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Discussion Starter #1
Wife and I are awaiting our CCW licenses. I've got little experience with guns, my wife even less. We both took the Ohio-CCW version of the NRA Basic Pistol course--10 hours classroom, a bit over 2 hours range time. In addition, I've had the USAF basic training 50 shots towards the woods with a rim-fire M-16 in 1984. I also owned and shot a few thousand rounds from a Ruger .357 in the late 80's, but with no supervision, likely reinforcing bad habits at least as much as developing skill.

We both need practice and training, but realistically I'm going to be her trainer for a while--She's willing to go to the range, but isn't willing to spend more on professional lessons yet, even if I knew how to find a good instructor. I think she can solve a lot of her problems with practice, but I want to avoid getting her into bad habits, and I want to maximize the time I can get her on the range, especially since she's the one who needs to carry. The gun we will be using for now is a Springfield XD40 subcompact.

Her biggest problems are nervousness around guns and a tendency to pull and flinch. She's also inconsistent--She's been able to hit an 8 inch circle at 20 feet with all 9 rounds sometimes, but two magazines later couldn't get a single shot on the 11x17 paper behind it, consistently low and left.

With these facts, what drills would be effective in getting her to the point where she'll be effective if she ever has to use her gun?
 

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Wow , where to start.................

A small light .40 may be great for self defense , but its not the best choice for learning to shoot.

Anyway you can borrow a .22 pistol for her to learn on?

She is probably anticipating the recoil , and new shooters typically
pull their shots toward their shooting side ( too much finger on the
trigger)

Sometimes shooting at reactive targets like a jug of water takes
your mind off the noise and gun movement , because you are
focusing on an object, might try her on that.

Above all . dont get frustrated with her progress , keep it fun.
 

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I suggest you both do a lot of dry fire practice. I mean a lot.

Put on your holster and unload your gun. Put the magazine and ammo in another room of the house. Practice drawing and firing at inanimate objects around the house. Shooting low and left indicates a tendency towards anticipating the recoil, (flinching), and work hard to control that.

I would suggest that you find a good instructor in your area and work with him to learn the proper methods of drawing and firing. You can probably find one at one of your local ranges.

Here are some skill builders for you when doing live fire.

SHOOTING DRILLS

Ken Hackathorn’s Basic Training CCW Skills Drills

3 yards

On the signal draw keeping the gun in the retention position (Gun close to body) and fire 2 rounds center mass. Repeat twice for a total of 6 rounds.

5 yards

On signal draw and fire either 1 round or dedicated pairs firing strong hand only. It is advisable to make some shots eye level point shots with hard focus on the target, not the sights. Fire a total of 6 rounds.

3 yards

On signal back away from the target, draw and fire 3 rounds center mass while moving. Try to get to the 7 yard line by the time you fire your last round. Repeat once for a total of 6 rounds.

7 yards

On signal draw and fire a dedicated pair center mass, slowly go to ready and scan the area and reholster. Repeat twice for a total of 6 rounds.

7 yards

Move from center of target a few steps. On signal draw and fire 3 rounds center of mass moving laterally across the range. Repeat going in the opposite direction. Move only as fast as you can hit the target.

6 and 10 yards

Draw and fire 1 round on each of 3 targets placed at varied distances on the range. Targets are placed between 6 and 10 yards, also vary heights of targets. Repeat using dedicated pairs on each target.

7 yards

Place firearm on the ground, on the signal with your strong hand tucked into your belt pick up the firearm with your support hand and fire 1 round center of mass. Repeat once for a total of two rounds.


15 yards

Draw and fire 1 round in 2.5 seconds. Repeat twice for a total of 3 rounds. These should be very precise hits. (Hack considers this long range for self-defense, however should be practiced.)

With additional ammunition repeat course utilizing your favorite flashlight technique, or add movement away from targets on all 10 yard or less stages.



The Drill by Clint Smith

100 rounds

Clint has come up with a simple drill to maintain skill needed for self-defense.

Targets
Standard white paper plates and a 3” X 5” index card at 15 yards for all exercises will be used. Stack dinner plates one above the other with the index card placed above the top dinner plate.

Marksmanship
“Shoot well not fast”
From the ready position fire 10 singles on chosen target.
From the ready position fire 5 sighted doubles.
(Practice your trigger reset.)

Loading
Put one round in your handgun, fire, when the gun goes empty keep the muzzle on the target and reload.
“An empty gun is not bad luck; it’s simply a reality of being in a fight.” Keep the gun between you and the target and reload. Do this drill 10 times.

Non-Compliant Threats
From the ready position fire 2 shots on the center plate and 1 shot on the card. Do this 2 times.
Fire 3 shots on the center plate and 1 on the card. Do this 2 times.
Fire 2 shots on the center plate, 2 shots on the lower plate and 1 shot on the card. Do this 1 time.
Slow down for your head shots. “Remember the head is not a smaller target, it’s just different.”

Drawing
Practice our drawing stroke smoothly, speed comes with practice. Fast is spelled SMOOOOTH.
With an UNLOADED firearm draw 10 to 15 times correctly, and smoothly, following through to include a sight picture and hammer fall. (Remember your dry fire practice rules.)
Load, draw and fire 10 singles, holstering between shots. Remember safety on and finger straight while holstering.
While drawing take one step back and fire 1 shot. Do this 10 times.
Remember: M & M. “Maximize the distance, minimize the threat.”

Malfunctions
“Fights and family vacations have something in common, they rarely come out the way they were planned.”
Leave the magazine unseated with one in the chamber and fire when ready.
Stick a piece of brass in the top of the ejection port.
Set up a double feed.
The response is always the same, when the gun does not fire. Tap the magazine. Rack the slide harder and attempt to fire. If it still doesn’t work, remove the magazine and place under your strong hand little finger. Rack the slide 3 times and reload the gun and fire if you have a valid target.
Run variations 5 times and after clearing, fire 1 shot to complete the cycle of operation in your head. Go slow and do it correctly. You have 21 rounds for this portion.

Strong and Support Hand
Fire 5 shots strong hand only from the ready position, carefully transfer the gun to your support hand and fire 5 shots.

Go slowly and carefully, speed and skill will come with time – and practice.

Depending on your skill level lessen the distance if you’re not hitting the target. Only hits count!! Beginners should start at 5 yards and move back as skill increases.
 

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apcarmed has the right idea. Lots and lots of dry-fire practice, and you really should get her started on a .22 so she can learn to live-fire without being startled by the noise and recoil. Honestly, since you have said yourself you're not experience enough to properly train her, I strongly suggest you hold out until you can afford the services of a professional. It's a whole lot easier to learn good habits than to un-learn bad ones. Poke around for a local gun club, you can often find very reasonably priced courses through them. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
AKsrule said:
Wow , where to start.................

A small light .40 may be great for self defense , but its not the best choice for learning to shoot.

Anyway you can borrow a .22 pistol for her to learn on?
Not so far. The people I know well enough to borrow a gun from don't own .22's.
She is probably anticipating the recoil , and new shooters typically
pull their shots toward their shooting side ( too much finger on the
trigger)
She's right-handed, but flinching is very definatly a problem for her. I have to watch myself for too much finger, I'll try to keep an eye on her next time we shoot.

Sometimes shooting at reactive targets like a jug of water takes
your mind off the noise and gun movement , because you are
focusing on an object, might try her on that.
I've already planed to get a magnum-rated spinner target, hadn't thought about water jugs.
Above all . dont get frustrated with her progress , keep it fun.
Sounds like you are married... :)
 

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do a lot of dry fire , then if your range situation permits do the triple nickle drill , that would be from the holster shoot at 5 yards , 5 rounds , shot into 5 inches , start slow and mesure your progress by how fast you can reliably do this drill its a fine drill to instill basics and muscle memory untill you progress to more complex drills

edited to add
as far as caliber goes i would suggest a9mm , its the cheapest to shoot a lot and this may well be imporntant to you , 9 has fine stopping power with modern ammo imho but any cal 9mm or more is fine . Fondle a fiew handguns and see what seems to fit you best , if you have a rental range rent before you buy
 

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Best to learn from a pro. If not try finding some reading material on the subject. I would not want someone untrained trying to teach. Finally , a .22 will more than pay for itself from the ammo savings and learning trigger control and sight alignment without the added recoil factor.
 

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Get some imert rounds and load her mag with random mix of those and live rounds. This is ''ball and dummy''

Her ability to correct flinch will be improved if she sees it happen - and firing on an inert round will show this well. The more she sees it the more she can get to grips with it. talking of grips - analyze her hold and trigger use - and as others said plenty of dry fire time.

acparmed gave some great suggestions too.
 

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Yet another vote to go pick up a .22lr pistol. It'll cost you a couple hundred dollars, and save you thousands in ammo over the life of the gun.

A lightweight .40 makes me flinch after a few mags. Great carry gun, bad range gun.
 

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good idea p95 i have some friends im getting into shooting and i always leave the safety on the gun i hand them. No matter how many times i tell them its on safe they forget and pull the trigger. Great tool to see how much they flinch and move the gun in anticipation of the bang. I think im gonna buy some dummy rounds for that reason. Put one in a mag and mix it in with your regular mags to catch yourself off guard and find unknown problems.
 

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P95Carry said:
Get some imert rounds and load her mag with random mix of those and live rounds. This is ''ball and dummy''

Her ability to correct flinch will be improved if she sees it happen - and firing on an inert round will show this well. The more she sees it the more she can get to grips with it. talking of grips - analyze her hold and trigger use - and as others said plenty of dry fire time.

acparmed gave some great suggestions too.
You might want to take this idea and load only one or two live rounds into the magazine and the rest dummies.
 

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grnzbra said:
You might want to take this idea and load only one or two live rounds into the magazine and the rest dummies.

This worked for my old lady in a round about way. She has a revolver, so I would load it randomly for her. After a few runs that way she could see what she was doing wrong and correct it. Now she has great trigger control and shoots better than me :gah:
 

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When my wife wanted to learn I got an instructor. I would never teach her to shoot or to drive. Something about my patience with her. She went from FEARING GUNS to loving shooting. She prefers her Buckmark Camper .22 LR over all others.

Whatever you choose I wish you well.
 

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Hey guys,

Welcome,

As has been said before, Dry fire is the way to go. It helps some too if the trigger pull is not long. some DA only guns have a longer pull, and revolvers also. I find that the longer trigger pull can make any flinching problems worse. I used to hunt with my Einfeld 303, that thing had a mile long trigger pull. Now the Winchester model 60 is nice and crisp, makes it a whole lot better. Just my $0.02 worth.

Again: Welcome to the Forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
SammyIamToday said:
This worked for my old lady in a round about way. She has a revolver, so I would load it randomly for her. After a few runs that way she could see what she was doing wrong and correct it. Now she has great trigger control and shoots better than me :gah:
In fact, our CCW instructor did a similar thing--We were experimenting with the different guns he'd brought along, including his wife's Airweight. I suggested that Wife dry fire first, to get a feel for a DA-only revolver pull. She clicked a couple times, jerking down the first two times, then settling down. He said "Let me adjust the trigger for you". I thought "WTF?" until I saw that what he'd really done was chamber a single round. She neglected to check whether the gun was empty, (but did keep it properly pointed downrange) clicked a few times, and was very surprised when it went off, and that she hit the target.

I've got snap caps, and I'd already planned to use them once we got to the outdoor range.
 

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Patience..Patience.. Also remember to build her confidence. Start in close and move back. Remember over 90% of all gunfights take place at less than 22 feet.
 

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sevesteen said:
In fact, our CCW instructor did a similar thing--We were experimenting with the different guns he'd brought along, including his wife's Airweight. I suggested that Wife dry fire first, to get a feel for a DA-only revolver pull. She clicked a couple times, jerking down the first two times, then settling down. He said "Let me adjust the trigger for you". I thought "WTF?" until I saw that what he'd really done was chamber a single round. She neglected to check whether the gun was empty, (but did keep it properly pointed downrange) clicked a few times, and was very surprised when it went off, and that she hit the target.

I've got snap caps, and I'd already planned to use them once we got to the outdoor range.
It also helped her quite a bit at first when I stood behind her and coached her to really control the trigger. Nice and easy squeeze, when she was focused on doing that, she stopped jerking.
 

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Training

Their are quite a few good tapes out there on the subject of training. But like ACP suggested dry fire is probably one of the best( make sure the gun is unloaded). It develops a comfort level. Get a piece of paper put a 1 inch circle in the middle of it hang it on the wall at eye level ( where looking through the sights will give you a clear sight picture, now stand where when you draw the weapon from the holster and punch the weapon out the muzzle of it touches the dot now do this until you and your wife can close your eyes and when you open them your weapon is on the dot ( nine out of ten times for this). Then take a step back wards and start all over, what you are doing is developing your mind to stop your arms at a certain level (is no such thing as muscle memory). Do this drill for 5 or 10 minutes at day until your across the room checking your sights as you go. You will be amazed at how well you will do at the range the next time. remember this is self defense shooting not target practice a 9 inch group is perfectly acceptable in this case. Hope this helps you some. Be Safe Out There. Kurt
 

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Another old married guy

First post to this forum...you have inspired me to action. My opinion is that there is no alternative to a qualified professional instructor. An experienced teacher will know best how to explain things to a novice, will know what initial bad habits to nip in the bud, and will really save you time and money in the long run, not to mention making you both safer sooner.

Besides...what man can really teach his wife anything?

Bill
 

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wburychka said:
First post to this forum...you have inspired me to action. My opinion is that there is no alternative to a qualified professional instructor. An experienced teacher will know best how to explain things to a novice, will know what initial bad habits to nip in the bud, and will really save you time and money in the long run, not to mention making you both safer sooner.

Besides...what man can really teach his wife anything?

Bill
Mine isn't a wife yet, but I find I can teach her stuff if I totally revamp the entire way I go about doing it. It's really hard and requires me to think it all out in advance. She's not above listening though...sometimes. Point is, if you know what you're doing, you can probably teach her, or at least learn together.
 
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