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Old December 31, 2016, 11:10 AM   #1
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Shooting left of center.

I am hoping for a few suggestions here. I shoot a 9mm Semi auto SW Shield. While the gun seems to perform well, I'm not happy with my accuracy and am pretty sure it is probably a flaw in my technique. At the range, I seem to consistently shoot left and slightly low of center to the bullseye. I do hit a few dead on, but maybe only 3 or 4 times out of 50 shots. I'm shooting the target at about 15 foot or so. What could be causing the shots to go left and low?
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Old December 31, 2016, 11:37 AM   #2
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Me too. But I only shoot about once every month and half. You're going to get all kinds of advice on this.
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Old December 31, 2016, 11:38 AM   #3
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Mostly poor grip technique.
There's other causes, too, but a weak contribution from the support hand will definitely do it.
Especially when the support hand loosens as the gun goes off.
A too tight of a grip from the shooting hand can do it regardless if you are shooting two handed or one handed.
It causes the trigger finger to stiffen and lock and push the gun off center when pulling the trigger.
Try to practice a strong grip that controls the pistol but still allows a flexible trigger finger.
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Old December 31, 2016, 01:39 PM   #4
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Try this...

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Old December 31, 2016, 01:50 PM   #5
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There's another(bigger) shot analysis here.
If you can keep 'em mostly in the black at 15 feet, you're fine though. Even the odd torso shot that goes to the '12/F1/F2' area will hurt. With a 3rd button on the shirt hold, one's liver is under the '12/F1/F2' area.
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Old December 31, 2016, 06:23 PM   #6
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It certainly is possible something about your technique is the root cause.It may be that a diagnostic target can help.
However,maybe not.

For me.a Shield has a skinny little grip that MY large hand did not find a home with.I went 9 .C.
You MIGHT find Talon grip decals helpful. If you ignore where your group is,are you shooting a good,consistant group? If you can shoot to the same spot every time,you CAN drift the rear sight for right/left.Shield sights don't move easy. I'd figure out a depth mic measurement to the sight and calculate the correction .
If your groups are loose,work on technique.A "coach" may see what is going on. If you are shooting good groups,change (drift) the sights

It mighr be that 115 gr vs 124 gr vs 147 gr loads will make a difference.

Point:Whether its you or the sights,you CAN get the windage calibrated.

Elevation? Its low?. Heavier bullet? Are you using 6 oclock hold? Try center hold. See where that gets you.
A Shield trigger takes some skill and focus.Some dry firing may help.There are drills,such as balancing a dime on the front sight,which can help.

Last edited by HiBC; December 31, 2016 at 06:29 PM.
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Old December 31, 2016, 06:44 PM   #7
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First, ignore the charts.

Next, you did not say, but if shots are going low and left I will put money on that you are a right handed shooter. Yes?

What causes left movement the majority of time as a right handed shooter is you press the trigger you are increasing the pressure from the the rest of the fingers of the primary hand which will cause the gun to move to the support side. Think of it as as a pumping type motion.

The low is a result of pushing on the gun with the primary hand..

The best fix, get professional help.

Other wise the short answer because I type worse than a T-Rex, increase the grip from the support side hand.
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Old January 1, 2017, 09:37 AM   #8
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Thanks for your advice. I really do appreciate it. The charts are interesting. I do have Talon grips on the gun. It's the first time I have shot the gun with the Talons installed. My groupings were a bit better beforehand, though still often low and left.
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Old January 18, 2017, 02:57 PM   #9
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low and left

Something to consider. Here is another thought as predicted earlier in this thread. Low and left groups are some times associated with a sudden trigger pull rather than a slow (sort of) steady (definitely) trigger press associated with a surprise break. Are you getting a surprise break? Is the trigger in question smooth and without any “grating” or metal on metal sensation? I have seen what you describe in some of my friends who see the sights line up on the desired point of impact and unconsciously say, “There it is” and pull the trigger rather than use a steady trigger press while keeping the sights on the desired point of impact as well as possible. Very few people can hold the pistol absolutely steady and will see the sight picture wobble. You may be able to see this fault in action by balancing a coin on the top of the slide and dry firing.....the coin should not fall off if you are doing it right. It may help to have a friend watch while you fire to see if you are moving the pistol at the time of the trigger press.
Hope this helps.
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Old January 19, 2017, 07:08 AM   #10
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When I first got my shield 9mm I had to do a lot of dry to get comfy w trigger. I also was shooting left. I found two things that helped me. Focus on my support hand grip and a Suttle lean forward of my torso.
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Old January 21, 2017, 07:09 PM   #11
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Low left for a right hander is often an indication of jerking the trigger.
  1. The first principle of accurate shooting is trigger control: a smooth press straight back on the trigger with only the trigger finger moving. Maintain your focus on the front sight as you press the trigger, increasing pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Don't try to predict exactly when the gun will go off nor try to cause the shot to break at a particular moment. This is what Jeff Cooper called the "surprise break."

  2. By keeping focus on the front sight and increasing pressure on the trigger until the gun essentially shoots itself, you don’t anticipate the shot breaking. But if you try to make the shot break at that one instant in time when everything seem steady and aligned, you usually wind up jerking the trigger.

  3. Of course the gun will wobble a bit on the target. It is just not possible to hold the gun absolutely steady. Because you are alive, there will always be a slight movement caused by all the tiny movement associated with being alive: your heart beating; tiny muscular movements necessary to maintain your balance, etc. Try not to worry about the wobble and don’t worry about trying to keep the sight aligned on a single point. Just let the front sight be somewhere in a small, imaginary box in the center of the target.

  4. Practice deliberately, making every shot count, to program good habits and muscle memory. Dry practice is very helpful. You just want to triple check that the gun is not loaded, and there should be no ammunition anywhere around. When engaging in dry practice, religiously follow Rule 2 - Never Let Your Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy." As you dry fire, you want to reach the point where you can't see any movement of the sight as the sear releases and the hammer/striker falls.

  5. You'll want to be able to perform the fundamentals reflexively, on demand without conscious thought. You do that by practicing them slowly to develop smoothness. Then smooth becomes fast.

    1. Remember that practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

    2. Practice also makes permanent. If you keep practicing doing something poorly, you will become an expert at doing it poorly.

  6. It may help to understand the way humans learn a physical skill.

    1. In learning a physical skill, we all go through a four step process:

      1. unconscious incompetence, we can't do something and we don't even know how to do it;

      2. conscious incompetence, we can't physically do something even though we know in our mind how to do it;

      3. conscious competence, we know how to do something but can only do it right if we concentrate on doing it properly; and

      4. unconscious competence, at this final stage we know how to do something and can do it reflexively (as second nature) on demand without having to think about it.

    2. To get to the third stage, you need to think through the physical task consciously in order to do it perfectly. You need to start slow; one must walk before he can run. The key here is going slow so that you can perform each repetition properly and smoothly. Don't try to be fast. Try to be smooth. Now here's the kicker: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. You are trying to program your body to perform each of the components of the task properly and efficiently. As the programing takes, you get smoother; and as you get smoother you get more efficient and more sure, and therefore, faster.

    3. I have in fact seen this over and over, both in the classes I've been in and with students that I've helped train. Start slow, consciously doing the physical act smoothly. You start to get smooth, and as you get smooth your pace will start to pick up. And about now, you will have reached the stage of conscious competence. You can do something properly and well as long as you think about it.

    4. To go from conscious competence to the final stage, unconscious competence, is usually thought to take around 5,000 good repetitions. The good news is that dry practice will count. The bad news is that poor repetitions don't count and can set you back. You need to work at this to get good.

    5. If one has reached the stage of unconscious competence as far as trigger control is concerned, he will be able to consistently execute a proper, controlled trigger press quickly and without conscious thought. Of course one needs to practice regularly and properly to maintain proficiency, but it's easier to maintain it once achieved than it was to first achieve it.

  7. Front sight, press, surprise.
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Old January 22, 2017, 10:56 AM   #12
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On the other hand, a recent podcast interview with one of the top competitive shooters explained that with the proper grip, jerking the trigger won't necessarily result in off center hits.
It was very interesting and contradicted what has been part of most standard training.
The interviewee said a good strong neutral grip will prevent the gun from moving anywhere but straight up and back down, minimizing what the trigger finger is doing.
I'll see if I can find the podcast again.
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Old January 22, 2017, 11:43 AM   #13
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I have the same issue when I shoot a new pistol. I normally do some dry fire pratice and watch the front sight post only and watch where it moves and/or load snapcaps randomly in my mags to see what I may be doing wrong.
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Old January 22, 2017, 12:07 PM   #14
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Try dry firing while focusing on the sight picture when the trigger breaks. You may notice the front sight jumps sideways (to the left in this case). Adjust trigger finger placement may correct that. But it may also be caused by excessive over-travel. I fixed a few for my customers with over-travel limits.

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Old January 22, 2017, 05:41 PM   #15
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Probably the two best shooting tips I've received, and pretty recently I'll add, are:

Your grip on the gun is secondary to the placement of your finger on the trigger. This came from an article from Jerry Miculek. I had been trying to find the best grip and then placing my finger on the trigger. That, I've learned, is backwards.

Second, don't worry too much about aim. What you are trying to accomplish as a marksman is to make sure the barrel does not move while pulling the trigger. Make that happen, and you're a marksman. Aim is then only a matter of lining up your sight picture.
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Old January 22, 2017, 11:56 PM   #16
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Unload the gun, then unload it again. Point it at a mark on the wall. Rack the slide and press the trigger and see which your sights move as you do.
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Old February 21, 2017, 09:50 PM   #17
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Throw away the pie chart. It was designed for diagnosing problems in one handed bullseye shooting, not two handed shooting which is how most new shooters start off. You'll just end up chasing bullet holes and wasting money.

Dry fire alone will not fix this. Dry fire will demonstrate to yourself that you have the ability to maintain your sight picture while pressing the trigger to the rear. It will not expose poor technique or flinching under live fire. Once you become an expert at dry firing, you need to move onto Ball and Dummy Drills.

I'm too lazy to type out what that entails, but this is a good, concise explanation.

It has nothing to do with how much trigger finger is on the trigger, stance, grip, how much pressure you have on the gun with each hand, where the sun is, what time of day it is, or whether you have your lucky hunting camo underpants on that day. Trigger control, sight alignment - that's all that matters at this point.
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Old February 24, 2017, 09:50 PM   #18
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It is just my opinion but I have thought for a long time that it is difficult to learn how to control the trigger finger "gently" while using the rest of the hand to hold the handgun firmly. Probably not much of an issue with a .22 such as a Ruger Mk I, II, III, etc. I suspect expert trainers know how to deal with this - basically teaching the brain how to control different parts of the hand differently. By "teaching the brain" I mean a "LOT" of practice with and without supervision.
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Old March 23, 2017, 11:57 AM   #19
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The Shield is a great gun and capable of EXCELLENT accuracy. So, don't blame the Shield.

If you're shooting low-left, chances are you're "gripping" the gun as you pull the trigger. What this means is that you're squeezing all your fingers simultaneously, versus just isolating your trigger finger. When you do this, you're putting pressure on the left side of the gun just before it shoots, which will drive it down and to the left.

Try this, grab the gun and do some dry fire, focusing on keeping the rest of your hand still. Note how this affects the sight picture. Hopefully that should fix it. Then it just becomes a matter of forcing the discipline of doing it with a loaded gun.
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Old March 25, 2017, 11:21 PM   #20
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This might sound stupid but why not compensate and adjust your aim accordingly.

I shoot 3 different guns. Two are 357 mags both Rugers.
One is a GP100 4" and the other is SP101 2.5".

Last and now my BFC is my Glock 19 9mm.

All three I shoot slightly different. The Mags shoot slightly lower left and the Glock shoots the opposite. I am left handed and my left eye is dominate. I do practice mostly left handed, but always try to shoot some rounds with right hand.

I'm very sure that if I go take some advanced courses, I would shoot differently
than I am now.
Shoot well and be Accurate,

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Old April 17, 2017, 05:32 PM   #21
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Doc, I adjust my sights to allow for my ( bad techniques lol) and I shoot a lot. It works for me..
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Old April 19, 2017, 09:47 PM   #22
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shooting left of center

My hands are "average." Trigger Finger doesn't set as well as I wanton many guns.
Pulling with the last joint or end tends to pull left for me. In the joint pulls right some times.
The Vaquero seems to shoot left with me just a bit. The front sight has been moved or bent a bit left at factory, apparently. I've learned to compensate a bit over time. One reason I'm more accurate at instinct shooting without sighting.
I have wondered if putting after market grips on it and S&W 59 and Hi Power might shorten trigger length but haven't heard anyone in regard to this reason.
Thinner grips might help a bunch?
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Old April 21, 2017, 03:01 PM   #23
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I would try proper rest testing, perhaps a more skilled shooter can test it. I recall Skeeter Skelton writing that all fixed sighted handguns always shot about an inch left for him.
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Old April 22, 2017, 03:03 PM   #24
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A proper, and consistent grip is necessary to accuracy with all handguns and most rifles. Once you have a consistent grip you adjust the sights to get the gun on target. If your grip tightens, as you shoot, the gun can start shooting low and toward the right for right hand shooters and left for left hand shooters.
I see this a lot when shooting falling plates the first round hits center, the next hits lower on the plate and the rest hit the frame below the plates. The reason this happens is that under recoil the shooter subconsciously grips tighter to remain on target. when this happens I usually suggest a "strangle hold" on the gun at the start and that usually takes care of the problem. If your grip loosens then you start hitting higher.
If you are consistently hitting left of center then adjust your sights - it's easier than changing your grip and learning to hold that grip. Work with the grip you have as it is already consistent and move the sights to adjust your point of impact. Having someone else shoot your gun will only tell you how well they can shoot (or not) and will tell you nothing about where you shoot or should be hitting.
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