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Old February 4, 2013, 11:30 AM   #1
southjk
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Advice for new semi-auto shooter

I've had a S&W 686 since about 1990 and have always loved shooting it. I recently started shooting again and am a pretty good shot with it. I can usually keep fairly tight groups even if they are usually slightly left and down of where I'm aiming.

I got a new Shield 9mm and shot it for the first time on Saturday and my shots were pretty wild. I had some on target but many others were way off. Any tips for a new semi shooter or do I need to just practice more?
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Old February 4, 2013, 11:57 AM   #2
BarryLee
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Quote:
do I need to just practice more?
Yes, most likely you just need some more time with the gun.

You did not say at what range you were shooting the 9mm. One thing to try would be to set you target out just a few yards and concentrate on shooting some pretty decent groups. Then simply move the target out incrementally and attempt to maintain those same groups.

I might also add that the Shield is designed for carry and most likely sort of up close work, so it may never be as accurate as the M686.
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Old February 4, 2013, 12:01 PM   #3
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When you shoot the 686 are you shooting it in double action (DA) or single action (SA)? A 686 and a Shield have rather different style of triggers. Start out doing slow, steady squeezes of the trigger.
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Old February 4, 2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Dry fire, its cheap and does allot for trigger control.
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:45 PM   #5
southjk
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Quote:
You did not say at what range you were shooting the 9mm.
I usually shoot the 686 at 5 or 10 yards but I was shooting the Shield at about 5 yards. Looks like I just need to practice and start just a bit closer. I didn't even think about the fact that it won't be as accurate at the 686. I was beating myself up for not being very good with it for no reason. I feel a little better.

Quote:
When you shoot the 686 are you shooting it in double action (DA) or single action (SA)?
Usually I shoot the 686 in SA but when I do shoot in DA I shoot just as well if not better. With DA I don't know exactly when it's going to fire so I think it takes some of the flinch out of the equation.

Looks like more practice and dry firing are in my future. Oh darn.

I was thinking about taking a class at the range to help perfect my form so may try that too.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:37 PM   #6
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Flinching is, for a lot of people, lunging at the trigger to "make" the pistol fire, as opposed to squeezing the trigger and "allowing" the pistol to fire. Practice dry firing while focusing on the front site and you will probably catch yourself doing this.

Practice by itself is not always the answer. Practice of bad technique will ingrain the bad technique.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:02 PM   #7
MTSCMike
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^^^THIS

Dry fire practice will help but your brain still knows when it's loaded. I had a terrible flinch many years ago and still have to battle with it sometimes when I'm tired or shooting an unfamiliar gun.

The sights and a firm "correct" grip are your friends! As a buddy of mine says when I ask why I hit the target low and left..."That's where you pointed it when it fired!" You have to concentrate on keeping the sights centered on your target through the entire trigger pull and afterward. It won't hurt you so just eat that recoil
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:44 PM   #8
southjk
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Good advice guys, thanks. MTSCMike I like that. I'll have to remember that when I'm shooting and wondering why that shot went "way over there". Simple, it's where the gun was pointing when it fired.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:49 PM   #9
erhodes
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Get some snap caps and have a friend load your shield with live rounds and a few snap caps. Then start shooting. This will show you if you are flinching and how bad. It's a great technique for getting rid of a flinch.
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Old February 4, 2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Practiced. I shoot my M&P 9mm and get tight groups. Bought a KelTec PF9 and needed to really practice to get my groups tighter. Smaller sights, shorter sight radius and less to grip on, make it a little more work to get control over. The PF9 is a personal defense gun. Anything inside a 12" circle @ 30ft is going to do the job.
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Old February 4, 2013, 07:02 PM   #11
MTSCMike
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Just noticed the OP is from Memphis...visit Rangemaster and see if they have an affordable class that addresses your problem. I have competed with those guys and they are good folks and good instructors.
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