Thanks for the feedback. As of now, I am assuming that the accuracy would not degrade with a little more speed, but if it did I would back it down. And also as of now, the pistol is just short of infinitely more accurate than I am. I am making some slow and steady progress (maybe "very slow" is more accurate). While I am enjoying the journey, I joked with a friend that as far as my results on paper go, I have some bad days and then I have some horrible days . . . .
The targets that tear are the official competition B-40 10M air pistol ones - not ones I print myself. The results get a bit better if I put some masking tape on the back, and really good if I tape one of the square Gamo or AirVenturi "cardboardish" targets to the back of the official targets, although that is a bit of pain to do on every target. For most of my practice right now I am using the Gamo and AirVenturi targets, as those do produce very clean holes.
The learning slope is long and shallow. It takes a long time to improve.
My former AR coach told me that you have to practice 5x a week to improve. 3x just maintains your level.
And as you get better, the slope get shallower. Each additional 10 points takes a LOT more work.
Trick: My AR coach told me, as I was learning, to IGNORE the scores. Just select a ring and score the target as 0/1. Example, when I first started, I used the 1-ring. 0 outside the 1 ring, +1 inside the 1 ring. Then as I got better and could hold the 1-ring, I moved in a ring. And kept repeating that until I think I got to the 7 or 8 ring.
What he was teaching me, was to shoot a group, a tighter and tighter group. If you can hold a group, your scores will follow. Because if you shoot a flyer out into the 1-ring, it will take an awful lot of 10s to get your score back up.
Keep record when you shoot; time of day, temp, weather, how you feel, score, how well or bad you shot, comments, etc. Use that data to help you improve.
Example I found that even though I am NOT a morning person, I shot my best scores in the morning.
As for targets, for MANY years there have been complaints about targets printed by some of the US target companies.
The issue apparently is the paper that the target printers were/are using. Long fiber paper. Which I guess is cheaper, and what they use for center fire and rim fire powder burner targets. Besides, you won't get a clean hole from a pointed rifle bullet anyway.
I would do as Charlie suggested, put the B40 target FLAT against the cardboard backer.
I use masking tape to hold my target to the backer.
As you shoot away the backer, there is no support for the target, so you have to move the target over a different part of the backer, or replace the backer.
Kruger targets are more expensive, but reportedly cut nice holes.http://www.pilkguns.com/store/10m-Air-Pistol-Targets-Kruger-250-count-p84747405