Saturday, October 22, 2016

Range Trip - 10-22-2016 - Sight Alignment - Sight Picture - Trigger Press – It matters . . .

The opportunity for short range trips pop up every now and then.  Take advantage of them.  I had about an hour block of time unexpectedly appear this morning, so I headed to the range.  What to do . . . what to do . . .  As I hammer on, have a plan – don’t just send lead down range.

I’m still betting acquainted with my new Glock 19 so I thought spending some time at distance – today it was 15 yards, would help round out my understanding of the G19.  I posted two targets, one for my carry G17 and one for the new G19.  The first target seen below was the result of 15 rounds of slow fire, taking “careful” aim.  Heavy sigh, a pretty sad effort and not I’m too pleased to post it.  But, there are lessons in everything so let’s chat a bit.

When I was taking the Gunsite 150 class this summer there was one particular drill at 30 feet that came to mind.  It was very similar to what I was trying to do here.  Aimed fire and a group around 6” in diameter.  All went well until the very last string and I simply blew things low.  One of the instructors came up and asked . . . “What the hell happened Bill?  You just went from “hero” to “Zero”!”  I kinda thought about things and answered that I honestly had no idea why that particular string went low.  “I can tell you . . . too much time aiming.  You were on target way too long.  Drive to the threat, gather a clear sight picture along the way, and press the trigger when you have completed your drive.  You gain nothing by staying on target too long.”  I thought about it and then worked on that throughout the rest of the coursework.  I was genuinely surprised had how much his advice improved my shooting.  Back to today . . .

The second target, physically posted just below the one shown above, was shot with the Glock19 – also at 15 yards.  Note the improvement.

Ignore the single round high and center, it’s one of the dropped shots from the G17 rounds on target 1.  On this target I focused on the advice I had been given – drive to the threat, pick up the front sight, acquire a solid sight alignment and sight picture, take up the slack in the trigger and then simply press the trigger when full extension is reached.  Hold this sight picture and press off an accelerated shot as soon as the sight picture is reacquired.  This would be the result of these controlled pairs.  While the first target was 10/15 . . . the Glock 19 was 15/15 within a 6”x6” group.  A solid difference.

So, one more time with the G17, at 15 yards using the same technique.  Drive to the threat while gaining a solid sight alignment, sight picture with a smooth trigger press when full extension is reached and executing a controlled pair.

 Now I’m back to 12/15 – 80% (my minimum acceptable score) with the G17 at 15m.

So what’s the point here.  A couple things.  Set a standard and demand it of yourself.  If you are not meeting it – work out why.  Don’t leave the range until you’ve repaired whatever has been broken.  Take coursework from other instructors – someone will say something to you that will have a positive effect on your shooting.  Document your range trips.  Evaluate every target, evaluate your failures and determine what mistakes you have made – then fix them.  And, share your experience with other instructors and shooters.  We all learn from each other . . . unless we simply remain quiet and share nothing.  I see little value in that.

One last target.  I drew a ½’ square and loaded a magazine with 5 rounds (finishing off the box), stepped to 3 yards and shot 5 rounds of slow fire with the G19.  The point was a single hole.  The result was 3 touching, one high and a flinch low.  I like this drill because it was another one I learned at Gunsite though this was abbreviated.  The actual drill is . . . fire a single shot at a very small target . . . then dry fire for 5 rounds . . . and repeat 5 times.  You’d be surprised how much this simple drill can improve the precision of your shooting.

So there ya have it . . . an unexpected range trip, only about an hour, 50 rounds and some good lessons revisited and reinforced. 

Ya gotta hit the range folks – with purpose – and then evaluate your performance.  So, grab a box and hit the door!  What are you waiting for?


  1. Thank-you for sharing.

    I learned a long time ago that "Financial Advisors" cannot tell you anything you will not find in a book. What they do is they cheerlead and keep the investor on-task and moving toward the prize.

    I see your blog the same way. It is very handy for those of us who are a little bit lazy. It is also a great inspiration.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Joe . . . wow, what very kind words . . . thank you! Nice to know someone reads my musings! Have a great rest of the weekend!