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Old March 19, 2011, 09:40 AM   #26
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What Bighead said

I too had that problem when switching from gun to gun. A friend of mine, who is a top rank pistol shooter with the State Police watched me and realized that I had my trigger finger all the way in to the first knuckle. Had me pull it out to the tip and this really solved my problem and now every time I get "odd" groups, I stop and feel where my trigger finger is and my groups come right back in.
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Old March 24, 2011, 01:52 PM   #27
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Yeah- as far as pulling the shot- often the finger too far on to the trigger.
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Old March 24, 2011, 09:25 PM   #28
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Since Timetohunt broke the ice

If you want to shoot a .45 get one with a lighter trigger pull.

My Kimber compact II breaks at 2.5 lbs. The 1911 is easy to grip and using the pad of my finger, I can get the same groups with it and my Ruger sp101 shooting double action 38 specials.

Try this and all the other things earlier posters suggested about perfecting your trigger control.
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Old March 26, 2011, 06:31 PM   #29
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OK. Flinching in anticipation of recoil indicates to me, that you KNOW when the shot is going to break. Why, because you are jerking the trigger. If you DON"T know when the break is coming, you are squeezing the trigger. If you will do some dry firing practice of just putting slow pressure on the trigger when the sights are on. When the sights drift off, hold what you have on the trigger, and when they drift back on continue your sloooooww gentle squeeze. Suddenly, without warning, the trigger will break. Here is how you tell if you are doing it right. THE BREAK WILL COME AS A COMPLETE SURPRISE. If it is NOT a surprise to you,-------- you are still jerking the trigger.

You have had this problem for a long time and some very bad habits have been repeated and are firmly established in your mind. It is going to take a concentrated effort to break these habits. You have to think about what you are doing on every shot. As to grip, there have been a lot of good opinions already mentioned. Personally, I judge my grip by one thing. I squeeze until my hand starts shaking, then relax a bit until the shaking stops, and break the shot. When you have, by dry firing practice and actual live fire at the range, are able to keep the sights on target when the shot breaks, you will eventually be able to break the shot when you want to without flinching. When you finally start shooting good consistant groups and then suddenly start throwing shots all over the paper, immediately go back to square one and work on the break coming as a complete surprise.

I am NOT a firearms instructor or a shooting guru, so all the above is in my humble opinion only and others mileage may vary. I do know that I whipped my jerking/flinching/anticipation problem by doing what I have told you in this post and I taught my boys and my wife to shoot by this means. It's worked for me and for my family and others, and I bet it will work for you. It's going to take a lot of practice to replace bad habits with good ones, and the way to start is to practice this on every shot, every time. Be honest with yourself. If you knew when the shot was going to break, you are doing it wrong. Again, later on, you will be able to break the shot cleanly and accurately and know when the break is coming, but NOT TO START WITH.

I hope this makes sense to you and that you will try this type of practice. You can whip this. Just consistantly apply this to each and every shot.

Good Luck, and do come back and tell us how you are doing using whatever means you choose to apply.

"Don't under estimate us old people. We can't run, but a lot of us know how to REALLY ruin your day!"
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Old March 29, 2011, 07:23 AM   #30
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As usual, LOTS of great advice, and LOTS for me to work on! NOW if this lousy Missouri weather would finally break long enough to let me out in the field! Meantime, I'm doing some dry-firing inside where it's warm and dry.
Oh, and the .45 is an XD, the .40 is the Glock which I don't shoot much.
Thanks everyone, I'll re-post with results, the weather is suppossed to break enough this week so I can walk across the muddy yard to my home range.
Steve W.
Circa 1964: Rocky to Bullwinkle:
"But that trick never works!"
But Bullwinkle tries it anyway...again and again
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Old April 2, 2011, 05:04 PM   #31
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Alright, weather's nice yesterday and today,l got to shoot a little, and, I'M GETTING BETTER WITH YOU GUY'S ADVICE!!!!.
This probably don't sound like much to some of you, BUT practicing trigger control and finger placement, grip, and trying to control my anticipation, I put 100 rounds of .45acp from the XD into a minimum 8-10" circle today at 10 yards standing, and at least half within the 4 inch bullseye!
That would normally SUCK with the .38's, but it's my BEST with the .45!
Thanks again everyone, I'll keep practicing and take this seriously so I can shoot well someday. Hell, I'm only 55, got a good couple years left!
Steve W.
Circa 1964: Rocky to Bullwinkle:
"But that trick never works!"
But Bullwinkle tries it anyway...again and again
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Old April 4, 2011, 06:04 PM   #32
Rifleman 173
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I also thought at first that it might be flinching but what if the design of the gun is not right for the OP? Maybe his hand is too small to fit the thicker grip or something. Maybe he should consider a thinner pistol to carry in the same caliber. I've seen a lot of shooting problems and small hands trying to grip some thicker Glock pistols is one of them. Just a thought to consider as a second idea.
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Old April 5, 2011, 11:07 PM   #33
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Had the same problem when I was a kid and upped to a 12 gauge. Did it when my dad started putting .357 mags instead of .38s in the security 6. Did the same thing when I shot a .44 mag for the first time as well. It helps that I started on a .357 mag revolver for pistols, and my first semi-auto was a .45acp. My father cured me of this and I did the same thing with a friend of mine who is now a US Marine.

Allow a friend to load the weapon without you seeing if they chamber a round or not. Have them set the weapon down(pointed in a safe direction). Pick the weapon up and squeeze the trigger. You will catch yourself flinching, but you will break the habbit.

We developed another version also after I was getting used to shooting the 9mm. I noticed I was flinching when I was shooting the .357 again. Not a good habbit because that is my hunting pistol. So dad broke out the the .38s and the .357 mags. Loaded up the revolver with both .38s and .357s. 1 .38 or 5 he wouldn't tell me. This also helped break me. End of the day it is all just recoil and you can handle it.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:09 AM   #34
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I'll admit it, I'm a recoil wimp.

The way I manage it is to identify what the factors are that bother me and address them individually. I sometimes have to change grips to something that fits me better. A 1911 fits me like it was made for me, a K frame Smith with the small grip needs a t-grip type filler, and the N frame target grips always get put in a box somewhere. Since my hands are not callused from years of manual labor, I am sensitive to the abrasion that a sharply checkered grip can cause so I put Pachmayrs on just about everything. This also has the effect of eliminating slip due to sweaty palms in the summer. If the grip fits me well and is not abrasive, then I'm usually fine.

I wear glasses and a cap with the brim pulled down low as well. If it is very cold out my joints will stiffen and be sensitive, so gloves get put on. This winter I was wearing a layer of the poly disposables under the leather and that really helped. Now I find all my pistols are tame.

I do the same thing with rifles, even my Garand wears a Limbsaver recoil pad. I will send a lot of rifle rounds downrange in a session, and I find heavy -06 loads in my Mauser can be a problem, so I load down a bit. One subtle factor that bothered me was muzzle blast, I bought better muffs and sometimes double up wearing plugs and muffs.

Most important though is that I always take .22s to the range with me. These help me regain control of the basics and allow a nice break during a long session, which they almost always are.
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Old April 6, 2011, 02:08 PM   #35
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Uh, hello...

bad rotator cuffs and tennis elbow, not to mention the other things...

As a lifelong shooter it can tell you, this stuff HURTS! I know 'cause I've had this stuff.

As a specialist in upper extremity rehabilitation, I can advise you with confidence that these issues are fixable.

You are flinching because you are injured. All the advice you have been given to just suck it up and maybe do some exercises is wrong. OK, let me try stating that in more diplomatic terms: Listening to people who don't have a clue about what's wrong with your body or what it takes to make it heal is just going to make it worse. You have overuse injuries, AKA cumulative trauma musculoskeletal disorders. And they are telling you to fix it by doing more repetitive exercises and further engagement in the activities that have caused the problem?

You need to make an appointment with a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). This could be either an occupational therapist or physical therapist. Find one in your area by going to the Hand Therapy Certification Commission at

Get the help you need, not off the cuff solutions from the uninformed.
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Old April 12, 2011, 07:30 PM   #36
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I took an introduction to IPSC course last Friday night and the instructor told us to make 50 dummy rounds (no primer or powder) and dump them in a box along with 50 live rounds, mix them up and load our magazines and practice practice practice. About 1/2 way through the excercise my groups went from 8" down to 3" using my 230 gr .45 ACP over 4.9gr W231.

This along with a proper grip helped me the most.
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Old April 12, 2011, 08:46 PM   #37
Terry A
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March 12, 2011, 08:32 AM #7
Yankee Doodle
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Posts: 403 If you think it's a flinch, try this. It always works.
Take a friend to the range with you. Have your friend load one round in the mag, and chamber the round, and hand you the loaded gun. Then take the gun and fire the one CAREFULLY aimed round. Give the gun back and have him do it again. Every now and then, have your friend hand you an unloaded gun. You won't know if the gun is loaded or not. If the piece moves at the trigger break, you are indeed flinching. This is known in police circles as "dutchloading". It will immediately let you know if you have developed a flinch. If so, dedicated dry fire practice is the cure. Balance a dime on top of the slide, and practice until you can dry fire without the dime falling off. Then use the same trigger squeeze when the gun is loaded.
Works every time.
This is easier to do then to explain, so I hope I have made myself clear.
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What a great post! I was going to suggest him having a buddy to "load" his weapon for him & then let the shooter actually see for himself how he's responding each time he pulls the trigger, but I could never have written it as well as you just did!

Allow me to add this little tid-bit. In addition to what Yank wrote, try shooting every round you shoot, no matter the caliber, with your eyes wide open. Concentrate on not blinking them at all as the round is fired. It may take some time, but that will cure your flinch if you try it.

The reason for most flinches isn't the recoils or momentum of the weapon coming back upon firing, it's the loud noise. We humans just naturally close our eyes tight when we hear a loud noise. Sometimes, even the shoulders of some people will creep up towards their ears upon being startled by a loud sound. But by re-training your body to become used to the sound of a round being fired, you'll in effect, cure yourself of any flinch.

Good luck my friend!
2 Thes 3:16 "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! "
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Old April 12, 2011, 09:15 PM   #38
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I have a Ruger SP101 and I can tell you that when I first got it, I had a hard time hitting the side of a barn with it! Talk about buyer’s remorse. I was used to shooting semis and using the ball on the tip of my trigger finger. My Ruger will just not allow that finger placement with me behind it! I have to use the crease on my first knuckle. It may be that revolvers have a different distance to their trigger – I don’t know. I do know it took a lot of dry firing to get the “feel” of that little wheal gun to shoot for me. Now that I do … does it ever.

At first I thought I might have been flinching too, but I did what BikerRN said and held it tighter than the first penny I ever made grunting all the way … I knew then, recoil wasn’t the issue lol!

Good luck!!
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Old April 12, 2011, 09:52 PM   #39
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I can't hit the side of a barn with a 45ACP pistol. I've tried everything from Colt Gold Cup to Ruger P90. Dunno what it is, but I can't hit with it.
A few years a go I bought a very nice stainless 1911 from my doctor who said the same thing as you just stated. I guess some people are just more comfortable with a 9 than a .45.
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