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I'm new to this board and up until a couple weeks ago had never owned or even fired a handgun. I bought an XD9 for home protection and finally got a chance to take it to the range and fire it yesterday. I know I shouldn't expect great results my first time out, but I did terrible! I was firing at 25 yards with barely a breath of wind and was consistently low and wide right. I felt as though I was aiming properly, doing the six-o-clock sight position that the manual recommended. I've fired rifles and shotguns, so I'm not completely inept to firing a gun, but after firing over 60 rounds I was still way off. By the end I was aiming about a foot left of the bullseye and a few inches above bullseye and still never got one close to center. I have a feeling it's me, not the gun, but I just don't know. 25 yards is the closest distance the range has, and it's the only range around. Any suggestions on what to try or what I may be doing wrong? The gun feels good in my hands and doesn't have a lot of recoil, and I'm not firing shots quickly at all. I know nothing beats practice, but any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Spend a little money to take a handgun lesson with a qualified instructor. They can watch you shoot and immediately diagnose any issues. In fact, they will probably fix one or more problems before you ever pull a trigger just by working with you on your grip, etc. I signed my wife up for a class when she got her new handgun and it made a world of difference. Well worth the $55 the instructor charged me for 2-1/2 hours of his time!
 

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Pistol shooting is much harder than Rifle shooting. 25 yards is also a pretty darn long way away to start with.

I'd suggest spending the time finding, and then driving to a range with a closer minimum. Like 20 feet. For training purposes its way better to start close and learn to aim small. You will be able to visually see where the bullet hits with no problems, and this feedback I find extremely helpful. Training from the beginning at 25 yards is a lot like learning to shoot pool by taking on the "long carpet" shots immediately. Just not an ideal way to learn.

You can confirm that its you and not the gun by an easy test--have someone else fire the gun!

But since you are new to pistol shooting, its probably safe to assume that either there is something with your grip, or your trigger control that is causing the pistol to jerk. I wouldn't feel bad if that turns out to be the case. I know quite a few very experienced hunters who simply can't shoot a handgun worth a lick. It IS harder.

Without knowning anything else--I'd suggest focusing on a tighter grip, with the non-shooting hand helping to control the three non-trigger fingers of the dominant hand. Push out a bit with the shooting hand, pull in a bit with the non-shooting hand so that there is some tension. Then watch the gun carefully as you squeeze the trigger to see if there is some kind of jerking. A cheap laser sight can be gotten for $20 that will let you know, with embarrassing clarity, just how much your point of aim is wiggling around. Dry fire a couple times with that laser should be all the education you need to improve, but like I said--handguns are just harder to shoot in general, and especially at first.


Gundahar
 

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Welcome to the forum Coreynov902..

Are you right or left handed?
Many new XD/XDm shooters shoot low and left if right handed, low and right if left handed.
It took me 2 or 3 ranges trips to zero in on a target with my first XD.
Just takes getting accustomed to the trigger and grip of the pistol.

Best advice, despite you range limitations, would be to get a closer target.
Your handgun is just that, a handgun.
25 yards is a long way for a combat style pistol like the XD/XDm.
My average distance at the range is 3 to 15 yards.
I shoot at self defensive distances.
Every once in awhile I'll go for 25 yards, but not very often.

I'll also second sbrader's suggestion of a class.
Better to learn to shoot properly, than to have to retrain bad habits later.

Good luck............1LL
 

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I'd also suggest perusing "The Classroom" forums. I spend quite a bit of time in there reading old posts. There is also one that has links to targets that help tell you what you're doing like this one, but better.

I was really surprised to learn that 7-10 yards is where you start to practice and that's what was taught in my CC class.

But back to my original point, there is a lot of good information about stance, training routines, shooting "systems" like C.A.R., pistol grip, and how to improve any of those items.

Welcome to the forum too!
 

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When I first got my xd9, which was also my first handgun, I watched every youtube video I could find on shooting positions, grips, aiming, ANYTHING where there was instruction, I watched. I dry fired a TON also.

But, what helped me most was hanging out at my local gun shop for a while. I was looking at a Glock one time and took position like I was at the range. Immediately, one of the employees asked to see my grip. I wasn't gripping it properly and my accuracy improved a ton. He's an NRA instructor and just wanted to help out where he could.

A good shop to me is one that wants to see their customers get better and better and enjoy shooting more. Find a good one and go look, fondle, and shoot once a week or so. If you at all like to talk, you'll probably learn a lot.

ETA: Also, it's too bad your range selection is so limited. I hardly ever shoot out to 25 yards. I shoot from 7 to 15 yards. When I do shoot out to 25, I'm usually disappointed like you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a bunch to those replying! I am a left handed shooter, so it sounds like low and to the right is common for that...good to know. I'll have to see what classes might be offered around my area, as I would certainly be interested if there are any. If I can go to the range some night when no one else is there, then I can move closer and practice at 10-15 yards. To get my CC permit, I have to qualify at 15 yards, so that's where I'd like to shoot from, but I'll just have to work from 25 if that's all that's available to me. I plan on getting my wife to learn and use it as well, but thought I'd better go to the range a few times first, just in case she's a natural! Thanks again for the help...greatly appreciated.
 

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I used to do the same thing and I was pulling the gun to the right when i pulled the trigger and anticapted the kick so i kept shooting low and right. I bought a cheap laser to practice dry firing and to get used to the trigger and now i'm pretty accurate.

You can find cheap lasers for about $10-$20 and it will let you see what you are doing while you are aiming without wasting a ton of ammo.
 

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when the navy shoots their pistol quals they start you off at 3 yards..that way you get used to putting holes half an inch apart and then they move you back to 7 yards the farthest you'll ever have to shoot someone in home defense situation would be 15 feet unless you have a huge house. if you are deadly at 21feet you'll be deadly at 15, my advice would be to start off close and as you improve move farther away. also the low and right may be that you are flexing your wrist when you fire. the wide left may be poor sight alignment. many people that shoot rifles dont think that a perfect sight alignment at 25 yards is that important but with a pistol since the front and rear sights are so much closer together the difference of just a couple millimeters is the difference of a couple feet at 25 yards
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention too, at some point it also might help to get a cheap laser to mount on the pistol, not for regular use, but just for help in aiming and to see what you're doing as you pull the trigger. I shot my XDm for about 3 months, working out where I wanted the holster, keeping my finger off the trigger during a draw, sighting with both eyes open, before getting the laser to help me improve my trigger pull.

As an FYI, when I was pulling trigger it would bring the gun down and sometimes to the right which is apparently a common new shooter issue. I had to work on how I put the finger on the trigger and bring it back smoothly rather than by "gripping" it.

One other question, is your range indoors or outdoors? Most of the ones around here are outdoors and they will let me put my own target stand closer to the firing line. I bought a Reversa target stand at the local store, but you can get them online.
 

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this is good to know for me also, i will be trying from 3 yrds to get the hang of it, i also was shooting from 20 yrds or so, so ill be changing that soon
 

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5 to 7 yards is a good start. We were taught that if you ever had to use your firearm in a defensive situation, more than likely you will engauge from 2 to 5 feet. Now some may argue otherwise! I drill from 7 yards when indoor at the range. Thats what I have my laser set up for because I do not want to be in a hand to hand combat situation. But then again you could always pistol whip the bad guy!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks a ton for all the great info! This is an outdoor range, so maybe I can do as suggested and get my own target stand and set that up closer. I guess I never thought that so many minor things like tightening my grip right before (or while) pulling the trigger could cause such bad accuracy. Being naive about it, I just assumed it was aim, fire, bullseye! You learn as you go, and right now I've got a lot of learning to do. Thanks again.
 

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Also if you switch to another gun you have to relearn, I have a browning BDM hipower that took me a few days to get used to then i went over to a xd 45 and was way off for a few days untill i got a good feel for it, then went and shot the hipower and wasnt doing so hot again.
 

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I would say that the most common reason nre handgun owners are off-target is shot anticipation. You're probably anticipating the "BOOM!" and it tends to pull you off-sight at the last moment. Try some dry firing and concentrate on keeping your sights lined up while pulling the trigger.
 

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I honestly have only shot at 25 yards maybe 2 times. I always practice 10 to 30 feet. I had dissapointing results the times I shot at 25 yards, but it was also when I was brand new to shooting, and I have since corrected technique issues. First thing I did was read up, which helped me correct anticipation that had me shooting low and left(I am a righty). Then I changed my grip, I was having a little issue with shooting a little left, so I improved my trigger finger placement, and that helped but I was still shooting a little left. To correct that I just put my front sight more towards the back right rear sight. I made that change of sight alignment cause I am right hand dominant but left eye dominant. Not completely sure if that is the correct way but it helped. No I just work on trigger pull constantly, and consistancy. So you are definitely going to want to start alot closer, so you can identify issues, this way you can correct them
 

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Where do you live that you have to qualify at 15 yds? 5 and 7 should be plenty, anything over that distance is nearly no shoot area. Find some where that you can start at the 3 yds and work out.
 
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