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Old November 29, 2005, 11:38 PM   #1
Firepower_426
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How to defeat recoil / jumpiness?

As a new shooter, I'm still VERY jumpy and seem to anticipate my recoil (amongst a million other things). Is there anyway that I can break these habits? Is there anyway to over recoil besides shooting off a zillion rounds?

It's almost kinda embarassing, it's only a 9mm XD 5", but I'm still pretty damn jumpy. It really throws off my accuracy... something that is discouraging as a new shooter.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old November 29, 2005, 11:47 PM   #2
almark
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You can have a friend load your mag while youre not looking... have them actually load sometimes and leave the chamber empty at other times, randomly... pulling the trigger on an (unknown to you) empty gun is the best way to figure out exactly how much you're flinching... after that it's just a conscious effort to make yourself not flinch. Dryfiring and livefire with a consciously slow trigger pull should help with that too. As for recoil, making sure you have a really tight grip on the gun helps, as would some slip-on rubber grips. Working out your forearms will help some too, but I think most people have plenty of forearm strength to beat recoil already... they just don't have a tight enough grip on the gun. Good luck!
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Old November 29, 2005, 11:55 PM   #3
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Lots of dry fire. And concentrate on keeping your eyes open when you squeeze the trigger. You are anticipating the recoil/boom, and shooting something like a .22 or dry firing will help immeasurably in many ways. Trigger pull/squeeze, grip, presentation, sight aquistion etc. are all benefits of dry fire practice. Practice A LOT at home and you will get better and lose those bad habits. Did I say dry fire? Guaranteed!! Welcome to the drug like addiction of guns. And I have no problem saying I'm an addict!

Once you get better, make sure to try IDPA or USPSA. The most fun you can have with a gun.
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Old November 29, 2005, 11:57 PM   #4
Firepower_426
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I think I might be limp wristing as well. I've had no reload problems per se (or chambering probs, whatever you might call it), but I think I might get nervous and loosen my grip too far also. Sigh, so many things to work on, but plenty of ammo and time I suppose!
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:23 AM   #5
ozzy1038
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This might help too

just reverse the chart if you are lefthanded.

If your shots are all over the target you are quitting the sights and focusing on the target. Focus on the FRONT sight. It should be blurry, clear, blurry. By this I mean your rear sights should be blurry, the front sight should be clear or in focus and centered between the rear sights, and the target should be blurry too. These are all in your line of sight when firing.

I might also add that with the XD you can slowly take up the slack in the trigger up to the break point and that should help a little too.

lock your wrist. You want your left hand to to do most of the gripping kind of like 80/20 or 70/30. You want a firm grip but you don't want to white knuckle it. Plus something called a push pull grip. You pull back with your left hand while pushing forward with your right. This makes for a more positive grip. Not too strong just enough to lock it in there good and tight. What kind of grip do you use? The high hand or Leatham grip is great for battling recoil. It is when both thumbs are pointing at the target. Your left thumb rides the frame just below the slide and your right thumb rides on top of your left thumb. I switched to it last year and it works great. But in the end use what works best for you.
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:28 AM   #6
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I'm virtually dead center, though generally above the COM. What's the difference between breaking wrist up and down? How could I be doing a bit of both?!
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:46 AM   #7
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first off what caliber are you shooting?

big guns can exacerbate the issue.

Always wear good high DB reduction ear plugs and sometimes muffs over the plugs make it better. Good eye protection helps too. are you shooting indoors or outside? indoor ranges seem to intensify muzzle blast and report especially if you are up against a wall or partition. shooting outdoors with good eyes and ears, often reduces the recoil induced flinches. The pattern of having a friend load the weapon for you will tattle on your quickly if you are anticipating the shot, remember, front sight front site squeeze front sight front siBANG the shot should always somewhat surprise you.
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:46 AM   #8
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You are breaking up and down because you are not locking your wrist.

To add on to what has been mentioned with the assistance of a friend, if you have any snap caps have them insert those in different locations of the magazine, that way you will really see how much you flinch and move that gun.
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:56 AM   #9
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There are a few things at work here. The first thing is your anticipation. A suggestion is to load a single round ONLY in the magazine. Aim and focus on the front sight, squeeze the trigger. Repeat as needed. The second thing is to give thought to eye dominance. Left or right? Look at a fixed spot or sign with both eyes open. Focus. Close your right eye. Did the object move? Which way? This will determine which eye is dominant. Adjust sighting after the exercise. I suggest exercises with a used gallon milk jug filled with water. This will weigh 8 lbs. Raise, hold and lower after a 10 count. Repeat daily. I suggest a stress ball for improving your grip and a spring grip exerciser for improving your hand strength. I feel that you are locking your muscles/shoulders in preparation of recoil that is not produced, relax. Breathe more also. Avoid caffeine. Relax. The final item might be better hearing protection. Dry firing is a good method of learning your firearm better. Strip it, clean it, examine it, reassemble and relube it and dry fire, dry fire and dry fire it. I finally suggest that you slowly add ammunition to your firing range sessions. Begin with one round in the magazine and fire a box in this routine. Add two rounds, three and so on until you aren't flinching at each trigger pull. Relax and give yourself time. Weeks may pass before you are confident.
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Old November 30, 2005, 01:20 AM   #10
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They way you hold your rifle is critical...

Pull it hard into your shoulder pocket with the bottom three fingers...

Keep it vertical...

Get a neck stretch on the stock and and roll your cheek down firmly against the stock... This is called a "spot weld"

If you hold it this way... the recoil will have the least effect on you...
If you hold it even a little bit loose, it will gain momentum and slug you instead of push you.

Gradually increase the pressure on the trigger (straight to the rear) until the gun goes off as a surprise to you... you should not know when this is going to happen.

Your cheek should never leave the stock until a second or so AFTER the shot is fired. This will assist you in follow through which is to re-acquire the sight picture before you consider the shot completed.

Use a shoulder pad of some kind... I use a folded heavy washcloth tucked inside my shirt... or pinned inside a light jacket...

In cold weather, a heavy hunting jacket will do the trick... never shoot without this padding... you can re-aquire the bad habits very quickly!

Do these things for 21 days On the 22nd day they will be firmly entrenched good habits...

and you won't have to think about it anymore...


Edit... I didn't read far enough... it's wimpy 9mm!!

Last edited by Pointer; December 1, 2005 at 01:34 AM.
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Old November 30, 2005, 01:24 AM   #11
ozzy1038
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Good advice if we were talking about rifle shooting. Seriously though good advice.
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Old November 30, 2005, 01:39 AM   #12
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My buddy was having trouble with Anticipation and such. I directed him to load a few magazines and just fire...no aiming, just squeeze the trigger until the gun stopped going *BANG*, then load another magazine and repeat, after a few trips to the range throwing lead at the paper targets with no purpose, he noticed that he was no longer afraid or anticipating the recoil or report. Then we started working on his aim etc. Not saying this will work for everyone, but it did for him.
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Old November 30, 2005, 04:49 AM   #13
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Trigger squeeze is everything. Anybody can line up the sights. But you have to keep them lined up while you squeeze the trigger. It took me a few thousand rounds to get past it, but you can do it.

Some things are arguable, but this is what works for me:

1. Grip the pistol as hard as you can without actually making your hand shake. You can practice this at home; pick up the unloaded weapon from time to time and practice grabbing it strongly (I know some believe in a softer grip, but that never worked for me).

2. Practice dry firing or firing with a snap cap at your TV. Can you pull the trigger without the sights every leaving the target? Keep working at that.

3. When at the range, when you pull the trigger you should see the muzzle blast and an after image of the front sight. Concentrate on this, as if you don't see the muzzle blast you're closing your eye and probably flinching.

All the other suggestions are good too. If you've got the bucks, you can also get a cheap laser sight (like one that goes on the trigger guard for $60 or so) and practice shooting with that with both eyes open. You'll be amazed at how much the gun moves at that last second before you fire the gun.

With enough practice, you can even fire a DA pistol without leaving the target (or at least correcting part way through the trigger pull).
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Old November 30, 2005, 10:07 AM   #14
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Nice chart Ozzy, and generally really good shooting tips here. Thanks everyone.
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Old November 30, 2005, 11:52 AM   #15
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I think everyone can develop a flinch when they shoot too much of a major caliber.

The thing that works best for me--shoot a .22.

When I'm shooting a .45 handgun or whatever, and I start to feel a flinch coming on, I take a break and shoot some .22 handgun. Getme focusd back on sight picture and trigger control, rather than on recoil.

Good excuse to get a .22 handgun, if you don't have one.
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Old November 30, 2005, 11:54 AM   #16
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Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more until your body gets use to it. Muscle memory works just as well as dealing with recoil as it does it changing magazines rapidly.
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Old November 30, 2005, 03:48 PM   #17
Firepower_426
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Cool, thanks a lot for the suggestions thus far guys, anyone else?
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Old November 30, 2005, 06:31 PM   #18
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For a few rounds each session..........close your eyes, and concentrate on seeing if you can feel the trigger move while you squeeze it. EVERY shot should be a surprise. Practice practice, practice. You cannot prevent the recoil....... don't try. All you want to do is control the recoil so you can get back on target. To begin with, upper arm, lower arm, and pistol should move as a unit with the recoil.
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Old December 1, 2005, 01:16 PM   #19
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I politely disagree with those who say "just keep shooting." What that CAN do, in some cases, is reinforce the flinch, so it becomes "muscle memory," as part of the shooting experience. That's why I stop shooting (or switch to .22) when I start flinching. I don't want to "train that in."

I have found that, the more I shoot, the more flinch-resistant I have become. But I can still get a flinch at the end of a long session. I don't want to make a habit of it.
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Old December 1, 2005, 02:28 PM   #20
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Try .22 , dryfiring or even an airsoft pistol. I was jumpy when I was younger (when I moved up from BB guns and .22 to harder stuff) and my dad had me do this...get a bag of ballons and get a pin, blow up a lot of ballons (there is like 50 in the bag), put the pin in one hand and the ballon in the other, put your arms out straight in front of your face. Then count "1-mississippi" slowly breath in, "2-mississippi" slowly breath out halfway, "3" hold your breath and while trying to keep your eyes open and your whole body still, just moving the fingers holding the pin, pop the ballon. You may want to dry run without a ballon first, because you will flinch or delay the first few times. Try to get into a "zone" and get into a rythmn when your doing it. After a while you will get use to the pop, any you will be amazed when you get a ballon "missfire" when the pin goes it and the ballon doesn't pop. Then when you shoot you count and breath the same way. Luckly we were not in the Marines during the vietnam war. My dad said flincher usually got a drill instructer who would hand you a rifle with either an empty chamber or a live round. They would stare at you and if you pulled the trigger on an empty round and flinched, you would get smacked or kicked.
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Old December 2, 2005, 04:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
I'm still VERY jumpy and seem to anticipate my recoil
Skimmed through the post so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what has already been said;

Double plug. Try to use a good pair of muffs over your ear plugs or vice versa. More often it's the sound that makes the gun so scary.
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Old December 2, 2005, 04:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
I politely disagree with those who say "just keep shooting." What that CAN do, in some cases, is reinforce the flinch, so it becomes "muscle memory," as part of the shooting experience. That's why I stop shooting (or switch to .22) when I start flinching. I don't want to "train that in."

Ditto
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Old December 2, 2005, 06:35 PM   #23
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One word. RELAX. Its a lot easier to shoot when your not all tensed up and worrying about it.
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Old December 2, 2005, 06:35 PM   #24
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a lot of dry fire and a lot of shooting. shoot with a buddy who knows what he is doing.
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:01 PM   #25
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Here's the deal. Everyone flinches to a certain extent. It's how we control the startle reflex is what makes us better shooters than the others.

When I get a student that has a pronounced flinch, here's what I do:
Grip. The hand that grips the gun should make up about 30% of the total grip. If you grip too tightly, your triggerfinger will not function smoothly. Your support hand should make up the rest. Grip the gun with just enough force to keep it there. The other hand's palmheel should lock into the curve formed by your gun hand's palmheel. Wrap your support hand's fingers around the front and then squeeze to tighten. You should feel both hands tighten up around the gun.
Next, Triggerfinger. make a game out of the triggerpull. Put slight pressure on the trigger and try not to let it go off. Keep applying more and more pressure all the while trying not to let it go off. (Eventually, it will go off) Don't rush the triggerpull. If you rush it, you'll jerk it.
Follow through. Allow the gun to recoil. Do not try to make it come back down on target. It will do it all on it's own. After a while, you will find you are managing the recoil better and better.

Dry fire. practice dry. ( no ammo in the gun, or in the room) Press the trigger to the rear and try to not let the front sight bobble. To test yourself, out a dime on the front sight. Pull the trigger and do not let the dime fall off. Yes, it can be done.

Above all, practice correctly. Do not just pound away and hope it gets better. Do not continue to do the same thing expecting a different result. (That's the definition of insanity)

Good luck

Dave
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