Flinch problem


Samari Jack
May 2, 2012, 10:37 PM
I hope there is someone who has or has had this problem and can offer advice, Today, I was shooting my Kahr P.380, a striker fired gun with a long but smooth trigger. The other .380 was a double action Bersa Thunder. Shot the Kakr first and with the long trigger pull I flinched bad.

Since the Bursa has a hammer and fires single/double action, there was a totally different trigger pull. Shooting the Bersa after the Kahr the trigger release and resulting bang kind of caught me by surprise. Dead in the 10 ring. I've noticed with my wheelguns loaded Russian roulette style shots would be right on if I was a bit suprised when the hammer fell. If I thought it was real but was a dummy shell most times I'd flinch. My problem is being surprised every time is hard to set up.:rolleyes:

How does a person solve a flinch problem?

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May 2, 2012, 10:52 PM
Sounds like your anticipating the trigger release on the Kahr, the long travel is giving you time to think about it. Plus now you have made a mental note about it. That is gonna take you lots of practice to overcome, you should be concentrating on your sight picture the whole time. So that when the trigger "breaks", it should be more of a surprise-----------but you already know that.
I would suggest a faster squeeze on the trigger, that would lessen your "hang time". Is there any adjustment you can do to the trigger to take up some of the travel? Practice and more practice.

May 3, 2012, 12:07 AM
I developed a flinch due to the muzzle blast striking my face after it was reflected off nearby hard, flat surfaces. My body learned that pulling the trigger was advance warning that it was about to be slapped in the face. Naturally, it flinched in anticipation. Here's what I did to retrain my body that it no longer needed to flinch.

The best solution was to shoot outdoors where there were no nearby reflecting surfaces. In that setting, ear muffs and ordinary eyeglasses were adequate protection.

When shooting outdoors wasn't feasible, I improved protection for my face. I wore disposable ear plugs underneath my ear muffs to further dampen the sound. I also wore goggles, to protect the skin around my eyes, instead of just safety glasses. When I was alone, I often wore a bandana to cover the rest of my face. A transparent, full face shield would be an effective substitute for the goggles and bandana.

May 3, 2012, 02:42 AM
It really is a simple flinch caused by wanting to fire the shot when the sights are aligned on the target. You can't be surprised as long as you are trying to make the shot go off as the sights are perfectly aligned. The solution is simple to explain, but a bit harder to do consistently.

Forget about placing the shots on the target. All you want to think about is aligning the sights and continuing to press the trigger straight to the rear.

I hope you're not trying to stage your trigger to get off that perfect shot. Once you start the trigger moving, it shouldn't stop until the shot breaks...ideally it shouldn't even slow down, but should move at a constant rate

May 3, 2012, 09:07 AM
You MUST keep on squeezing so that you are truly surprised when the firearm goes off.

4v50 Gary
May 3, 2012, 11:47 AM
Put a coin on the top strap of a DA revolver. Put snap caps in and Cycle it without dropping the coin. Or you can put a pencil with a rubber eraser onto the barrel and shoot it at a target mounted on a cardboard box.

Take up archery with a recurve bow. Archery requires longer follow through. That worked for me.V

May 3, 2012, 02:15 PM
All three of the last posters echo my own feelings.

I'll add that one way to achieve the proper Zen like method is to stop thinking that you pull the trigger to the BANG! and start thinking that you want to pull the trigger to the rear stop and actually and conciously hold it there for a moment while the recoil shock dissapates. The goal is to wrap your head around the idea that the gun going off is a totally separate event from you pulling the trigger all the way to the stop. Concentrating on the trigger pull and holding it there as a follow through action is a good way to achieve that.

I also found from shooting a wide variety of my own guns that the last thing I want to do is actually "pull the trigger". Instead I use my finger to apply a smoothly increasing pressure to the trigger and simply follow it as it moves back in response to the pressure. I know, I know. It all sounds like a fancy way to say "pull the trigger". But if you do it right there is a whole different mind set to "building pressure" and "pulling".

Finally, if you enjoyr or don't mind shooting .22 (I know that some get all "macho" about the idea of shooting rimfire) then some quality time with a nice target .22 can do a lot for training yourself to detach your mind from the upcoming BANG! and recoil and to focus on the idea of the sight picture and steady pressure build and proper trigger follow through.

.... which may explain why I've currently got 10 rimfire handguns out of a total firearms collection of around 45 guns. What started as one gun for a training aid for my center fire shooting has turned into a passion with both training and serious, for me, bullseye shooting. As soon as I find myself beginning to fall back and get too many low and left "fliers" out comes one of the rimfire guns and a brick of ammo. Actually these days they come out often enough anyway that I'm getting my brushing up on a regular basis regardless.

May 3, 2012, 05:00 PM
If you reload or know someone that does, build up enough dummy rounds to fill two mags (bullet and brass, no primer or powder) that look exactly like your live rounds. Mix the dummies with one mag of live rounds. Then load three mags blind and shoot them (don't peek to see if the first round in each mag has a primer). Since 2/3 of the time you will expect to have a Type 1 malfunction (click no bang) you will not be expecting the bang when it happens. Even so, treat every shot as if it counts and keep a laser-like focus on your front sight picture as you press the trigger to the break.

Samari Jack
May 3, 2012, 07:25 PM
I appreciate all the good advice. I reload and this will give me the excuse to go to the back yard and sling lead, after getting the .22s out. The "down and to the left" statement was right on. Part of my problem is I did get use to prepping the trigger on my Glocks and using single action mode in my other autos and wheelguns spoiled me to some extent. Kahrs do seem to have a long trigger pull, plus my P9 has kind of a small grip. I couldn't imagine shooting a .45 ACP in such a small frame.

I have an older, High Standard Sentinel .22 revolver and a Walther P22 auto. Might be time to get them out. I had gotten away from practicing with them since I started reloading.

I don't follow the eraser/pencil advice. Cn you elaborate?

May 3, 2012, 10:00 PM
The pencil trick is where you dry fire the gun using a common eraser end pencil inserted down the barrel like a spear gun. You take aim at a cardboard box like a cerial box from about a foot or less away. So given that the sights are a little high you can expect the pencil point to mark the cardboard a bit low by the distance from where it sits to where the sights are located. In use the firing pin has enough energy to thump the pencil out and mark the cardboard quite deeply. You do this a bunch of times then check the "grouping". If you flinch the marks are going to be quite randomly low and to the left in a bigger pattern than if you don't flinch.

While this and the old trick of balancing an empty casing or coin on the top strap are all good it's too easy to know that the gun won't go BANG! and do it right yet still have a flinch on the range. That's where the .22 came to the rescue for me. I'd shoot a mag or two of .22 to break all the bad habits. Once I had a nice tight on target group I'd shift to a mag of center fire. I'd carry on until the flinch came back and switch back to some more .22 "therapy". I'd go back and forth like this for a whole session. Took me a few such sessions to kick it. It would still come back here and there for a while but the trusty .22 was always there to re-train me.

Just last night I shot a nice group of .44 Mag into a 2 inch group from about 15 yards. All hit at the POA. So I guess I've got my own flinch licked.... for now.... :D

May 4, 2012, 08:52 AM
Get someone to load rounds for you. Several mixed live and dummy rounds helps. You still must be truly surprised whtn the bang happens. You must do all of this when you have time to really squeeze not jerk the trigger. Shooting is fun and is supposed to BE fun.

May 4, 2012, 11:02 AM
As a flincher, I can tell you that most of the advice you'll get is useless. Dummy rounds and snap caps will show you a flinch, but they do little to cure it. Dry fire is good for trigger control, but has nothing to do with a true flinch.

I ran across this thread on the Brian Enos forums (best place for information on HOW to shoot a handgun well). http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=82124&st=50&p=1563533&hl=kyle's flinch breaker&fromsearch=1&#entry1563533

Here's a hint: beating a flinch is tied heavily to what the eyes do. Do you consistently see the muzzle flash? Do you see the sights start to move on recoil? Have you seen the brass ejecting as it comes out of the gun? Forget about targets for a while, and focus on seeing the gun go off. (Also, use plugs AND muffs, especially if you shoot at an indoor range.)

The advice about using a .22 is also great. It can help beat a flinch, and is very good for keeping one away (once you've developed a bad flinch, it'll try to come back on you). I alternate between a .22 and centerfires at the range.

May 4, 2012, 12:49 PM
That's an interesting idea about if the shooter actually sees and remembers the flash or brass ejecting. I'd not thought about that at all.

When I'm aiming and shooting I don't notice those things at all. It's to the point where when I watch someone else shoot my gun I'm appaled at the size of the muzzle fireball in some cases. And if I'm checking for ejection function I simply don't even aim other than to ensure that I'll hit the backstop and then I look directly at the gun with both eyes. If I don't do that I won't even see the brass leaving. From what you typed it would appear that I've at least got this aspect nailed down tight.

It takes a fairly massive muzzle fireball and side wings from my revolvers to make me see the flash. And even then if I want to truly enjoy the "light show" I'll get someone else to shoot it. The funny thing is that as they are squeezing the trigger I have a HELLUVA time to avoid my own eyes flinching closed. Yet when I'm pulling the trigger it's simply not an issue. They are open and focused for the whole firing sequence. I guess it's simply all about the Zen..... :D

May 4, 2012, 02:33 PM
learn to "like" recoil. everyone anticipates it. most learn to hate it.

to overcome a flinch, get a positive attitude on recoil.


May 5, 2012, 08:08 AM
BCRider, I believe the advice ATLDave is trying to give is that you should see an orange-ball or grey-puff when the pistol fires. I know I can and I'm always impressed when I light off .357 Magnums close to dusk. :what: At least in rifle shooting if you don't see that little puff, it means you're not focused enough on the sights and shot.

As for curing the OP's flinch, all I can suggest is back to the basics. Dry-fire, rimfire practice, ball-and-dummy drills. Focus on the trigger pull, especially on a long, DA trigger. My primary handguns are all DA revolves which I shoot in DA 99.5% of the time anymore. It has helped my trigger management skills tremendously. Just focus on the front sight and squeeze the trigger until the big noise. Repeat as needed.

Oh, and one other thing about recoil: Don't mind it. Sure, you'll notice it, and some guns are uncomfortable to shoot. But at some point just accept that it happens and move on. I've loved to shoot .44 Magnum revolvers since I was 13. My secret? I know it's going to be a bit unpleasant, so I just accept it and get on with it. Also, limit exposure.

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