At my first Nationals, I received a government issued 6″ 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Our team arrived early for this competition to practice and get all our new guns sighted in. I absolutely could not “get it”. I created shotgun spray pattern, one after the next, on each and every target. The range faced north at one practice location, the range faced south at the other. That must have been why I shot so poorly. The hour of the day, the angle of the sun, the cloud cover, THAT must have been why I could not master this new weapon. Of course, I was told to grip the gun more tightly, but I WAS. Or, so I thought. I cursed, I carried on, I lamented, I gripped that gun tighter with each practice session and I kept getting worse, until I started to listen fully to the coaching offered me. First, I had to grip the gun so tightly that I did not need to re-grip it with each shot fired, but not so tightly that I made myself shake. It is a delicate balance, one requiring trimming my finger nails to almost nothing. This really did make for stronger and more consistent gripping. I did not need to re-grip the pistol with each round fired but I also had to commit to a grip that was still not quite but almost unbearable. The design in the grip punched painful dimples into the palm of my hand. But, I was starting to notice improvement on my target. TIGHTEN YOUR GRIP TO TIGHTEN YOUR GROUP. I won the Top Female semi-auto 1500 event that year because I never gave up.
NRA Firearms Instructor – Nancy Rothschild
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