How does one learn to shoot a handgun?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by killer, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. killer

    killer G&G Newbie

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    I own 5 hand guns. I can't hit the broadside of a barn with them. (.44 mag, 10 mm, 9mm, and .22 cals)

    No matter how much I shoot them I just don't seem to get it.

    The strange thing is I can shoot a rifle very good. I can make 5 shot half inch groups at 200 yards, and can consistently shoot a ninety plus score during a DCM/CMP, sitting, rapid fire, 200 yard target.

    It seems I have to put ten times the concentration into the pistol shot to hit the black, let alone even get close to the X-ring.

    Why can't I transfer my rifle skills over to a pistol?

    Help!!!!
  2. FutureMarine

    FutureMarine G&G Newbie

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    its a completely different game. i remember when i was first shooting handguns i sucked. i never held them firm enough. it is so much easier to have a bad trigger pull and buck a round then with a rifle. only until about a year ago i started getting closer groups at about 15 yards and actually shooting well enough to save a life. the reason you cannot transfer your skills is because IMO it is a totally different ball game
  3. jerry

    jerry G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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  4. Big Dog

    Big Dog Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

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    Best way to improve is to find someone at the range who IS a good shooter, befriend him, and have him teach you.
    I recently gave some instruction to a female corrections officer who had problems qualifying. She had received minimal and poor instruction from her supervisor. After working with her, she showed remarkable improvment. She qualified with no trouble.
    I'm not a great pistol shot either, and much prefer the rifle. But, I watched other pistol shooters, talked with them and learned much.
  5. killer

    killer G&G Newbie

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    I've approached a few good pistol shooters but their response was rather vague. You pistol shooters don't have some kind of a secret club or something do you?

    I watched the Todd Jarrett video...wow!!

    One quirk I have is I'm left handed but right eye dominate. I prefer to shoot a handgun in my left hand but a rifle vice versa.

    Should I shoot right handed?
  6. FutureMarine

    FutureMarine G&G Newbie

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    do what you are most comfortable with. try both
  7. makarovnik

    makarovnik G&G Newbie

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    It shouldn't really matter if you're right eye dominant ESPECIALLY with a handgun because you hold it out in front of you somewhere in the middle of your body. See what I mean? You should also try to learn and shoot with both eyes open if possible. Try not to think about it so much. Pretend the target is coming toward you and trying to hurt someone you love. With pracice you'll be able to hit the center mass without even aiming. Are you sure you're right eye dominant? If you're not sure aim your handgun at the bullseye with both eyes open. Then without moving anything, take turns closing one eye at a time. If your impact point moves when you close your right eye then you're right eye dominant and vice versa. Sorry if you already knew that but I'm just trying to help and assuming nothing. Good luck and keep us posted on your improvement.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  8. NorCalAshnjikov

    NorCalAshnjikov G&G Newbie

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    Learning to shoot a pistol is much like learning to shoot a rifle.
    You need good instruction and lots of practice.
    Don't be afraid to pay for it :D (personal instruction that is)

    I seriously suggest the USMC Pistol Marksmanship book.
    Its available free in electronic format.
  9. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

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    trigger control is #1 in pistol shooting. if you are not smooth with that trigger, you will not be accurate. lots of dry fire practice will speed up the process. want to see how bad your trigger control is, put a dime on top of the front sight and dry fire, if the dime doesn't move your doing good.
  10. ash

    ash G&G Regular

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    First off what make and model are your pistols. And second, what range are you shooting at.
    Answer those and we'll go from there.
  11. .22guy

    .22guy G&G Enthusiast

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    I think he's looking for advice on how to hold steady, breathing techniques and things like that. Maybe sight picture. Anyone? I'd be very interested to learn more about that stuff myself.
  12. FutureMarine

    FutureMarine G&G Newbie

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    also make sure you learn how to keep that sight picture through the trigger pull and roll with the recoil when you get in a groove. pick up some snap caps in the calibers you have and practice with them.
  13. killer

    killer G&G Newbie

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    The pistols are all semi-auto:
    .44 mag Desert Eagle (target trigger)
    10mm Colt Delta Elite (target trigger)
    9mm taurus
    .22 rimfire Ruger Mark II (bull barrel)
    .22 Beretta Model 21A (pocket pistol snake gun)
    When at the range I usually go 25 yards. When I'm by myself I bring it in to 15 yards, sometimes 10 yards. Couple of years ago I tried using the 10mm for deer (legal in Minnesota) and it was a joke. First round missed at 20 yards, second round hit low in sternum. Never found it after 3 hours of tracking, stopped bleeding.
    I went back to cabin and unloaded a clip at an actual cardboard cutout of a deer at 20 yards. I took about 2-3 seconds for each shot. I had a 24" group, (the gun does ok off a rest and I've worked up test loads for it) so I put the gun away and strictly use it for home defense now. Hope the intruder is under 5 yards the way I hit. Maybe a knife would be better or my fist.
    I've fired the .22 Ruger thousands of times, actually put a scope on it and was quite successful squirrel hunting but of course I used a tree limb for a rest.
    I'm just disgusted about the last deer I wounded. I've got a beer license for this fall and never even considered using the big pistols.
  14. .22guy

    .22guy G&G Enthusiast

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    A beer license? Where can I get that??? :)
  15. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

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    breathing and sight picture are exactly the same as rifle shooting. the key to pistol shooting is a good grip, and precise trigger control. there is nothing more to it.
  16. toolman

    toolman Resident Sasquatch Forum Contributor

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    Well heck, no wonder you're shootin' cockeyed! :p Sorry guy, I couldn't help myself! Seriously though...

    There are several factors involved in shooting a pistol and the most crirical is that there is usually anywhere from 1 to 3 lbs hanging from a 3 foot lever supported only at the opposite end by muscles that aren't normally trained for that task. Another factor that many people overlook is the actual fit of the gun. There are a lot of guns that feel O.K. in the hand, but the natural point of aim is nowhere close to right. Try weighing a full load of ammo for the gun you want to shoot. When you have that weight, substitute a similar weight in the mag or mag well of the gun.( I prefer removing the mag follower and spring and using fishing weights in the empty mag). Set up a target at your expected shooting distance and sight on it several times with the weighted pistol until you feel comfortable bringing it up to point-of-aim and it feels pretty well natural. Close your eyes and bring the gun to point, note where the sights are pointing when you open your eyes. If you find that the sights are way off in the same plane each time, you may need to modify the sights or the grips to make the gun point right. If this doesn't help, PM me or give me a call.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2006
  17. Aftermath

    Aftermath G&G Newbie

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    Would you be so kind to post the URL (web link) for the USMC Pistol Marksmanship book?

    I did a search and mostly found for a fee sites like E-Bay peddling a similar named item.

    I did find a great link to an Army pistol marksmanship PDF file though :) http://natqa.uas.se/biomek/ref/AMU_Pistol.pdf

    Hope this helps some of you as a guide or refresher.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2006
  18. hounddawg

    hounddawg G&G Newbie

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    It would be danged hard to teach someone how to shoot when you can't
    see what they do when they shoot. I have noticed a lot of little things that could affect accuracy while the shooter remains completely oblivious. The best thing to do would be to go out to the range and ask the other shooters to look at what you're doing. It may well be something simple that could make all the difference.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2006
  19. hounddawg

    hounddawg G&G Newbie

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    It would be danged hard to teach someone how to shoot when you can't
    see what they do when they shoot. I have noticed a lot of little things that could affect accuracy while the shooter remains completely oblivious. The best thing to do would be to go out to the range and ask the other shooters to look at what you're doing. It may well be something simple that could make all the difference.
  20. raymondo

    raymondo G&G Newbie

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    shooting a hand gun accurately.

    I haven't read an accurate reply to shooting a handgun accurately. there are 3 parts to shooting a pistol accurately: sight picture, breath control, and trigger control.

    sight picture: your eye should focus directly on the front sight, not the target. the top of the front sight should align with the top of the rear sight and be centered within the rear sight slot, ie. equal spaces on both sides of the front sight with respect to the rear sight. the target should be seen "ONLY" in your peripheral vision. The distance between the front and rear sights on a handgun is small and any misalignment is magnified quickly down range.

    breath control: you can't shoot straight if your panting like a race horse.

    trigger control: if you say i'm going to shoot now and then squeeze the trigger, you'll flinch. try for a "suprise break" while maintaining proper sight alignment without looking directly at the target. squeeze slowly until the gun fires.
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