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New shooter with a weird problem

ReluctantDecoy

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I took a co-worker to shoot over the weekend. It was his first time, so I gave him the full run down before we even got to the range. Showed him all the parts of a gun and how they function. Showed him grip/stance/sight. Work with snap caps so he could get used to function.

So we get to the range and he's feeling confident. I was only giving him 1 round in a mag at a time just to get his feet wet with recoil. First shot doesn't hit paper. I kind of expected that. Second shot, near bullseye. After the first 5 shots, 4 are actually in a pretty decent group near the bullseye. I'm kind of shocked, frankly, and I move him into a full mag. He has a few flyers, but overall surprised how well he's doing. He loads the third mag, but then I notice it. He's shooting with his middle finger.

I originally thought he was being very good with the trigger discipline I showed him, but on that third mag I noticed his index didn't move off the frame when he squeezed the trigger. I called a stop and explained that you use your index on the trigger. He asked "why", and honestly, I didn't know. Figure it just keeps your hand off the moving parts and makes it easier to keep the sights steady through pull. So that's what I told him. He corrected the grip for the remainder of the third mag, but couldn't hit paper any more. Just for a test, I had him shoot another mag, half with correct form and half with his middle finger. Again, barely hit paper with index and was pretty damn good for a novice with his middle.

So what do you do? I'm inclined to tell him to learn properly with his index, even if that means not shooting to your best potential at first. But I'm no trainer. What's the proper logic behind using the index so I can explain it to him? He says his middle finger feels like the natural choice.
 

snax

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Roll that experience into a new gun design, patent it, license it out. Let the money roll in.
I can see how an extended index finger could help with getting and keeping the gun on target.
On it's face, the physics make sense.
As far as practice, don't now if you can get the guy to change. Maybe he needs the slide to bite into his finger.
Also, wouldn't the web of his hand ride high too? What kind of gun was it? I'm sure holding a semi with no beaver tail would cause some problems.
I'm sure one shot using a revolver like that would change his mind pretty quick.
 

Tackdriver

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I would bring it to his attention and see if he cares to change or is happy.

A guy I shoot with doesn’t shoot with his finger tip. He actually has the trigger behind the second knuckle. Don’t ask my how, but he is consistently one of the best shots. We’ve talked about it and he says that has always been the most comfortable place for him. He is happy with the results so why would I insist he change anything?

Dave
 

snax

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I would bring it to his attention and see if he cares to change or is happy.

A guy I shoot with doesn’t shoot with his finger tip. He actually has the trigger behind the second knuckle. Don’t ask my how, but he is consistently one of the best shots. We’ve talked about it and he says that has always been the most comfortable place for him. He is happy with the results so why would I insist he change anything?

Dave
I wish my second grade teacher was like you man. She didn't like the way I held a pencil, put one of those rubber triangle things on it, put it in my hand, and wrapped masking tape over it.
 

Golddiggie

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IMO/IME, using your index finger for the trigger keeps three fingers on the actual grip (plus thumb) to maintain control. Having just two fingers on the grip equals less grip strength. Plus, using your middle finger on the trigger means your knuckles are sticking out further (on that finger if you're using the pad of the finger on the trigger as is correct).

IMO, using the end of your finger means you have a better feel for the trigger. Maybe it doesn't matter with the shitty DA/striker fired pistols, but anything with a GOOD trigger, it really helps. Again, IMO/IME, YMMV. :p

Of course, I learned to shoot over 40 years ago.
 
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If he ever wants to successfully compete in any practical pistol competition (or a real life situation where you need to shoot fast and accurately) this mistake will take some time to undo.

And be sure to video the first time he shoots a J-frame, should be interesting.:D
 
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HorizontalHunter

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If they short something like the Bond Arms Bullpup they will get hurt; maybe losing the index finger.

Bob


BondArms_Handguns_BullPup9_BestSellerViolator_525x525.jpg
 

LuvDog

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Interesting... is his index finger clear of the slide? As high as a lot of people grip with their off hand, and the thumb goes pretty high, I'd think there would be the same amount of clearance on the other side for the index finger.

I can see where it works. I know that when I'm just messing around with paintball, I've done it.

If he's safe and consistent and shoots well, I'd be tempted to just let him go.

I have some problems now with trying to shoot "correctly" compared to what I've done just naturally. Some things have made me a worse shooter as far a precision/accuracy... so it's hard to say what's right and what's wrong.
 
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@ReluctantDecoy, I am impressed that you have presented a problem that I have not seen before, but no, he cannot continue shooting that way. And right now, at the beginning, is the time to fit it.

Even though the specifics of this issue are unusual, the underlying story is common. And that story is that you show a new shooter the correct grip, and he says "that doesn't feel natural to me, this feels better." This is why grip is one of the six basic fundamentals of pistol shooting. Often new shooters want to use a teacup hold, or hold the pistol near the bottom of the grip. Even though that feels natural to them, they have no experience or context, so it is important to get them started using a proper grip. It won't take long before the standard grip gets to feel more natural, and that is because generations of training has established the best ways to use handguns effectively. So overall, someone with no experience cannot say "I have a new idea about how to do this thing that thousands of people have done before me, and I'm going to make up my own new way of doing it." As another analogy, in the martial arts, black belts get to create new techniques, not white belts.

In particular, there are a variety of techniques which seem OK for slow fire with low recoiling pistols, but which work poorly running full power loads at speed. Since beginners need to go slowly, they can't envision how techniques will scale up. The teacup hold is an example of a grip which seems fine at first, and it really is possible to shoot target pistols accurately that way. But with teacup hold, the off hand cannot help to control recoil, so it works poorly as the drills get tougher.

I also want to say that I am impressed with two aspects of your teaching methods. Teaching a lesson before getting to the range, and only giving one round at first, are two of the most important aspects of safely getting people started. I am happy you had such a well organized plan for the first lesson.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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To answer a few questions, we shot a P365XL (well, the grip part and a regular P365 slide), a G19 sized P80, and an MP5 clone. The guy is roughly 5' 10" and has mitts one would expect from that size. He didn't get any slide bite, or at least he didn't complain about it if he was.

Are people saying to let it ride? When I tried to dry fire like how he was holding it, my front sight was all over the place through trigger pull. I have no idea how he was doing it so smoothly.
 

HorizontalHunter

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Are people saying to let it ride? When I tried to dry fire like how he was holding it, my front sight was all over the place through trigger pull. I have no idea how he was doing it so smoothly.

No, as Jake above said. Now is the time to fix it. Don’t let it become a bad habit.

Bob
 

Boghog1

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what about people with missing or damaged trigger fingers? should they not be allowed to shoot? what if you were to injure or lose your trigger finger in a firefight, frankly I think being able to use a middle finger is as important a skill as using your off hand
 

ReluctantDecoy

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what about people with missing or damaged trigger fingers? should they not be allowed to shoot? what if you were to injure or lose your trigger finger in a firefight, frankly I think being able to use a middle finger is as important a skill as using your off hand

Sure, exceptions where it is physically required or if you really needed to use the middle for some reason like injury. That's not really the case here though. I'm talking about someone who thinks it feels natural to shoot middle, but maybe doesn't have enough experience to realize why this might not be a good idea.
 

HorizontalHunter

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what about people with missing or damaged trigger fingers? should they not be allowed to shoot? what if you were to injure or lose your trigger finger in a firefight, frankly I think being able to use a middle finger is as important a skill as using your off hand

If he keeps it up he will become one.

Teach him properly or he will really hate it when he picks up a revolver or a snub nose handgun.

Bob
 
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what about people with missing or damaged trigger fingers? should they not be allowed to shoot? what if you were to injure or lose your trigger finger in a firefight, frankly I think being able to use a middle finger is as important a skill as using your off hand

If your right index finger gets mangled, you'd go weak hand only. Training for middle finger trigger pull is approaching Ron Pincus levels of insanity (and I don't mean good insanity).

Are people saying to let it ride? When I tried to dry fire like how he was holding it, my front sight was all over the place through trigger pull. I have no idea how he was doing it so smoothly.

No don't let it ride. Never let a problem fester.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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No don't let it ride. Never let a problem fester.

I realize that. It was more a question if people thought this was a legitimate problem. I have no instructor credentials, so I was looking for some experienced takes. Seems like the consensus is that it is indeed bad form as I guessed. And that makes a lot of sense when people gave the backdrop of revolvers, higher caliber rounds, and faster shooting once someone gets better at things.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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Middle finger on rifles is fairly common....well on bolt actions. Rack the bold with thumb and index and middle finder the trigger.
It's probably also a lesser concern for a rifle, as you typically have at least 3 points of stabilizing contact while firing, so you don't have to rely on grip strength of those two fingers alone to mitigate recoil.
 

paul73

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I took a co-worker to shoot over the weekend. It was his first time, so I gave him the full run down before we even got to the range. Showed him all the parts of a gun and how they function. Showed him grip/stance/sight. Work with snap caps so he could get used to function.

So we get to the range and he's feeling confident. I was only giving him 1 round in a mag at a time just to get his feet wet with recoil. First shot doesn't hit paper. I kind of expected that. Second shot, near bullseye. After the first 5 shots, 4 are actually in a pretty decent group near the bullseye. I'm kind of shocked, frankly, and I move him into a full mag. He has a few flyers, but overall surprised how well he's doing. He loads the third mag, but then I notice it. He's shooting with his middle finger.

I originally thought he was being very good with the trigger discipline I showed him, but on that third mag I noticed his index didn't move off the frame when he squeezed the trigger. I called a stop and explained that you use your index on the trigger. He asked "why", and honestly, I didn't know. Figure it just keeps your hand off the moving parts and makes it easier to keep the sights steady through pull. So that's what I told him. He corrected the grip for the remainder of the third mag, but couldn't hit paper any more. Just for a test, I had him shoot another mag, half with correct form and half with his middle finger. Again, barely hit paper with index and was pretty damn good for a novice with his middle.

So what do you do? I'm inclined to tell him to learn properly with his index, even if that means not shooting to your best potential at first. But I'm no trainer. What's the proper logic behind using the index so I can explain it to him? He says his middle finger feels like the natural choice.
It is intuitive to point with an index finger.
Try to get him to point with a thumb- it is same intuitive for most and a proper grip should have thumb pointing at the target.

As I was training my kid recently- we started from a presentation at chest level, no gun, then a move forward with both thumbs pointing forward, no gun. Trained that several times, then added a gun. Use a full size gun, it will discourage holding it with 2 fingers.
 
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new guy

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i dunno. i had a guy tell me once i was shaving wrong. huh? there's rules for shaving? did moses bring those down the mountain also with the commandments and the rest of the god given rights? the only thing i could say was get the f*** away from me.

I bet if you posted all the details of your daily routine half of NES would be more than happy to tell you how you’re doing all of it wrong. [laugh]
 

In God We Trust

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I can honestly say I’ve never heard of shooting with the middle finger. However since he is new, tell him to do it the right way. He is messing up his grip on the pistol (I assume pistol?) and in the heat on the moment, it may cause problems.
Humans use their index fingers and thumbs more than the others. Your index finger is your strongest finger.
 
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