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Old November 28, 2010, 12:45 PM   #1
ProxyBoy
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Help analyzing the wife's shooting.

For Thanksgiving the Wife and I went to my Aunts place out in the country and brought the pistols to get in some "range time". This would be basically my first time doing any serious shooting and it had been a while for my wife.

We set up a card board box lid (banker's box sized) nailed to a tree 25 yards away. She was geeked up and I of course let her go first. She fired her ten rounds from her P95 and then we walked over to see the "damage".

Well, she didn't hit the cardboard once. A few shots into the base of the tree (box was about 4' up the tree) probably nothing within one foot.

So I took my XDm .40 and fired all 16 rounds at the target, she has better eyes than I do and said I was hitting it from the first shot. Then we walked up and found that I did pretty good. Probably kept all shots within 18" (I was aiming at a target she drew up towards the corner so some hit the tree outside of the box. Overall, I was fairly pleased with my first attempts.

So then we let the wife try my XDm and she had similar results except I paid more attention and noticed she was hitting the DIRT about 10-15' in front of the tree!! Wow, that is FAR off. My wife is an artist and has MUCH better fine motor skills than I do and more experience, this isn't making any sense.

I shot her P95 and hit the target just fine, so I knew the gun had nothing to do with the issue (already suspected but wanted to make sure... and of course put some rounds through her gun ).

So I then paid more attention to her hands as she fired the gun and I noticed that it seemed like she wasn't taking up the "slack" before breaking the shot off. So I asked her if she was pulling the trigger till it "stopped" then squeezing or was she just squeezing all the way through. She stated that she was squeezing all the way through which I think was causing a visual jerk of the gun downward. She corrected that but was still having issues.

We moved to 15 Yards and she was still having very low issues and was barely hitting the target only about 5-10% of the time at best. I enjoyed the shorter distance and started firing a little faster and ending up rather surprised and pleased with my ability to continue to at least keep most of them on the target.

After about 100 rounds I was able to put 12 of 16 rounds on the target in poor light (sun was sinking fast) at 25 yards.

We are definitely ready to do some more shooting and I will slow down and work on the finer aspects of shooting but we need some advise for the wife... any idea of what is going on? Previously she has shot at an indoor range and being a woman the men of course have always been willing to help her so I assume she has had some decent "teachings"... but I really only know what I have read and watched on a few videos and am in no way qualified to really do much to correct her issue.
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Old November 28, 2010, 01:08 PM   #2
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have you considered a shooting course or hiring a "trainer" at a range?
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Old November 28, 2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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My wife's Christmas present was a Crimson Trace laser on her SR9c. It allowed her to see exactly what she was doing when she shot; I could see her groups noticeably tighten with every shot. Friends of mine swear by lasers as a training aid, because you can identify shooting problems to correct much easier.
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Old November 28, 2010, 03:22 PM   #4
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Well, I'd like to DIY (with help and advice from you guys of course). I think given some time she could tune it in... Just like to have some place to start. I really expected her to be a much better shot than I am and I believe she probably will given time/practice and proper technique.

Right now we just hope that if anyone breaks in they are very intimidated by guns.

As a lover of gadgets, I've always liked the idea of a laser sight... maybe this is an excuse to get one.
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Old November 28, 2010, 03:41 PM   #5
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Shooting help with you wife

Is she keeping her eyes open? I'm not trying to be funny but if she's expecting a loud bang and closes her eyes you'd be amazed how far off one can get. Also you might want to have her change her stance or try shooting from a rest until she's a bit more comfortable.
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Old November 28, 2010, 03:46 PM   #6
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She LOVES shooting... she has put close to 500 rounds through that P95 so I am pretty sure she doesn't do that.

She also loves shooting skeet and such.

She's not your typical woman in that regard. And we were wearing plugs
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Old November 28, 2010, 03:48 PM   #7
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First of all have you sat down and explained what the sight picture should look like? For some reason there are people that think the front blade should be in the bottom of the rear notch. This will have you shooting into the dirt for sure. Next thing to do is try getting some snap caps and do some dry firing at home. This might make a big difference. Last but not least is to get a .22 pistol with similar controls to practice with. I hope you were both wearing hearing protection. The noise can have very disruptive effect on shooters.
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Old November 28, 2010, 04:09 PM   #8
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She's anticipating the shot and pulling the muzzle down. Also called leaning into the shot or flinching. I'm assuming you were using good quality hearing protection. If you're not, you can probably improve her aim considerably by adding hearing protection to your practice time.

Start closer--25yards is WAY too far away. Start with a target at about 20 feet if she's already been shooting some. When her groups are well-centered on the aiming point and smaller than the size of your fist you can move the target farther out a little at a time.
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Old November 28, 2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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You need to get some instruction. You can DIY once you learn the basics, because - no offense - it's apparent that you don't know what you're doing.
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Old November 28, 2010, 04:21 PM   #10
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Yeah, as stated, we were using ear plugs. I used to be an audio engineer... I value ear protection very much.

I actually wanted to start closer but she wanted to back it up to 25 yards.

Casimer, You are correct... I am pretty ignorant to shooting. I just enjoy it and enjoy learning things. I typically research the hell out of things before I get too into them and this isn't much different... though I only got the basics of shooting and did more research into the hardware.

Looks like I'll be doing more research into the practice now. I just mainly need to find a good place to go shoot (often) as it is hard to just read about technique and not actually use it and see how it works out.

I'll be going check out a friends land soon and hopefully that will be a good spot that I will be free to go to any time.
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Old November 28, 2010, 08:03 PM   #11
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I typically research the hell out of things before I get too into them and this isn't much different... though I only got the basics of shooting and did more research into the hardware.
There's a lot in this field that cannot be researched--it has to be taught and learned.

Consider taking a class together.
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Old November 28, 2010, 08:27 PM   #12
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I went back to the range today and unlike last time when I was nailing real tight groups I was all over the place.
I was also doing some load development which doesn't help things considering that I brought with me 5 different loads.

About 1/2 way through my 200 rounds I realized that I wasn't paying close attention to my front sight like I was last time.
This made a big difference in the last 2 boxes of ammo.

I also had a friend load some snap caps in with the live ammunition which really shows you if you're flinching.
If you see the gun move when the hammer drops on a snap cap then you know that you're flinching in anticipation of the recoil
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Old November 28, 2010, 10:17 PM   #13
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ProxyBoy,

You might want to start here with some of your research: http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#Basics

Not having seen her shoot, my suspicion is that your wife is "flinching," or anticipating the recoil of the gun. From your description of events, I'd also suspect that you have the same or a similar problem, and that's why you weren't able to help her figure out what was going on. Your wife might also have some misunderstanding of how the sights should be aligned with the target.

A beginning shooter especially should focus on every trigger pull being very slow and very smooth, going at the same speed all the way from the moment you touch the trigger until after the shot fires. This smooth, steady trigger press should happen while you continuously keep the sights aligned on target, and you should never "hurry up fast" to yank the trigger back when the sights are perfectly aligned. Rather, you accept that as a human you can't hold the sights perfectly still, just keep realigning them while steadily pressing the trigger.

To reinforce what someone else said earlier in the thread, here's a story: When my mom and dad were first married, he taught her how to drive. About a decade later, she forgave him. Especially since you yourself are still learning how to shoot, I'd strongly recommend that you not take the role of "instructor" towards your wife, but simply go out and have fun together -- and perhaps gently direct her toward other resources, such as useful books or magazines or websites or people you've encountered, if she expresses frustration with her skills and wants to learn more. What I'm getting at is that you could both really enjoy learning this new skill together, but it's very difficult for one new shooter to teach another anything useful, and that is triply-true if the people in question happen to be married to each other.

Finally, the reason several people have suggested getting an in-person class from someone who knows what he's doing -- a professional firearms instructor -- is because shooting is a kinesthetic skill. Kinesthetic skills are very difficult or impossible to teach via the written word, but really require going hands on with the student for full understanding. As an autodidact myself, that was a hard & bitter pill for me to swallow, but it's true. I make my living writing about firearms, and I'm here to tell you that you really can't learn how to shoot well from the written word. The best we can do is give you some very general and basic ideas, knowing that it's almost inevitable that you really won't fully grasp the concepts unless you were learning them in person -- or supplementing your in person learning by looking for another informed perspective.

Hope this helps.

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Old November 28, 2010, 11:05 PM   #14
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Thanks Pax...

Not sure why you would suggest that I had that problem as my shots were pretty well placed considering it was my first time seriously firing a handgun. I personally have practiced dry firing my gun several times and I pull that trigger and the sights barely move... that is something I actually have been able to work on before I got to the "range". I simply can't teach because I am barely a student myself and don't know what to look for when "critiquing" a fellow shooter (obviously I used that term ridiculously loosely).

As far as the wife goes... I definitely think it is a flinching thing. I had her dry fire her gun a few hours ago and it wasn't really that steady. Then when I asked a few questions she immediately said "well, it isn't the same without live ammo" Ah ha! Obviously we have a flinching/anticipation issue. I said, no it should be the same then she made it worse and said that it doesn't feel the same without a round in it. This is where the "you shouldn't be trying to teach wife" thing comes in. Instead of debating it I just went and grabbed a spent casing and loaded that in there and said ok, here ya go.. now it's not "empty".

Obviously it still felt the same and I explained to her that she should just be doing exactly what you described that she should be doing. I think she needs to spend some time doing that a good bit and then hopefully not think about the bang at the range.

Oh, she also said "well, when the round fires the gun will move" to which I said, that is correct... but you don't move it. You just hold the gun and squeeze the trigger and let the gun move itself. (paraphrasing, it sounded better when I said it... at least I think so. )

Thanks for the tips... I'm sure once we find a place to get some consistent practice in we will get an instructor to help us both. I just want to make sure I can apply it week after week and not a month or so later.
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Old November 28, 2010, 11:37 PM   #15
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A few weeks ago I had my Glock owning buddy shoot my 9mm Sigma. Even though I explained the long heavy trigger to him in advance, I could see him flinch well before the trigger broke. I saw the barrel go up then down right before the trigger went off! Dirt 10 - 15 feet ahead of the target.

I too have a tendency to "lollipop" the sight picture on most of my hand guns and shoot low, but my P345 and I think my Security six shoot very well that way. The rest I have to cover the target with the front sight which to me should not be as accurate.
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Old November 29, 2010, 12:29 AM   #16
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As a female, I would like to jump in with the same, or maybe similar, problem.
I was raised with long guns, my brother gave me my first revolver (Colt New Frontier .22) when I was about 25. I am an artist (lol) and have always been a lousy shot with a revolver. Personal preference, I love 'cowboy' guns, semi autos are just unappealing to me
I also do leather work, my gunbelt and holster for the Colt has stylized Iris on them.
I am now heading towards 50 (ugg) and am thinking I would love to get a concealed permit to carry. I have lived in Kentucky for 11 years now and while it is legal to carry on my hip, the funny looks I get are worth it to just hide it away.
I have a brother who comes to visit (from IL) every few months who would probably stand me up and 'teach' me how to properly fire a handgun. I am sure he probably thinks I already know 'how' since we were raised by the same man.
I had never tought of actually taking lessons, but it seems like a good idea, since I have trouble hitting the broad side of a barn, and there is not really a reason for it. Okay, i do have some carpal tunnel, but shooting a .22 has never had much of an effect on it, but I did get rid of the 9 MM years ago, blamed it on my wrist
I actually joined this forum looking for a gunsmith in western KY, but it looks to be a friendly group of gun crazy folks (said in a good way, since I am one
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Old November 29, 2010, 12:48 PM   #17
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About 18 years ago, my wife tried shooting my Taurus PT92. She could not hit a target 10 feet away.

Fast forward 18 years. I sat through he CCW class with her. A light went off when the instructor talked about eye dominance. Sure enough, she is right handed and left eye dominant. With that knowledge, that evening I taught her how to use her left eye. I have the same problem, and have naturally adjusted for it.

The next day was the range day for the class. She shot very well.

Last edited by skifast; November 29, 2010 at 01:01 PM.
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Old November 29, 2010, 09:28 PM   #18
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When I was teaching my wife to shoot a handgun, I started her with a single/double action .22 revolver. Since revolvers aren't as complicated for new shooter to learn this seemed like a good place to start. I had her only fire in single action. The trigger is quite light to reduce the tendency to jerk the trigger. Recoil is very little as well. I was shooting another .22 revolver during this time too. I didn't try to impress her with my ability to shoot and concentrated more on getting her to learn the basics and hitting the target at a fairly close range. I believe it was about 5 yards. Once she was able to keep all the rounds in about a 2" group I started moving her target out a little more. It was about 1 yard more then the trip before. This continued until she was shooting at 10 yards and keeping about a 2" group still.

We then progressed to semi-autos. I went with a Neos for her since it is a single action pistol and not overly complicated. I bought the target in to about 7 yards until she was doing well at that distance and once again worked her out to 10 yards. Later we did the same thing with a Buckmark Camper. The results were good. The groups I was shooting at that time were normally kept to just slightly better then what she was doing and at the same distance on another lane.

One day she finally shot a 9 mm Sig of mine and was surprised the first round fired was in the center of the target at 7 yards. I told her she was going to be surprised how good she would be on that first round and she was.

Now it has been about 3 years since the first trip to the range with me. She still prefers shooting .22 pistols. She will occasionally fire a 9 mm to see if she still can hit the target easily. I no longer try to only keep firing just a little better then she does. She knows I have more time shooting and can do well if I try to.

Giving encouragement in the beginning is very important to do. Trying to prove you are a better shot isn't helpful in my opinion. On the first day at the range I would have been happy for her to hit a full sized B27 target any where at 5 yards. Once confidence starts to build the rest starts coming along too. She started asking question about grip and how to shoot better. From that point on things improved quickly.

I like having her go to the range to shoot with me. I just wish she wanted to go more often. Now that she understands what pistols shooting can be, she doesn't complain if I happen to bring home one more pistol or order another case or two of ammo. Life is good.

When you go about teaching someone to shoot it takes patience and it helps to have a greater understanding about shooting then the one being taught. It is hard to teach someone that doesn't have much or any interest. Most of the time it is far better to have a neutral 3rd party do the teaching. Occasionally teaching a family member works. Wearing both earplugs and a headset help a lot too. We shoot at an indoor range and the noise is quite a bit louder then you will ever get outdoors.
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Old November 29, 2010, 10:57 PM   #19
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Not sure why you would suggest that I had that problem as my shots were pretty well placed considering it was my first time seriously firing a handgun.
Barring a pretty serious mechanical issue or really poor ammunition, the gun should be capable of grouping under 5" at that distance. If the sights were aligned when you started pulling the trigger then something pulled them off target by the time the gun fired.

Since you state that you are able to dryfire without the sights moving that leaves flinching as the reason for your group being more than 3x larger than it should have been.
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Old November 30, 2010, 07:57 AM   #20
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I actually wanted to start closer but she wanted to back it up to 25 yards.

Casimer, You are correct... I am pretty ignorant to shooting. I just enjoy it and enjoy learning things. I typically research the hell out of things before I get too into them and this isn't much different... though I only got the basics of shooting and did more research into the hardware.

Looks like I'll be doing more research into the practice now. I just mainly need to find a good place to go shoot (often) as it is hard to just read about technique and not actually use it and see how it works out.
Proxy. You have to see the logic here. Your critic was correct, the reason you can't explain how to do these things to your wife is that you don't completely understand them yourself. Sure, you may be able to make some fair shots at the range, but that doesn't mean that you know exactly WHY they're clean shots, or HOW you got them.

I'd equate this to seeing someone sitting on their knees, facing backward in the driver's seat of a car, steering with their feet through the wheel with the accelerator on cruise control and watching the road with a mirror over their shoulder. Sure, that guy's doing a great job of "keeping it between the lines", but that doesn't mean that he's
A) Good at driving.
B) In posession of a sound understanding of the proper techniques and practices involved.
C) Able to use that skill to any extent given a proper scenario.
D) In any way fit to teach someone else about driving.

It's the same on the range. Just because a guy can hit a relative target on the line doesn't mean he's got a clue about anything else or even what he's doing. In fact, he may very well have just lucked into hitting it with extremely bad habbits, and just became very proficient at using THAT exact combination of bad habbits. I know I wouldn't want to learn from someone like that.

And you must also realize that TEACHING in itself is a skill that you must practice at in order to be proficient. Concise instruction, patience, situational activation, strict adherence to safety protocol, and more patience are all necessary components that you must posess. But above all, you must know every nut and bolt of what you're talking about. You do not. You've said it yourself.

Starting at 25 yards is foolish. I start all new pistol shooters at 15 feet. Hitting a target helps to build confidence; not frustration. And regulation targets are very good taching tools. Not that nailing a box to a tree and shooting isn't okay once in a while, but targets are designed the way they are for a reason. Take a standard torso target. It's got rings 5-10 and a small "x-ring". That x-ring is a powerful tool. It tells you when you need to slow down (not getting any x-ring hits), when you need to speed up (getting too many x-ring), when you need to move closer to the target (too few x-ring), and when you can open up your distance (too many x-ring). You don't get this feedback on a box nailed to a tree and this is something that every instructor knows.

My advice would be to get an instructor for the both of you. That way, even when you aren't with your instructor, you can reference the specific skills you've been taught together and keep each other honest. And they will start from bottom to top and make sure that you're handling everything properly (foot stance, grip, arm position, weight placement, orientation, trigger squeeze, recoil control, follow-through, breathing rhythm; and above all, proper safety (Can you recite the 4 rules of gun safety by heart without looking them up? If not, get an instructor; chances are you're unsafe and don't know it.))

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Old December 1, 2010, 01:59 AM   #21
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I was going to say something, but then upon reading through the thread I realized pax already said it better than I would have...

Quote:
To reinforce what someone else said earlier in the thread, here's a story: When my mom and dad were first married, he taught her how to drive. About a decade later, she forgave him. Especially since you yourself are still learning how to shoot, I'd strongly recommend that you not take the role of "instructor" towards your wife, but simply go out and have fun together -- and perhaps gently direct her toward other resources, such as useful books or magazines or websites or people you've encountered, if she expresses frustration with her skills and wants to learn more. What I'm getting at is that you could both really enjoy learning this new skill together, but it's very difficult for one new shooter to teach another anything useful, and that is triply-true if the people in question happen to be married to each other.
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Old December 1, 2010, 03:17 PM   #22
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She is Assisting the weapon!

It was already stated above but ill say it. she is trying to reduce the recoil by pushing forward like that wanted movie she want to believe that she can shortcut a result! have her bend forward in combat stance moving the recoil retention into the larger deltoid mass.
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Old December 1, 2010, 09:07 PM   #23
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My wife was doing the same thing when she was shooting my Ruger P89. Everything was in the dirt. I got up real close and noticed the muzzle dropping as she shot. She wasn't doing what was stated above(anticipting the recoil), she was squeezing her whole hand as she squeezed the trigger. So the muzzle was dropping as the trigger was pulled. Once we figured that out, she does pretty good now.
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Old December 1, 2010, 09:36 PM   #24
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Master of two arts

Proxyboy (and wife).

Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

One who would teach another how to do something must be the master of two arts (or skills, if you prefer).

One must be competent at that which is to be taught

One must be competent at the art of teaching.

There is another aspect of teaching a relative or spouse. There are interpersonal dynamics which everyone has. No one can avoid their effects, no matter how competent a teacher and how diligent a student. (For the same kind of reasons, a two-parent household is better than a one-parent household.) Not that it can't be done, and done well. It is just more complex. But the conventional wisdom is "Never try to teach your spouse how to drive."

Some skills are best learned while being observed by a coach. I suggest you might want to take a class together. Check you ego at the door, though, or take separate classes. (Just my advice. Other's experiences may generate different advice.)

Good Luck. Good shooting.

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Old December 2, 2010, 11:57 AM   #25
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Man, you guys are something else. I've tried to be patient with the lack of understanding, assuming I wasn't making myself clear... but after attempting to clear that up several times I just don't even know. This does not apply to fATAL and wpcexpert.


Let me cover the crazy misunderstandings up... again.

1.) It's her gun and she has put over 500 rounds through it... she LOVES shooting and has shot more than I do. Nothing will stop her from wanting to go shoot. I'm very lucky and know how lucky I am. She has always enjoyed guns and I have ZERO problems buying more guns or Ammo... hell, I bought her some ammo for xmas last year! She was very pleased.

2.) We just forgot our targets and used a box because shooting a box is better than not shooting at all right? I plan on making some real targets and have saved some free downloaded targets to print out and use.

3.) I KNOW I have no ability to teach her... I wouldn't be on here asking for help if I thought I was good enough to teach her. I'd just like to try and help her figure out what she is doing wrong and bring her shots in about 10' From there we can enjoy shooting more and each fine tune our shots and technique... probably with help from a pro at some point.

4.) continuing 3 essentially... I have NO delusions that I am a "good" shot. I simply said that I was impressed that I did so well my FIRST time shooting a pistol. It amazes me that some how you guys have taken a first time shooter that happened to hit 12-15" groupings at 25 yards with his first magazine into "you can't shoot worth a crap and you should be shooting 5" groupings at that distance!" Truly amazing that you guys would say that.

Well, I think I covered enough... I also think I have realized that the "experts" here have a lot of their own advice to take... they certainly are FAR from any sort of teachers and can't seem to follow their own advice.

Make no mistakes I appreciate all of the critiques and suggestions... but why continue to harp on things that have already been acknowledged and agreed to? I understand saying "I agree, you guys should look into professional instructions" But that is where that should stop since I've acknowledged that. At that point if you want to contribute to the thread then follow up with... BUT it sounds like she is doing X, Y or Z. Not going on for a few paragraphs on how we are doing it all wrong.

Again, no disrespect meant, I am just having to force myself to actually reading the post hoping there will be something to gain and not just the same thing already addressed, I know... I'm repeating myself now (gets old, hearing the same thing over and over huh?)

Definitely no disrespect meant to those few that actually posted up some info and insight into what she might be doing. I know I can't teach her everything as I essentially know nothing, but I would imagine that I could get her hitting the broad side of a barn! HA!
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