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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I really laid off shooting the Taurus for about six months. I went from 200 rounds per week to 50, if I was lucky.

I shoot at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 25 yards. My 25 yard groups have suffered tremendously. This morning I've been through 40 rounds of ammo and I've gotten better, but for a strange reason.

I started out with two playing card setups (sorry, no pics for a change). They were just playing cards with red backs taped to a piece of thin cardboard and nailed to a dead tree.

The first group of 15 was all over the 8.5"x11" piece of cardboard. The second looked promising as I nailed the first shot dead center and hit the card three times total, but unbeknownst to me the target came loose and blew ever so slightly in the wind, giving my target the "close, but no cigar" award.

I figured some of the problem was that my front sight covers the playing card at 25yds, so I got a 6" paper plate, taped it to the cardboard, and proceeded to shoot a 5.5" seven shot group onto the plate from an unsupported Weaver stance.. I shot 10 rounds total and, again, the target came undone even with three auxillary nails keeping it secured. One could have also been my fault.

Now, this pistol was capable of 4" when I got it, and would do sub-2" groups after I 'smithed it. I know what it's capable of, and everything checks out mechanically. It's not the pistol. It's definitely me.

The strange thing is that, if I use something playing card sized to aim at, I will not hit it consistently and my groups will be blown out. I go to something larger and I will land almost every shot on it. It seems I must be able to see part of the target on either side of the sights. This never used to be me. I've always believed in "aim small, miss small" before it was stated as such. Given, I did widen the front site a bit, but I wouldn't think it would have this much impact.

I don't get that at all. Any clues, besides the front sight?

As well, what do you expect from yourself at 25yds, using a full-sized gun? I'm not talking about race guns here, but carry pieces which may or may not have been worked over depending on your tastes.

I got so wrapped up in these little guns that I neglected practice with the big one and now I'm paying.

Any help?

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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Mr. Josh,

One thought hits me for you to think about. When your groups begin to open up on you - are you really looking clearly at the front sight, or are you looking at the target too? When I am shooting one of my full size carry pistols, I shoot at a reasonable pace at 25 yds. Our course of fire is to shoot 6 rds within 25 seconds at 25 yds, so I have developed that mental trigger pull that keeps me well within times shooting. I think 25 seconds is far too long personally, but I started off only having 15 seconds to shoot 6 rounds at 25, and 20 second to fire 6 at 35 yards. I had to move back to 50 yards before I got 25 seconds, lol.

If I get much more than about 2.5" groups at 25 yds I get mad at myself. Normally when they begin to open up on me, I realize that I do not have a crystal clear front sight with everything else being blurred - I am trying to cheat and look more clearly at my target. Once I refocus on my front sight, my groups begin to tighten back up.

I have also noticed for me personally, the longer I have gone between shooting sessions, the easier the temptation is to look at my target too. So I have to start talking to myself about concentrating on my front sight more. Once I do my group tightens up.

I am not a competition shooter and never have been. Just a LEO shooting for proficiency. Before you get mad at youself that I shoot tighter groups normally, remember too, I have been shooting as a LEO longer than you have been alive, lol. That does make a difference Mr. Josh. If I slowed my pace a bit I suspect my groups would get much tighter, but I would rather shoot at a more realistic pace for me. Normally I shoot faster at 25 yds than 6 in 25 too. To me that has always been a very generous time allowance, as it used to be 15 seconds. During quals I normally have fired my 6 rounds off within about 12 to 15 seconds. With practice I have developed a mental tempo that keeps me well within the alloted time allowances.

But you are younger, fitter, with shaper eyes and reflexes now too. So just concentrate on keeping the front sight clear and let everything else blur a bit. Look at your target after you have fired that string, and resist the urge to see it during your firing.

Just a suggestion for you to try sometime too. You might try a straight isos stance and see how your groups look. When the school folks interviewed all the LEOs involved in shootings, most fired from weaver or modified weaver in practice - but realized during the shooting they had used a straight isoc stance. It is a more natural, reflexive stance. That is what the gun school taught, and I was lucky that I was already using it anyway.

Your groups might get even wider using the isos stance or they might tighten up a bit - really only one way to find out.

I have discovered over the years that inside I am far more of an instinctive shooter too. I really only use both sights properly from about 15 yds on back. Closer up I just find my front sight more than a normal sight picture. I have also found that the longer I take to shoot my rounds, the more of a tendency I have for my groups to widen on me as well. That is another reason I generally try to shoot them at a quicker tempo as well - my groups tend to stay a bit tighter for me too.

You do a lot of instinctive type practice from what I recall Mr. Josh. What kind of time frames are you using at 25 yds. As odd as it might sound, your groups might tighten a bit if you shot a bit faster too. Again just a thought for you to try and see what happens.

Good luck - let me know if any of this helps you at all.

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mr. Twoguns,

I just got up (late night) and will likely try what you suggest; ie, I may be looking through my front sight.

I just didn't feel like I was in "the zone" where the gun ceased to really matter, if you get my drift.

I'll report back today or tomorrow.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mr. Twoguns,

I just got back in from shooting.

Before I went out I reblued my front sight as it was getting a bit shiny.

I sped up my shooting as you suggested, and plunked three rounds into a 1-1/4" center to center group. Problem is I had two flyers (I fired five), and as I had attached playing cards to the 6" plates I've been using, I don't know where they went. I'm guessing they were just a bit below the group on the plate, but that post is so shot up I have no way of really telling.

All impacted below the playing card. The reason for this is, the sights are regulated such that with any standard 9mm ammo, the impact point and the white dot coincide at 25yds. This is handy for quick and dirty shooting, but not for a bullseye hold. I may go grab some centerfire pistol targets tomorrow though, and see what I can do with a big orange dot to aim at.

As well, I was making it hard on myself by shooting all 15 rounds at once. Dividing five shots into three targets is much easier.

I also learned that if I try too hard, I just won't hit anything. Earlier I had one eye closed and got huge groups (by my standards). Just now I had both eyes open and didn't worry about pass/fail, just have fun.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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I certainly relate to the front sight obscuring the target at 25 yards. I'm sixty-one, and wear corrective lenses. Focus on the front sight, not the target? Okay. Shoot faster? I find this in fact works: instinct over calculation. Isosceles is a more natural stance than modified Weaver? Mmh. You guys are raising questions I hadn't asked of myself. I'll try all of them tomorrow at the range. And hope I'm in the zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I find Weaver is more natural for me. I have very wide shoulders and it's a bit of a stretch to use an iscosceles stance. As well, a Weaver is very similar to my martial arts postures.

It's just whichever works for you. I shoot WWII style half the time as well.

Josh <><
 

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Howdy folks,

Mr. Josh I am glad to hear you had the chance to get back out and do some more shooting. Before you rush out and buy new targets, just a suggestion. Go to Midway and look for their pistol and rifle targets, that I think are on their main page. These are pdf files you can download and save in your puter. Then you just pull them up and print x number of them.

I often find myself shooting them. Even though I have a wide assortment of various targets, these work fine for most of my shooting. When I am testing a reload for accuracy, I use their rifle targets and can get two different powder charges fired twice on one target. The pistol target is larger and nearly fills standard paper. I generally use it for either pistols or rifles fired a longer distances.


Mr. degatesjr,

When you have had the chance to try some of these tomorrow, please share your thoughts with us. They may help, they may not, but there is only one way to find out.

On the front sight issue, that one will help I think. It is impossible for our eyes to focus clearly on multiple items at the same time, try as we might. If you are seeing the target clearly then it sounds like you are focusing on the target and not your front sight. I try my best to keep my front sight crystal clear. This leaves my rear sight a bit blurry and the target even more so.

But from what the "experts" claim, while your target is blurry subconsciously you are still centering your shots up on it. I don't understand the reasons behind it, but I do seem to shoot centered on the target. Recently I have adjusted my aiming point to a saucer sized spot level with the armpits (the true location of the heart, according to some very knowledgable members). I notice that my shots stay centered in that aiming point now too. So I do think that subconsciously we are somehow centering our rounds where we want to aim.

Times my groups upset me, I realize I do not have a clear front sight. Once I concentrate on keeping it the clearest, my groups do tend to tighten up. You have me by 6 years, and I wear tri-focals now, lol. They took some getting used to at first, but now I can really keep my front sight very sharp.

On the isos stance, maybe "instinctive" is a better word to use than natural. The point I was trying to make (and may have done so poorly) was really a surprise to the shooter working up this shooting system for the Seals. They were given access to police shooting records, and a means of contacting the LEOs involved. Those who were willing to discuss their shootings with them explained they normally did all practice and qualification shooting using either the Weaver or modified Weaver stance.

But almost without exception when they were actually confronted with a situation requiring the use of deadly force they realized after the fact they had fired their rounds using the isos stance. The person developing this training for the Seals was a well known competition shooter, who had been making a serious name for himself in recent matches using his 1911 pistol. He was a firm modified weaver shooter himself. But in developing this course of instruction, he too made the switch to the isoc stance. He stated he felt it had help him in competition as well.

Since attending this shooting school in 1992, I have noted that more and more police agencies seem to be moving back to the isoc stance in training. This observation is based primarily on using a common range facility used by multiple agencies and observing their range work.

When I have been able to speak with their instructors and questioned the stance, the reason normally given is with the advent of body armor, that stance was adopted because it tends not to expose unprotected portions of the officer to possible hits as readily as other stances could. Facing the bad guy head on, provides the maximum protection from the armor.

Also for tactical team members who normally wear much heavier exposed body armor, along with equipment vests, kevlar helmets, etc,. many discover given all the extra equipment the isos stance is the most comfortable one to use in training as well - both with pistols and long guns. Our tactical team has made the transition over to the isos stance in training and many of the "old weaver/modified weaver" shooter have found their groups improving a bit as well.

It is not my intent to try to fix anything for anyone that is not broken. I am simply trying to offer some new thoughts to try while shooting. If they seem to help, then maybe you want to keep working on them. If not then stay with what works best for you.

I do think doing what works best for the individual shooter is the way to go. Just shooting more often is a big help and often will have a way of solving many problems too. Just my thoughts for what they are worth.

Shoot well and shoot often,

twoguns
 
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Josh, I don't believe that stance is nearly as important as grip. I really think that any two-handed stance will do, as long as it helps stabilize the gun for that individual.

Take my stance, for instance.

Because of the workout I do daily, which concentrates less on building "show muscle" like biceps, and more on building stabilizing muscle and core strength, which is more important in the type of explosive actions necessary in actual combat, I have exceptionally large shoulders for the rest of my build. I also spend at least five minutes a day training rigorously with a "Captain of Crush" gripper, rated at 140 lbs. When I go into my normal stance, which resembles a right triangle more than it does an isosceles, I tense up my shoulders. I'm also cross-dominant, so I have to weld my right cheek to my shoulder, which requires me hunch up even higher, making my neck disappear. Combining all this with the most ferocious crush grip my hands can manage turns my upper torso into a stabilized gun platform.

People say it's kind of funny, because I go from looking kind of skinny and lanky to looking like a big knot of muscle on top of a stick figure.

I wouldn't recommend this stance for most folks, though, It works for me because those muscles are all so overdeveloped, and tensing them against one another that way provides exceptional stability. Most people would probably just develop a strong tendency to pull their shots from this stance, due to some muscle group overpowering the others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've found something funny as I've been practicing with my snubby (100 rounds now): I shoot that dang thing in more of an aggressive isoscelese but I shoot the automatics in a modified Weaver.

Strange.

Josh <><
 

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Josh, TwoGuns, Chubby, et al---

I took a page from Josh's book and shot up half a deck of playing cards this morning at the range. I wasn't looking for "groups," exactly, just trying to see if I could hit the cards, which measure about 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. Started at 5 yards, and went out at 5-yard increments to 25. My results weren't very encouraging. As Josh points out, if the front sight obscures the target, and you have no white periphery to gauge target placement by, you're sort of taking its position on faith, and anything past 15 yards, for me, produced an embarrassing performance.

However (with a tip of the hat to Mr. TwoGuns), at ten and 15 yards, an isosceles stance improved my shooting over MW, much to my chagrin. On average, three hits on a card using MW, four with isos. So, although the stance doesn't feel as "natural" or comfortable to me as MW, it's definitely food for thought. Also, I think my abysmal showing at 25 yards is more bad eyesight than stance or grip. At that range, with my focus on the front sight, it might as well be Penelope Cruz and it wouldn't make a particle of difference.

A footnote: I was shooting five-shot strings at about ten-second intervals, again, sort of trying to replicate Josh's protocol, and using two weapons, an alloy-frame .38 Super and a .45 in steel. Both have the same felt recoil, but with the lighter gun, it's harder to recover a stable sight picture quickly, so I obviously had better results with the heavier one.

This is all unscientific, and I don't know if it's helpful.

Best, David

PS: I had a dangerous range mishap, which I'll post elsewhere.
 

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Mr. David,

I enjoyed your range report very much, and can not stop grinning at some of your comments about your 25 yards efforts (tips my hat).

Just a suggestion or two for you to try during your next session - maybe the playing card is simply too small to give you much practice with the front sight and whichever stance you want to use at that point. You could consider moving up a bit to either paper/plastic plates with you staple or tape to your target. Or I will make the same suggestion I made to Mr. Josh.

Go to the Midway site and on their main page will be a link for both rifle and pistol targets in the pdf format. You can save them to your puter and print them out whenever the urge strikes. I have a huge assortment of various targets, and more and more I find I use the Midways more and more.

But either the Midway targets or plates would give you a larger aiming point without being covered by your front sight close up. The Midways are designed with 1" markings as well, so you can judge your groups a bit easier with them as well.

If any of my suggestions helped at all, I am glad they did. I have already posted to your mishap, and am glad no one was seriously injured at all sir. I think that was simply a ricochet and not a squib load. But I would have needed to be watching you to be positive of that too.

Shoot well and shoot often - us old "farts" are like dinosaurs these days. We need to avoid extinction whenever possible (grinning).

twoguns
 

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I shoot fast because I feel that way you become use to a quick reaction situation. I feel anyone can shoot better slowly but drawing and placing a full mag or cylinder in the chest area of ta target is better. I try to place each shot within 4" center of the chest or head. I practice at 25 feet that way. i can do this with two 13 rd mag changes with my BHP Practical in under 55 seconds. Look At ME, Look At ME! I shoot a "Combat" course once in a while and I shoot 2 in the chest and 1 in the head. I like to shoot 2 in the chest and head but that brings my time up a little.

I've shoot at playing cards and such and I have done that at 25yds. My best was with a S&W 686 4" with a crowned barrel. 18 rds in that card at 25yds. LOOK AT ME! That was about 10 years ago before I needed glasses. I wonder what I could do now with that gun.

With that I've had several handguns crowned. My last was my BHP 40cal. I haven't had the time to shoot it yet but when I do I'll post the range report. It will be under "LOOK AT ME!"
Thanks guys,
 
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