View Full Version : The OTHER "F" Word....

Dave McC
May 27, 2002, 07:13 AM
And that of course is, Flinch!

At PGC yesterday, I was shooting the bull with another trapshooter. A young fellow of maybe 30 at most, he had an 1100 Classic Trap(Gawgeous wood) and a good attitude.

He mentioned that on his previous range trip, he had inadvertedly left the safety on.When he called for a target and swung,the 1100 did not fire. What concerned him was the gyrations he went through. According to him, he pulled the bbl down while lurching forward.

I looked at him with sympathy and said," That's a flinch, son".

It's inevitable. If you shoot enough with anything with more kick than a 22 Hornet, you'll have to deal with flinching somewhere down the road. I don't care how much muscle mass you pack, how tough you are, or how you leave the range fragrant with newly made Testosterone, you WILL get a flinch, sooner or later.

This is why Trapshooters(Who shoot light loads in heavy guns but shoot an inordinate amount of them) spend thousands of dollars on special stocks, pads, release triggers, recoil reducers, ad infinitum.

Ever see one of the Robostocks from Precision Fit? $1200 for something as estheticallty pleasing as a catalytic tower that reduces kick by a considerable amount. Part of this is from a shock absorber, part from being completely adjustable to fit the stock to the shooter nigh perfectly.Lots of folks are saving up for these, because their users sing praises about being kickless.If they made them for 870s, I've consider same for my TB.

The Compstocks, Gracoils, Soft Touch mods, etc, do the same thing, only less so and for less money.

And the popularity of gas autos like the 1100 and the Berettas is in large part because they spread the felt recoil out and thus make it FEEL like less.

I'm not immune myself. In case you haven't read between the lines on my threads about light loads, good fit and form,long forcing cones, heavy guns, pads, recoil cutters, experiments with weight and springs, and so on,I'm as vulnerable as anyone. I did recognize the fact long ago and started taking steps on the Oz of Prevention Principle. It's worked for me, so far.

So, what does one do to stop a flinch from starting?

First,get out of denial. It will happen, if you shoot enough. It can happen in the field, tho few pure hunters shoot enough to become a problem.

Next, get good ear protection. Part of the prob is the blast.

Third through nth, good fit, form, light loads, heavy guns, recoil reducers, switch to a gas auto, and so on. Fit and form are the biggies. A slightly forward stance will work better for the clay games than an upright one, tho there's tradeoffs.


May 27, 2002, 11:14 AM

What you've described is not quite what I would call a flinch. I was taught there is a difference between the reaction after the anticipated shot and the inability/hestitation to pull the trigger before the shot.

I know shooters who lurch forward if the gun doesn't fire but don't hestiate to fire and track the bird smoothly before firing and continue swinging after the shot. Their "flinch" isn't hurting their shooting. However, when this reaction begins before the shot and shooters can't or won't fire their guns or are not swinging smoothly because the mind is attempting to respond to the coming recoil then action needs to be taken.

The key thing about a flinch is not to overreact and start spending huge amounts of money trying to solve it, at least initially. Flinching can be occur because you are tired or are not seeing the birds clearly. If it becomes a habit then the previously described remedies are the way to go. A very good point is made about getting better ear protection. The only thing I don't support for recoil reduction are release triggers.


Dave McC
May 27, 2002, 01:04 PM
Paul, while some trap folks swear by release triggers, I'll never use one. Seems a bit dangerous, and I've seen a few UDs with them.

There's various ways flinching manifests itself. The way the kid was going is one. Another is an inability to pull the trigger.

May 27, 2002, 02:20 PM
Never tried a gun with a release trigger.

What does one do if they decide not to fire ?


May 27, 2002, 08:44 PM
Well, you could wait patiently until the next opportunity arises say in an hour or two ;)

I've seen shooters in this situation lower the gun, tuck the stock into their armpit and reach back with the offhand and and move the toplever on an over/under or open the breach on a semi. I'm not sure how this would be done with a pump gun. I once saw a modified version of the Remington 1100 with a action release similar to that in the 870 incorporated in the frame. This device when activited released the release trigger.

I agree with Dave that the things are dangerous. I wouldn't want to use one at targets and then revert to a pull trigger for hunting or other purposes. Better to have one set of muscle memory when it comes to firing a gun in any circumstance.

May 27, 2002, 09:44 PM
PAST recoil pads are my choice, for personal protection.

Sorry in advance.


Dave McC
May 28, 2002, 04:35 AM
Damfino, Sam. Since I'll NEVER use one, it's more than moot how to make the thing safe.

Led, you've nothing to apologize for. I like my PAST for bench work, but tis a bit cumbersome in the field or on the trap range.

June 1, 2002, 08:51 PM
I have a release trigger for my 1100. I have quit using it in recent years, because I don't shoot as much trap as I did as a teen....As I recall, the one and only time I didn't need to shoot after pulling the trigger, I reached over with my left hand and racked the charging handle to clear the chamber.

They are definitely not for everyone, and I would not try to talk someone into getting one. My gramps put it in for me as I flinched hard with that gun over the course of a day at the range due to the sharp comb on the gun digging into my cheekbone.

If I shot enough to justify it, I would get an adjustable comb stock and that would aleviate my issue.

Dave McC
June 1, 2002, 10:06 PM
It's not just the comb that makes it comfortable. Z. A little shimming to raise the comb a ahir might help also. Try that and a shim under the pad to add or take away a little pitch.

June 2, 2002, 04:48 AM
After more than 40 years of shooting, I have still to shoot a semi shotgun - hardly matters ... I've shot pumps my whole life.

Had a chance to shoot a bud's over & under a couple years back & called for a skeet double. First shot = a break & I almost did fall on my face when I tried to pump his O&U - talk about flinch! :eek:

June 2, 2002, 11:19 PM
I still notice myself doing this...I'm gonna shoot the mofo until I stop doin' it!!!

September 19, 2002, 05:55 PM
With a goal of getting rid of a flinch, I ordered a case of Estate Cartridge Mighty-Lite Target Load - 12 gauge, 2.75 length, 2.5 dram eq., 7/8 shot wt., 8.5 shot size.

After having shot about 150 rounds, I happened to notice something today when I pulled the trigger on an empty chamber (I was shooting 5 round series and only had 4 left in the box on the last series - I cycled the action as though there were a 5th shell to be fired).

No flinch!

And no more problems shooting the 870 Police Magnum.

Dave R
September 19, 2002, 09:45 PM
Another low-tech way to get rid of a flinch, at least for a while, is to go shoot some .22 on a bench rest. Or even plinking. Gets your brain focused on stillness when the trigger breaks, and keeps your subconscious from going "ow".