Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Which kind of target for a beginner


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, great stuff on here. Brian's book just showed up today, can't wait to dive into it. I'm also new to handguns, so I'm trying to learn the basics. I recently read about "calling shots" and other methods to eliminate flinching. Because it's winter, I shoot indoors. I have the choice of basically three styles of targets. A large or small sillhouette or a "sighting in" target. My focus right now isn't about accuracy, it's about not flinching and seeing the sights. So, do I just pick a sillhouette and start shooting around him calling the shots, i.e head, belly button, etc? Or, would a smaller target - where I have to try to hit a small circle- be the ticket? I want to get into IDPA shooting, so I have thought about ordering some of those targets since we can take in our own targets.

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.

By the way, I'm currently dry firing daily and I double plug as well and I'm shooting a Glock 34.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cannot explain it any better than this guy:

as far as targets go....jeesh....anything under the sun is possible...since I started out in IDPA too, at the time I thought regular sized white paper plates were ideal. I would staple those to a larger brown cardboard backer "board". a paper plate and the down zero area on an IDPA target are about the same size.

as my skills progressed I moved onto the smaller dessert style paper plates.

now, if I am just on a straight ahead range shooting for groups to check my handloaded ammo's accuracy I use card stock available at from the office supply aisle at wally world. I will use a day glow orange sticker or dot as an aiming point.

as far as buying IDPA targets, if you are going to use them on an indoor range with their overhead cable or track system, then you might want to go with the paper IDPA targets....not the carboard targets....from target barn.

the paper ones are cheaper especially considering the shipping weight, and up top there are actually square corners to hang the target from.

or if you really wanted to be cheap, I guess you could buy a roll of brown craft paper from the paint/glue section at Home Depot.

let me also suggest hanging some sort of clip or clips like those black metal binder clips or heck maybe even wooden clothespins at the bottom of your targets it will keep them from swinging so much.

welcome to the forums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice video on "calling the shot"!

Regarding the target, since your goal is to "cure" the flinch. I would get something uncomplicated but has a great contrast with your front sight.

That way, you are focused your entire attention on the front sight with really fuzzy background with a contrasted background so you don't need to shift your focus to target.

Beside double plugging your ears, shooting outdoors instead of inddors, and using lighter load ammo to begin with, I also found it useful to do the following if I caught myself flinching.

1. Pause and Dry Fire 3-4 times and then Live Fire 3-4 times. Alternate until flinching is gone.


2. Shooting a rapid string of fires (even point shoot without looking at the sign) with sold attention focused on eyes not closing during the string of fires. After a while, you are so much in the zone your mind is used to it.

Good luck, it's good to see on the video the shooter's eye didn't even "blink" not to mention flinch!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, a new shooter should use a full size target from their respective game. (USPSA, IDPA, etc.)

New shooters will tend to shoot these target at "center mass"...which will end up hitting low and not getting maximum points for the shots.

I suggest using a visual aid to help learn where to where to shoot the target. For an IDPA target, I'd run a piece of masking tape vertically down the center, and another piece horizontally through the center of the A-zone. For an USPSA target, I might move the horizontal line up a bit to target the upper half of the A-zone.

If you are working on shot calling, then a target bisected in such a manner provides 4 quadrants...which can aid the process.

Another way to do it is to add a 3 or 4 inch square sticker to the target to use as an aiming point. Brian actually has some stickers that work for this. See the "cheapie" stickers at the bottom of this page. For an IDPA target, put it right in the center of the down-0. For an USPSA target, I like it down an inch or so from the top line of the A-zone (so you are hitting the top half of the A-zone).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Use some masking tape and 3x5 cards (or colored 3x3 Post-it notes). Use something that will contrast well against the black/brown silhouette. Tape a 3x5 card in the center of the chest (in the down-zero area).

Aim, taking a hard focus on the tip of your front sight through the entire trigger press. Place the tip of your front sight at the bottom edge of your aiming reference (the 3x5 card) and smoothly press your trigger straight back. Lower your pistol and blink a couple times to rest your eyes and arms. Repeat.

Firing strings of five rounds to reduce eye and arm fatigue. It's better to fire five shots well (and do it three times) than it is to fire an entire magazine, and jerk or mash the last ten shots.

The goal is working on a perfect trigger press (ie not flinching). Start at five or seven yards, and put bullet holes in little circles. Increase the range as your proficiency improves (you can consistently fire strings without flinching).

Tape some printer paper over the target chest when it gets shot up. Then tape a colored 3x5 card or Post-It note on the sheet of paper (no tape needed with a Post-It note). See the front sight, see the bottom edge of your aiming reference, smooth trigger press. Repeat.

If you can find one, get an Advantage Arms conversion kit for your Glock 34. Swap the slide and magazine and fire 22LR with the exact same manual of arms and same smooth trigger press. Practice just got cheaper, and you reduced recoil and muzzle blase (focus on the front sight & trigger press).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. That was a great video. I have been dry firing at home. At the range, I dry fire for a bit, then I shoot live rounds. But, I started out loading only one round in each mag, then firing at the black abyss in the back of the indoor range, no target in sight. I was doing that to basically observe the front sight. I can see the front sight lift and I can see muzzle flash, then my eyes close. I know I'm not jerking or anticipating the shot because I verified it by calling some shots after practicing watching the front sight. I used a large sillhouette target and I was able to call every shot on it. My trouble is following the sight up and down. I do plan on getting some aftermarket sights for it. I'm thinking a Dawson FO front, about .105-.115" and a fixed black rear. Any thoughts about that? It seems like the stock Glock rear sight is distracting me from see just the front sight. Maybe I'll take a sharpie marker to it while I await the new sights. I'm also going to order some paper IDPA targets from Target Barn and practice on them, might as well get use to seeing them as IDPA is what I'd like to shoot someday. Thanks again for the help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do allot of practice at an indoor range..

Here is somethings I've noticed which may or may not apply to you..

It's hard to know if your calling your shot by simply shooting one round at a time..

The things is that it is possible to shoot acuratly even when you blink, and not really call your shot..


You take your time aiming blink but pull the trigger with out disturbing the sight picture..

You hit the target... If you did't notice that you blinked(indoors it's esier to notice when your not blinking)It might feel like you called the shot but you didn't, you just hit the target where you aimed..

I suggest shooting 2 or 3 shots at a time.. At a speed that just bearly allows the sight to realign.. So your sight alignment is constant but your sight picture is not..

That way your not consiously shooting at a specific spot but a general area..

Then try to remember where your sights were in relationship to the pepper a's you broke the shot... If the wholes match where you remember the sights being. then you are most defiantly calling your shot..

Think abou it this way... Calling your shot does NOT help you shot more acuratly..

It helps you know when you took a poor shot :)

Also tracking your sights through out recoil is not as important as seeing your sights lift and seatle back in the notch..

By developing consitant grip and index the front sight will land back in the notch by its self.. There for, the only thing your brain needs to process is where was my front sight when it started to lift (so you know if your hitting the intended area), and is it back where it needs to be yet (so you can take another well aimed shot) :)

Everything in between is trivial...

As for targets I use 2' 3' and 6' shoot and see's..

6' ones I'll use at 15 to 25 yards..

I shoot at them the way I would shoot 6 inch plates..

Shooting as fast as my sights seatle back in target...

This is a great way to learn the timing of your gun and ammo combination, helps with blinking, and calling the shoot (where did the shots land on the sticker)

I use 3 and 2 inch stickers at 25 and 15 yards for slow fire and precision, mostly when checking my zero..

And at 15 to 7 yards to work on doubles, rapid fire.. And transitions...

For transitions set 3 2' or 3' stickers in a pyramid shpe 3 or 4 inches apart..

Then I shoot them a's if they were 3 plates, one shot on each as fast as I can while calling the shot correctly..

I change the order in which I shoot the stickers, to work on different combos.

This might seem like stupid drills but they challenge me to shoot both fast and acuratly..

To do so I have to execute all the fundamentals properly..

One last thing..

The best part of the shoot and c stickers is that they work like metal plates where you have initial feed back on every shot..

I find them to be one of the best training tools I have :)

And I highly recomend them :)

Edited by carlosa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest looking at trainingtargets.com, and look at their paper targets. They have the marking for IDPA and USPSA on the same target. I have bought some myself for practice, and have found them to be quite useful. I shoot both USPSA and IDPA, so having the targets marked for both has been beneficial to me. This way I can compare how my shots would score on both disiplines.

The suggested use of paper plates of various sizes I find to be helpful also with training.

Edited by Blueridge
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Paper plates from the dollar store for real cheap targets. Black felt marker, draw a black circle or square in the middle. Do some practicing on some small targets regularly and then the match targets seem huge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

You may not need any specific target to cure your flinching. If you hit what you aim at a reasonable distance consistently (tight group), say 10 yard, you probably don't flinch any more. A light recoil round (9mm) and a mindset of knowing a controlled explosion is perfectly fine right in front of your face would make you calm to pull the trigger without jerking. Dry fire with focus on sights and no target (aka. wall drill) can reinforce both good trigger pull and sight picture. However, an easy to aim target would help as the lighting in most indoor range is not that good.

One thing worth noting is that cardboard IDPA targets don't have real visible marks on different zones, only perforated lines that can be seen up close. Also the center mass circle is not in the center of the torso part. So if you want to get into IDPA later, be prepared for that and don't be surprised if there's no easy spot for you to aim.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cannot explain it any better than this guy:

as far as targets go....jeesh....anything under the sun is possible...since I started out in IDPA too, at the time I thought regular sized white paper plates were ideal. I would staple those to a larger brown cardboard backer "board". a paper plate and the down zero area on an IDPA target are about the same size.

+1 paper plates. Great video!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...