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Old May 8, 2005, 10:22 PM   #1
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Case of the jitters

Was out shooting today and met a guy shooting the same pistol as I was. We talked for a bit and then started shooting. I think we were shooting at 15 yds, I forget how far the first stop is exactly. He was blowing the centers out of his 2 inch red dots on paper plates, and most times holding 10 shot strings in about an inch. If I can hold 4" groups, it's a good day for me with a pistol.

I just cant seem to get any kind of grip or stance were I can hold a steady aim. Rifle shooting I do just fine. With my K31 and open sites I can shoot 2MOA with ease, and even with my iron sighted 22LR I can hit out to 100yds just fine. But I just cant for the life of me hold a steady sight picture with any kind of pistol.

My arms arent the steadiest for whatever reason. I dont have Parkinsons or anything, I just cant hold my arms out and keep them still. I dont have much caffiene, I should be plenty strong enough (got that linebacker figure), and I usually get out to shoot for about 2 hrs or so a week. Is there anything I could do to try and improve my aim? I'd really like to try hunting with a pistol, but as it is right now, I dont think that'd be a good idea.

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Old May 8, 2005, 11:15 PM   #2
Colonel Klink
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I had the same problem for awhile. I found I was yanking on the trigger when the sight was were I wanted it instead of a steady trigger press. Have someone load your gun with some snap caps and watch what happens to the sights when you pull the trigger. If the sights don't stay on the target you know what you are doing. Allow the sight to wander on the target while you pull the trigger so you don't know when it will fire. You didn't tell us what stance you use. Try bending your elbows a little.
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Old May 8, 2005, 11:22 PM   #3
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Randy, . . .

It is all, . . . absolutely all, . . . muscle memory.

Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, . . . well, . . . it does.

You have obviously spent some serious time shooting a rifle to get where you are, . . . put an equivalent time into the pistol, . . . and it will happen.

Serious time spent dry firing will help, . . . as well as time spent with a .22 instead of a bigger bore.

Keep at it. AND, . . . every range session, keep your best target. If you only shoot silhouettes or something like that, . . . make up some 4 inch black circles on your computer printer on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Shoot 10 rounds at it just before you leave. Keep them and after you have a stack of 10 or so (all dated of course), . . . compare them.

You will be seeing the group size come down.

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Old May 9, 2005, 12:14 AM   #4
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Randy, You need to relax. You're trying too hard and jerking the trigger as you pass target. You're not in competition and don't fell like you HAVE to shoot as well as people with more experience. Just relax and get comfortable with your pistol and it'll come.
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Old May 9, 2005, 10:36 AM   #5
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The actual trigger pull I'm not too bad at. I still do pull sometimes, but I always know when I'm doing it. The part I'm having trouble with is actually holding my arms out straight in front of me and keeping them still. I'm talking like if my hands are empty, and I hold my arms out like I'd be if I were shooting, they do not stay still. Or if I'd reach out and just point at something my finger cant stay right on it, my arm kinda wiggles around. I've used the auto pistol correctional target to train myself about my actual trigger pull. I hope that clears up a little what I'm asking about.

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Old May 9, 2005, 11:16 AM   #6
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Time for some outside help - get a coach or go to a class. Untold benefits await if you get someone who knows how to shoot to observe and critique your form... maybe that guy who was punching out 1" holes could be a buddy? Find one...

Another possibility in the meantime - try a different stance/hold. Sounds like you're using iscoceles (both arms straight out and squared to the target). Very strong and rigid stance, but all one directional and some people are jittery with it. So switch - try bending your weakside elbow while keeping your stringside straight and shift your weakside toward the target fourty five degrees or whatever's comfortable. Feet follow too, weakside a little forward of weak. Pull toward yourself with the bent arm's hand while pressing forward with the strong hand, providing isometric (opposing) tension. What you'll have is a sort of Weaver stance. (Threre's more to it than that, but a knowledgeable coach/instructor can help) This may help steady you if you have involuntary wiggles.

And it may not. The joys of studying form!
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Old May 9, 2005, 12:15 PM   #7
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Since you're a marksman you should probably already know this, but just remember bras when you shoot. Breath, Relax, Aim, Squeeze- take a breath in and let it 80% out then hold and relax. That should steady you up a little bit. Also, being strong at somethings isn't necessarily strong at others, just practice holding steady, do some shoulder exercises, develop muscle memory like Dwight said. A lot of things can affect your stability, I wouldn't give up on it, just look for what works.
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Old May 9, 2005, 03:02 PM   #8
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I have the same problem, my arms just kind of shake I guess is the best way to put it. I don't have any kind of diseases or disorders, nor do I have a flinch; my hands just aren't very steady. I also shoot fine with rifles.

Its like they say though, practice makes perfect. I go the range whenever money allows, and do tons of dry fire practice. The dry firing has really helped.

While I am by no means an extremely accurate shooter, all the dry firing has helped considerably and my groups are getting smaller.
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Old May 9, 2005, 03:52 PM   #9
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I had that problem with my Grandpa's P95 this weekend... though I caught myself flinching TWICE(me.. flinch.. at a 9mm.. scary). My groups were only 5" at 7 yards(horrid).

I think its learning the gun, and drying firing like crazy while keeping yourself steady. Before I ever shot my Super Blackhawk, I would practice grip, pointing, cocking, and shooting, and I did so quite often.

.22's also help..

I sorta just played the echo but yeah..
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Old May 10, 2005, 06:13 PM   #10
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As has been mentioned, but I'll rephrase it. No matter how good of condition you are in, shooting uses different muscles. You need to develop those muscles. Going to the range isn't enough. In the past, target shooters suggested dry firing practice, but also hanging a camera or something similar on the gun to increase the weight you are holding. This helps develop those muscles used for shooting.

Dry fire practice and 22 rimfire pistol shooting are excellent ways to increase your general pistol shooting ability.
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Old May 10, 2005, 10:11 PM   #11
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if you like hot or cold caffeine

try staying off of it on the days you shoot, can make a big difference. did for me.
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Old May 11, 2005, 09:30 PM   #12
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Little tiny groups are huge confidence builders and they sure make you look great in fron of other shooters, but think about it for a moment. If you can shoot a group, under stress, at 15 yards, that you can cover with both hands (that are COM), you will be able to handle (from a marksmanship perspective) 99.999% of all situations you could be faced with.

For experienced shooters, shooting a tight group at 15 yards is not hard. Doing it while adrenaline is pumping, hands are shaking, and the other guy(s) are shooting at you, that's not so easy. With practice the small groups will come. As long as you are practicing good habits and are striving to improve, be satisfied with what you have. You said you are a better shot with a rifle. Rifles are easier to shoot. You will, most likely, never have to engage a target past 25 yards with a pistol. If you have one past 25 yards you should probably have a rifle anyway. I know, anything can happen, so no one flame me. This is just a "most likely" scenario.

What other people are able to do could be a good goal to shoot for (no pun intended), but don't beat yourself up too bad about it if you are taking steps to get there. You just haven't gotten there yet - "yet" being the operative word.
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Old May 11, 2005, 09:33 PM   #13
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And having to practice more means I get to reload more! It's a win-win situation! Double the practice, double the fun...

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Old May 11, 2005, 10:20 PM   #14
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Really, the correct thing is"perfect practice makes perfect". You already have a good concept of shooting. As suggested, find a coach, attend a good shooting school. I bet you'll see great bennefit from the trained eye of a good most of us. Maybe he can get you to the perfect practice...heck, I wish I could go too! Let us know what happens.
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Old May 12, 2005, 09:11 AM   #15
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yorec already mentioned this, but for as much as this technique helped ME, it bears repeating....

I was wobbly until I started using a "Push, Pull" technique with my Weaver stance. That is, with your gun hand, push out (employing the triceps), while with your support hand, pull in (employing the biceps). Use equal amounts of tension in both hands and they cancel each other out, leaving - for me at least - a much steadier, less wobbly sight picture. Give 'er a try!
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