Anticipation and flinching
As some of you know I've been shooting my brand-new S&W 627 PC for a month now.
I was expecting extra accuracy going from an old 686 to the newest revo, but that didn't happen.
Kind of frustrating. Went a little backward, in truth.
So I started asking the other more experienced guys.
They told me it was evident I anticipated the shots, as a result sending the rounds astray. Sometimes, according to the observers, the pull wasn't smooth, rather jerking, more or less.
I realized I developed automatic and unconscious undesirable mechanisms.
When I dry-fire, the barrel won't budge. As soon as my mind expects a blow, though, the barrel goes down in an absolutely unvoluntary compensating motion.
Weird thing is that, I can rationalize about it as much as I want, adopt a correct posture as per Jerry Miculek's instructions, try consciously to avoid anticipation, it does not work. The unconscious mind overrides my will.
I have many flaws but I hear what others say. They suggested to move the target closer and I did it, now I'm shooting at 9 yards so I can see clearly where every round goes.
Yet improvements were not consistent.
Today I came up with an interesting idea though
I charged the cylinder chambers alternatively, one with bullet, the other empty.
I've an 8-shot cylinder, so it makes 4 total rounds in the cylinder.
Now, I'll adjust the cylinder in such a way that my first shot will be actually a dry fire.
Since my mind knows it's gonna be dry, it won't anticipate.
For the next shot, I'll try to behave exactly as in the previous dry shot, as much as I can, and this for 4 cycles.
I found many times it's working, I can often replicate the non-anticipatory muscular configuration and usually that guarantees an accurate shot.
Well, to make it short, I would have never believed a gunslinger's life can be so hard!!!
This drill has been around for years. It's generally known as "ball and dummy." It usually goes a long way toward curing a flinch, so I think you're on the right path.
Not sure what a gunslinger is, outside a Western movie or a Stephen King novel.
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Try making it so that the first round will be a total mystery. I suppose you will need blanks to pull that off.
That way you won't know if the gun is going to go bang or not.....watch that front sight!
Yep, ball and dummy. I would recommend the following; take a shooting buddy to the range with you and have HIM load your gun with random live and dummy rounds (empty brass makes a good dummy in a revolver). If your gun can take .357Mag (not sure which S&W models do anymore) bring a few of those too. Close your eyes or look the other way while your gun is loaded, then do the drill.
Originally Posted by mccoy
I know some of the S&W pistols are kinda weird on their DA pull; the force it takes to start the trigger moving seems like less than it takes to move it the rest of its travel. You may want to cock the hammer for now and work on the DA later.
In any case, fire the gun as if every last round in the cylinder were a dummy (i.e. like you're dry-firing). When the gun DOES go off, it'll be surprising, but you'll be pointing downrange so it's safe, and you'll be reinforcing to your brain that the gun really doesn't kick THAT hard.
It's always been my contention that concentration is 99% of handgunning.
Instead of thinking "Don't anticipate," think instead of "Front sight. Squeeze." Literally think, even to the point of mouthing the words if necessary, "Front sight. Squeeze." Keep your thoughts on what you SHOULD do, not what you shouldn't do.
Once you get your concentration down, everything else will fall into place.
I focus all of my attention on the sights and target, as if I am in combat. Then the act of squeezing the trigger is subconscious, relagated by the intense focus on where I want the round to go. That technique has always helped me in practice. Once I lose that concentration, through pain or fatigue, I often find myself flinching. It is a most natural reaction.
if you mean that the term gunslinger has not a specific definition you are right, a synonim is generically a gunman, one who is armed with a gun. I reckon it applies to our bunch, though.
Of course I read all the 7 volumes of Stephen King's 'the gunslinger', enjoyed it and all the exaggeration related to the main character's shooting skills.
King was actually influenced by the 'spaghetti westerns', with lots of shoot-outs and stuff. My present avatar is 'the gunslinger' himself
Never heard of 'ball and dummy' before, you (American) guys are sure unsurpassed as far as things firearmish are concerned!!
I'd like to get a book on revolver shooting, I saw many of'em in the intenet though, most dated and I do not know which one(s) to choose.
I started the ball and dummy strategy randomly, as some of you guys suggest.
Unfortunately, I found that the subconscious mind, faced with a 50% probability of a 'ball', likes to play it safe and anticipates.
On the contrary if the subconscious mind has absolute certainty that it's going to be a dummy it won't flinch.
So I'll start with a dummy, then I try to outplay the subcounscious mind conditioning myself to trigger the same reflexes as in the previous dummy, even though I know I'll have a ball this time.
In my case it's apparently working, I'll have to try it more of course.
Bob you're perfectly right in that if you think 'don't anticipate' you'll find yourself anticipating even more. To me it was occurring exactly that.
Liko 81, my gun has possibly the best out of the box trigger available in a revolver, I forgot about SA and shoot exclusively DA now, better control, also safer I believe.
I still think you would be better off not knowing......then just pretend that each shot will be a dummy.
Therefore do not load it ball, dummy, ball, dummy, but make it purely random so that you might end up with something like, dummy, ball, dummy, dummy, ball, ball, ball. You either need someone else to load it, or use full dummy rounds were you cant feel any difference.
Fred and Liko, I told I listen to suggestions and did it, charging the balls randomly in between dummies, rolling the cylinder and swinging it in place.
Yes, I foudn it useful especially to realize that, when the mind expected a ball, often it went on flinching, and that stands out a lot when you come across a dummy.
The technique is good: today, although I could not totally eliminate the problem, my groupings have started to get close to base, mind relaxes, problems dissolve.
I plan to go on with this 'game', either my way (not random) and the suggested way (random). It's apparently working all right, smile is coming back to my lips!
Nice work. I have this same problem (except I'm a semi-auto guy.)
Originally Posted by mccoy
I don't have much experience with revolvers, but I was going to suggest something like that, if you don't have a friend with you. Maybe load only 1 or 2 rounds in random chambers and do a "russian roulette" spin. That way you will have to assume that every shot is live and it will expose your anticipation move.
I need to invest in some snap caps and do the ball and dummy drill with my semi.
Good luck and keep us informed on the progress.
I had a bit of a flinching problem...and shooting a .454 casull seemed to clear it up
mccoy, Are you using real good ear protection or just basic plugs?
When I first started shooting we didn't use any protection and the sound was what made me flinch. Recoil is usualy less of a problem than the sound. If using basic plugs or low end muffs invest in something better and it will probably help.
Do be careful! In thousands of rounds expended through various firearms over the years, I've had a couple of hang-fires. They're not common; but they do happen. If you take aim, squeeze the trigger, and nothing discharges, I'd hate to see you get in too much of a hurry to rack the slide and move on because it "must be one of the dummy rounds."
Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde
Having ammo go off as it ejects can spoil one's whole day.
Not to threadjack, but weren't those books nuts? I've never been so sucked in and disturbed at the same time by a book.
TOF, you can stay assured, my main job is into occupational safety and health, so I have the best (highest) protection in the range. Muffs intended for airport staff on take-off tracks.
I may turn to electronic muffs if I find they protect well, that's something which may be way useful in homeland defense, but it's going to be the subject of another thread. Just came into my mind.
Probably the tactical section is best.
once in a while a misfire happens, in my case they are usually primer problems. it was more frequent with factory ammo and the old weapon i used previously.
My dummies are just spent brass, so I wont' mix it up with 'balls'.
Originally Posted by sesquipedalian101
Good point, 101. Thanks for the reminder. I'm a still a new shooter and I've never had the experience of a hangfire or misfire of any kind. I'll keep that in mind if I ever try this drill and wait for a while with the gun pointed down-range before I eject. There's a small "chamber checker" port on my M&P so I can also take a quick peek after a few seconds (after a "click" instead of a "bang") and if I see brass, I'll proceed with caution.
I like your tagline -- it brings back memories. The closest I ever came to a head-on collision was turning left onto a one-way street without looking for traffic coming "up stream." Sure enough, some driver (who's mother and father were not married) was traveling the wrong way and nearly creamed me... When last I saw him in my mirror, he was still waving good bye to me (using only one finger) as he disappeared around the corner into an intersection where four-abreast traffic was waiting for the light to change... I'll bet he nearly died of embarrassment.
Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde
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