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How do you control recoil?

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Roseattle, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Roseattle

    Roseattle Member

    I'm new to the handgun world, and thinking about joining competition. I have been watching competition videos online. Everyone shoots pistol like a machine gun without recoil. What's the right way to control recoil?


  2. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    I'm smiling, not to make fun of you, but because this could be the worlds longest thread.

    Almost everything about shooting a handgun will eventually come back to grip, stance and trigger pull/press. Add in effects of various ammunitions, handgun differences and shooter physiology differences. Different types of handgun competition also come into play.

    Here's the opening for round '1'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48

    Enjoy the trip---it's fun.
  3. Roseattle

    Roseattle Member

    HAHAHA! OK. I'll start from there. Thanks! :)
  4. Fieldstone

    Fieldstone Well-Known Member

    if you go to the autoloader section at THR you will find a thread from last week called "to compensate or not to compensate", wade through the various opinions and find what "bds" has to say. He's a jedi. He touches on the subject of the shooter controlling recoil in answer to my question about gaining a mechanical advantage over recoil.

    I am purchasing a new barrel for my Glock from Lone Wolf. It is more accurate and is threaded. This will accept my new Lone Wolf compensator that will help the flip of the front when fired. There is also a recoil reducing spring from Spring CO that will min. your felt recoil. THere are piles of opinions about altering your weapon. This should create some partisan gun talk.
  5. waktasz

    waktasz Well-Known Member

    I would leave the discussion of compensators and recoil reducing parts out of this thread. He is a new shooter and the biggest benefit he will have is learning proper fundamentals of his grip first.
  6. Fieldstone

    Fieldstone Well-Known Member

    I agree, in part, fundamentals first but there are tools that aid that. Used at the right time for the right reason could be vialble. I defenitely agree that the the shooters platform is mumber 1. But the platform can be established with any type of equipment, from classic 1911 to compensated Glock. It may be more enjoyable for the shooter to actually shoot a handgun that is compensated. What if he came to the table with a 44 mag? Good luck getting his platform after spinning the cylinder one time around. Lets not throw technology out the window with new shooters. Its not like the weapon is more dangerous or more powerful or harder to shoot with some mechanical aid.
  7. Hawthorne2k

    Hawthorne2k Well-Known Member

    How do I handle recoil?

    Poorly. :D :D :D

    What those other guys said, along with practice, practice, practice.

    I'm a semi- newcomer to this as well, but I'm on the verge on moving up a rank in competitive shooting, and I can definitively say that IF you practice your grip and IF you practice your stance and IF you put a decent amount of rounds downrange on a consistent basis and IF you pay attention to where you need improvement, you will get better
  8. Wedge

    Wedge Well-Known Member

    Solid grip and stance and a full sized gun.
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    The right way is to not try. You can't control recoil/muzzle flip...it is a fallacy...but you can learn to manage it.

    There was a time when the top shooters believe that if you could hold a gun with enough force or leverage (discounting compensated guns) that you could hold a gun down in recoil. This lead to several interesting developments like the hooked trigger guard, hard Weaver stance, locked down thumbs, beaten up wrist and elbow joints. They tested the theory back in the 70s and 80s and found that it just wasn't an effective way to shoot either quickly or accurately.

    A better way, and the one used by all the top shooters today, is to use a neutral grip and stance and allow the gun to return, from recoil, to it original position and fire the next shot as the sights returned onto target. That is what you see in the Jarret video clip and what you see the top shooter doing. The gun is recoiling and the next shot is fired as it settles...it is just happening so fast that you aren't perceiving the muzzle bouncing.

    I thought you were going to link to another clip ;)...that I linked below (WARNING: May be NSFW due to language)

    I think everyone thinking about getting into handgun competition should first watch this YouTube clip to get into the right frame of mind

    WARNING: NSFW due to Language

  10. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    Like has already been said, grip, stance, and trigger control; one of the best things you can do is make sure you get a good, solid grip high on the gun, because that makes sure more of the recoil comes straight back into your arms, instead of trying to flip the muzzle up into the air.
  11. Hoser

    Hoser Moderator

    Dont use a death grip. Let the recoil happen, follow the front sight and wait for it to settle back on target. Then take another shot. Almost as easy as that.
  12. Fieldstone

    Fieldstone Well-Known Member

    The comment from Hoser is right on, the new platform has evolved to just that and it works. Go to MyOutdoorTV.com and check out Army Marksmanship Unit Training videos. You will see the stance, draw, grip of the guys who get paid to shoot everyday.

    ADD on: Sorry it was 9mmE who commented on latest shooter stance, Hoser is right on as well.
  13. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    9mmepiphany & Hoser +1 : old mid-C shooter (9mm, I liked your video).

    "After the basics", Don't 'TRY' to be fast like the videos. Don't try to double tap. Shoot smoothly and carefully and watch and feel what the gun does. Keep looking at the target and "see" the front sight rise and come back on target. With practice you will 'know' when it's back on target and time for the follow-up shot. With plenty of practice this will happen faster and smoother.

    Dry fire 'a lot' for basics.

    Now let's see, where did I hear "smooth is fast"? I know, Kung Fu Panda !
  14. Roseattle

    Roseattle Member

    HAHA! Thank you all!

    I have been dry firing for about 2 months and practicing using two eyes to aim. This helped me a lot. The improvement is very encouraging. Right now, I have big trouble seeing or tracking the sights after firing a shot. It takes me while to find where the sights are and have a good sight picture again.

    Tons of practice is needed. lol! :)
  15. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    If you use a neutral grip and stance, they'll just come back to where they started from...you shouldn't have to look for them. If the sights are drifting/tracking off somewhere else, your body is pushing them
  16. Roseattle

    Roseattle Member

    Okay... I think I need to work on my grip and stance..

    And big thanks to everyone! I like here. :)
  17. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Good thread, especially for new shooters looking to improve speed and accuracy. BTW, I am not a Jedi, please. Not even close. :D

    Big ++1 to what 9mmepiphany posted.

    Absolutely. Trying to hold a pistol like a vise to keep it from moving will only result in tremor/shaking of the pistol that will affect your shot groups to be erratic.

    Correct. Although high-end match shooters like Todd Jarrett makes it look like he's got a death grip on his pistol and tapping out double taps, what's actually happening is quite different than what seems.

    Every shot fired, even in a double tap, is an independent shooting event. When I engage any target, I go through the entire routine of:

    Stance > Grip > Sight picture > Trigger press

    and the cycle repeats for another target, even if it is the same target for a double tap. It may appear that I am going "tap tap" but I am not. I am going "front sight on target, front sight on target" in my head. Regardless of the amount of recoil, my focus is getting the front sight to return back to the POA as quickly as possible for me to press the trigger. This is not controlling recoil, it is getting back on target, fast. When we see someone like Todd Jarrett shoot, we don't realize the years of trigger time and training that's got his whole body conditioned to do this smoothly, efficiently and quickly. Having highly tuned match pistol with springs/loads doesn't hurt either. ;)

    When I assume the shooting posture, my arms form a triangle in front of me with the pistol at the point and my head LOCKS with the pistol sights. Your head and pistol sights must move as a unit. I repeat, your head and pistol sights must move as a unit. Imagine that you have an upper body cast that is holding your head, arms and pistol as a single unit. Any vertical/horizontal adjustment must be made at the shoulder (not at the wrist or elbows) and at the waist. No exceptions (On some stages, there may be some cover fire/shooting situations that will require modification to this). As I look for my POA with my head, my arms/pistol sights are tracking the same. So when I end up looking at the target's POA, my sights are already there and all I have to do is press the trigger. There should not be any adjustments to be made. If you need to make any adjustments to your sights, your head and pistol sights were moving independent of each other. Look at videos of high end match shooters again and focus on their head/pistol sights. You'll note that they move as a unit.

    Another point for recoil. I used to lock my elbows. Todd Jarrett points out in one of the videos that elbows should be slightly bent to allow the triangle formed by the forearms and the pistol to recoil back like a howitzer firing. Once fired, your elbows give a bit but allow the forearm triangle to return back smoothly and fast without moving the pistol left/right, just front to back. If you see me shoot now, I assume a more natural posture with my elbows slightly bent. This is not only more comfortable, but helps get your sights back on target faster.

    So, next time you are at the range, "Do or do not. There is no try - Yoda" :D

    Here's the link to training videos - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=508844
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  18. Fieldstone

    Fieldstone Well-Known Member

    I was waiting for bds to come on board. The last time he sent me a message about shooting I skipped out of work early and sent 400 rounds against the plates. GREAT STUFF! But i feel i am being ignored will someone sell this guy a compensator!!!:):):)
  19. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Fieldstone, no need for compensator for me and my recoil reducer is still in the bag, collecting dust.

    Besides, shooting stock pistols that you will also use for SD/HD for USPSA will give you realistic practical practice just in case (my primary reason for switching to stock G22 and shooting the same 155/165/180 weight bullet as JHP loaded for SD/HD) and you can't shoot IDPA with compensated/modified pistol (except for trigger work).

    I forgot to add, doing specific exercises to strengthen hand/wrist/forearm muscles will help with recoil.
  20. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    You say you are thinking about getting into competition; the equipment you will use will depend on what type of competition. There will be ways (through equipment optimization) to minimize the recoil you have to manage within the rules of your selected competition. Example; if your competition allows a compensator you will have to have one to be at the top. Regardless of what kind of competition, there will likely be rules about minimum power floors for legal ammo. The best shooters will load their ammo just above this floor, usually with heavy bullets, to minimize recoil.

    Completely separate from that is your own skill/technique, which will also have to be very good for a top shooter.

    Apparently there is disagreement here, but having tried it both ways, I believe physical strength is an important contributing factor in recoil management. If we can find anyone who says they started working out their forearms, thought it was no help, and then stopped I'll be surprised. You can't keep the pistol from moving, but the stronger your forearms are, the faster you can expect it to come back on target. I squeeze down pretty hard with my support hand. Not to the point I'm "trembling", but just under that. The stronger your maximum strength is, the stronger your "just under trembling" grip is.

    Also for me, range to target determines whether I really get two sight pictures or not. My "hinge" is about seven yards. Beyond 7 yards I get two sight pictures. 5 yards or less, 100% of the time I will "hammer" the target (one sight picture, two shots as fast as I can pull, sub .2 if I don't screw it up). Over time you can practice this at the range and see at what distance you can get two good hits using the "hammer" method; it will be different for everyone, and likely best learned over time.

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