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Trigger Flinch, What It Is And How To Get Rid Of It

Posted 03-27-2013 at 10:49 by Arc Angel
Updated 03-30-2013 at 06:56 by Arc Angel


[quote=ithaca_deerslayer;20086603][B]You are anticipating the recoil. The short grip shows it less. It is subconscious.[/B]

The cure is a surprise break. Pull the trigger so slow that you don't know when it will fire. Take 30 seconds to slowly and steadily pull the trigger straight back toward the rear sight while keeping the sights on target.

If you don't know when the gun will fire, your brain won't know when to flinch, thus your hands won't be suddenly moving in anticipation of the recoil at that split second before the BOOM.

Later you can speed the trigger up after you've learned the basics.[/quote]

:thumbsup: That's a very savvy reply! I suggest you think about it. Butch's blog article on trigger control is a, 'must read' too.

It will, quite possibly, save you a lot of ammunition if you get yourself out of a conventional Isosceles Stance, and switch to a, 'Reverse Chapman' stance, instead. 'Why'? Because a lot of your problem is being caused by excess tension along the tendons of your upper (gun hand) forearm.

This excess tension is working against you, and actually exaggerating your tendency to, 'jerk' the trigger as the sear breaks. When you do this put a little more downward bend in your strong wrist, too - Try this for awhile and I'm sure that you'll see what I mean. ;)


[quote=ditto1958;20087696]Try aiming higher and more to the right.[/quote]

I’m sure you know better - Right! :supergrin:

[quote=Tscglock;20087669]I have always had an issue shooting low and to the left until recently. I shoot fairly often, and [B]I have narrowed it down to 100% anticipation.[/B] What was said about dry firing with some snap caps helps ALOT (or at least it did for me). For me, there is something in my brain that is not allowing me to NOT anticipate the recoil. This will improve with more trigger time I’m sure.

What I have found to help tremendously is load up 2 mags (or 1) at the range and randomly mix some snap caps in the mags with the live ammo. [B]If you have a shooting buddy, have them load it, if not, then just don't pay attention to the order.[/B] This way when your firing that mag, every time you get to a snap cap, you can see how bad you are pulling or dipping the gun. It has see to work fairly well for me ...

Here is my last range visit, still anticipating the shot a little but getting much better from what I was ... 7 yards, 50 rounds, G19 gen 3 NIBx ... keep in mind, this is like an 8in target I believe ...


Keep practicing man, you will get a lot better.[/quote]

It’s not really, ‘anticipation’. (The term is too broad!)

There are two different types of - for lack of better words - what I will call, ‘[COLOR="Red"][B]HYSTERICAL TRIGGER FLINCH[/B][/COLOR]’: Pre:ignition, and Post:ignition. Neither is the same thing as what I’m going to describe as, ‘[COLOR="Red"][B]AUTONOMIC AIMING REFLEX[/B][/COLOR]’.

Hysterical, pre:ignition flinch occurs at the same time as the trigger is pulled and BEFORE the primer ignites. It usually happens when the fingers of the gun-hand are progressively tightened, thereby, causing the trigger to, ‘jerk’. When this happens the muzzle tends to drop while it is pulled toward the weakest part of the enclosing hand. (Toward your body’s vertical centerline.)

Hysterical, post:ignition flinch occurs as the sear breaks and AFTER the primer has ignited. The most noticeable difference between, ‘pre’, and, ‘post’ ignition flinching is one of degree (or, extent). Pre:ignition flinching cause more deviation from the original point-of-aim than post:ignition flinching does. Hence the term, ‘trigger jerk’ is often used. Low left POI’s are a very common.

It’s taken me most of my lifetime in the shooting sports to realize that: ‘Not all flinching is flinching.’ Something else is, also, taking place. ALL flinching is NOT actually an undesirable learned response to, what is so often called, ‘negative stimulii’. Instead, ‘hysterical flinching’ is actually a necessary - BUT, IMPROPERLY TIMED - autonomic reflex action to a handgun going off. (You don’t know, ‘What’ I mean - Huh!) ;) Have you ever watched someone fire a pistol really fast? You don’t see any flinching; do you! I will assure you, however, that some form of flinching is definitely taking place. (If it weren’t the handgun would end up pointing straight up in the air!)

How did I discover this? One afternoon I was firing a pistol very very fast and dumping one clip after another into the targets. Suddenly a round failed to go off; and guess what I saw my hands do? When the striker release my body instinctively initiated a perfect, front sight, ‘pull down’. For all the world it looked just like I had (hysterically) flinched - EXCEPT all of my shots had riddled the center of the target in the same way that they usually do.

I hadn’t flinched hysterically! Instead I had subconsciously and autonomically, ‘pulled the front sight down’ in order to reflexively recapture my front sight picture. While the pistol was actually going off nobody watching me would have seen anything out of the ordinary except for the pistol going off. That, ‘flinch’ was only observable during the middle of a shot string IF a cartridge primer didn’t ignite.


All of which tells you, ‘What’ the physical problems you’re dealing with are; but, not how to correct them. For correction of, ‘flinching’ problems I’m going to refer interested pistol shooters to the, ‘Flinching Inoculation Drills’ popularized by, George Harris. Mr. Harris is a Firearms Instructor whose thoughts and opinions on the subject of, 'flinching', while not identical, are compatible with my own.

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