Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 65

Thread: Developing handgun proficiency.

  1. #1

    Default Developing handgun proficiency.

    In several recent threads the topic of skilled use of a handgun has been mentioned. I personally have only recently gotten serious about handgun shooting and have been looking for a practice regimen to use to develop a high level of handgun skill. Specifically defensive/practical type shooting, not bullseye target shooting.

    Most of what you read simply says "practice a lot" but doesn't really go into how to practice. I am a firm believer that you can practice wrong. So I am curious how some of you skilled/experienced handgun shooters reccomend practicing. Questions like how many rounds a session, how often to practice, and at what targets at what ranges are what I am specifically interested in. I am a fair ways beyond "new shooter" but let's start there to build a decent foundation.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bakerton, WV
    Posts
    467

    Default

    A revolver is easier because you can have someone else load the gun with a few empties here and there so you can see what you are doing. You can dry fire forever but if you know the gun will go off, your brain will put you in the dumper.
    It is 100% trigger control and that control can be done very, very fast. The idea is to have the sights on target without thought to trigger break.
    Practice really does develop muscle memory if done right but it also will keep a guy doing things wrong.
    Shooting is a mental game that you need to work on and the first is too lose fear of recoil.
    Start shooting slow, paying attention to trigger break and accuracy, then start to speed up. If things get worse, slow down again.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    welfare state of Alaska
    Posts
    5,151

    Default As often as possible

    Shooting as often as possible is good rule to follow for most of us that need to go to a range to shoot. If you live where you can shoot any time common sense should prevail.

    If you are shooting large calibers don't overdo the number of rounds fired at any one session - the big guns can start to hurt after a number of rounds and that is not good.

    Unless you are shooting competition with where a large number of rounds will be fired concentrate on your first 2 or 3 rounds at each session- those will be the most important in real life. Where the first shot goes is the most vital of course. Unless you can see without it take a scope to range and always spot where you first shots go. Watch each shot and concentrate on each shot- don't fall to the "spray and play" practices I see all too often at the range.

    Range will depend on the purpose of the handgun. For a 2" pocket gun studies I've read show 7 ft. as the common range for most gun fights - usually with one round fired - hopefully yours. For hunting extend the ranges out to where you can figure out what is too far.

    I always shoot defense guns one handed - I figure if I ever need to shoot in an emergency I'll probably need to shoot as quickly as possible and two handed holds can take a bit more time especially if you have something in your left hand like a fishing pole.
    If you are shooting smaller calibers a lot of shooter practice the double tap - I usually go for the large guns and figure I'll make one shot count. I figure one shot to a vital area with a large caliber is better than two shots with a smaller one but I've never found any data to prove which is better. In any event the first shot if the most important.

    Lot of books and articles out there but also lots of debate also - use your common sense in what works for you.


    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    In several recent threads the topic of skilled use of a handgun has been mentioned. I personally have only recently gotten serious about handgun shooting and have been looking for a practice regimen to use to develop a high level of handgun skill. Specifically defensive/practical type shooting, not bullseye target shooting.

    Most of what you read simply says "practice a lot" but doesn't really go into how to practice. I am a firm believer that you can practice wrong. So I am curious how some of you skilled/experienced handgun shooters reccomend practicing. Questions like how many rounds a session, how often to practice, and at what targets at what ranges are what I am specifically interested in. I am a fair ways beyond "new shooter" but let's start there to build a decent foundation.

    What do you guys think?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    So I am curious how some of you skilled/experienced handgun shooters reccomend practicing. Questions like how many rounds a session, how often to practice, and at what targets at what ranges are what I am specifically interested in.
    I'm being specific to DA shooting, but the grips can't shift around in your hand under recoil. It just isn't going to work right if your hand is a different place each time you squeeze, or for that matter if you have to reposition your hand all the time. Round numbers, I'm most satisfied with the "finger groove" style, especially Pachmyer or similar. I've got some wood fingergrooves that are fine till my hand is a little wet, then they're all over the place. Other thing is depth front to back. You want at least the first joint of your finger on the front of the grip, but it's better if you can get past the first joint so it's riding between the two joints. Don't sacrifice any width at the backstrap to get that fit for your fingers, but don't hesitate to deepen the grooves as much as the design and revolver frame allow to reach that kind of fit.

    No pictures on hand, but I could take some if pressed on this one: You want to round the face of your trigger, or at least break the sharp edges. If you don't you'll find yourself pulling the sights to one side and having to correct all the time, or worse pull your shots.

    Don't be in a rush, but an action job on revolvers is a must. Generally the best action jobs are those that move the least metal, basically a sped up version of wear from constant use. What I like to do is dry fire a gun several thousand cycles to establish the wear pattern on the internals and start the smoothing process before I ever open it up and go to work on the parts. When you do that, you'll have a "road map" of the parts and places that need careful smoothing. You're not taking off lots of metal, rather just polishing the rough spots with a really hard, fine stone.

    For practice, it's hard to beat nightly dry fire for a half hour a session. Don't try and cycle it fast, but try to be smoooooth while you watch what's happening with the sights. Get to where you can have the sights right where you want them every time the hammer falls, and you're ready to speed up and to move on to ammo. You won't stop the nightly dry fires once you move on to ammo, but the ammo is going to help you learn how to do it with recoil.

    I'd surely start with something akin to the 38 special "midrange" wadcutter loads in terms of power and recoil, no matter what the caliber. Start doing "slow fire" double action, trying to land each and every shot as accurately as possible, no matter how slow you have to cycle the DA to do it. Once that gets easier you'll naturally be doing it faster. If you really want to push the speed, wait till you're going about as fast as you can normally with no rush. Mostly what the speed thing is about is rapid sight aquisition coming out of recoil.

    Gradually increase the power (and recoil) of your loads. But just like starting out with the light loads, each time you up the recoil start with that slooow DA shooting until it's speeding up on its own without costing you the accuracy.

    You may never get to be really "fast" with full snort loads, compared to what you can do with lower power loads. But I bet you're faster than single action while just as accurate. I push the power up till I'm just not as fast as I want to be while still accurate. Then I drop the power back down a little at a time till I'm satisfied with my shooting while still satisfied that I've got the killing power I want. I'm clear in my own skills that I can't push any bullet in any caliber but 357 much faster than about 1100 or 1150 and still shoot the way I want. So be it. I'll concentrate on heavier bullets in that range and call it good, all the while trying to keep my accuracy at the top end.

  5. #5
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Missing Palmer AK in Phonix AZ.
    Posts
    6,416

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bfrshooter View Post
    A revolver is easier because you can have someone else load the gun with a few empties here and there so you can see what you are doing. You can dry fire forever but if you know the gun will go off, your brain will put you in the dumper.
    It is 100% trigger control and that control can be done very, very fast. The idea is to have the sights on target without thought to trigger break.
    Practice really does develop muscle memory if done right but it also will keep a guy doing things wrong.
    Shooting is a mental game that you need to work on and the first is too lose fear of recoil.
    Start shooting slow, paying attention to trigger break and accuracy, then start to speed up. If things get worse, slow down again.
    All true but dry fire also helps trigger control a lot also, especially on targets that move or come and go like things on the TV. When you don’t know how long you have before your target is gone or moves it adds stress unlike a static target at the range. Another thing is to have someone observe YOU as you shoot, not the target but what you are doing. Are you flinching, jerking, blinking, pulling . . . you won’t know but an observer will see, especially when you expect a bang but get a click. Grip is also a big deal, does your grip twist or rock the gun as you pull the trigger or tighten grip, is your finger deep enough that you’re not struggling to pull and so on. Lots of rounds doesn’t mean just plinking a bunch though that doesn’t heart, it means focused shooting trying to hit a point. The more trigger time the better and it doesn’t need to all be live fire down at the range, in fact it shouldn’t be all live fire. Ever see a stunt pilot at an air show flying his course in his mind looking like a kid playing airplane? It works with handguns too, practice even without the gun at all can help, it’s a very mental thing and the gun becomes an extension of your body in time.
    Andy
    On the web= C-lazy-F.co
    Email= Andy@C-lazy-F.co
    Call/Text 602-315-2406
    Phoenix Arizona

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Gradually increase the power (and recoil) of your loads. But just like starting out with the light loads, each time you up the recoil start with that slooow DA shooting until it's speeding up on its own without costing you the accuracy.

    You may never get to be really "fast" with full snort loads, compared to what you can do with lower power loads. But I bet you're faster than single action while just as accurate. I push the power up till I'm just not as fast as I want to be while still accurate. Then I drop the power back down a little at a time till I'm satisfied with my shooting while still satisfied that I've got the killing power I want. I'm clear in my own skills that I can't push any bullet in any caliber but 357 much faster than about 1100 or 1150 and still shoot the way I want. So be it. I'll concentrate on heavier bullets in that range and call it good, all the while trying to keep my accuracy at the top end.
    Oops. Left something out: It's a good idea to bring extra ammo to each range session that's a little more powerful than you're used to shooting. Don't use it a lot, and wait till you're feeling pretty good about the stuff you're already shooting. Then it's time to run half a dozen cylinders of the more powerful stuff, just for trial. Finish off the session with more cylinders of your normal stuff.

    Pretty quick that's going to become your "normal" load and it's time to bring something a little hotter along for experiments. At some point, the more powerful stuff is likely to keep whipping your hiney, and you've learned what you need to know about power levels.

    After a long stretch without shooting (as in right now) I always start with the low power stuff and work up. I seem to get back on step with the heavy stuff a lot quicker if I start with the slower stuff to help my mind and body remember stuff it's forgotten.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    wasilla
    Posts
    787

    Default

    If you want to learn marksmanship regardless of your experience refer to the basic foundation or the Fundamental of Marksmanship to start with. There are a few differences between a revolver and semi. If you follow the basics and practice the speed and accuracies will come. That is the time when your gross motors skills will take over or muscle memory. . Remember it's not the amount of rounds that you shoot in a day but the constancies of the fundamentals.
    They go something like this:
    Stance
    • A proper stance is best achieved by using a wide, deep base.
    • Feet are just over shoulder width apart
    • Your weak side foot is moved slightly forward of your strong side foot. (2”-6”)
    • Hips and shoulders are square to target.
    • Knees are bent.
    • Head over center, weight 50/50 R and L, and 60/40 Balls of feet to heels
    Grip
    • With shooting hand form a “V” between thumb and index finger
    • Place the “V” as high as possible on the tang of the weapon
    • The shooting finger will rest along the frame, parallel to the slide.
    • The thumb will rest on the opposite side of the frame also parallel to the side
    • The remaining three fingers will wrap around the front of the grip below the trigger guard
    Sight Alignment
    • The relationship between front and rear sights.
    • The top of the front sight is level with and centered in the rear sight.
    • Equal amounts of light on both sides
    Sight Picture:
    • This is the relationship of sight alignment to the target.
    • With correct sight alignment, the top of the front sight post should bisect the center mass of the target.
    Breathing Control
    • Take a deep breath and exhale half and prepare to fire .
    Trigger Control
    • Trigger control is achieved through steadily increasing pressure on the trigger resulting in a surprise break.
    • The trigger should be placed on the crease of the first knuckle of the shooting finger
    • Maintain contact with the trigger throughout
    the firing operation
    Follow – Through
    • Follow through are the actions that occur after the shot has been fired
    • These actions should last for approximately 2 seconds
    o Shooter will reacquire sight alignment
    o Sight picture on the target
    o Shooting finger will remain on trigger, SLOWLY let the
    trigger travel forward until you feel the sear engage be able to ‘call your shot and shoot again if necessary

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  8. #8
    Member .338-06's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,045

    Default

    All the above is great advice. I'd like to add practice shooting with your off hand, i.e. if you shoot right handed don't forget to practice with your left. This was lacking from my shooting until recently and it shows.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

  9. #9

    Default triggers

    Thought I should go ahead and take a couple of photos to show a trigger modified for DA shooting. Still works great for SA, but beats the heck out of stock for DA.

    Top is the stock trigger on my tricked out 8 3/8" 629. Those square edges really drag on your finger and move the gun in DA shooting.

    Bottom is the trigger on the 4" 629 I used for half a decade of pin shooting, and now it's my standard carry gun. Work was done with Dremel bits followed by emery paper to polish. Kind of embarrassing, but looking at it through the camera I could see all that pocket lint built up below the frame. Guess it's time for a serious strip and clean once again!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kodiak, AK
    Posts
    640

    Default

    All good points already stated and there is no substitute for live firing. For Defensive/Practical shooting, try to get away from 'bullseye' work and 'long range' work.
    Have your target at about 10' then gradually move out (as you improve) to 21'.
    One of the best 'defensive' targets is an 18' pizza base (the type with 8 segments and circle in the middle).
    Write numbers in each segment.
    Call a number in your head (or get a buddy to do), focus on the TARGET, bring gun up into sightline and fire at the segment with the number, without using the sights at very close range.
    Repeat and gradually move target at greater distance, as distance increases you then need to bring your sights into play and take longer getting on target.
    The benefit of this drill is to get your focus on the target - imperative in defensive shooting. And the drill also takes some of your thought away from what the gun is going to do; you actually end up ingnoring recoil and trigger break, because your focus is on the target.

    One handed and weak-hand shooting. Do not overly train on these. 5-10% of your training time maximum. When you are in a defensive situation, there is nothing more important than getting rounds on target and then maintaining control of the firearm (retaining the firearm). Your 2 hands should be on that gun, only if one hand is saving your head or been amputated should you try a one handed shot. You may not achieve perfect iscosoles, but 2 hands are better than one. Most LEO shootings are appauling in terms of rounds on target and even more scary that most LEOs killed by shooting are killed with there own gun; because 100% of their focus IS NOT on the firing of (and retention of) the firearm, but on radioing in etc. Ensure you are very proficient with two handed grip and shooting before train with one or weak. Also if you overtrain one handed, muscle memory may take over and you may automatically start shooting one-handed when you could easily achieve a 2 handed grip.
    Best advice though is just escape away from bullseye type targets - combat accuracy for defensive shooting, quick shots (as quick as you can depending on range, it's a balance) that hit a 8" circle do the job nicely.

    All the above is not in isolation from, but in addition to the other stuff stated; basic fundementals, start with small caliber or light loads and build yourself up etc.

    Also, although competition is good, do not read too much into 'Plate Matches', IPSC etc. Good fun and good practice, but some of the scenarios and drills can lead people into a false idea of real world (non-military/LEO) defensive situatuions.

    And don't get dis-heartened, I have been shooting handguns for nearly 30 years, but only the last year with revolvers. I am extremely proficient with semi, but still after shooting wheel guns at least weekly for the past year, I still do not consider myself profient enough to carry a revolver or use one for hunting.

  11. #11
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,389

    Default

    Great thread guys. I stand to learn a lot here. I've only been shooting handguns seriously for a few years myself. Great stuff already, some I know and have been working on and more to learn. Question.. what do you pistoleros think of the Pistol Wheel?


  12. #12
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,389

    Default

    I'm gonna make this thread a sticky. Keep the pointers coming guys and lets keep this thread on topic.

  13. #13
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Wrangell
    Posts
    7,559

    Default

    One thing folks do is over shoot.i believe that after you have shot your best group of the day if the group starts to open quit.You may not feel tired but your body as a whole has probably shot enough. A new handgunner putting a 100 rounds down raange in a hour or two has not helped himself in most cases.JMHO
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kodiak, AK
    Posts
    640

    Default

    Aha , that's why I couldn't find it!

    As for the wheel, it is actually very accurate and I use it a lot when teaching. Remember though, the wheel is set up for a a right handed shooter, southforks apply mirror image.

    Howsabaout we do this on this thread......absolutely no mention of four legged brown hairy beasts, ballistics or this gun vs that gun. Tips techiques and drills stuff only.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kodiak, AK
    Posts
    640

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    One thing folks do is over shoot.i believe that after you have shot your best group of the day if the group starts to open quit.You may not feel tired but your body as a whole has probably shot enough. A new handgunner putting a 100 rounds down raange in a hour or two has not helped himself in most cases.JMHO
    How true, only last night a guy asked why he was starting to drop shots..."how much have you fired", "just started my 3rd box [of 40SW in about half an hour!!]. I suggested he take a break for a day!

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    wasilla
    Posts
    787

    Default

    Sid
    The shooting wheel is a great tool to fall back on and identify problems. Once one has identified shot placement you still need to know how to fix the problem.
    I have not seen the wheel in a while but it did remind me of regular problems we see on the range and it makes for a quick reference.

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  17. #17
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,389

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nbh40 View Post
    ...Howsabaout we do this on this thread......absolutely no mention of four legged brown hairy beasts, ballistics or this gun vs that gun. Tips techiques and drills stuff only.
    Yes, I'll just kill any posts like that anyways. Let's keep this about shooting techniques, etc.

  18. #18

    Default

    Thanks to all for your responses. I am glad I brought the topic up, because it seems a lot of people are interested. Now if only there were some pointers about coming up with a couple thousand extra dollars for practice ammo! I honestly don't know how some of you guys afford to shoot as much as you apparently do.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Other thing is depth front to back. You want at least the first joint of your finger on the front of the grip, but it's better if you can get past the first joint so it's riding between the two joints. Don't sacrifice any width at the backstrap to get that fit for your fingers, but don't hesitate to deepen the grooves as much as the design and revolver frame allow to reach that kind of fit.
    When you say "the first joint of your finger" do you mean the first joint from your palm or first from the fingertip?

  20. #20
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,389

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    Thanks to all for your responses. I am glad I brought the topic up, because it seems a lot of people are interested. Now if only there were some pointers about coming up with a couple thousand extra dollars for practice ammo! I honestly don't know how some of you guys afford to shoot as much as you apparently do.
    3-500 bucks will get you setup for reloading and casting for a caliber or 2 depending on how you do it and what you buy.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •