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Need Help With Flinching

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jwax
bobbethune
mikemyers
Lightfoot
chopper
sharkdoctor
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Texasref
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TureB
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CR10X
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Post by RCJG228 2/18/2021, 11:09 am

I am 68, and relatively new to Bullseye competition, I have been participating for about 3 years. My problem is with centerfire. I anticipate the recoil, and always flinch before I get the shot off, causing me to miss the target more often than not.

I can and do practice dry firing, and when I do, my dot doesn’t move from my point of aim and there is no flinching. As soon as I insert a loaded magazine, my brain knows the gun is going to go boom, causing me to flinch.

I have tried inserting snap caps when I am practicing with live rounds, but that only confirms what I already know…that I am flinching. It is very frustrating, and some nights I will only shoot my .22. I don’t have the flinching problem when shooting my .22, only centerfire.

I am shooting a Colt .45 that was worked on by John Giles, I got it from an old Bullseye shooter. My friend who is an accomplished shooter, has shot it and says the break is nice & clean.

I am currently shooting a 185 gr bullet, with 3.5 grains of Bullseye powder, so I know I am not shooting a “hot” load, adding to the anticipation of a strong recoil.

Has anyone experienced the same problem I do, and how did you overcome it?


Last edited by RCJG228 on 3/6/2021, 11:54 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by DA/SA 2/18/2021, 11:13 am

While I don't have an answer... this may be something to look over.

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t16248-flinching

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t16642-still-closing-my-eyes

Welcome to the group!
DA/SA
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Post by SteveT 2/18/2021, 1:29 pm

Does it hurt when you shoot? If so, you may have a physical or anatomical issue that needs to be addressed. Rotating the arm so the elbow bends up more might help. Adjusting the grip might help. I knew a shooter who had arthritis in the wrist and couldn't shoot 1911 slab grips without pain, but could shoot anatomical grips with a lower angle.

Assuming there are no physical limitations. Here are some thoughts.

Visualize watching the sights / dot through the shot, feeling recoil and recovering back to the target. Flinching is mostly a subconscious reaction to a loud noise and a hard kick. It is perfectly rational to protect yourself from an explosion going off 2 feet in front of your face. You have to train your subconscious that it isn't an explosion and it isn't dangerous.

Fire one shot at a time. Before each shot, visualize and tell yourself it won't hurt, watch the sights all the way through the shot.

Are you using a roll trigger? I think a crisp trigger is less flinch inducing. I think using a roll trigger you feel the trigger moooooooooooovvvvvving as you increase pressure builds up tension and fear in the shooter. Some people might feel the same thing building pressure. YMMV.

My last thought is only given with a pound and a half of salt. Shoot something with more recoil. One night I shot our club's revolver match with a borrowed short barrel 44 Magnum. After the match the 1911 felt like shooting a 22 or 32. It really felt light. I don't really recommend this because pushing people into too much recoil too fast can make flinching worse. Only try this if you think you are the kind of person it will help.
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Post by RCJG228 2/18/2021, 1:49 pm

No, it doesn't hurt when I shoot, I don't have any physical issues. As far as grips, I have Randall Fung custom made grips on both, my .22 and .45, so I have a nice purchase on the gun(s). These grips really helped because I had more hand than grips when I was using slabs, and the gun had a tendency to move around in my hand.

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Post by Vociferous 2/18/2021, 1:56 pm

Dry fire.  Lots of it.  Your brain will learn.  Think about dry firing when live firing.  It's kinda like when you put eye drops in; look right at it, and drop it in.
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Post by DA/SA 2/18/2021, 2:08 pm

SteveT wrote:My last thought is only given with a pound and a half of salt. Shoot something with more recoil. One night I shot our club's revolver match with a borrowed short barrel 44 Magnum. After the match the 1911 felt like shooting a 22 or 32. It really felt light. I don't really recommend this because pushing people into too much recoil too fast can make flinching worse. Only try this if you think you are the kind of person it will help.
I've used the same method in the past with good results. Blackhawk with stout 44 mag rounds.
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Post by TomH_pa 2/18/2021, 3:44 pm

Try having someone else squeeze the trigger while you keep the dot aligned on the target. I think once you see the dot lift out of the bull and the powder flash a few times, and realize you're still alive  Smile you will be on your way.

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Post by RCJG228 2/18/2021, 4:49 pm

I don't have a fear of the gunshot. In my younger days I worked for a fireworks company as a pyrotechnician and did many fireworks shows....explosions don't bother me. What seems to be happening is my mind anticipates the recoil, so just before I pull the trigger, I tip the barrel down to make up for the recoil. Maybe using the word "flinching" wasn't the most accurate description of what is happening.

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Post by CR10X 2/18/2021, 5:59 pm

I assume you are wearing foam ear plugs AND really good ear muffs (together)?  If not, do so immediately. 

So are you "flinching" or "jerking" the trigger or "squeezing" the grip?

In any event; first fully extend your arm and create single unit of hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder right into your spine and feel like you are extending this unit into the center of your wobble area.  Think of this as a single unit and you do not move any individual part after taking the position on the target or while firing the shot.  No bending the wrist or regripping the gun or moving the arm from the shoulder forward.  You don't control the wobble, you see it and accept it and watch it get smaller.  When it starts to get bigger, then start over.  

Next, I would suggest you do some work with open sights.  Look (and I mean really look) only (and I mean only) at the front sight in the notch.  Nothing else and keep your focus there throughout the trigger operation. You need to be able to see AND remember how the front sight looked in the rear notch and how it moved when the recoil started.  (And see that it did not start doing anything until after the shot was fired.)  If you see it moving out of the notch, then stop right then and figure out HOW that happened. 

If you can't use open sights, then do the same thing, but use the scope tube, not the target as the reference for the dot.  Actually see the dot centered in the tube and look on at that relationship.  Watch and see if the dot strays from the center, ignoring the wobble of the dot on the target.  

For the open sight or dot with this, we are working on keeping the gun parallel to our intended line of sight. You need to figure out how to see what you are doing to the gun and when you are doing it so you can figure it out. 

Once you actually see and feel what you are doing, then the road to improvement will become much clearer.

CR

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Post by Slamfire 2/18/2021, 11:10 pm

  My last thought is only given with a pound and a half of salt. Shoot something with more recoil. One night I shot our club's revolver match with a borrowed short barrel 44 Magnum. After the match the 1911 felt like shooting a 22 or 32. It really felt light. I don't really recommend this because pushing people into too much recoil too fast can make flinching worse. Only try this if you think you are the kind of person it will help.


So many people believe that only bad medicine is good for you, and more pain makes less pain feel like nothing. I don't believe it. When I go to the range for practice, I start out with a light recoiling gun, and end up with the heaviest. The flinch gets worse with more recoil. I would avoid something like a 44 Magnum, because the body does not forget! The more abuse you put your hand, arm to, the greater the flinch.

I will never make my full potential as a Bullseye shooter because I have not been able to control my flinch. I do better in timed and rapid by gripping my pistol hard and accepting the the pain. Slowfire, I try and try, to day dream, think of something else, and not snatch the trigger. That does not last long.

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Post by RCJG228 2/18/2021, 11:47 pm

CR10X, I have a good set of Howard Leight electronic muffs, I have not used foam plugs along with them. 

I had a match tonight, and didn't do too bad with centerfire. Slow fire was the worst with 3 shots inside the rings, 2 outside the rings, and 5 off the paper. Timed I had 5 shots inside the rings and 5 off the paper. Rapid fire, I had 8 shots inside the rings, and 2 outside the rings, but all on the paper. What I tried concentrating on tonight was to keep my dot inside the black during and after the shot, which seemed to help. 

You asked if I flinched, jerked the trigger, or was squeezing the grip. I don't have a death grip on the gun, but I do have a firm grip. I concentrate on holding the gun with my bottom 3 fingers, so I don't get my trigger finger or thumb involved with gripping the gun. 

What I caught myself doing was pushing the front of the gun down just prior to getting the shot off, to compensate for the recoil, which caused me to miss the target. When I was able to catch myself pushing the gun down in time, I would put the gun down, and start the aiming process over again, trying to maintain my dot inside the black during and after the shot.

Tonight it seemed like concentration played a key part in getting better shots off, so maybe I have been experiencing more of a lack of concentration, and for what ever reason, tonight I was more focused. 

I appreciate you weighing in, and I will try to incorporate the things you have suggested into my next practice session and see if it helps.

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Post by TureB 2/19/2021, 4:29 am

From your description, it sounds as though you´re trying to counter the recoil (maybe not intentionally), I think you may have to work on not doing that.
Wasn´t it Elmer Keith that said: "Recoil? relax and enjoy it." ?
I would try to work on follow through, both in dry fire and live fire, work to maintain that sight picture for a full second beyond the trigger break.

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Post by thessler 2/19/2021, 4:51 am

I wish I could help but a can't,  I will only offer encouragement . I developed a flinch with anything over a 22. I shoot every day and I flinch every day and slowly but surely my scores are getting better . Keep at it.
Good luck , Tom

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Post by Texasref 2/19/2021, 7:00 am

"Rounds down range", a lot. Not easy to do during this ammo shortage, but I think that's what it will take.
Next time your live firing, after the shot breaks hold the trigger back. Let your body take the recoil. (You will get use to the recoil).
I'd bring the target in to 10 yds. You'll be practicing the hold and follow through. Nothing else.
Hold on the target with a good sight picture until it starts to go bad. Reset and go again.
I have a feeling your looking down range and when the sight picture is in the black you hurry to get the shot off. Concentrate on a firm hold (before, during and after) and seeing as much as you can during the shot breaking.
That's my 0.02. Anyway, I hope this may help and happy shooting.

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Post by SingleActionAndrew 2/19/2021, 7:54 am

RCJG228 wrote:CR10X, I have a good set of Howard Leight electronic muffs, I have not used foam plugs along with them.

Try wearing plugs under the muffs - it's a big difference. 

I use these:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00PSX6ZV2

Do you see the muzzle flash?
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Post by sharkdoctor 2/19/2021, 8:35 am

Lot's of good suggestions above, so I will add just a few.  You are using electronic muffs.  They are not perfect for sound reduction, nor usually as good as passive muffs.  Try the latter with the addition of good ear plugs, 30dB down or so rated.  Don't wear a hat or anything that inhibits tight fit - even glasses complicate fit, which is important to reduce bone conduction.  Shooting under a structure makes things worse.  Now I know that some of these are unavoidable, but the point is to help you determine if it is noise sensitivity.  I realize many wear electronic muffs to hear commands but I find that they allow others distracting noises - a separate discussion.

Follow through concentration is critical as is lots of trigger time.  I hope you might find some solution - good luck!

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Post by RCJG228 2/19/2021, 9:28 am

Texasref wrote:"Rounds down range", a lot. Not easy to do during this ammo shortage, but I think that's what it will take.
Next time your live firing, after the shot breaks hold the trigger back. Let your body take the recoil. (You will get use to the recoil).
I'd bring the target in to 10 yds. You'll be practicing the hold and follow through. Nothing else.
Hold on the target with a good sight picture until it starts to go bad. Reset and go again.
I have a feeling your looking down range and when the sight picture is in the black you hurry to get the shot off. Concentrate on a firm hold (before, during and after) and seeing as much as you can during the shot breaking.
That's my 0.02. Anyway, I hope this may help and happy shooting.
Holding the trigger back after a shot is part of my shot routine, I've learned the value of follow through. I don't think I'm rushing the shot, because as I'm bringing my sight picture into the black, I have already started squeezing the trigger, as suggested by Brian Zinns in his trigger control video. I really like your idea of bringing the target in to 10 yards to practice hold and follow through and will give it a try. I can see how that could help getting and maintaining the sight picture before and after the shot.

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Post by RCJG228 2/19/2021, 9:32 am

TureB wrote:From your description, it sounds as though you´re trying to counter the recoil (maybe not intentionally), I think you may have to work on not doing that.
Wasn´t it Elmer Keith that said: "Recoil? relax and enjoy it." ?
I would try to work on follow through, both in dry fire and live fire, work to maintain that sight picture for a full second beyond the trigger break.
I think that's exactly what I am doing.

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Post by RCJG228 2/19/2021, 9:38 am

sharkdoctor wrote:Lot's of good suggestions above, so I will add just a few.  You are using electronic muffs.  They are not perfect for sound reduction, nor usually as good as passive muffs.  Try the latter with the addition of good ear plugs, 30dB down or so rated.  Don't wear a hat or anything that inhibits tight fit - even glasses complicate fit, which is important to reduce bone conduction.  Shooting under a structure makes things worse.  Now I know that some of these are unavoidable, but the point is to help you determine if it is noise sensitivity.  I realize many wear electronic muffs to hear commands but I find that they allow others distracting noises - a separate discussion.

Follow through concentration is critical as is lots of trigger time.  I hope you might find some solution - good luck!
Using ear plugs along with muffs seems to be a common suggestion here, I will give it a try this weekend.

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Post by chopper 2/19/2021, 11:35 am

RCJG228 wrote:I don't have a fear of the gunshot. In my younger days I worked for a fireworks company as a pyrotechnician and did many fireworks shows....explosions don't bother me. What seems to be happening is my mind anticipates the recoil, so just before I pull the trigger, I tip the barrel down to make up for the recoil. Maybe using the word "flinching" wasn't the most accurate description of what is happening.
 You are answering yourself pretty well. Being around explosions before doesn't mean much, you are anticipating the shot, waiting for that explosion here. Where are your shots landing on the target? If your right handed and most of your shots are either higher right then that can be anticipating something. If they go lower left that can be jerking the trigger and maybe some anticipation. So what do you do? Personally I would concentrate on a straight back trigger pull first, it is one of the most important fundamentals of all, masters have got this one down perfectly. How can you tell when you have improved on this fundamental, by dry firing on a lighter colored blank wall. Hold that dot in the center of the tube and slowly pulling trigger straight back so dot doesn't move as the hammer drops. Do holding exercises with your pistol 1 min hold 30 sec rest for 10 reps. 
 Do these and other training sessions suggested by CR, Ed Hall, and a few other High Masters. Training at home is important, Then sometime go to the range and do a couple practice sessions with live fire, take down notes. Did you concentrate and do your best on each shot and don't worry about the scores. You want to tighten your groups first, say to yourself my goal is to get all my shots inside a certain ring 7 or 8 ring what ever ring you want to. We all started out somewhere, I'm still a marksman but can shoot some expert and master targets, I just have a hard time putting it all together consistently mostly from not concentrating and doing my best on each and every shot. Try reading stuff here. Copy and paste this     file:///home/chronos/u-7f3336474a939428413603bee4a2154a14c716d2/MyFiles/Downloads/The%20New%20Pistol%20Shooter's%20Treasury%205th%20Edition.pdf
 Keep at the training, the rest will come along nicely.
Stan

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Post by RCJG228 2/19/2021, 3:58 pm

chopper wrote:
RCJG228 wrote:I don't have a fear of the gunshot. In my younger days I worked for a fireworks company as a pyrotechnician and did many fireworks shows....explosions don't bother me. What seems to be happening is my mind anticipates the recoil, so just before I pull the trigger, I tip the barrel down to make up for the recoil. Maybe using the word "flinching" wasn't the most accurate description of what is happening.
 You are answering yourself pretty well. Being around explosions before doesn't mean much, you are anticipating the shot, waiting for that explosion here. Where are your shots landing on the target? If your right handed and most of your shots are either higher right then that can be anticipating something. If they go lower left that can be jerking the trigger and maybe some anticipation. So what do you do? Personally I would concentrate on a straight back trigger pull first, it is one of the most important fundamentals of all, masters have got this one down perfectly. How can you tell when you have improved on this fundamental, by dry firing on a lighter colored blank wall. Hold that dot in the center of the tube and slowly pulling trigger straight back so dot doesn't move as the hammer drops. Do holding exercises with your pistol 1 min hold 30 sec rest for 10 reps. 
 Do these and other training sessions suggested by CR, Ed Hall, and a few other High Masters. Training at home is important, Then sometime go to the range and do a couple practice sessions with live fire, take down notes. Did you concentrate and do your best on each shot and don't worry about the scores. You want to tighten your groups first, say to yourself my goal is to get all my shots inside a certain ring 7 or 8 ring what ever ring you want to. We all started out somewhere, I'm still a marksman but can shoot some expert and master targets, I just have a hard time putting it all together consistently mostly from not concentrating and doing my best on each and every shot. Try reading stuff here. Copy and paste this     file:///home/chronos/u-7f3336474a939428413603bee4a2154a14c716d2/MyFiles/Downloads/The%20New%20Pistol%20Shooter's%20Treasury%205th%20Edition.pdf
 Keep at the training, the rest will come along nicely.
Stan
I've tried to copy/paste and when I copy/paste the entire string starting with the word "file", I get file not found, when I copy/paste the string starting from the word "home", I get an Azatom Docking Station Manual. Could you check and repost the link again?

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Post by Lightfoot 2/19/2021, 4:10 pm

The only thing I can recommend outside of a lot of live and dry fire is to focus so hard on something else that your body forgets to flinch or react.  The front sight or the X is what I focus on.  The gun recoils out of my tunnel vision and my eyes are still locked in the same position.  No blink, no flinch, clean break!
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Post by SteveT 2/19/2021, 4:52 pm

RCJG228 wrote:
I've tried to copy/paste and when I copy/paste the entire string starting with the word "file", I get file not found, when I copy/paste the string starting from the word "home", I get an Azatom Docking Station Manual. Could you check and repost the link again?
try this
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Crb0lIQCOTYgxU-6ILe6UnvaY83f4oHd/view?usp=sharing
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Post by RCJG228 2/20/2021, 6:49 pm

SteveT wrote:
RCJG228 wrote:
I've tried to copy/paste and when I copy/paste the entire string starting with the word "file", I get file not found, when I copy/paste the string starting from the word "home", I get an Azatom Docking Station Manual. Could you check and repost the link again?
try this
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Crb0lIQCOTYgxU-6ILe6UnvaY83f4oHd/view?usp=sharing
Thanks, that worked!

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Post by mikemyers 2/20/2021, 7:21 pm

Please don't laugh at me.  I had the same problem, and none of the solutions worked.  It didn't matter what I thought about, I always flinched.  

Someplace in the book "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury" there was the statement about flinching - I can't remember which of the authors said it now, but the advice was that "it's nothing that a box of hardball won't cure".

So, I went to the range with a full box of 230 grain Winchester White Box, and shot it, one magazine after another.  I wasn't trying to shoot well, just shoot.  Over and over.  Long before I ran out of ammo, my brain and my body got bored with recoil - it no longer bothered me - I just didn't care.  No more flinching.
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