Group Shooting Tips
General advice on improving your trigger control that may be of interest:
Benchrest Group Shooting Is Good For You
I haven't met any great shooter that didn't spend time shooting benchrest groups at some point in his/her development.
Roy Stedman, 2011 US IPSC National Champion (Modified Division), recommends:
Start and end every practice shooting groups. That way you know your pistol is sighted in and everything is working properly when you start (so, no excuses during the practice!) and you also know nothing moved while you were shooting. After a while of doing this, not only will your groups be better, but you'll also have great confidence that next time you need to shoot that pistol without checking first (competition, defense, etc), you already know where it will hit.
Shooting groups from a proper benchrest position is a great way to learn how to press the trigger properly. Step 1 is understanding what a good benchrest position is. This article is pretty good.
Note that he's got the sandbags set up so that the front of the gun is supported. That's the key. If you don't support the front part of the gun, that allows you to still yank the trigger and get bad groups. "Benchrest" doesn't mean "rest your hands on the table and let the front of the gun float free". A rolled up blanket or jacket can be used, or your range bag. You will probably get powder burns on whatever you stick under the muzzle.
Your pistol is mechanically capable of putting 5 shots into 3-4" at 25 yards. That means you should be able to put 5 shots into 3" at 10-12 yards, and 5 shots into 6-8" at 25 yards. The IPSC target "A-zone" is 6" wide, the IDPA 0-ring is 8" wide.
My suggestion to all of you is that in your next trip to the range, your first, and possibly ONLY task for the day is to shoot groups from benchrest until you can meet or beat that standard - because if you can't, you still need to work on your trigger control and sight alignment skills. If you can't do it slow from the bench, you can't do it fast from two-handed standing. What's required doesn't change when you stand up and speed up.
The reason for most bad shots is what we described in class - the sights look fine when you start the trigger press but your eyes are closed when the shot actually fires - so you don't see that the sights are off at the instant the shot happens, as a result of running the trigger too hard or some other hand spasm. The only solution to this is to concentrate extremely hard on your manipulation of the trigger. The process isn't serial: NOT 1) see sights 2) press trigger. It's a parallel process - while observing the sights, press the trigger. You can't stop observing the sights once you begin the trigger press task. Brian Enos calls it "looking the shot off".
When you are shooting groups, your visual focus has to stay on the front sight, and it's relationship to the rear sight has to be perfect.
You need to be watching the sights with such a high level of concentration -all the way through the shot - that you stop blinking as the gun goes off. You need to have that "aha' moment when you see the front sight lift, backlit by muzzle flash, as the shot fires. The only way that's going to happen is to go shoot slow fire groups from benchrest.
Slow Down. Seriously, slow down. I mean it. Slooooow dooooown.
What I do when I shoot groups is dry fire 5 shots, then load and fire a 5 shot group - for every group I shoot. Each shot should take an entire inhalation/exhalation cycle - 3-6 seconds. This is not a rapid fire drill. It takes me several minutes to shoot a 5 shot group sometimes.
You should be exhaling slowly through your mouth as you slowly press the trigger, then holding the trigger back all the way through recoil, and resetting it after the sights are on target.
Press the trigger slowly. Not "slowly" the way everyone does in class, which is to slap at the trigger like it's a mosquito that's biting you. Slowly... as in: after you take up all the slack, press slowly on the trigger, so slowly that the gun surprises you by firing 1-3 seconds after you start pressing. My suspicion is that most of you that struggled with bad hits in classes have simply never sat down at a bench and shot at that speed, and you need to. Shoot that handgun like it's a rifle you are zeroing at 300 yards.
Shoot Groups One Handed Too
In the benchrest position the bench and sandbags are holding the gun up for you, so you have no excuses for difficulty shooting one handed. Shoot groups one handed (right and left) to work on one handed shooting trigger control.
For improving one handed shooting you should start with groups at 5 and 10 yards.
Shoot Groups From Standing
Don't rush to start shooting groups from standing until you think you can't possibly do any better from benchrest.
Then concentrate just as hard on sights and trigger as you did from benchrest, and see what results you get.
Problems with grip and stance affect performance more in standing than from benchrest.
Repeat 10 and 25 yard groups two handed standing and 5-10 yard groups one handed.
Traditional NRA bullseye competition requires one handed shooting at 25 and 50 yd targets.
Final Point - Hitting is "Tactical"
Having the skill to hit your intended target, 10 times out of 10, is as 'tactical' as it gets. Before you can learn to get fast hits you have to learn how to get hits. Shooting slow fire groups is a time consuming process which is why we (and most other schools) don't spend a lot of time on it during class -- but it's still a very important thing to practice.
Hopefully this information will motivate you to go spend some time on it and help you understand why it's important.