Pear Pie & why the ‘shape of your pistol groups’ matters

I’ve got a couple of ads running on FB that have had hundreds of comments.

They’re talking about pistol shooting errors and the image is a simple target with a low-left group.

Several of the comments have been “3 clicks up, 3 clicks right.  Done.”

or, “Kentucky windage…hold up and right and you’re good.”

In some cases, that advice could be correct…but usually not.

Especially if you own a firearm for self-defense.

But how can you tell whether you’re off because of the gun/sights/ammo or because of what you’re doing?

As an example, if you’re sighting in a red dot on a pistol without irons and you’re shooting low-left groups at 5 yards, how do you know if it’s your pistol/ammo/optic or whether it’s you?

A good rule of thumb is the shape and size of the group.

If the group is a tight circle or cloverleaf at 5 yards, that means that it’s highly unlikely that you’re disturbing the muzzle alignment during your trigger press.

And, if 2 people shoot tight low-left groups with the same pistol, it almost guarantees that it’s a pistol/ammo/optic issue.

But, if it’s a low-left pie, pear, or loose shotgun-shaped spread, the issue is almost always the shooter.

Circle or Cloverleaf = Gun/Optic/Ammo Error

Pear Pie (yum) or Shotgun Spread = Shooter Error 

​Why does it matter?

​Why can’t I just adjust the sights or hold high-right?

​That’s a great question.

If you’re just plinking and having fun, that’ll work…sort of.

The first problem is that adjusting the sights when you have pear, pie, or loose groups will reward you (in the form of a hit) every time you disturb the muzzle low-left while pressing the trigger.

Even worse, you’ll get penalized with a high-right miss every time you press the trigger correctly!

The 2nd problem is what happens if you actually need to save a life with a gun.

Any errors that are causing loose groups in practice under controlled conditions will cause looser groups when you add speed, stress, or distance.

Errors of a few inches at 3-5 yards when it’s calm can easily translate to missing man sized targets at 3-5 yards when it’s chaotic.  (Ask anyone who’s shot a competition.)

There’s a myth that “the bad guy will be so close that I can’t miss.”  The unfortunate fact is that NO distance is so close that you can’t miss.  You can even miss contact shots if your wrist collapses on impact and the muzzle points to the side.

​What this means is that the calmer our training conditions, the more precise our groups need to be…not because there’s any expectation of shooting that well in a life or death situation, but because precise groups in calm conditions is a basic assessment of shooting fundamentals.

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