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Thread: Mr_White's Training Journal: Mind Driving the Vision, Vision Driving the Gun

  1. #21
    Leopard Printer Mr_White's Avatar
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    1/16/2012:

    AM - 20 minutes dry practice (the usual draws to 1st shot), focusing on precision in the sights and trigger.

    Mid - 30 minutes dry practice, experimenting with extend-stop-press vs. muzzle-level-hybrid-press-punch-out-thing, but focusing again on precision in the sights and trigger. Used hard targets for this (USPSA at 25 and 15 yards, both upper A and lower 1/2 A zones.) Had some challenges in stopping/slowing the gun smoothly but worked through them.

  2. #22
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    1/17/2012:

    AM - one hour general dry fire practice (shooting on the move, target transitions, two hands, SHO, WHO, 5 to 25 yards, reloads, draws.) Shooting on the move at 20 yards looked terrible in the sights today. Maybe this is why people usually stand still when shooting/dry firing at 20 yards...

    Mostly did a good job of seeing the sights. And again, tried to take extra care in the sight picture and trigger press given how the last few live fire sessions have gone.

    Draws felt great today. Felt relaxed, moved relaxed, not hurrying or pushing, sights went where I wanted and pressed the trigger carefully.

    Mid - 30 minutes dry fire. Worked two hand, SHO, WHO draws and trigger presses on a USPSA target (upper A and 1/2 lower A) at 25, 15, and 10 yards, plus a few slidelock reloads at 15 yards. Felt good and precise generally.

  3. #23
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    1/18/2012:

    AM – 10 minutes of dry fire draws with extra clothing layers and gloves. Reduced sensitivity!

    Mid – shot about ~ 90 rounds. Worked some two body, one head drills. Not totally unproductive, but I must stop focusing on short drills for now. I am making some real progress (mental.) More on that later.

    I shot 30 reps of 2 body, 1 head. I used an oddball scoring scheme. I used a USPSA target at 7 yards, shooting for the upper ½ of the lower A zone, and the whole A/B head box. I scored it like they were IDPA targets though (+ .5 seconds per body hit in the C zone, + 2.5 seconds for a head hit down.) If I had used an IDPA target, presumably the penalties might have been less, but not more.

    The numbers worked out interestingly, though I am trying not to internalize the numerical lesson here, if the apparent lesson is accurate, but instead go another direction (that’s the whole mental progress thing I’m still getting to explaining.)

    Ten reps were rather relaxed and just attempting to ‘guarantee the hits.’
    Times ranged from 1.96 to 2.61 seconds.
    Average raw time: 2.23 seconds.
    Average time adjusted for the hits outside the ½ lower A: 2.38 seconds

    Ten reps were pushing hard, but not to where I estimate the wheels to come completely off, though risk of misses is certainly increased.
    Times ranged from 1.36 to 1.54 seconds.
    Average raw time: 1.43 seconds.
    Average time adjusted for the hits outside the ½ lower A: 1.78 seconds

    Ten reps were an attempt to move at my natural speed, but be more certain of the sights – an attempt at a middle ground.
    Times ranged from 1.47 to 1.67 seconds.
    Average raw time: 1.58 seconds.
    Average time adjusted for the hits outside the ½ lower A (and dropped head shots in this case): 2.58 seconds.

    The big difference on this last set was that I dropped a few head shots, whereas I had not previously, including on the faster runs of the second set. I think my attention was starting to falter by this point.

    If I consider the last set, had I not dropped the head shots, the adjusted time would have been 1.83 seconds.

    The mathematics of this suggests to me that for the purpose of getting the best score, assuming IDPA scoring, even on a more difficult target, shooting it much faster like in the second set, but somewhat less accurately, is probably better for me, at least based on these numbers. That’s the lesson I am trying not to internalize and am instead trying to go the opposite direction mentally.

    PM – shot a little bit with my peeps tonight. Had only a few people so I was able to participate more. We did the pressure round twice (a couple of odd drills) and some minor task-loaded person vs. person drills. I didn’t shoot everything perfectly, but I shot basically ok instead of downright badly, and felt especially great about it because I felt no pressure.

    I’ve been reflecting a lot over the last week on what I do, how I do it, where I am now, where I want to be, and what I think I need to do to get there from here. And I think I’ve made some very important mental progress.

    I think I finally ‘get’ what Todd has been harshing on me about. I think I finally ‘get’ his point. And it’s related to the same reason I have felt so much stress and tension when shooting with my peeps. I believe it’s because deep down, I know that I may or may not be able to do what I am trying to demonstrate, which is often something that I have to reach to be able to do. It’s not that I can’t do it. I can. Even a majority of the time. But not every time. The possibility of failure is very real. Same thing when I push hard shooting some short standard drill or test, like the FAST, Bill Drill, failure to stop drill, or anything else that I have a very specific sense of how fast I think I should be able to shoot it in.

    Over the past year and a half, or however long it’s been since I switched to AIWB, discovered a crazy fast drawstroke, and immediately got sucked deep into the timer, I have formed the habit of always pushing and always reaching for that which I cannot currently do, or can only do intermittently. Sometimes it is good to do that in practice. But that’s not the way to shoot when it ‘matters.’

    Todd said it. DocGKR said it. J. Michael Plaxco said it in Shooting From Within. I think Brian Enos said it in his book.

    I need to see the sights and call every shot. I need to just shoot the targets and not get wrapped up in everything else quite so much.

    When I shoot a demo in basic pistol class, I more than own the skill level required and feel little or no stress. When I shoot a longer course of fire, or a drill that is foreign to me and I don’t have a concept of a ‘good’ time on the drill or what time I might shoot the drill in, then the stress and tension disappear. The only useful thing to do is see the sights, call the shots, and shoot every target with every shot.

    And here’s how I really know it to be true. In my non-going-in-harm’s-way life, the situation I normally shoot in that carries the most consequence to how well I shoot, is GSSF. How I shoot in GSSF literally determines whether or not I will win a pistol and/or a few hundred dollars. There is upwards of $700 in cash and prizes riding on my performance in every GSSF match. And over the course of a paltry three GSSF matches, I have learned that there is precisely one rational thing to do to win: shoot the center of every target with every shot. And that’s what I do there and I don’t feel a lot of stress or tension because I own that skill if I am not pushing hard like I have habituated over the last while.

    In GSSF, part of that is the penalties for inaccuracy are so gnarly (like on the FAST!) that it is just not worth it to miss. There may be times in other gun games where it will be beneficial to turn up the speed. But I need to go back to the core of it all – shoot the center of every target with every shot, and habituate that.

    I just have to face up to the fact that I am not as good as I want to be, and the level of skill I can touch is not the level of skill that I own. I think I need to spend the next while, however long that is, truly intending to shoot the center of every target with every shot, in any shooting activity. Mistakes will be made and I will not magically become perfect, but I must proceed with correct intentions.

    From there I think I can make some real progress.

  4. #24
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    1/19/2012:

    AM – 45 minutes dry fire practice. Worked WHO, SHO, and two-handed draws on a 25 yard target and the associated careful use of the sights and trigger, and some dry trigger resets and additional presses. Also worked some reloads on the move, both walking and running, again using a 25 yard target to force more precision, then worked static reloads (did not revisit the look vs. no look methods – just did the no look which I am much more comfortable and familiar with.) Finished the morning dry fire session with two hand draws to a USPSA upper A and ½ lower A zone at 15 yards, again taking lots of care with the sights and trigger.

    Mid – Started with a cold FAST, then shot the DotW16: Acceleration. Kind of sucked, but in new and interesting ways. I felt like it was related to the fact that I almost never practice presentations from position 3 (hands join) of the drawstroke.

    Cold FAST – 6.59 (-2 B): 1.44, .54 / 1.88 / .26, .25, .22 No excuse for the missed body shots. I didn’t see and track the sights on the body shots and the result was predictable. I really needed the visual control system in the driver's seat on this, even more than usual. I had decided to dispose of four Gold Dots out of my carry ammo that had seen too many chamberings, which threw the rhythm off when mixed with normal practice ammo, which might have been fine if I let my vision drive the gun...instead I mindlessly used kinesthetic alignment and watched the misses appear.

    After the DotW 16: Acceleration (I'm going to put those results in the DotW thread), shot the last two FASTs warmed up:

    5.67 (-1B): 1.43, .64 / 1.91 / .26, .25, .19 Same as last run; the miss was pointless and occurred through inattention.

    5.07: 1.30, .66 / 2.42 / .26, .25, .20 Blew the reload and it cost me. If it’s not one thing with me, it’s another! I have been destroying the body shots lately, shooting like 4” groups during FASTs over the last week or so, and now that I got the 3x5 shots together I start blowing the body shots. It’s almost funny.

    Have to say I was very happy with the 3x5 shots though:
    [IMG] FAST_01_19_2012 by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

  5. #25
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    1/20/2012:

    AM – 40 minutes of dry trigger presses and a few draws. Haven’t worked pure trigger control enough lately.

    Mid – Having spent some time thinking about the muzzle-level vs. muzzle tilt #3 position (Todd’s way), I decided to try string 3 of DotW 16: Acceleration for fun and to compare the two #3 positions, even though I did not legitimately progress to it.

    Using the same muzzle-level #3 I did yesterday but presenting straight to the target using more kinesthetic awareness and less visual awareness, I shot string 3 a few times and threw lots of misses (-1 zone) trying to get done under time. I didn’t bring the gun up to my eye-target line first like I did yesterday and instead started shooting as I was presenting the gun forward, before having verified any sight alignment – and this was only good for –1 zone hits.

    Then I tried several reps starting from the muzzle-tilt #3, with the front sight already in my true eye-target line, and frankly was very impressed with the technique. It was slick and quick for seeing the sights aligned on target and for the purpose of string 3 of the DotW 16: Acceleration, presenting from the #3 position seemed like a significant technique advantage over the muzzle-level #3.

    There are other aspects to the discussion of muzzle-level vs. muzzle-tilt #3, but purely for this shooting task, it sure felt superior. I didn’t record the numbers or take a picture and I only did about four repetitions of it, but the hits were all there, clean and under time, which was a whole lot better than what I was doing from the muzzle-level #3 yesterday and today.

    Very interesting and this bears more exploration.

    The concerns I have about the muzzle-tilt #3 are twofold: there is the general concern that being muzzle-averted in a close-quarters situation could be ruinous. I don’t really have an opinion on this, but am aware of the discussions surrounding this aspect. Second, and this is my own personal concern: I do not want my vision blocked at all when actively seeking the information I need to quickly and accurately decide to shoot or not shoot. I know I can see past the slide/front sight that is all up in my face; but I also don’t believe that I can see as much or as clearly with the slide/front sight all up in my face either. The problem would occur if I don’t see important threat cues as soon as with unblocked vision, which could lead to a delayed response on my part.

    My drawstroke has changed a bit over the last couple of months. I have been taking much more care that I get the gun into my true eye-target line early in the horizontal line of presentation. And I am not doing it exactly Todd’s way; he seems to very strictly get the front sight into the eye-target line at the earliest opportunity – which requires the muzzle be tilted up. I’ve been drawing with a nebulous ‘intention’ of getting the gun into my eye-target line early, and that has been mostly working well and there is a short moment of the gun ramping up into the eye-target line and going from there. I do feel it is helping me see and align the sights sooner though.

    After getting done screwing around with the DotW 16 stuff, I did five reps of drawing and shooting at a 3x5 at 7 yards.

    1.21, .47 = 1.68 clean
    1.22, .54 = 1.76 –1 barely below the card. Pulled a bad grip (low) and should have held up the shot for a more careful trigger press but didn’t.
    1.16, .45 = 1.61 clean
    1.19, .49 = 1.68 clean
    1.20, .53 = 1.73 –1 to the left of the card. Saw the front sight go left as I jerked the trigger – at least I called the bad shot.

    Tried a few more repetitions, this time specifically working the hybrid press/punch out thing I’ve been doing. Started with a few one shot draws. I tried to go ‘3/4 speed’ but ultimately didn’t slow much at all. But, the intention was one of precision and care in the sights and trigger, and it worked out well for the moment...

    1.32, 1.25, 1.23, 1.16, all hits.

    Then a couple more pairs using the hybrid:

    1.15, .42 = 1.57 –1 Missed just low left of the 3x5, saw the front sight going that way so at least I called it.
    1.16, .44 = 1.60 –2 Not good. Both shots just above the 3x5. I remember seeing the front sight – perhaps I didn’t notice that it was not level with the rear? Concentrate!
    1.21, .51 = 1.72 clean

    The 3x5 practice was entirely not good enough today. Needed to hit. I think I regressed a little here.

    Finished with a few repetitions of the failure to stop (2 body, 1 head – the whole head.) This time I made sure I didn’t overdo it and lose interest and concentration with too many repetitions.

    1.53, 1.56, 1.45, 1.37 all clean. This felt right. I wasn’t hurrying. I wasn’t delaying. I drew, put the sights where I wanted them and shot.

    [IMG] Failure_to_Stop by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

  6. #26
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    1/20/2012:

    Extra session – PM – dry fire draws – pretty standard dry draw to first shot practice for me. But I did it differently than I have been and I think it’s a step in improving my shooting.

    I moved in a relaxed way. I didn’t speed my hand to the grip as I normally would have. I found the speed, whatever that was (no timer), where I can move correctly each and every time. I chased efficiency through smooth movement and efficient technique, in this case, concentrating on getting the sights into the eye-target line early and smoothly pushing the gun out and smoothly completing the trigger press only when I saw a sufficient sight picture. Did this on several different sizes of targets. It all felt very ‘correct’ and easily repeatable.

  7. #27
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    1/21/2012:

    AM – just a few minutes of live fire (40 rounds) before basic pistol class, trying to put to work what I felt in dry fire last night.

    10 x 1 shot draw to USPSA ½ lower A zone at 10 yards – all hits. Broke the shot after I saw the sights on target.

    [IMG] Lower_Half_A_01_21_2012 by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

    10 x 1 shot draw to USPSA upper A zone at 10 yards – 8/10 hits. Called the misses at least. Held up shots until alignment was actually achieved on the other reps.

    [IMG] Upper_A_01_21_2012 by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

    10 x 1 shot draw to 3x5 card at 7 yards – 8/10 hits. Again called the misses at least. Saw the front sight low but didn’t hold up the shot. Working on that. I know what I did so I can fix it. Forgot to take a picture of this one.

    10 x 1 shot draw to 3x5 card at 7 yards – 9/10 hits. Saw the miss again.

    [IMG] 3x5_01_21_2012 by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Overall, I would say that is a little more consistently accurate than usual for me. But the three big positives here were:

    All felt easily repeatable. I was not reaching.

    No disaster factor. I’ve shot 8/10 or 9/10 on those shooting tasks many times before, but I think in the past there would have been some real dog runs in there too across 40 rounds.

    When I screwed it up, I knew I did it and how to fix it.

    Felt great about this session.

    I have no idea what the times were since I didn’t time it. Just tried to run my mind correctly.

    Also shot a couple of class demos (easy) which went fine.

  8. #28
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    1/22/2012:

    Action range certification class today. Had a great time. Basic stuff, but always good to practice. Also, this was outdoors in a horrendous rainstorm, which was good for reminding just myself how spoiled I am to shoot indoors all the time. I got to shoot and wasn’t responsible for all the students and I didn’t get hurt so I automatically had a good time, monsoon or not. Shot about 100 rounds, focused on being slow and safe, per the instructors’ directions, so shot accurately without time pressure.

    And now I am blessed to being competing in action pistol competition at the outdoor range nearby. So, if everything goes according to plan, late next month I will shoot my first USPSA match with my carry gear in the Limited division.

    If you read this G.R., thank you!

  9. #29
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    1/23/2012:

    AM – 30 minutes of dry draws to first shot on four different target sizes at a couple of distances.

    Tried to maintain the internal setting I’ve been cultivating over the last few sessions – going the speed I can consistently move correctly, seeing the sights on target, then breaking the shot, and damn the time.

    But, introduced the timer in an effort for it to be present, making noise, providing feedback on the time axis of my performance, but, not caring about what that feedback said so I don’t backslide mentally.

    Started with a 2 second PAR for the USPSA upper A at 10 yards. Two seconds seemed about right to start with. That is a small target and needs a lot of refinement in sights and trigger. Reduced PAR by .1 second each time I had several reps in a row that I called as hits at/under time. By reducing the PAR, I increased the potential pressure, which I continued to try to ignore. Got down to 1.5 before I changed targets, though I ended up with a range of 1.5 to 2.0 with a called dry fire hit – definitely didn’t break the shot under PAR every time, and that seemed like further good practice in disregarding time pressure.

    Worked the same thing on the ½ lower A at 10 yards, continuing with the 1.5 PAR time left over from the upper A. Got down to .9, but caught myself hurrying a couple of times and relaxed again. The time range for called dry fire hits seemed to end up at .9 to 1.2 generally.

    Kept the PAR at .9 and worked drawing to the 8” IDPA circle at 7 yards. I didn’t change the PAR at all this time, and just kept focusing on accomplishing the task correctly, as determined by my vision, and witnessing the feedback of the timer, but not caring about that feedback. Time range felt like it was generally between .8 and 1.2, depending on how perfect each repetition was.

    Certainly felt like it was a lot easier to hit that 8” circle at 7 yards than a ½ lower A at 10 yards. Proportionately, if the 8” circle at 7 yards is 50.27 square inches, the ½ lower A (which is about 36 square inches if at the same 7 yard distance) at 10 yards would be about 25.2 square inches if it were a scaled 7 yard target. I think my math is right. If it is, that IDPA 8” circle at 7 yards is about twice the size of a USPSA ½ lower A at 10 yards, and it felt that way.

    Finished with dry draws to a 3x5 at 7 yards. Left the PAR at .9, again using the PAR as a stimulus to be blatantly ignored, and to focus on calling a dry fire hit.

    Felt pretty good about this practice today. I think I made progress and did not accept slop in my sights or trigger. Very few bad reps, and when I did one I knew it.

    Mid – I was going to practice dry, but the range was unexpectedly powered up, so I shot live instead.

    I felt so good and calm this morning, and then by mid-day had become unbelievably jittery. I think the differences were that I drank a lot of coffee between the AM and Mid session, and also was shooting the DotW, where of course I want to do well.

    I shot about 100 rounds and jerked the trigger like mad on some of it. I chalk it up to the nerves, but whatever the reason, it was fundamentally a lack of self-control.

    Started with 2 shot draws to a 3x5 at 7 yards, all clean!

    1.43, .83 = 2.26 (a little hitch getting the grip)
    1.55, .66 = 2.21 (again a little hitch getting the grip)
    1.20, .57 = 1.77
    1.28, .55 = 1.83
    1.26, .73 = 1.99

    [IMG] 3x5_01_23_2012_1st_attempt by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Then took it out to 10 yards for the same short drill. Didn’t take a picture; it sucked. This is where the nerves really started. Half the shots were slightly above or below the card. Saw a few high front sights in the sight pictures. Need to pay more mental attention to what I see. I think that is where my high misses are coming from. The low ones come from jerking the trigger, which I also saw a few times. Times for these ranged from 2.20 to 2.48.

    Repeated, not wanting to stop that exercise on a bad run. Times were similar, but took more care; dropped three of ten shots. Still too many, but better.

    Shot the DotW 17: 2-shot Draw on Two Targets. I’ll put those results in that thread. It went ok, but there were a lot of shots on those cards that I jerked low, nearly off the card.

    Ended with one more set of 2 shot draws to a 3x5 at 7 yards. 9/10 this time.

    1.31, .65 = 1.96
    1.41, .77 = 2.18 –1 barely high – I noticed the high front sight when the shot broke.
    1.33, .85 = 2.18
    1.27, .52 = 1.79
    1.31, .71 = 2.02

    [IMG] 3x5_01_23_2012_2nd_attempt by OrigamiAK, on Flickr[/IMG]

    At this point I feel mostly good about what I am doing and think it will lead to improvement. I do question why my split times on the 3x5 have basically doubled. I think I am just really trying to be very sure of the shot. I need to just keep shooting all or almost all hits and continue to disregard the time for now, though that split is an obvious thing to be improved at some point.

  10. #30
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    1/24/2012:

    Only one session. Cleaned my practice gun. Worked dry fire trigger control for an hour, two handed, SHO, and WHO. Saw lots of bad trigger presses in those sights. I need to work pure trigger control much more.

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