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Old October 17, 2014, 08:55 AM   #1
Spats McGee
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I need to cure a flinch.

I have a flinch. There. I've said it. I have it, and I need to fix it. According to the guys I shoot with (LEO firearms trainers), I have a flinch in which I "push over the top" just before the Moment of Bang, causing me to shoot low.

I know that dry-firing is often named as one of the possible remedies for a flinch. I've got snapcaps, and intend to start doing more dry-firing. (Given that I live in an apartment with a wife and child, and have very close neighbors, I'm extremely cautious, perhaps even hesitant, to engage in any more gun handling than is absolutely necessary at home.)

I'm also considering getting a .22 conversion kit for my G19, and using that. (Yes, I'm aware of the .22 shortage, but don't worry about that.) I'm thinking that if I shoot enough low-recoil rounds, in addition to some work with the snapcaps, I might be able to cure myself of this.

Does anyone have any insight as to whether this is an effective plan?

Thanks in advance,
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:01 AM   #2
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This may be a rather half baked thought, but it seems to me that if I strive for speed and put less emphasis on precision, I am less apt to flinch as often and to have trouble with a heavy trigger pull.
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:08 AM   #3
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I'm not entirely sure, but I think I also flinch less in rapid fire than slow fire. I don't think anything I should could really be characterized as a "heavy" trigger pull, though. Maybe 5.5 lbs.? That's what I ordered on my G19, and I don't have anything else that makes me go "Hmm. That seems heavy."
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:18 AM   #4
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Just my 2 cents but heavy trigger pull may be an issue in the gun.
Some times a gun needs a lighter trigger to work well for a particular shooter.
I had a pistol once I had the same issue with and lightened the trigger and that solved the problem.
It can down to the shape of the trigger and frame / grip and where my finger naturally hit the trigger.
The lighter trigger required less force to squeeze and I stopped trying to squeeze the grip toward the trigger this stopped dropping the barrel of the gun. (hope that makes sense)
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:43 AM   #5
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Instead of the .22 kit, maybe try a quality blowback BB gun pistol.
Excellent for high volume, low cost shooting in urban environments.
I shoot indoors into a cardboard box stuffed with rags as a backstop.

I can not practice shooting on the move, low light training, holster work, etc. at my public ranges. I can with a BB gun in semi-urban local woods where laws permit.

Sig and other big names make 1:1 replicas for training purposes. SW puts out a respectable $200 586.
Glock sues replica makers and doesn't produce one themselves.
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:51 AM   #6
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Have someone get the firearm ready for you to shoot while you dont look. Have them leave the chamber empty every couple shots. Works better with a revolver, but may help with an auto.
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Old October 17, 2014, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Instead of the .22 kit, maybe try a quality blowback BB gun pistol.
I don't recommend using a toy gun to cure a flinch. Stepping up from the non-existant recoil of an Airsoft gun or air pistol to a full sized handgun round is not going to work well. Dry fire practice (in the form of ball and dummy and the like), reduced loads ( I assume you handload, if not they are out there in various calibers), and rounds down range cure flinches. another thing to try would be doubling up on hearing protection. Earplugs under ear muffs are some ways people have cured flinching. Ball and dummy is also a good step in learning not to flinch, as .243winxb has stated.
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Old October 17, 2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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I think dry firing is a good thing. I still do it every day. You focus on the basics (if youre seeing the front sight move here, you have other issues), and you can use that to your advantage, when you are shooting, if you feel the flinch thing coming on. Just go into "dry fire mode", and tell yourself thats what youre doing, and focus on the sights, and only the sights until the shot breaks.

Mix a few of your snap caps into the mag/cylinder as you reload, and it will show you whats going on, and help you practice it.

One thing I usually have new shooters do right off is, with a proper grip and stance, hold the gun at just below eye level, and pointing it at a close silhouette target with no aiming point, squeeze off a mag or two, and have them watch the gun as it fires, not the target or sights. It lets them see whats going on, that the gun isnt going to hurt them due to recoil, noise, blast, etc., and helps alleviate any fear of the gun. This is really the only time I suggest thinking about the trigger too. Seems to have worked pretty well so far. Once they realize its not a big deal, they can focus on the important stuff.
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Old October 17, 2014, 11:02 AM   #9
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Stepping up from the non-existant recoil of an Airsoft gun or air pistol
A $100-$200 blow back air pistol kicks just as hard as any .22 pistol.
They are as loud as a .22 rifle (110 Db or so).
They offer more realism then you are giving them credit for.
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Last edited by Vt.birdhunter; October 17, 2014 at 01:50 PM.
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Old October 17, 2014, 11:16 AM   #10
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Dry fire, ball-and-dummy practice, and working with a .22 are all good. When shooting the .22, really focus on follow-through, and concentrate on that when you go back to the larger caliber. For me, at least, there's something about concentrating my mind on what happens after the shot that seems to help with flinching.

I think the .22 conversion kit is a good plan, BTW.
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Old October 17, 2014, 03:20 PM   #11
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Randomly place two to four snapcaps along with live ammo in a magazine. Fire those off and you will catch yourself flinching when the gun doesn't go "bang." Actually catching yourself doing it and what it feels like is a good step to curing yourself. With live rounds press the trigger very slowly to see if you are anticipating the bang. You don't say how long or how much you've been shooting, but shooting a lot helps cure it.

Also, a flinch is not the only thing that makes you shoot low. If you dry fire and watch the front sight you will see just how much it moves when you pull the trigger even when not cocked.
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Old October 17, 2014, 06:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmo44mag
Just my 2 cents but heavy trigger pull may be an issue in the gun.
Some times a gun needs a lighter trigger to work well for a particular shooter....
Probably not the best idea. It's usually not a good choice to try to solve a software problem with a hardware fix. It might be a useful approach if we're talking about an extremely heavy, gritty trigger. But one should be able to do good work with a decent, service trigger. A stock Glock trigger isn't bad, and one can learn to manage it well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanya
Dry fire, ball-and-dummy practice, and working with a .22 are all good. When shooting the .22, really focus on follow-through, and concentrate on that when you go back to the larger caliber....
All good ideas.

Let's have a short review of first principles.
  1. 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."

  2. 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.

  3. Of course the gun will wobble a bit on the target. It is just not possible to hold the gun absolutely steady. Because you are alive, there will always be a slight movement caused by all the tiny movement associated with being alive: your heart beating; tiny muscular movements necessary to maintain your balance, etc. 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.

  4. Practice deliberately, making every shot count, to program good habits. 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/striker falls.

  5. You'll want to be able to perform the fundamentals reflexively, on demand without conscious thought. You do that by practicing them slowly to develop smoothness. Then smooth becomes fast.

    1. Remember that practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

    2. Practice also makes permanent. If you keep practicing doing something poorly, you will become an expert at doing it poorly.

  6. It may help to understand the way humans learn a physical skill.

    1. In learning a physical skill, we all go through a four step process:

      1. unconscious incompetence, we can't do something and we don't even know how to do it;

      2. conscious incompetence, we can't physically do something even though we know in our mind how to do it;

      3. conscious competence, we know how to do something but can only do it right if we concentrate on doing it properly; and

      4. unconscious competence, at this final stage we know how to do something and can do it reflexively (as second nature) on demand without having to think about it.

    2. To get to the third stage, you need to think through the physical task consciously in order to do it perfectly. You need to start slow; one must walk before he can run. The key here is going slow so that you can perform each repetition properly and smoothly. Don't try to be fast. Try to be smooth. Now here's the kicker: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. You are trying to program your body to perform each of the components of the task properly and efficiently. As the programing takes, you get smoother; and as you get smoother you get more efficient and more sure, and therefore, faster.

    3. I have in fact seen this over and over, both in the classes I've been in and with students that I've helped train. Start slow, consciously doing the physical act smoothly. You start to get smooth, and as you get smooth your pace will start to pick up. And about now, you will have reached the stage of conscious competence. You can do something properly and well as long as you think about it.

    4. To go from conscious competence to the final stage, unconscious competence, is usually thought to take around 5,000 good repetitions. The good news is that dry practice will count. The bad news is that poor repetitions don't count and can set you back. You need to work at this to get good.

    5. If one has reached the stage of unconscious competence as far as trigger control is concerned, he will be able to consistently execute a proper, controlled trigger press quickly and without conscious thought. Of course one needs to practice regularly and properly to maintain proficiency, but it's easier to maintain it once achieved than it was to first achieve it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
...but it seems to me that if I strive for speed and put less emphasis on precision, I am less apt to flinch as often and to have trouble with a heavy trigger pull.
I've seen that and think it's related to taking the conscious mind out of the equation. If one thinks through the trigger press, one sometimes becomes impatient and tried to "get it over with."

But I still think it's best to, as I've described above, start slow. The focus on the front sight helps occupy the mind, so you're not thinking about the trigger press or the shot breaking. And be smooth -- a steadily increasing pressure on the trigger for as much time or as little time as necessary until the shot breaks.

Think: front sight; press; surprise.
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Old October 17, 2014, 09:22 PM   #13
James K
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The oldest pistol shooting advice is still the simplest: Concentrate on the sights and squeeze the trigger.

Flinching comes from anticipating the shot/recoil. If you aren't sure when the shot is going to go, you can't anticipate it.

Jim
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Old October 17, 2014, 11:25 PM   #14
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I had my brother at the outdoor range load my magazines for me with snap caps and live rounds while I wasn't looking, then load and ready the gun for me. If you do this you will not know when you will break a shot if you just tell yourself all your partner did was just load dummies (which he should do as well). You should do this until you focus on only the sights and trigger control. Then you will have conditioned your mind and muscle memory that there is no need to anticipate the shot and it will happen as it happens.

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Old October 18, 2014, 07:18 AM   #15
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Another vote for a blowback airgun.
They are excellent training tools that can be used anywhere.
And they do recoil enough to provide a sense of realism.
Anyone who still thinks of airguns as useless toys hasn't actually tried the new generation versions.
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Old October 18, 2014, 07:54 AM   #16
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Get a double action revolver. Ball 'n dummy. Use the trigger in only the long DA mode.

If you have nothing but snap caps, put a coin on the top strap/front sight rib. While working the DA trigger, keep the sight on the target and the coin on the top strap/front sight rib.
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Old October 18, 2014, 09:25 AM   #17
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The "right" answer is probably in there somewhere, but first, you need to know what "kind" of flinch you have and also, why "style" of shooting you are working on.

Types of flinch:

1. Jerking the trigger. Either long pull, heavy pull or poor ergonomics and "speed" will cause a jerk. This should be relativley repeatable, but will still degrade accuracy. If it is the trigger, slowing down should fix it...or changing the trigger...or fixing your trigger press. If it is ergonomics, where your trigger finger is not square on the trigger and close to perpendicular, you need to address that with fit. Also, if the middle in inner trigger finger pads are contacting the frame or trigger guard, this can also result in a flinch.

2. The noise or recoil is producing the predictable physiological startled effect. If it is noise, then double plugging and shooting some magazine dumps as fast as possible first and last of every range session. If it is recoil induced, yes dry-fire and or a .22 with 10K trigger presses or more will typically cure it, but it needs maintenance.

3. Trained muscle memory due to shooting one platform. Some of the top pistol shooters (speed sports) have a natural flinch that is trained. Their grip, trigger control and sight picture are a system they have tuned, through 10s of thousands of rounds, to keep the sights on target at speeds under 0.10 seconds.

Knowing WHY you flinch is the most important part of curing the flinch.
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Old October 18, 2014, 03:03 PM   #18
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A 5.5 pound trigger may or may not be "heavy". Smooth is far more important than light anyway. Mind you, every new firearm requires a trigger job due to frivolous law suits.
"...non-existent recoil of an Airsoft gun..." Airsoft guns are toys that having nothing whatever to do with a real firearms. Air pistols can be toys too, but not like Airsoft. A good air pistol can make a huge difference. Mind you, like MarkCO says, a lot depends on the kind of flinch and what's causing it.
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Old October 18, 2014, 05:43 PM   #19
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As others have previously stated "ball and dummy".
If you don't reload have a friend make you up 8-10 rounds with no powder or primers.
If your mags take 15 rounds each for example place 13 live rounds and 2 dummies in a bag and load the mag without looking where the dummy rounds are.
This will help you with your flinch and malfunction drills at the same time.
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Old October 18, 2014, 06:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
....Mind you, every new firearm requires a trigger job due to frivolous law suits...
Not necessarily true. I have a number of guns, including Glocks, H&K P7M8s, a couple of Kahrs, a Springfield XD and several high grade 1911s that came with perfectly satisfactory triggers right out of the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
...Airsoft guns are toys that having nothing whatever to do with a real firearms....
Again not necessarily true. For years we've been successfully using quality Airsoft handguns (the type that run on "green gas" and mimic the operation of the real thing) in our Basic Handgun classes. Our students use Airsoft guns in the classroom to begin to get a sense of trigger press, sight alignment and trigger reset without the distractions of live fire -- before we take them into the range for live fire exercises. The great majority of our students have never touched (literally) a gun before, and the use of Airsoft is a great aid in moving them into live fire at a well controlled pace.

In our experience, over quite a few years and many students, Airsoft appropriately used is a very useful teaching tool.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; October 18, 2014 at 07:09 PM.
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Old October 18, 2014, 06:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Not necessarily true. I have a number of guns, including Glocks, H&K P7M8s, a couple of Kahrs, a Springfield XD and several high grade 1911s that came with perfectly satisfactory triggers right out of the box.
Its been my experience that most all the stock triggers are fine, right out of the box. These days, its a rarity when you get one that isnt, and its been a very long time since I can remember when it was I last had to deal with one. Late 80's, early 90's anyways.



Quote:
......Airsoft appropriately used is a very useful teaching tool.
Absolutely.
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Old October 18, 2014, 07:01 PM   #22
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IMO:
Ball and dummy is really useful to convince someone they have a flinch or accept your flinch;going from unconscious to conscious incompetence.
It might be useful as a pop quiz to measure progress.I'm not sure it cures.Its a step.

For a long time my "do everything" handgun was a RSB .44 Mag.

I developed two bad habits.

1)Recovering from recoil starting at the trigger break.I was dropping the muzzle during lock time and ignition.

2)Its fun to see the can jump!!I can't do that with a darn recoiling 44 in front of my eye,so my focus would shift to the target.

For me:Focus on calling each shot.Unless you see the sight pic on the target until recoil moves the gun,you flinched.
If you can hold the focus on the sight and call the shot,you did not flinch.
The tool for the cure...the "perfect practice" Frank mentions,is sight picture focus and follow through.

Now,to get past shifting to target focus at the shot,to see target reaction..paper is a non reactive target.Its one tool.Shoot a shot,call it,look with a spotting scope if required.Training muscles to do it right one shot at a time.Rapid accurate fire is being good at recovering the sights and shooting one shot at a time quickly.I'll modify that a bit.Up close,looking over the gun at the front sight as a shotgun bead... grip and wrists..."return to battery" counts.How that is done may play into your muzzle drop.Wrists,elbows...


Next step,to not watch target reaction,focus on the front sight.Find it as it falls back in the notch.Sight's in the notch?press the trigger,keep watching the sight.

IMO,curing flinch is about disciplining the eyes to focus on the sights and follow through.

Last edited by HiBC; October 18, 2014 at 07:11 PM.
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Old October 18, 2014, 08:30 PM   #23
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You might chuckle at this,,,

You might chuckle at this,,,
But I'll toss it out there for grins.

I wonder if a session with a hypnotherapist could help.

Not just any old hypnotherapist,,,
But one who specializes in athletic training & motivation.

Hey, it could help.

I smoked cigarettes for 44 years,,,
One hypnotherapy session back in August of 2009,,,
Cured an addiction/habit that hasn't bothered me for over 5 years.

I know that pro athletes employ their services,,,
It makes me wonder if any of our competitive shooters use them.

Aarond

.
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Old October 18, 2014, 08:42 PM   #24
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I noticed how bad of a flinch I have with my mosin nagant, I have been working on it the last few weeks, I think I have all but gotten totally rid of it. I just had to slow down and actually remember that I have a flinch before I shoot. take a deep breath and concentrate on my follow-through and try to think about the flinch and to steady through it. after about 50 rounds of really concentrating on it, I think I have gotten past it.
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Old October 19, 2014, 01:45 AM   #25
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Quote:
The oldest pistol shooting advice is still the simplest: Concentrate on the sights and squeeze the trigger.

Flinching comes from anticipating the shot/recoil. If you aren't sure when the shot is going to go, you can't anticipate it.

The simplest and best advice. Muzzle breaking down is anticipation of the trigger break. Concentrate on the front sight and SSSSQQQQUUUUEEEEEEEEZZZZEEEE the trigger.
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