How can I stop “anticipating” the recoil?

When you begin firearms training for professional or personal usage, several thoughts will swirl around your mind. Perhaps the most common fear, however, relates to the recoil.

Recoiling, flinching, or allowing guns to kick is very natural for a beginner. In truth, there’s probably a 90%+ probability that you will fall victim when first using your new handgun for firearms training, especially if you have convinced yourself that using the gun is going to hurt your hand. However, learning to stop anticipating the recoil is essential part of firearms training and should be an immediate priority.

Why is it important to stop anticipating the recoil?

The first question you’ll want to ask is whether recoiling is problematic. And the short answer is ‘yes’. 

Flinching In anticipation of the recoil will prevent you from shooting accurately at a target. It’s an issue during firearms training and becomes an even greater problem in real situations. Without accuracy, you could inadvertently put lives at risk while also failing to hit your target with any confidence. When combined with the fact it increases the likelihood of hurting yourself with the gun, overcoming this common error is crucial.

How to overcome the threat of anticipating the recoil

It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but practice makes perfect. Ultimately, flinching with your gun stems largely from the sense of unfamiliarity. Therefore, you must use firearms training as an opportunity to develop muscle memory.

Before doing anything, you must first find the right gun for your personal preferences. Once you have developed this skill, you can transfer it to new guns with ease. So, if you have a specific gun like a 9mm caliber for training purposes, that’s fine. Next, you must focus on implementing a dedicated strategy to overcome this problem:

  • Walk before you can run. Focus on the basics of perfecting your shooting stance or holding the gun before you think about actually shooting. Confidence with holding the gun will help you relax when holding the firearm, which subsequently allows you to control your natural movements.
  • Focus on form, not accuracy. Your main aim at this stage of firearms training is to become competent with the gun. Remove targets and focus on shooting plain paper. Trigger control and sight alignment will allow you to familiarize yourself with the kick. The predictability will make you less likely to flinch.
  • Use the ball and dummy drill. This means getting another shooter to load a random combination of dummy rounds and live rounds, with a greater emphasis on dummies. As you think less about the live rounds, they are less likely to impact your form. Once you’ve fired a few live rounds with good form, you will feel far more confident.
  • Practice at home using snap cap and dry fire. The trigger action, for example, will be the same even though there is no muzzle blast to contend with. You can develop the right muscle memory in a matter of weeks. However, you need to stay active with your gun. Otherwise, you will start to lose familiarity and flinching can return.

Finally, remember that it’s not a race. Firearms training should be enjoyable, but it won’t be if you put unnecessary pressure on yourself. 

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