Dec 4, 2016 | By: Daniel Schindler, Paragon Master Sporting Clays Instructor, Coach & Mental Trainer
DEALING WITH A “FLINCH”
To be honest, admittedly, this is as much about what I believe as what I know. Some flinching defies explanation. Other flinching does not.
A flinch is a frustrating, tormenting affliction, an inability to pull a perfectly good, working trigger that obstinately and persistently refuses to fire. Despite a mighty effort, the paralyzed-finger cannot pull the trigger initiating the flinch, throwing the muzzle wildly off the target, completely spoiling the shot. For the shooter, this is beyond exasperating leading to a host of miserable problems and the desperate search for any relief.
This you can take to the bank. Predictably and inevitably, shooting heavy loads on a regular basis will result in flinching. The harmful effects of all recoil are cumulative, and long sessions of excessive recoil will introduce you to flinching, like it or not, agree with me or not. Put enough physical stress on the body and the body will react defensively. Head lifting and flinching are two common side effects of unrelenting heavy recoil. Performances and scores can only suffer, not to mention the unspoken retina detachments, neck and shoulder injuries. All of this is unnecessary and avoidable. A flinch is infinitely easier to prevent than it is to cure.
Here’s the unfortunate flinch that’s so much harder to control. After decades of first-hand experience and watching examples that reinforce my opinion, I believe flinching can also be caused by an overwhelming level of self-induced stress to “not miss.” So much so, it literally paralyzes the hand / trigger finger the instant the brain signals the trigger pull. Pulling the trigger is overruled by the fear of missing. This inevitably demoralizes the shooter who cannot avoid the convulsion when he/she attempts to fire, and can’t. The tense, ”be very careful, don’t miss” approach to a clay target, often results in a flinch.
Which brings us to one remedy for the uncontrolled flinch, a “release trigger,” single or double release. If I recollect correctly (so don’t hold me to this exactly), I was told it takes 27 muscles in the hand to pull the trigger, and only 3 to release the trigger. Releasing the trigger is the much easier act of relaxing the trigger finger and firing, the opposite of having to pull. Which is one reason why release triggers actually can reduce flinching, sometimes, almost entirely. Here’s the condition. It does take a disciplined mind and uninterrupted concentration to use a release trigger responsibly. Nonetheless, it has its advantages.
I personally know C who has always used sensible loads. C was the poster child for flinching. From self-induced pressure in the shooting box, C’s flinch was so horrendous on the clay target range it nearly ending his shooting – permanently. All this was almost completely eliminated by installing a double release trigger in his over / under. And then – in the hunting field with his Winchester Model 12 on pheasants, ducks and doves – C rarely, and I do mean rarely – misses with his “pull” trigger. Two different settings, two different sets of shooter expectations, one with scoring pressure, one without. Hmmmmmm…………
Younger shooters especially, please listen up. Again, on choosing ammunition, less is infinitely more - less powder, less recoil. I respectfully suggest – and strongly encourage you - to give more consideration to the real, detrimental effects of recoil on your performance in the shooting box, and less to shell marketing hype. A standard velocity 7/8 or 1 oz load will break 95% of the targets we face on a daily basis – reliably – and that % is probably a bit low. This is a truth, proven time and time again by decades of broken targets and winning scores. Your score won’t depend on your shell. It will 100% depend on your performance in the box, helped or hindered by the shell you are using. Choose wisely.
Thanks for visiting with us. I hope to see you out on the course. Cheryl and I wish each of you a safe and joyous holiday.
Dan Schindler recommends Precision Gold Release Triggers.
800.684.6329118 Edney StreetHendersonville, NC 28792 Hours: M-F 9am-5pm ESTSaturday and Sunday by Appointment
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