Drills for faster sight picture (iron sighted pistols)

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    • #95440
      Abacus
      Participant

        MVT Pistoleros,

        What seems to be slowing me down and trippinge up in pistol practice is how long it takes to pick up my sights. Once I have the pistol up from either ready or on the draw I feel like it take ages for my sight picture to “solidify.” Even if I start a string of fire already presented and on target I feel like my brain and eyes are cruising around with the parking break on. I can almost reload faster than I can pick up my sights…

        Are any drills that can help with this beyond lots of ready up type dry fire work?

        Obviously hitting the pistol class in Romey is a better solution, but I am not able to go cross country right now.

        Thanks in advance for the assistance!

      • #95441
        JohnnyMac
        Participant

          As you already mentioned, the biggest thing is probably dry fire practice, just getting the body used to the exact angles of sight alignment. Is this a new pistol or are you a new shooter? Does it have a different grip angle than what you’re used to?

          A more visible front sight/less visible rear sight might help, but I wouldn’t worry about that yet.

          Are you cross eye dominant? That can sometimes make it difficult for less experienced shooters.

          Last but not least, how is your eyesight? I’ve coached some older shooters who had issues due to visual impairment. This is probably the most frustrating for me when I’m coaching, since I know very little about ophthalmology.

        • #95442
          Robert
          Participant

            And the obvious first answer is to get to First Sgt’s Defensive Concealed Handgun class. I guarantee you in person this can be remedied lickety split!

            If your structure and body alignment is good, and the gun is pushed out in a vertical line instead of the usual “loop swoop and pull” type of deal, I think First Sgt. calls this either “bowling” or “fishing”, the gun should be on target a fraction of a second out of the holster. And you should be able to fire and get hits from the point where the barrel is first rotated horizontal out of the holster all the way to full lock out and back.

            Remind don’t “blade” your body. Which is different than having one foot a little back or forward but with the toe pointed in the same direction- I think I have a pic I can post-

          • #95443
            Robert
            Participant

              OK it loaded correctly. So see the pic in above post, the toes are pointing the same general direction. This is what your looking for. The hips are loose and also directed towards the target.

              The pic above was taken for an article I did about left handed shooting, and for me, moving one foot slightly forward helps remove a lot of tension from my shooting platform. I’m spending the next couple months/half a year shooting left handed only.

            • #95444
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
              Moderator

                MVT Pistoleros,

                Is this a new problem or a recently developed problem?

                I know your military, but what is your pistol experience background?

                Remember there are many who qualify Expert that still have serious issues due to the extreme variety of training quality.

                Do you have any eyesight issues?

                The answers will aid in the proper advice.

                Since this isn’t just for Abacus, but others who will read this Thread in future.

                Some will debate the exact numbers, but it takes something around a 1000 repetitions to develop ingrained muscle memory and 10000 repetitions to change that developed muscle memory. So it’s really important to get things right as soon as possible.

              • #95445
                Abacus
                Participant

                  My formal pistol training has been very basic and consisted of going through the block of instruction the USAF gives before qualification a few times and the old Ohio CCW course in college before I was old enough to carry. I would love to head back East for the MVT pistol class, but that is not in the cards for this cycle. I will probably get some instruction in the more local area this summer or fall though.

                  Informally, I have been coached by some pretty good IDPA shooters from my last sqaudron. I shot IDPA (very slowly) at my last assignment with not unreasonable levels of accuracy if not speed.

                  The pitsol I am using is not new. I have put at least 1000 rounds through it over the last three or four years. All those rounds might not have been good reps, and I have only recently started being systematic with practice.

                  I am cross eye dominant and shoot right handed with my left eye by shifting the gun to the left as I present it. I shoot both eyes open with no issues.

                  When I shoot handguns, my upper body is mostly issoslese and my feet are in a shallow fighter’s stance, usually with my right foot back.

                  I have painted the front sight neon green and have some older tritium night sights installed. I have better than 20/20 with my glasses on and 20/40 without them. Even without correction I can see the front blade as I am only mildly near sighted. I just can’t seem to lock in the flash sight picture I keep reading and hearing about.

                • #95446
                  Abacus
                  Participant

                    Best I can figure, I am using to much mental bandwidth on trigger control or otherwise over thinking it. I ran some dry fire iterations the last couple nights and it felt like I was picking up my sights faster in dry fire than I was at the range. I don’t have a shot timer or par timer yet, so I could be wrong.

                    I used to have a pretty obnoxious habit of pushing the muzzle right as the shot breaks. It showed up during most of my qualification runs and makes headshots tough as I tended to shoot low under stress.

                    To fix the flinch, I have done a few hundred reditions of the dime drill in dry fire. I can usually break the shot without any flinch in dry fire no problem now.

                    When I concentrate on good trigger control and on not flinching I can avoid pushing shots low in live fire. The bullets are going where I want them now it just takes a lot of thought to not screw it up. Durring following through, I can actually tell as the shot breaks if I pushed the muzzle or not, so I know what “right” feels like.

                    But all this thinking and such means the flash sight picture never flahses and I have to look for it even when I am lined up right.

                    I don’t really have this problem with rifles although my training is similarly lacking.

                  • #95447
                    Mike Q
                    Participant

                      What about attaching a red dot to the pistol in lieu of irons? That will make you much faster…

                      @ Sam Brady – I was with you on 1st Sergant’s pistol class a few years ago and I saw you running one on your pistol. What’s your take?

                    • #95448
                      JohnnyMac
                      Participant

                        @abacus with more of your background, it sounds like you just need to dry fire practice. It’s important to note that you still need regular range time in order to practice recoil management and validate what you’ve practiced in dry fire

                      • #95449
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                        Moderator

                          I took some time to dwell on this after you answered the background questions.

                          When First Sergeant chimes in, weigh his advice more than mine as he has much more instructing experience.

                          The left eye dominance right-hand shooter using isosceles shouldn’t be a issue in sight alignment unless your eyes are fatigued. Fatigued eyes; spent long time on computer before shooting as a example, can sometimes cause your eye dominance to shift to other eye. This may not be a issue, but I mention it as something to consider. Our lives sometimes force time constraints where we try to fit too much in time available.

                          Based on your comments and not being able to observe you, my best guesstimate is you need more time practicing fundamentals without concern for time. The speed will come through repetition.

                          The concern is if your practice is without good form you are reinforcing bad habits or training scars.

                        • #95450
                          Abacus
                          Participant

                            Johnny and Joe,

                            Thanks for the feedback. I take your advice to mean, I need more reps of just starting on target and running the trigger with fsp focus in both dry and live fire. Am I correct. That should eventually burn the right way into my skull so I don’t have to think about not flinching and can do other things.

                            Is there a better way to break it down by the numbers than what I described? Are there any mental cues you suggest?

                            A red dot is a hardware fix at this point for a software issue. So I will wait on that.

                          • #95451
                            JohnnyMac
                            Participant

                              need more reps of just starting on target and running the trigger with fsp focus in both dry and live fire

                              This is correct, but only part of it. Maintaining sight alignment during and after the trigger press will go a long way to helping with basic marksmanship, and should be a part of dry fire, but it won’t help with acquiring a sight picture.

                              With a presumable end goal being a rapid draw from concealment in varying positions/environments with accurate fire on a target:

                              As a good first step you may want to, in addition to what was already described, practice taking the pistol from various ready positions or positions of retention (pictoral index, compressed ready, low ready, sul, etc) to on target with a well executed trigger press/follow through. It’s during something like this, where you are forced to acquire a sight picture, where you can develop the “muscle memory” that will help you with your problem.

                              As someone already said, getting professional training will go a long way in setting you up for success in the long run, so that you don’t practice bad things. If that means something local, so be it, as long as you can feel confident the instructor has good knowledge, the skill to impart that knowledge, and the ability analyze and critique your performance. The old adage “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true, but rather “perfect practice makes perfect”.

                              If you run a striker fired pistol:
                              If it’s really not feasible to be hitting the range on a regular basis, a SIRT training pistol (though not a substitute for live fire) could be a valuable addition to your dry fire practice. It will provide some accuracy feedback, but more importantly, prevent you from instilling racking the slide as part of your shot process, which can happen with newer shooters.

                              EDIT: I’m sure 1SGT will have good advice

                            • #95452
                              Mike Q
                              Participant

                                You could also look into getting an airsoft pistol just like your own pistol. That will allow you to practice actually pulling the trigger and working the weapon without having to rack the slide like JohnnyMac mentioned.

                              • #95453
                                Roadkill
                                Participant

                                  There is an American made product called a Dry Fire Mag. They are pricey, $100.00. I have one for my Glocks. It allows you to dry fire without racking your slide. This may not seem like such a big deal, but you can get a lot more reps with this thing; also if you want to dry fire multiple shots you can without having to rack your slide. It is adjustable slightly for trigger pull.

                                • #95454
                                  Abacus
                                  Participant

                                    There is an American made product called a Dry Fire Mag. They are pricey, $100.00. I have one for my Glocks. It allows you to dry fire without racking your slide. This may not seem like such a big deal, but you can get a lot more reps with this thing; also if you want to dry fire multiple shots you can without having to rack your slide. It is adjustable slightly for trigger pull.

                                    Thanks for the tip. I need to read up some more, but one of those may have just wound up on my Christmas list.

                                  • #95455
                                    First Sergeant
                                    Moderator

                                      Just got back from Missouri conducting DCH.

                                      I am cross eye dominant like you.

                                      I will get a picture up hopefully tomorrow which should help you solve your problem.

                                      What is the make and model of your pistol? Does it have stock sights?

                                      FILO
                                      Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                      Je ne regrette rien
                                      In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                    • #95456
                                      Abacus
                                      Participant

                                        Just got back from Missouri conducting DCH.

                                        I am cross eye dominant like you.

                                        I will get a picture up hopefully tomorrow which should help you solve your problem.

                                        What is the make and model of your pistol? Does it have stock sights?

                                        I run an M&P9 (the non 2.0 or core version) with trijicon night sights. It was a police trade in so I don’t know exactly what model of sights the gun is wearing. The front blade is painted with neon green fingernail polish, and the tritium vials in the rear have been blacked out with a sharpie. This removes the distraction of the rear dots under normal lighting. They glow through the marker just fine in the dark, and the mod is not very permanent. I have to redo it every so often as the marker fades.

                                      • #95457
                                        Robert
                                        Participant

                                          I’m going to go a little against the grain here with an observation.

                                          I’ve had half dozen or more guys over the years that swore to me they did regular reps dry firing but totally sucked once the gun went bang.
                                          One guy even flipped open a worn notebook and showed me his “workout” dry fire that included a 3X a week regimen of dry fire at supposedly 30 minutes a day.

                                          To a man, they all overreacted when the gun went bang. This caused any number of problems in the first shot and usually in subsequent shots. Every one I asked how many rounds they ACTUALLY SHOT a year and most were well under 1,000 rounds including Mr. 3X a week at 30 minutes dry fire workout warrior guy.

                                          I know that makes me sound like an ass that’s totally against dry firing but I’m not. Problem is ammo isn’t free, it costs money and people by nature will seek a work around for spending money any way they can. ALL of these guys I mentioned had convinced themselves they didn’t have the money to shoot regularly and further convinced themselves that dry firing would pull them through. It didn’t much in a “stand and deliver” MT type of way and it totally went to shiite once ANY movement or stress was added to the drills.

                                          We absolutely have to convert money into sound if we want to get better, dry firing ALONE isn’t going to do it fully.

                                        • #95458
                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                          Moderator

                                            We absolutely have to convert money into sound if we want to get better, dry firing ALONE isn’t going to do it fully.

                                            It’s a good point, dry fire practice is a excellent aid to marksmanship, but it can not replace actual shooting drills any more than books and videos can replace formal instruction.

                                          • #95459
                                            Roadkill
                                            Participant

                                              At 100 rounds per month, that’s under $25.00 a month. If you go out and burn 1000in a weekend that won’t be the best bang for your training dollar. You could shoot twice a month, 50 rounds each session. This along with dry fire should keep you sharp. This does not take the place of professional training, but on a limited budget this would work. Better small amounts twice a month than one or two range burners a year.

                                            • #95460
                                              hellokitty
                                              Participant

                                                I run my pistol from a high ready position. Not a low ready position. Pic shows the high ready position. I can rotate into a sul position when needed. Also your draw stroke brings your pistol to the high ready position anyway.
                                                Why high ready? With the front of pistol canted up a bit, I can see my front sight at all time with peripheral vision. Also it is in line with my right eye, therefore when I push the gun out to engage a target, I already see the front sight and with lots of practice it will be at the same spot every time and my rear sights are aligned. Also with a lot of dry fire practice, I can already be taking up slack from trigger as I push out the pistol so the shot breaks as soon as my sights line up. It is very fast and very accurate.

                                                Trying to shoot from low ready position takes longer to find your sights and get them lined up. It is slower.

                                                Don’t know if that helps.

                                                HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                                                HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                                                FOF X3
                                                OPFOR X2
                                                CLC X2
                                                RIFLEMAN

                                              • #95461
                                                hellokitty
                                                Participant

                                                  Best I can figure, I am using to much mental bandwidth on trigger control or otherwise over thinking it. I ran some dry fire iterations the last couple nights and it felt like I was picking up my sights faster in dry fire than I was at the range. I don’t have a shot timer or par timer yet, so I could be wrong.

                                                  I used to have a pretty obnoxious habit of pushing the muzzle right as the shot breaks. It showed up during most of my qualification runs and makes headshots tough as I tended to shoot low under stress.

                                                  To fix the flinch, I have done a few hundred reditions of the dime drill in dry fire. I can usually break the shot without any flinch in dry fire no problem now.

                                                  When I concentrate on good trigger control and on not flinching I can avoid pushing shots low in live fire. The bullets are going where I want them now it just takes a lot of thought to not screw it up. Durring following through, I can actually tell as the shot breaks if I pushed the muzzle or not, so I know what “right” feels like.

                                                  But all this thinking and such means the flash sight picture never flahses and I have to look for it even when I am lined up right.

                                                  I don’t really have this problem with rifles although my training is similarly lacking.

                                                  Flash sight picture? What a bunch of bullshit. Focus on your front sight. I promise if you put your front sight on a target, you will shoot target. Front sight front sight.
                                                  Then dry fire to clean up your grip and trigger pull so the bullet goes where the front sight is aiming at.

                                                  HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                                                  HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                                                  FOF X3
                                                  OPFOR X2
                                                  CLC X2
                                                  RIFLEMAN

                                                • #95462
                                                  Abacus
                                                  Participant

                                                    @hellokitty,

                                                    I get the bullets where they should be more often then not when I am focused on the front sight, thanks in part to dry fire practice and dime drills.

                                                    It just seems to take ages for me to “find” the front sight and lock my focus onto it in live fire. I think that is what is meant by flash sight picture. But, I have been wrong before.

                                                    When I actually shoot in live fire, it feels slow whether I am coming from the holster, low ready, high ready, or even fully extended and more or less on target at the beginning of a string. I have not run against a shot timer since my last IDPA match over a year and a half ago, so it may not actually be that slow. It sure feels that way. There certainly is no flow when I go from not shooting to sight picture to breaking the shot. That is to be expected given my limited round count though. I want to know what I should be doing to get that proccess more automatic. I don’t want to just make stuff up.

                                                    I am forming a plan based on the feedback you all have given me. Once I understand First Sergeant’s guidance I will throw my plan up for critique.

                                                  • #95463
                                                    First Sergeant
                                                    Moderator

                                                      Here is the picture.

                                                      This is the position that fixed all of my problems years ago. The same problems you are having picking up the sights.

                                                      When I extend my arms, my chin rest on my right bicep. This allows my dominant left eye to line up directly behind the sights. I don’t have to push the gun to the left.

                                                      This works. I have used it with others that were cross eye dominant.

                                                      Before anybody gets there panties in a wad, the pistol is a unloaded airsoft gun. The picture taker was in no danger.

                                                      As to the rest of your issues, all of us can give you all kinds of advice on the internet but it is hard as hell to truly diagnose what issues you are having without seeing you firing the pistol.

                                                      FILO
                                                      Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                      Je ne regrette rien
                                                      In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                    • #95464
                                                      First Sergeant
                                                      Moderator

                                                        @hellokitty,

                                                        I get the bullets where they should be more often then not when I am focused on the front sight, thanks in part to dry fire practice and dime drills.

                                                        It just seems to take ages for me to “find” the front sight and lock my focus onto it in live fire. I think that is what is meant by flash sight picture. But, I have been wrong before.

                                                        When I actually shoot in live fire, it feels slow whether I am coming from the holster, low ready, high ready, or even fully extended and more or less on target at the beginning of a string. I have not run against a shot timer since my last IDPA match over a year and a half ago, so it may not actually be that slow. It sure feels that way. There certainly is no flow when I go from not shooting to sight picture to breaking the shot. That is to be expected given my limited round count though. I want to know what I should be doing to get that proccess more automatic. I don’t want to just make stuff up.

                                                        I am forming a plan based on the feedback you all have given me. Once I understand First Sergeant’s guidance I will throw my plan up for critique.

                                                        Stop worrying about how “fast” it feels. What you need to focus on is doing it correctly. From the grip on the pistol all the way through breaking the shot. I know guys who are pretty quick on the draw but can’t hit shit.

                                                        You need to slow down every part of your draw, focus on each step. Speed comes with practice. The more you do it, the faster you become. If you half ass it in any way, it will leave you with training scars that suck to get rid of.

                                                        FILO
                                                        Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                        Je ne regrette rien
                                                        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                      • #95465
                                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                        Moderator

                                                          Cool stuff! Simple and repeatable.

                                                          The more you do it, the faster you become. If you half ass it in any way, it will leave you with training scars that suck to get rid of.

                                                          :good:

                                                        • #95466
                                                          Abacus
                                                          Participant

                                                            First Sergeant,

                                                            I think I get the idea. I will give the chin thing a shot. Thanks!

                                                            Now that I think about it, shifting over is not easy to make repeatable. I am probably coming up in a slightly different spot each time. Hense I have to hunt for the sights. I don’t have this issue with long guns because they are easier to be consistent on.

                                                            I will keep doing dryfire and live fire slow and work on getting good hits on paper and no flinches. I know how to do a “by the numbers” breakdown so I will just do that a ton.

                                                            I won’t work on my draw much until after I hit a local class. I found an outfit that uses Masaad Ayoob’s material that seems legitimate. Assuming the instructor does not suck, I might avoid some bad habits that way. I will specifically ask about the pressout draw or the one that looks more like a sideways L than a guy trying to bowl.

                                                            Are there any plans to head to the southwest with your mobile class? I am not really plugged into the shooting community out here like I used to be in FL. Otherwise, I would try and get some folks together to host you.

                                                            To everyone else, thanks for the well thought out and patient assistance. This thread alone has been worth the price of my forum membership. You all are a great community! Well done MVT team!

                                                          • #95467
                                                            Robert
                                                            Participant

                                                              1st Sgt was done in Georgia in March for the handgun class and I highly recommend it. I think you could bring a half blind 6 eyed mongoose that was cross dominant to class and he would figure an aiming solution for him that would work!!!

                                                              Interesting point about professionals, they can usually ascertain the problem really quick, thereby saving you a boatload of time, money and effort. :good:

                                                            • #95468
                                                              JohnnyMac
                                                              Participant

                                                                When I extend my arms, my chin rest on my right bicep.

                                                                This is interesting. Whether cross eye dominant or not, it should facilitate more repeatability, no matter who you are.

                                                              • #95469
                                                                A_A_Ron2guns
                                                                Participant

                                                                  Sounds like you need more training. B-)

                                                                • #95470
                                                                  wheelsee
                                                                  Participant

                                                                    Here is the picture.

                                                                    This is the position that fixed all of my problems years ago. The same problems you are having picking up the sights.

                                                                    When I extend my arms, my chin rest on my right bicep. This allows my dominant left eye to line up directly behind the sights. I don’t have to push the gun to the left.

                                                                    This works. I have used it with others that were cross eye dominant.

                                                                    My shots were all over the place and I couldn’t figure it out. Went to one of my students (NRA) and we figured out out – cross-eyed as I’ve gotten older.

                                                                    KUDOS TO FIRST SERGEANT!! went to the range today, pushed my chin to my R bicep and viola!! groups about a quarter (at 5 yards)…..

                                                                  • #95471
                                                                    First Sergeant
                                                                    Moderator

                                                                      @Abacus, where are you located? From people I know who have taken a class from Ayoob, they have nothing but good things to say. You are correct that it depends on the instructor teaching it.

                                                                      PM sent.


                                                                      @wheelsee
                                                                      , glad it worked out. One of the things that most don’t realize is that things change as we age. You are not the first that I have heard of that their dominant eye changed.


                                                                      @JohnnyMac
                                                                      , the repeatability is what makes this position work for someone who is cross eye dominant. I struggled for a long time with a pistol because of it. Once I learned this technique, everything fell into place.


                                                                      @Joe
                                                                      (G.W.N.S.), thanks for blowing the picture up.

                                                                      FILO
                                                                      Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                      Je ne regrette rien
                                                                      In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

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