How to eliminate wrist break/flinch.


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ratt_finkel
January 3, 2014, 10:32 AM
I'm not ashamed to admit that I have developed a serious flinch and consistent wrist breaking (usually up) while firing handguns. I've spent a lot of time reading articles on how to identify a flinch. But very little good information on how to actually cure or get rid of it.

I already dry fire. And I have no problem doing it in the living room, bedroom, or even at the range. But as soon as a loaded mag is inserted I turn my flinch back on. Now granted, I am still able to put 8/10 shots in a 8" target at 25 yards. I know that my shooting performance is being hindered by this wrist break.

The general consensus is to shoot .22 revolvers or semi-autos to help overcome the natural reaction to an explosion right in front of your face. I always double up on ear protection as well, so that shouldn't be an issue.

I've tried the .22 a little, but have found I flinch just as bad with that as my 9mm. Really anxious to kick this thing for good!

Thanks for the help in advance THR.

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Hokkmike
January 3, 2014, 10:46 AM
I think the key is just practice, practice, practice.

Get some one who can show you proper technique so you don't practice wrong and learn bad habits.

I have switched to a .32 magnum and .380 as standard calibers. This in an effort to minimize excessive recoil leading to flinching.

I used to carry a light weight .40. It was, I am sure, an excellent defensive choice, but a a horror to shoot.

ATLDave
January 3, 2014, 10:53 AM
I am a very flinchy person (takes me about 10 minutes to get contact lenses into my eyes), so I have been there. I also agree that most advice is geared towards diagnosing or proving a flinch, or fixing bad trigger control; none of that stuff actually fixes a deeply-ingrained flinch. Here's what worked for me:

Understand that the flinch begins with the eyes. The chances are really good that your eyes are closed when the gun goes off. And that means you can't see the sights move. You likely keep the sights aligned and on-target until you close your eyes, at which point they jump in whatever direction you flinch (mine was low and left, but I don't think the direction really matters for purposes of breaking the habit).

So, quit worrying about anything else but the eyes. Go to the range with a .22. Do not put up a target. Just point the gun at the backstop/berm. Fire the gun. Watch the gun go off. See as much as you can see. See if you can see the muzzle flash. See if you can see the brass eject. See if you can see the slide move. See if you can see the sights lift. Watch the gun go off. It's important to use a .22 for this, not only because the blast (which is the source of the flinch far more than the recoil) is less, but because the gun moves less and less quickly. See as much as you can. Don't even think about putting up a target until you can really see the gun going off.

It may take quite a while. And, if your flinch is as bad/deep as mine, then you'll need to repeat this several times over many days. And you may periodically need to go back and re-do it, especially if you don't shoot for a while.

But when you can start seeing the gun go off, the flinch will go away very quickly on its own. Then you can gradually move up the power scale. Don't rush it. Go to .38spl wadcutters in a full-size revolver, or soft 9mm in a service-sized pistol. If the flinch comes back, alternate with the .22. Once the flinch is going away, try to hit something small, but at very short range. (Put up a 1" circle sticker and try to shoot it completely out from 15 feet. That will get you to really start looking at the front sight. Shooting out a 1" sticker is how I start most range sessions.) You can't do it with your eyes closed, so it will reinforce keeping your eyes open through the shot.

The only problem with this approach is that you may go through hundreds of rounds of .22lr in the first session or two (I used an entire 500 round bulk pack on the first day I tried it). And that's tough to come by these days. But it works. It really, really does.

ATLDave
January 3, 2014, 11:01 AM
Get some one who can show you proper technique so you don't practice wrong and learn bad habits.

For a true flinch, it's not really a "technique" thing. The flinch is involuntary. More instruction is like telling someone not to blink their eyes when something touches their eyeball. The flinch is coming from the lizard brain, not the frontal lobe. It's not a conscious decision, and being told not to flinch won't solve it. The OP already knows not to flinch, he just can't follow the instructions. He's got to figure out how to reprogram his brain so that it doesn't want to flinch.

Vodoun da Vinci
January 3, 2014, 11:06 AM
My Wife is a small person and in our recent return to shooting sports has developed a flinch as well. Mostly from shooting things that hurt her (a little arthritis in the hands) and were just too smacky for a relearning beginner.

Dry firing has helped her a lot. 10 minutes twice a day with the very guns that smacked her which would be her Colt Officers ACP and Ruger LCR. Making sure they are unloaded she practices presenting the gun and slowly squeezing the trigger while maintaining perfect sight alignment and being very conscious of grip, trigger finger placement and trigger control.

She started by denying she was flinching until I loaded her revolver with only 4 rounds and she consistently moved the gun (a lot) when it fell on an empty chamber. She's making good progress by retraining trigger control and grip and sight alignment. Now my job is to put it back on the range with ammunition that won't smack her so hard until she regains confidence in live fire.

VooDoo

TestPilot
January 3, 2014, 01:14 PM
Many people suggest 22, mixing in dummy rounds, or dry fire for that. But, that is the wrong approach.

Your subconscious mind is doing the flinch. Dry fire or 22LR, or even the mixed in dummy rounds, only tricks your mind to think that there will be no recoil, blast, and noise.

The problem is that your subconscious mind deserve respect. You may not be able to reason with your subsconscious mind, but that does not mean your subsconscious mind is an idiot.

It is only a matter of time before your subsconscious mind will find out that you were only trying to trick it, then you are right back to flinching.

In order to reduce subconscious mind causing flinching, you need to be straight with your subcosciuos mind. You neet to tell it that you expect to hold the aim steady when there WILL be a recoil, WILL be noise, and WILL be blast.

That means training forcing yourself to be steady under the recoil of full power ammo. I find that to be the only permanent solution.

ole farmerbuck
January 3, 2014, 01:25 PM
Test, I agree with that and need to work on it myself. Thanks.

David E
January 3, 2014, 01:28 PM
A pic of your technique would help.

I presume you're using adequate ear protection....

The post about "seeing" is important.

Fire a few rounds of .357 or .44 if available. Then try your 9mm

And grip the gun HARDER with your SUPPORT hand, like 70/30

ATLDave
January 3, 2014, 01:42 PM
Fire a few rounds of .357 or .44 if available. Then try your 9mm

This is also a valuable insight. Going down the power scale helps you learn to see more (see my post above). Going up builds trust that the recoil and blast won't physically harm you.

ATLDave
January 3, 2014, 01:49 PM
Your subconscious mind is doing the flinch. Dry fire or 22LR, or even the mixed in dummy rounds, only tricks your mind to think that there will be no recoil, blast, and noise....
It is only a matter of time before your subsconscious mind will find out that you were only trying to trick it, then you are right back to flinching.

That was very much NOT my experience. I tried telling myself not to flinch for a long time. It did nothing. Working with a .22, then gradually adding power, worked. I'm not saying your views are wrong, just that they are not universally applicable.

None of it is about "tricking" your subconscious mind. First, it's about giving your subconscious mind something else to do (watching). While it's doing that, it's also learning that you aren't going to get hurt if your eyes are open when the gun goes off. Far from "tricking" your mind, the point is teaching your subconscious mind to trust. And the trust is well-placed, since you aren't going to be hurt. It's the opposite of trickery.

I do, however, agree that dry-fire won't cure a flinch (though it does wonders for bad trigger control - but that's a separate issue), and that dummy rounds merely diagnose/reveal a flinch, rather than do anything to fix it.

The_Armed_Therapist
January 3, 2014, 02:21 PM
Behavior modification. Make it harder to maintain the flinch than to keep it. Try taking a buddy to the range. When you flinch, have him punch you in the shoulder or whip you with a stick. LOL... Only somewhat kidding. You could run a lap, or sprint 100 yards every time you flinch. Worth a shot! This can serve to make the flinch move from involuntary to voluntary, increasing your autonomy and opening channels to eliminating it.

BCRider
January 3, 2014, 03:01 PM
In my experience there are four things that can lead to what you're getting.


Lack of follow through on the trigger. Instead you're pulling to the BANG! and then letting go with a jerky spasm.
Snatching at the trigger instead of a smooth and steady pressure buildup.
Overthinking the issue of gun support. Don't try to fight the recoil. And don't try to overanalyze it. Just let it happen with a dead neutral hold.
Holding on for dear life. Too strong a grip makes it hard to hold the gun steady and achieve the isolation from trigger finger to the rest of your grip.


I've helped out both myself, I was a terrible flincher in my early days, and others by having them focus on a proper and complete trigger pull follow through. The idea being to pull the trigger to the rear travel limit and HOLD IT THERE!. Do not just pull to the point of the big BANG! and then let go. Instead you want to follow through by pulling the trigger smoothly to the rear and holding it there through all the noise, smoke and jumping around. Only when the big show is over and the gun is again resting in your steady hands should you then ease off the pressure and let the trigger move ahead. As you do you'll feel the reset click and you can reverse and pull for the next shot.

Another hint on the trigger pull. Do not clutch at the trigger like it's a mouse button or a light switch. And do not pre-pressure the trigger to stage it and then snap off the last bit. Instead you want to smoothly and consistently build up pressure on the trigger until it stops at the rear travel limit. Don't think of moving the trigger, just build up your finger pressure smoothly and let the trigger moves as and when it wishes in response to the pressure. On striker fired guns and double action triggers this is actually pretty easy to do. On single action triggers that stay in place then jump at the break it's a bit tougher. But the key is to still build the pressure and let the break surprise you. If you KNOW it's going to shoot then you're still staging or snapping at the trigger. Both are very bad for attaining the right mental detachment from the BANG! And as is so often written the key to accuracy is that the actual shot should surprise you each and every time.

Don't try to time and control the recoil. You'll lose every time and your groups end up looking like spray from a plant mister. If you even THINK that you can hold back the recoil you will flinch.

You're probably only the second person I've ever heard of that flinches UPWARDS. The other is someone I shoot with. I have no idea what is going through either of your minds in terms of this lift up thing other than perhaps it's a reverse flinch that is trying to compensate for knowing that your tendency is to pull down. So you overcompensate and lift up? I just don't know.

Instead work at simply being a big dumb structure that holds the gun. No bear trap like antics to try to fight the recoil. Just a non moving support much like a tripod used with a camera. Forget about any sort of conscious effort to fight the recoil. You'll never get it right anyway. Instead just tension up and don't move ANYTHING other than your trigger finger. Not so much as an eyelash other than that one finger. A steady support combined with a smooth build on the trigger and the commitment to holding the trigger back throughout the recoil event will produce the sort of surprise break that is needed to achieve consistent shot releases that leads to tighter groupings.

Another issue of supporting the gun that I've seen is folks with a death grip. If you hold the gun TOO hard to where you're white knuckling it then it also makes it tough to separate your trigger finger movement from the rest of your muscles. If in doubt ease up a little and try again. Keep easing up until the gun actually moves around in your grip pressure and requires re-positioning. At that point you're TOO loose and need to grip a little harder back to where it doesn't move around even with multiple shots.

tuj
January 3, 2014, 05:10 PM
ball and dummy drills. have a friend load a mag with a random mix of snap caps and live rounds. see if you finch when the gun dry-fires.

md2lgyk
January 3, 2014, 05:58 PM
For a true flinch, it's not really a "technique" thing. The flinch is involuntary. This is what I was told when I first started shooting bullseye years ago. The "cure" is to have a trigger pull such that you don't know exactly when the gun will fire. If you can do that, any flinching will be after the fact and won't matter.

ratt_finkel
January 3, 2014, 06:03 PM
ATLdave: I really like your idea. And will give that an honest try. Since I don't own a .22 handgun. What should I practice with? (rental)

In order to reduce subconscious mind causing flinching, you need to be straight with your subcosciuos mind. You neet to tell it that you expect to hold the aim steady when there WILL be a recoil, WILL be noise, and WILL be blast.
I have tried this. And I am still able to get decent accuracy even out to 25 yards. But I as much as I try to will myself past the flinch it hasn't worked.

Tuj:ball and dummy drills. have a friend load a mag with a random mix of snap caps and live rounds. see if you finch when the gun dry-fires. I already know I have a flinch. If I know the gun is loaded I will flinch, if it's a mix I will still flinch. Trying to figure how to eliminate it, not identify it. But thank you.

BCrider:In my experience there are four things that can lead to what you're getting.

Lack of follow through on the trigger. Instead you're pulling to the BANG! and then letting go with a jerky spasm.
Snatching at the trigger instead of a smooth and steady pressure buildup.
Overthinking the issue of gun support. Don't try to fight the recoil. And don't try to overanalyze it. Just let it happen with a dead neutral hold.
Holding on for dear life. Too strong a grip makes it hard to hold the gun steady and achieve the isolation from trigger finger to the rest of your grip.

I've helped out both myself, I was a terrible flincher in my early days, and others by having them focus on a proper and complete trigger pull follow through. The idea being to pull the trigger to the rear travel limit and HOLD IT THERE!. Do not just pull to the point of the big BANG! and then let go. Instead you want to follow through by pulling the trigger smoothly to the rear and holding it there through all the noise, smoke and jumping around. Only when the big show is over and the gun is again resting in your steady hands should you then ease off the pressure and let the trigger move ahead. As you do you'll feel the reset click and you can reverse and pull for the next shot.

Another hint on the trigger pull. Do not clutch at the trigger like it's a mouse button or a light switch. And do not pre-pressure the trigger to stage it and then snap off the last bit. Instead you want to smoothly and consistently build up pressure on the trigger until it stops at the rear travel limit. Don't think of moving the trigger, just build up your finger pressure smoothly and let the trigger moves as and when it wishes in response to the pressure. On striker fired guns and double action triggers this is actually pretty easy to do. On single action triggers that stay in place then jump at the break it's a bit tougher. But the key is to still build the pressure and let the break surprise you. If you KNOW it's going to shoot then you're still staging or snapping at the trigger. Both are very bad for attaining the right mental detachment from the BANG! And as is so often written the key to accuracy is that the actual shot should surprise you each and every time.

Don't try to time and control the recoil. You'll lose every time and your groups end up looking like spray from a plant mister. If you even THINK that you can hold back the recoil you will flinch.

You're probably only the second person I've ever heard of that flinches UPWARDS. The other is someone I shoot with. I have no idea what is going through either of your minds in terms of this lift up thing other than perhaps it's a reverse flinch that is trying to compensate for knowing that your tendency is to pull down. So you overcompensate and lift up? I just don't know.

Instead work at simply being a big dumb structure that holds the gun. No bear trap like antics to try to fight the recoil. Just a non moving support much like a tripod used with a camera. Forget about any sort of conscious effort to fight the recoil. You'll never get it right anyway. Instead just tension up and don't move ANYTHING other than your trigger finger. Not so much as an eyelash other than that one finger. A steady support combined with a smooth build on the trigger and the commitment to holding the trigger back throughout the recoil event will produce the sort of surprise break that is needed to achieve consistent shot releases that leads to tighter groupings.

Another issue of supporting the gun that I've seen is folks with a death grip. If you hold the gun TOO hard to where you're white knuckling it then it also makes it tough to separate your trigger finger movement from the rest of your muscles. If in doubt ease up a little and try again. Keep easing up until the gun actually moves around in your grip pressure and requires re-positioning. At that point you're TOO loose and need to grip a little harder back to where it doesn't move around even with multiple shots.

You bring up some interesting points. I can't honestly tell you WHY I flinch upwards. But last night I had an epiphany at the range. I have been consistently shooing high lately. And on one of my shots I noticed that the sight was aimed high after recoil and I went "ah ha!". Now it's a matter of fixing the flinch AND keeping that front site in place through the whole trigger pull.

I am definitely guilty of staging the trigger. On any gun. And then rapidly pulling it the rest of the way, to a speed just slow enough to not "jerk" the trigger. But the way you put it, it may be adding to the mess.

I think I have good-to-excellent grip support. A change in my support hand is what recently led me to be able to improve my 25 yard targets from 2/10 hits to 8/10 hits in 8" circle. However, there are many times were I have to readjust my support hand after recoil. Again, independent of the firearm. So maybe that IS an area that could use improvement. I feel like the flinch is of a bigger issue though.

Big Mike
January 3, 2014, 06:06 PM
RF- I went the other way and managed to work on my flinch by shooting, slowly and semi-rapid, a larger caliber revolver, before shooting my 9, .40, .45 ACP semi-autos. I always left one chamber empty too; this was important. Once I was sensitized to the recoil of a larger caliber, moving onto the lower-powered pistols wasn't near as bad, and when I brought them, I would mix snap caps into mags. I focused mostly on consistent trigger manipulation. It helped for both the Glock and Beretta DA/SA I had, despite their triggers being different. Not sure you have the access/means but hammering out a 9 or .40 after 50 rounds of .357 or .44, almost feels like you're plinking. :) Good luck!

BCRider
January 3, 2014, 06:52 PM
I am definitely guilty of staging the trigger.......the way you put it, it may be adding to the mess.

I'd suggest that this messes things up a lot more than you realize. You're setting yourself up to time your flinch with your last trigger snatch.

Last summer I was SO'ing a group at my club's Speed Steel match. Two of the guys on my squad were LEO's using their duty issue DOA S&W's. The one guy wasn't TOOO bad but the other was taking 12 to 15 shots to hit 5 targets pretty consistently. I mentioned that he was staging and snatching the trigger a couple of times. He'd try to correct it but it would get a little better for a couple of shots and then he was back to the bad habits. After the match I offered to show him more of what I meant in exchange for getting to shoot his gun..... plus I was curious about just how bad issue DAO guns REALLY are.... :D

As it happened I got to show him 15 or so shots worth out of his duty mags (the rest of us are only trusted with 10 at a time up here). And I didn't have any trouble getting 15 hits on targets ranging from 8 inch round at 10 yards out to the 6 inch at around 20 yards. When he really focused on a smooth pull with no staging he was hitting one shot/one target too. He couldn't stay for the afternoon round but he promised to work on this more.

Check out your grip compared to this excellent video;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDZDttBfock

If you're not doing it just like he shows I'd suggest you have room for improvement.

On the question of using a .22 as a flinch fighter? I'm a huge fan of this method. Like you found it's one thing to do it perfect when dry firing but a whole other issue when you know, or strongly suspect, that there is ammo in the gun. I like the .22 as it gives me SOME recoil that I can work on focusing away from fretting over and it gives me holes in the paper to show me when it's all working well.

I also knew that I wanted at least ONE .rimfire pistol so for me it was not a burden to buy one. Apparently it found a soft spot in me as I've got as many rimfire semi auto guns as I do centerfire.

What I'd do with the rimfire gun is load up and work on my style. When I was in the zone I'd switch to the center fire 9 until I noticed the flinch returning. I'd then go back to the .22 and work on the basics. At first I'd get in the "zone" with a mag of .22 and in less than 10 shots of centerfire I'd be back to flinching. So back to the .22. All in all it took me the better part of 2000 rounds of rimfire and likely 500 of center fire going back and forth before the flinch was put away for a while. If I don't shoot for a while I feel the flinch coming back even with 9's and .38's. So I not only shoot rimfire for the cheap fun but for the ongoing practice.

Staging and then snatching the trigger is going to promote a flinch at LEAST as badly as pulling the trigger only to the BANG! and then letting it go. You need to break the focus on both the break and the BANG! Once you can do that the BANG! becomes something you feel in passing as you're focusing on the sight picture and the smooth pull and follow through hold.

It's not unfair to suggest that if you set yourself up to KNOW that the gun is going to kick on demand by staging the trigger and/or snatching at it with a sudden poke that it becomes very hard to tell the little guy controlling the automatic reactions in the back room of your head to just ignore what is coming. But if you can set things up so that the eventual BANG! is a surprise then you can fool him into missing the event and kicking your arm and wrist muscles until it's too late. And that's where the focus on the sight picture and working on a smooth and steady pressure build comes in.

Shimitup
January 3, 2014, 07:39 PM
This may be over simplifying, but last weekend I was at the range having been away for very long time. I was shooting full house silhouette loads in my Redhawk and flinching a bit. I realized I was not seeing the sights and following through. What seemed to do the trick was to first get mad at myself and WATCH THE FRONT SIGHT! Building up the trigger press was secondary, don't care when it goes off its going to when it's ready, but I will see the sights when it does. Seemed to work. From that point forward I saw the sights on every shot. Part of what got me riled is that it's a hoss of a gun and there's nothing painful about shooting it, done it nearly 10'000 times. I was rewarded by hearing some steel rams pinging too.

9mmepiphany
January 3, 2014, 07:52 PM
For a true flinch, it's not really a "technique" thing. The flinch is involuntary
It depends on how you define a "true flinch"

If you are talking about a flinch as a reaction to sound or flash...yes, that is involuntary; but it happens after the shot has taken place. From the OP's description (not occurring during dry fire), it sounds like more likely that it is an anticipatory flinch...which is completely about technique.

Most of it is mental.

It is the shooter anticipating that the gun will recoil and snapping through the trigger pull...to get it over with. This is addressed through conditioning the subconscious, through exposure to lighter recoiling guns to accept the lack of impending danger/harm from the recoil.

More common is the shooter anticipating the sights drifting off of "perfect alignment" and trying to make the shot go off as they see the sights "perfectly aligned"...which is demonstrated by his desire to stage the trigger. This has to do with emotional investment in the result and not trusting in the process of seeing the sights and pressing the trigger

This is completely technique. You need to understand and accept that the sights will move as you press the trigger to the rear. Rather than force the sights back onto target, you need to allow them to return to the center, just as you do when you drive a car on the street...it is the difference between jerky and smooth steering corrections.

Keep pressing the trigger evenly and straight to the rear as you hold the aligned sights on the target and the trigger will eventually release the sear/hammer and the shot will go off. Don't look at your target after each shot, shoot 3-5 shots before evaluating where your shots are striking.

A picture of your shooting style really would help with evaluating your grip and trigger finger placement

BYJO4
January 3, 2014, 08:14 PM
Like many, I also tend to have periods that I will flinch or anticipate the gun going off. Since I don't fire any heavy recoil loads, I think mine comes from trying too hard and over thinking the mechanics of doing everything right when aiming at the target. When this happens, I concentrate on the front sight and target with the goal of seeing the muzzel of the barrel move upward when the gun fires. This insures that I'm not closing my eyes or moving my head while squeezing the trigger.

ratt_finkel
January 3, 2014, 09:36 PM
Just got back from the gym, so sorry if I don't look photogenic for THR :p

But here is my stance with my favorite Beretta M9A1.

Left Side view
http://i39.tinypic.com/e71735.jpg

Front view
http://i43.tinypic.com/2jfbsyh.jpg

Right side
http://i44.tinypic.com/2il0tnb.jpg

Top view
http://i40.tinypic.com/o5ck7t.jpg

Right rear
http://i41.tinypic.com/2rr43lc.jpg

Far right rear
http://i43.tinypic.com/23h7ofq.jpg

Front angle
http://i43.tinypic.com/14njn5s.jpg

9mm: a lot of what you said rings true. I am definitely anticipating the recoil and doing "whatever" it is that I do to try and combat that.

9mmepiphany
January 3, 2014, 11:11 PM
First I have to say that these pictures really help. Much better than the single POV, blurry pictures we sometimes get.

Two confusing points you might address:
1. In the first picture, your strong thumb looks very tense (like it is applying pressure to the base of the other thumb); however in the last picture it looks pretty relaxed. Which is your default...I'm guessing tense
2. I can't quite tell what your support hand index finger is doing, if it is trying to 1) hook the trigger guard (a la Napoleon Solo), 2) establish the Ayoob Wedge, or going for the Vogel grip.

Some observations of less than optimal technique:
1. It looks like you have your elbows locked...which means you're being rocked by the recoil
2. You have your trigger finger along the frame, rather than arced outward...which means that as you press the trigger, you're pushing the gun laterally.

Don't try to "fight" the recoil...after all it only occurs after you've completed your trigger press. Accept that the gun will recoil...you really don't have much choice...and use technique to allow the gun to return to it's original POA. If you are trying to muscle the gun to keep it from flipping upward...or even worst, using a push/pull technique...it will have an adverse effect on your trigger press and your accuracy

Since no one else has mentioned it yet, don't worry about your wrist breaking upwards...it isn't affecting your accuracy in a two-handed grip. Your strong hand grip shouldn't be too tight and your support hand should exert most of the grip pressure in holding the gun

BCRider
January 3, 2014, 11:26 PM
I missed the locked elbows on the first view.

From the looks of the nail beds on your thumbs and the amount of pad deformation on that left side muzzle shot I'd suggest that you're pressing into the frame with your thumbs. The thumbs should not be used for support. Putting them where we do is mostly a parking spot to get them out of the way. It's fine to have them in contact but be sure you're not pressing as hard as the pictures make it appear.

9mmepiphany
January 4, 2014, 12:32 AM
The elbows are most obvious in Pic #2, #5, and #7; much less so in #4 and #6.

It is possible he has huge forearms and smaller biceps, but it isn't very likely

murf
January 4, 2014, 12:57 AM
your wrists are supposed to "break". accept that fact and stop fighting the recoil. don't help, or hinder the gun during the shot, just line up the sights and squeeze the trigger. keep a firm grip throughout the shot.

may i suggest you also bring the gun back down after recoil and line up the sights on target after every shot.

just don't fight the recoil. fwiw

murf

p.s. watch the video at customsixguns.com. john linebaugh does a wonderful job of managing recoil.

98Redline
January 4, 2014, 01:06 PM
Technique changes are not going to cure your flinch. They may improve your shooting but once you develop a flinch, until you can break the mental connection between the sights being on target and the gun going off, you are doomed to continue to flinch.

At it's root a flinch is nothing more than classical conditioning, the same as Pavlov's dogs. In Pavlov's experiment he rung the bell then fed the dogs...many many times. Eventually the dogs mentally connected the sound of the bell with getting fed. Once that connection was made, whenever the bell was rung they started salivating regardless of whether they were being fed or not. Your flinch is exactly the same thing. Your mind has made a connection between the sights being on target and the recoil of the gun. To get rid of the flinch you need to retrain your brain and break the connection.

1) No more target shooting...for awhile. Stop shooting at targets and "things" and just concentrate on your trigger control. At the range make sure your gun is pointed down range and safely at the berm or backstop and just squeeze the trigger. Don't aim and don't look at the sights at all. Concentrate on building up your trigger pressure. Each time the gun goes off, it should be a complete surprise. At this stage, as long as the round goes off in a safe direction, we don't care about where on the backstop or berm it impacts. Not having a target up helps you from inadvertently trying to aim at your previous bullet holes.
As soon as you start to feel the least bit tired or fatigued, stop. There is no sense in reinforcing bad habits.

2) Put up a target and with a loaded mag or cylinder (to keep the weight of the gun consistent), bring the gun up and just aim at the target. Hold your aim for about 2x as long as it would to get a normal shot off then lower the gun. No trigger squeeze at all. Keep doing this over and over.

Keep this regime for at least 21 days if you can.
NO SHOOTING AT TARGETS during this time.

At the end of this time period approach your target shooting again in small increments. Just a couple of shots while aiming then back to #1 and #2 again for the majority of your range time. Slowly work back up to a normal round count. It is very helpful to keep #1 and #2 as part of your normal practice regime to keep the flinch away.

As a rule, you should be doing #1 about twice as many times as #2.

Some people will struggle with flinching their entire shooting career, others, not so much. What makes one person susceptible and another not, I am not sure, but I do know that this routine is how my shooting coach got my flinch in check quite a few years ago. Since that time I keep these tools as part of my practice regime and it allows me to shoot even my biggest bore revolvers (480 Ruger) without any flinch at all.

ratt_finkel
January 4, 2014, 10:51 PM
9mm:
First I have to say that these pictures really help. Much better than the single POV, blurry pictures we sometimes get.

Two confusing points you might address:
1. In the first picture, your strong thumb looks very tense (like it is applying pressure to the base of the other thumb); however in the last picture it looks pretty relaxed. Which is your default...I'm guessing tense
2. I can't quite tell what your support hand index finger is doing, if it is trying to 1) hook the trigger guard (a la Napoleon Solo), 2) establish the Ayoob Wedge, or going for the Vogel grip.

Some observations of less than optimal technique:
1. It looks like you have your elbows locked...which means you're being rocked by the recoil
2. You have your trigger finger along the frame, rather than arced outward...which means that as you press the trigger, you're pushing the gun laterally.

Don't try to "fight" the recoil...after all it only occurs after you've completed your trigger press. Accept that the gun will recoil...you really don't have much choice...and use technique to allow the gun to return to it's original POA. If you are trying to muscle the gun to keep it from flipping upward...or even worst, using a push/pull technique...it will have an adverse effect on your trigger press and your accuracy

Since no one else has mentioned it yet, don't worry about your wrist breaking upwards...it isn't affecting your accuracy in a two-handed grip. Your strong hand grip shouldn't be too tight and your support hand should exert most of the grip pressure in holding the gun

The elbows are most obvious in Pic #2, #5, and #7; much less so in #4 and #6.
It is possible he has huge forearms and smaller biceps, but it isn't very likely

I don't think my elbows are completely locked out. Though I would say they are very close. I definitely extend my left arm out near to lock compared to my right arm.

Thumbs are not applying any lateral pressure. But they also do more than just dangle there.

Index finger is just wrapped around my right hand. Not doing anything special or funky with it. Though I too took a double take after seeing the pics.

Not sure what you mean about my trigger finger touching the frame.

Yes, my left hand is applying significantly more pressure than my right. Probably 70-80%. Overall, I have landed on my current positioning to fight lateral movement of the gun. Which has proven to be effective. But still fighting the flinch and shooting high.

I can't say that I try to fight the recoil, but who knows. Maybe I am. I do know there are times when i really try to relax and let the gun really do its thing. In those instances, I actually find my accuracy worsens. I have tried ever manner of grip you can think of. Loose, tight, overly tight, overly loose, etc.



BCrider: I missed the locked elbows on the first view.

From the looks of the nail beds on your thumbs and the amount of pad deformation on that left side muzzle shot I'd suggest that you're pressing into the frame with your thumbs. The thumbs should not be used for support. Putting them where we do is mostly a parking spot to get them out of the way. It's fine to have them in contact but be sure you're not pressing as hard as the pictures make it appear.

I don't think I'm applying any real pressure with the thumbs. I know in dry firing exercises that they don't affect anything. Having just gone to the range, I noticed that they appeared white like there was excessive pressure. But there was no actual pressure on the frame.

murf:your wrists are supposed to "break". accept that fact and stop fighting the recoil. don't help, or hinder the gun during the shot, just line up the sights and squeeze the trigger. keep a firm grip throughout the shot.

may i suggest you also bring the gun back down after recoil and line up the sights on target after every shot.

just don't fight the recoil. fwiw

murf

p.s. watch the video at customsixguns.com. john linebaugh does a wonderful job of managing recoil.

Indeed. As I mentioned earlier. Even when I relinquish complete control allowing the gun to do whatever it wants. I loose accuracy. But your advice is sound.

98Redline: To be honest, I'm not sure if I can do this. This is my prime time firearm season since my car racing season is over. So I have lots of free time for the range. It will be tough to go 21 days with out firing a single bullet. I'd like to try some of the other technique before I go this drastic. It's certainly a very unique regimen. And I appreciate you sharing it with me.

My plan is to either buy or rent some rimfire pistols and plink away until I can get rid of the flinch. Focus on the front site and focus on a smooth consistent trigger pull. I like the idea of just shooting at the backstop while working on these basics. It will be tough for me as I am really working hard on improving my accuracy. But it's a necessary evil I suppose,

With my two berettas, I know the trigger stage really well. So I am going to have to work real hard on unlearning that staging technique. Or just shoot it DA every shot. Which is difficult because of the long heavy trigger pull. In SA it's quite gritty and obvious where the break point is. If I had a competition type gun I'm sure that could help me a bit.

Really really apprecaite everyone's input and advice. I'm not afraid to admit i may be doing something wrong. And I am open to improvement. Thank you:)

mbt2001
January 4, 2014, 10:55 PM
Flinch has nothing to do with the gun and everything to do with the shooter, I agree with that point.

BCRider
January 4, 2014, 11:04 PM
While I agree that it's a PITA to de-cock regularly so you can shoot in DA mode it's likely that it will aid you a lot. And in fact the heavy pull might actually be better since it'll mask just where the break will occur.

So yeah, try some DA shooting. Work with the follow through idea and be sure you're holding the trigger back until the recoil is finished. Then work the reset. After each shot pair of one DA then one SA stop and de-cock the hammer and do it again.

And if you can buy, beg or borrow a .22 I'd recommend trying it as a flinch buster. A lot of folks agree with me that it's a great way to beat the flinch. It might be for you as well.

Dave P.
January 4, 2014, 11:21 PM
This will sound odd, I've had some success with newer shooters by
having them shoot .22 rifle off a bench. Have them really focus on
tight groups. A .22 rifle is pretty much a non-event when it fires.
Seems to carry over to the handgun when they switch back.
Dave

5Wire
January 5, 2014, 04:02 AM
These (printable) diagnostic targets might help:

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y286/5Wire/Targets/RHC.jpg

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y286/5Wire/Targets/LHC.jpg

9mmepiphany
January 5, 2014, 09:49 AM
I know you mean well, but those targets at designed to correct stray shots while shooting one-handed.

They have very limited use for diagnosing two-handed shooting errors

98Redline
January 5, 2014, 10:53 AM
Maybe I wasn't clear in my description above.

When you are doing #1 you are discharging rounds, what you are not doing is actively sighting using your sights. You eyeball it to make sure that your round will hit the backstop then take your eyes off the sight while you work on your trigger control up to and including firing a round.

You are certainly welcome to try all of the other methods above to try and get rid of your flinch but the only one that addresses the connection your mind has made between the sights and the recoil is the one I suggested. There may be form or technique related improvements that can be made to your shooting that will eventually help your speed and accuracy, however every round you discharge while aiming is further burning that flinch into the learned behavior of your brain. I don't care if you shoot a dump truck full of 22s and you think you have the flinch under control, when you go back to your 9mm, that flinch will return very...very quickly or worse yet, will show up when shooting the 22.

The other part you are missing is that you are not, not practicing. What you are doing is practicing each of the disciplines required for shooting, separately. In addition to helping break the connection your mind has made between the sights and recoil you are continually working on your trigger control and your aiming, albeit separately. When you eventually get back to putting them together you will find that your shooting will have improved markedly. Your mind will stitch the aiming practice and the trigger control actions together seamlessly.

This technique was not something that I came up with via "rectal retrieval". It was prescribed to me by a shooting coach who I was working with over the course of two years and I can assure you that it does work. Frustrating...yup, somewhat abstract...yup, effective...absoloutely

5Wire
January 5, 2014, 11:57 AM
I know you mean well, but those targets at designed to correct stray shots while shooting one-handed.

They have very limited use for diagnosing two-handed shooting errors

I know you mean well, too but you've offered no optional charts and there are none I've seen online. The ubiquitous correction charts are essentially correct. There is a two handed version which I've seen but haven't yet found online. I know where I saw it and I'll try for a scan or photo. In any case, the net results are translatable, especially trigger pressure and heeling.

One of the problems with two-handed holds are the many varieties there are, Chapman, Isosceles, Teacup, and so on, each with a different inherent set of dynamics. Of course one could always try shooting one-handed and refine a diagnosis from there.

RBid
January 5, 2014, 02:12 PM
I am a very flinchy person (takes me about 10 minutes to get contact lenses into my eyes), so I have been there. I also agree that most advice is geared towards diagnosing or proving a flinch, or fixing bad trigger control; none of that stuff actually fixes a deeply-ingrained flinch. Here's what worked for me:

Understand that the flinch begins with the eyes. The chances are really good that your eyes are closed when the gun goes off. And that means you can't see the sights move. You likely keep the sights aligned and on-target until you close your eyes, at which point they jump in whatever direction you flinch (mine was low and left, but I don't think the direction really matters for purposes of breaking the habit).

So, quit worrying about anything else but the eyes. Go to the range with a .22. Do not put up a target. Just point the gun at the backstop/berm. Fire the gun. Watch the gun go off. See as much as you can see. See if you can see the muzzle flash. See if you can see the brass eject. See if you can see the slide move. See if you can see the sights lift. Watch the gun go off. It's important to use a .22 for this, not only because the blast (which is the source of the flinch far more than the recoil) is less, but because the gun moves less and less quickly. See as much as you can. Don't even think about putting up a target until you can really see the gun going off.

It may take quite a while. And, if your flinch is as bad/deep as mine, then you'll need to repeat this several times over many days. And you may periodically need to go back and re-do it, especially if you don't shoot for a while.

But when you can start seeing the gun go off, the flinch will go away very quickly on its own. Then you can gradually move up the power scale. Don't rush it. Go to .38spl wadcutters in a full-size revolver, or soft 9mm in a service-sized pistol. If the flinch comes back, alternate with the .22. Once the flinch is going away, try to hit something small, but at very short range. (Put up a 1" circle sticker and try to shoot it completely out from 15 feet. That will get you to really start looking at the front sight. Shooting out a 1" sticker is how I start most range sessions.) You can't do it with your eyes closed, so it will reinforce keeping your eyes open through the shot.

The only problem with this approach is that you may go through hundreds of rounds of .22lr in the first session or two (I used an entire 500 round bulk pack on the first day I tried it). And that's tough to come by these days. But it works. It really, really does.

This is a quality post.

I use different methods, but for the same specific issue-- eyes. I carry a Glock 19 Gen 4, so I do flinch work by shooting a Glock 23 Gen 4 and focusing on seeing the sights through the break, recoil, and settling back on target. If I can call the shot by seeing where the sights were when the shot broke, I know I'm good. By using a harder recoiling weapon, I get desensitized to the snap, and get have a slightly increased challenge tracking the sights. When I shoot .40 regularly, my flinch is kept at bay, and shooting my carry weapon feels eeeeaaaaassssyyyyy.

The eyes really are the key.

9mmepiphany
January 5, 2014, 11:09 PM
I know you mean well, too but you've offered no optional charts and there are none I've seen online. The ubiquitous correction charts are essentially correct. There is a two handed version which I've seen but haven't yet found online. I know where I saw it and I'll try for a scan or photo.

...One of the problems with two-handed holds are the many varieties there are, Chapman, Isosceles, Teacup, and so on, each with a different inherent set of dynamics
This is true...assuming you mean alternative

I've started the process of coming up with an accurate 2-handed chart more than once, and the tedium of the process, along with my natural tendency to correct with the support hand has constantly flustered me enough to never complete the project.

In any case, the net results are translatable, especially trigger pressure and heeling.
My experience is that heeling might be correct...it is countered by pronating the support hand's wrist, but "Too much trigger finger" and "Too little trigger finger" have no effect as long as the trigger in pressed straight to the rear.

Using a Isosceles style grip, I can put the trigger between the first joint (from the tip) and the second joint and still place centered shots consistently at the POA

JohnKSa
January 6, 2014, 12:24 AM
If you dryfire a lot, you should have the trigger pull down cold. So forget about the trigger pull. Instead, do the following while you are shooting: Concentrate on watching the sights through recoil. Recoil is going to happen, you need to keep track of what the sights do during the process so you can get them back on target without unnecessary delay. You want to pay attention to how the gun moves in recoil and adjust your grip and stance to modify the recoil "track" of the front sight so it's as close to straight up/back as possible and recoil recovery is as close to straight down/forward as possible.

Don't try to force perfect sight alignment for each shot. Your results will be better with a tiny bit of misalignment and no flinch than with perfect alignment and a flinch. Trying to be perfect for each shot actually makes it more likely you'll flinch.

Focus on watching for the muzzle flash for each shot. This is the same thing as focusing on NOT blinking at each shot but stated in a positive way instead of a negative way. Trying to not to blink is hard. Watching for the flash is much easier. Why is this important? The muzzle flash happens so fast that you can't react to it in time to screen it out with a blink. That means if you don't see the muzzle flash you are blinking BEFORE the shot and that means you're also flinching. You want to work to see the muzzle flash every time the gun goes 'bang'.

Focus on keeping the trigger pulled after the shot and on consciously releasing it to reset once the sights are back on target. Concentrating on the reset/release instead of on the pull/break often results in much better on-target results.

Make an effort to shoot in a cadence as a training tool. If, at first, you need to call your cadence out loud, then do so. "On target, break shot, back on target, release to reset, break shot"--and so on. At some point, you'll be able to combine the conscious release to reset with bringing the gun back on target and that will help speed things up without feeling like you're rushing.In other words, stop agonizing over perfect sight alignment and on holding the gun perfectly steady. Instead, focus on what is happening as the shot breaks and on all the things you need to do during recoil and as you prepare for the next shot.

You've been trying to convince your brain that recoil/muzzle blast/muzzle flash should be ignored and have failed in the attempt. In one sense that's a good thing. Paying attention to and dealing with those things constructively is actually an important part of shooting accurately and rapidly and you can't achieve that goal if you're trying to ignore what happens as and immediately after the shot breaks.

Instead of telling yourself to ignore what happens after the shot break, train yourself to observe the process so you can use those observations to improve your performance. Now all the things your brain subconsciously dreads and tries to protect against by flinching/blinking actually become things you want to study, analyze and control.

<<Ok, confession time--I didn't read the entire thread before posting. After posting, I reviewed some more of it and I see that ATLDave has already addressed some of the issues I have mentioned. >>

David E
January 6, 2014, 09:19 PM
The OP is doing a "pelvic rest," where his weight is on his heels. This magnifies the perceived kick of any caliber. Especially rapid fire. Add in locked elbows and it's even worse.

Put the weight on the balls of the feet.

I can't see he's applying 70-80% of the grip pressure with his support hand when his forefinger isn't really a part of it. Bring the support hand down so it is parallel with the gun hand middle finger, knuckles aligned.

THEN apply 70% pressure utilizing a clamshell grip.

tuj
January 7, 2014, 02:44 AM
you know, instead of doing this all online, why don't you come down to Houston and I will be more than happy to take you to the range!

ratt_finkel - you're only a few hours north! PM me if you're ever interested. I have helped lot of people with their shooting.

ratt_finkel
January 8, 2014, 12:09 AM
Well I am beyond discouraged. Went to the range on the 2nd. Shot two of my best 25 yard targets ever. Including with my soon to be father in-laws Glock 19 which I have no real trigger time with.

Then I went to the range this Saturday. Was there with the kids shooting their 22 rifle. When done, I put 2 groups of 5 down range. They were just slightly worse than my previous best.

Then I went on Sunday as I had an out of town friend and local friend who wanted to go. There were a smorgasbord of pistols there. Including a glock 34 with a trigger job and a m&p pro. All guns I have not shot or had little trigger time with. I was excited as I figured this would be an opportunity to go back to the basics on these new guns. Without staging the trigger as I do with my berettas.

The first few groups were ok. But soon there after my shots started getting worse and worse. I got to the point where I felt like all I could do was slap at the trigger. Herky jerky can't help it. Ugh, it was ugly. Finally called it a day feeling in defeat.

Went to the range today since I wanted to work on some of the techniques discussed here. Plus it was on the way home from Cabelas LOL
Anyway, I borrowed a pending gift, Heritage Rough Rider 22 revolver. I took my M9A1 just in case as well.

I started out just shooting at the back stop. It took me a few rounds to "settle down" and just let the gun do it's thing. Focused on feeling the trigger. But mostly focusing on the front sight. And then watching the blast and the muzzle rise. I think I shot 3 cylinders this way.

Then I put up a target with a 1" black sticker (exploding type). Put the target out to 3 yards and began blasting away.

The first cylinder was mostly about 1" to the left. Nice grouping though. 1" at the most. The sights are very tough and I do not much have experience with the blade and grove style. Or with the odd grips of revolvers period. So I blame that some haha.

I repeated this for 3 stickers. Went through just over 50 rounds in total. Was able to get excellent accuracy and tear out each sticker with about 12 shots.

So I decided to load 5 rounds in the beretta. Put the target out to 3 yards. Results were dismal. Atleast compared to how I normally shoot at that close of a distance. Put it out to 7 yards and again no luck. Then brought it back to 3 yards and the shots were again inconsistent.

So I pulled the target down and blasted 2 - 5 shot groups at the back stop. Tried focusing on the things discussed here. But I don't know. I feel like I've lost it completely. What was a minor flinch keeping me from 3" or less 25 yard groups has now turned into complete destabilization of my shooting performance. Maybe I just need to step back and take some time off.

ATLDave
January 8, 2014, 10:03 AM
It takes time. You're building trust in your brain. If you've got a really ingrained flinch, you won't lick it in a single session. Keep working on it. Don't try to push through to the 9mm too fast.

ratt_finkel
January 8, 2014, 10:20 AM
I tried shooting the M9 in DA. But it was worse that way. While building up pressure I know that I was approaching the breaking point and I would just rush it from there and it was a disaster. Repeated this several times.

Tried doing a consistent pull in SA mode but I kept staging the trigger. There isn't a ton of slack. But it's a brick wall getting over the breaking point. If I had a competition trigger I think it would be a breeze. But anyone who has shot a 92 variant in SA knows that the break is long and gritty. It's incredibly hard to maintain a smooth consistent pressure, when the trigger is neither smooth nor consistent.

I'm thinking about going to my Ruger SR9c. While it does recoil more than my beretta it does have a much more consistent trigger pull. I may look into the ceiner conversion for the 92 as well. Or maybe just get the whole Chiappa M9 22. Still undecided. Either way, I'm going to do some dry firing this week and wait until Sunday to go back to the range.

ATLDave
January 8, 2014, 10:54 AM
So here's the question: Do you feel like you have your flinch completely, 100% definitely gone in a .22? Can you watch the sight throughout the recoil process? Can you watch the front sight lift out of the notch, move up in recoil, and drop back down into the notch? On every single shot?

If not, don't even think about moving to the centerfire stuff. It may take you thousands of .22 rounds to get there with a bad, strongly ingrained flinch. That's what it took for me. You absolutely have to train your eyes to stay open through the shot. And if you cannot manage that with a .22, then it's definitely not happening with something many times more powerful. Don't worry about groups. Just learn to see the sights throughout the whole shot.

ratt_finkel
January 8, 2014, 03:19 PM
So here's the question: Do you feel like you have your flinch completely, 100% definitely gone in a .22? Can you watch the sight throughout the recoil process? Can you watch the front sight lift out of the notch, move up in recoil, and drop back down into the notch? On every single shot?

If not, don't even think about moving to the centerfire stuff. It may take you thousands of .22 rounds to get there with a bad, strongly ingrained flinch. That's what it took for me. You absolutely have to train your eyes to stay open through the shot. And if you cannot manage that with a .22, then it's definitely not happening with something many times more powerful. Don't worry about groups. Just learn to see the sights throughout the whole shot.

Short answer: Yes. After about two or 3 shots yesterday I was able to do what you mentioned. I shot the rest of that cylinder and then two more without a target. Moving on to a target with the 22 I was still able to witness the entire event.

When I moved to the 9mm the flinch immediately came back. What's funny is when I shot over the weekend with my buddies. I brought my Socom II out. (I was really hoping to shoot that first but the range was slammed) Indoors this thing is LOUD! And puts out an enormous fire ball. I was able to shoot that without the slightest of flinches and again witness the entire firing event. Which is how I know it's a flame thrower LOL

I think I'm passed the visual and audio overload that "larger" handguns offer. And having been shooting now for 4 or 5 years. I thought was passed the jumpy stage too. But it's come back and I guess just the gun going off has spooked me again. So I think that's what I need to work on.

ATLDave
January 8, 2014, 03:22 PM
When you move to the 9mm, are you able to track the sights, or are you blinking?

You may want to try something in between the two. Got access to a full-sized .38 revolver that you can run wadcutters through?

Rule3
January 8, 2014, 06:15 PM
As others have mention, it's easier to do with a revolver but get some snap caps. Alternative live rounds and snap caps in you mags. Have someone else load them if you can.

You will not know when the gun will fire or not, Pull through the trigger do not stage, do not care about getting a bullseye

In my former Career, I dealt with people with anticipatory anxiety (and other issues). More of a fear on panic situation before the event even happened, It gets ingrained and then just has a life of it's own.

Follow the grip suggestions given, but do not think about the actual shooting or target or actual bulls eye. Relax your shoulders, breath slowly and normally and pretty much just relax. You may be to the point of trying to fight it as you know or anticipate it's going to happen.
Take a stance that is comfortable, don't worry if it is not a perfect Weaver or whatever. Stand how you feel comfortable, we are working on removing a flinch not perfect form.

It sounds lame but just go with it Zen like if you will. let the gun recoil and rise up, relax shot, breath, shoot, slow, breathe etc etc.

Wear shoes not socks;);)

BCRider
January 9, 2014, 10:14 PM
The time with the new guns likely caused you to focus on something other than the BANG!. So that's likely why you did a little better for a while. Then you got feeling confident enough with the new to you guns and that let you get back to the "serious" work of focusing on the up coming BANG!

I feel that your success with the rimfire revolver says a lot. It shows that you CAN focus beyond the big BANG! and just simply hold the gun steady while pulling the trigger. So now what you need to do is achieve Rule3's Zen like state of mind and smoothly carry that on over to the 9mm. And then when it all collapses go back to the rimfire and get back into the Zen Zone. If this means you can't even get the mag seated and aim the first center fire shot then so be it. It sounds like you can FEEL and recognize the flinch staging itself to jump on you. And that's a good thing in my experience because it means you can isolate it and eventually learn to send it to the back reaches of your mind.

I know it sounds corny but Rule3's "Zen" suggestion is what I've always called it too. But whatever you call it all the suggestions so far have been geared to either consciously taking your mind into that zone or through other repetitive practice methods to unconsciously do the same thing. And regardless of how you get there you will only banish your flinch through this Zen like mind control.

For me and a lot of others the fun method was and remains lots of .22LR handgun time. For others it's copious amounts of dry firing. And for another group it is lots of center fire time with focus on the whole experience to aid in downplaying the kick and noise to your mind so that you can move on and shoot without reacting.

Obviously different things work for different folks since we all got past it using whatever method we are supporting. Your trick will be to find the one that works for you.

The one thing that I think most of us will agree on is that staging the trigger is bad. It is the reason I went to some lengths to describe the pressure build idea instead of actually moving the trigger. In the end I don't think it matters much which method you use to beat the flinch issue. But either way your accuracy will take a step up in the end if you learn to pressure the trigger and let it move on its own. And remember the follow through where you hold the trigger against the rear travel limit until the recoil is done. Again this focuses on a smooth and deliberate trigger control.


I'll also toss out one other suggestion. It'll seem a little out there but you might just want to try a competition event such as Steel Challenge. Odd though it seems the focus on aiming, shooting and moving to the next target puts enough pressure on your thought process that it can take away the time and opportunity for the back of your mind to focus on the kick and issue a "flinch command". It's worth a try at least. And it's hellishly good fun in its own right. Not to mention you'll meet a great bunch of folks with similar intrest. I've yet to attend a shooting event where the time spent yakking between shooting was not just as much fun as actually pulling the trigger. So even if it doesn't work out in terms of kicking the flinch in the teabag you'll still have a lot of fun and get some fresh air and sun.... :D

PS: With that little cowboy revolver try holding your hand around the grip a little lower so your pinky sits down under the butt end. If you're not doing that due to holding high to get all your fingers onto the front strap that will push your shots over to the left for a right handed shooter. Drop your hold down a little so your pinky has to sit below on the butt end and it'll pull the POI back and you'll find you're ripping the center out.

tuj
January 10, 2014, 03:15 AM
Maybe this will help. I shoot bullseye (NRA Conventional Pistol). We shoot the .22 pistol, any centerfire pistol, and a .45 pistol at distances of 50 yards for slow-fire and 25 yards for timed and rapid fire. I was a natural shooting the .22 and was shooting very good scores after just a few matches. Then one of the guys said 'hey, why don't you try this .45 in a match?'. Ok sure, np right?

Wrong.

I shot the .45 so horribly you can't even imagine the look of shame on my face. And I know it wasn't the gun's fault either; this was a bullseye .45 that would hold 1.5" from a randsom rest at 50 yards.

What happened? I learned about recoil and developed a flinch. So as I started to shoot the .45 more (I got my own bullseye guns at that point), I found out that my slow-fire .45 shooting was actually not that bad at all. It wasn't as good as the .22, but it was close. But my timed and rapid fire targets were CRAP! In fact, in one match I shot the metal tag that held the number on my target.

I had developed 'the jerk' which when you shoot one-handed (as we do in bullseye) and you are right-handed, the jerk tends to put the shot low-left. I practiced my *$$ off to try and get better with the .45. By this point I was shooting Expert-level .22 scores so I didn't understand why I couldn't match that or even come close with the .45. It was all about trigger control.

It probably took me about 10,000 rounds of disciplined shooting to get over the recoil of the .45 and not jerk the trigger. I'm serious, I was lucky but I was shooting every day, 200 rounds a day, every day, before I started to see my rapid fire scores in .45 come into the low 90's.

When I asked for help when I first was having the issue, a lot of people suggested the same things that you see here, ball-and-dummy drills, etc. I did not find those useful. What *was* useful was a *ton* of dry-fire, but mostly shooting those 10,000 live rounds. Experience counts. So make each practice about incremental improvements and always focus on the fundamentals. You will get better.

michaelnel
January 10, 2014, 08:52 AM
One of the biggest helps for me was when my instructor / coach encouraged me to single load my 1911. ie: put only one round in the magazine, slam it home and chamber that round, and then mentally go through my checklist:

Feet shoulder width, angled out
Nose over toes (sightly bent over at waist, leaning forward)
Head up, neck straight
60/40 grip on weapon (60% weak hand, 40% strong hand)
Trigger finger outside trigger guard until ready to fire
Arms extended, elbows locked
Raise weapon to eye level (don't lower head to weapon level)
Trigger finger middle of distal pad
Sight with dominant eye, but both eyes open
Breathe in, exhale half of it
Align sights and watch the front sight
Pull trigger straight back when on target (the trigger break itself should be a surprise)

If I do all that, I shoot well, with no flinch. I think part of it is that going over that checklist removes my attention from the upcoming BANG. I often go to the range and shoot quite a few rounds that way, (in single shot mode). I think it helps a ton. Often we flinch on a subsequent round when we "hurry it up" while not really ready yet. This method and checklist solves that problem.

And yes, I do fire lots of rounds that are not single-loaded, but single-loading is a good warmup for me. I have been shooting thousands of rounds of .45ACP out of my Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. However, this coming Monday I will be picking up a new S&W .44 magnum Stealth Hunter, and I will have a new possible flinch to deal with. I have only shot one round of .44 mag in my life, and that was 30-mumble years ago. ;-) I hope the above steps are effective with the big boomer, I think they will be.

Bobo
January 10, 2014, 10:54 PM
CALL YOUR SHOTS!

Concentrate strongly on the sights during each shot.

You should be able to remember the sight picture you had when the gun went off. Knowing this, you should be able to tell where the bullet hit without actually seeing it.

Try this by setting the target further away than you can see the hits, call where the shot hit, then use a scope or binoculars to see if you were right.

This forces you not to flinch because your eyes must remain open in order to see where the sights were when the gun went off. You will also see the sights jump if you jerk the trigger just before the gun goes off.

Conversely, if you can't call your shot you closed your eyes (flinched).



Bobo

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