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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve started shooting a LOT more with open sights the last few years and have found a consistent error left and right with my groups. I noticed my sights were having to be adjusted extremely one way or the other depending upon it being a long gun or a handgun. A pattern emerged…

With RIFLES, I group to the RIGHT of the bullseye.
With HANDGUNS, I group to the LEFT of the bullseye.

Any ideas on what Im doing to cause these issues? I imagine its a similar problem that gets overcompensated for with the other type of firearm and causes me to shoot the other direction.

Any help is appreciated!
 

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The best advice I can give you is to seek professional instruction. There are many things that could result in what you are experiencing, and it is quite likely you are dealing with two separate issues. A competent instructor can observe your technique and help you resolve those issues faster than any other method. In most cases your issue can be determined and solved in only one or two sessions.

That said, as for the handgun, here is some advice: First, ignore the targets that supposedly show what you are doing wrong based on where the shots group, they were developed for single-hand bullseye shooting (and even then are of questionable utility). Assuming you are using a two-handed grip, they are completely irrelevant. In the classes I've taught, most problems like yours are a grip issue. Generally, the grip is too weak, allowing movement of the handgun while pressing the trigger.

For the rifle, without knowing more and observing I couldn't even begin to give advice. How are you shooting? Standing, sitting or kneeling, prone, benched? Using a rest, sandbags, bi-pod? Sling? Right or left-handed? Do the shots form a tight round group or string (elongated group). If they string, do they string right and up, down, or level?

Good luck on your journey of improvement!
 

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Make sure you are using your dominant eye. assuming you are right handed and your left eye is dominant, when you shoot a pistol, it will shoot low left. try an eye patch over your left eye and see if that helps. if your left handed put the patch over your right eye. Hope this helps,
 

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Don't worry about it, that's why sights are adjustable. So long as there is enough adjustment, just adjust, shoot and enjoy. Don't spend your time worrying about the why.
 

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Try NPA (natural point of aim)

With the pistol unloaded and your eyes closed bring it up to the target, then open your eyes, if you're off to the left or right adjust your feet accordingly and repeat until you are pointing the pistol at the target, this avoids " muscle-ing " the gun the same principle also applies with a rifle,

Be very mindful of your trigger control, try to consciously pull the trigger along the axis of the bore in, as straight a line as is possible.
 

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...if you're off to the left or right adjust your feet accordingly and repeat until you are pointing the pistol at the target...
I find that recommendation reassuring, practical, and useful when static firing. It is similar for pitching a basketball from the free throw line. If you throw long, step back half a step and try again.

The recommendation is less reassuring for the impractical instance during elevated adrenaline as defensive pistoleering. Perhaps though, repeated static firing, muscle memory, and as you focus on the front sight, letting our subconscious mind do the work it already KNOWS HOW TO DO when we get our conscious minds out of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is happening even when I try to eliminate as many variables as possible by shooting from a bench with sandbags and closing my non-dominant (left) eye. I’m pretty sure its trigger pressure and off hand pressure when it is being used. Hence, my question should have probably been, what do you think Im doing wrong with my trigger finger/hand? (I believe its the same with the rifle, but with the forend being supported by either the offhand or sandbags, the result is the muzzle moves to the right, whereas with the handguns, it moves the whole gun left.)

Am I pushing the trigger left or pulling the trigger right is where Im leaning?

Thanks!
 

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Diagnosing shooting problems remotely is a fool's game, but what the heck, I'm enough of a fool to try to help.

I don't think you should be focusing on your trigger pull mechanics so much. If pressing the trigger moves the muzzle of your handgun enough to produce what you are describing, your grip is compromised. Are you using a two-handed thumbs-forward grip? If not, now is the time to switch to that style of grip. Firm up your grip, and apply more grip pressure with your support hand than your trigger hand. How much pressure should you be using? More than most people think. Imagine you are holding a tomato stake in your hands and are trying to drive it into the ground using just your strength. The amount of grip you would need to do that is what you should be using to grip the handgun. With the right grip and your finger off the trigger, I should be able to stick a screwdriver into the trigger guard and slap the trigger however I want and the muzzle shouldn't move appreciably.

As for the rifle, You are probably "muscling in" your sight picture. As someone mentioned above, find your natural point of aim first. If you don't do that, you'll be chasing your tail trying to fix any other problems. Get settled behind the gun holding iton target. Close your eyes and relax, take a couple of breaths, then open your eyes. If you are not still on target, adjust your position and try again. Do that until you can maintain your sight picture after closing your eyes and relaxing for a few breaths. After that, I'd still like to know more about your group, and if you shoot right or left-handed? Do the shots form a tight round group, loose round group, or string (elongated group). If they string, do they string right and up, down, or level?
 

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The best advise I can give you is to not seek advise on the internet, that goes for most of life's challenges. As you can see above all you are getting is opinions, which are like buttholes - everyone has one. Find someone in real life that knows what they are doing and have them teach you first hand, although that is my opinion and follows rule above...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Diagnosing shooting problems remotely is a fool's game, but what the heck, I'm enough of a fool to try to help.

I don't think you should be focusing on your trigger pull mechanics so much. If pressing the trigger moves the muzzle of your handgun enough to produce what you are describing, your grip is compromised. Are you using a two-handed thumbs-forward grip? If not, now is the time to switch to that style of grip. Firm up your grip, and apply more grip pressure with your support hand than your trigger hand. How much pressure should you be using? More than most people think. Imagine you are holding a tomato stake in your hands and are trying to drive it into the ground using just your strength. The amount of grip you would need to do that is what you should be using to grip the handgun. With the right grip and your finger off the trigger, I should be able to stick a screwdriver into the trigger guard and slap the trigger however I want and the muzzle shouldn't move appreciably.

As for the rifle, You are probably "muscling in" your sight picture. As someone mentioned above, find your natural point of aim first. If you don't do that, you'll be chasing your tail trying to fix any other problems. Get settled behind the gun holding iton target. Close your eyes and relax, take a couple of breaths, then open your eyes. If you are not still on target, adjust your position and try again. Do that until you can maintain your sight picture after closing your eyes and relaxing for a few breaths. After that, I'd still like to know more about your group, and if you shoot right or left-handed? Do the shots form a tight round group, loose round group, or string (elongated group). If they string, do they string right and up, down, or level?
AWESOME!
Your explanation on the handgun is excellent!
All shooting is right handed and I am right eye dominant.

Handgun
I am using a two hand thumbs forward grip, but have only recently started using the thumbs forward, one above the other and believe you have hit upon my issues! (Also, I have very short thumbs and small, blocky hands, which cause grip issues. I find 1911 grips “large.”) This gives me a good starting point moving forward. I will concentrate on your grip instructions and practice it dry firing before a trip to the range.

As to the rifle, I have been getting a natural point of aim and agree I am “muscling it” hence, thinking it has been starting with improper trigger pull. As to groups, its typically a loose round group at 3:00 to the right of the bulleye even at 25 yards! I have an occasional flyer that typical is high and further right.

Thanks for the fantastic help! Your descriptions are exactly what Ive been looking for. Im sure whatever else you can tell me will help.

I’ve been shooting for over 40 years, but its all been self taught except a short summer of training on basic rifle shooting where the instructor noticed my rear sight was all the way to the LEFT on the last day! He thought it was a “rifle” issue, but I believe its something I do which is rearing up again because in between I’ve been mostly using scopes, where I haven’t been seeing the extreme location of the reticle.

Thank you!
 

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Glad my explanation makes sense, and with the additional information about your hands I definitely think you'll see progress following my advice.

On the rifle, I suspect your small, blocky hands are contributing as well. Knowing you are shooting right-handed off the bench and producing round groups to the right tells me a lot. Once you have natural point of aim established, the next thing to look at is your grip and trigger press. With small hands, the tendency is to use too little finger on the trigger, which pushes the rear of the rifle away from the shooting hand, and with a fulcrum where the bags or support hand is, produces the opposite effect on the end of the barrel, so shots tend to group on the shooting hand side. Rotate your grip a bit, and put a little more finger on the trigger. I'm guessing you tend to use the tip of your finger, so move the grip enough to place the trigger more in the center of the pad of your finger (but don't go so far as to have the trigger in the crease of the first knuckle) Also, try to have a bit of a gap between the trigger finger and stock so you don't "drag the wood" when you press the trigger. Your trigger finger should make a 'C' shape. Concentrate on pressing the trigger straight back, and slowly increase pressure till the shot breaks.

As mentioned above, the services of an in-person instructor is invaluable. A good instructor can tell a lot in a short time by observing your technique, and make corrections on the fly so you can see immediate improvement and get good feedback all along the process. That said, I hope my advice is enough to get you on your way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Glad my explanation makes sense, and with the additional information about your hands I definitely think you'll see progress following my advice.

On the rifle, I suspect your small, blocky hands are contributing as well. Knowing you are shooting right-handed off the bench and producing round groups to the right tells me a lot. Once you have natural point of aim established, the next thing to look at is your grip and trigger press. With small hands, the tendency is to use too little finger on the trigger, which pushes the rear of the rifle away from the shooting hand, and with a fulcrum where the bags or support hand is, produces the opposite effect on the end of the barrel, so shots tend to group on the shooting hand side. Rotate your grip a bit, and put a little more finger on the trigger. I'm guessing you tend to use the tip of your finger, so move the grip enough to place the trigger more in the center of the pad of your finger (but don't go so far as to have the trigger in the crease of the first knuckle) Also, try to have a bit of a gap between the trigger finger and stock so you don't "drag the wood" when you press the trigger. Your trigger finger should make a 'C' shape. Concentrate on pressing the trigger straight back, and slowly increase pressure till the shot breaks.

As mentioned above, the services of an in-person instructor is invaluable. A good instructor can tell a lot in a short time by observing your technique, and make corrections on the fly so you can see immediate improvement and get good feedback all along the process. That said, I hope my advice is enough to get you on your way.
Ah, thank you again!

On the rifle, I tend to have the trigger DEEP, right at the crease of the first joint and probably the whole finger along the side of the rifle…which, I believe, will lead to me pushing the rifle left! Ill have to get that GAP between the trigger finger and rifle!

I have a feeling the next range trip will see significant improvement with these pointers! I knew somebody would have the right troubleshooting capabilities here. ;)

Thanks much for the assistance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have been sitting here dry firing with my revolver this evening concentrating on my left hand grip and proper trigger finger press. I’m already noticing the sight alignment holding steadier! At first I could cisibly see the front sight ever so slightly move to the left at the break.

Justashooter, thanks so much!

I’ll have to continue with the dry fire practice and grab a rifle for dry firing as well. Once I do that a while Ill put rounds on paper and see how its coming along.
 

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No info on what type of pistol you are shooting. If revolver in .38, 357 or 44 you can purchase the speer plastic rounds that us primer only for practice. I have found these to really help on identifying issues with revolver. Only issue now would be finding primers.
 
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