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Thread: Flinching with both pistol and rifle

  1. #1
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    Flinching with both pistol and rifle

    Greetings all, long time lurker infrequent poster. I just recently joined my local range and have been shooting quite a bit. I've noticed that I can flinch from time to time with a handgun, at least 1 shot out of every magazine will be a good bit lower than the group.


    With a rifle it's a different kind of flinch. If I try to shoot with just one eye I'l blink hard before the shot, but if I shoot with both eyes open it doesn't happen at all. It's not a big deal, and I can shoot both eyes open with a red dot out to 200yds without focus problems. But past 100 with open sights it's hard to focus(20/20 vision) on the front sight with both eyes open, I see it fine with just my dominant eye up until the point I pull the trigger, but then I flinch.


    Any tips, tricks, or drills, to help this or is it just something that diminishes with trigger time and rounds down range? TIA

  2. #2
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    Here's my suggestion. It sounds kinda silly, but it worked for me.

    Get yourself a .22, and put a couple thousand rounds down range with it. Then when you go to shoot your center fire rifle or pistol, pretend it's a .22.

    I know it sounds silly, but doing that, (or alternatively muttering to yourself that "the recoil cannot hurt me") works.
    Last edited by MisterHelix; 09-14-17 at 20:08.

  3. #3
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    Try not to think about when you are going to shoot when squeezing the trigger. Just let it "surprise" you and maybe focus more on your breathing so you don't think about the shot.

  4. #4
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    I'm going through something similar with my 9-year old son; teaching him how to shoot. What I've found that helps at the range is dry firing before any shots are sent downrange, until he gets comfortable. Then, load one round in the chamber and have him shoot that. Then two etc. If I see him start to flinch, we go back to dry firing maybe a dozen times again; making sure that he's not flinching on the dry fire shot. Then repeat, alternating dry firing and shooting live rounds. The dry firing helps to remind him how he's supposed to pull the trigger, and get the feel for it without the anticipation of the loud sound, and observe the sights.

  5. #5
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    MM touched on dry firing, which is a great place to start to learn breath control, trigger squeeze and sight picture. You want the point at which the trigger breaks to be a surprise, not anticipated. Buy dummy rounds and load them randomly in your magazines with live rounds. What happens when the hammer drops on the dummy round? Do you almost fall on your face? Or do you maintain a correct sight picture? One funny trick someone taught me way back when I started shooting PPC matches: while squeezing the trigger repeat the mantra "front sight clear, straight to the rear". This does a few things: makes you concentrate on the front sight while squeezing the trigger, and most importantly while reciting this you are not thinking about the trigger breaking so it is a surprise. It sounds goofy but helped me tremendously, especially when training to shoot from 50 yards with a double action revolver.
    Psalm 34:19

    To argue with a person who renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. ~ Thomas Paine

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by militarymoron View Post
    I'm going through something similar with my 9-year old son; teaching him how to shoot. What I've found that helps at the range is dry firing before any shots are sent downrange, until he gets comfortable. Then, load one round in the chamber and have him shoot that. Then two etc. If I see him start to flinch, we go back to dry firing maybe a dozen times again; making sure that he's not flinching on the dry fire shot. Then repeat, alternating dry firing and shooting live rounds. The dry firing helps to remind him how he's supposed to pull the trigger, and get the feel for it without the anticipation of the loud sound, and observe the sights.
    ^^This.

    Dry fire, a lot.

  7. #7
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    I agree with dry firing to help work through an issue. Dry firing is a very effective way to develop sound shooting skills.

    I suggest placing a dime on the front sight while dry firing your handgun. Concentrate on building a good shooting position and pressing the trigger to the rear without the dime falling off.

    Once you move onto live fire, try loading one round at a time in the pistol or rifle and focus on that one shot. Repeat single shots until you feel you have mastered the process, then load the pistol or rifle with two shots, etc.

    If you think noise is causing you to flinch, try doubling up on hearing protection using both earplugs and headphones.

    Speed comes with time and countless repetitions using proper technique. You can work on speed after you have mastered the single shot.
    Last edited by T2C; 09-15-17 at 22:49.
    Train 2 Win

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    Prof, there was some good advice here, have you been able to try any of it yet? If so, did it help?

  9. #9
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    Breathe.

    Google ‘respiratory pause shooting’.

  10. #10
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    Flinching with both pistol and rifle

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Kastl View Post
    Prof, there was some good advice here, have you been able to try any of it yet? If so, did it help?
    Absolutely!^^^^^^

    Remember that people generally flinch for two reasons, immediately after surprise and/or pain. In shooting (or other activities where we anticipate either, we unintentionally induce the response. So when someone is new to shooting, it’s important to understand this and proactively take steps to mitigate the action.

    Three things I do when introducing new shooters to firearms:

    1. Dry fire every weapon a dozen or more times at the range immediately prior to live fire

    2. I have them wear BOTH earplugs AND muffs

    3. Always shoot at least 100 rounds of .22LR, typically start with my Ruger 22-45 then SR22

    Seems to help take the flinch out as it helps the brain understand that shooting does not hurt the body (assuming you do things in a safe manner and are on the right side of the muzzle )

    Also, something I also do immediately prior to their shooting their first 9MM round is I have them hold the UNLOADED pistol (we check it twice to ensure it’s unloaded) pointing down range as if shooting, and close their eyes. I then randomly smack the muzzle end of the firearm with the heel of my palm pretty hard to simulate recoil. I then ask them “...did I hurt you?” We repeat this drill several times, a bit harder each time until I’m smacking the gun harder than any 10MM round. When they realize and wrap their heads around the fact by feel that there is no pain involved, it really helps.

    Hard to do by yourself, I know, but by aiming the gun, closing your eyes and focusing on “feeling the recoil” just before pulling the trigger, and then concentrating on the sensation and acknowledging there is no pain, can help train yourself to stop flinching.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by BuzzinSATX; 11-04-17 at 10:46.

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