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 Pistol Shooting: Follow-Through in Shot Cycle 
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Attended an intermediate level pistol training course at a local training academy near Austin this weekend. One of my big takeaways is the concept of follow through in pistol shooting. Shot the class with a revo but the concepts are equally applicable to striker fired or DA/SA pistols.

My prior technique for taking a single shot consisted of:
- Acquire front sight
- Press trigger in one single pull
- Shot breaks
- Many students then release the trigger completely and instinctively lose their front sight focus, back to low ready, etc

So my prior thinking was that the shot cycle begins with sight acquisition and ends with the shot break. Repeat cycle as needed.

The instructors presented a new way of thinking about each single shot which includes a follow-through preparation for the next shot as well
- Take up slack in trigger while presenting/pushing out from ready position
- Acquire & focus on front sight
- Press trigger through final travel as arms reach full extension to target
- Shot breaks
- Follow sight movement up with recoil impulse
- Release trigger (don't remove trigger finger from trigger shoe)
- Take up slack in trigger while sights are in movement from recoil
- Sights back on target

So the sequence for a single shot begins with presentation and ends AFTER the shot breaks with sights back on target and slack removed from trigger. This constitutes a ready to fire state where the shooter then decides consciously whether to take a follow-up shot or to break down the shooting stance back to ready or holstered position.

This may seem fairly basic to the more advanced shooters on the forum though for myself was an epiphany in thinking about the shot cycle. Was just practicing this sequence in dry fire this morning.

How do other folks on the forum think about this topic?


Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:35 am
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GeekWithGuns wrote:
Attended an intermediate level pistol training course at a local training academy near Austin this weekend. One of my big takeaways is the concept of follow through in pistol shooting. Shot the class with a revo but the concepts are equally applicable to striker fired or DA/SA pistols.

My prior technique for taking a single shot consisted of:
- Acquire front sight
- Press trigger in one single pull
- Shot breaks
- Many students then release the trigger completely and instinctively lose their front sight focus, back to low ready, etc

So my prior thinking was that the shot cycle begins with sight acquisition and ends with the shot break. Repeat cycle as needed.

The instructors presented a new way of thinking about each single shot which includes a follow-through preparation for the next shot as well
- Take up slack in trigger while presenting/pushing out from ready position
- Acquire & focus on front sight
- Press trigger through final travel
- Shot breaks
- Follow sight movement up with recoil impulse
- Release trigger (don't remove trigger finger from trigger shoe)
- Take up slack in trigger while sights are in movement from recoil
- Sights back on target


So the sequence for a single shot begins with presentation and ends AFTER the shot breaks with sights back on target and slack removed from trigger. This constitutes a ready to fire state where the shooter then decides consciously whether to take a follow-up shot or to break down the shooting stance back to ready or holstered position.

This may seem fairly basic to the more advanced shooters on the forum though for myself was an epiphany in thinking about the shot cycle. Was just practicing this sequence in dry fire this morning.

How do other folks on the forum think about this topic?

I don't know where I learned it or even if someone taught me but I've always done this.

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Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:42 am
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Dry firing for competitions got me into that pattern, you usually have to put two rounds on a target to score. It's good when someone identifies and then passes on these processes.

Sounds like you got your money's worth from the course. I need to get some more official training. Critical feedback is very important for improving skill. Kudos for taking the class. I'm sure you didn't have any funny either ;)


Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:10 am
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DSynger wrote:
Dry firing for competitions got me into that pattern, you usually have to put two rounds on a target to score. It's good when someone identifies and then passes on these processes.

Sounds like you got your money's worth from the course. I need to get some more official training. Critical feedback is very important for improving skill. Kudos for taking the class. I'm sure you didn't have any funny either ;)


Yeah it was definitely worthwhile and a ton of fun as well :bigsmile: Made changes to my draw stroke & presentation, grip, and trigger work. Plus the afternoon class we ran mock stages for IDPA, USPSA, and Steel Challenge (accelerator) as well as practicing steel plate rack shooting with feedback from instructor staff.

My sins were twofold :bigsmile: Waiting till I have a solid front sight picture on target to start cycling the revo trigger. Now learning to constantly keep the trigger cycling between shots (remove slack, acquire front sight on target, press through final break) instead. Also like most people as the time pressure increases, have a habit of yanking the trigger. More dry fire practice under par time will help with that.

We also did distance change-up drills requiring differing levels of front sight work and precision. That was pretty enlightening in my shooting as well learning that it's not strictly necessary to have a precise front sight picture on close targets (fast shooting up close transitioning to more precise front sight picture with slower cadence for distant targets). Cool stuff.


Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:18 am
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It is also useful for defense. it is more important to practice making good/fast decisions than pressing triggers. Adding a "mental" follow through (ex: asking "do I need to shoot again?") To your shot cycle can only help.


Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:15 am
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AR15L wrote:
GeekWithGuns wrote:
Attended an intermediate level pistol training course at a local training academy near Austin this weekend. One of my big takeaways is the concept of follow through in pistol shooting. Shot the class with a revo but the concepts are equally applicable to striker fired or DA/SA pistols.

My prior technique for taking a single shot consisted of:
- Acquire front sight
- Press trigger in one single pull
- Shot breaks
- Many students then release the trigger completely and instinctively lose their front sight focus, back to low ready, etc

So my prior thinking was that the shot cycle begins with sight acquisition and ends with the shot break. Repeat cycle as needed.

The instructors presented a new way of thinking about each single shot which includes a follow-through preparation for the next shot as well
- Take up slack in trigger while presenting/pushing out from ready position
- Acquire & focus on front sight
- Press trigger through final travel
- Shot breaks
- Follow sight movement up with recoil impulse
- Release trigger (don't remove trigger finger from trigger shoe)
- Take up slack in trigger while sights are in movement from recoil
- Sights back on target


So the sequence for a single shot begins with presentation and ends AFTER the shot breaks with sights back on target and slack removed ...

...look up "ride the reset" and you can streamline this a bit more. Instead of releasing past the reset, then retaking up slack as your sights settle, you *only* release to reset, no farther. No need to take up slack again. Small, but important, detail.


Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:24 am
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quantsuff wrote:
It is also useful for defense. it is more important to practice making good/fast decisions than pressing triggers. Adding a "mental" follow through (ex: asking "do I need to shoot again?") To your shot cycle can only help.


That's a good point. Yes the 'follow-through' sequence is basically just preparing oneself for a follow-up shot if needed rather than relaxing mentally at the first shot break.

We also did a fair amount of training time with the KRT1 targets with multiple shapes and colors. Instructor calls out a shape, color, or number and students fire on all sub-targets meeting the criteria.
https://shop.actiontarget.com/content/krt-1-colored-command-training-target.asp


Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:32 am
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quantsuff wrote:
...look up "ride the reset" and you can streamline this a bit more. Instead of releasing past the reset, then retaking up slack as your sights settle, you *only* release to reset, no farther. No need to take up slack again. Small, but important, detail.


Nice catch. Yes in the past I ride the reset for follow up shots with pistol. This instructor recommended just releasing past the reset point then taking up the slack again on the theory that it's potentially faster once mastery is obtained. I think for me the jury is still out on that particular point as all of my past instruction has recommended riding the reset instead. So I will practice both approaches for comparison under par time to see if one works out better than the other.

For myself I am shooting DA revo for the most part currently so this works out the same as one has to release the full trigger travel anyways to get a reset :bigsmile: but for pistol it's a much more important point.


Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 am
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Example, when shooting a string of say 4 rounds, one should have 5 sight pictures. Essentially what was taught in your class...getting ready for shot number...next. Good for those instructors teaching this concept.

I find folks will relax too soon after shooting a string, which in street terms is essentially giving up.

There's an old term called "Sights on, slack up"...the "Slack up" part is optional, a personal preference.


Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:21 pm
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Check out some of the videos with Ron Avery. I took a class with him, it really helped me.
They have a lot of videos on their blog page
https://www.tacticalperformancecenter.com/blogs/the-dump-pouch/tagged/handgun-training


Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:56 pm
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I've seen multiple camps on the elements here. I'm not going to weigh in but I'll link the sources where I recall for those interested in what certain pros actually do.

Release the trigger after breaking the shot
--
JJ Racaza - https://youtu.be/YbWfwQyglmA?t=1m42s

Eyes after a shot
--
Robert Vogel - https://youtu.be/oar1AYeYtDU Says a couple things which I interpret to mean that his eyes are on target before the sights return. "The eyes will be there before the gun". I don't think anyone is advocating completely ignoring what you're looking at after the shot fires.

Finding the wall/reset on release or pull.
--
Obviously minimal movement is better, but does it happen in practice at full speed, are they finding the wall on release or on the press?
Robert Vogel slow mo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REAYaSzSlWw
Jerry Miculek - https://youtu.be/ULysvxSYfoU?t=1m43s


Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:40 pm
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Cerberus Group wrote:
Example, when shooting a string of say 4 rounds, one should have 5 sight pictures. Essentially what was taught in your class...getting ready for shot number...next. Good for those instructors teaching this concept.

I find folks will relax too soon after shooting a string, which in street terms is essentially giving up.

There's an old term called "Sights on, slack up"...the "Slack up" part is optional, a personal preference.


Exactly. It was presented that we need n+1 sight pictures where n is the number of shots. I also realized that there are a couple actions that all signify giving up mentally: pulling finger off trigger at shot break, breaking sight focus, and/or going back to low ready / lowering the gun. All of these were pretty common to one degree or another throughout the students, myself included. The end goal in the class was to be in a state of continued readiness for the next shot until one chooses consciously to break down the shooting stance and return to ready instead of reflexively stopping without thought.

The real trick is that the sights on, slack up, press through shot break tends to break down at high speed for me into yanking the trigger, at least part of the time. A single class session isn't really enough to ingrain the new movement pattern. So it's more dry fire for me and also heading to range this week to get in some more live fire time. Looking forward to practicing in a new skill/movement pattern.

Duke and PinSniper thank you for posting the links. Looking forward to reviewing the videos.


Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:07 am
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One other big step in the shooting cycle: "Calling your shot".
Our eyes are capable of seeing much faster than we usually do. You should be able to remember the sight picture you had when pulling the trigger when following up.
If you get really good at it, you may ruin your movie watching. I've read that some people can process so quickly, they see a movie as a series of frames(which is what it is,24frames per second) instead of a flowing video.
Here's a vid of Travis Tomasie (local boy and super shooter) talking about it:


Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:11 am
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Duke EB wrote:
I've read that some people can process so quickly, they see a movie as a series of frames(which is what it is,24frames per second) instead of a flowing video.


OK this is way off topic, but humans don't see in frames. In fact, we see very poorly in general but it's not in frames. But if you want to talk about frames, most humans can see the difference between 24, 30 and 60 fps. I'd still say that most can tell the difference between 60 and 120 and a minority can tell the difference between 120 and 144.

In terms of wether we can tell what frame 30 was displaying in a video playing at 60 frames per second.. had on it if it had no relation to the other frame (like a frame splice, like the fabled frame of "BUY COKE" inserted into movies), that has everything to do with how humans work, that being pschologically prepared to see the frame is more important than the phsyical condition of your eyes.

Think like this awareness test
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJyWIghprxI
https://www.livescience.com/6727-invisi ... otice.html

Like there's a difference between hearing and listening, there is a difference between seeing and looking.

In terms of shot calling, you really don't need any special skills to start doing it. Just try.

And in just writing that... I'm not certain that shot calling is what you should be training for if you shoot defensively. The above tests prove that humans can only LOOK for one thing at a time, just like they can only listen to one thing at a time. Where shots end up in a defensive scenario might not be the best use of your attention.


Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:38 am
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PinSniper wrote:
Duke EB wrote:
I've read that some people can process so quickly, they see a movie as a series of frames(which is what it is,24frames per second) instead of a flowing video.


OK this is way off topic, but humans don't see in frames. In fact, we see very poorly in general but it's not in frames. But if you want to talk about frames, most humans can see the difference between 24, 30 and 60 fps. I'd still say that most can tell the difference between 60 and 120 and a minority can tell the difference between 120 and 144.

In terms of wether we can tell what frame 30 was displaying in a video playing at 60 frames per second.. had on it if it had no relation to the other frame (like a frame splice, like the fabled frame of "BUY COKE" inserted into movies), that has everything to do with how humans work, that being pschologically prepared to see the frame is more important than the phsyical condition of your eyes.

Think like this awareness test
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJyWIghprxI
https://www.livescience.com/6727-invisi ... otice.html

Like there's a difference between hearing and listening, there is a difference between seeing and looking.

In terms of shot calling, you really don't need any special skills to start doing it. Just try.

And in just writing that... I'm not certain that shot calling is what you should be training for if you shoot defensively. The above tests prove that humans can only LOOK for one thing at a time, just like they can only listen to one thing at a time. Where shots end up in a defensive scenario might not be the best use of your attention.

What i'm saying is that some people say they can perceive the individual frames. I don't know if this is true, I certainly can't do it.
You do not need any special skills, that is correct.
If you practice it, you don't even need to think about it. Knowing where shots end up is a very important part of shooting, defensive or competition IMO.
Did you watch the video? Travis explains it better than I can.


Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 am
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