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Thread: High Hits with J Frame When Under Pressure

  1. #11
    Member JHC's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    North Georgia
    With poorly seen sights, one elevates them to get a better look. I've seen same hitting high with j frames on the clock. I shot over a deer with BUCKSHOT using a bead sight last year for fucksakes (got rifle sights on it ASAP)
    "I realized all the mindset talk was useless without action and that with action, all the mindset talk was unnecessary." - Mike Pannone

  2. #12
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    Feb 2016
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    Southwest Pennsylvania
    A Crimson Trace LaserGrip might be the simplest sight upgrade.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #13
    Member Grizzly's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
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    Central Illinois
    For me, hand placement is everything. When shooting bowling pin matches years ago from the low ready, I made sure my grip was perfect so that as I raised the revolver, da pressure on the trigger was being applied and she went off the instant it was horizontal. Having done that so often in the past, I realized light triggers and striker fired guns were not for me in case that pressure on the trigger thing which became a bit ingrained were to happen.

    When I shopped for my carry guns, that was the first thing I checked for. Like a good fitting shotgun, is it pointing properly (without having to make any compensating adjustments) when the gun comes up. I found many would point high for me, so I eliminated them. You may still find the answer in the right set of grips. Talk to a grip maker and see if he hasn't already addressed this issue with J frames for others.

    Of coarse slowing down a hair may allow you to adjust. Don't be so anxious to get that shot off. You may find that perfect practice may ingrain the perfect alignment you are after. If you are ingraining your natural tendency to shoot high, you are practicing and ingraining error.

  4. #14
    Aim for belt buckle.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
    I discovered yesterday that when shooting a J frame under time pressure I hit ~8" high at 7 yds. Self diagnosis reveals that I'm holding my front sight proud of the rear trough....

    Anybody else worked through this issue? Seems like I could learn to hold low (sub optimal) or get better sights (expensive). I'd appreciate any other thoughts.
    This shooting problem is fairly common amongst shooters who are used to shooting semi-auto pistols with a bore-grip angle more closely approaching 90 degrees. If you are more often shooting 1911s, SIGs, M&Ps and such, you are training yourself to develop neuro-muscular memory for that particular grip angle. Then when you pick up the small J-frame revolver, it will naturally point "high" for you, because the bore/grip angle on a revolver is larger than with most pistols.

    The Glock - and the venerable Luger and Ruger Mk-series .22 pistols - have grip/bore angles noticeably closer to that of a revolver. I usually recommend those pistols to a shooter likes revolvers as well.

    Try this experiment: With your dominant hand and no firearm, extend your arm towards a target in what you feel is a a natural pistol gripping angle. Then - using your other hand - pick up the UNLOADED pistol and place it in your dominant hand, keeping your "natural" gripping angle the same. Where's your resulting sight picture?

    If you're only doing slowfire, this bore/grip angle stuff is not so important... you take the time to line up the sights. But if you are practicing (training) to shoot quickly and accurately under time limits, then bore/grip angle comes into play.

    Changing the sights on a fixed sight J-frame is not a particularly good way to waste money, nor will it solve the basic issue, which is the bore/grip angle in relation to your "natural" pointing. Painting the front sight is an old old trick and will help you see it; I do this wil my guns but again it doesn't change your natural point of aim.

    Two solutions to this problem:

    1. Practice with the revolver, being conscious about cocking your wrist downwards when pointing at the target. The motion is akin to shaking hands in the traditional way (not some "hey peace bro" raised handshake). This will align your sights on the target naturally with the revolver. The downside here is it requires a lot of practice to become automatic. Back in the revolver days of law enforcement, a few thousands rounds fired over the course of several weeks at the academy produced the required "muscle memory" and natural adaptations. You could achieve the same effect with dry-fire in the comfort of your abode, using an UNLOADED revolver pointed in a SAFE direction.

    2. Buy a new set of grips. You want something that covers the backstrap, which will in effect change the bore/grip angle of the revolver. Again "back in the day", these were called "step-down" grips because they altered the bore/grip angle over the traditional exposed backstrap of nearly all revolver grips. There are many makers out there with grips like this today, covering all price points. The downside, other than some extra $$, is that they make the revolver a little bigger. But it's all about making hits, isn't it?

    As examnples of this grip, take a look at the Altamont Bateleur grips, Hogue round butt Fullsize or Centennial grips, or VZ wraparounds.

    Straight shooting!

  6. #16
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    Jul 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by DueSpada View Post
    Aim for belt buckle.
    That's definitely an option. I'd be inclined to practice that technique if the J frame was my only defensive handgun. But the J frame is a supplement to the P2000, and therein lies the rub. The two guns index completely differently.

    Somewhat related to a belt buckle point-of-aim: Was it Jelly Brice who said that shooting a man in the dick would change his attitude? Maybe it was Bill Jordan. I suspect there's some truth in the statement.

  7. #17
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    Aug 2014
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    Northern Virginia
    Meh. Painting my front sight with white-out didn't help. I just can't discern between the front and rear sights in a relatively dim range. Outdoors may be different. I was doing draw from concealment drills at 5yds against a timed target. My groups weren't bad in terms of size, but they were uniformly 3" high.

    I may need to consider a different front sight (not so easy on this gun) or a different gun altogether. I strictly carry this gun AIWB, so maybe I can go a bit heavier (ie steel gun with better sights). Maybe an LCR...

    Chris

  8. #18

    Shooting High With J Frames

    This is not an uncommon occurance in the modern era, when most shooters use semi-auto pistols. The bore/grip angle is substantially different with a revolver than most semi-auto pistols. If most of your shooting and experience is with pistols - especially the 1911, SIG, M&P, Hi-Power, etc - your natural gripping angle will cause revolvers to point high. This is especially true of the S&W J-frame which due to the small grip, exaggerates this tendency. The Glock pistol has a grip angle closer to the revolver angle - as does the venerable Luger and Ruger Mark series of .22 pistols. I often recommend those to revolver shooters looking for a semi-auto pistol.

    In slow fire this doesn't much matter, unless you are having some other issue in the catalog of shooting fundamentals. Taking the time to get a proper sight picture and pressign the trigger correctly, any firearm will shoot to it's technical POI. But with fast firing under stress, your natural point of aim and gripping angle will push your shots to what is ingrained into your "muscle memory".

    Try this test with UNLOADED guns. Extend your dominant arm and point your empty dominant hand in a firing grip towards a target. Then using your other hand place your revolver or pistol in your dominant hand without changing it's natural angle. Where the sights are pointing will tell you which firearm you are attuned to.

    Painting the front sight is an old-school method for finding the front sight quickly. You can paint the sights all you want, but it won't alter your natural point of aim. Physically hanging the sights is a costly and fruitless endeavour on a fixed-sight, except for the particularly well-heeled.

    To correct the issues you're having with the J Frame, two avenues:

    1. Practice. Back in the days of law enforcement revolvers, a few thousand rounds of shooting and careful instruction over the course of a few months of basic academy training, was sufficient to produce a natural point of aim and gripping angle. You can do the same, and add dryfiring to the mix. The best shooters spend most of their practice dry-firing.

    2. Change the grips. You can alter the bore/grip angle by replacing the factory grips with ones that cover the backstrap. Back in the day these were called "step-down stocks". A number of makers sell them currently, including Hogue, Altamont and VZ Grips. They will cause the grip angle to more approach 90 degrees and the front sight will point lower. Downside is they make the grip somewhat larger, but perhaps not objectionably so.

    Safe shooting!

  9. #19
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    Jul 2017
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    California
    Quick Update:

    I did some focused dryfire this week with my J frames, with an emphasis on achieving a good sight picture from AIWB or low ready. I also removed the red paint on the front sight, except for the top portion that's visible through the rear notch as mentioned by @backtrail540, @mtnbkr and @blues.

    Yesterday I went to the range with my 642 and achieved much better hits. At 7 yds my POI was about 3" high with the random reloads I found in my ammo cabinet, but that's a huge improvement over the previous session. I'll continue to work on this, and moving forward, I plan to start carrying my 642 a lot more.

    My thanks to the P-F hivemind for all the good input and advice.
    Last edited by Mark D; 07-19-2019 at 11:42 PM.

  10. #20
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    Aug 2011
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    SATX
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
    Quick Update:

    I did some focused dryfire this week with my J frames, with an emphasis on achieving a good sight picture from AIWB or low ready. I also removed the red paint on the front sight, except for the top portion that's visible through the rear notch as mentioned by @backtrail540, @mtnbkr and @blues.

    Yesterday I went to the range with my 642 and achieved much better hits. At 7 yds my POI was about 3" high with the random reloads I found in my ammo cabinet, but that's a huge improvement over the previous session. I'll continue to work on this, and moving forward, I plan to start carrying my 642 a lot more.

    My thanks to the P-F hivemind for all the good input and advice.
    Since you stated your intent to carry it, it may be more beneficial to get some serious range time in with your chosen carry ammo rather than random reloads. I know my G19 produces mediocre accuracy / poa with cheap ball ammo but shoots magnitudes better with quality defensive ammo. It was a mistake for me to base my idea of where it would hit in relation to the sights using 115 gr ball vs 124 or 147 gr defensive ammo.

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