An actually helpful grip tip when starting out shooting (plus additional thoughts)

Came across a video last night on the topic of proper grip when shooting:

Others kept telling me to simply grip tight and stay high up, but what this man explained is what he referred to as the c-clamp hand-grip and how that’s better than letting your fingers curl around in a squeeze since that impacts the trigger finger. Good call. Tried out his advice today and shot better than I have thus far, as someone who hasn’t shot often throughout my life (nor ever been properly trained) until in recent months when I began heading to the local shooting range (typically on my own).

A lady who works at the range has offered me pointers during a few visits, and I’ve tried to apply her advice as well. But this man’s explanation of proper gripping technique proved to be just what I needed. Pressing the grip from the front (in a pulling motion) and the back (in a forward motion)—basically squeezing the front and back portions of the grip of the gun specifically with my right hand and worrying less about the sides (though applying pressure against the grip with my left hand for stabilizing purposes)—makes sense to me now. Before I just squeezed all the way around with my right hand and pressed in as hard as I could with my left, because that’s what folks seemed to be advising me to do. Getting your other fingers out of the movement does help because the trigger finger wants to react when the resent of them curl tight.

It was an ah-ha moment, however small it might seem to others.  lol  Papa never explained much about guns other than don’t point them at others and then just try to aim in the direction of what you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Nothing else. No discussion of sights or proper holding of the gun or even explanation of what he handed me to shoot. So, that was my early experience with guns — the occasional opportunity to point at bottles in a sand pit and try to plink them off without much preparation of know-how. My one time at the shooting range with my ex-stepdad in my early 20s was no more educational, except for him being more safety conscious (and the location required wearing hearing protection, something Papa never brought up).

Fast forward several years and I had only been out shooting a handful of times as an adult. A guyfriend here or there allowed me to shoot at something on some rare occasions. A couple years ago two family members allowed Grandma and me to come out to shoot on their land after I had purchased my first revolver and wanted to try it out. My second-cousin and great-uncle were kind enough to share their guns as well so that I could try shooting them across the pond to see how they felt. That was a fun day, though I still didn’t know much beyond pointing and pulling the trigger. Managed to shoot all right under the circumstances though. At least hit the cardboard target much of the time.

Last November my former partner and I headed to the shooting range for the first time together ever to try out a second semi-auto handgun I had purchased. For years I had been wanting to learn more about shooting, increasingly out of self-defense concerns, but most of the men in my life never got around to taking me to the range or showing me anything despite many promises to do so. And I finally grew tired of waiting on them to make time. My former partner hadn’t fired a weapon in close to 20 years by then and is only very slowly getting back into the “hobby” again himself and so couldn’t really instruct me on much. Though he was kind enough to purchase some cleaning accessories for my guns as a gift.

So, I’m a perpetual newb at shooting. Decided to try to change that earlier this year and pressured my guyfriends to go to the range with me. One acquaintance did go with me one time, which was my first opportunity to shoot an AR-15. Extremely loud. But he and I parted ways for other reasons and haven’t been in contact since. The former military guy I used to hang around kept talking about wanting to go to the range with me — never happened. An old buddy I’ve known for many years keeps saying he wants to take me out into the country to shoot — as of this summer, still hasn’t happened. I understand he’s busy, but damn. How many years have we known one another now? Nine?  Grrr…

I get it. The whole world is busy with jobs and raising kids or drinking themselves into oblivion, etc. So I decided to take the initiative myself and signed up at a local shooting range and have been going in probably a couple times a month (on ladies’ day when it’s discounted) since probably late spring this year. Took pictures of a few of my targets afterward to send to close friends to demonstrate my progress (or lack thereof). Got frustrated on more than one occasion, wondering what I was doing wrong. Tried my best to listen to the lady who works there’s advice and apply it since she’s really the only teacher I have at this point. And I’ve watched many videos online to pick up what tips I can, though there’s so much conflicting info and hyped up material that doesn’t suit my modest needs.

One channel I’ve found great value in is Hickok45’s:

Basic stuff, sure, but it helps to gain a better understanding of why you’re being told to do whatever you think you’re trying to do.

His channel is chocked full of worthwhile things to know, considering how much babbling there is online about the differences between guns and people’s preferences. Can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and find those gems worth following.

Truth be told, I haven’t found hardly any female shooter channels I’ve been interested in following. So many are involved either in competitive shooting or are mostly just trying to sell gun-related items to other women or appear to be more directed toward attracting male viewers with sex appeal. Maybe that’s just what comes up in my feed — surely there are quality female shooter channels out there that I haven’t discovered yet that provide practical, no-frills and no-bullshit advice and ideas. But until I find them, I’ll continue sticking mostly with Hickok’s channel and a handful of others.

TL;DR: The first grip-related video up above helped improve my accuracy immediately — necessary basics lesson. The next 2 videos shown are of Hickok45’s channel, which is a quality resource for other newbs like me (and more experienced shooters). Highly recommended.

If anyone has any other channels or specific videos or websites on this topic they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears.

Memorial Day Shooting

Finally had an opportunity to go shooting my gun today! This being the first time I’ve shot a weapon since 2011 and the very first time to fire this particular revolver I’d purchased many months ago up north.

It’s a Smith & Wesson .38 special snub-nose airweight 5-shot revolver with a hidden cocking mechanism. Don’t expect much technical jargon out of me since I don’t keep up with that sort of stuff. Fired through it 50 rounds of Remington 158 gr. cartridges, plus some similar shorter cartridges provided by my great-uncle, then I tried out a few of my Hornady Critical Defense rounds to see what they would do, then a few of my pest control shot cartridges for fun.

We headed to my great-uncle and great-aunt’s property out in the country where my great-uncle drove us out to a little pond in his Cub Cadet vehicle (think of a combo between a golf cart and an ATV) with my great-aunt and grandma following behind in a separate automobile. We set up targets across the pond and shot from the pier (he estimated the distance approx. 25-30 yds. across). Then their son stopped by and offered up a few of his weapons for me to try out. So today I was also able to shoot my great-uncle’s much older S&W long-barreled .38 revolver, my second-cousin’s .357 magnum (loaded at different times with .357 and .38 ammunition) and two different Glock .40 semi-autos. That made for a good afternoon. yes_smilie

I shot at two cardboard targets, plus a floating empty water bottle (which I managed to sink wink), and a couple styrofoam plates during warm-up. Don’t feel like fooling with a camera right now to try to post up my targets, but will do so eventually (perhaps once I am back home). Only hit the bulls-eye a couple of times and that was with my great-uncle’s .38 revolver, but the majority of my shots landed within the target area at least. My great-uncle shot a few rounds off himself, but he left most of the shooting to me this time around.

It was 98 degrees out today, and we sweat our asses off walking back and forth around that pond to check and replace the targets. But I didn’t even mind the heat since it felt so nice to finally be out honing my skills after so much talk about it and guyfriends up north always saying they’d take me along but never following through. My great-uncle seemed really impressed with my shooting and talked me up quite a bit, which was really nice and boosted my confidence a lot. Said I can come back to his property anytime I’d like, including later this week before I leave town. His son was also nice and offered to bring more guns down for me to try out, so that was really kind of him as well. I seriously needed that opportunity to alleviate my nervousness for in the future when I walk into a shooting range up north eventually on my own, so as not to be wondering if I know what I’m doing after going so long without shooting.

Had ear protection on this time to reduce the risk of further hearing loss. Which served the dual function of blocking out the chatter from my grandma up in the peanut gallery seats. She’s scared of guns.

Wasn’t uncomfortable and took to shooting without much initial hesitation. The longer we stayed out there, the more comfortable I felt. Was a good day, perhaps the best afternoon I’ve had in at least a year. Trigger finger is a little sore now, which is just fine by me. My revolver has a really long pull on the trigger due to the cocking mechanism being inside the gun to where you’re cocking it via the trigger each time you fire it. But it got easier to pull more rapidly as the afternoon wore on.

All in all, I probably shot around 100-150 rounds today. Looking forward to doing that again in the not-too-distant future, though I probably will hold off until I get back to the Midwest. Great-uncle is a really nice man and I’m grateful he said it was cool for me to come out and shoot on their property, seeing as how I’d been looking for a place to shoot the past month I’ve been down this way. New laws are stricter about shooting within city limits these days. That little pond way out in the woods was an idyllic setting.