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Hello everyone. This is my first range report. I took my new XD-9 to the range this weekend. It was my first time shooting it, and only my second time shooting anything ever (ok, we won't count my BB gun when I was a boy). I am a pure newbie at shooting a gun. I will try not to bore all of you with all the details; just what's important.

I had gone to a range to rent (test) a Glock and an XD-9 SC back near Father's Day. All targets were placed at 15 feet. I tried the Glock 9mm first. (I'd include pictures of the targets, but I don't know how to put them into my text here. :( ) The Glock didn't feel good in my hand, so my grouping was really bad. I did MUCH better with the XD. It felt right, and was comfortable. I had a 1.75" grouping of about 8 shots inside the red bullseye area, and also a lot of shots in the black (down and to the left, about 4" from center bulls-eye).

Then, I went shooting this past Saturday and Sunday with my XD-9 SC. On Saturday, I put 200 rounds through many targets (10 rounds each target, all 15 feet away). Saturday's shooting was bad: my best being a 3" grouping of 6 shots centered around the bulls-eye, with 2 shots almost 4" from center, and 2 shots just off the target. :( The worst target was with only 1 shot even close to center (2.25" away), and all other shots to the lower left, at least 4" from center.

Sunday's shooting was better overall (although my worse target ended up with all shot scattered all around the outer rings, closest shot being 1.25" from center bulls-eye). My best grouping was towards the end, when I got all 10 shots within a 2" group, off center from bulls-eye by about 1" to the lower left(!). But I feel like this was a fluke, compared to ALL my other results. I had shot 130 rounds that day.

At least I'm consistent when I miss the center and shoot towards the lower left. Does that indicate anything important to anyone?

I am not sure what I'm doing wrong. I had already assumed my girlfriend (who was along all 3 times I've shot) would be a better aim and shot than I would, since she had some experience w/ guns from her Dad, and I had no experience. Maybe it was performance anxiety, but I don't think so. It was all for fun, no competition between us.

I think part of it is my stance, and my grip on the gun. I read invssgt's thread (from Feb 16 2005) about HOW to hold your gun the proper way, as well as had a range officer tell me the same thing: Basically, grip the gun so the slide is in line with your forearm bone. But when I do this, it feels very awkward, and I'd never be able to point it naturally forward towards the target (unless I tilt my head down and to the right like 6"). Maybe my arms are built wrong, I don't know. But if I hold the gun as directed, in line w/ my forearm bone, and raise my arm up to my eye level (straight in front of me), towards the target, I'm about 5-10 degrees off target. I'd never hit it, nor be able to sight it. I've been holding mine as instructed by invssgt in the thread, but the only difference is I have to "turn" my gun towards the target, by rotating my trigger hand to the right to adjust back those 5-10 degrees. I do have my free hand holding my trigger hand, with my thumbs touching. It feels comfortable for me, especially since I can't get my slide and forearm to align at all!

I've also tried aiming with both eyes open vs one-eyed. I can't even see the bulls-eye AND the sights clearly with both open, as I have very bad eyesight (I always wear glasses). I'm not sure how to explain it, but keeping both eyes open just doesn't work. So, I aim w/ one eye shut.

I might be anticipating the shot or recoil too much and "jerking" the gun as I squeeze the trigger. I can work on that, and pay closer attention to see if I do that or not. I do the dry fire thing a lot at home, and it all seems to go well when I'm NOT at the range.

I'm not sure if anyone can help, short of being here in person to see how I'm doing it and show me some tips to improve. Maybe I need to try different ways of holding it? It bothers me that I am unable to hold it in-line w/ my forearm. I think that's a big problem. But I don't know. Maybe that's not such a big deal? Does anyone ELSE have their arm and slide NOT align like I do? If so, how do you hold your gun?

Any suggestions, tips, pointers, secrets, etc. would be helpful and greatly appreciated. I might be missing something very important. Or it might all be ok and I just need practice. OK, I DO need more practice. Since I only have 330 rounds through my gun so far. But you know what I mean. :)

Thanks for listening.
 

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I am going to try to add some additional insight into gripping the gun.

1st make sure the the gun is unloaded and that there is no ammunition in the same room.

2nd locatate a direction that you can safely point the gun so that if it went of it would not destroy anything important. One of the most often heard things is that the gun was empty when it fired on it's own.

Pick up the gun and place it in your non shooting hand with the barrel between your thumb and fore finger and the trigger guard resting in your palm.

Place your shooting hand on the back of the grip jamming the web of your hand between the thumb and fore finger as high as possible, keeping the fingers extended & outside the trigger guard.

Keeping the fore finger extended along the slide, close your shooting hand around the grip with about the same tension or grip you would have on a hammer if you were going to drive in a 10 penny spike.

Take the non shooting hand and wrap the fingers around the fingers on the grip so that the thumbs are touching each other. Stand so your feet and shoulders are pointing the same direction.

Fully extend both arms out in front of you & see where the gun is pointing, close your eyes and move your arms back & forth like a tank turret & let them center. Open your eyes and this is known as your Natural Point of Aim. Most people will be pointing in the opposite direction as their strong side so move the strong side foot back slightly so you are pointing in the direction you want to shoot. The shot pattern that you describe is known as "Milking" in that as you squeeze the trigger the fingers on the grip are also squeezing.

One way to eliminate "Milking" is to get a small ball and put it in your hand in a shooting grip & as you watch TV try to move your trigger finger without squeezing the ball.

Since you said you can't shoot with both eyes open, you need to find the dominate eye. Find a spot on the wall 10-15 feet away, bring both hands up in front of you fully extended and form a small circle (1-2" diameter) with the thumb and fore finger of both hands. Staring at the spot, bring both hands back in front of you so that you can only see the spot through your fingers with 1 eye. This is your dominate eye and the 1 you should be looking for the front sight with.

After all this then you can start to worry about trigger squeeze, breath control, follow through, sight picture & sight alignment. And I'm hoping you know what all of those mean.
 

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LeRoy Patterson
Eagle Firearms Instruction
NRA Instructor
101st Airborne
FIA C-12411


Nice pedigree there, brah. Excellent post.

OEFM has posted a diagnostic target for these types of posts that shows if you hit here, your doing this, etc. I tried to find it without success, but maybe if he sees this...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, MTEagle1, for your in-depth post. I will try as you suggested and see if that helps me improve. I am planning on going to the range again next Wednesday (birthday gift to myself) to test this information out. It sounds very precise and rock-solid. Milking, huh? I will consciously work on NOT squeezing the grip with those other fingers, too. I can let you know how it goes. I appreciate the pointers and advice. I will certainly practice it and do my best to improve my grip/stance/aim. Thanks again!

Son of Norway, I actually found a lot of free target sites online. The one that has the target you're talking about (or a variation of it) is:
http://reloadbench.com/pdf.html I downloaded it, and many others, earlier today. For those of you who want some sites to choose from, with a variety of targets to print, go to: http://www.fortliberty.org/military-library/free-printable-targets.shtml They have a nice listing of other free printable target sites.

Thank you again for the reply. I look forward to next Wednesday's shooting, now that I'm armed with this extended information.
 

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I saw your article. My wife and I both use XD-9SC. She has ben shooting for just over a year now and after many times to the range (Once a week). She did not seem to be consistent. She was bad about doing dry fire so that did not help. Finally I purchased some 9mm SnapCaps and mixed them with live rounds for my wife. She pulled her accuracy with in a 2 in. circle from 7 yards consistently. WHat the snapcaps did was give her immidate feedback on what she was doing when she pulled the trigger. Since it was mixed with live rounds she never new when it would be a blank.

Note: some people don't like this means of shooting but I was able to clean up her shooting in weeks. It also gave me time to see how her grip was as she shot.

Good Luck, We now have 4 XD's and love them.
 
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