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Shooting advice for a newbie

This is a discussion on Shooting advice for a newbie within the The Classroom forums, part of the Use and Training category; Growing up I was a pretty decent shot with BB guns, rifles, and shotguns. But I'm a relatively new handgun shooter. I wanted to get ...


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Old 09-13-2011, 08:51 AM   #1
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Shooting advice for a newbie

Growing up I was a pretty decent shot with BB guns, rifles, and shotguns. But I'm a relatively new handgun shooter. I wanted to get a handgun for home defense so I just purchased a XD(M) 9mm w/ 4.5" barrel. If my schedule permits I'm going to go to my local range today and shot it for the first time. During my search for a handgun I went to the range several times before I found the XD(M) and I've been disappointed with my shooting performance. I'm looking for advice from you guys on what I should do the first time or couple times that I shoot my new handgun to work on my accuracy and technique.

My thoughts were to shoot my first mag at 3 yds or so to work on my form and sight picture esp. because its the first time with this gun. Then I was planning on moving to 7 yds and practice, practice, practice. I just picked this approach but it really isn't based on anything. I just thought it might work. Any thoughts or advice? Please help.

Thanks in advance,
Scott
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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The XDs are EXTREMELY accurate and, as my wife says, "Make you look good at the range."

Start with some dry firing and practice on your stance at home. I won't go into the details of how to stand or hold the gun. I'll just say, "firm grip and balanced stance". You will develop your own "best way".

You talk about a mag then moving out. I'd start with a box of ammo at 3 yards. Slow fire. If you can place everything in the 10 ring, then move out to 5 - same thing, then out to 7. 7 yards is 21 feet and you'll seldom be called on to shoot any farther than that, except in your CWP class. Now that you can hit the10 ring, start practicing faster. Gradually increase your speed until you can hit consistent followups within 1 second (actually, you should practice for for 0.5 seconds, but shooting accurately that fast will come later).

Remember, shot placement is EVERYTHING.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:41 AM   #3
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One suggestion:

Take your stance, aim. Take up the trigger slack. Re-aim. SLOWLY SQUEEZE the trigger. Don't jerk your finger back. Practice that at home before you hit the range with live ammo.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:43 AM   #4
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this may be a help

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Old 09-13-2011, 10:41 AM   #5
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Scott,

Picture yourself getting ready to throw a football, you step into the throw with one foot forward and the other stays behind as you cock your arm before the throw. Your throwing arm should be behind as well. This is the kind of stance you want to use to fire your weapon. Grip the weapon with your throwing arm and keep that arm straight and locked, place the four fingers of your other hand over the three exposed fingers under the trigger guard. Both thumbs should be on same side of the weapon facing forward. Your weak arm should be slightly bent. Get used to the trigger pull of your weapon, figure out how much you can pull before it fires. This will help you not to pull the weapon or flinch when squeezing the trigger. As for squeezing the trigger, dont pull it with the crease of your finger, try getting used to pulling with the finger print part of the finger. This heped me get way better while target shooting and my groups continue to get better and better. It will develope good shooting habits Hope this helps!

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Old 09-13-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
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Thanks to everyone so far for the great ideas. I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottvt98 View Post
My thoughts were to shoot my first mag at 3 yds or so to work on my form and sight picture esp. because its the first time with this gun. Then I was planning on moving to 7 yds and practice, practice, practice. I just picked this approach but it really isn't based on anything. I just thought it might work. Any thoughts or advice? Please help.

Thanks in advance,
Scott
It sounds like a good plan ... When you can consistently shoot at a (personal) acceptable level of accuracy, move back and keep going.
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:13 PM   #8
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If you're a rifle shooter then trigger technique is pretty much the same as is aiming. Align the sights, pull the trigger know where your shot went before you look at the target for a hole (call your shot). Grip use both hands, don't squeeze the gun to death. Solid grip with your strong hand, tighter grip with your weak hand. Don't push on the gun with your thumbs. Don't squeeze you finger as you pull the trigger, especially with your strong hand. Don't push towards the target with your strong hand while pulling with you weak hand.
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:58 PM   #9
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Really, after a quick range session just to blow off the newness of it all, sign up for some basic pistol lessons. Do this before you get any bad techniques imbedded into your shooting memory. Not from a friend or shooting buddy because even if they shoot well, they are probably not trained as shooting instructors. How you are taught is almost as important as what.
Break out the owner manual. Actually read it. Do a basic field strip, clean and lube before hitting the range. Yes, the XD/XDm can be shot straight from the box, but a couple minutes getting familiar with the parts is worth it. Get that sticky, dirt grabbing, factory applied preservative oil out of the pistol mechanisms for a more enjoyable first shoot. Check the mags also. And NO LUBE on the striker or in the striker channel.
Check some of the 'stickie' fact threads of the forum and links to how-to videos. Welcome.
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the help. I actually picked it up on Tuesday and ran 100 rounds through it. Man it shoots like a dream! So far I'm glad that I made a good decision by picking the XD(M).

So I ran through 50 rounds at 3 yds and 50 rounds at 5 yds. It wasn't the greatest ever but I'm really happy with it considering it was my first time shooting it. The images of my targets are attached. With 3 yds I had all of them pretty much in the center. The head shots were using the remaining rounds of the 50 round box after doing the two mags. For the 5yds the grouping got a little bigger. The two fliers I had were in the first four shots of this group. I stopped and settled down and got my self together and then there were no more for the rest of the 50 rounds. Any feedback from the experts? I really want to improve my shooting.

Thanks in advance,
Scott
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