Flinching: How to unflinch the flinched?


September 18, 2004, 04:27 PM
Took a very new shooter to the range. He want's to go deer hunting with a shotgun this fall, due to encouragement and prodding from "others".

Sometime before my range time with him, he went shooting with the "others". They, the "others", put him behind the wheel of a .30SuperMonster caliber rifle, and had him shoot a .4something hand cannon.
The rifle had a scope. During recoil, the scope sliced the new shooter around the eyebrow. Judging by the healing scar, at the time of being kissed by the scope he was probally bleeding a bit.

With this info in mind, I took him shooting thinking he probally got a bad case of flinch installed previously.
We took along our 12 gauges, my .22LR's, 1911/.45, and FAL.
Watching him shoot, he appeared to have bad flinch/anticipation.
3 hours later, flinch was still noticeable, but decreased.
Spent time verbally instructing and encouraging, getting familiar with and shooting his 12 gauge, and let him have semi-auto fun with the .22LR's.
He passed on the FAL.
He did real good shooting the 1911 from standing. Seemed like he's a natural with it, and had fun. I was initially telling him "how-to" while he shot it, but soon shut my moth after watching him hit the small plate a bunch of times!

I showed him how and why to dry-fire practice and encouraged him to safely do it at home.

We're going shooting again soon.
Any other ideas, words, or coaching that can be done to wittle away at the flinch?

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September 18, 2004, 04:42 PM
Sounds like you are doing just fine with him.

You might also want to get some snaps. I like the A-Zoom brand because they are aluminum instead of plastic. Load them along with live rounds in the magazine without letting the shooter know what sequence they are in. A flinching problem will definitely be evident the moment he dry fires on a snap cap. That will teach him to concentrate on sights and trigger instead of anticipating the recoil.

Here is the link to A-Zoom.http://www.lymanproducts.com/azoom/index.htm

Good Shooting

September 18, 2004, 04:51 PM
You might also try having him hold the trigger all the way down after a shot and slowly letting it reset. I don't know why this works, but it does.

September 18, 2004, 06:02 PM
You might also try having him hold the trigger all the way down after a shot and slowly letting it reset. I don't know why this works, but it does.
Thanks for the reminder.
I was trying to get him to do that as part of follow-through.
He also was bringing the shotgun down off of the shoulder after each shot, sometimes actually starting slightly to bring down right after the trigger was pulled.

September 18, 2004, 07:17 PM
Use a .22lr for lots of practice.

Double up on hearing protection. I've noticed this many times with new shotgunners. Have him put in good foam plugs, with a pair of muffs over the top. Do that with a long-ish barrel .22lr rifle, and there's nothing to flinch about.

Don't make the shooting sessions too long. It's better to spread things out with more shorter sessions. As the shooter does better with the flinch, move to larger calibers SLOWLY.

Unfortunately, flinches are one of those things that can be quick to obtain and slow to lose.

September 18, 2004, 07:27 PM
have him practice at home with snap caps -- imaging the bulleyes, trigger pull, hold--but it's gotta be with snapcaps.

Or, keep him at the .22 level--used cartridge, pull and rotate, etc.---build a ritual. The mental focus on the bulleyes/site acquisition/trigger pull/hold....you need to coach him quite a bit to get the whole ritual down.

Verbal rewards for good performance only; do not comment on the flinches except to ask him for his own feedback.

Then intersperse them at the range, as Red said to do. Stay with .22LR... then move him up, etc.

If you have studied psych, this is a real simple example of operant conditioning, and you can program it right out of him.

September 18, 2004, 08:18 PM
In Matt Burkett's video 'how to shoot faster' he suggests having the flincher just blast off a few mags at a target at like 3 yards. Have them just try and see the sights, not necessarily aim with them, and just get a fell for how the gun works and acts. Make sure to keep both eyes open. You can't flinch as fast as you can shoot.

September 18, 2004, 08:19 PM
What Redlg155 said. Ball and Dummy. It works.

September 18, 2004, 08:23 PM
hi. my name is spiff and i'm a flincher.

i have to slow myself down and concentrate on that trigger. it seems like my body will flinch based on how i time my shots. if i am blasting away, my body will keep flinching, so if i slow down my rate of fire and manipulate that trigger as slow as possible, i'll flinch before the shot goes off, and still have time to get a sight picture.

the last case of ammo i bought has been hammering the bejesus outta me though. some +p thats got a lot more oomph that regular hardball. if i can learn to control my shooting with this stuff i think i'll get better groups once i go back to the 230 gr fmjs.

September 18, 2004, 09:02 PM
Sad to hear that any shooters are still stupid enough to enjoy the sight of an uninitiated shooter getting shocked or even hurt by handing them a heavy kicking rifle without proper preparation. That is doubly irresponsible when handing someone a scoped rifle, without assuring the position and shooter hold is not going to allow the scope to strike the shooter in the face.
As for a flinch, I feel that a crisp breaking trigger is great for the knowing shooter, but it is difficult for a novice shooter to realize that he is actually suddenly clenching his entire hand and trigger finger convulsively when the gun fires instantaneously with one sudden movement. I think that a staged military trigger is ideal for learning to control the trigger. I find my M39 triggers ideal for teaching. If you can demonstrate with a creeping trigger that the shooter must sense the movement of the trigger, keep it moving with gradual increase in pressure, and allow the trigger to break as a surprise during the movement, it might connect with him what is supposed to happen. Much more easy to demonstrate control with a moving trigger break than a solid crisp break IMO.

September 19, 2004, 02:26 AM
I'm glad he still decided to keep shooting after what happened before, and it sounds like you are on the right track getting him back to shooting without a flinch.
I was taught not to worry about what the gun is going to do to me, but I had better worry about what it is going to do to the target. My Dad used the tried and true " Is it live or is it a dummy?" with me, and it worked well. Another trick was to put a dime near the muzzle and it had better not fall off if it was a dummy round. This also works great for dry firing training.

September 19, 2004, 02:13 PM
Haven't studied psych,but tried reward/comment because it seemed to be the right thing for him, and it's worked for me for occasions other than shooting. I've been on the receiving end of reward/comment and also yell/finger in chest. Reward/comment yields much better and quicker results, providing the one being taught is willing and accepting.

Next time out we'll try emptying some mags at close and safe range.
Did a few mags with the 1911, which seemed to up the fun factor.

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