The flinch, or anticipation, is easily one of the biggest culprits for the inaccuracy in shooting. This is something that we all deal with from the newest shooter, to the pro.
The difference between the two is how much of a flinch is present, and our individual ability to overcome it. I’ve been shooting for many years and still struggle with flinching while shooting, but have learned a lot over the years.
What I’m about to propose to you shouldn’t be taken lightly, and if you’re serious about this, these steps should help you out to at least some degree. Though, I don’t want to get your hopes up, chances are good that you’ll never be able to get rid of it fully.
How do I fix my flinch while shooting?
The best way to fix your flinch while shooting is to incorporate more dry fire practice in all stages of your training to include at home, and at the range.
Let’s discuss this more in depth.
Dry Fire at Home:
The easiest way to fix your flinch while shooting is to actually dry fire in your home away from live fire.
Something that I’ve done with pretty good results is to take some time off from the range to do some dry fire training in the comfort of my home.
The goal is to dry fire daily, or at least several times per week, without going to the range for at least one month. This helps to retrain your body to not flinch, because there is no reason for it to flinch.
There is no reason for it because there is no bang, no recoil, no flash, etc. Because there is no reason to flinch, or anticipate the shot, you actually get used to not having the flinch while still going through the motions.
Because you practice it so much at home, the hope is that this newfound ability to not flinch will transfer over to your live fire shooting.
Dry fire helps you to practice trigger presses as well as your other fundamentals, so you’re still technically practicing and reinforcing your skills.
You’re also just getting rid of your bad habits, as well.
Dry Fire at the Range:
Yes, you read that correct. I want you to dry fire at the range. In fact, I never shoot a gun until I’ve pressed the trigger a few times without dry firing it first.
And, trust me when I say that I get to fire a lot of new guns each and every year.
I do this for a few different reasons. First, it allows me to “feel” the trigger. I like to get a sense for the trigger before I actually shoot.
Second, it reminds my muscles that I shouldn’t be flinching.
Dry Fire Between Live Fire Strings:
This one always gets me odd looks when I’m at the range. This is something I learned in a combat pistol class I took.
It’s not always necessary to do this, but if I find that I’m at the range and my accuracy starts to suffer a bit because, hey I’m a human, unloading the gun and doing some good old dry fire helps me diagnose what I’m doing.
Sometimes it’s a flinch, other times it’s something else going on. The key, though, is that the dry fire between live fire helps me figure out what I’m doing so I can focus on fixing it.
It helps me figure it out because it removes the live fire aspect of shooting like recoil, I can then see in greater detail what I’m doing wrong.
Why do people flinch, or anticipate the shot?
The flinch is nothing more than a bad habit that you picked up at some point in the past when shooting. It usually happens because of the recoil, the flash, or the bang of the gun. In anticipation of those things, maybe to subconsciously correct the recoil, you move the gun just before the shot breaks.
The flinch, or shot anticipation is something that all shooters deal with to at least some degree, whether they admit to it or not.
The flinch can be overcome, but will likely never completely go away. I’ve spoken to pro shooters in the past who have admitted that they still deal with it. It’s just different for them than it is for us.