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Old April 21, 2012, 10:05 PM   #1
MarkL_01
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Question for bullseye shooters

I'd like some advice about a shooting problem. I've recently started shooting pistols casually after 20-odd years of not shooting. I tend to shoot to the left. No problem with elevation. This is a consistent problem across different guns, so I'm fairly sure it's something I'm doing wrong, rather than an equipment issue.

I did have some problem with it even when I shot a lot, but it seems worse now.

It didn't keep me from shooting small groups back when I could see better, but the rear sights on all of my guns were adjusted about halfway between center and far right.

I know the issues that cause low-and-left or high-and-right misses, but can't remember what would cause left error. The magnitude of the error is, on a 25-yard bullseye, I'll hit the left side of the bull or slightly outside.

Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

-Mark
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Old April 21, 2012, 10:32 PM   #2
Casimer
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Pulling left for a right handed shooter is associated w/ placing the trigger finger too close to the tip - according to the classic AMU diagnostic target.

http://www.m1911.org/technic30.htm


But that's very general advice, and not the sole cause of pulling left.
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Old April 22, 2012, 05:33 AM   #3
darkgael
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diagnosis

That target is a very helpful item to keep nearby. I have copies for both right-handed and left-handed shooters posted in each shooting point at a range that I administer.
A complication is that some variations of that visual aide will say "too much or too little trigger finger" as a cause of shooting left. Which it is depends on the size of the shooter's hand, length of fingers, size of the grip, etc. Sorry to complicate this but there is a lot going on in the hand when the trigger is squeezed.
The target does give you a place to focus, though.
Also...have you established your natural point of aim (NPoA) when shooting?
I was shooting consistently left at a match when I'd just started with the Free Pistol. A helpful coach, standing behind me, told me to move my feet. Voila..the shots moved to the center.
Is the gun placed securely into the web of the hand so that it aligns with the bones of the forearm?
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Old April 22, 2012, 01:41 PM   #4
MarkL_01
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Thanks!

Many thanks.
That's just the diagram I had in mind, but couldn't seem to find it.
-Mark
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Old April 23, 2012, 02:18 PM   #5
Clifford L. Hughes
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Markl 01:

Your problem, most likely, can be resolved by serious snapping in (dry fire). Here is the method that I used when I shot on several Marine Corps pistol teams. Remember, our endeavor is for you to take control of your pistol. I stood about ten feet from a blank white wall. I used the back of a kitchen chair to simulate a firing line. I practiced with different hand griping and trigger finger placement. The human eye can only focus on one point at a time. Some shooters focus their eyes on the front sight and some focus them on the rear sight. Then I take a firm grip on the pistol focusing my eyes on the front sight and raise the the pistol to eye level. You can see if you don't release the trigger without the sights moving out of alignment. If they move most likely you are forcing the shot which is not conducive to good accuracy. Experiment by gripping the pistol and the trigger finger placement until you get the trigger releasing without distrubing the sights.

The pretty picture book diagram of the target, the front sight, and the rear sight lined up perfectly clear doesn't happen If you are shooting with sight alignment the target will blurr.

Semper Fi.

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Old April 23, 2012, 02:20 PM   #6
arcticap
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Adjusting the stance is a really good suggestion. But that doesn't always work for me and I think that it could have to do with the target grip that's on my gun. It needs to have the proper fit so that adequate pressure can be applied to the right locations. So what I sometimes do is to cant the pistol slightly to the right so that when I release the trigger, the pull of gravity helps to offset my tendency to push the shot to the left.
That does work for me but it's not always easy to keep the gun canted at the proper angle for it work perfectly at all times.
So like most shooting errors, hitting left could be caused by a combination of factors.

Last edited by arcticap; April 23, 2012 at 02:28 PM.
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Old April 23, 2012, 02:42 PM   #7
MarkL_01
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Thanks again for the suggestions.

I think that some careful dry-firing is in order to see if I'm moving the sight left as I break the shot.

I don't think it's a stance problem because shooting from a rest doesn't change the problem. Might just be how I'm lining up the sights....or not quite lining them up.

Could be an "old eyes" issue, too. With the current state of my vision and corrective lenses, either the target can be clear and both sights blurry, or the front sight can be clear, the rear so-so and the target completely gone. About the best I can do is to get the pistol pointed at the bull using the "distance" part of the glasses, then try to not move the gun as I shift my vision to the close-up part of the lens.

I don't expect to become a tack-driver, but I would like to develop enough skill to let me enjoy an occasional IDPA or similar match.
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Old April 23, 2012, 11:07 PM   #8
arcticap
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Putting some pressure on the left hand side of the grip will also help to stabilize the muzzle from being pushed left.
Holding the thumb straight out toward the target helps to push the thumb section the hand forward to apply some pressure on that part of the grip.
But every grip is different and not all people grip the gun the same.
Another idea is to squeeze the thumb inward in an effort to try to minimize any lateral barrel movement.
But if it's an eye issue than I'm off base.
Maybe you could use a single shooting lens that's adjusted for your arm's length when your holding the pistol.
Some folks have them made by eye doctors who let them bring a pistol or rifle into the office to try out different lenses. Even if it's an air gun with a similar style of sight mounted on it. Some doctors specialize in shooting glasses for the various types of guns, and many have an office in their home.
I hope that you're able to figure it out.
Good luck!

Last edited by arcticap; April 23, 2012 at 11:26 PM.
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Old April 24, 2012, 04:11 PM   #9
darkgael
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Glasses

The suggestion about glasses which will allow clear focus on the front sight is a good one. I had a set made for me by an optometrist. Plano lense for the left eye and a dioptered Rx lense for my shooting eye.
I was also able to find an inexpensive set of those drugstore reading glasses that do the same thing. Look at those first.
Pete
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Old April 27, 2012, 11:00 AM   #10
MarkL_01
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OK. At least part of this seems to be specific to one revolver. Usually, the rear sight is slightly right of center to put the POI in the center of the target for me. On this one, a previously-unfired S&W Model 15-4, the rear sight is pegged to the far right, and the POI is still slightly left.

I don't know what might cause this situation, unless there's a problem with the installation of one of the sights, or if the barrel isn't screwed on straight. None of these situations is apparent to me.

It's going to a gunsmith this weekend for smoothing of the action; maybe I'll get some ideas there.

Guess it's time to move this thread to the gunsmithing forum.

Thanks again for the replies.

-Mark
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