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Old July 22, 2013, 09:22 AM   #1
LockedBreech
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Practice - It's not enough to talk about it

We often discuss the importance of training, obviously on this subforum but in most of the other ones as well. A common saying is "Get the biggest cartridge you can shoot well." Another is "A .380 that hits is better than a .45 that misses."

I practice frequently with my Beretta PX4 and have fired it enough that even when I haven't picked it up in a while, I'm usually relatively on target by a few rounds in. This is aided by bulk purchases of .40 when it goes on sale - still possible during the current ammo crunch.

However, one of the rounds that has been harder and pricier to find is the .380, so I haven't trained on my LCP in a while. So last week I saddled up, grabbed the two boxes of 50 rounds of Winchester White Box that Wally World happened to have, and headed off to the range.

I set up my spinner target and decided to start easy. I stood about 5-7 yards away, and my spinner target is about the size of a medium paper plate. In the past with regular practice, I can land 5-6 of the 6+1 rounds in the LCP on that target with relatively rapid fire.

It had been about a month and a half since I cleaned out the LCP and it was rather dusty and not particularly lubed, despite daily carry (a no-no, I know). I decided it would be a handy reliability check, and I aimed and fired the 6+1 102-grain Remington Golden Sabers.

Reliability was no trouble. My LCP, like always, ate the rounds happily.

I was the trouble. Of those 7 shots, not a single one landed on the target. At 5-7 yards, in a zero-stress situation.

Needless to say, it hammered home the point of how important it is to practice - especially since I'm a pretty fair shot. Have you ever had a rude awakening that you needed to keep your skills sharper?
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Old July 22, 2013, 01:02 PM   #2
45Gunner
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Have you ever had a rude awakening that you needed to keep your skills sharper?
Glad to hear someone fessing up about practice. I am the designated Pistol Instructor for two distinct and different shooting clubs. I am on the range three to four times a week, two hours each session by myself practicing. My fellow club members show up once a month and get all ticked off at themselves for not being consistently on target and have a difficult time wondering why. I keep preaching practice, practice, and more practice. The irony here is that one need not be at the range to practice. Trigger control can be practiced while sitting in one's living room while watching TV. Some of my guys have finally got it and we now hold a once a week session doing dry practice without having to leave the community and go to a range. Put your sight on a "target" (Please make sure the gun is empty and double check it.) When the trigger breaks, the sights should be exactly where they were prior to the break. If one does this at home, the range should be a piece of cake. I appreciate not eveyone can go out and pop off several hundred rounds three to four times a week. This is why this drill becomes even more important.

Just to challenge yourself, if your revolver or semi-auto has a flat spot on the muzzle, dust cover, or somewhere in front of the rear sights, place a quarter flat on that area. Practice pulling the trigger so the quarter does not fall off the gun.
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Old July 22, 2013, 01:42 PM   #3
g.willikers
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Yeah, I know.
This is beginning to sound like a stuck record.
Airguns!
Modern airguns, especially the CO2 powered blowback ones, work just like the real thing and will definitely keep you sharp.
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Old July 22, 2013, 03:50 PM   #4
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I have another suggestion. Please take it in the spirit intended, but...have you considered that a source of the problem might be that the pointing characteristics of your backup are so different from your primary firearm? It might be to your advantage/benefit to try to find pistols with more similar pointing/handling characteristics to reduce this problem. Just a thought, anyway.
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Old July 22, 2013, 05:05 PM   #5
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What I learned from Phil Mickelson...from the British Open yesterday: The importance of your breathing cycle, is paramount in you're shooting.
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Old July 22, 2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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People often underestimate dry fire practice. This past year has been tough for me to get range time. My local range, about 5 minutes down the road from me, closed back in January for having it's insurance dropped and wont be open for another few months. I have to drive over an hour just to shoot and haven't been getting much range time this year. Although I have been doing a bunch of dry fire practice, as well as practicing my draws and how fast I can get my sights on target. Back in May after not shooting for close to 4 months I was still pulling off 1.5"-3" groups with my Sig 232 in rapid fire (about 7 shots in 4 seconds). I attribute this to my dry fire practice.
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Old July 23, 2013, 03:05 PM   #7
RBid
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Practice - It's not enough to talk about it

Dry fire and draw stroke practice at home have made a HUGE difference for me. Since I don't get to do holster work at the gun club, all of my draw practice is with snap caps and the TV at home.

When the need arose, that draw practice paid off. It was clean enough that it was probably the difference between having to shoot and not having to shoot.
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Old July 23, 2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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However, one of the rounds that has been harder and pricier to find is the .380, so I haven't trained on my LCP in a while. So last week I saddled up, grabbed the two boxes of 50 rounds of Winchester White Box that Wally World happened to have, and headed off to the range.
And that is why I reload! I have a Lee 3 hole Turret press with .380, 9mm, .40 &W/10mm,.38 Spl., .357 magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, AND M1 carbine turrets!

And yes, plenty of primers, power (I use Unique for all but the M1 Carbine, by the 8 lb canister.) And quite a few .380 95 gr FMJ, as well as 125 gr FMJ 9mm, .40, .44, 45, .308 110 gr, and 158gr LSWC!

And practice? I have dummy all metal guns that are the same as my S&W J .38s and Glock sub-compacts (carry guns!) .22 units, and even practice Glock 26 and J 642. I shoot weekly.

Expensive? Not if acquired over time.

See I feel self defense is an avocation, not a hobby or one time thing. I still train in H2H as well. It's not a hobby like golf or hunting or tennis.

I feel this what everyone should do if they can. It just takes some planning ahead to gather the needed supplies BEFORE any shortage.

And then join a IDPA club and test your skills once in a while.

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Old July 24, 2013, 10:07 AM   #9
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And that is why I reload! I have a Lee 3 hole Turret press with .380, 9mm, .40 &W/10mm,.38 Spl., .357 magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, AND M1 carbine turrets!

And yes, plenty of primers, power (I use Unique for all but the M1 Carbine, by the 8 lb canister.) And quite a few .380 95 gr FMJ, as well as 125 gr FMJ 9mm, .40, .44, 45, .308 110 gr, and 158gr LSWC!
With all due respect, it's a bit late in the game to be telling someone to reload ammo, given that the availability of reloading equipment and components is just as dire as that of loaded ammo.
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Old July 24, 2013, 11:23 AM   #10
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What I learned from Phil Mickelson...from the British Open yesterday: The importance of your breathing cycle, is paramount in you're shooting.
OK now we hit on a pet peeve of mine....that being "breathing"

It's over rated. People spend so much time concentrating on breathing they are ignoring the other fundamentals of marksmanship.

I don't know anything about golf, never played it. But I know a bit about shooting so I'll address breathing while shooting.

First I'm going to assume, since this is Tactics and Training, its not just about handguns.

I want to use rifles to prove my point. But this also applies to handguns.

First, STOP WORRYING about breathing. Two things you can't do when you shoot is "breath" and "talk". Sure you can fake it but you really have to concentrate on breathing or talking instead of shooting.

When you pull the trigger, you're going to stop breathing, its natural. The point where the breathing cycle is, determines the longest period of time you have to pull the trigger.

Take what you learned in the army years ago; "Take a breath, let half out, and hold, then shoot". That's proven to be crap. That act takes away from concentrating on trigger control and sight picture.

Lets look at natural point of aim and follow through a second. We know natural point of aim is where you have a perfect sight picture without having to move the rifle left, right, up or down. In follow through, as you recover from the recoil you should fall back into your natural point of aim with your perfect sight alignment.

So lets add breathing to this. I mentioned that you want to find the spot of your breathing cycle where there is the longest period of non-movement, or NATURAL pause in your breathing.

That will be at the bottom of your breathing cycle, or when you let out your breath prior to taking the next breath. This is the point where you will be the most relaxed.

If you're read many of my post you know I'm a big fan of relaxation while shooting. Its the most under-rated fundamental of marksmanship.

So lets combine, relaxation, natural point of aim, perfect sight picture and breathing.

Lets get into position, get your sight picture with your natural point of aim. Meaning you're totally relaxed, there is no muscle movement needed to get your perfect sight picture. Combined this with breathing or should I say not breathing.

Get your NPA and sight picture at the end of the breathing cycle. Dry fire with your eyes close at the bottom of your breathing cycle. Then breath normally as part of follow through and again at the bottom of your breathing cycle open your eyes and see if you're perfectly lined up on the target.

If not you don't have a natural point of aim. Adjust and do it again until its perfect.

Now you're ready to shoot. You don't have to worry about breathing because your NPA is already set up for you to pull the trigger at the bottom of the breathing circle.

If the above procedure is followed, all you have to concentrate on is your trigger control. You're at rest so you don't have to worry about sight alignment and NPA. It's there. You also have more time to concentrate on your trigger because you're at the bottom of the breathing cycle so you have the longest period of inactivity.

Its natural, as your breath your sights move up and down. The want to fall back on target naturally at the end of the breathing cycle. You don't have to do it, it just happens.

OK is this off topic? I don't think so. The above applies to pistol/revolver shooting as well.

Practice develops muscle memory. No one doubts that. We need to take into account that bad practice develops bad muscle memory. Muscle memory is nothing more then habits. We can have bad habits or good habits.

If you practice concentrating on breathing, when it comes to the point you don't have time to think, you're going to revert to habits, or muscle memory.

If you developed a bad habit of concentrating on your breathing you're wasting valuable time in a panic situation where you don't have time to think.

As I said, there are two things you can't do while you shoot, (I'm not talking a shooting session, I'm talking the instant you pull the trigger).

Breathing and Talking. You stop both when you pull the trigger. Anyone who has any one on one combat style training is taught to get the other party talking to distract them. We use to do this in officer safety where we drew against someone else who has a gun pointed at you. Get him to talking and 99 out of 100 times you can draw and fire before he can shoot. Or if close you can grab the gun and deflect its aim while he is concentrating on talking.

DONT TRY THE ABOVE WITH REAL GUNS, use plastic training guns.

If you want to use real guns and ammo, fine, go to the range set up a target, have your shooting partner point his gun at the target telling him to fire when he sees you start to draw. You get him talking, you can beat him.

You can act faster then you can re-act.

You can't talk and shoot, breathing is the same thing so forget about it, trust me you wont die for lack of oxygen. Your sub-conscience will find a point where it will cause you stop breathing the instant you pull the trigger.

We all heard the statement " Practice doesn't make perfect, Prefect Practice makes Perfect".

Taking that in mind, forget about breathing while shooting. You have other things to distract you.
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Old July 24, 2013, 02:20 PM   #11
Strafer Gott
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Here here! There's just so much more going on, let breathing take care of itself! Dry firing and physical training will take care of breath control.
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Old July 24, 2013, 03:19 PM   #12
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Good points in this thread.

Last edited by Model12Win; July 24, 2013 at 03:31 PM.
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Old July 24, 2013, 05:16 PM   #13
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I can't say enough about the importance of dry firing. My ceramic rooster that sits on top of my tv set gets it daily...
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Old July 25, 2013, 08:32 AM   #14
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Yea, I had a similar experience. The first mag of 9mm out of 15 were barely IN the black at 7 yards. This is me who used to shoot 1" to 2" groups (holes) while firing 1/2 second between shots at the same distance when I used to shoot 2 to 3 times a week!

This moved me to spend some money on Laserlyte trainer cartridges/targets. Well worth the small investment to keep one's skills up.
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Old July 25, 2013, 09:34 AM   #15
g.willikers
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Yes, Kraigwy is correct.
Breathe normally at all times.
Unless you're underwater.
Seriously, who sez you're going to be able to get that calm when shooting.
Try holding your breath after running across a field or dropping suddenly to ground, going prone.
Or finally getting a bead on that prize game you've been stalking all day.
If you do, you will be the guy turning blue and shaking.
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Old July 25, 2013, 01:35 PM   #16
Erikbal
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Re: Practice - It's not enough to talk about it

I must admit I haven't been able to practice much lately at all. My problem is not having anywhere to shoot most of the time. I need to just join the local gun club so I can go whenever I want, I just haven't had the spare money. I should start dry practicing more.
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Old July 25, 2013, 07:33 PM   #17
Vanya
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Posts about the availability of ammo, etc., are off-topic for this thread. There's still just one thread where this information should be posted.
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Old July 25, 2013, 08:17 PM   #18
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I think we all need to practice more. Some like to sit and watch tv, others be with family, some its finances or findinging the ammo or driving to the range or etc....... Dry firing is free and in iffy about air guns. I shoot a lot of air guns at birds in the yard for fun and I believe it helps but nothing helps better than dry firing and really shooting your same gun with real ammo, kick, same point of aim, and same trigger. I vary rarely shoot my other handguns because I want my same Glock 22 to be the same gun that fits my hand like a glove and I know everything about my trigger and everything else. I can't complain about a range because I shoot in yard but others aren't so lucky. I shoot my gun about 5 days a week but I like everyone else still needs more practice. The biggest thing is here in Texas is the heat this time of year. Usually round 100 that why I walk on porch and shoot then walk in house to reload. Lol
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Old July 26, 2013, 02:19 PM   #19
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I can't say enough about the importance of dry firing. My ceramic rooster that sits on top of my tv set gets it daily...

LOL! I love how I understand this deeper than most.


+1 I highly recommended snap caps and tons of dry firing and learned where your reset is.
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Old July 26, 2013, 03:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine
Quote:
I can't say enough about the importance of dry firing. My ceramic rooster that sits on top of my tv set gets it daily...

LOL! I love how I understand this deeper than most.


+1 I highly recommended snap caps and tons of dry firing and learned where your reset is.
LOL Shall we talk about SOMEONE'S ceramic bunny rabbit???
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Old July 27, 2013, 08:25 AM   #21
g.willikers
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But those are static targets.
Think of all the moving ones in a typical tv show.
Dry fire them for a challenge.
Better yet, try these dry fire drills on your computer screen, from Matt Burkett:
http://www.predatortactical.com/cart...se_detail&id=5
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Old July 27, 2013, 09:40 AM   #22
LockedBreech
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Practice - It's not enough to talk about it

So, the dry fire thing was a good idea. I dry fired for a few days, then I went to visit my brother. He's a police officer and the highest rated pistol shooter in his agency. We went to their range and used a dueling tree (one of those towers with 6 steel spinner targets, and if you get them all spun to the other shooter's side, you win). He was on his Gen 3 Glock G22 and I was on my Beretta PX4, both drawing from holsters. We shot at 15, 20, and 25 yards. Of the 20-25 matches I won in the neighborhood of 10. I think a few days dry firing helped immensely.

I should also mention that on a long day of shooting, about 500 rounds each (we shot other targets too) the Glock and Beretta were both flawless. Later on at the rifle range I put another 500 or so from the prone position through my Daniel Defense, lying it in the dirt a few times. Also flawless. It was a boiling hot, windy, dirty day at the range so that's always nice to see your equipment run well when pushed a little.
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Old July 27, 2013, 02:03 PM   #23
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Re: Practice - It's not enough to talk about it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erikbal View Post
I must admit I haven't been able to practice much lately at all. My problem is not having anywhere to shoot most of the time. I need to just join the local gun club so I can go whenever I want, I just haven't had the spare money. I should start dry practicing more.
Well I finally went and did some shooting yesterday. A friend of mine is a member at the local gun club and took me as a guest. I took my 2 guns, Ruger SR9c and S&W Bodyguard .380. I must say, the more I shoot that Ruger, the more I love it! It is a VERY nice shooting gun and I shoot pretty well with it. I am shooting the best I ever have. I also put some rounds through my carry gun which is the .380, and shot well with that as well. That's not as accurate as far as the Ruger, but still a nice shooter. I shot off the HP's I've been carrying in it for a while now, and put some fresh ones in it. I was pleased to know that if I had ever needed it, it shot all 7 perfectly fine. I have yet to have a failure of any kind with either gun. Man it felt good to get out and shoot!
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Old July 27, 2013, 03:00 PM   #24
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50 pushups or some windsprints immediately followed by shooting gives a good idea of how much an accelerated heart rate can affect shooting (and also how it can be overcome with practice)

I might also add that I too belong to the dry fire club.
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Old July 27, 2013, 03:01 PM   #25
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I get a lot of shooting tips from golf color commentator's, because the shooting sports is similar to golf.

But back to breathing...with a few tips.

If you're shooting --- and your vision becomes blurry --- One possible reason...is that you're not breathing enough. That is...you're not getting enough oxygen to your eyes, which is due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.

Another...in certain instances, you can breathe to much --- which is hyperventilation. You can hyperventilate, buy having so much oxygen in your blood...and follow by holding your breath while shooting --- can actually make you pass out on the firing line. Some shooters...breath in a paper bag in order to store more carbon dioxide in the blood. {I'm not a medical expert on this, so I'd appreciate if anybody can verify this medical condition, or google: hyperventilation}.

In a relaxed state while shooting...you can inhale thru your nose and exhale thru your mouth --- with three deep breaths --- exhale on the last breath, and take the shot within 6 seconds.

In rapid fire...sometimes you'll have to hold/inhale your breath in spurts.
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