Pistol marksmanship

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Handgun Training: 7 Critical Aspects of Pistol Shooting | Gun Digest

Bray Memorial Scholarship Marion P. Pressure exerted would not be straight to the rear. As it is fully applied in the normal grip, it would no doubt effect the natural alignment of the sights.

Shooter's Corner: "Grip and Trigger Control of the M9"

Also, shooters with small hands have trouble with stocks of varying sizes. One example is having to compromise, due to a short trigger finger which can reach the trigger only with the finger tip, between a straight to the rear trigger pressure and the best position of the pistol in the shooting hand that tends to give natural sight alignment. Shaped, molded or tailored custom grips are required to fit perfectly. Fitted grips are primarily used to help the shooter who can't consistently duplicate the proper grip when using standard factory grips.

The individual shooter must first decide what features and characteristics of a shaped grip suit his hand. Stocks can be made to fit exactly, but it is a difficult job. Only an experienced shooter is capable of knowing what he actually needs in a custom grip, because only he knows what his proper grip looks and feels like. Powdered rosin dusted on the hand can help to maintain a solid, controlling grip but it is not absolutely necessary. Normally, a strong hand and the checkering and stippling on the stocks and metal surfaces is sufficient. In hot weather when the hand may perspire or a hand that becomes wet in the rain may cause slippage, powdered rosin or a like substance, that will temporarily dry the skin of the palm and fingers, is then justified.

In the final analysis, there is only one correct grip for you. It is one that is firm; affords the individual shooter the maximum degree of control over maintaining sight alignment and allows positive, straight to the rear pressure on the trigger without disturbing sight alignment.


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The correct method of breathing is an essential part of the shooter's system of control. Most pistol shooters know less about the proper method of breath control than of any of the other fundamentals. The object of proper breath control is to enable the pistol shooter to hold his breath with a comfortable feeling long enough to fire one shot slow fire; five shots in twenty seconds timed fire; or five shots in ten seconds rapid fire without loss of the ability to hold still or concentrate on sight alignment.

Promote a steady hold: It is generally known that one must not breathe during aiming. Breathing is accompanied by the rhythmical movement of the chest, abdomen, and the shoulders.

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This causes the pistol to move about excessively, making it almost impossible to produce an accurate shot. Therefore, one must not simultaneously breathe and try to fire a shot, but must endeavor to hold the breath for a short period of time. The physiological processes involved in breathing: The shooter however, must not view the breathing process solely from the movement of the chest and the gun.


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  5. He must not forget that the process of breathing, which consists of a combination of processes which occur constantly in the human body, determine in general the condition of the human being. Therefore, proper breathing is of great importance during shooting exercises which last several hours. Incorrect breathing technique has an adverse effect upon shooting, especially if the concentration is disturbed by sensing of the need to breathe. A person inhales when the dimensions of the chest increase. Once inside the lungs, the air provides oxygen to the blood and in turn it absorbs carbon dioxide and aqueous vapors.

    Exhalation occurs when all the muscles relax, the diaphragm presses upward, and, under the action of the weight of the chest and the elasticity of the lungs, air is forced out of the body. Exhaling does not require muscular effort; it occurs as the result of the resiliency of the ribs and the muscular tissues and the elasticity of the lungs.

    Consequently, one respiratory cycle lasts 4 - 5 seconds. If one traces the respiratory cycle, it is not difficult to note that the strained position of inhalation is replaced very quickly by exhalation. The very next inhalation begins after a respiratory pause of 2 to 3 seconds, figure 1 -7 during which time the carbon dioxide accumulates in the lungs. The duration off the respiratory pause is determined by the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air remaining in the lungs.

    Scheme of a Person's Breathing. It is obvious that during aiming and applying pressure on the trigger, the breath must be held only after the shooter has exhaled, timing it so that the breath is held at the moment of the natural respiratory pause. During that time the muscles are not strained and are in a relaxed state. A person can prolong by several seconds this respiratory pause, that is, hold his breath comfortably for 15 - 20 seconds, without any special labor and without experiencing unpleasant sensations. This time is more than adequate to produce a shot or shots.

    Experienced shooters usually take a deep breath before firing and then, exhaling slowly, hold their breath gradually, relax and concentrate their entire attention upon sight alignment and the smooth application of pressure on the trigger Figure Recommended method a. Prior to fire commands: 1 When expelling the air from the lungs before aiming, no effort whatever must be exerted. The exhaling must be natural and free, as in ordinary breathing. The air must not be held in the lungs; incomplete exhaling before aiming leads to straining and to stimulation of the nerve centers regulating the breathing, and the shooters concentration on aiming is distracted.

    If the shooter does not produce a shot in 8 - 10 seconds, he must stop aiming and take another breath. The same should be done between shots and strings of shots throughout the firing. This facilitates the lengthening of the respiratory pause before aiming and provides for regular rest between shots and strings. The oxygen level in the blood is slightly increased. As a result the shooter is relaxed and comfortable during all shooting without excessive and premature fatigue.

    As the shooter gains experience in proper breath control, he will find that he will hold his breath, or extend his normal respiratory pause, without being too conscious of the action and allow intense concentration on sight alignment and trigger pressure. During actual firing: The shooter should not be conscious of the need to breathe. If during practice a shooter finds that he cannot hold his breath the twenty seconds necessary to fire a timed fire string, he should make a practice of firing his timed fire strings in less than twenty seconds.

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    However, if during a timed or rapid fire string, the shooter feels compelled to breathe, he should take a short breath quickly and continue to fire. This causes a lapse of concentration on sight alignment and should not be the normal technique used. In order for the bullet to hit the center of the target, the shooter must aim the pistol and give the barrel a definite direction relative to the target. In theory, accurate aiming is achieved when the shooter places In exact alignment the rear sight with the top and sides of the front sight and holds them In alignment In the aiming area.

    A requisite for correct aiming is the ability to maintain the relationship between the front and rear sights. When aiming the front sight is positioned in the middle of the rear sight notch with an equal light space on each side. The horizontal top surface of the front sight is on the same level as the top horizontal surface of the rear sight notch Figure A. It is necessary to be acutely aware of the relationship of the rear sight to the clearly defined front sight. Normal vision is such that the rear sight of the pistol will be as nearly In focus as the front sight.

    Some shooters may be able to see only the notch of the rear sight In sharp focus; the outer extremities may become slightly blurred. The Relationship of the Sights. Angular Shift Error: If the shooter does not observe correct aiming maintaining the top surface of the centered front sight on a level with the top of the rear sight and equal light space on each side of the front sight there will be few accurate shots.

    Most often, he locates the front sight in a different position In the rear notch. This accounts for a greater dispersion of shots on the target, since the bullets will deviate In the direction In which the front sight is positioned In the notch. This aiming error is known as angular shift error. Parallel Shift Error: If the hold arc of movement is deviating In near parallel error from the center of the aiming area, the shooter should know that these deflections will not lower the score to the extent of angular shift error.

    Therefore, sight alignment is the most critical of the two. Thus, the accuracy of a shot depends mainly upon the shooter's ability to consistently maintain correct sight alignment. The main effort should be toward keeping your sights aligned, Holding the pistol perfectly still is desirable but It is not mandatory.

    Shot breaks with a slightly high hold. Hold is good, but front sight alignment creates error. Correct sight alignment must be thoroughly understood and practiced. It appears on the surface as a simple thing - this lining up of two objects, front and rear sights. The problem lies in the difficulty in maintaining these two sights in precise alignment while the shooter is maintaining a minimum arc of movement and pressing the trigger to cause the hammer to fall without disturbing sight alignment.

    The solution is partly in focusing the eye on the front sight during the delivery of the shot. Figure b. Control of sight alignment is not precise. Distinct focus on target renders sight indistinct. Error incorporated here is the same as Figs 34a and is not as readily apparent.

    telbediconspi.gq Figure c. Control alignment is precise. Focus limited to front sight only, renders the sights distinct and target indistinct and sight relationship can be controlled constantly. It is imperative to maintain 'front slight point of focus" throughout the sighting and aiming of the pistol.

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    The shooter must concentrate on maintaining the correct relationship between front and rear sight, and the point of focus must be on the front sight during the short period required to deliver the shot. If the focus is displaced forward, and the target is momentarily in clear focus, the ability of shooter to achieve correct sight alignment is jeopardized for that moment. Frequently, this is the moment that the pistol fires.


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    A controlled, accurate shot is impossible under these conditions. When the eye is focused on the target the relatively small movement of the arm appears magnified. However, when the eye is correctly focuses on the front sight this movement appears to have been reduced.