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Old February 10, 2013, 04:20 AM   #1
breakingcontact
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How to improve speed while maintaining accuracy with semi-auto pistols?

At the range, I'm getting pretty good while shooting slow. Sight picture, trigger press, grip, stance, ive got those things down well enough to shoot good...slowly. I want to get faster, so some of these skills that I've got down good enough to shoot slow, I need to improve to shoot fast.

What are some drills that I can do to increase speed while maintaining the accuracy?

I get the gun back on target quickly enough but it takes too long for me to reacquire my sight picture. I have to let the sights "settle" longer than I'd like. Typically, is this a grip issue? Stance?

I am committed to improving my fundamentals and not seeking out the "perfect" gun or dumping a bunch of money into mine. I have the ammo and have access to a great range. I want to make my range time count and am looking for good YouTube videos, drills, books, online resources and tips you've picked up over the years to use while training to achieve my goal of being fast and accurate.
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Old February 10, 2013, 05:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
I get the gun back on target quickly enough but it takes too long for me to reacquire my sight picture. I have to let the sights "settle" longer than I'd like. Typically, is this a grip issue? Stance?
Typically, it's a confidence issue more than anything else. As long as you have a secure grip (aren't letting go with your non-dom hand after every shot, don't need to readjust your grip all the time), and as long as you are snapping the gun back to the target quickly to manage the recoil, then your delay is almost certainly a confidence thing.

If you've gotten in the habit of waiting for and then "snatching" a magic moment when everything is absolutely perfect, it can actually slow you down even though each individual shot will feel fast. Instead, what you need to do is accept the slight wobble in your sights, accept imperfection while continuing to realign the sights through the wobble, and press the trigger smoothly.

Here's one of my favorite learning to go faster drills: http://www.corneredcat.com/the-speed-up-drill/

It's good because it improves both speed and trigger control. Too many go-fast drills teach one while destroying the other.

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Old February 10, 2013, 10:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
As long as you have a secure grip (aren't letting go with your non-dom hand after every shot, don't need to readjust your grip all the time)...

If you've gotten in the habit of waiting for and then "snatching" a magic moment when everything is absolutely perfect
I don't think I'm adjusting my grip excessively, but I think I've focused so much on sight picture and trigger control to get good at shooting slow, that I have neglected to focus on my grip and now while shooting faster, it has revealed that I need to focus on it more.

Thanks for the link, will bookmark it.
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Old February 10, 2013, 10:31 AM   #4
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To me, the difference between fast and slow is knowing the trigger break point subconsciously. If you dry fire enough to know the exact break point and can "will" it to break when the sights cross the target, it will be a bullseye everytime....so how to???

First dry fire a bunch of times, first learning the break point without aiming the gun. Do this both fast and slow, but focus on a certain type of squeeze. I put my finger print on most triggers and first joint on DA's. I squeeze with an increecing force squeeze. I get to where I can do this fast and slow with minimal gun movement. Then I bring the sights into play and focus on breaking as I approach the POA.

Next, work on grip and stance until the gun recoils straight back. Then add grip pressure until you reduce the recoil distance. Straight back is seen as the front sight rising up slightly and the you push forward while squeezing the trigger to break it as the sights align with the bullseye. Too slow and you hit low or feel a sight bounce from stance lock. Too fast and you hit high.

Then bring it all together with doubles where you aim the first and push the second back to the same spot. With practice, the shots can be within a couple inches of eachother.
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Old February 10, 2013, 11:03 AM   #5
WC145
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Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Work each step until smooth - hand to the gun, draw, presentation/sight picture, trigger pull. Then work them together until it's one fluid motion, nice and smooth, then you'll start picking up speed. Remember that how you first grip the gun to draw it makes all the difference, with the proper grip your sights will line up naturally, without it you'll be making adjustments to line your sights up and that will slow you down a lot.
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Old February 10, 2013, 12:34 PM   #6
Frank Ettin
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Excellent advice from pax in post 2.

Part of learning to shoot faster is pushing yourself a little beyond your comfort level. Basically, as pax suggests, start by shooting at your comfortable pace, then pick up the pace a little. Your groups will open up some, but accept that. And don't go so fast that the groups are opening up too much. The finish by slowing up a bit to tighten your groups to where they were before. You'll be increasing your speed in manageable increments.

Do a lot of dry fire to build excellent trigger control. Excellent trigger control is critical. Conclude practice with a little slow fire to reinforce trigger control.

Also practice your presentation so that when you have brought your gun up the sights are aligned. At that point your using the sight picture to confirm sight alignment; you're not aiming. That's the "flash sight picture." Here's how Greg Morrison describes the flash sight picture (Morrison, Gregory, The Modern Technique of the Pistol, Gunsite Press, 1991, pp 87 - 88, emphasis added):
Quote:
...The flash sight-picture involves a glimpse of the sight-picture sufficient to confirm alignment....The target shooter’s gaze at the front sight has proven inappropriate for the bulk of pistolfighting. However, the practical shooter must start at this level and work up to the flash, which becomes reflexive as motor skills are refined. With practice, a consistent firing platform and firing stroke align the sights effortlessly. This index to the target eventually becomes an instantaneous confirmation of the sight-picture.

...Using the flash sight-picture programs the reflex of aligning the weapon’s sights with the target instantly....There is good reason for sights: one needs them to align the barrel with the target reliably....
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Old February 10, 2013, 01:00 PM   #7
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My two cents:
There really is no substitute for instruction from someone who knows what they are doing and can communicate it.
Advice of practice is all good, but without knowing what to practice, the results can be disappointing.
If your gun and sights are not automatically coming back to target, then your technique is probably at fault.
And it's very difficult to figure out what needs work on your own.
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Old February 10, 2013, 01:54 PM   #8
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I know that confidence is a big part of this. Like shooting baskets. I never walk away on a miss. Keep shooting until I make it.

I like the idea of opening practice with slow very accurate fire.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g.willikers View Post
My two cents:
There really is no substitute for instruction from someone who knows what they are doing and can communicate it.
Advice of practice is all good, but without knowing what to practice, the results can be disappointing.
If your gun and sights are not automatically coming back to target, then your technique is probably at fault.
And it's very difficult to figure out what needs work on your own.
This is true. I started shooting USPSA last summer. I found one of the other shooters and talked to him and watched everyone. This is only what works for me, I am by no means an expert.
1) Safety is #1 always.
2) Find a mentor. Someone that shoots competitively and keeps good groups. Talk to them, more than one.
3) The biggest thing I found I was doing was relaxing my grip after each shot making follow up shots slow and unsteady.
4) Sight picture, remember with increasing speed accuracy will suffer. You have to decide how much you will tolerate. I went from 2" to 4" at 10 yds but at a good speed and really, 4" is still pretty good.
5) Lots of practice and dry firing.
6) Safety.

Scott.
I was also told "sights are over rated, top pf the slide is flat, right..." I have combat sights on a 1911 copy and I don't concentrate on my sights, just use them as a guideline.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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I find that grip is the single most important fundamental of pistol shooting. A good grip allows you to manage recoil better, allowing you to have faster followup shots. And with a good grip, and enough practice, you wont need sights to put a round where you want it, given a reasonable distance.

Quote:
I get the gun back on target quickly enough but it takes too long for me to reacquire my sight picture. I have to let the sights "settle" longer than I'd like.
Your biggest problem is you are focusing too much on aligning your sights perfectly, unless you are bullseye shooting, it is not entirely necessary. Also you always want to focus on the front sight when shooting, don't get so caught up in getting the front and rear sight aligned absolutely perfectly, with enough practice that wont even matter.

I agree with srtolly1 when he says sights are overrated.

Best thing you can do is get a .22 pistol if you don't already have one and practice, practice, practice.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:26 PM   #11
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I was practicing this morning and I think it's in my grip. I have good positioning, it's just with shooting slow at the range, not trying for quick follow up shots, my grip just didn't have to be that tight.

Quote:
3) The biggest thing I found I was doing was relaxing my grip after each shot making follow up shots slow and unsteady.
So next time I'm out at the range (soon I hope!), I'll try focusing on my grip and see how I do.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:43 PM   #12
srtolly1
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Out of curiosity, what are you shooting? Keep your grip as high as you can. Firm grip but not tight and keep it consistent for the full length of the grip. These tips helped my grip a lot and taught to me by a very experienced shooter that took me under his wing.
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Old February 10, 2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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M&P Shield 9mm. I am plenty high up on the gun. Think I need to figure out the right amount of pressure and ratio of left/right.
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Old February 10, 2013, 04:51 PM   #14
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After the shot and recoil impulse...the sights should settle down to the natural point of aim. You can go faster, by prepping the trigger first {taking the slack out of the trigger --- first pressure} before attempting the final pressure. Another method: You can slap the trigger by hitting the front of the inside trigger guard with your trigger finger and bring it back to slap the trigger --- you'll have to have a good trigger group for that method.

In order to shoot faster "You'll have to learn how to walk before you can run."

You'll have to train you subconscious to pull or press the trigger while letting your self-conscious be concerned about aiming the sights --- that's where the real speed comes in. It takes around 50,000 rounds of live fire/dry fire, to teach your subconscious to pull the trigger.

Last edited by Erno86; February 10, 2013 at 05:10 PM.
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Old February 10, 2013, 05:33 PM   #15
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You can go faster, by prepping the trigger first {taking the slack out of the trigger --- first pressure} before attempting the final pressure.
Another good suggestion. Small things I can do will add up. Trigger does have some slack, so will be good to take that up before I've got my perfect sight picture back.
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Old February 10, 2013, 06:59 PM   #16
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If working on quick combat type shooting then grip is a huge factor. Sight picture is going to be a rough one, as in not going for precise.

Forget the concept of one tiny, or even ragged hole. Think more along the lines of keeping all shots inside the 8 ring of a B-27 out to about 15 yards.

Also a lot of one handed shootig should be worked on. You may not get the chance to get both hands on the gun, or the perfect stance in the heat of the moment while you are figting for your life. I work on one handed shooting, and bringing my off hand to the grip after a couple of shots when I have gained distance from my target. You may not be able to do the moving on most ranges. As well many ranges have rules on how many shots per couple of seconds one can shoot. (The rules are there for a real good reason.)
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Old February 10, 2013, 07:12 PM   #17
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I am fortunate that my range doesn't have such rules. I made my own self supported target stands and usually set out 3 or 4 at different positions and distance. Practice shooting and moving to simulate multiple attackers. If possible take some defensive pistol classes, they can be a big help. There are also some good YouTube videos showing these things.
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Old February 10, 2013, 10:14 PM   #18
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Consider this, explained to me by a cowboy quick draw guy ...

Shoot SLOWER than normal. Once you're "ready to shoot" you shoot about as fast as you physically can. You may be able to pull the trigger a few thousandths faster. But in reality, you're already fast at THAT part of the combination of movements. It's the "getting ready to shoot" portion that's slowing you down.

Shoot SLOWER than normal, means you are forced to focus on that time and space that "gets you ready" for the shot. When you slow down and focus on that time and space you can more clearly see wasted movements and movements that you can combine. Once you realize "I have to get the gun from here to there" then you can focus on getting that single movement more efficient. If you also need to get "this trigger finger from here to there", going slow may allow you do that at the same time as you're moving the gun.

That all might sound a little more counter to the popular "Just push yourself" suggestions. But it works for quick draws, martial artists, guitar shredders and other operators that fine tune muscle movements to extremely high speeds.


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Old February 10, 2013, 11:20 PM   #19
breakingcontact
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Quote:
It's the "getting ready to shoot" portion that's slowing you down.
Makes sense.
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Old February 10, 2013, 11:27 PM   #20
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If you are talking for a combat situation then you should not be looking at the sights. If you are aiming you are dead.

If you are target shooting even the fast shoots are pretty slow. Just takes practice.
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Old February 11, 2013, 02:16 AM   #21
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This is going to sound incredibly either simple or to some stupid but it works for me. At SD ranges I draw, focus on point of bullet impact with both eyes ( my sights are blurry) and fire as fast as the pistol levels but I always focus on point of bullet impact. I can shoot close groups center mass chest to 30 ft this way with maybe a flier or two out of a fast 10 rounds.
I have just always shot this way, for rapid fire, and I know there are probably a thousand experts that say I do it wrong but for me it works.
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Old February 11, 2013, 08:21 AM   #22
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Nah, its not simple/stupid but for IDPA I can't have a flier or two out of 10 shots. Not good to have any fliers shooting for defense either. But I get what you're saying about point shooting.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:52 AM   #23
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The poorer the technique, the more important the sights.
The better the technique, the more the sights become a reference to technique.
Technique good = sights automatically on target.
Technique not good = sights are needed to correct.
Good technique is a large concept, including stance, grip, natural point of aim, trigger and gun manipulation, transitional skills, moving skills and more.
It can take years to get really good.
Which probably explains why there are so few really skilled shootists.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:16 AM   #24
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You want to get better? Join a USPSA league. Get on a squad with people who are a couple of classes better than you.

You'll be able to track your progress with how you place each match. Eventually you'll move up to the next class. Don't push speed- let it come naturally. Just focus on smooth and accurate.

You'll improve more in your first year of real competition that you will from any other source.

Oh, and front sight, front sight, front sight.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:10 PM   #25
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After you have learned good trigger control and are using an extremely consistent grip & shooting technique, then you can start playing around with how much of the sights you need to see.

Until you have learned good trigger control, playing around with sight / no sight / partial sight pictures is just wasting good ammunition.

After you have learned good trigger control at fast speeds, that's when the other stuff comes in.

Crawl, walk, run, run faster. You can bypass the crawl & walk stages and even travel really fast by jumping off a cliff and flapping your arms a lot, but that probably won't get you where you want to go in the shape you want to be when you get there.

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