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jim boyd's picture
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Joined: 07/06/2010
Posts: 889
Flinching when Firing? This may help!

I managed to get out of work a little early yesterday and got some 100 yard range time in.

My buddy was there and he knows I am not the best marksman and he also knows I suffer from flinching.

He offered to help... got me set in firing position and asked me to let him examine the rifle... he worked the bolt and unbeknownst to me, pushed the loaded round back into the magazine.

He asked me to send one downrange... and I am embarrased to say how badly I flinched when the gun did not go off - when I pulled the trigger.

We did this over and again - each time with me not knowing if a round was chambered or not - and it helped - A LOT!

Maybe this is an old trick - but I was not aware of it... and loved it.

Takes two at the range... but it is worth it.


groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
Yep, an old trick

Yep, its an old trick. 

The easiest way to do this by yourself is to shoot old unreliable cartrdiges or shells! It gets interesting when you are never sure if they are going to go off or not (or hang fire!)

The only way that you can do it by yourself short of using unreliable ammo is to seat some dummy rounds when you are reloading (leave the dead primers in and seat new bullets without any powder) then mix them in your practice ammo.  If you have multiple magazines you can randomly mix a few duds into the loaded magazines then deliberately mix up the magazines.

But you are right - it is a whole lot easier when you have a friend to help either to load the dummer cartridges in the magazine for you, or to just not chanmber a round.

Another way to do this for yourself or a friend is to load an odd number of cartridges in your magazine and not tell the shooter how many are there.  This will work with a semi auto that does not lock back when empty.  If you have a firearm that meets those conditions, have your friend load the magazine.  Use a full magazine sometimes, but other times leave it one or two or more short.  That way the shooter will never know when there is another cartridge or they have run dry.

Anything that you can do to improve your shooting is a good thing!

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3213
What cartridge are you using?

What cartridge are you using? That trick mis old and there is another to try. Have someone balance a quarter on the end of the barrel and learn to squeeze of a shot without knocking the quarter off the barrel. Easiest done with an MYT chamber!:D  Sounds like you started with to much cartridge or that you were a shotgun shooter first. If you know somwone with an old military rifle with a two stage trigger, borrow it. You take up the first part and load your finger. Then think squeeze and follow thru with the let off. You'd be suprizede how many people flinch and don't know it. often it's from shooting a rifle with to much recoil and they are anticipating the recoil. Many of them think they can handle that recoil with no problem.

AlpineClimber's picture
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Location: North America
Joined: 02/08/2011
Posts: 184
This was actually how I learned to stop flinching.

I just continually dry fired my guns with a quarter on the end when I was watching hunting shows.  It really worked.

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3748
I have heard that methaod

I have heard that methaod befopre and has worked well.  I have tried another method that worked for me.  After I got my .338 I devopled a small finch..I thiunk it was more related to the fact that i went from shootiong a .257 Roberts to a .338 and was just more nerves than anything else.  but I reload my own shells so everyonce in a while I would leave the powder out of the cassing and then at the range you never know what casing you are going to be shooting.  Worked real well for me and I even tried it on my dad and he relaized he has asmall flinch and it helped him.  Another thing I read one time was flich was related to the sound of the gun going off.  So started to wear ear plugs and then ear muffs on top that and it seemed to help even a little more.  Gotta hate that flinch!!

Joined: 04/21/2010
Posts: 45

I developed a flinch shooting a .243 Winchester! Then I installed higher scope rings;

that took a lot of the rap to the cheek away.  That worked for me.  Also, as you say, the

muzzle blast has to be taken into account.  Just keep practicing, wearing ear plugs and

muffs.  Good luck.


hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
My dad used to use that one

My dad used to use that one for me all the time when I was a kid but I think I need to get back to it, My son and I could do it together and help us both out.

I was taught the quarter trick while I was in a defensive handgun course a long time ago but was not very effective on a Glock with a one inch wide flat slide. I will try this with my rifle and see how it goes.

I usually don't have a problem at the range but it seems to slip up on me when I am the most excited hunting. I think that just needs to be cured with a lot more shooting this summer to get my reflexes and confidence back in shape.

WishIWasHunting's picture
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Location: Brighton, CO
Joined: 01/31/2011
Posts: 700
I have struggled with flinching

I have struggled with flinching.  To work on flinching, I bought some snap caps that I dryfire in my basement.  I try to do this on a regular basis, and I try "shooting" targets across the basement from different shooting positions.  Also, I have a Thompson Encore with both .223 and .308 barrels.  During the summer, I shoot prairie dogs with the .223 barrel.  Then, when big game seasons roll around, I switch my Encore barrel to the .308.  Since the firearm basically feels the same (different barrel weights), I think it helps me "trick" myself that my .308 is not going to have much recoil. 

I have shot my brother's Bushmaster with a two-stage competition trigger.  This also helped force me to hold on target through the entire shot.  At some point, I would like to get a 2-stage trigger for my .257 Weatherby. 

I have read the live/dummy rounds trick before, and I think it is an excellent idea.  Now I just need to get some range time in with someone to really make it work.

Thanks for sharing. 

JJD's picture
Location: Right Side WA state
Joined: 11/07/2008
Posts: 208
Not exactly flinching, but

Not exactly flinching, but related

Used to teach wing shooting with shotguns.  One of the problems leading to a miss is lifting ones cheek off the stock when shooting.  I would have the students bring 3 $20 bills with them.  I'd have them mount the shotgun then I would slip one of their $20 bills between the stock and their cheek.  Told them if the bill fell out when they shot, it was mine.  

Incentive is a great motivator  Yes