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My First Gun

Thanks everyone for the comments. As I plan to go to the range for the first time, I have some questions. Forgive my ignorance here but I have never gone before to shoot and your input would be greatly appreciated. How many targets do I bring? How many rounds would be a good amount for the first time? I plan to stay for an hour. What distance should I focus on? It is an indoor range with 3 distances marked, with the first one being 7 yards. I don’t recall the distances of the further ones. Do I mark the targets in any way to track my progress? And finally, here is what I plan to bring in my range bag other than the Glock - let me know if I am missing something: eye and ear protection (both internal and external), range ammo, speed loader, extra magazines, targets, and CLP with some cleaning cloths. What am I missing that might be useful? Thanks as always for any input.

You are looking to develop proper muscle memory and consistency. I would not try to jump around to much. Think about a lesson focus to continue your dry fire work you did at home. Start with the basics and keep it fun and simple. Be conscious of fatigue, physical and mental and take a break or call it a day while you are still feeling good and focused. A bad day at the range is usually still way better than a good day elsewhere but when you are fatigued you can develop bad habits and waste ammo.

I would recommend starting at the shortest distance, shoot some single shots (one round per mag), focus on sight alignment and trigger squeeze, getting a feel for the firearm and where your shots are landing. Work your way up as your get confidence in your actions, loading doubles, triples, etc., and increase your distance. Take is slow to start and develop the muscle memory and consistency in your trigger and grip. Get some masking tape or some target stickers to cover your hits. No need to use a lot of targets.

When you are ready to practice drawing to fire (make sure your range permits holster drawing), again take it slow. Carry on your dry fire home practice, load one round, close target, start slow with your draw, sight alignment as you engage the target and trigger squeeze, holster, reload, holster, repeat. Accurate speed comes from building on the basics, muscle memory, and mental focus.

Relax and have fun!
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
You are looking to develop proper muscle memory and consistency. I would not try to jump around to much. Think about a lesson focus to continue your dry fire work you did at home. Start with the basics and keep it fun and simple. Be conscious of fatigue, physical and mental and take a break or call it a day while you are still feeling good and focused. A bad day at the range is usually still way better than a good day elsewhere but when you are fatigued you can develop bad habits and waste ammo.

I would recommend starting at the shortest distance, shoot some single shots (one round per mag), focus on sight alignment and trigger squeeze, getting a feel for the firearm and where your shots are landing. Work your way up as your get confidence in your actions, loading doubles, triples, etc., and increase your distance. Take is slow to start and develop the muscle memory and consistency in your trigger and grip. Get some masking tape or some target stickers to cover your hits. No need to use a lot of targets.

When you are ready to practice drawing to fire (make sure your range permits holster drawing), again take it slow. Carry on your dry fire home practice, load one round, close target, start slow with your draw, sight alignment as you engage the target and trigger squeeze, holster, reload, holster, repeat. Accurate speed comes from building on the basics, muscle memory, and mental focus.

Relax and have fun!

Great advice! I’m fixing to go thru these tips with my revolver! :)
 
Thanks everyone for the comments. As I plan to go to the range for the first time, I have some questions. Forgive my ignorance here but I have never gone before to shoot and your input would be greatly appreciated. How many targets do I bring? How many rounds would be a good amount for the first time? I plan to stay for an hour. What distance should I focus on? It is an indoor range with 3 distances marked, with the first one being 7 yards. I don’t recall the distances of the further ones. Do I mark the targets in any way to track my progress? And finally, here is what I plan to bring in my range bag other than the Glock - let me know if I am missing something: eye and ear protection (both internal and external), range ammo, speed loader, extra magazines, targets, and CLP with some cleaning cloths. What am I missing that might be useful? Thanks as always for any input.

My advice? Look at the manual and learn how to safely dry fire the gun without damaging it. My Ruger has instructions in the manual. With an UNLOADED gun pointed in a SAFE direction, aim down the sights at a point and squeeze the trigger. Did the gun move off target? Keep practicing until it doesn't. You need to be able to squeeze the trigger without altering your point of impact.

While at the range, always have the muzzle pointed DOWN RANGE. This may sound like common sense but even after you are done firing if you set the gun down it needs to be pointed down range. I know the slide locks back on an empty mag but in case something malfunctions or something bad happens you don't want to send a bullet into the lane next to you. Always be mindful of where the muzzle is pointed. You own every bullet that leaves that barrel.

Don't let people tell you that you are less of a man for shooting at a target 5 feet from your face. Shooting a live round is different than dry fire. If you flinch you won't be on target. Flinching and poor trigger control kill accuracy faster than anything else. Start at a close distance and see what you gun is doing. Are you grouping shots together? Are they all over the place? Keep working at a close distance until you get consistent groups to move the target out farther.

Don't be worried about shooting fast. Your not in an action movie. Take your time an aim your shots. 1 bullet exactly where you want it is better than 10 misses in most situations.

As far as what to bring, I would take at least 100 rounds and a 10 pack of targets, and I like the targets with multiple small bullseye's. You can get more life out of them than say a shillouette.
Ear and eye protection are a must as well.

Gun safety mostly common sense and familiarity with a weapon. When I buy a new gun, the first thing I do is read the manual and learn the controls before I ever think of chambering a round. A negligent discharge is a negligent discharge, and not knowing where the safety is or what this lever does is not a valid excuse.

I'm not trying to sound narcissistic or like a drill instructor, but it is a serious topic.

The most important thing is to use your head for your safety and the safety of others around you. The second most important thing is to have fun🙂
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
Hard to top or add to what has been said, except for this. Most defensive shootings are at extremely close range. Extremely close. Anywhere from half the width of your livingroom to touching distance. Seriously. At two yards you aren't going to assume a proper textbook shooting stance and form a classic sight picture, no. You are going to have your gun low and back against your side with your off hand in a guard position and you won't even see your gun. You MUST NOT let your attacker or intruder get his hand on your piece. Better to not have a gun than to give it to the bad guy! And he could be very very close when push literally comes to shove. So practice (and I hate this term but it is familiar so sic) "from the hip" shooting at just a yard or three, as well as engaging targets in a more civilized manner at 5 or 7 or 10 yards or whatever. You need to be skilled at both types of shooting, not just one or the other, if you hope to ever come out on top of a confrontation because you had the foresight to be armed or have a gun very near.

An airsoft pistol is very nice for CQB drill or UCQB ("Ultra" close) because you can have the sensation, without the recoil of course, of actually firing, the visual cue of the pellet bouncing off your target or opponent, and knowing that your unsighted aim was good enough or not good enough. You can also practice putting some fighting room between you and your opponent, and distance is YOUR BEST FRIEND other than your gun, in a deadly confrontation. When you have room and have time to bring your gun up in a proper shooting stance and form the way you love to practice at the range, if you have any sort of decent lighting, the advantage is definitely yours. Third shirt button, bullseye. If you can put them in a tennis ball size group at 7 yards on the range, then you can keep them in center mass in your den or garage or kitchen or bedroom. When you are in wrestle range, things are going to be much different and there must be a serious shifting of gears.

If you are like most of us, you will never have to fire your gun at another human being. But it would suck to have to, and not know how to actually do it when he has a fistful of your neck in one hand and a knife in the other hand. Plus, the practice is exciting and loads of fun. If you can find a training partner, both of you get airsofts and goggles, and have at it. Take turns being the intruder. Clear rooms, against one another and together as a team. When you get hit, it is a real wakeup call, but no trip to the ER. Do your bullet catching with airsofts, not firearms.
 
So I just returned from my trip to the range. It was fun, but you can see from my targets that there is a tendency for my shots to go to the left. The first picture are the first 20 rounds I shot, all from 7 yards and I was aiming for the X in the center. The second target picture shows my next 80 rounds fired. 30 of them I was aiming for the head, and the rest I was aiming for the center X. Again, all fired at 7 yards. Why are my shots drifting left, and what can I do to improve? I had a lot of fun, though, and any suggestions are appreciated.

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nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
@OkieStubble can probably answer this best, but my guess is that you're tightening your grip as you squeeze the trigger. You have to learn to isolate the trigger finger from the rest of your fingers, a constant grip with the other fingers as the trigger finger tightens and pulls straight back..
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
@OkieStubble can probably answer this best, but my guess is that you're tightening your grip as you squeeze the trigger. You have to learn to isolate the trigger finger from the rest of your fingers, a constant grip with the other fingers as the trigger finger tightens and pulls straight back..

This is perfect advice. From looking at his targets, especially the second target that has 80 rounds in it, It appears to me the shots immediately left of where he was aiming, is in fact due to what you have said.

Then, as that single target gets filled with many holes, he can’t track where each and every single shot is exactly impacting. Then he begins to jerking the trigger which makes for low and left shots.

This will breed complacency, which makes for hurrying shots, fatigue and lack of shooting discipline in maintaining correct shooting fundamentals.

This is what I would tell a fellow police officer who knows better. Considering the huge fact that he is brand spanking new at all of this, I honestly think it’s probably from not just the lack of knowledge in shooting fundamentals, but also, not knowing how to organize his range trip to be more… Organized?

1. Organization in every detail of shooting, will help him be more focused.

2. Organize your preparation before the range trip. Did you practice dry firing at home as suggested?

3. Did you practice your point of aim at home as suggested?

4. Did you practice trigger control at home as suggested?

5. Did you practice noticing if your sights moved while practicing trigger control at home as suggested?

6. If your sights did move, did you notice where they moved to at home as suggested?

7. Did you watch the video I posted on how to shoot a pistol?

8. Did you purchase any of the paper targets that had the multiple smaller targets on them that I posted and suggested?

9. Do you agree and have you confirmed what I said in a previous post about it won’t be easy to focus on all the things I just posted, once that pistol starts going “ bang”! And that slide starts moving in recoil?

10. Please don’t be offended, hurt or upset at anything I am saying.

11. Shooting in general, whether you are brand new at it, or are a veteran street officer with many rounds under their belt. The very second, you send your first round down range from your own pistol?

12. It becomes very personal. As it should. Taking it personal, will push you to succeed, overcome and figure it out, which will help you get better in time. And I don’t mean a long time.

We get 21 year old, pimply faced babies in the academy. Instructor’s get 15 days to teach them how to defend theirs and the lives of others with a Glock, Remington 870, and FN AR-15. And then we send them to work in the most dangerous areas of our city.

If they can do that, you can do this. I will tell you, what I have told hundreds of them when/ in getting and taking advice.

“nothing personal, just business.” :)

EDIT: having fun and staying positive is a good thing, especially when target shooting. However, while your Glock can be used to have fun, it is designed and might be intended for serious business and defense of life.

Have fun. But take it seriously also. Just a suggestion. :)
 
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Thanks for all of the advice. That makes sense as to why my shots were to the left. I did in fact do most of the suggestions with dry firing and watched videos etc, but it just goes to show that there is no replacing actual firing of the gun. This can’t be simulated. I will continue to practice and improve as I learn more. One suggestion that I did not do but think I will do is buy the targets with the several smaller targets on them. These will be helpful. And I won’t shoot that many rounds in one target again! Thanks again for all of the constructive feedback.
 
it just goes to show that there is no replacing actual firing of the gun. This can’t be simulated. I will continue to practice and improve as I learn more.

True, live fire practice is important but dry fire practice is critical to develop muscle memory without the distractions of recoil, noise, etc. By far, I do more dry fire drills than range time with live rounds and I do dry fire drills at the range before matches and practice. If my shots are not hitting where I expected I’ll do some more dry fires to check my form and get my head clear. Five minutes of dry fire a day will go a long way.

Keep having fun!
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
So I just returned from my trip to the range. It was fun, but you can see from my targets that there is a tendency for my shots to go to the left. The first picture are the first 20 rounds I shot, all from 7 yards and I was aiming for the X in the center. The second target picture shows my next 80 rounds fired. 30 of them I was aiming for the head, and the rest I was aiming for the center X. Again, all fired at 7 yards. Why are my shots drifting left, and what can I do to improve? I had a lot of fun, though, and any suggestions are appreciated.

View attachment 1444533

View attachment 1444534

They look pretty good for the first time. Hey...they are all on the paper! :)

Are you right handed or left handed, and were you shooting two handed? I'd guess two handed.

What he said.

@OkieStubble can probably answer this best, but my guess is that you're tightening your grip as you squeeze the trigger. You have to learn to isolate the trigger finger from the rest of your fingers, a constant grip with the other fingers as the trigger finger tightens and pulls straight back..
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
@OkieStubble brings up a very good point. But here is another detail that might be causing you to pull to the left. Could be your finger placement on the trigger. Try moving the contact point further up your finger. In other words, stick just a little more of your finger through the trigger guard. Could be you are contacting the trigger too far out toward your fingertip. An adjustment of just a 1/16" can make a trememdous difference.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
Thanks for all of the advice. That makes sense as to why my shots were to the left. I did in fact do most of the suggestions with dry firing and watched videos etc, but it just goes to show that there is no replacing actual firing of the gun. This can’t be simulated. I will continue to practice and improve as I learn more. One suggestion that I did not do but think I will do is buy the targets with the several smaller targets on them. These will be helpful. And I won’t shoot that many rounds in one target again! Thanks again for all of the constructive feedback.

If you don’t want to buy the little stickers that cover the holes you already made, get a magic marker. I’m a cheapskate, so I like to just mark a small X on top of the bullet holes. But on the smaller targets, don’t put anymore then rounds 9 rounds into each target. Also, if I can suggest a couple of other things.

Do not fill, shoot and empty 15 round G19 magazines at one time. If you shoot 3 magazines to empty, you just threw 45 rounds down range.

While trying to learn to form groups, just load each magazine with 6 rounds. But only shoot each target with 3 rounds. Once you finish all the small targets with three rounds, mark the holes that you shot, reload and shoot them all again. 9 rounds in each target, would be three groups of three tries, in each target.

Also, slow down and take your time. Focus on each shot. You should be gripping your pistol harder with your support hand than your shooting hand. This will allow you, to relax your shooting finger as you pull the trigger to the rear.

Even though you are putting the front sight in between and level with the rear sight, do not focus on the rear sight. Do not try to focus on the rear and front sight together.

Only focus on the front sight. This is hard to remember when your Glock is going bang. So as you’re shooting, continually whisper to yourself under your breath, “ front sight, front sight, front sight.” As you are slowly squeezing the trigger to the rear.

When you line your sights up on the red X in the middle of your target, put your front sight at 6 o’clock on the X.

Keep having fun. You should get better and more accurate with each visit. It looks like you shot a 100 rounds your last visit. But if you loaded 15 rounds 3 times in those G19 magazines. You shot almost a box of ammo pretty quickly.

Let’s slow it down, only load a few at a time and make each shot count by concentrating on the fundamentals you read here, and taking the time to be focused.

You are correct in the fact, that it just goes to show, nothing beats live shooting.

However, if you are spending putting in quality time dry firing your pistol, paying attention to all the above details, stance, proper grip, sight alignment and picture, front sight focus and squeezing the trigger to the rear with a relaxed trigger finger, you won’t have 40 bullets to the left of your target. ;)
 
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martym

Unacceptably Lasering Chicken Giblets?
Practice does not make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect.

Slow down. Breathe.
Shoot fewer rounds.
Remember the fundamentals. Don’t overthink it.

Too much finger on the trigger makes bullets go one way.
Too little finger on the trigger makes them go the other way.

What I can say for certain by studying your targets is that you are consistent. Now you just gotta figure out what’s throwing those rounds off to the left and a tad low and make the adjustment.

Slow is smooth.
Smooth is fast.

You got this!!

For me the two most important things to remember:
1). Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you have acquired your target and have made the decision to shoot.
2). Never point your weapon at something you are not willing to destroy.

marty
 
I would be interested to know where your support hand index finger it placed? I've witnessed many a Glock owner place his/her index finger in front of the serrated trigger guard instead of where it belongs (just underneath the trigger guard and on the grip).

If you're doing that, along with too much grip pressure, or finger tipping (pushing) with your trigger finger, everything will be going left of your POA.

Below is what your grip should look like with a "thumbs forward" grip. Notice the off hand index finger is below the trigger guard. Some new Glock owners mistake that serrated surface at the front of the trigger guard for a neat place to put their support index finger.

I was going to stay out of the discussion but I couldn't help myself (Certified USCCA Instructor).

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