Correcting handgun shooting problems

It’s not hard to shoot a handgun, but it isn’t easy to shoot a handgun well and consistently. I’ve spoken with numerous people that can get shots on paper, but not always where they wanted the shots to go. The nice thing is that, depending where those shots are landing, you use that to diagnose what the problem likely is.

The June 2009 Rangemaster newsletter has a helpful article on this very topic.

Another useful help is this “sportshooter.com” correctional target.  Aim for the center with each and every shot and see where your holes end up. Depending which section of the target the holes end up in you can use that as a tool to diagnose your problem. It is made for right-handed shooters (left-handers just flip it over). But I hacked up a version for the lefties! Choose accordingly.

Correction Target for Left-Handed Shooters

Correction Target for Right-Handed Shooters

Updated: Based upon a comment I received I went Googling for an answer. You can see the target (which, by the way, I didn’t create) lists that it’s based upon the US Army Marksmanship Unit Pistol Training Guide. You can find a copy of this guide at The Encyclopedia of Bullseye Pistol.

Updated 2: I realized that just saying “flip it over” wasn’t ideal. Sure you could if the paper you printed it on was thin enough but still, not ideal. So, I took a few minutes in GraphicConverter and made an inverted version just for you lefties!

Updated 3: While the above targets are nice because they tell you WHAT you are doing wrong, they don’t tell you HOW you can correct it. Click here for a brief article with some HOWTO’s for correcting the above problems.

Updated 4: Here’s perhaps a better (or at least more humorous, and arguably more accurate) chart. 🙂

35 thoughts on “Correcting handgun shooting problems

    • Thank you.

      How many feet? I actually thought about that when I was making the posting. I’m not familiar with a specific distance, but given the size of the target (intended to be printed on a 8.5″x11″ piece of paper), I’d say usable from 0 to 15 or even 25 yards, or even more if your eyes are that good. I’d probably start at 3 yards and see how it goes. From there, move it back a bit to maybe 7 yards, then maybe 10, then maybe 15, and so on. You may well have no noticable trouble at 3 yards but have trouble at 15, or vice versa. Everyone’s different. The goal should be that no matter the distance you’re hitting where you’re aiming. Start with slow fire, then once you’re consistent at slow fire, bump the speed up a little bit until you can be consistent at all distances at that speed, and so on.

  1. Pingback: SayUncle » Handy resource

    • Use of this target does imply a right-handed shooter, i.e. the finger pulling the trigger is a right-hand finger. If you are a left-handed shooter, you would invert the target (“too little trigger finger” is on the right).

      However, based upon this, I went ahead and updated the posting. I took the original target and with a little pixel-fiddling I made a version for left-handed shooters. Download and enjoy!

  2. I used this target a while back. I was tightening my grip as I pulled the trigger and the shots were low and right, just as listed.

    I used it at 7 yards with a Ruger Mark II 22LR pistol.

    I also tried to do some of the bad practices listed on the target and the shots generally went in or near the listed areas.

    All in all, this is a very useful tool for self-diagnosis. Plus, you can use it to demonstrate to your range buddy that your merciless criticisms of his grip/stance/sight alignment/trigger action etc. are actually correct.

  3. Pingback: Correcting handgun shooting problems – Now for Lefties « Stuff From Hsoi

  4. Bullseye pistol shooters refer to that as the wheel of failure. It was developed by the AMU for Bullseye shooters or as NRA calls it Conventional Pistol competition. It’s helped me some but I’ve found Ball&Dummy or just dry-fire helps more than anything else.

  5. Pingback: Range Report « Stuff From Hsoi

  6. Oh, thanks! I’m a new shooter and I can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing wrong other than…something. I just know my first shot is usually the best, so I started doing one shot, resting, then doing the next, etc. This will help a lot, though!

    • You’re welcome.

      I’d also suggest finding good training in your area. If you were here in Central Texas I’d suggest KR Training. Point is, getting some instruction from a good teacher will be a big help toward helping you diagnose and correct and improve.

      Good luck.

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