Training with a .22

Published October 16, 2012 by
Filed under Competition, Equipment, IDPA, Mindset, Practice, Training

At last week’s IDPA match, it became abundantly clear that I needed some more practice

Because, quite frankly, I sucked. 

I’ve had trigger control problems for quite a while, and they’ve returned to haunt me due to a prolonged absence from shooting earlier this year. Controlling trigger jerk is easy in theory; keep a smooth press backwards from start to BANG, then smoothly let off until the trigger resets. 

That’s the theory. In reality, in middle of a shooting competition, things don’t always happen that way. Consider this simple IDPA stage from last week’s competition 

This is why muscle memory is so important. Because my brain was busy with sorting out the stage procedure, I had little to no bandwidth available for the basics of “aim, breathe, squeeze” required to make an accurate shot. Instead, I had to rely on my body knowing what was the right thing to do because I had repeated it over and over again in practice. 

Which brings me to .22 caliber pistols. 

 .22 is CHEAP. A box of 325 good-quality Federal .22LR rounds is under $20 at the local big-box store, which makes extended training sessions inexpensive and fun, and with the lower recoil of a .22, it’s easier to feel how your finger is moving on the trigger. 

I own a Smith and Wesson M22a with a red dot sight which is a great gun for isolating out trigger movement from the other actions of shooting a pistol. The trigger on it is… adequate. It’s about a 5 lb pull with a good reset, but the break is kind of non-existent, however, because it has a red dot scope on it, I can concentrate on the process of how my finger is moving on the trigger and leave the worry of sight alignment behind me. 

Here’s the results.

Using a .22 for practice

I set up this target at 10 yards and started out the practice session by shooting at the bottom right target and finished it by shooting at the top right target. You can see that as I concentrated more on how I was controlling the trigger, my groups improved until I was dropping them pretty much all inside the bullseye.

Total cost? 50 rounds of .22 and a hour of my time. 

This is why using a .22 for practice make so much sense. Unless you’re flinching or having other issues with recoil, a .22 lets you correct most common shooting problems without breaking the bank. 

Comments

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 rowdy // Nov 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    exactly! i practice with a ruger mkIII in .22 for all of these reasons. i probably shoot 100-200 rounds through it a range session before i even pick up my idpa gun.

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