First Time Shooting - Grouping Help

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    1. #1
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      First Time Shooting - Grouping Help

      Went to the range and shot for the first time yesterday. It was great! My friend and I tried out:

      Glock 17/19
      Springfield XD
      Sig Sauer
      1911
      Ruger
      Smith & Wesson M&P9

      All 9mm.

      Out of the bunch, I liked the S&W the most and I shot the most consistently with it.

      Here are some photos of my last few targets of the day to show my grouping. Any advice on how to improve my shooting based on my grouping? I think I may not have my trigger finger placed correctly or I may be squeezing back at an angle making the muzzle turn to the left a bit.

      S&W M&P9 at 50 feet, 8 inch targets:

      EDIT: Maybe not 50 feet, more like 42-45 feet.




    2. #2
      Member RightTurnClyde's Avatar
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      Yow! If that was really your first time ever shooting and it was really at 50 feet (quite a distance for a handgun), I'd say you did an amazing job.

      Shooting a handgun accurately is an easy thing to describe, but difficult for most to actually execute without a lot of practice. It's all about keeping your sites on target while pressing that trigger back in a smooth, gradual fashion so that when the trigger finally breaks and fires the round, it is a surprise to you. That's the only way to not influence your shot by jerking or flinching. If you are thinking, "Ok... fire... now!" then you have a bad habit. There are many more details to add to a proper trigger pull, but I feel this is the most important.

      Again, you are off to a great start if the distance you described was accurate. So just practice, practice, practice. Also, if you don't have a gun of your own at home, try some dry firing at the range before you actually load a magazine. Ideally, your front site should not move when the trigger breaks.

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
      Yow! If that was really your first time ever shooting and it was really at 50 feet (quite a distance for a handgun), I'd say you did an amazing job.

      Shooting a handgun accurately is an easy thing to describe, but difficult for most to actually execute without a lot of practice. It's all about keeping your sites on target while pressing that trigger back in a smooth, gradual fashion so that when the trigger finally breaks and fires the round, it is a surprise to you. That's the only way to not influence your shot by jerking or flinching. If you are thinking, "Ok... fire... now!" then you have a bad habit. There are many more details to add to a proper trigger pull, but I feel this is the most important.

      Again, you are off to a great start if the distance you described was accurate. So just practice, practice, practice. Also, if you don't have a gun of your own at home, try some dry firing at the range before you actually load a magazine. Ideally, your front site should not move when the trigger breaks.
      lol, no I just stuck a pencil in the targets to make the holes!

      I'm not sure of the EXACT distance since the markings on the floor are in yards and the target was around the 14 yard point, so I guess I rounded up a bit too high. More like 42-45 feet. In any event, yeah that was my first time shooting handguns and I had a lot of fun!

      I talked to the guys who run the range and they gave me some advice and such, which I tried to listen to. There are other activities that I do which have a lot in common (both mentally and physically) with shooting, so what they were telling me didn't hit too far from home and seemed pretty straight-forward.

      When I first started the day off, I didn't really think, I just pointed and shot with ok results. Then I started to try and think about what I was actually doing, which made my grouping worse. By the end of the day (once I got used to actually holding a gun and shooting it), I just pointed and shot again with better results. I think I went through about 250 rounds in total. Cost me a good amount of $$$, but it was worth it.

      I think my biggest problem is that I'm squeezing the trigger back at an angle, causing my shots to land to the left. I don't own a gun, so I can't really practice that often. I'll try and get to the range at LEAST once a month, until I actually buy one.

    4. #4
      Member RightTurnClyde's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by FourT6and2 View Post
      I'm not sure of the EXACT distance since the markings on the floor are in yards and the target was around the 14 yard point, so I guess I rounded up a bit too high. More like 42-45 feet. In any event, yeah that was my first time shooting handguns and I had a lot of fun!

      I talked to the guys who run the range and they gave me some advice and such, which I tried to listen to. There are other activities that I do which have a lot in common (both mentally and physically) with shooting, so what they were telling me didn't hit too far from home and seemed pretty straight-forward.

      When I first started the day off, I didn't really think, I just pointed and shot with ok results. Then I started to try and think about what I was actually doing, which made my grouping worse. By the end of the day (once I got used to actually holding a gun and shooting it), I just pointed and shot again with better results. I think I went through about 250 rounds in total. Cost me a good amount of $$$, but it was worth it.

      I think my biggest problem is that I'm squeezing the trigger back at an angle, causing my shots to land to the left. I don't own a gun, so I can't really practice that often. I'll try and get to the range at LEAST once a month, until I actually buy one.
      Fair enough. Personally, I'd dial it back to 7 or even 5 yards until you can get most of your shots in a tight grouping. Depends on what your goals are I suppose. Your trigger being pulled at a angle is a possibility. Most schools of thought say that ideally you want to press it straight back with the pad of your trigger finger. Try some dry-firing next time. It can be a good tool to see if you are flinching or jerking the gun when you pull the trigger. Plus, every shot is free! Stay safe.

    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
      Fair enough. Personally, I'd dial it back to 7 or even 5 yards until you can get most of your shots in a tight grouping. Depends on what your goals are I suppose. Your trigger being pulled at a angle is a possibility. Most schools of thought say that ideally you want to press it straight back with the pad of your trigger finger. Try some dry-firing next time. It can be a good tool to see if you are flinching or jerking the gun when you pull the trigger. Plus, every shot is free! Stay safe.
      Thanks for the advice!

      On a side note, the same thing happens when you hold a punching bag for someone. After a few punches, if the person throwing them stops mid-punch, you'll find that you suddenly lean forward in anticipation of their strike. That happened a few time to me at the range. I would stop myself just before firing and found that I had that same feeling of anticipation. So, dry-firing should help.


    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
      ......... Most schools of thought say that ideally you want to press it straight back with the pad of your trigger finger. ........
      I agree with this rule in general, but i found out that it all depends on the hand size, handgun size and proportionality ratio between finger length to palm size and location oof trigger.

      For example, i shoot all my DA/SA guns with the pad of my index finger and it is dead on target..However, when I bought a Glock 17 and started shooting it at first, i got my shots placed at the left, exactly in the same pattern that FourT6and2 is getting..Then I tried firing the Glock trigger with the first bone joint of my index finger, and all of the sudden I am dead on target..Out of all my guns, I had to shoot the Glock 17 with the knucle joint and it worked out great for me.

      I tried this with my DA/SA and it screwed up my pattern..So I cam to a conclusin to shoor all my DA/SA with the pad of my finger and to shoot my Glock 17 with the knuckle joint of my finger..It seems to work with the harder pull Glock trigger and the litle bit forward position of the trigger as well. Just my 2 cents observation..next time FourT6and2, try to shoort with your knuckle joint on the M&P or the Glock, see if this makes a difference, may be your hand size is the same as mine..

      Also try shooting the CZ 75, you will fall in love with that forgiving gun..it is easy to shoot, you will get an excellent pattern.

    7. #7
      Junior Member Two 10's's Avatar
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      Looks like there in the kill zone if they were in my living room.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by jimmy View Post
      I agree with this rule in general, but i found out that it all depends on the hand size, handgun size and proportionality ratio between finger length to palm size and location oof trigger.

      For example, i shoot all my DA/SA guns with the pad of my index finger and it is dead on target..However, when I bought a Glock 17 and started shooting it at first, i got my shots placed at the left, exactly in the same pattern that FourT6and2 is getting..Then I tried firing the Glock trigger with the first bone joint of my index finger, and all of the sudden I am dead on target..Out of all my guns, I had to shoot the Glock 17 with the knucle joint and it worked out great for me.

      I tried this with my DA/SA and it screwed up my pattern..So I cam to a conclusin to shoor all my DA/SA with the pad of my finger and to shoot my Glock 17 with the knuckle joint of my finger..It seems to work with the harder pull Glock trigger and the litle bit forward position of the trigger as well. Just my 2 cents observation..next time FourT6and2, try to shoort with your knuckle joint on the M&P or the Glock, see if this makes a difference, may be your hand size is the same as mine..

      Also try shooting the CZ 75, you will fall in love with that forgiving gun..it is easy to shoot, you will get an excellent pattern.
      Funny you should say this. Since I had never shot before I listened to the Range Officer, who told me to use the pad of my finger and not my knuckle joint. For me, it's way more comfortable to use the joint, but I figured I don't know what I'm doing so I'll try it the way he told me.

      I did find that I shot way more to the left with with the DA/SA guns, compared to the Glock, Springfield, and S&W.

      I'll get back out there and experiment some more. Thanks for the info!

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