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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just picked up my first handgun, the USP .45 Compact last night, and after a quick rubdown/boresnake cleaning, I took it to the range and put a few hundred rounds through it.

This is how I shot, consistently (haha... it's bad, I know):


I'm new, having only rented at the range a few times before now... but yeah, got a lot to practice. I know that low and to the left is most likely a sign of pinching the gun down in anticipation of recoil. SO...

I've got a pack of snap caps that I'll be practicing dry-fire drills with, but in the meantime I was wondering if there's any advice to psychologically "get over recoil"? I really hate my reflex to flinch, blink, pinch or anything that disrupts my aim.

Some things I will try:

1) Some people suggest bumping, or gradually increasing pressure until the shot "surprises" you. While I don't like being surprised by the shot (I want each shot to be completely intentional) I can see how this reduces the anticipation reflex.

2) Breathing. A few shots were dead-on when I relaxed as much as possible and on my outward breath I held for 2 seconds and did the "surprise" trigger pull. The weird thing is that the few times when I saw muzzle flash (most of the time I didn't), the shots were accurate. This tells me that I'm pushing the gun down way too much with each shot.

3) Mix snap caps into my magazines at the range. Will definitely try this.

4) Practice dry-fire drills. I like the one where you balance a dime on the barrel and practice dry-firing. I also saw a video online where an instructor positions the gun ~1" from a wall and just practices trigger pulls to make sure the sights don't move. I need this for my DA trigger pulls as I'm not used to this.

5) Shoot 5,000 rounds. Repeat until recoil means absolutely nothing. :)
 

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the other thing is to shoot lower grain ammo.

my standard 45 load is 185 jhp.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BTW, here's a pic of the beast:
(crappy quality - cell phone pic)



Also, thanks to this forum for the helpful info and resources. It went a long way into the decision of purchasing this particular gun.

Thanks Tiger888, I will try that. Currently I'm shooting 230gr Winchester white box ammo.
 

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5) Shoot 5,000 rounds. Repeat until recoil means absolutely nothing. :)[/QUOTE]

yep do this and low and behold recoil doesn’t really bother you any more
 

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It may also be helpful to attach a laser device during dry fire drills so you can see exactly when and where the movement is coming from. Mixing snap caps in the live mag with someone watching your muzzle drop can be helpful, also use it as a tap,rack, bang drill to get some practice with that. Check your finger placement on the trigger so that your pulling straight back and not pushing the gun to the left. Try applying slow deliberated pull to the trigger rather than slaping it or jerking it. The suprise thought comes from not jerking the trigger which will let you know exactly when the gun is going to go boom. You should squeeeeeeze the trigger, not just jerk it back. Just remember one slow well placed shot will end any dangerous encounter far more quickly then just dumping a mag down range. Spray and pray looks good in the movies, but in real life its just a waste of ammo.
 

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Congrats!! Nice pistol. From my minor amount of experience....low and left for a right-hander seems to be anticipation of the shot. Practice should take care of that.
 

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Congrats!! Nice pistol. From my minor amount of experience....low and left for a right-hander seems to be anticipation of the shot. Practice should take care of that.
+1 on that. I had the same problem when I started shooting a few months ago. With practice the line or holes going down and to the left got smaller and smaller. One thing that worked for me was getting a .22 pistol since they have virtually no recoil and the rounds are cheap. This allows you to go to the range and shoot a lot without costing nearly as much. Just make sure that you shoot the .45 also so you don't "forget" what the recoil is like. This helped me just get used to pulling the trigger without pulling the gun down and to the left.

The other thing that helped me was getting a laser. As mentioned above, it give you a visual aid that allows you to see what you are doing as you are doing it.
 

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One other thing from my limited experience........squeeze the trigger, don't pull it.
 

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Congrats!! Nice pistol. From my minor amount of experience....low and left for a right-hander seems to be anticipation of the shot. Practice should take care of that.
According to the US Army Marksmanship Unit Training Guide, low and to the left is one of two things:

1 - Tightening the fingers

2 - Jerking or Slapping the Trigger

Mind you, everyone is different and this may be your case. Unless of course you are trying to control the recoil by pulling down on the pistol as you are firing.
 

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Also low and left on a right hander can be caused by trying to see where you hit the target. A good friend of mine does it all the time. Also try using your finger tip and not the fold of your finger.
 

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1) Some people suggest bumping, or gradually increasing pressure until the shot "surprises" you. While I don't like being surprised by the shot (I want each shot to be completely intentional) I can see how this reduces the anticipation reflex.

2) Breathing. A few shots were dead-on when I relaxed as much as possible and on my outward breath I held for 2 seconds and did the "surprise" trigger pull. The weird thing is that the few times when I saw muzzle flash (most of the time I didn't), the shots were accurate. This tells me that I'm pushing the gun down way too much with each shot.
Each shot SHOULD be a surprise, otherwise you are making the gun go off and will pull the sights off target. Once you start squeezing the trigger, you know the gun will EVENTUALLY go off, but the exact moment should be a surprise. Concentrate on the front sight and press - the trigger finger should be the only thing moving and you should see the muzzle flash from the shot. As you noted, when this happened, you had accurate shots.

To immediately give a slight contradiction, the trigger finger is the only moving part, but don't hold your breath either; you can't work without oxygen. The sights will make a continuous but slight movement in a sideways figure-8 (like an infinity sign) over the target because you can't stop your heart beating and that will cause a slight influence as well. If you do everything else right you will have all good hits even with this movement, so don't fight it. If you jerk the trigger to make that perfect shot when the sights are perfect over the bullseye, you'll shoot low and to the left.
 

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5) Shoot 5,000 rounds. Repeat until recoil means absolutely nothing.

yep do this and low and behold recoil doesn’t really bother you any more
YEP! Thas how I got over shootin heavy slugs with a 12g. Same thing with my .45, keep shootin and you wont even know it recoils soon...
 

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What I like to do is alternate between my .22 and whatever other handgun I'm using at the time. That way I can see if I'm starting to flinch or do anything extraneous. Usually it's just a case of getting excited due to making lots of noise :p But yea, the .22 helps me pull everything back together and I can shoot good groups again
 

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When I built a solid stance/grip that allows the gun to return to zero after recoil my blinking, flinching, jerking nearly stopped. The gun became controlled and not uncontrolled with the sights dancing all over and me fighting the gun. In essence I stopped fighting the gun and just allowed it to do its thing. It allowed me to stop worrying about the recoil, and so I stopped trying to prepare for it. Preparing/anticipating the recoil is what would affect my shot placement.

Go over to youtube and watch the todd jarrett how to shoot a pistol video. There is also a video by a user named shootingcoach that is a good video that teaches proper grip/stance. Both are for 1911 pistols but you can grip the USP the same way.
 

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The biggest problem is you are deliberately smacking the trigger. You are putting more pressure on the trigger than is necessary for the shot to break. That is why you start shooting low left. Don't believe me, either dry fire or live fire, just yank down on that trigger much harder than necessary and watch that gun move low left. With such long travel of the USP triggers, pulling the trigger so hard only makes it worse. That's what happens when you pull the trigger and the shot doesn't come as a surprise. Even with experienced competition shooters, we can shoot very fast, yet the actual break of the shot is still a surprise.

If you want to learn how to shoot without mashing down on the trigger, just spend an hour doing this. Fire every shot in double action. Yes, decock after every shot. Once your finger touches the trigger, begin apply a even pressure until the shot breaks. At first, do it slow, about 1-2 seconds from the time your finger gets on the trigger, till the shot breaks. Keep repeating. If you find yourself flinching or doing anything else weird. Unload the gun and dryfire doing the same thing for a minute or two. Then go back shooting live rounds. As you progress, gradually increase the speed at which you pull the trigger. Now while you are doing all this, 100% of you attention should be focused on the front sight. Don't focus on the target. Don't think about how you are pulling the trigger. Don't think about that hot girl in the next lane. Front sight, front sight, front sight. After you find that your target only has one one, switch to shooting single action, but apply the same technique for pulling the trigger. Any time you deviate from shooting one ragged hole, go back to shooting double action only. Chances are you will find yourself shooting better in DA than SA.

The HK double action may be one of the worse in the world, but it works great as a training aid to develop proper trigger pulling techniques. I have told this to quite a few people, those included on this board, and pretty much everyone has commented that they shot more accurately in DA than SA and has gotten rid of the low left problem.
 

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Also low and left on a right hander can be caused by trying to see where you hit the target. A good friend of mine does it all the time. Also try using your finger tip and not the fold of your finger.
I believe shooting left means he is using too much of the finger tip and should move more towards the joint. There could be more to it than just this though.


You have all of the really good points down, seems like you just need to practice. I also suggest in addition to your first point: Squeeze the trigger a bit, release. Squeeze a bit harder, release. Repeat until the gun goes off.

http://www.downrange.tv/player.htm?bcpid=452320104&bclid=459256134&bctid=1039847599
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Solid advice all around,.. thank you ALL. I'm headed to the range tomorrow morning and will see if the dry-fire drills made a difference. I'm sure it will, but even if it does or does not I still have much practice ahead, and will have to always train in these things.

All this talk about training to reprogram your natural instincts reminds me a lot of when I first started learning to ride a motorcycle. My natural instincts during a sudden crisis is to freeze/tense up and stare at whatever is the cause. Which, on a bike means that a) in trying to force it, you lose control of the bike and b) you are most likely headed toward what you are trying to avoid. I had to override my natural instinct to lock up and fixate, rather than respond in training and follow through.

I can't wait for the day where my programmed instincts are stronger than my natural instincts when it comes to recoil.
 

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Repetition is key (& quit thinking about recoil, just shoot).
I grew up shooting SxS 12ga bird guns so I never really knew recoil. I just shoot.
 

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there is some good advice given here......It just strikes me when people think if they JUST shoot alot, they will get better. it is not the amount you shoot, but how you shoot. I have known people who shot alot, but never worked on getting rid of there bad habits. They still shot crappy, they just shot crappy alot.

if you can find some basic handgun courses to take, the training is well worth it. And the classes are fun also.
 
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