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Trigger control with speed--advice for a newbie?


Jensey
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Ok, any advice on trigger pull control?? I am brand new to trying USPSA (like not even a baby yet, still a fetus! Shooting my first match on the 23rd), and shooting fast is such a different world than taking my sweet little time. I can make a really tight grouping when I can take my time, I know about a steady trigger pull. But when I try to speed it up, I end up pulling the gun and I shoot low. I have practiced tons going slow and tried to speed up, but I still pull a lot of the time. Today I shot about 100 rounds at 25 feet, some slow, a lot faster, and about 14 of them were low. I mean really low. I also have pretty weak hands (but don't tell anyone I admitted it) and I don't know if that contributes to it or not. So, any advice on drills to fix this and speed up a little? I need to gain speed without losing control. I want to improve.

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Most really low shots are not from the trigger, they happen when you anticipate the recoil just a little bit early. Your forearms, hands, and the entire gun jump down before the gun's gone Bang and before the bullet leaves the barrel. Happens to all of us. I've shot forever but always with a nice single-action trigger. Recently had to learn the DA trigger on my CZ production gun and my timing was off frequently, some of those shots were horribly off. Took a new level of determination to watch and press and not budge off of the sight picture. Now everything's fine. Stay with it and you'll be there too.

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Get your grip down as Ben Stoeger, and Brian discuss in their books, (also in Matt Burketts DVD's).

Feel the trigger, meaning when you are firing (start with dry-fire) point the gun in a safe direction and manipulate the trigger slowly and rapidly with your focus the sights (just the sights, like sighting on a blank paper) many reps, then do the same focusing on the trigger. If you are still having issues do the same with focusing on your hand. (Hi-speed video or ball and dummy drills can help diagnose what you are doing)

Strengthening your hands and forearms will help. (Check out this post - http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=168601&hl=)

(Old saying is practice makes perfect, truth is perfect practice makes perfect, other than perfect practice just makes permanent.)

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There are tons of articles written on trigger control and all the details that go into controlling the trigger and not disturbing the front sight. As far as where you are hitting on the tgt, www.persec.com has "shot diagnostic targets. They are printable so you can use them to analyze what you are doing at the time you are doing it. Forget about speed for the moment and concentrate on good hits on tgt. Place your tgt at 7 yds (or 10 yds if you prefer) and shoot only as fast as you can, keeping 95% of your shots in the USPSA "A" zone. Once that is common place, bump your speed (again at same distance) and work it till keeping 95% of your hits in the A zone. I agree with everything said before my post. Let me add that, if you do decide to pay for instruction try to get a female instructor. I think (until you are a High C class, low B class shooter) a female can better relate to your physical and psychological issues (remember, almost all sports are largely mental). Don't ignore the advice of a trust male shooter just remember men and women don't always "see" things the same way. As to strength, simple isometrics and wrist "rowing" with 3 pound weights will help as will a "Gripmaster" (www.gripmaster.net). Best of luck at the shoot on the 23rd. Worry about hits for now, I promise the speed will come.

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Don't worry about the "speed" of the second shot. Break it just like the first, when you have an acceptable sight picture. Over time and repitition, the speed will come. Getting all A hits and learnig to go faster is easier than being a speed demon and learning to shoot accurately.

Don't compare your time to others, shoot at your pace.

Edited by sfinney
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Eric pretty well covered it. It sounds like anticipation. Every so often I will slip in a few snap caps just to see what I am doing. You have to be honest in terms of what you are feeling and seeing, and it helps to have a good feel for your timing. What I am trying to say is that when you get to a snap cap your gun WILL move downward as muscle memory and reflex pulls it down to overcome the anticipated recoil. If you still feel yourself pulling the trigger while the gun is on its way down you need to spend some time with the snap caps starting with slow fire and working your way back up to rapid fire to where you start to retrain your body to keep the sights on target until the shot breaks. If the shot breaks and the sights are still on target, BUT a split second later your arms jerk down then it is simple muscle memory because you have trained your body to tighten the appropriate muscles to slow the amount of muzzle rise after the shot breaks.

Another way to look at it is when you shoot slow fire and put all of your emphasis into a tight group, the muzzle will rise higher because you are making a conscious effort to not control the recoil but rather just let the shot break. When you try to control the recoil you start tightening muscles which will pull the gun down if you tighten them before the shot breaks.

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I think it's best to maintain your accuracy; the speed will come. Lots of great advice here on grip strength, etc. which factors into it a lot. The other things to develop are tracking your sights (watching how the sights move after you fire the shot, and how you regain your sight picture), and practicing a very smooth but quick trigger press. If you are a USPSA member, Mike Seeklander has a fabulous article on this in the current issue of Front Sight magazine.

Good Luck!!

TJ

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Another area to work on and keep in mind is grip strength/ arm strength. For arguments sake lets say it takes 50lbs of combined strength to control the recoil. Someone with 75lbs of combined strength will have a much more difficult time controlling the recoil than someone with 250 lbs of combined strength. Think of that strength as like a piece of steel. 75 lbs will have a lot more flex than 250 lbs so the downward movement will be greater to compensate for that flex.

Using the same analogy the first person is using 66% of their strength to control the gun, the second person is only using 20% to control it.

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Good info above and congratulations on shooting your first match later this month! :cheers:

I think I've read somewhere that whether one is shooting leisurely or on the clock, the mechanics of the trigger pull (and control) are the same. The only difference is that when one is on the clock, the whole action is condensed. So all of the fundamentals that you are using for those leisure shots are still there they just happen closer together when you're on the clock.

For the near and maybe foreseeable future (at least your first few matches), focus on safety and getting your hits. Maintain the accuracy no matter how long it takes to complete a stage until you settle in and you are comfortable safely moving through and executing whatever each stage requires.

Have lots of fun!

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If you wanna have some fun and have extra ammo you can set up three targets, one at seven feet one at fifteen and one at twenty-one. Than get your timer ready. Load up and shoot six shots at each targets A zone as fast as you can one target at a time. Keep track of your draw times and how many A's you shoot on each target. Next, put all the targets at fifteen feet with 1 foot between them. Start wrists above shoulders, shoot two shoots on each target, mag change and re-engage. Keep track of your A hits, draw time and your mag change times.

Let me know if you had fun!

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Congrats on your first match! Go enjoy it. Video will help. I'm sure someone will video for you. Then you can watch it and find your srtong and weak points. Practice your weak points and make them your strong points. It's your 1st match and you will learn a lot. This game is a blast! Lol

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Some years ago, Massad Ayoob wrote "Stress Fire". One point he made was that, if you practice under stress then when you have to shoot under stress basically the stress is reduced or gone. His point was to never "practice" but always shoot for something. Every hit outside the "A" zone costs you $0.50 or $1.00...Shoot with a friend and loser buys lunch...make practice cost..You will find it de-stresses that nasty starting buzzer.

Edited by Tom C
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Forget the phrase "Double Tap" both shots are individuals. And don't even worry about speed yet. Worry about accuracy. The speed comes with practice and nothing else.

P.S. Learn the rules. It can do more for you competitively than hours of practice.

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I agree with all of the above comments particularly about doing the best dry fire practice you can. A few things that helped me pick up some speed and accuracy were to dry fire with the fewest variables. Dry fire with just the center two fingers on your strong hand holding the gun and pull the trigger while watching the sights. That told me the most about what my trigger pull was actually doing. That helped me fix a shooting left issue that I thought was grip but was trigger finger positioning. With about a 1/8"change of position of the pad of my finger I was more accurate and faster. After you check with two fingers dry fire with your normal strong hand grip and then with your freestyle grip. Keep watching the sights as you add more fingers and it will help you nail down what pressure you need where on the gun. As was stated before the focus must be on getting this perfect and practicing that particularly with lots of dry fire. This whole sport seems daunting at first but it gets easier with each match. Good luck.

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Welcome to the addiction. :cheers:

As mentioned it will take time and practice. You have to get used to the roll of the gun in your hand. From getting a sight picture and pulling the trigger, the gun recoils and you get the next sight picture.

BC

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Accuracy & Fundamentals. Believe me, we all wanted to pick up a gun and shoot like a GM. I Know I have learned bad habits and they are hard to break and really hard to change to something close that is the correct way of doing it. That don't sound rite! Lol

I hope you understand my point, and that it will help.

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Some years ago, Massad Ayoob wrote "Stress Fire". One point he made was that, if you practice under stress then when you have to shoot under stress basically the stress is reduced or gone. His point was to never "practice" but always shoot for something. Every hit outside the "A" zone costs you $0.50 or $1.00...Shoot with a friend and loser buys lunch...make practice cost..You will find it de-stresses that nasty starting buzzer.

Wow, I really would be $broke$. Lol. I use par times on drill when i am working on speed.

It is hard to equal match stress. I feel i need to add some stress.

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Some years ago, Massad Ayoob wrote "Stress Fire". One point he made was that, if you practice under stress then when you have to shoot under stress basically the stress is reduced or gone. His point was to never "practice" but always shoot for something. Every hit outside the "A" zone costs you $0.50 or $1.00...Shoot with a friend and loser buys lunch...make practice cost..You will find it de-stresses that nasty starting buzzer.

Wow, I really would be $broke$. Lol. I use par times on drill when i am working on speed.

It is hard to equal match stress. I feel i need to add some stress.

Steve Anderson had his ex-wife flash him at the timer beep. Does that add a "match stress" factor or does it just teach you to keep doing what you need to do despite distractions?

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