Does anyone else get the shakes after shooting for awhile?


March 22, 2005, 02:31 AM
Last time I was out shooting I noticed it more than ever. I only shot about 150 .22 rounds, 50 7.62x39 and about 50 .40S&W but towards the end I was having a hard time holding any of the pistols steady.

What can you do to overcome this?

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March 22, 2005, 04:47 AM
I shoot hundreds of rounds per session and never experienced this. If I had to venture a guess, you might be grasping the weapon too tightly and making the tendons in your hands fatigued to the point where they shake afterwards.

Without being able to see your technique, it would be hard to diagnose. Talk to an orthopedic hand surgeon if it continues. You don't want to create long-term damage.

March 22, 2005, 05:34 AM
I get this pretty regularly shooting. I usually use it as an excuse to practice weak hand shooting. The real problem is that I sometimes get the shakes for no reason. Usually when doing light, delicate tasks like turning pages, or picking up small gun parts. It has gotten bad on occasion. It absolutely infuriates me when shooting. Trying to maintain a proper trigger pull when I can't even keep the gun still is pretty hard.

March 22, 2005, 06:05 AM
Don't forget to breathe. Also, make sure you're hydrated and well fed. Could also be due to the impact of the recoil, similar to the shaking you get after a few minutes of holding onto a cheaper gas powered week wacker. Some hand strength exercises could help.

March 22, 2005, 06:19 AM
Caffeine maybe? If you're a caffeine drinker try avoiding it before shooting and see if that helps. Also, if you're not a breakfest eater and go shooting in the morning, eat something.

Come to think of it, if you can shoot weak hand without the shakes it's probably just muscle fatigue.

March 22, 2005, 06:33 AM
Yeah, maybe too much caffiene as materdei said. Or... had you not eatten anything thusfar that day? Blood sugar could have been a little low.

March 22, 2005, 07:12 AM
This can also be caused by a partially blocked carotid artery. I had tremors in my right hand and had nearly given up shooting until I got my left carotid cleaned out.

Cape Canaveral

Ala Dan
March 22, 2005, 07:41 AM
Well NO, I don't get the shakes from shooting cuz I take periodic breaks
and try to rest a bit between sessions; as it gets extremely HOT here in
Old Dixie.

March 22, 2005, 08:04 AM
Working out a little might be good.

Redneck Revolver
March 22, 2005, 08:04 AM
from what i was alwasy taught, shakes is caused by muscle stress (aka fatiuge). the best bet is to either take some rest every once in awhile or loosen up your grip and arms a tad. not neccesarily(sp) alot but enough to where it feels more comfortable.

March 22, 2005, 08:16 AM
I suppoose this could be due to a medical condition that requires treatment, only your doctor can tell. That being said, I will also say I see shooters shake all the time while shooting. Some right from shot one, others after a while. The thing is that each and everyone of them is almost choking the grip to death while trying to maintain good gun control. This usually makes them shoot all over the place and they can ot figure why their groups get worse the harder they hold their handguns. Gripping that hard causes rapid onset of muscle fatigue and you begin to shake. Once I get, or got (as I no longer instruct), them to ease up their grip, the shaking went away and the groups got much better.

Another time you will notice shaking is if you are ever in an armed confrontation. You don' even have to fire your weapon, you will wind up shaking. That is from the let off off of adrenaline.

Wayne D
March 22, 2005, 08:52 AM
Could also be due to the impact of the recoil, similar to the shaking you get after a few minutes of holding onto a cheaper gas powered week wacker.

Yup, heavy recoil and long sessions with the weed eater does it to me too. :(

R.H. Lee
March 22, 2005, 08:59 AM
Yes, shooting is hard work. It requires concentration, coordination, and muscle control. I'm only good for a coupla hundred rounds max after which I'm just wasting ammo.

Ukraine Train
March 22, 2005, 09:57 AM
I used to have the problem too that I fixed it by changing my grip. I use a modified Weaver stance now. I poke my right elbow out to the side a little instead of having my arm straight and grip the gun more on the sides than front/back. I used to get the shakes after shooting maybe 100rds from a pistol but no problems since I modified my grip.

Tom Servo
March 22, 2005, 10:02 AM
I have low blood-sugar, and I've found that mental exertion and intense concentration can drain me just as quickly as physical labor. I usually have a "stash" in my car, and I stop to take a break and eat something every 30 minutes or so.

March 22, 2005, 01:37 PM
Only get the shakes if I haven't shot after about 2 weeks. :)

Stratford Holdings
March 22, 2005, 01:54 PM
I sometimes get the shakes, but I think that's just because I'm weak. Holding a pistol or rifle out for a long period of time will tire out your muscles. I found that after I worked out on a frequent basis, the shakes disappeared or were minimized.

Try holding your arms out for a couple of minutes. They'll shake naturally. When you add the weight of a gun, it will be more exagerated.

March 22, 2005, 02:03 PM
Might also be tendonitis, especially if you tend to suddenly drop things for no reason at all, and sometimes have cramps along your wrists and forearms.

Tendonitis sucks. :(

March 22, 2005, 02:09 PM
I get this when firing my Glock 22. I think I may have the starting of carpal tunnel in my right wrist, and the Glock grip angle exacerbates this after only a couple of mags. I can't hold it steady after maybe 20-30 rounds. When I shoot my 1911, I can shoot well over a 100 rounds without fatigue. The .40 is a snappy round, and the grip angle of your pistol may have an effect on the stamina of your wrists.

March 22, 2005, 05:53 PM
Only get the shakes if I haven't shot after about 2 weeks. Some people only get the shakes when they have not had a shot in two weeks... LOL

Bear Gulch
March 22, 2005, 05:54 PM
The Delerium Tremons at the range would be no fun at all!

March 22, 2005, 09:44 PM
Caffeine maybe?I don't believe in any sustenance outside of Mt. Dew! :)

Good information. Thanks! It's probably a combination of a lot of what has been said so far.

March 22, 2005, 10:01 PM
I get the shakes after about 25 rounds of 12ga. or so. It's like getting your butt kicked and then trying to shoot a pistol. Ain't fun.

March 23, 2005, 09:24 AM
I expierenced the same exact thing the last time I was out, and started a thread on it(here). I can to the conclusion it might be stress, but since I have no shot in awhile I can't say for sure.

March 23, 2005, 09:30 AM
I get the "shakes" also but it is most likely due to muscle fatigue. What works for me is taking a short break then going back to it.

March 23, 2005, 09:40 AM
Some of my asthma medicines give me the shakes pretty bad.

I've learned to shoot well even when shaking. :)

Basic trick is to accept the shake, not try to fight it. Especially, don't try to grab the brief, magic moment when your sights are perfectly lined up -- simply accept that you will shoot somewhere within the wobble, and concentrate on a smooth trigger pull.

By accepting the wobble and concentrating on the smooth trigger pull, it's amazing how small of a group can be achieved even when the shakes are worse than usual.


Dave Markowitz
March 23, 2005, 09:43 AM
I do sometimes. It's fatigue, at least in my case. I've noticed that I get more fatigued shooting certain guns than others. E.g., I can easily shoot up to 150 - 200 rounds with my S&W Model 15, but 100 rounds is a stretch with my Ruger Service Six, using the same loads. The action on the Smith is much smoother and this really becomes evident during a long shooting session.

March 23, 2005, 09:53 AM
I don't believe in any sustenance outside of Mt. Dew!

And unless they've changed the formulation, Mt. Dew is *loaded* with caffiene.


Billy Sparks
March 23, 2005, 01:02 PM
I used to have that same problem when shooting .40's. The best my MD could do was that the snappy .40 was irratating a touch of tendonitis in my wrist. I also talked to a LEO at a class one time and he told me he had the same problem his doctor told him that due to the grip angle and where a nerve ran in his hand the recoil created the "shakes". The way I fixed the problem was that I just shot 9mm now days.

I have also had the problem with 1911's with factory grips. Shot one a couple of weeks ago and when I was done my hand was shaking so bad I almost couldn't write. Changed the grips to a set of smooth Alumagrips and haven't had the problem since.

Taurus 66
March 23, 2005, 11:49 PM
Yeah, maybe too much caffiene as materdei said. Or... had you not eatten anything thusfar that day? Blood sugar could have been a little low.

Interesting. I sometimes, although rarely, experience low blood sugar levels and get shakes, especially on super hot summer days. If I hurry and eat something, the symptoms subside in about 10 minutes. It's hypoglycemia right? I wanted to research this condition.

March 24, 2005, 02:34 AM
Yes. Try doubling your hearing protection. Use inner ear plugs and outer ear covers at the same time. It is a secret for me shooting my best scores that I forget about sometimes until 1/2 way through a match. Also I shake when dehydrated so I drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine before matches. Caffeine really effects me.

PAX, asthma medicines like albuterol really effect my daughter also for the first couple of hours after taking. She has been taking Xolair shots monthly for the past 10 months and has not needed albuterol once. You should check this out since it is a very brand new medicine and we have had miraculous results.

March 24, 2005, 09:45 PM
I'm not much of a pistol shooter, but I practice enough to keep 'em in the black. I've noticed the shakes hit the hardest when I haven't shot for a while, or when I forget to put an earplug in. Ever seen a horse after a gun goes off near it? That's what I look like for the first 10-15 shots if I don't put my plugs in and my ears on. First shot is dead on, rest of them end up in Louisiana somewhere. Funny thing is, I don't have it happen when shooting a rifle.

Y'all can blame tendinitis or carpal tunnel all you want, I know that the reason I shake is because my brain gets a bit wound up when extremely loud noises intrude.

Double up on ears, ease up on the grip, and breathe.


Wayne D
March 25, 2005, 09:22 AM
The shakes I get are not the jittery shakes from too much caffeine or being nervous nor are they flinches from inadequate hearing protection. They are either caused by muscle fatigue or nerve trauma caused by recoil (or in the case of weed eaters, vibration). After weed eating for about an hour, I have to use both hands just to drink a glass of water. Sometimes this happens when I’m shooting although not to that extent and not every time. The theory about the grip angle affecting the nerves in the wrist is interesting and sounds plausible because the muscles in my arms don’t feel tired. I’ll start keeping track of which guns cause the problem and which don’t. I have noticed that when this does occur that changing from the modified weaver stance that I usually use to an isosceles helps control the shake.

March 26, 2005, 12:48 AM
That beating from the weed wacker can cause some long-term damage. If you've been at it for quite a while that could be the root of your shaking. Is it something that's come up just recently or is it something that's been happening throughout your shooting career?

Either way, I'd double up on some good thick gloves and take very frequent breaks from wacking and see if that helps any. Same with the shooting, without the gloves of course, just try to take some good breaks and stretch your forearms. Put both hands together in front of your chest, like you're praying and push your hands down, this will help stretch the bottom of your forearms. Go the opposite way to stretch the other side, but be carful, there's less muscle that actually stretches and you're mostly just stretching the tissues in the joint.

If you can, try to reload some softer rounds for you guns that give you the shakes, see if that helps.

March 26, 2005, 01:34 AM
I have this same problem. What I've found, after much good advice from the people here and some friends I work with, is that I was used to shooting magnum revolvers. Shooting magnums I must have been gripping my pistols too tightly and was too stiff when shooting them. I found just relaxing helps, also not being tired, hungry, or on any stimulants.
Buddy of mine said his old man taught him BRASS (Breath, Relax, Aim, Squeeze, Shoot). I was holding my pistol like I was strangling a squirrel, like it was going to fly out of my hand or something :rolleyes: . The best thing is to just shoot more often. :D

March 26, 2005, 05:23 PM
Yes on the shakes at times. What has been mentioned about caffeine and getting something to eat holds true for me. There are some days when my carpal tunnel is acting up to the point it is painful to even grip a handgun or shoot, period. Thankfully those days are not too frequent. I used to do alot of chainsaw work, and have been told it may be partially what brought on the CT.

March 26, 2005, 11:08 PM
Yeah, I had that problem for a while. It really started to bother me when I realized that it may have had something to do with my routine of stopping by Starbucks on my drive to the range. That coffee is like rocket fuel.

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