Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Om.

I've never had any professional firearms training. Everything I've learned about shooting is a result of help from my husband and just going to the range with a pistol, a big box of ammunition and the will to keep at it until I got something right. Some might call it stubbornness - or even stupidity, considering how many times I ended up with a hand numb from recoil and no good targets to show for it - but I seem to need to learn by doing, by feeling how things work.

And just this past week, I felt myself shooting well...

(+/- 25 feet, Bersa thunder .380)

I've been consciously slowing down my trigger finger. I line up my sights, take a breath, hold it and squeeze so slowly that when the gun does go off, I am surprised. I shot the first six rounds this way and was rewarded every time. I fired the last shot for contrast, pulling the trigger too quickly, as I normally would. Close, and still deadly if it came to it, but I didn't feel the same control.

Yoga at the range. The measured pranayama breathing, the focus on posture and small muscle movements, the quieting of the mind - "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" will be my new mantra.

27 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Did we both reproduce the "slow is smooth smooth is fast" at the same time on the same day?

Steve Skubinna said...

Muscle memory is a large part of practical shooting. Develop your stance so that it's smooth and natural to get into, and so that your sights come onto target without effort. Had you taken professional training (and you might even have heard this from ad hoc instructors) you'd know about natural point of aim and how to build a stance around it that is easily repeatable.

But keep an open mind, watch other shooters, and don't be shy about adopting what works and abandoning what doesn't. Not every technique is right for everyone.

ajdshootist said...

What steve skubinna says is so true i was and am a club and county coach over here and i always like to find out what works for the shooter,in one handed slow fire with a pistol i could never get on with the six o'clock point of aim me i like and shoot best when im aiming for the middle i aim for what i want to hit,but again whatever works for you.

Breda said...

TBolt, your post was the inspiration for this one.

zeeke42 said...

Do you do any dry fire at home? It's made marked improvement for me, and best of all it's free. Dry fire makes it easy to focus on trigger control so you can press smoothly without disturbing the sight picture. You don't have the recoil at the end, so you can see exactly what you're doing right or wrong. This also translates to learning how to call your shots in live fire.

phlegmfatale said...

Excellent. I vow to learn from your example!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I need to change it for me. For me the quote should be, "Slow is down and right, down and right is still loud."

Glenn Bartley said...

Nice shooting. If you ever are in a hectic situation or just shooting poorly at the range, just mentally sayb the word squeeze to yourself slowly. The shots will come as a surprise and hit the mark; but really you look as if you are doing well enough without my help.

cocked and loaded said...

Nice shooting. I need to improve
my handgun accuracy.

Ted said...

Wow. #2 son laughs at me because while enthusiastic, I'm not really accurate. Don't think he'd laugh at you.

Well done.

Earl said...

And... how is the left hand shooting coming along? You only have so many bullets in your shooting life, remembering everything you are doing well with the right and use your left. target engagement is the same - the magazine release and safety might pose a bigger adjustment -- and NO, Earl says two guns firing at the same time is twice as ineffective unless you are selling movie tickets. But do try the left after you get really good with the right.

Jay G said...

[mental note: Stay on Breda's good side]

:)

Nice shooting. Wish I were anywhere near that good...

Tam said...

You know, that's really a pretty durn good target for a pocket pistol that has bitty iron sights and a trigger that is not at all a "match trigger".

I've seen a lot of people shoot Bersas at 7 yards in my time, but I haven't often seen them shot that well.

Breda said...

earl - my next time at the range, I'll try my left hand. Watch for photos!

tam - I do believe you have made my entire year. Life, maybe - who knows?

Pretty Pistolera said...

Good shooting, Breda! The boys look at me like I have four heads when I chatter about "knowing your body," "feels right/doesn't feel right," and "where your eyes go your body will follow." We can apply yoga principles anywhere.

Trebor said...

Nice shooting.

Do you do dry fire at home? If you start, do a little each day or so, not a whole bunch all on one day.

It looks like youre at the point where an hour or so from a good instuctor might help you reach the next level. I'm talking more about someone who can coach you with spefic tips on how to improve and watch your general form, etc, not a full blown "Basic Pistol" class. You're beyond that.

Dan said...

Looks like it's time to get off the X!

The Duck said...

go to Utube & look for Julie Golonski videos.
Watch her grip, it appears that she puts a bit more pressure with the heel of her support hand into the grip.
Also instead of putting you support hand index finger against the guard put the 2nd finger against the guard, & then wedge the index into the space between the guard & the 2nd finger.

Chuck said...

Nice shootin'! I agree that a bit of dry practice would pay dividends (unlike my investments;). The low shot, which is nicely centered, is from "quickly" puling the trigger with a resulting tendency towards downward pressure on the trigger. Try to work on getting the trigger finger to CONSISTENTLY come STRAIGHT back, even at speed. Dry practice will help a lot here-you can see your sights dip.
I love your blog-read daily.

Mike W. said...

Awesome shooting Breda. Only 2 months and you've pretty much mastered the Bersa.

Was the one "flier" your DA shot?

Rustmeister said...

One thing I'd suggest is instead of holding your breath in, let it out a little, then hold it.

That's how they taught me in the Army. I assume it puts you in a more "neutral" body position, making the shot easier, but I'm guessing at that bit.

kaveman said...

Here's a good exercise for dry firing and developing muscle memory.

1. Buy yourself a .380 "snap cap" to protect the firing pin.

2. Attach a laser pointer or very small flash light to the under side of the barrel. Laser pointer is best since it won't affect the balance and feel of your gun too much.

3. With snap cap in battery and laser on, dim the lights in the room. If you practice at 25ft, point laser at a wall at that distance(good to have a frame of reference like a light switch or picture frame).

4. Front sight should be crystal clear, rear sight a bit fuzzy in your vision.

5. With the front sight and laser dot visible, slowly squeeze the trigger.

6. By watching the movement of the dot as you dry fire, you'll be able to tell if your jerking to one side or up and down.

7. Once you can routinely dry fire with the laser staying relatively still, you can start working on speed.

You'll be surprised at how well this will improve your accuracy and it don't cost squat.

brolin_1911a1 said...

Beautiful target, Breda. As Tam said, few people can shoot a Bersa with those tiny sights that well.

That said, I notice that you have almost no vertical dispersion except for the one deliberately yanked shot but that you have noticeable horizontal dispersion. Are you focusing on the front sight totally? If not, try doing so. A tiny bit of blurred vision there makes a bit difference at the target. Focus that front sight sharply, let the target blur. I'll bet you'll be even better then.

Brigid said...

Awesome. . You were always more than a fair shooter, even at the beginning, but you've really hit your stride. Call it husband's support or practice or the zen of .45 acp but you're going great!

erwin hussein said...

Hey, kaveman, that's an interesting drill. Do you think it would work (at maybe 50 ft) with a scoped rifle?

Xavier said...

You have found the answer.....Marksmanship is not so much aligning the sights. Any monkey can do that. Marksmanship is about keeping the sights aligned throughout the trigger pull. It's all in the trigger pull.

I will, when I am idle, or even in cases, practice adducting my index finger on each hand independently of the rest of the digits. that is the key.

mostlygenius said...

I think that you would find a lot of benefit in professional instruction. You can really only reach a certain level at shooting being self-taught, and you can't know what you don't know regarding some of the larger aspects of gun handling: malfunction clearance, speed reloads, shot placement, etc. A couple of days of training can really move you 'years' ahead.