Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sometimes You Really Can Blame The Gun...

...for how well or not you shot with it. A perfect example was given during my armed guard qualification today. I shot with two semi-automatic pistols. For the first qual, I shot my Glock 26. While I scored a perfect score my shooting with the Glock was far from perfect. My shots were either centered or just left of center and the group was not very tight at all in my opinion. I'd estimate that, after firing 50 rounds through paper, the group was about 8 inches across. I had thought that maybe I had too much finger on the trigger and that was causing me to shoot to the left some, so I adjusted and indeed did shoot a bit more toward the center but my group's center was at least 2-3" to the left of center - even close in.

For my second qaul, I shot one of my Beretta 92FS pistols. This one probably has less than 750 rounds through it, certainly less than a thousand. I own two and shoot the other much more often. Anyway, I could see a vast difference as soon as I started shooting with the Beretta. My shots were dead center of the targets inner and only ring which was about 4x4". I only have NY SAFE Act legal 10 rounds magazines for my Beretta here in NY. That meant that I would be reloading at times other than those if using 15 round magazines that the instructor handed out for folks with Glocks; he di not have any Beretta mags. (I used my own 15 round mags for the Glock and they are legal as opposed to 15 round mags for the Beretta but that is a long convoluted story based on me being a retired LEO and the SAFE Act.)

I just operated on the hot line principle and reloaded as needed; sadly some of the other guys qualifying with me would not have a clue if it came to not being told exactly when to reload but what can I say. Without further straying from the subject, as I was saying, I saw a big difference once I started shooting the Beretta. The shots were right on center. After firing all 50 rounds for the qualification course, I noted that there were 4 fliers that were not part of the group formed by the other 46 rounds. That one hole group was at most 2.5" across and the fliers spread the group to widest point at about 4.5-5 inches, they were just outside the inner ring.

I did not do anything differently in how I held or fired each pistol. It was all the same as usual, except for the fact I changed my trigger finger placement a bit on the Glock early on. While that minor change helped some little bit, I still was firing to the left with the Glock. So, without a doubt, I can blame my shooting to the left on the Glock. All to often, being off like that is due to shooter error but yes, you can sometimes blame the gun and this was one of them. A little sight adjustment might be in order although it is nothing I really need be concerned about for close in pistol shooting out to 25 yards.

Shooting two different guns, or even two of the same model can sometimes tell you if the sights are off for you. Shooting a single gun, like my Glock, and adjusting the sights because you were shooting to the left or the right might not be actually addressing what is causing your shots to be off. Before adjusting the sights, I try to assure that I am doing the basics just right. I did that with the Glock and still fired to the left. Then, I saw that I had been doing it right, at least after my adjustment, because of how well I shot with the Beretta. So I am confident that it is the sights on the Glock that could use a bit of tweaking and not my shooting style.

It always is well worth considering whether or not it is you or your gun that needs correction when your shots are off like that. Another way of doing so would be to ask (where legal and its not in NY) someone else to try a few to several shots with the pistol in question. If they were shooting dead center with their gun, then shoot off center with yours, chances are the sights on your pistol need adjusting. If however, they shoot dead center with your gun - chances are you need the adjusting. As I said sometimes you really can blame the gun; yet, in truth, most times you have to blame the shooter.

Added As An Afterthought: It sure feels good to see that, now and then, I still can shoot as good as I did today. That is all.

All the best,
Glenn  B

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