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How to stop flinching, see the sights, and quit missing low-and-left

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by ATLDave, Jul 29, 2019.

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  1. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    There has been quite a bit of work on the yip issue in golf. One interesting line of argument/advancement is that tracking eye movements tends to show who is going to have/develop yips. Yippie players have eyes that dart rapdily all over the place before they hit a shot or a putt. Players without these issues tend to have "quiet eyes," which look to specific spots and tend to stay there.

    It's crazy how much of what we do is connected to, driven by, and revealed through our eyes. The fundamental premise of my views on flinching in pistol shooting is that the flinch starts with the eyes. Therefore, if you can fix the eyes (keep them open and seeing), then the mechanical flinch will go away.
     
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  2. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    I don’t flinch on my first two or three mags but it always starts after that. It’s frustrating.
     
  3. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Interesting. Does the problem go away if you stop shooting for 5-10 minutes? Does this manifest with all guns?
     
  4. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    The problem doesn’t go away until the next day and occurs with all guns. It’s all in my head somewhere.

    It’s kinda like my golf game, I think. After a few weeks of not playing, my game improves. I believe it’s a buildup of unconscious swing thoughts (or shooting thoughts in this case).
     
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Given your post about hip rotation (see my response post, which boils down to "dude, do not overthink this"), I think you are dead on!

    I'm a hyper-analyzer, too, so I sympathize.
     
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  6. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Thank you for the excellent write up, Dave! Is there any chance for this thread to become a "sticky"?
     
  7. Kookla

    Kookla Member

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    Maybe the longer hammer fall plays a part too?
     
  8. Cump

    Cump Member

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    I also wonder if it makes a difference whether you slow-fire or magdump those first mags. If shooting faster allows you to empty more mags before the flinch, it may be a way to build up reps to extend the unconscious build-up period. Or maybe pauses between or in the midst of mags, or switching to weak hand, or switching to a 22, would be ways to back away from the threshold, to extend the reps before you hit the first flinch.

    I know it's frustrating.

     
  9. Cary Turpin

    Cary Turpin Member

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    ATLDave thanks for taking the time to put this together. I have been trying to overcome the problem of the flinch for quite some time and have had no success. What you have shared makes sense and gives me some tools to correct it. Thanks again .
     
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  10. vba

    vba Member

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    Dave; Thank you for this post. I've struggled with this for years myself.

    I came from revolvers and didn't have a flinch problem. Then Auto's came along and I did develop a bad flinch. I believe it was the slide coming back during recoil. Subconsciously I thought the slide was going to strike my face. It took me a long while to build up confidence.

    If I don't shoot for awhile I must rebuild confidence.
     
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  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    That (slide movement) could be it.

    Also, sometimes people have a worse flinch with a 1911-ish trigger than, say, a revolver's DA trigger because the DA has so much travel that it's harder for people to know exactly when the shot is going to break. In contrast, you get a nice SAO semi-auto trigger and it's going to break as soon as you apply more than a trivial amount of force to it.

    I remember the first shot I took with a friend's revolver that had been slicked up for PPC competition (big Aristrocrat rib, etc.). The first shot went dead in the center of the bullseye because it was truly a surprise break. That trigger was so smooth that I had no idea the gun was about to go off when it did. It was pointed at the center of the target, but it was virtually an AD in terms of my level of surprise! It was a true "surprise break" - and, of course, there was no pre-ignition push or flinch to mess up the aiming I had done.

    Even without that grade of trigger, I find there's some anti-flinch medicine in watching revolver sights through the DA pull. Unlike a semi-auto, where it's easy to fool ourselves into thinking that aiming and firing are two separate and distinct steps, with a DA revo trigger, the sight is going to move around during the pull, so aiming has to continue throughout the shot. Unless you just give up and snatch the trigger completely, or try to fool around with "staging" it, it's easier to get wrapped up in watching and controlling the revolver's sights... and forget to blink in the process.
     
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  12. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Nice (if not wordy) write up. Lots of good points.

    I had an acquaintance (who is a security guard at a nuke plant an has significant professional training over the years) observe me shooting low-left and gave me these pointers that helped me a lot.

    > Bring the gun up to my line of sight and not my head down to the gun. I was attempting to mimic a Weaver stance and bending my neck. When I switched to an Isosceles stance and kept my chin up, forcing myself to bring the gun up to my LOS, I saw a great deal of improvement.

    > Slow fire with a very slow deliberate trigger squeeze, attempting to achieve surprise with the break. It's easy to catch yourself flinching when you do this as you'll blink and push without the gun discharging. Then you can concentrate on forcing yourself to look at the sight picture.

    My conclusion through all of this? Shooting handguns is not easy. It takes a lot of deliberate and thoughtful practice.
     
  13. Caplock

    Caplock Member

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    Mods they are talking about golf. For the love of god please shutter down!!

    LoL Just kidding
     
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  14. Caplock

    Caplock Member

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    I played the load a cylinder up with one live round and five empties with a bunch of friends target shooting.
    Kept my 44 mag ammo from getting shot up too fast and helped a ton with trigger control for everyone.
    Of course for one guys turn I loaded up 6 empties.
    He couldnt figure out what we thought was so funny after 6 dry fires. When he got into double digits it was hard to stand or see through the tears.
    Fun times.
     
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  15. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson Member

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    Several weeks later and I'm pleased to report that, other than being noticeably to the right, my hits are vertically where I want them to be about 90% of the time.

    As for hitting to the right, well, today I started getting really frustrated as mag after mag kept going about 4-6 inches right @ 5 yards from the target. In between "sets", I was going over everything. I was staying relaxed. I was keeping both eyes open. I was holding with a firm grip and pulling the trigger smoothly. I was at a total loss but took comfort in my group size even though it was 4-6 inches over from where I was sure I was aiming.

    As I finished up and started packing, I just happened to notice that the front sight had scooted almost all the way to the left of it's channel. D'oh! :rofl:

    Makes me excited to get back and see if I adjusted it correctly!
     
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  16. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart member

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    I am so focused on the target and the follow through and going to the next target, I just do not have time to think about a flinch. IMO, learn to point and shoot quickly. I see others doing a lot of flinching when they are new, go to the range and try and target shoot their guns. They take so much time, get the proper stance etc and it seems to take forever for them to shoot the dang gun. So much waiting and anticipation makes them flinch.
     
  17. cw308

    cw308 Member

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    I love shooting 1911's 45acp . Combating the recoil in most cases is getting use to the recoil . Using a rest in the beginning I found very helpful , you have to use it for awhile until you start to shoot good groups , repeatedly holding the pistol the same way . It's getting over the fear of the shot , takes some time but you'll get there with practice . If your into shooting it's once a week with the same pistol .
     
  18. film495

    film495 Member

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    Learning to keep both eyes open helped me with flinching. One day at the range I just started to blink every shot, and trying both eyes open, no more blinking. I've also found that if I go slow and am deliberate - more likely to flinch. Also, the longer I am shooting, the more likely a finch will creep in - say getting up over 100 rounds at the range. There is also mental focus for me, if I focus on the target - and think of the target as dangerous so I have to put a hole in it, I am less likely to flinch. I'm kind of new to shooting, so - flinching is still a curiosity to me. It is completely involuntary from what I've found.. Also, I haven't tested this yet - but, the audio I think plays a huge part. Next time I find myself a little fatigued and I can sort of feel myself tense up - if I am going to start flinching - I'm going to add ear muffs over plugs to see what difference that makes. My hypothesis is that the brain interprets the recoil as bigger than it really is, because the noise of the bang is really more dramatic than the recoil IMHO.
     
  19. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    You know what to expect when it goes off. Quit thinking about it just sighting and squeeze and roll with it.
     
  20. Mustangowner

    Mustangowner Member

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    That was really long and to be honest I didn't read much after "unpack that". The way to stop flinching is realize your gun is going to do the same thing to you weather you flinch or not, so just accept it, you've shot it and flinched and you're just fine, just quit being scared. Being surprised by the shot is fine for slow fire, but if you're trying to control a pistol in rapid fire while maintaining any degree of precision it's not good. And why does everyone feel they have to be gun writers on here and unpack things? I personally don't have much respect for gun writers since 2001 when I saw them degrade the only 5 round capacity of a revolver, then in the very next article without even an advertisement between them, claiming a 5 round revolver is all anyone will ever need for concealed carry.
     
  21. murf

    murf Member

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    follow-through, that will keep your mind off of the gun and on, where it should be, the target.

    murf
     
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  22. film495

    film495 Member

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    I'm a relatively new handgun shooter - and have also noticed that after shooting for a while, it becomes more difficult as a flinch starts to set in with a little fatigue. Some technique helps for sure - but, focusing on getting/hitting the target - with sort of an aggressive mindset and a sense of urgency, that the target is the danger and I have to hit it, works for me. I think it throws the subconscious mind off of the recoil, report, etc. so - really keeping nrg up - and thinking with a sense of urgency when actually shooting helps me. I also - just shoot a mag at a time, then sort of reload a mag casually and taking my time to sort of rest for a minute and take a short mental break. I'm pretty sure everyone flinches, you do have to catch the recoil, so - it is there IMHO no matter what you do, trick is to not do it as an anticipation effect, easier said than done. I've considered dry firing between mags a little as well, but haven't been to the range again to try it out as of yet.
     
  23. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Only way I know to cure flinching is:
    dry fire, dry fire, dry fire.
    400-500x daily for first few weeks.
    live fire 2-3 days a week for several months.
    If your eye sight is up to it, you’ll be a master class shooter by then.

    No short cut to success that I know of.
    Above is what works for me.
     
  24. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Member

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    Make a sticky without delay! Thanks.
     
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  25. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    So your advice is to just stop flinching basically. No offense, but it's not that simple. We are talking about an automatic nervous system response that occurs as result of a certain stimuli as ATLDave points out, and a good method of beginning to limit that issue is to expose yourself to a lot of gunfire, thus increasing your conditioning against that reaction, and specifically and intentionally doing so in a way to train your body to know there is no threat to it. Being scared is a thing for some new shooters that needs to be overcome, but it has nothing to do with people who are somewhat regular shooters and used to the way a gun in their hands reacts to pulling the trigger. I have seen many people, people who have been shooting for years, still flinching on every shot. I catch myself flinching too now and then, and have to mentally compensate to limit it. They can hit their target because their body has learned to react and hold where needed to compensate. But running a gun fast is very likely an impossibility for them, and transitioning targets isn't going to occur at any kind of decent speed.

    Just stop being scared isn't going to solve anyone's shooting issue.

    This is just my opinion but I don't feel being "surprised" in slow or rapid fire is a good idea or beneficial, and I wish people would stop repeating that tired old cliché. If you don't know exactly how your trigger feels at the point of trigger break it's going to train your BODY to be surprised, which I believe will only increase your flinch response.

    Writing a few thousand words on a particular topic isn't exactly turning oneself into an author. ATLDave observes an issue with a lot of shooters who aren't hitting where they want to. It's a VERY common issue also from my observations, one that I've experienced a lot early on, and still experience from time to time. He's trying to share info in a constructive way, and techniques that worked for him. He also was very clear that he's no expert. I don't see why you feel the need to criticize something that someone else is trying to do to be helpful, especially when it spurs a conversation that may actually benefit others. Sharing info and tips is half of why THR exists to begin with. If reading long posts isn't your thing, that's fine, but the appropriate response is to just move on.

    The original poster isn't a gun writer. He's a competitive shooter. As far as the contradicting articles...…… not everyone believes the same thing, and not all "gun writers" feel the same.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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