Yep, nothing beats professional instruction. And pay for it. Don’t think watching Jerry Miculek on video will make you an expert.
Now my questions. Where did you get that need-two-rounds thing? If it’s for a defense situation, you have to know how to assess the situation; whether or not the threat has gone. It’s not guaranteed by a second shot.
Try not to look at the target too much (by looking away from your sight picture) at this stage. It’s a common mistake in combat-oriented shooting.
(Former state high school archery champion checking in.)
I’ve never shot pistols seriously, and you will do much better by getting a pistol coach, but as far as the general theory goes, you don’t want to be chasing your aiming point at this stage. Grouping, the ability to get the shots in as tight a space as possible, is much more important.
That said, there are many seemingly minor things that will affect shot placement.
But before we get into those, 18 out of 20 at 50’ isn’t insignificant.
Personally, I think he’s being generous with average and good shooters, but he is the professional so I won’t argue.
Now, back to minor things affecting shooting.
First, your sights may be off. Hard to tell with an average shooter. You really need access to a sighting vise or at least bag rests.
But, things that you could be doing…
Trigger finger placement.
Having the trigger too close to your finger tip will cause you to push the barrel away from your hand. ie. to the left if you’re a right handed shooter.
Having the trigger too far in (close to the knuckle) will pull towards your hand. You want the trigger halfway between the knuckle and the tip.
You could be tightening your grip on the pistol as you fire in anticipation of the recoil.
Some people actually pull the barrel up when squeezing the trigger, also in anticipation of the recoil. My children did this until I swapped a snap cap (dummy bullet) in for one round in their magazine and they saw themselves jerking up when they didn’t actually fire a round.
The solution is the same for both. Concentrate more on maintaining a steady, neutral grip rather than shot placement for a little while until it becomes habit. It really doesn’t take long.
Beyond that, practice, practice, practice. Kind of like golf, your goal is consistent action every time you pull the trigger.
Join a good gun club. There, you will be able to take lots of classes for little or nothing. In addition, you will often be able to get free one-on-one instruction from knowledgeable shooters. Before I had a stroke, I was an excellent shot with pistols and rifles. I attribute a lot of that skill to two elderly gentlemen I befriended at gun clubs. One had been an active and successful competitor in Highpower rifle matches for many years. The other had been a bullseye pistol shooter and had a room full of trophies to show for it. Their coaching was invaluable.
One thing you can do at home is dry fire practice. Treat it as seriously as live fire and use a target. If you want to make it harder, balance a dime on the pistol’s front sight. You want to be able to squeeze the trigger without making the dime fall. Also, get yourself an air pistol and either make or buy a pellet trap. In your basement or rec room, fire at least a few shots a day from the air gun. Treat it seriously as it is practice for using the .45.
Ever watch a baseball player lose sight of a popup in the sun & have it fall behind him? Thousands of fans in the stands can tell him to turn around & look down but he’s looking all over for it?
Same thing here. Get someone to watch what you’re doing. You might have a flinch or a hiccup in your trigger pull that you can’t even notice but an observer standing back seeing the wider picture can easily pick up on.
I agree with the classes, it really takes someone watching while you shoot to figure out what you are doing. You can also google “shooting mistake chart”. Low and left on a right hander is usually a problem with you tightening your grip as you pull the trigger… I had the same issue when I started. It’s also easier to start close and progressively work back. Your mistakes will be more evident as you get to longer ranges.