Readers, there’s cause for celebration as we’ve made it through another week in spite of the massive cluster-fucks unraveling around us,  so we’ve selected “flinching” as the topic for our weekly shoot-the-shit. As customary, all shoot-the-shit rules apply: you can make unsupported statements, insult anyone, use profanity or change the subject altogether. All of this is completely free of charge!

Flinching is one of those ills which if left untreated will ensure you remain a poor shot. Everyone has an opinion on flinching and how to cure it; some writers see it as poor trigger technique, a point that we respectfully disagree with.

Flinching is a psychosomatic response to an unpleasant event. You flinch when you mentally anticipate a weapon’s rapport, which has two components consisting of the sound blast and recoil. For example, most shooters, at some point in their marksmanship development,  have experienced anticipating a follow-up shot with an empty magazine; thus, jerking the trigger accompanied by an upper body movement. This response is caused by the shooter’s state of mind, and it’s imperative that shooters train themselves to focus on firing the weapon and their relationship to the target. To achieve that goal, sniper training, for example, includes stresses designed to break the sniper’s concentration and disrupt their shooting. The goal is to reinforce focus.

To cure flinching, the shooter needs to  discard all apprehensions about shooting. Shooters need to known that they are doing nothing wrong and they need to acclimate themselves to weapon rapport. New shooters are particularly vulnerable to suggestions that firearms are evil and that shooting is a bad thing. This is especially true at a time when firearms, sport shooting and defensive shooting are vilified. The shooter needs to be comfortable and at ease on the firing line and while handling a weapon.

Acclimating the user to weapon rapport requires training. Here an instructor has a great deal of latitude, but we offer a couple of suggestions that we’ve found useful:

  1. Interleave live ammunition with snap-caps in a magazine. You can use this technique to teach a malfunction as well as address shooter anticipation.
  2. Use a revolver with several empty chambers.

Every effort should be made to ensure unpredictability, remember that you are treating shooter anticipation. You want your trainee to focus only on trigger control and sight alignment, not anticipate weapon rapport so mix things up for them.

We think you’ll find these techniques useful and something to include in more advanced training also. The key to excellent shooting is focus, focus, focus.

Have a great weekend; get to the range or get out with your buds and family!

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2 Responses to Flinching

  1. mitmac151 says:

    It’s too funny… I’ve shot some really big weapons and never flinched and then there’s the grab my daughters 22 rifle and flinched…


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