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8MM Mauser
December 22, 2011, 01:04 PM
Hello again all. I got some great shooting tips about getting my mind in the game last time I was here. After putting about 100 rounds at 100 yards downrange through my rifle (8MM Mauser), and then about 20 rounds through a Glock 19 with a red dot sight.

I have come to the determination that I am anticipating recoil. I figured this out because I consistently shoot to the left of were I am aiming, and also because I started shooting surplus ammo near the end and had a couple rounds which didn't go off; when they didn't fire I noticed that I was pushing slightly down and to the left.

It isn't the worst flinch, I was still within the bullseye or the "1" or "2" rings when shooting the Glock at 25 yards. Of course with the rifle it manifested much worse, giving me consistent 3' groups in the "4" to "7" rings to the left of the bullseye.

So what I am looking for is advice. I've heard that dry firing will help; I dry fire. I have heard that shooting a low recoil .22lr will help; well, I am acquiring a Ruger Mark 2 "Target model" this Saturday.

Any other tips about what I can do to stop anticipating recoil?

Deja vu
December 22, 2011, 01:14 PM
may father said to load some dummy rounds with the live rounds and focus really well on the holding still and trigger control. He said start with about a 50/50 mix of dummy and live rounds and as you get better mix in more live rounds.

All so better to ave some one else load the mags for you so there is no temptation on remembering the order of the dummy rounds.

Clifford L. Hughes
December 22, 2011, 01:27 PM
8MM Mauser:


You can start by snapping in on a bank wall without a target: your objective is to get the trigger to release without the sights moving. Most beginners pull the trigrer instead of releasing it knowing the instant that the recoil is comming and they put their shoulder into the shot. (flinch) By releasing the trigger the rifle or the pistol's shot comes as a suprise defeating the flinching. When I shot competition on several Marine Corps rifle and pistol teams, even after I held the Master's classification, this it the method that I used to train.


Semper Fi.

Gunnery sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired

C0untZer0
December 22, 2011, 01:31 PM
If I am getting tense at the range, I talk to myself. I remind myself that my guns are safe, I'm not going to get hurt. I remind myself that I came to have fun. And I take deep breaths and conciously relax my muscles - especially my neck and shoulders.

I also shoot one handed. I don't try to control the recoil when I do this and I take my time shooting. When I'm shooting one handed, my arm rises up and comes back down, there is no "flippy" recoil because I have a good grip, a straight arm but relaxed shoulders. So my arm just rises and falls. I find it comforting and relaxing.

I also do a lot of dry fire exercises and sometimes when I'm shooting I tell myself "This is just like dry fire... do it exactly like you practiced".

compglock17
December 22, 2011, 01:37 PM
Most of the PIP or anticipating recoil will show LOW left on the target. If this is your case, dry fire, dry fire and dry fire some more. Use snap caps if you are concerned about gun damage. I have dry fired my Glocks thousands of times and had no problems. Check and re-check that the gun is clear, pick a spot on the wall or tape up a target and work on, as Clifford said, work on releasing the "shot" without influencing the sights. If you are left but not low, try getting a bit more trigger finger on the trigger. Too little trigger finger, especially on handguns, can cause you to torque the gun left (if you are a right hand shooter).

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2011, 01:40 PM
Focus on the front sight (or reticle or dot). Then concentrate on pressing the trigger straight back with only the trigger finger moving and smoothly increasing the pressure on the trigger until the gun goes off by surprise.

2damnold4this
December 22, 2011, 02:01 PM
I started shooting surplus ammo near the end and had a couple rounds which didn't go off; when they didn't fire I noticed that I was pushing slightly down and to the left....I've heard that dry firing will help; I dry fire. I have heard that shooting a low recoil .22lr will help; well, I am acquiring a Ruger Mark 2 "Target model" this Saturday.

I think you are on the right track. Since you don't know for sure if the surplus ammo will go bang, it's kind of like having a friend load your gun with dummy ammo. Be sure and use good hearing protection as sound can have a big impact on flinching. It would be nice if you could borrow a .22 rifle to shoot during your practice with the Mauser. If the Mauser starts to fatigue you, switch to the .22 or take a break.

Idahoser
December 22, 2011, 02:12 PM
may father said to load some dummy rounds with the live rounds and focus really well on the holding still and trigger control. He said start with about a 50/50 mix of dummy and live rounds and as you get better mix in more live rounds.

All so better to ave some one else load the mags for you so there is no temptation on remembering the order of the dummy rounds. it's the only way. Use a smaller caliber (.22LR of course being the best) and shoot a lot, a revolver lets you load the cylinder leaving several empty, spin the cylinder then (NOT SLAMMING IT) without looking, close the cylinder so you don't know where the empty cylinders are. You must not do this too much with a .22 but then again, you probably aren't anticipating with the .22 as much, since you know it's not that bad. The problem is in your head, you need to assume it's going to be an empty cylinder as the hammer falls even when you're shooting the bigger cartridge.

It's hard to unlearn a bad habit. This is an almost inevitable problem when you don't get enough .22 shooting. The advice I've seen telling people to start with a bigger gun to learn to shoot... makes me cry.

8MM Mauser
December 22, 2011, 04:19 PM
I'll definitly make dry firing a bigger priority, and acquiring a .22 rifle this next year is probably feasible.
It makes a lot of sense to me to mix in .22 shooting with the heavy caliber.
I'm getting myself pretty decent here, if I can kick this habit I might even outshoot my buddies! This sport requires a lot of patience and careful adjustment, which is hard for me; I've always been "mr adrenalin" working out and doing "big movement" type of recreation, running, lifting, football and track. Shooting is teaching me a lot!
Thanks for all the advice guys!

ak2323
December 22, 2011, 04:34 PM
There are many techniques to avoid flinching. My favorite is to convince myself that the firearm is just an extension of my body.

With pistols I stare my eyes out at the front sight and forget that the pistol isn't actually part of my body.

With large caliber rifles I try to maintain form and squeeze the trigger having already accepted there will be a loud bang and a kick.

When I used to race motorcycles I used the same kind of NLP to some success. In blunt terms you need to fool yourself into relaxing and concentrating very hard at the same time.

IMHO there are two key components to in play. Muscle memory and psychological imprints.

Sorry to sound like a 2c Zen master. :rolleyes:

g.willikers
December 22, 2011, 05:32 PM
Focus on the target, forget the gun.
Imagine that the target is a deadly beast with only one thing on it's tiny, predator brain.
It wants stomp you into pudding, rip you limb from limb, and to eat you.
And you need to put 'em where it counts.
No kidding, this really works.

MonsterB
December 22, 2011, 05:47 PM
Like CompGlock said, I fixed the same problem with lots of dry firing. No matter which gun I shot, LCp, several Glocks, Sigs, S&w revolvers, etc, I always was shooting low left of target. I started doing lots of dryfiring and trying to correct my flinch.That and shooting about 25k rounds in two years through those guns, lol. Learning multiple triggers that break at different points, have different amounts of travel, and trigger weights, seemed to help me as well. I guess not everyone can shoot a bunch of different guns, so if thats not an option, dry fire practice helps alot. I even do a few dry fires when at the range when Im first starting, and will do a few more if Im not shooting like I should. Glock triggers do not break as clean as some guns, the trigger sort of ramps up just before breaking, and I think pushing past that point causes alot of people to get that low left result. Try to stick to one grip that works for you, keep it the same, and practice.

Ruark
December 22, 2011, 07:38 PM
Focus on the target, forget the gun.
Imagine that the target is a deadly beast with only one thing on it's tiny, predator brain.
It wants stomp you into pudding, rip you limb from limb, and to eat you.
And you need to put 'em where it counts.
No kidding, this really works.

Actually this isn't completely a joke. Under the crushing stress of a face to face gunfight situation, you won't be aware of the trigger pull or anything else.

Shadi Khalil
December 22, 2011, 08:51 PM
A trick I learned in a class that worked really well for me was saying out loud "front sight press" until the gun went off. After doing that for a while I stopped anticipating the recoil. You may feel a little silly at public range but you should give it a try.

SatCong
December 22, 2011, 09:03 PM
Never "hurry" your shot.

Mike

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2011, 09:05 PM
A trick I learned in a class that worked really well for me was saying out loud "front sight press" until the gun went off. ...You might find that you don't have to actually say it out loud. Try just saying it to yourself. But it can be effective, and it has helped students in our classes.

shredder4286
December 23, 2011, 12:56 PM
I have come to the determination that I am anticipating recoil.

I have the same issue. Especially with large caliber centerfire rifle cartridges. I'll echo the resounding advice that dry fire practice is very good for you.
The closest I ever got to getting rid of the flinch was when I shot every weekend, twice a weekend this past summer. I was dry-firing a lot in between, and by the time I went to shoot, it was indeed- muscle memory.

farmerboy
December 23, 2011, 03:20 PM
You keep practicing and with alot of helpful advice you're recieving you'll get there. And when shooting your rifle, don't heat it up too much. It can actually be right on and everything you're doing is correct but after it gets hot the barrel will act as though it's a wet noodle (the hormonics change) and you pattern will then go out the window until it cools down again.

RockRiverWhisper
December 23, 2011, 03:32 PM
Your pushing forward with your shoulder while you pull the trigger. a lot of people does this something you have to work out your self. Good luck, old habits are hard to break.

8MM Mauser
December 24, 2011, 08:14 AM
"I have the same issue. Especially with large caliber centerfire rifle cartridges. I'll echo the resounding advice that dry fire practice is very good for you.
The closest I ever got to getting rid of the flinch was when I shot every weekend, twice a weekend this past summer. I was dry-firing a lot in between, and by the time I went to shoot, it was indeed- muscle memory. "

Wow. I certainly don't have the time or disposable income to practice twice every weekend! (I'm a full-time student, I work full-time, and I have a 6 mo old.) I try and make sure I get some dry fire in at least once a week. I will definitely make that an even higher priority, plus I am gonna add a .22 rifle into the mix as well, as soon as I can afford it, and mix that into my shooting.

I used to do competitive powerlifting, where very small changes in form can ruin your score (like lifting your toes when bench pressing, you don't have that lift added to your total, even if you put it up) so I'm pretty good at readjusting small things like that. Of course I lift weights 3 times a week, and it costs me nothing, so it's easier to practice adjustments.

"Your pushing forward with your shoulder while you pull the trigger. a lot of people does this something you have to work out your self. Good luck, old habits are hard to break. "

That is very helpful advice, because it is specific, I will watch for it next time I shoot and while dry firing, and try and mentally readjust.

"You keep practicing and with alot of helpful advice you're recieving you'll get there. And when shooting your rifle, don't heat it up too much. It can actually be right on and everything you're doing is correct but after it gets hot the barrel will act as though it's a wet noodle (the hormonics change) and you pattern will then go out the window until it cools down again. "

Also great advice, I usually try and shoot a group of 5, or two groups of 5 on two targets, and then walk the 100 yards, leaving the rifle on the table with the bolt open. Ironically, as the barrel of my rifle heats up I think it makes my shots go left even more, I think that because the first couple times I was out I shot about 20 rounds with the gun on a rest (I was out of the equation) and nearer to the end my shots were more to the left. Of course I am just speculating.

"A trick I learned in a class that worked really well for me was saying out loud "front sight press" until the gun went off. After doing that for a while I stopped anticipating the recoil. You may feel a little silly at public range but you should give it a try. "

I'm not sure what you mean by "Front sight press." Sorry for my ignorance.

"Focus on the target, forget the gun.
Imagine that the target is a deadly beast with only one thing on it's tiny, predator brain.
It wants stomp you into pudding, rip you limb from limb, and to eat you.
And you need to put 'em where it counts.
No kidding, this really works. "

Actually I often do this, but then I fall into my own mental trap of "acceptable accuracy." By which I mean, my shots aren't perfect or exactly what I want them to be, but they are well within the are that would incapacitate an unfriendly beast. I actually think that this is part of my problem, subconciously, I know that I want a higher level of accuracy mostly just for the satisfaction of it. However, I suppose visualizing the bullseye as say... a bear's eye may be helpful. Especially if I get that .22! I can imagine I'm having to defend myself from a bear with it! Then my shots will count!

"There are many techniques to avoid flinching. My favorite is to convince myself that the firearm is just an extension of my body.

With pistols I stare my eyes out at the front sight and forget that the pistol isn't actually part of my body.

With large caliber rifles I try to maintain form and squeeze the trigger having already accepted there will be a loud bang and a kick.

When I used to race motorcycles I used the same kind of NLP to some success. In blunt terms you need to fool yourself into relaxing and concentrating very hard at the same time.

IMHO there are two key components to in play. Muscle memory and psychological imprints.

Sorry to sound like a 2c Zen master. "

Shooting is very "zen" so no need to apologize. For some reason I find this much easier to do with pistols. I don't know why but pistol shooting feels more natural to me, I have definitely done more of it over my lifetime, 8MM Mauser is a big caliber compared to 9MM pistol rounds! and it is still pretty unfamiliar to me. Shooting a big rifle with a scope is so slow and "formalized" and I think I sort of say in the back of my mind "oh well, I could hit a deer...". Pistol shooting has always felt much more natural. Of course this may simply be a function of the distances involved, or the perceived practicality my brain attaches to the activity.

In high school I used to practice Iaido, which is a Japanese sword martial art form based around drawing the sword, cutting down multiple opponents and sheathing it. I did it for discipline and fitness 2 to 3 times a week, in addition to practicing for powerlifting (what a fit lad I was!). To this day when I pick up a sword it feels very natural, the movements, though I have not practiced them in years, are still burned into my muscle memory. What this tells me is that I need more practice, which for my poor college student self means way more dry firing and the acquisition of a decent .22lr rifle in addition to the Ruger Mk II I'm getting today. One thing I like about shooting is that it really balances me out mentally, running and lifting weights is fun, but it leaves me thirsting for more...

I really do appreciate all the wonderful advice fella's. With lots of practice and lots of help maybe I can start nailing those bullseyes!

Frank Ettin
December 24, 2011, 11:27 AM
Here's kind of the long form of my discussion on trigger control. It's one of the things we emphasize at the monthly NRA Basic Handgun classes I and a group of others teach together. We know this works because (1) it's how we learned ourselves; and (2) most importantly, our students, most of whom have never held a gun before, when drilled this way can hit the target consistently (even with some powerful guns -- although we do start them with .22s).

The first principle of accurate shooting is trigger control: a smooth, press straight back on the trigger with only the trigger finger moving. Maintain your focus on the front sight as you press the trigger, increasing pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Don't try to predict exactly when the gun will go off nor try to cause the shot to break at a particular moment. This is what Jeff Cooper called the "surprise break."
 (This is where the mantra, Front Sight Press, comes from.)

The position of the trigger finger on the trigger will help to make sure you push the trigger straight back. Ideally you want to contact the trigger at the center of the first part of your finger, mid way between the tip and first joint; and this first part of your finger should be perpendicular to the direction the trigger travels. (However, with some double action guns, one might need to contact the trigger with the first joint to get enough leverage.) Note that if the gun is too big for you, you might not be able to properly reach the trigger; you want to find a gun that's better size for you.

By keeping focus on the front sight and increasing pressure on the trigger until the gun essentially shoots itself, you don’t anticipate the shot breaking. But if you try to make the shot break at that one instant in time when everything seem steady and aligned, you usually wind up jerking the trigger. Of course the gun will wobble some on the target. Try not to worry about the wobble and don’t worry about trying to keep the sight aligned on a single point. Just let the front sight be somewhere in a small, imaginary box in the center of the target.

Also, work on follow through. Be aware of where on the target the front sight is as the shot breaks and watch the front sight lift off that point as the gun recoils – all the time maintaining focus on the front sight.

Also, while practice in very important, remember that practice doesn’t make perfect. It’s “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” More frequent practice shooting fewer rounds, but concentrating hard on what you’re doing, will be more productive than less frequent, higher round count practice.


Practice deliberately, making every shot count, to program good habits and muscle memory. Dry practice is very helpful. You just want to triple check that the gun is not loaded, and there should be no ammunition anywhere around. When engaging in dry practice, religiously follow Rule 2 - Never Let Your Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy." As you dry fire, you want to reach the point where you can't see any movement of the sight as the sear releases and the hammer falls.

Finally, some instruction is always a good idea. I try to take classes from time to time; and I always learn something new.

Think: front sight, press, surprise.

mehavey
December 24, 2011, 11:35 AM
If you know exactly when the gun's going to go off...
You will flinch.
Period.

That is both the problem and the solution.
.

MrBorland
December 24, 2011, 03:39 PM
Focus on the target, forget the gun.
Imagine that the target is a deadly beast with only one thing on it's tiny, predator brain.
It wants stomp you into pudding, rip you limb from limb, and to eat you.
And you need to put 'em where it counts.
No kidding, this really works.

I recommend the opposite: Forget the target.

The target is merely a recording device that records how well you applied the fundamentals. Make it a goal to apply the 2 fundamentals (sight picture, trigger control) better every time you shoot, and the target will take care of itself. You may be flinching because you're focused on the goal (making a good shot), rather than the process. I agree with others who recommended getting rid of the target entirely when trying to overcome a flinch.

ltc444
December 24, 2011, 05:16 PM
Follow up to DeJavu.

When I train with ball and dummy, I have someone else load the weapon. By doing this I do not know when I will fire a dummy round or a live one. They very the number of live and dummy rounds.

SFC Reed, my pistol coach at the 5th Div, simplified the process.

He coached, Sight, sight, sight start trigger pull/push, sight, sight sight, weapon fires, sight sight sight. By focusing on the sights and only conscusioly starting the trigger pull, you will get a suprise break of the trigger and not be anticipating the discharge. It will also correct an number of problems. Chief of which is trying force the "perfect" shot.

His advice has served me well.

8MM Mauser
December 24, 2011, 07:27 PM
Fiddletown, that was a great breakdown and very helpful. "Front sight press" I will remember that. I am starting to understand better what people mean by a "surprise break."

dyl
December 24, 2011, 08:28 PM
Everyone loves sharing their favorite tips. So I'll join on!

Just 2 things. I read somewhere that an un natural but key challenge to shooting is to make your trigger finger an independent entity. Everything stays still - the muscles is the other fingers, how hard you're squeezing both sideways and front-to-back, your level of push-pull from the arms and shoulders, the height of the gun, your head neck and even tour breathing. The only thing that moves is your finger And relatively slowly at that. The rest of you is like a machine, a clamp, whose only job is to present a stable platform. It's un-natural. To me at least and I believe there are many concepts that make it UNLIKE martial arts. The danger of associating shooting to other martial arts too closely is that our job is NOT to anticipate anything as far as the actual firing sequence goes. And unlike other sports where trying "harder" usually means more speed more power more effort we are trying to hold steady, consistent in the firing sequence at least. Letting the usual ways of trying "harder" creep into your firing sequence and it will move your shots around. It's not natural to hold steady in the face of an explosion, to suppress flinches and reactions.

The other thing is a tidbit I learned from a beginner's NRA class. I thought it wouldn't have anything to offer but one among a few tips was novel to me. That is: after a shot is made, do not relax or reset the trigger until you reacquire a sight picture on the target again. Then reset the trigger and relax or shoot again. This encourages follow through but also is good training for getting that "ultimate controlled pair" everyone wants so bad.

Merry Christmas, God bless.

insomni
December 25, 2011, 03:27 AM
when I switched from 9 to .40 I developed a nasty anticipation habit.
5 round rhythm drills where I would fire as soon as I reaquired the target helped.

I also had great success with the dummy/live drill. (which is far more cost effective)
At the range, have your buddy (with his/her back to you) load one round into a mag. This 'round' is at their discression either going to be live, ornothing at all. They ride the slide foreward, and hand you,the pistol to fire. If it is empty and you flinch, conduct 5 GOOD dry fires. Moveonto the next round. Do this for 50iterations, but use only 10-15 actual live rounds.

I've wanted to do this without a buddy by myself. Loading a random assortment of spent casings mixed with 10 live rounds. I have enough mags toaccomodate this. Will loading and dry firing spent casings cause problems, ie failures to extract, or damage to my chamber, etc?

2damnold4this
December 25, 2011, 07:36 AM
Also, while practice in very important, remember that practice doesn’t make perfect. It’s “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” More frequent practice shooting fewer rounds, but concentrating hard on what you’re doing, will be more productive than less frequent, higher round count practice.


Very important advice there.

If you start flinching, stop and take a break. Shoot a rimfire, dry fire, do a few push ups or take a nap. Don't practice a flinch.

8MM Mauser
December 30, 2011, 06:40 PM
"To me at least and I believe there are many concepts that make it UNLIKE martial arts. The danger of associating shooting to other martial arts too closely is that our job is NOT to anticipate anything as far as the actual firing sequence goes. And unlike other sports where trying "harder" usually means more speed more power more effort we are trying to hold steady, consistent in the firing sequence at least. Letting the usual ways of trying "harder" creep into your firing sequence and it will move your shots around. It's not natural to hold steady in the face of an explosion, to suppress flinches and reactions. "

Agreed, I think that that is a large part of my problem with rifle shooting. Today my dad and I were dusting clays all afternoon, because it's more of an "action" type of shooting, I don't anticipate the trigger break, even though the 12 gauge recoil is worse than that on my Mauser. I also shot up some cans with the Ruger Mark II I mentioned earlier, and noticed that at the beginning I still exhibited a slight flinch. A couple mags in and that was gone. I was still hitting the cans mind you... just to the left and slightly low.

Rifle shooting is a mental game and requires precision control of every muscle in the body. I like it because it has a sort of calming "zen" feel to it, in that I am able to focus on just this one thing, and in fact I have to if I want to shoot well. I will most definitely acquire a .22 bolt rifle this next year when I can afford it.