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Mastering the art of holding steady

  1. I have always had a shaking problem when aiming any gun. I have learned to live with it and shoot good enough to get an expert ribbon/medal. But here lately I have been trying to get even better. I want to put all of my rounds dead center like I see some of the competitors shoot. I have found holding my gun too tight causes me to shake more. I hold it loosely but am afraid of limp wristing. How about some guidance from the pros. I have been through several classes on form, stance, etc. What I am looking for is maybe some tips to improve my shaky hands. And yes, I know practice, practice, practice.

  2. Shot of tequila should calm the nerves. JUST KIDDIN :supergrin: I don't have any expertise but hopefully someone who does will chime in...good luck!
  3. Subscribing to this, so hopefully I'll learn something new...

    I'm a pretty decent (not awsome) shot, but I always been a tad shaky and I really want to be better (god knows there is plenty of room for improvment)...

    I don't drink very often, not hyped up on caffine, don't smoke, etc.. etc...
  4. Sounds like you've got it figured out, don't squeeze too tight or you get the shakes.
    You should concentrate on keeping the front sights on target, forget about when it will go BANG, just keep it sighted in and let your trigger finger do what it's gonna do, without worrying about it.

    Gotta remember to BREATHE, slow and deep, to calm the nerves while you are getting ready to shoot. Just before you pull the trigger, stop breathing for that second and then pull the trigger. Well, it works for me.

    I practice with my .22lr, with a very lightweight barrel, you HAVE TO learn to control the grip, while aiming I can see the front move just a bit, with my heartbeat.


    Here's 100 (yes, I said 100) rounds of .22lr and 20 rounds of 9mm:

  5. I do better if I skip my morning coffee on range days. I get a wicked headache, though.
  6. Forgot to add:

    When I shoot, I normally use a two-handed grip, and keep the left finger extended, along the left side of the barrel (on the .22, left side of the frame on the Glock), to help steady the sights.
  7. Here is a link to a page, that contains a thread, that I've heard used to be on this site a few years back... At any rate, the thread was titled: Breaking A Habit. This compilation on this page has been renamed: Trigger Technique 101.

    I've heard people on this board talk about this "old thread" and how much it helped them. A member of this board sent me the link to this. Thanks to forum member "Twisted Steel" for this link:


    Hope this helps.
  8. Dry firing has helped me become a better shot more than anything else. Lots of practice with a low recoil round will help a bunch as well.
  9. I had a problem with shaking when I first started shooting pistols. What you got to start doing is relax, breath, and focus. Also buy a 2 or 3lb dumbell and just practice holding it steady. Also how is your grip and stance. I see so many people with these wild un-natural stance, and my pet peeve is those high competitive shooting grips with your fingers touching the slide.

    Just stand in a comfortable position and hold your gun in a classic weaver or isosceles. Whatever feels comfortable. Don't get all tactical Rambo with a vein bulging on your forearm and forehead. Just relax and shoot and say to yourself, "yea this is me shooting" :upeyes:
  10. There are two things going on there - not moving the gun, and not disturbing the sights while you are pressing the trigger.

    For the latter, I recommend getting a gun setup with a trigger much heavier than you plan to shoot with. So, if your gun has a 6lb trigger, a setup with a 10-12lb trigger with dry firing makes for good practice....but you also have to work the trigger in the non-dominant hand as well.

    For the former, and maybe a physical/sports therapist can chime in...working a static weight offers less benefit that using little, or no weight but having the hands and arms go thru certain ranges of motion.

    Next, most people over look the respiratory pause. You have to condition your brain and body to not need that oxygen for the 8-10-even 20 seconds you are holding the gun out there for that single shot. You also have to know WHEN your body (and especially the eye) has become fatigued, to bring the gun in, or down, take a couple of DEEP cleansing breaths, and get the gun back out.

    ...more later...I have an invention to mess up, or perfect.

  11. Couple of tips:

    Practice dry-firing with a coin or a spent shell balanced on your slide, near the front sight.

    Add a laser and practice making smaller and smaller circles with the shaky red dot on the target.

    Take up bulls-eye shooting, if you want to learn to slowly shoot one-handed.
  12. Worry more about trigger control that a shaking gun.
  13. ive worked on steadying my hands all the time, always found it entertaining to do in class instead of paying attention to what the teachers were talkin about, best thing ive managed to do is work on breath control.

    It sounds weird and takes a while of really focusing on what your doing, but try breathing from your diaphram(sp?) instead of your lungs; when doing this it also changes your breathing pattern, i found it really helps me when shooting rifles because it causes more of an up and down breathing pattern in your figure 8 as opposed to side to side
  14. Wobble.

    I was always taught that no one will be able to hold the weapon perfectly still. There will be a small amount of wobble, which normally appears as a "figure eight" pattern. With practice you can get the figure eights smaller (reducing wobble) but you won't ever completely eliminate it. But even then, you want to maintain proper sight alignment throughout.
  15. kind of similar to bluenoise, i find i'm shaky if it's been a while since i ate breakfast or whatever; I try to bring a gatorade with me, and it makes a noticeable improvement for me.
  16. is that the same as slowfire? 10 rounds 10 minutes 1 hand 25 yards. if so that has got to be the hardest shooting i have ever tried
  17. I'm in a league that shoots on Monday nights, NRA rules, and most folks shoot .22LR pistols. One handed, off hand, red dots are allowed, etc. The course of fire is broken up into three groups: Slow fire, 20 rounds in 20 minutes, Timed fire, 5 rounds in 20 seconds, done 4 times, and Rapid fire, 5 rounds in 10 seconds, done four times. Total of 60 rounds fired, for a possible score of a perfect 600, and a lot of fun. Very Zen-like when done right.

    I avoid anything caffeinated for at least 8 hours leading up to shooting, I make sure I'm thoroughly hydrated, (and I always pee before going up to the line), and I also work with free weights as a habit, but not on the day of shooting. Just sticking your arms out straight to your sides and making 6 inch circles with your fingertips is a great exercise, as is holding lighter weights like someone mentioned.

    Bottom line: everyone shakes. Winners just shoot around it via technique, and as you mentioned, practice. Rob Leatham, the Steel Challenge guy, said anyone can compete and win in IDPA/IPSC; all you gotta do is shoot 30K rounds a year.
  18. Putting a little weight on your front foot helps. Several people have posted it, everybody shakes. You cannot stop that. Shoot, a lot. Find a combination that works and concentrate on doing it the same way every time.
  19. Any additional posts are appreciated. Thanks to the guys with this information. Sorry took so long to get back. School has been kicking my arse. :juggle: Will be going to the range tomorrow. I think I am going to use same targets from the same distances over the next few weeks and track my improvements. I just have to figure out which pistol I wanna use. 9mm or .45 I think I will use the 26 due to recoil and cost of reloading.
  20. Don't jam the pinkie finger of your shooting hand onto the grip to make it fit with your other fingers between the bottom of the magazine and the trigger guard. That will cause you to shoot low. If you can't comfortably fit the pinkie on the grip let it hang below the magazine. You get most of your grip out of your index and middle fingers anyway.
  21. try pulling the trigger at the bottom of an exhale, dont hold your breath when shooting.
  22. A friend told me about practicing like this in the military. Somebody would load a mag in the gun without him being able to see. Sometimes it had a round in it, sometimes it did not. After he was handed the gun, an empty casing was placed on the slide.

    My hands shake all the time, and always have, no matter what I am doing although it is more noticeable during things such as shooting.
  23. My problem is that my hands shake a little after about 50 rounds or so. I do just fine when I first start, but as the round count goes up, so do the shakes- especially with .45's. I can shoot .22LR all day, steady as a rock, but anything bigger...

    I think the problem is that I just don't shoot enough; I don't shoot enough to let my hands get "used to" the recoil. It can get embarrassing sometimes- it makes it look like you're scared of the gun! I'm sure if I shot a lot more, I would get used to the recoil better, but with ammo availability and pricing nowadays... I don't want to deplete my hoard too badly.
  24. I'm the same way, I'm only good for about 50 rounds of full house magnum loads in my Model 29 Smith. That said, it also takes me about 6-12 rounds of firing to settle down.

    The mind over matter analogy is in full effect here, however... you shake, but if you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Sight alignment and trigger control is all you have to master. The key is that there's nothing to overcome in marksmanship; it's all about mastery, not conquering anything. You develop a technique, and you continually refine it.