10-meter pistol shooting – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

I call this Part 1, but there have already been several helpful reports on this subject. Here they are:

Converting an anti-gunner AND teaching a person to shoot 10-meter pistol

Introduction to 10-meter pistol – Part 1/An instant tutorial!

Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 5 [a 5-part series]

The philosophy of the air pistol
Air pistols shooters are those people who were in the high school band. When they first saw the Sousaphone they asked, “Can I play the piccolo?” They see air rifle shooters showing up to a match with two large wheeled suitcases of equipment and they want everything to fit in a lunchbox. They shun shooting leathers for comfy sweatshirts and blue jeans. They wear running shoes, but for gosh sakes they never run in them!

Only after signing up for the air pistol were they informed that it is the most challenging discipline in all the shooting sports. But they figured the tradeoff was worth it…to not have to drag around all that equipment.

Stance
Stance is the first consideration for shooting the air pistol. How you stand determines where you’ll shoot, just as it determines where you can throw a ball. While it’s possible to stand facing the target, with the line of your body parallel to the target, that’s the wrong way to stand when you want to be accurate. If you had an arm coming straight out of your chest it would work well, but please notice that your arms are on either side of your body. Therefore, they cannot point straight ahead without a lot of muscles getting involved. We don’t want that.

We want a stance that uses your skeleton for support, with minimum reliance on your muscles. Rather than talk about it, I’ll show you. My illustration and discussion are for a right-handed shooter, but lefties need only reverse the instructions.


The placement of the feet determines where the shooting arm points. Your feet are shoulder-width apart, or perhaps slightly more.

Try this at home
Even if you don’t own an air pistol, you can try this stance. Once you get the hang of adjusting your feet, you’ll be amazed at how the stance determines how you shoot. Pick out an object far enough away that you can tell when you are or are not pointing at it. Now, adjust your feet like the illustration and point at the target.


This woman shows the classic stance. Note the blue jeans. An almost universal 10-meter pistol champion’s uniform. No tight jackets here! Her other hand is anchored with a thumb through the belt loop – also pretty common.


This man shows the same stance. He sticks his free hand into his pocket. This is a rare competitor who doesn’t wear shooting glasses. Even shooters who do not need correction wear shooting glasses because of what they do for their depth of field.

Tension your legs by turning your toes inward, starting with the left foot. Pivot on your heel, so your foot remains in place. Your stance will become more rigid as you turn the toe inward. Then, close your eyes and point naturally. Keep adjusting your foot placement and toe rotation until you’re pointing at the target naturally. Turn the right toe inward last of all. It adds tension to your stance, but it also throws your aim to the left.

Once you find your stance – stay put!
I can always spot the shooters I’m going to beat at a match. They’re the ones who keep moving around. One of our readers remarked several weeks ago how slow and deliberate 10-meter shooters seem to be. Well, that’s partly because once they find the right stance, they don’t move! I can take a new shooter and actually move his groups from side to side on the target, just by changing his stance.

Anchor your free hand!
The hand that doesn’t hold the pistol has to be still or it will affect the whole body. Either stick it in your pocket or hook a thumb through a belt loop.

With the right stance, it should be very difficult for you to miss the bullseye to either side. All you need to concentrate on is the elevation of the pistol, and I’ll cover that in the next report. Stay tuned!

49 thoughts on “10-meter pistol shooting – Part 1

  1. “Even shooters who do not need correction wear shooting glasses because of what they do for their depth of field.”

    What does that mean exactly? Are there a special type of glasses for 10 meter shooting?

    AL In CT




  2. BB, I never thought about getting an air-pistol until I started reading your latest blogs. I’ve been looking at the Crosman 1377C and the Benjamin HB17. Price wise, the Crosman looks more like the one in my budget range. As an entry level weapon, would you suggest this to a hunter/plinker as myself? I like that the velocity is higher too. Enough to take small game within 15 to 20 yards. Maybe 20 is pushing the envelope, but never having shot one, I really can’t make that call. You input would be appreciated, Thomas


  3. B.B.

    Yow, time to work on the stance. What I do is in gross violation. That business about turning in the toes is interesting and reminiscent of how Jack Dempsey describes the correct boxing stance in his textbook. That diagram is very helpful. I would have sworn looking at the photos that the line connecting the feet of the shooters makes a straight line with the outstretched shooting arm, but the diagram shows an obtuse angle. Are the shooters in the photos an exception or is this an illusion from the camera angle?

    Other questions for the series. I’ve been experimenting with straightening the lumbar curve of the lower back because it seems to give a more unified feeling to the whole body. I don’t know if there is anything to this.

    Glad to hear that the match pistol is the most challenging of shooting disciplines, I’m guessing because the gun is least supported by the body. That being the case would it be fair to say that you want to be more aggressive on the trigger (as they say on the USAMU site) than any of the other positions? One of the USAMU people advised people to be more aggressive on the trigger when shooting standing with the rifle as opposed to prone. If the match pistol is even less supported than the offhand rifle, it makes sense that you would be even more aggressive.

    My 10 shot groups at 18 feet are dividing more or less evenly into two clusters one above the other separated by a half inch, so I can’t wait to hear how you control the elevation.

    Matt61


  4. Thomas, if you’ve never experienced a Lothar Walther barrel, you might consider the Daisy 747. It’s amazing, and I haven’t realized its potential by any means.

    Matt61


  5. B.B.

    The stage is set for me to order my Savage police rifle with which I plan to try for these 1 hole groups at 100 yards that I keep hearing about. The question is whether this rifle which is drilled and tapped for scope mounts as we discussed awhile ago will need a gunsmith to put the mount on or whether I can do it myself. This is an unwelcome hassle compared to mounting scopes on airguns. Thanks.

    Matt61



  6. Matt 61,

    Yes, the feet of the shooters in the photos are off at a slight angle, as better shown in the diagram. The angle changes for each person, because of skeletal differences. You have to try the position by pointing, as I mentioned, until you find a foot placement that’s right for you.

    There is no aggressiveness with the trigger. You wish it off. But you need a good trigger to be able to do that. Even an IZH 46 trigger is not good enough to feel the release that I’m describing.

    You should be able to mount the rings to your Savage rifle. It’s just a matter of screws.

    B.B.


  7. Hello, B.B.,

    I asked a question about Pyramydair’s loudness ratings of the various airguns they sell, a question which you very graciously answered.

    I started getting curious as to whether they’res any research on the topic. I found a web page that compared various by the number of decibels (a measure of sound pressure) they put out.

    For comparison, they tested a number of fairly normal events and found that a heavy-duty stapler firing a staple into wood is 97 decibels; a swingline stapler being used on wood is about 93 decibels; a battery powered half inch drill puts out 71 decibels; closing the door on Ford Explorer is 85 decibels; an exmpty soda can hitting a cement floor from shoulder height is about 86 decibels; opening a full soda can is about 85 decibels; and the sound of a doorbell is about 71 decibels.

    They then proceeded to measure sound pressure on 19 spring-loaded airguns from 6 feet, 10 yards, 25 yards, and 50 yards. (Only 16 guns show up on their table of results, however).

    Here are the results, summarized. At 6 feet, all rifles produced between 88 and 94 decibels, that is the quietest were a little bit more noisy than an SUV door being closed and the loudest were at about the level of a stapler being used on wood.

    At ten yards, all guns tested were quieter than an SUV door being closed, but louder than a doorbell.

    At 25 yards, more than half were at around the loudness of a doorbell or very slightly louder; none of the remaning rifles were as loud as an SUV door being shut.

    At 50 yards, all rifles were quieter than a doorbell.

    Here’s the web page if you want to read the results in detail:

    http://www.straightshooters.com/documents/decibelrating.html


  8. BB,
    I am going to try my hand at this stuff, too. Is the 1377 good enough for a start at 10M targets? The only BB/Pellet pistol I have is a Daisy Powerline 1200 (BB-only/CO2), which I’ve never been happy with, as it’s simply not satisfyingly accurate and the POI changes with the weather (how I got it is the only reason I’ve kept it). If a 1377 is good enough to do 1″ groups at 10m, I think it might be what I need.


  9. ndre,

    I have had sound testing done by a sound engineer. Sound decreases with the square of the distance, so the test must be done close to the source.

    After I complete the testing of the Condor, I will publish REAL sound data, takes by a calibrated sound nmeter of the correct type. The cheap machines people use for sound teasting is worse than useless. I vastly under-estimates the true sound level.

    B.B.


  10. BG_Farmer,

    While I like the 1377, I wouldn’t use it for 10-meter target. You can practice with a Beeman P17, but the Daisy 747 is the absolute cheapest real 10-meter target pistol around.

    B.B.



  11. B.B.,

    My shiny new HW77 arrived today. What a machine! Its like its desperate to group, if I would just get out of its way. I do have a few questions, though.

    First off, would you expect a 500 fps (Canadian) de-tuned HW77 to diesel? My quick and dirty testing in neutragena soap and pine boards shows a LOT more power than I would expect. I’ve put 50 pellets through it, and the behaviour continues.

    Secondly, I bought a Leapers 4-16×50 TS scope with it. How many clicks can you adjust it by? My similar Leapers 3-9×40 required 140 clicks left when I installed it on another gun a few months ago, but this new one doesn’t want to go beyond 100 clicks left. I’m still an inch right while sighting in at 5 yards, so I need approx 80 more clicks. Too much? If so, what do you suggest?

    Thanks,

    RO


  12. Hey RO,

    I’ve got a few de-tuned HWs and they all dieseled for a while. Even a sub 500fps spring gun produces a bit of heat. My three HW45s, two P5s and my Webley pistols all smoked a bit and they are around 400fps guns. Just give it a bit longer.

    Benny


  13. RO,

    Five yards!!!

    Sight in at 20. You are asking too much of the gun and scope to coincide at 5 yards.

    As for the velocity, yes a low-powered gun will diesel and detonate, but you will hear it. Keep watching this, as you may have a more powerful rifle.

    B.B.


  14. B.B.,

    *sigh* I don’t have 20 yards….I understand completely why the rifle shoots low at 5 yards, but why the left-right difference at close range?

    Is there a way to tell if the rifle has been de-tuned, without disassembly? The cocking stroke, for example, is very long with uniform weight throughout. Its very smooth, but fairly heavy…I guess I could dig out a spring scale to measure it if I knew what to look for.

    RO



  15. B.B.
    Do you know of any .177 pellets that are light, but larger in diameter than kodiaks?
    I have a 2300T with a loose barrel. All of the many kinds of pellets that I have have a loose fit. The heads will fall right into the muzzle and the only thing stopping them from falling clear through the barrel is that the skirts are just big enough.

    Don’t tell me to take this up with Crosman….I already have . They say the barrel is within specs.

    twotalon


  16. BB,

    This is a little (ok, a lot) off topic, but could you help me? I am looking at the Blue Streak, 392, and the Quest 800x. Which would be best for hunting(small game)? You said the Blue streak would be your survival rifle, so it has to be good, but the 392 and Quest are .22, and you say that .22 is best for hunting. Any help?


  17. Anonymous, I’ve blogged a couple of times to your questions, start with Mondays blogs and read each one for everyday. It would help if you left your name or some kind of ID so people could direct a reply to you. Thomas


  18. BG_Farmer, I’m going to get a 1377 this coming weekend,…this weeks check went to bills/Mothers Day. If you get one, let me know what you think of it. Most of the reviews I’ve read were positive, and Sir BB gives his thumbs-up to it. I can’t wait til November 1st!! This may turn out to be a good weapon for a follow up rifle shot. I hate not dropping a squirrel in one shot, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan. LOL’s Thomas


  19. RO,

    It could be something else with your gun, but if you have 2 piece mounts, be sure that your scope mounts are attached the same way. By that I mean that the ring mounting screws are on the same side of the gun. I put one ring on backwards once and ran out of left adjustment on my scope. Turning the scope ring around fixed it.

    /Dave


  20. Thomas,

    I think you’ll probably get a 1377 first — it will be interesting to see what you find out with it. Also, after reading BB’s answer, I’m thinking about a 747. Maybe both eventually:).

    Squirrel hunting used to be my reason for getting up early in the morning! Also, it was the reason I fell asleep in the woods several times:).


  21. B.B. (and Dave),

    Dave’s comment above got me thinking. I had both scope rings mounted with the screws away from the shooter. I reversed them so the screws faced the shooter, and now the scope zeros with only a small amount of right adjustment. Is there a right and a wrong orientation for scope mounts?

    RO


  22. Thomas,
    I have more than one 1377 and they are great… for the price. No they are not a good choice for 10m shooting in competition.

    The harsh trigger, multi pump, and low quality sights would be a real disadvantage in a formal competition. However for back yark plinking or very close range small game hunting they are fine.

    With a very small amount of work you can make the trigger smother and the gun more accuate. Go read the PA blog on the 1377. You see it has many fans and it is gun you can tinker with or leave it stock and it will serve you well… for the price.

    Mine all group easily 1-inch centers at 10m.

    DB


  23. bb I have a rws model 34 panther ant piece that connects the barrel to the spring moves up and down a little when the gun is moved? Is this a prob is there an easy fix? Is it humane to dispatch squirrels with neck shots?



  24. Twotalon,

    You might try target wadcutters with a 4.52mm head size. I looked on the internet but was unable to find a dealer advertising them. You’ll have to call around.

    B.B.


  25. Blue Streak,

    Your choice is not between the Blue Streak and the 392. It’s between a pneumatic and a spring gun.
    The springer is more powerful (in this case) but I would choose the 392, for comfort, less accuracy problems (a pneumatic is easier to shoot than a springer) and ammo availability.

    B.B.


  26. RO,

    There is no “right” way to mount rings, but as Dave pointed out, small variations in how the rings are manufactured make turning one or both around change the zero – sometimes.

    B.B.


  27. 34 Panther,

    The bar that connects the barrel to the piston (not actually to the spring, though that’s what it affects) is called the cocking link. It is SUPPOSED to be loose when the barrel is closed.

    Don’t worry about it.

    Do not shoot squirrels in the neck, trying to hit the spine. If you have a .177, shoot them in the brain and if you have a .22 shoot there or in the heart.

    B.B.


  28. Crosshairs,

    You line up the crosshairs by eye, alone. Every person will do it the way they see the crosshairs align and they won’t always agree with others. It doesn’t matter, because if the crosshairs look aligned to you, you will always hold the rifle in the same orientation and they will work.

    Watch Paul Capelleo do it with the Benjamin Discovery video on the Pyramyd Air site.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/video/

    B.B.


  29. hey B.B.
    this is a little off topic, but i was wanting to know, if you would reccomend using a Gamo Cf-X for Squirrel Hunting? I know i should get a .22, but there is no good .22 pellets here anywhere, and i hate to be constantly ordering things, so i would just like to know, if you would use a Cf-X squirrel hunting. Thanks,
    Brody


  30. Brody,

    A CF-X in .177 is all the gun you need, so long as you are accurate with it. Guns with 200 f.p.s. less have been taking squirrels for decades, so no reason this one can’t.

    B.B.



  31. Hi BB, I’ve read a few good things from you about the gamo Shadow. I just got a big cat 1200 and am pretty happy with it so far. Its pretty accurate and I just have some diablo basics. I was wondering if its the same gun, because it sure looks like it. And what are the easiest “tuning” things i could do to it myself. I also have a leapers 6.5-20×56 scope heading my way in the mail. Thanks!


  32. is there anything that you would use to protect the front sight on the mod 34 panther? Also I was wondering if my scopeounting meathod soundssturdy. I used the c mounts that came with the gun and bought two sets so the two rings I used have pins. I put the mounts on top of the holes with both pins in the hole. I then added a gamo stop with the plastic at the end that I screwed on behindthe front ring. Also with these mounts the windage on the mounts dont seem to be staying put. How tight can I turn those tiny screws?


  33. BB,
    Your concise article on 10m pistol shooting is what i’m waiting for long time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and looking forward for more 10m air pistol articles to come. Any plan to write a book about it :)?
    10m air pistol shooting is always my dream but not to sure where to start. I have standard Crosman 2300S, would it be good enough for 10m newbie after grip modification ? Would it be better to start with a proper 10m pistol like LP10 right from beginning or humble start with Crosman 2300S or Avanti is good enough ? As you can see, my obvious problem is initial cost. Thanks. Robert



  34. RWS 34,

    No amount of clamping pressure will prevent the scope stop pins from tearing out those tiny holes on top of the scope base. I don’t think that using two holes will stop the damage, though I have never tried it.

    Until the new base becomes available you MUST hand a scope stop pin IN FRONT of the scope base.

    B.B.


  35. Robert,

    The 2300S is accurate enough for 10-meter competition, but the balance, trigger and grips are all wrong. It would be better to get a different pistol than to pour money into converting a 2300S to do something is wasn’t designed for.

    As for me writing a gook on 10-meter pistol shooting, that would be like a high-school track and field competitor writing about going to the Olympics. I watch films made by others to get the little I know to pass along to you.

    However, I have learned that 10-meter is a head game, which I suspect is true of all world-class competitive sports. I have coached others up to the NRA Expert level, so at least I can get you that far.

    B.B.


  36. RO
    Get a new scope! Maybe a Bug Buster. I have the 3×12 TS scope and it is blurry at 6 yards. Yours must be worse. (I find that wearing 1.5 reading glasses takes away some of the blurryness.) Also, the paralex at 6 yards is horrible. I get better groups at 20 yards than at 6!
    Seriously, I do the same you are doing during the week because I sometimes get to shoot at longer distances on the weekend. I keep the scope sighted in at 20 yds and use the 2nd mil dot at 6 yds. I concentrate more on the trigger than the size of the groups. It’s great practice.
    MCA


  37. Almost everything I have learned about pistol shooting helps with shooting offhand, too. I had not read about turning ones toes inward but had discovered it myself some time ago. This definitely helps with offhand rifle shooting, too.


  38. BB,
    I took your advice and ordered up that grt III trigger for my big cat. Do you know what the differences are between the big cat and shadow? Also, I read on the tuna guys site that he said anything over a 9gr pellet could be bad for the gamos. I just placed an order from pyramyd for some diabolo exact heavys that are 10.2. Youve mentioned shooting a little slower for better accuracy and those pellets seemed to be highly recomended. I usually shoot at about 20 yards or so, but would like to try 50-100 yard shooting.
    Thanks,
    Simon


  39. Simon,

    I don’t subscribe to the heavy pellet destroys the gun theory. That’s why I recommended them.

    I think the Big Cat has more synthetic parts and the piston stroke is longer, but I’m not sure.

    B.B.


  40. wow
    what a tutorial! Thanks!
    actualy i want to start a training in 10m airpistol, and want to ask is
    IZH-53M is ok for begining, or i must search more serious airgun for reach the starting ama competitors level?


  41. kloijhi,

    While you can shoot at 10-meter targets with an IZH 53M, you will miss much of the training value. The grips are wrong and the sights are too high above the barrel. A Daisy 717 would be much better.

    B.B.


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