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Old February 24, 2011, 03:41 AM   #1
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jerking the trigger because of recoil anticipation

Hey all-

I tend to jerk my hand/trigger finger in anticipation of the bang caused by the gun firing, needless to say they this is very detrimental to my accuracy. What my question is, as I practice more and become used to bang from the gun going off, will my problem start to go away?

Just a note- my dry firing is very good, I can balance a penny on the front sight etc., but of course, I will keep practicing.

Thanks again everyone

Last edited by dean1197; February 24, 2011 at 04:25 AM.
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Old February 24, 2011, 04:36 AM   #2
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Keep working on the dry firing. What i always do is use ear plugs and muffs.

Try and pull the trigger slowly during live fire, speed will come naturally the more you shoot.
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Old February 24, 2011, 08:57 AM   #3
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Practice should help. Concentrate on a smooth trigger pull.

One thing I've noticed that as I get tired, I tend to jerk the trigger more when shooting handguns. If you find yourself doing the same thing, it's time to put up the gun for the day rather than try to force yourself to continue shooting.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:06 AM   #4
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Get some softer-recoiling ammo and some better hearing protection and practice with that for a while.

Also, range time with a double-action revolver will help (at least it helps me.) Shoot it with a smooth pull double-action, and you won't know when the trigger will break so you won't know when to flinch You still get the BANG! that you don't get with dry firing, and that helps your brain get used to it.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:11 AM   #5
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The one thing(besides more practice) that helped me become more recoil resistant and accurate was keeping the .22 pistol next to me at the range.
When I saw my accuracy deter from normal I would shoot the .22 at a new target for a while(20-50 rounds)then go back to previous gun and bling ..back on target.
Maybe try to rent one at the range?
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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Several ideas...use whatever fits best:

If shooting a revolver, mix a fired case or two in with the others and fire the cylinder full of rounds without knowing when the fired round will come up. It helps to reduce the flinching / milking while you are shooting. Best to get a buddy to load it up so you don't know where or how many empties are in the cylinder. If all you do is dry fire, then your brain knows that none will go boom so your body doesn't flinch.

IT MIGHT ALSO WORK WITH A SEMI-AUTO??? If firing a semi auto, load a dummy round in the magazine somewhere in the stack. I never tried this but I'm guessing the dummy will cycle into the chamber then you will get an unexpected click. Notice if you jerked on the click. Of course you then have to clear the dummy from the chamber.

Also super quiet ear protection helps, as has been mentioned.

Shoot lots of very light loads and slowly work your way up to whatever more powerful load you want to carry. You will slowly get used to the recoil over time.

Begin with a 22 handgun and slowly over time increase to higher and higher recoil handguns or larger calibers.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:17 AM   #7
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I guess what helped me was to concentrate on keeping sights on target at all times. Put all concentration on that only,and all of a sudden the gun goes bang,no flinch no worries. Pull trigger as slow as you can till you get used to it.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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- Slow down when shooting. Pull trigger slowly; apply pressure slowly until trigger breaks.
- Need to concentrate on sight alignment only when slowly pulling the trigger.
- Slowdown between shots. Avoid double taps (at least, until you feel like you do not jerk the trigger or flinch).
- A .22 pistol is nice training tool but is not a substitute.
Dry firing helps a lot with proper trigger pull, proper grip, etc. but is not the cure for the anticipation of recoil problem. Knowing that there will not be any recoil makes it difficult to learn how to deal/ignore recoil when you know it is coming.
With my rifle bench shooting - I practice what I call Follow Thru - I try to keep my sight picture as much as I can even after I have pulled the trigger.
I know it is impossible because the rifle would recoil but in my head, it is what I am trying to do. This thinking seems to help with my handgun shooting, too. I only concentrate on this Follow Thru when my groups are bad.

Last edited by pilpens; February 24, 2011 at 09:49 AM.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:47 AM   #9
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What my question is, as I practice more and become used to bang from the gun going off, will my problem start to go away?
If you continue to be aware of it as a problem and continue to work on it, it likely will. But just getting used to the bang is unlikely get rid of it, since getting used to the bang means more shooting, and more shooting means more jerking, and more jerking means re-enforcement of a bad habit.

Some good advice was already offered. Dry fire is good, maintain mental focus on the front sight while pressing the trigger, etc.

Be aware that you may not be jerking because of the recoil, though: Often, we jerk because we're trying too hard to make a good shot. We see a good sight picture, and try to get the shot!!!! Even without a jerk, trying to make a good shot by timing the shot is pretty futile anyway.

One way to retrain your mind, then, is to make the target (and your good shot) irrelevant by simply shooting into the berm, or some other safe non-target. Slow deliberate shots, watching the front sight through the trigger press & recoil, but just let the shot release without worry of a bad shot.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:49 AM   #10
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BTW, Shooting a .22 doesn't mean you can skimp on the hearing protection. .22 is pretty loud out of a pistol. If the hearing protection is marginal, it'll protect your ears OK but you will still flinch.

Does your gun have comfortable grips? Maybe you have "chicken finger" because it hurts your hand.
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Old February 24, 2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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+1 MrBorland.
I have been shooting for a while and still learning.
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Old February 24, 2011, 11:38 AM   #12
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People react differently to recoil. When I was an armorer/instructor in the Army, I saw plenty of 220 lb soldiers who were afraid of the 1911 .45 and plenty of 140 lb soldiers who thought the recoil was trivial. My 95 lb daughter, when she was a ballerina, thought shooting .22s was a waste of time. She liked .44s and .45s and was very good with them.

I suggest a good quality single-pump pellet pistol for practice. The Daisy 717 is a good one, but there are lots of others. You can practice at home, the ammo’s practically free and you can get the basics – trigger control, follow-through and calling the shot – down pat.
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Old February 24, 2011, 01:10 PM   #13
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Start with a .460 or a .500 and work your way down. The .44mag feels like a kitten after shooting 10 or 15 with the X-frame.
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Old February 24, 2011, 06:52 PM   #14
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Flintlock musket

Back in the 70s I was at the range firing my 69 cal. flintlock for the first time. After several shots I wasn't even on the paper(2 ft x 3ft) at 50yds. Then my first misfire. Man did I flinch, big time. I was about to change the flint when the range officer told me not to & keep firing at the target until I got the flinch under control. After 6 or 7 misfires I wasn't flinching at all. He said keep it up for a few more clicks. Then the gun went off. I hit the target near the center. I changed the flint & never hit the paper again that day. I knew it was going to fire. It takes alot of practice.
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Old February 24, 2011, 07:45 PM   #15
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+1 on ear protection. I wear plugs and muffs and it's still plenty loud.
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Old February 24, 2011, 08:05 PM   #16
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If everyone was honest with themselves, I think that we all have a problem with this once in a while, regardless of how experienced a shooter you are. There's been some excellent advice given and like anything else, it takes practice. I seem to do fine for a long time and then all of a sudden, have the same problem. For me, it is a matter of "relaxing". Ear protection should be worn which will help with the noise. Forget about how good or badly you have shot the last time you were at the range and try and forget about all of the outside things that are bugging you. For myself, if I find myself jerking, I stop for a moment. Realize that the pistol is going to make noise and recoil when you shoot - that's a part of the process. Concentrate on your sight picture and squeezing the trigger. For myself, if I am concentrating on those things, I forget about the noise and recoil and the trigger pull comes naturally. Dry firing will certainly help - but, forgetting about the noise and recoil will go a long ways on improving your score - yiou do your thing on sighting, stance, etc. and the pistol will take care of the rest.
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Old February 24, 2011, 10:53 PM   #17
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Go buy some snap caps for your favorite range pistol. Then load the mag with a mix of snap caps & live ammo the night before so you can't remember the pattern. Take said gun to the range and load the mag into the gun. Now you don't know when the gun is going to go bang or click. You will really feel stupid when the first snap cap comes up and you wildly jerk your gun as it goes "click". That's all I wanted to accomplish with this.

...OK, there was one other thing. Over time you will see that it is a mental thing that can be overcome. After a few mags of jerking the gun as it goes click in front of other shooters & your friends, you will stop jerking the gun. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing. After all, isn't it the reason most of us tried meds back in school? I've tried this with some friends and myself. It really worked for them & for me as well. It might work for you. If it doesn't you still have some snap caps to practice dry firing in the den.
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Old February 25, 2011, 12:17 AM   #18
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A flinch won't go away on its own. You will have to overcome it. There are some good ideas on this thread, but even things as simple as making sure you're relaxed for each shot can help.

Your brain doesn't like sudden movement and loud noises, you're going to have to work hard to convince it that the recoil and blast from a shot are harmless. That's going to be complicated because you can't reason with it. It's going to take practice.

Working with a gun that has little recoil and a mild report is a good way to start. Doubling up on hearing protection can help.
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