Help shooting my 1911


December 1, 2007, 07:54 AM
Went to the range yesterday for a little end-of-the-week steam release. Shot my .22 Buckmark, my Ruger GP100 (w/ .38s and .357s) and my last 21 rounds of .45ACP.

I shot at 10 yards, using the standard 25-yard bullseye target.

I can shoot out the bull with my .22. I'll keep my Ruger pretty close to that - even with the Maggie loads.

But when it comes time to shoot the .45, I'm all over the paper (a Rock Island Tactical; no work done on it). I've dry fired it until my trigger finger hurts; no flinch. But there's something about when I get to the firing line, I can feel the flinch & I anticipate and drop the barrel at the moment of trigger squeeze. When I try to "relax and let the recoil surprise me" I AM surprised, but it doesn't seem to do me any good on accuracey.

Good news - I keep it all on paper!
Bad news - it's ALL OVER the paper, mostly 4-6" low. The only time I shot it to bull was off sandbags when I first got it. I've put...let's say 350-400 rounds through it, all factory hardball except one box of commercial LRN reloads (which, for the record, fed well).

I don't think it's a gun problem. I think it's operator problem. I got the chili dippers. The shanks. The El Hozel. The flinch.

So, the question for all you firearm fiends is - will practice cure this, or am I overgunned? A buddy of mine was a US Army pistol team member (alternate for the 72 or 76 Olympics - I forget which year); I could get him out there
and have him try the gun and watch me.

So, can I be cured, Doc?



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December 1, 2007, 08:06 AM
It's all in your head:D If you can hit with the .357 mag, your 45 shouln't be any worse. Have your buddy go along and give you some help. I have a friend that shot his 45 low, pushing before the shot, and we cured it with some .22 trigger time, and some target russian roulette, with my .357 mag. (load only one cartridge, spin, and shoot) Once you get smooth trigger controle back, it shouldn't matter what platform you shoot.:)

Or maybe the trigger on the 1911 is way heavy?

1911 guy
December 1, 2007, 08:57 AM
My uncle shoots a .357 Mag with some pretty stout reloads. Flinches with a .45 acp. Go figure.

Frankly, I think it's the psychology of the whole ".45 Auto" thing. We've all known for years that a hit in the pinkie will take a man down, right? So the recoil must be monstrous, right?

Grip the pistol in your right hand. Elbow, wrist and muzzle making a straight line. Right thumb on top of safety. Put your left palm on the open space in the grip and your right hand. Keeping your left palm in place, rotate your left hand until your left thumb rests on the pistol, pointing toward the target. Put firm handshake pressure on the right, slightly more with the left. This grip with a slightly foreward leaning stance makes recoil negligible.

This summer I showed this to a man and his 6 year old grandson. They both enjoyed shooting my 1911.

December 1, 2007, 09:52 AM
My golf teacher told me years ago that he could not teach me to stop doing something wrong. He could teach me to do it right, and that would replace the wrong.

I shoot a lot of .22 while shooting the bigger stuff. Two mags of .22, then four or five mags of the other. I have a number of .22s, including a Ciener conversion on a .45 frame. My goal is to get the same sight picture on the break of the shot on both the .22 and the .45 or 9mm. 1911 Guy has great description of the grip. I try to shoot real slow for a few rounds and real fast for a few rounds to break up any anticipation flinch.

When I first started shooting a lot of pistol I had that flinch. I decided that my subconscious idiot was afraid the gun would hit me in the head. I shot a bunch of rounds with weak grip, one hand grip, limp wrist etc. My goal was to prove to myself that no matter what the gun would not hit me in the head.

Really good ear protection helps.

Shooting off sand bags helps.

Shooting reduced loads is great. Reload.

Dry firing on a regular basis, not marathon sessions helps.

December 1, 2007, 10:14 AM
There was a recent post (last week or so) that showed point of aim/point of impact errors as they relate to various problems with grip, trigger pull etc. If I locate it, I post the link here. My point, it ain't your's your hand/fingers. Get a (proper) "grip"! :) That was my best effort at humor.

Wow, I'm is the link:

See post #26.


December 1, 2007, 11:30 AM
Have someone load a mag for you and randomly mix in a few snap caps instead of ammo. You won't know when its going to fire or dry-fire. Should show the flinch and help you overcome it.


December 1, 2007, 12:16 PM

December 1, 2007, 09:51 PM
I have watched that Todd Jerrett video dozens of times. Have gone to the "Jarrett" stance instead of Weaver. Helped considerably with my Buckmark and GP100 shooting. Have used the "marked" bullseye target, too. I know I'm "pushing" the gun in anticipation of the recoil. I know it's in my head. I'll also make sure I keep the elbow locked (didn't think about it, but that could certainly be PART of the problem).

Watching the video, I wonder: how many of you 1911 shooters have minimal post-firing gun movement (i.e. "recoil") like Jarrett? When I shoot, my gun moves around more than Jarrett's student. I'm a big man: 280lbs, 6'4", so I'm no slug. I shoot the Magnum pretty well, so the .45's recoil shouldn't be overwhelming me. much of a factor is hand size? I wonder if that's not part of my problem. I have small hands. I'm a lefty; my left palm and fingers fit completely inside the box I'm typing this in (what...4x6 or so???); my thumb is about 1/2 outside the box. I've realized my Taurus PT92 is too big (1.6" wide); I need to trade that in on something smaller in grip diameter - maybe a MP9 (1.1" wide).

I'll get in touch with my old army buddy and see if he can help, too.

Thanks, all!


December 2, 2007, 11:27 AM
Dry Fire, Dry Fire, Dry Fire .................. be sure that when the hammer drops, it is a surprise and the sights don't move.

December 2, 2007, 02:39 PM
Try a 1911 with a light, crisp trigger. It will make a world of difference and make the shooting experience a lot more enjoyable. Some may roll eyes, but it's the truth.

December 2, 2007, 03:25 PM
Front sight. If all your attention is on keeping that front sight crisp and clear, level with the rear sight, even amounts of light on either side, you won't have any left to worry about the recoil. That front sight should be your whole world.

Have someone else load your magazine with randomly mixed snap caps and live ammo, and you'll know if it is.

December 3, 2007, 12:50 AM
Ah, the infamous .45 flinch. I know it too well, and am in therapy for a cure these days. I shoot, I improve, one day, one round at a time....

Handloads offer a milder recoil and report, which never hurts.

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