Internet Gun Culture Advice

In between his five hundred or so radio/online appearances/interviews to promote the upcoming release of In Defense of the Second Amendment, Larry took a quick moment to share some thoughts about online advice. The Book of Faces would memory hole it, so I’m preserving it here. -Jack


Alright, here’s a bit of internet gun culture advice for an issue that I see on social media all the time. It’s gun people thinking they’re being helpful, but actually making everyone far stupider.

Somebody posts a picture of a shot up target. This is usually a new person, who is proud of their group. Immediately a helpful gun person will show up and start offering diagnostic advice. You’re flinching. You’re jerking the trigger. There’s ghosts in your blood. You’re breaking your wrist up/down/left/hokey pokey whatever it don’t matter because it’s all bullshit.

That’s because without context you can’t diagnose someone shooting problems just by looking at paper. Period.

All those diagnostic targets you’ve seen online? They’re a lie. It ain’t that neat. For every bullet that went someplace it wasn’t supposed to, it was because the sights weren’t in the right place when the trigger got pulled. Why? Could be a bunch of things. And a good shooter could purposefully violate every single slice of that bullshit diagnostic target pie and still get good hits. Tim Herron, who is a top tier shooter, did a video proving this.

So just because a bullet went low, that isn’t automatically X. It could be five different things, and a good coach is going to watch that shooter as they shoot, and immediately be able to tell them, stop doing Y and try this instead. You can’t do that with your magical internet powers. All you can do is guess, probably be wrong, and give newbs bad advice.

Well, outside of targets that look like they got blasted with bird shot, and then the problem is just everything, and the coach is gonna say “holy shit, okay, let’s start over from the beginning.” Well, most instructors. Bad instructors will go “bAlAnCe oF sPeEd aNd aCuRaCy!” and happily cash that student’s check after they go home still sucking.  

This part is super important to remember, most of these target pictures people put on the internet the newb doesn’t even know to say the range or the time. Yet people think they’re helping with the guesswork advice, only in reality if that target was shot at 25 yards they’re doing phenomenal, and if it was shot with .25 splits they’re a fantastic shooter. Only the helpful advice people don’t even know that.

At least the advice people are better than the liars, who see that target and go “U suck. I can shoot groups that’ll fit in a quarter at 25 yards all day free hand with my Springfield XD!” and those of us with a clue are like lol the fuck you can. Show me that on video and I’ll hook you up with the guys who will shower you with corporate sponsorships because this here internet rando is the next Jerry Miculek.

Experienced shooters will put up targets and say this is an Advanced Super Test, or this is a 2 second Bill Drill, or this is the such and such qual, or the FAST, which provides us contextual shorthand for the time/distance involved, and we’ll all go wow, damn dude, you fucking rock. But then inevitably along will come a guy who doesn’t own a shot timer to say “u must be jerking trigger cause that one is low” and then start lecturing us about breath control or some shit which causes my eye to twitch because that “problem” one was a .17 split so get off my back helpful internet rando.

So basically, don’t be know it all dicks. Be helpful and encouraging dicks! 😀  The fact they’re getting out there and putting in the work and they proudly put up their targets, awesome! That’s fantastic. Encourage them to keep at it.

If they want advice, give it, but be aware that unless you’re there looking at their hands you’re just guessing, and be clear. Tell them try this and this or this. It might not be jerking the trigger, or flinching, it might be somebody who is actually pretty good who has a tendency to not grip hard enough who subconsciously tightens up at the last second which inordinately effects the pinky finger which causes a lever effect on the muzzle… and if you tell me you could diagnose that one by looking at just the target, get bent. 😀


Me again. Just wanted to remind you that In Defense of the Second Amendment will be out in just a couple of weeks and pre-order is available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QreDvd (affiliate link) -J

WriterDojo S4 Ep2: Predatory Publishing
Lost Planet Homicide 2: Ghosts of Zenith, out now

22 thoughts on “Internet Gun Culture Advice”

  1. When I started shooting timed-fire competitions at the local gun range I had my .45 set up for very light semi-wadcutters…200 grain lead SWC’s over Bullseye powder loaded for me by a local reloading company. I used a low-power recoil spring in a Springfield I’d bought used with a (genuine) Bo-Mar adjustable rear sight. One of the first things I did was put it in the range’s Ransom Rest and ran a target down to 25 yards. The pistol/load combination was amazing, it would shoot consistent 1-1/2″ groups.

    I never, EVER got to be as good a shot as that gun deserved. My personal little mantra in shooting was to repeat (silently in my head), “Sight alignment, sight picture, move the trigger back”, and hope that the last step didn’t disturb the first two. Fire five rounds, assess the target, load another mag, lather, rinse repeat. Every once in a while I’d get into a sort of zen state where I could almost direct the bullets onto the target and shoot the best groups of my life, maybe 3″ or so…and then I’d fall apart again.

    I never placed better than 15th out of 20 in competition because even just the stress of competition was enough to keep me from entering that zen state, but I was still very proud of not being dead last amongst all those excellent shooters. I stopped competing when my eyes fell apart (uveitis).

    I guess I just laugh when I read about people on the ‘net shooting sub-one-inch groups with a pistol at 25 yards…I can almost guarantee that the pistol itself isn’t usually capable of that level of accuracy, and unless they’re using hand loads specifically made for their pistol there’s enough variation in commercial ammo to make it almost impossible. Reading them trying to instruct someone else on the web without watching them shoot is even funnier.

  2. But is it still ok to tell people to shoot over their shoulder using a mirror? The Internet really wants to know!

    1. A mirror!
      Everyone knows that if you can’t look at the target, spin 180 degrees, empty your firearm in 2.5 seconds over the shoulder, and have a 2-inch group, then you need to pack it in.

  3. ‘A good coach is going to watch that shooter as they shoot’. THIS, so much this… And video is also helpful for ‘showing’ someone exactly what they are doing! No, none of us can actually shoot as well as the gun truly can… sigh…

  4. Yep. I kept being told to fire with the pad of my finger on the trigger. Wanting to do things properly, this is how I tried. For a long time. Groups are always shifted left (presumably because I am pushing left when pulling the trigger). With the trigger at the bend of the knuckle, I’m fine. “Proper” is what *works*.

  5. I once had someone try to “diagnose” my problem. She assumed that I was aiming at one part of the target and missing. I wasn’t. I was aiming at a different square on the paper. Granted, my grouping wasn’t as tight as it should have been (I was tired, aching, and about to stop for the day. In other words, semi-realistic condition). But her “diagnosis” did not fit the problem and was Not Helpful.

    1. I have shot since i was a little kid and i am pretty good with a rifle, i do NOT drill dimes at 1000 yard or any of that nonsense, but i am consistent and tend to be one of the better guys at the range.

      When i got my first sidearm and really tried to get time with it i was ok. Thats it, OK. My accuracy was good enough to be in the torso of
      someone who broke into the house but that was it.

      Most of my friends who were shooters were also rifle guys. So i was 100% sure it wasnt the gun it was me. At the time i was seeing various shooting channels like iraqveteran8888 had been having Jerry Miculek as a guest and he was correcting their shooting, and jerry had some yexhnique tip videos on his own channel as well. So i watched them all with my notebook out and took notes on ALL of his tips. Went to the range shot a mag like normal, then read the notes and what i thought i might be doing and tried, got a little better then setup my phone to watch my hands started recording video and shot. Watched the vid and tried to do an audit of my shooting, and compared it to jerrys advice and tried again and saw improvement. I kept at it.
      My indoor range thats local isnt very far, but now i start at 25 feet and can remove the 10 ring with 3 different sidearms, and can go further out and keep respectable groups, at 50 feet which is the back of the range., i am at a 8/9 ring split, im sure many here will not think its great and its not, but it is a major improvement for someone who doesnt get to shoot that much.
      I generally push it back about 5 foot and practice until my groups tighten. Then repeat.
      After doing this a while i went shooting with a couple work friends who occasionally shot at the same range and they both O.O and asked how i improved so much, explained what i did and they asked for help both of them improved (i have been in teaching and manual writing roles at work for years) .
      i dont shoot at much as id like for many reasons but i focus on what i learned and i do fairly well.

      When i started i went to forums to ask for advice and the immediate answer was “you are afraid of the gun” and various more assholey statements of the same gist. Found the same assholey answers at a few forums. A couple people pointed out those targets Larry mentioned or gave some VERY BASIC advice, but mostly YOU ARE AFRAID followed by some bragging that if it was even close to real hed be smoking Jerry Miculek and John Wick out together. To me these are the gun forum equivalent of those morons who respond to everything with YOURE A CUCK! Which is just the universal alert that you are a DBag.

      I still teach what i have learned. I tell everyone that i know enough to know how little i know and how much more there is to learn, but what i have picked up has really helped out a few friends

  6. I quit the majority of the online gun community because of all the screeching about “the poors”. So much shrieking about my $700 Del-Ton/BCM/PSA Franken-AR. If it’s not about the gun then it’s your scope, belt, boots, etc.

    1. What Haitis were you a member of? I’ve never seen that in the communities I’ve been to. One of them even made an infographic for getting cheap but functional guns (now outdated since prices gun nuts went nuts from dems letting Burn Loot Murder run rampant and Fauchi’s bioweapon)

      1. I’ve seen it, but then I’ve seen enough push back and even memes mocking the people, that the “omg the poors!” settled down.

        Last I was in the online gun community it had shifted more to “Stupid Fudds love their 1911!” Like their great grandpa was going to change after 50 years of carrying a 1911, and that it somehow harming them.

        So yeah, internet is a place full of dicks.

        1. Pretty much every gear centered flora has the following:
          -Gear snobs who get gratification from what they own, and not how well it performs.
          -Anti-Snobs who automatically dismiss anything expensive as having no possibility of being good.
          -Traditionalist who only worship the old stuff.
          -Trend Chasers who only get the most up to date available.

          Ask a group of guitar players about Gibson, and you’ll find they belong to one of those camps.

          1. Where do I end up in those groups?

            None of the above.

            I’m not a gear snob, nor do I automatically dismiss expensive gear (though I do tend to dismiss gear snobs). Traditional can be nice, but modern can be nice, too (and I can point out examples of both that are decidedly NOT nice). And I don’t chase trends or fads; I prefer to wait and see if and how well it works before I buy, and even if it works for Some Guy on the Internet, it might not work for me.

            My stance is firmly, “Buy what will work for YOU, be wary but not dismissive of trends, and don’t let the ‘perfect’ be the enemy of the ‘good enough’.”

            And now that you know where I stand on Gibson guitars*, let me tell you about my opinion on guns and gear. LOL! 😉

            If you need a self- or home-defense firearm right now and all you can afford is a Hi-Point, get a Hi-Point. They’re not the best around, but they shoot fine and will serve the purpose better than harsh words and a custom 1911 you don’t have.

            ———
            * – I’d love to have a hollow-body Les Paul with some quality humbucker pickups and vibrato bar, but I can’t justify the price tag. In the meantime, the guitars and effects pedals I have might not be perfect, but they’re good enough, and I’ll keep using them. And the gear snobs who say I should quit if I can’t afford the best of the best — and you know those guys are out there! — can kindly shove it up their elitist @$$es.

  7. Or my favorite (because it’s happened to several friends):

    Friend: *posts picture of target, decent group, majority of shots trend noticeably to the right*
    Internet Randos: “YoU’rE JeRkInG ThE TrIgGeR!!!!”
    Friend: *takes their advice, shots trend further right*
    Internet Randos: “YoUr gUn sUcKs aNd yOu’Re hOlDiNg iT WrOnG!!!!”

    The reality is, he was doing something odd with his trigger finger, and fixing that got his groups much more on-target.

    But the Internet Randos’ advice was 100% wrong because that infamous “diagnostic target”, for all its extremely limited utility, is — *duh-duh-duuhhh*made for right-handed shooters.

    My friend is left-handed and shoots left-handed.

    That small but critical data point, immediately obvious to someone who was there, was missing from the Internet Randos’ “analysis”. They just assumed he was right-handed and gave “advice” based on that incorrect assumption.

    The moral of the story: Never take shooting advice from someone who didn’t personally witness how you shoot.

  8. As an irregular shooter (in both frequency and accuracy), I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m about as good as I’m going to get, and that’s sufficient. Like the vast majority of people, I’m only going to be able to hit something very close and getting closer, which fills in the points of “Justified self-defense” far better than a shooting in which the perp is further away and leaving. The only way I’d ever be able to be effective against a mall shooter or the like is to put far, far more time and money into the prep work than I’ve got available, and I’m still not convinced I’d have the nerve to pull the trigger in the same situation. So God bless the dedicated carriers and police officers, keep up the good work, and stay safe out there.

  9. Thanks for the tip about the diagnostic targets. The most useful piece of feedback I’ve gotten on what I was doing was from a recent dry-fire practice session (practicing for a practical handgun match at my local sportsman’s club): five rounds rapid(1), dump snap caps, load five more snaps with the (ahem) “speed” loader, five rounds rapid*, lather rinse repeat. Checking my sight picture against a white background I was able to see the sights jump to the left(2) fairly consistently when I squeezed the trigger (I’m left-handed). It actually approximately tallied with the diagnostic targets from live practice, so I think I’ve got the issue identified.

    FWIW, I’ve won(3) the revolver category at the match twice running.

    Footnotes
    (1) For given values of rapid.
    (2) Let’s do the Time Warp again!
    (3) By virtue of being the only guy in the match running a revolver. My times are geological. 🙂

  10. Shooting with a coach that observes your technique and can provide critique on that is great. When you haven’t got a coach with you, dummy rounds are your friend! Mix up a mag of good and dummy rounds and watch your gun when it goes click instead of bang. You will have visual evidence of your trigger technique at the very minimum.

    I’ve found it useful when shooting with friends. I don’t have to diagnose anything for them.

    Of course the dummy rounds don’t help on issues with stance, sight picture, or other fundamentals. But I bet it helps with a bit during a timed string with a mag loaded with a random dummy round somewhere in it! How well do you really know your malfunction clearing drills?

  11. Watching that interview with an Olympic target pistol shooter, where he explained and showed how he did it was really really cool though.

    And, as someone who had only seen pistol usage in games and movies before that, a very good hard reset on what good shooting actually looks like.

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