Shooting technique -- what did I do wrong today?


New Member
Jun 6, 2009
Austin, TX
The past few times I've been to the range I've mostly done rifles so I figured I needed some handgun practice today. I preformed absolutely horrid. I was consistently low and to the left -- even when i brought the target up to 3 yds!

Have any of you had a really off day? Any idea what I was doing wrong? I kept trying to adjust my stance, grip, making sure my eye was on the front site.

My shoulder was a little sore from skeet shooting yesterday but I didn't really have an pain while handgunning so I don't think that should have anything to do with it.

I had brought 300 rounds but packed it up after 200 since I was so preoccupied with messing up I figured I should just come back later with a fresh start.

FWIW I was shooting a tarus pt-140 .40.


Mar 11, 2008
DFW, North Texas
99% of the time, low left is anticipating recoil and flinching. If you know you have grip and finger placement on the trigger down fine, dry fire a few times at the paper then fire live rounds and see if you get control back.

I also usually bring my Ruger MkII and a few rounds with it and control is back.

It's easy to do, I think, when shooting paper at most ranges where you have watch ever more you make. Watch 2 second counts between shots etc. It's almost not natural sometimes.


New Member
Jun 6, 2009
Austin, TX
Flinching perhaps but I really don't think I was anticipating. If flinching is the case is there any advice on controlling that?


Jun 28, 2009
Houston, Texas
The only thing that I know to do about flincing is lots of dry firing with focus on the details of your mechanics -- finger placement on the trigger, making sure that the figger isn't dragging alone the frame, grip, hand pressure, stance, breathing, sight picture and front sight focus. The suggestion on the MKII, or any other 22, is another of my favorites.

What about your light conditions today? In service rifle competition there is a rule of thumb "lights up, sights up" and the light will change the way the front sight post appears. But maybe not at 3 yards. This is the best that I have to offer. Maybe it was just one of those days.


TGT Supporter
Feb 21, 2008
Austin, TX
You might want to read over this thread a bit as it has some pointers:

ATXgun, if you'd like, I'd be more than happy to help you out and give you some pointers, drills to practice, etc next time you're heading out to the range. I'll say this much, 99% of most problems can be boiled down to improper trigger control. It's just one of those things that's a PITA and takes awhile to conquer.


TGT Addict
May 28, 2008
Ft Worth, TX
NO one can tell you for sure without actually observing you. But I bet you that you are anticipating the recoil and pushing the barrel down before you fire.

Best bet is to have a competent instructor observe you.


New Member
Jun 10, 2009
For every hour you spend on the range with a pistol, spend two hours at home in dry fire practice. Practice keeping the sites on target when the trigger breaks. Practice putting the gun down, and picking it up with the same consistent grip. Work on your eyes focusing on the front sight. Now when you go to the range, you make best use of your time and ammo.


TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
Austin, TX
I don't think dry firing will help people with flinching as it's completely mental and a cadence problem also. Dry firing helps to squeeze down the group size once you've gotten over fighting the gun due to learning to modulate the trigger without pulling or pushing the gun in the pre-travel and sear release.

What you need is going to be dependent upon what is causing your issue, as TXinvestigator mentioned, and it's going to involve someone watching you for best results.

The basis of it is you are making the gun go off, and that action of squeezing your hand for a right handed shooter will push the gun down and to the left. You want to focus on letting the gun go off instead. You do this by applying slow and steady pressure to the trigger and letting the gun surprise you. Eventually you will be able to speed up a bit and really start to work on technique, but it sounds like you are missing the fundamentals.



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