My first time at the range (advice appreciated)

Well, first time at an indoor range anyway. Let me preface this by saying that I went to SafeFire in Camas, WA and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's well-organized, the staff were friendly and professional, the range officer was super-nice and helpful to this newbie, took the time to explain how the target system worked, and didn't yell at me when I put the rental gun away when I was done without him first clearing/checking it (no one told me he'd need to do that). It was a great experience and I'll definitely be going back there.

Anyway, to the meat of this thread...

I brought along my new S&W Shield EZ (.380) for its first outing and, for comparison, I also rented a Glock 48 (9 mm). I had a box of 50 rounds for each gun and shot 32 rounds each at 7 yards and the remainder at 10 yards.

  • I had fun shooting both guns!
  • The Shield was easier to shoot than the Glock (duh)!
  • Muzzle climb with the Glock was definitely a problem for me.
  • I think I'm really not a fan of the Glock-style safety trigger. The trigger on the (hammer-fired) Shield was significantly more pleasant to use.
  • I was reasonably consistent with both guns at 7 yards, both in terms of accuracy and my annoying tendency to pull low and to the left.
  • When I went out to 10 yards, my aim with the Shield really suffered. But aside from one flyer I was a lot better with the Glock, even though I felt less in control of it due to the greater recoil and the aforementioned muzzle climb. I'm kind of confused about that, to be honest!
So, not so terrible for someone who's only fired a gun once before, over a decade ago. But I clearly have a *lot* to learn here!

Got any suggestions for me? In particular, any recommendations on what I can do to improve my "low and to the left" issue?

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Congratulations on your new purchase. Looks good especially considering your experience. Looks like you are
jerking or pulling the trigger in a few shots. You need more practice shooting and dry firing your pistol.:D You
might want to try a full size 22 pistol. Less recoil, cheap ammo and easier to shoot. It will be a confidence builder.
Welcome to your new hobby.;)


If you are right handed you are jerking that trigger something awful in anticipating recoil. To save ammo if you don’t have a laser training system, try balancing a nickle, then a penny, then a dime on the front sight of an EMPTY weapon (double and triple check it’s condition and NO live ammo in the same room). Hold your sight picture on a target, maybe a light switch.

Take the slack out of the trigger until it reaches the ‘pressure wall’, that point where rearward movement stiffens. Then P-R-E-S-S the trigger slowly and consistently without letting the coin fall off. Once you‘ve consistently kept the nickle in place on the front sight do the penny to consistency, then the dime. Speed of trigger press will come with being consistent in executing being smooth. Then move on to feeling and working thru the trigger re-set. HTH.


My early low left [you're right handed correct?] patterns were corrected by tightening up my grip, especially my support hand. Happy you had a good trip to the range!
Relax. When my wife tries really hard she can't hit anything. When she doesn't care too much she shoots fairly well. But she only shoots a few times a year.

I'm no expert either and sometimes When I am shooting pistols have to focus on basics.

Your targets are pretty good. Especially for first time out. Also try different brands of ammo when possible. It may not make a huge but there are some brands I almost never buy anymore.
Agreed with extra dry fire practice, once you've mastered stabilizing the gun through the trigger manipulation and reset w/o the gun moving then go back to the range.


You can watch some instruction videos on YouTube. You will find them to be helpful. Once you have mastered your grip and site picture, start spending more time on the range, being careful to use what you have learned. Be consistent. Eventually, start using the range and "timed" fire to simulate the pressures of combat shooting. There is no substitute for accuracy. One well=placed round is better than 6 that are not. Get a good holster that meets your needs. Keep in mind that firing a handgun starts with the weapon in the holster, so good drawing technique, fluidity of movement , target picture, trigger pull and yes, follow through are all part of the action. Be one with your gun, grasshopper.


I've found using a heavier bullet (147gr) on the Glocks calms down some of the recoil. The Glock is a light gun and doesn't have the mass to absorb the recoil.


Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Rimfire Challenge Dec 12th @ DRRC
Douglas Ridge Rifle Club
27787 OR-224, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA


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