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  • Firing range jitters

    So today in the academy we shot our Glocks for the first time. We've been doing dry manipulations for 5 weeks and today was the big day. Prior to today I had shot a total of about 30 rounds in my life, about 3 years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. So today was my first real day firing a gun.

    I shot OK, not great, but I was much more nervous than I thought I was going to be. I'm usually very calm under pressure, but I found myself breathing heavily, palms sweaty, etc. I'm sure I'll be more calm as my familiarity with shooting increases, but I was wondering if any other folks had the same issues, and what you did to overcome it?

    My instructor kept telling me to stop trying to "make" the gun fire and instead let it be a surprise. I think my problem is I keep trying to anticipate the gun firing and as a result I am off target. Also, is it normal for your eyes to blink shut as the gun goes off? If it's not normal, how do I fix that?

  • #2
    The number one thing that helped me with anticipating the shot (jerking the trigger) was my instructor had a .357 Sig, and I had a .40 Glock. The empty .357 Sig casing will fit in a Glock magazine, and will feed but not fire. He loaded my magazine alternating the spent casings with live rounds, and then we watched when I shot downrange for the jerk of the gun when I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. After an hour, I stopped anticipating the shot, and all has been good since then.

    Also, imagine when you are squeezing the trigger, there is a glass rod behind the trigger and when it breaks, the gun fires. A steady, slow squeeze is all it takes.

    As far as closing your eyes, just practice watching the target where you expect the hole to appear, and eventually you will be keeping your eyes open.
    "The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly. -Teddy Roosevelt"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rangerdanger View Post
      The number one thing that helped me with anticipating the shot (jerking the trigger) was my instructor had a .357 Sig, and I had a .40 Glock. The empty .357 Sig casing will fit in a Glock magazine, and will feed but not fire. He loaded my magazine alternating the spent casings with live rounds, and then we watched when I shot downrange for the jerk of the gun when I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. After an hour, I stopped anticipating the shot, and all has been good since then.

      Also, imagine when you are squeezing the trigger, there is a glass rod behind the trigger and when it breaks, the gun fires. A steady, slow squeeze is all it takes.

      As far as closing your eyes, just practice watching the target where you expect the hole to appear, and eventually you will be keeping your eyes open.
      We did the same thing with dummy rounds. It also helps with clearing squibs.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mikeymedic View Post
        We did the same thing with dummy rounds. It also helps with clearing squibs.
        Dummy rounds will do wonders in showing if you are anticipating the recoil. Just make sure you dryfire, then dryfire some more, then a little bit more.

        Just pay attention to the front sight (let the target get blurry/don't pay attention to it) and "dryfire" the trigger straight back. After the first shot you know the recoil isn't going to hurt you, so once you break the anticipation things fall in line.

        Also... you mention you've shot a total of 30 rounds prior to this. Don't let that thought bring you down. In Boot Camp (USMC) as well as two LE academies s lot of the shooters who progressed faster (relative) and adopted the technique taught to them were the ones who had few to no bad habits to break. Just listen to your instructors, dryfire and relax. It will also fall into place.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          When I went to academy this summer I had never shot a handgun before. Best advice I can give is to pull slow and let it be a surprise. In school I qualified with an 89. We only got one day to shoot one day. I hadn't shot again until Monday when I qualified at work and pulled a 98 out of my tail. To this day I still haven't shot a total of 500 rounds. If they had you dry fire for five weeks I would imagine that you will get a lot more practice than we got.

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          • #6
            The dummy round training is a great technique for identifying bad habits. Keep in mind, the recoil on the glock is so light, that there is no need to try to anticipate the round going off. Some of us used to carry a S&W .357 mag. and that gun had a significant recoil. But the glock really doesn't.

            Relax, it's not going to hurt. It can actually be fun, especially if you don't have to buy your own ammunition. Some people actually do this for a hobby, and pay a lot of money for it.
            You can now follow me on twitter.

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            • #7
              Another technique we used to use with revolvers, is to dry fire your gun with a penny balancing on the top of the barrel near the front sight. You should be able to pull the trigger without the penny falling off.

              You can do it with semis too, just not as easy to keep dry firing.
              “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” - Robert F. Kennedy.

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              • #8
                Here is what made me a great shot with both handgun and pistol.

                Stare, stare, I mean really stare at the front sight. You should be able to see every detail on that front sight, every peice of dust on it, every imperfection of the metal/plastic, everything. You still can see the target and everything going on around the target but it is the front sight that should be in crystal clear focus. You have to force yourself at first but after a while you will just focus in on the front sight and see other details slightly out of focus.

                Grip, stance, trigger control, and follow through are important as well.
                I have the heart of a child..................................No really, it is in a jar on my desk.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ZGXtreme View Post
                  Just make sure you dryfire, then dryfire some more, then a little bit more.
                  A lot of people discount the advantages of dryfire drills, but once you do it enough youll be amazed at how smooth your pull comes off.

                  Another frequent error in a new shooter is a tendancy to bring their eye to the front sight rather than the front sight to their eye. By this I mean some people will bring the weapon up to a certain point and then bring their head down to meet the sight post. Simple dry firing drills can also help correct that issue.

                  Short answer as far as being nervous goes....its not abnormal. The more practice you have and the more experience you gain the less nerves you will feel.

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                  • #10
                    I like pie.............
                    Last edited by Nobody; 09-18-2009, 03:17 PM.

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                    • #11
                      If your right handed:

                      Shoot too far right: too much finger in the trigger
                      Shoot too far left: too little finger in the trigger
                      Shoot too high: Keep your eye on the fron sight
                      Shoot too low: anticipating recoil

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                      • #12
                        You've experienced the same thing most people do shooting pistols for the first time, so don't feel like you're the only one. One of the major problems is that you've graduated to a 40 caliber weapon without ever using training pistol. It's like riding a bike for the first time, most people use training wheels until they get the feel of it and then take them off and learn to ride with the big guys. You should have started your learning experience with a .22 pistol to get the basics down before graduating to a larger caliber pistol. But now it's too late as you sound like your in your firing range portion of your academy. So now you have to learn all at once and within a very short time. Listen to your firearms instructor. If necessary after class see if he'll stay around and help you one-on-one. They are trained to be able to see a shooters weak areas and help overcome them.

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                        • #13
                          With the Glock, be sure to only use the last 1/4" of the finger on the trigger. Mikeymedic said it best:

                          Shoot too far right: too much finger in the trigger
                          Shoot too far left: too little finger in the trigger
                          Shoot too high: Keep your eye on the fron sight
                          Shoot too low: anticipating recoil

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                          • #14
                            or if you are shooting high its because you are looking down range to see where you shot.

                            The first time I shot, I was SOOO nervous (sweaty palms, breathing). After a few months in the academy you will be ALOT more relaxed and it will come easy. Just listen to your line instructors and they will help you through it!

                            good luck!

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                            • #15
                              Another technique we used to use with revolvers, is to dry fire your gun with a penny balancing on the top of the barrel near the front sight. You should be able to pull the trigger without the penny falling off.
                              You can balance a penny on the round barrel of a revolver near the front sight and keep it there while dry firing?????? I'd like to see that.

                              Comment

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