I'd start off with a basic-level NRA class. Like Handgun I or something. If you're too poor---think about things like basic firearms safety, drawing SAFELY from a holster, sight acquisition, three basic tenets of marksmanship (sight alignment, trigger control, and controlling your breathing), holster drills (empty gun), magazine changes (combat reloads and tactical reloads with retention), dry firing, and start from there. Most of your foundation of shooting can be done WITHOUT using ammunition. Dry firing, trigger control, sight alignment, producing the weapon from the holster, and your various reloads. When you actually start using ammo---start up close; 3-5 yards away and gradually start moving backwards.
Understanding four basic marksmanship principles will help you develop your physical skills.
Originally Posted by Money
1 - The position and hold must be firm enough to support the weapon
2 - The weapon must point naturally at the target without undue physical strain
3 - Sight alignment and picture must be correct
4 - Each shot released must be fired and followed through without disturbing the position
I think No.1 is fairly self explanatory although you should endeavour not to over grip as this has an adverse effect on both accuracy and strain
2.. regardless of whether you're using a handgun or rifle, the weapon must point naturally in the direction of the target, if you're having to use undue effort to bring both the front and rear sights together, you'll tire quickly and your accuracy will be inconsistant
3.. Often people neglect that its not only the (front/rear) which has to be aligned correctly but the "sight picture" that's the whole thing :
Rear sight aligned with the front sight blade, picking up the correct point of aim (POA) on the target and then being able to maintain that "picture" on subsequent shots, with practice, this becomes an instinctive image and requires less effort.
4.. Follow through, especially in the early stages of learning how to shoot correctly is very important. Each time you squeeze the trigger you create tension - this my be physical tension in the hand controlling the pistol grip or, through anticipation of the shot and the recoil involved, both have to be accommodated and absorbed through the body. This is done through repetitive practice, gaining confidence in knowledge.
Additionally, each time you release a round you have recoil and movement in your body, including the hand holding the pistol grip and the finger operating the trigger, When you decide to fire, you take up any slack in the trigger, as you continue to squeeze eventually the shot is released, as it goes maintain pressure on the trigger, do not release it instantly you believe the shot has been fired as this action will its self add to the recoil effect and the potentially the inaccuracy of the shot.
As the round falls on the target your head/eye alignment on the target should not have altered (much) you need to bring the sight alignment and picture back into play as quickly as possible without rushing, work smoothly. As you regain the correct sight picture, release the pressure on the trigger and if you're firing a group of shots, begin your shot cycle again.. breathing, trigger slack etc etc.
Hope that's helpful
Also, just read the post above mine.. I can't emphasise enough about safety and good weapon drills.
NSP's - Normal Safety Precautions
Obviously subject to the orders or procedures at your local range, you should be practising as often as possible how to remedy malfunctions, magazine changing and most importantly ensuring you know the safety condition of your weapon(s) at all times.
I speak from experience - never assume your weapon is safe, never leave your weapon(s) unattended and make keeping your index finger off the trigger a second nature part of your life.
I haven't been in this particular Dungeon before and after looking around this seems like the perfect thread to Necro for my question...
Background: I am an Englishman whose hand gun experience has been acquired from a couple of trips to the range with experienced shooter friends...so...
Yesterday evening i took and passed my 'Intermediate Hand Gun" course at my local range (Range USA, Memphis TN). This place is awesome and the instructor was great. There were only 5 of us in the class, and with 200 rounds of shooting after 2hrs of class there was plenty of 1-on-1 to help with grip, stance, trigger resent etc.
The final 50 rounds were spent taking the TN firearms permit class as practice. Pass mark is 70%, I got 98% - with only two rounds ending up low on target at maximum distance.
So...I am in no rush to go for my permit classes because I can't own a firearm till i get my Greencard. Bearing this in mind, what's a good next step? I enjoy shooting, and I don't ind renting a pistol. I have only shot a few different guns, and my current "favourite" is a Glock model 23 .40 cal
I guess I'm wondering what y'alls thoughts are - go take further one-on-one instruction. Or just go to the range and turn money into smoke for practice. Is it worth sticking a model and caliber I enjoy shooting while I keep working on my grip, breath control, stance etc., or is now the right time to experiment with different calibers and makes of gun?
How often should I go (assuming enough money to take advantage off,but not enough to crazy on!). once every couple of weeks, or weekly while it's still fresh? Hell, Thursday night is date night, $40 for a lane, gun rental and dinner for two I think...
Finally, I want to support my local range - shop local is a motto of mine, but 200 rounds of refurb .40 cal was $78, and I can't drop that every week or two. So, weekly and 100 rounds and suck up the cost? Are other calibers cheaper, so for example, I could rent a 9mm or .38 revolver and practice cheaper? ****, is just one box of ammo enough? Could I go to Wal*Mart and buy it cheaper and do I need a hand gun permit to buy ammo in TN (that I know I should google-Fu on actually)...
Or do experienced ShooterBullies still think now is the time for more formal instruction and I should go when i can afford supervised firing?
Appreciate your advice here guys,
If you can afford 1 on 1 classes and you are actually learning something useful from it then go for it. In my personal experience just getting trigger time is the best way to improve. Sticking with a single gun is personal choice. I like to be able to try out different pistols but I definitely have my go to gun. I say when starting out try as many different ones in different calibers as you can because it will help inform your decision when you inevitably want to buy a pistol.
Originally Posted by tideliar
Go to the range as often as you want to without going broke. Ideally if you can comfortably afford once a week trips then go for it but you shouldn't feel as if you MUSt be at ther ange X times a week to improve. If you want to support your local range see if they offer a membership of some type. Usually you'll get a break on some range fees and possibly classes and or tragets but it always depends on the range.
Originally Posted by tideliar
Generally speaking the smaller the caliber the cheaper the ammo. If you are just starting out and want to shoot on the cheap go for some 22lr. Some ranges will not allow certain types of ammo but it is usually specific to the range. Go ask what type of rounds they allow. Usually if you stick with basic copper plated/jacketed ball ammo any range should let you use it regardless where you bought it. As far as buying ammo in the US to my knowledge all you need is to be 21 years old. No permit but as always check your local/state laws.
The range offers membership, and single/basic (Minute Man) for a year is $250, that gets you lanes and targets. Bump up to the next level (Patriot) and it's $400 and that gets you discounts, lanes and free rental of "basic" guns.
I can't drop $250 in one go right now, and I think the obvious thing to do is work out if the discount is worth it for the number of times i could realistically expect to go.
I'm reading from your response that sticking to my Glock 23 is a good idea to keep practicing, but don't be afraid to swap out for a different one now and then for the experience. My reasoning for the Glock m23 is that .40 cal is a good stopping round (I'm told), plus I like the internal saftey, Glock have a great record, and the model 23 is the Goldilocks gun for my hand/wrist. I've shot Colt and Kimber .45s and I have a hell of job controling the recoil. I've heard 9mm is not a good stopping round, but cheap and widely available, hence popular.
Anyway, thanks for the input. Anyone else got thoughts?
Over what distance would you expect to shoot a 9mm for a self defense situation ?
If you practice double taps with centerline/centre mass groups, you won't go far wrong, although I do accept there's better rounds out there, as you identify, cost can be prohibitive.
That one is beyond me right now. All I can do re-quote what I've heard/read. At close range a 9mm round has such high velocity (and is stable in flight maybe?) that it is likely to go straight through (unless, obviously - through is your freaking head or it hits a bone etc.). I gather that certain bullets are more inherently unstable and the tumble inside the target does the damage. Right, that's one of the added bonuses of some of the rifle rounds like the AK-47 (as well as increase in velocity)?
Originally Posted by Hugo Stiglitz
As for self defense that's usually considered close range for pistol isn't it? So then that would justify higher caliber than 9mm.
Again, my disclaimer here is uttern00bness and finally learning in real life what Brice Willis et al. taught me on TV :qgaraduat
That was one of the really interesting things from the class. Learning to experience the trigger reset. That meant less finger movement between shots (duh...), but also more accurate double taps. Although, of course, the first few seem to hit alarmingly close to the cable system working the target. I like the idea of using a 22lr for practice though (found a couple of websites with more info for me).
Originally Posted by Hugo Stiglitz
Here's the thing, if you're taught to present by bringing the pistol through your centerline, you can begin to engage the target sooner through instinctive shooting almost as soon as the barrel has cleared the holster, simply by dropping your elbow you bring the pistol inline with your target. You can get off two rounds very quickly then bring your second (supporting) hand into play as you extend both arms bringing the pistol into a more orthodox aim.
At close ranges drill yourself to aim for upper center mass (sternum and above), you'll hit the heart with little problem once you've got the drills and confidence down.
Other people have already made the major points I would have addressed, though I'll reiterate simple thing I found helpful.
1. A firearms course is never a bad idea. No shooter worth their salt operates without fundamental marksmanship. Breathing, trigger squeeze, body position and aim point must all be practiced (separately and in unison) until they become automatic actions. If you have to ACTIVELY think about any one of those fundamentals when you go to shoot then you need to drill them more.
2. Dry fire. Dry fire. Dry fire. Dry fire. Dry fire. I cannot stress it enough. Remember in point #1 where I told you that you need to have your fundamentals programmed? Dry firing is where you pay the bills. My first team leader made me dry fire at a point on a wall, from different positions and distances for around eight hours the day before my first live shoot house iteration. It may seem excessive, but it worked. Obviously nothing can replace live rounds, but the cost of ammunition makes live fire training day in and day out unfeasible for most folks. Once you have mastered fundamentals with dry firing do the same thing for every other technique you would employ with your weapon system (i.e. mag changes, weapon transitions, weapon deployment, etc.).
3. If you can't shoot iron sights, you can't shoot. This goes for pistol, rifle, shotgun and everything else that launches projectiles. Cool-guy sights and go-faster lasers work well, but they were never meant to replace fundamental marksmanship. They were meant to make shooters that were already good with their unmodified weapon that much better. One of my old squad leaders once told me this: Anything with a battery can fail, anything that can fail WILL fail, learn to trust yourself before you put your trust in anything else and you will be fine.