14. #14
    spacedoggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOF View Post
    The typical error for a new shooter is:

    Right handed = Low Left
    Left Handed = Low Right.

    You have probably not yet learned proper trigger manipulation. It may take some time but time and practice will fix the problem.

    Take the pistol home and Unload it

    Remove the magazine then check the chamber to be certain it is unloaded.
    Check again to be certain.

    If your pistol has the magazine safety you must have a magazine BUT NO BULLETS in the pistol to enable dry firing.

    If you do not have the magazine safety leave the magazine out in following steps.

    Empty the magazine.

    Take all amunition and spare magazines to a different room.
    Return to a comfortable spot such as your recliner in front of a TV.

    Lock the slide back and feel in the chamber to make certain it is empty.
    Check the magazine to make certain a bullet didn't jump back in there.

    If you have some snap caps place 1 or more in the magazine.

    Insert magazine in pistol.

    Look in eject port and make certain there is no brass visible.

    Release slide to load snap cap in chamber. If no snap caps no problem, the M&P is tough.

    Aim at a spot that can stop a bullet without injuring anybody then pull the trigger.

    If it did not go boom you have passed the first test.

    The M&P can be cocked by pulling the slide back a small amount. It is not necessary to go fully to the rear which would eject a snap cap and, if you failed test 2, load a fresh round.

    On the premise the pistol can no longer go boom you should practice aiming at a spot and pulling the trigger then re cocking and do it again over and over.

    The objective is to learn how to pull the trigger without causing the point of aim to shift when the striker moves. That is referred to as GOOD trigger control.

    You should probably try the different grip inserts to determine which one works best for you while going through this process.

    Try picking a grip size that causes your trigger finger to naturally fall on the trigger at the middle of the end pad, not at the crease.

    Do this a bunch and you have to get better.

    In the meantime your groups are good so don't worry yet about absolute point of aim.

    If you know someone with lots of experience you could have them shoot your pistol from a sandbag rest to verify absolute point of aim.

    I believe you had new sights installed and if they were not checked by firing they could be off a bit. Left right adjustment is not much of a problem but verticle is. If you have the original sights, compare them to the new ones and determine if the height of old and new match. If they don't let us know what the dimensions are and we will suggest a next move.

    So now get busy practicing that trigger pull.

    Enjoy

    I was taught to be 6" from a wall and keep firing at the same spot. It will tell you how much of a grip you will need and teach you trigger control. I do this with every new gun I buy and my carry gun. It's the same thing TOF is telling you to do. When you have a pistol with a decocker it helps you with that first shot in DA. In fact I got better shooting my Walther in DA than in single action when I started shooting it. I was practicing to much with the first shot DA. I wish there was an easier way to have it go to SA but I use my finger to pull the hammer back on pistols that use them. Can't with the mp or walther. I do find this to be one of the best training at home things to do. The first time I did this I was shocked at how much it helped.

  15. #15
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    There's some great advice above that I wamnted to thank you guys for. I'm having the same trigger control issue to overcome (except I'm a righty) and I'm going to get right on some of those exercises.
    Hey PanaDP,

    You never did tell us what you bought or if so I missed it. Fill us in on your new toy/tool. I am pleased if we have helped a bit. That is what these Forum's are all about in my eyes. We can shoot the sh!! and play silly games from time to time but bottom line we need to help as many newbies as we can before us old guy's all croak. It's up to you and the other new guy's to keep the 2nd amendment and this country alive when we are all gone.

    Enjoy

  16. #16
    PanaDP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOF View Post
    Hey PanaDP,

    You never did tell us what you bought or if so I missed it. Fill us in on your new toy/tool. I am pleased if we have helped a bit. That is what these Forum's are all about in my eyes. We can shoot the sh!! and play silly games from time to time but bottom line we need to help as many newbies as we can before us old guy's all croak. It's up to you and the other new guy's to keep the 2nd amendment and this country alive when we are all gone.

    Enjoy
    I haven't bought anything since I've been reading this forum. I've been shooting a blued S&W PPK that I bought in july. I think I'm getting an XD service in 9mm soon, though. On the other hand, I'm drooling a bit over a used ruger security six in .357 I saw in a store yesterday.

  17. #17
    Liko81 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
    Thanks for all the great tips everyone. This forum has really been helpful for all my newbie questions. And yes, TOF, I'm definitely hooked.
    Now I just need to convince my wife (the boss) to allow me a bigger budget for ammo and range fees.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know of a good deal online to buy paper targets? Does it save a lot of money to get those stickers to cover up previous holes so you can use the same target several times?
    Depends on the target and the range. There's a place called the Bullet Trap in Plano TX (northern suburb of Dallas) that gives you one sheet (2 12" targets per sheet) free with range fees, and that same sheet is available four for a dollar. It's certainly nothing fancy, but great for simple plinking. Other targets, like silhouettes, hostage/assailant, double-tap (5 3" targets on one sheet, 2 fast rounds per target at 5 yards) etc. are $1.50 each. For that price it really doesn't seem worth it to tape up a target to use again, though I have seen people use double-tap targets for ordinary plinking (at 10 yards if they all hit inside the target you're doing well), and there was one guy who bought a single silhouette target and shredded it; 200 rounds easily.

    For "outlaw" (middle of nowhere with a friend and some firearms), you can just print them out on 8.5x11 sheet. Try This Link to find an absolute pantload of pistol, rifle, sighting, etc targets. Even the 100-yard rifle targets are perfectly fine to use at 10 yards with a handgun, as long as your range allows outside targets.

  18. #18
    BrokenArrow's Avatar
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    Yer close enuff fer gummint work; just aim at their right nipple and you will be COM.

    Just kidding.

    Lottsa good advice above. Could be squeezing the grip inconsistently w either/both hands while pulling the trigger, or flinching, or both. Might be worth some paid time w a pro if you can't work it out on your own.

  19. #19
    wboggs Guest
    Right Turn, these should help; I dont know if you're right or left handed but here they both are:

    Right Handed



    Left Handed



    You can download these so you can print them out; just right click the one you want and save it to your disk.

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