Want to help fix your shot placement when shooting a pistol? I came up with a technique a few years ago while instructing shooters that I think could really help.
Normally, for right-handed shooters, shooting low and left with a pistol means a couple of things: anticipating the recoil (a.k.a. flinching or pushing, as some like to call it) and a combination of sight alignment/sight picture along with improper trigger work (e.g. slapping or mashing the trigger, or improper finger placement on the trigger). But I submit there’s also something else: an involuntary convulsing of the whole hand—a sympathetic movement of the entire palm occurs when some shooters try to manipulate the trigger finger.
Operating the trigger finger independent of the whole hand—the palm and other fingers—can be tricky, especially if you don’t shoot all the time. So how do you stop the involuntary squeezing of the palm when moving your trigger finger? Try squeezing a racketball.
Relax your trigger finger as well as the thumb of your firing hand. Then, with three fingers only squeezing the racketball (simulating holding the grip of the gun), move your trigger finger back and forth. The idea here is to perfectly relax your trigger finger independent of your tightened pinky, ring and middle fingers. This will keep you from convulsing the whole palm of the hand during the shot, which can throw your shot to towards the side of your thumb (left for right-handed shooters and right of the target for southpaws).
Relaxing the thumb of your firing hand will allow the gun to stay aligned and not push the rear of the pistol one way or another. That said, the support hand should do all the work. Your support hand grip, ideally in a thumbs forward grip, will stabilize your grip to the point where you can relax your shooting/dominant hand much more.
In short, relaxing your trigger finger (and thumb of your firing hand) allows you to caress the trigger. Be rough and tough with the entire weapon, but be soft and gentle with the trigger.
Oh, and it should be noted that shot placement is opposite for southpaws. Left-handed shooters may shoot low and right. The hand squeezing and convulsion goes towards the palm of the dominant hand. A lot of practice and training will curb this phenomenon for both right and left-handed shooters. Concentration on the sights and trigger concentration will help fix this, but there’s also a part of the body that needs to unlearn sympatric reflex. That’s only done through proper, repetitive motion and training.
In the end, what needs to happen for a good shot, is the sights need to be lined up while the trigger is smoothly depressed (pressed or pulled, whatever terminology you like to use). Fixing all of the things mentioned above will help. Also, a really good support hand grip can help, too.
Anyway, give the racketball technique a try. You might be surprised at the results.
Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.