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Benelli Nova. Dan Wesson TCP
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last sunday I shot 450 rounds and learned I became more accurate the more fatigued I became.. I'm finding if I grip the pistol with what I call a firm grip, I anticipate the recoil and grip harder right before the shot losing accuracy.. If I grip the pistol with what I call a fatigued or relaxed grip, like if I was shooting a lazer pistol with no recoil, I don't anticipate the recoil and shoot more accurate. But then sometimes the pistol doesn't lock back on the last round because Ive allowed the pistol to rise and absorb some of the recoil.. This was very noticeable when trying to shoot the 11th round from a 10 round mag. Does this make sense?

Do I need a weaker recoil spring and what are the disadvantages of a weaker recoil spring? Or do I somehow need to learn not anticipate the recoil which makes me grip harder right before the shot?

Thanks
 

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It's in your best interest to learn not to anticipate/flinch during recoil. Judicious use of dry firing helps to re-train the brain not to spazz when the trigger is pulled. Having a friend slip a snap-cap or two into the mag at random places so you don't know when to expect the hammer to fall on an inert round can also help. Watching how bad you jerk when there's no recoil can go a long way too. I might also suggest finding a .22 LR pistol. Spend enough time shooting something light like that and it kinda does the same for you that dry firing will. Re-trains the brain to realize jerking in reaction to recoil is no bueno.
 

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I have found that using a steel frame helps with recoil. Fortunately, I have enough upper body strength that the extra weight does not bother me. I have years of shooting experience, I know it is going to recoil. Part of it I think is accepting that and finding ways to reduce it or adjust. Changng springs could very well change the reliability of the firearm. Practice. A lot. Levian has good advice.
 

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I avoid recoil on really big guns by having someone else shoot it. To be honest I dig recoil, I have a Ruger SP101 357 mag. I load with PPU 158gr 357 self-defense rounds. It is like a little bomb going off in your hand, but I shoot it well. Recoil is just part of shooting, and you just learn how to handle it. The more you shoot the less it will bother you.
 

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To me a "firm grip" is one where I can tell if the grips are smooth or checkered, but not tight enough to imprint the pattern into my palm. Relaxed grip for me produces bump fires with my autos and flyers with my revolvers.

Grumpy
 

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Have someone go with you and have them hand you a ready gun.
Sometimes it will be loaded and sometimes not.
(look away while they make the gun ready.)

Then you will either get a click or a bang
but you will not know which one until after.

You will learn to not anticipate and flinch.
 

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In no particular order:

  • You will never fully get rid of anticipation and flinching. This is a reaction that your brain never truly graduates from. World champions still flinch at times. You can't graduate from it but you could learn to minimize the frequency and extent.
  • There are some people who are insensitive to it but majority of those who say that they don't flinch simply don't shoot guns fast enough, in stressful situations, or both.
  • Ball and dummy / random unloaded gun etc don't fix it, they simply help diagnosing it. They are hard to utilize at speed. Being able to see and recognize your sight's behavior during trigger press accomplishes the same thing but most people are not good enough to see and analyze iron sights.
  • At the same time, almost everyone can see and recognize what their laser or reddot do during a press. RDS-enabled 22LR handgun is your huge friend, in diagnosis and treatment. So is double hearing protection.
  • Firm grip has no definition. Find a shooter around you who you think kicks ass and ask him to squeeze your forearm with his strong and support hands. That will give you a reference.
  • Lowering a recoil spring weight is a cop-out and will be counterproductive in a long run.
 

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Benelli Nova. Dan Wesson TCP
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I didn't mention I'm 165 lbs, have screws and a metal plate in my right elbow, cant straighten it, and string holding my left shoulder together. I also tore one of my left triceps muscles off which is now starting to move around again 30 some years later. This is my first pistol and with no partners as of now, so its all me alone on the farm.

I'm not convinced dry firing or a 22 would help with my TCP. I need to forget about the recoil, or that nothing else matters until after the shot.

I'm also not sure if my relaxed grip is the cause of my failure to lock, but will be switching from blazer brass to 124gr american eagle fmj next time I shoot. My thought about the lower spring rate was not to reduce the recoil because energy is energy, but to allow the slide to travel farther back if my relaxed grip is preventing the slide notch from reaching the slide lock.

Thanks everyone.
 

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If at all possible I would say try to find a place where you can shoot by yourself. I personally find I can get a little anxious with a lot of folks around at the indoor range. Weather it’s because I noticed they don’t really know what they are doing or someone pops of some Ridiculously short AR pistol. Other than that practice. Also maybe shorter range sessions, keep it to 200 rounds instead of 450. If you have to use it when it matters you probably want be fatigued. I personally wouldn’t mess with a lighter spring as it will cause more stress on the aluminum frame. Good luck!
 

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It's not about stopping "anticipating" it's about learning not to do anything about it. Target front sight trigger press breathing is all I'm focused on when shooting and I get into that zen frame of mind where I know the kick is coming but I"m so focused on the fundamentals that I don't flinch or change my grip or do anything about it. I just want to drive that trigger to break and then feel its reset. Now as far as grip goes I grip it with what I call a tennis racket grip. Grip it so tight you hands start shaking and relax the grip just enough for the shake to stop. As far as slide lock goes I don't really care if pistol slide locks or not as long as it shoots when I want it, cycles reliably and rounds go on target slide lock could be just a thumb that is a bit too high or a quirk of a particular pistol. My glock for example had never slide locked reliably since the day I bought it 20 years ago. No matter who was shooting it or what grip was used.
 

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If at all possible I would say try to find a place where you can shoot by yourself. I personally find I can get a little anxious with a lot of folks around at the indoor range. Weather it’s because I noticed they don’t really know what they are doing or someone pops of some Ridiculously short AR pistol. Other than that practice. Also maybe shorter range sessions, keep it to 200 rounds instead of 450. If you have to use it when it matters you probably want be fatigued. I personally wouldn’t mess with a lighter spring as it will cause more stress on the aluminum frame. Good luck!
I'd argue that shooting in a less comfortable environment is more beneficial for you. Especially if you go after practical style of shooting geared towards concealed carry and potential SD scenario. You want to desensitize yourself to external stimuli. I'd say that round count is less important than frequency. 50 rounds 3 times a week is a lot better than 500 rounds once a month.
 

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I'd argue that shooting in a less comfortable environment is more beneficial for you. Especially if you go after practical style of shooting geared towards concealed carry and potential SD scenario. You want to desensitize yourself to external stimuli. I'd say that round count is less important than frequency. 50 rounds 3 times a week is a lot better than 500 rounds once a month.
I 100% agree with you once they get a little more comfortable. This is the first handgun this person has ever owned.
 

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I've fought "anticipating the recoil" ever since I started shooting pistols about 25 years ago. Ole Massad Ayoob recommends something he calls the "crush grip". That is, as firm a grip as you can have on the pistol. His theory is that in a self defense situation, you'll be tensed up and most likely trying to squeeze the life out of your pistol. I've tended to always shoot with a very firm grip and tightened forearms.

For me, fighting a flinch has a mental aspect to it in addition to some biomechanics you can throw in. I recently taught my 54 year old girlfriend to shoot. We started by showing her how to use the two thumbs forward grip and squeezing the grip all around with both hands. I had her fully extend both arms and tighten the muscles in her forearms. I told her that the goal was to feel that both arms and her grip were just one big, firm member, much like a vise. And the vise just happened to have a pistol in it. While holding her arms and grips firm, she was to sight the target, then squeeze without moving anything else. So long as she focused on maintaining all of this, she had no problem producing good, accurate hits. As soon as she let her mental focus relax, the shots started hitting low.

One last thing, I've got one of the adjustable grip strengtheners like the one shown earlier in this thread. In addition, I do wrist curls. If you strengthen these muscles, you'd be surprised at how much your muscles can tame recoil. Below is a video of me shooting my STI Guardian 2011 at the last monthly match. I'm 5'10" and 165 and the pistol is stock.

 

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A note on the grip strengthners posted here...
I recently got a pair and gave one to my wife since she has poor grip strength and kept one.
I had done something to my wrist and it was sore for about a month or so. In under
a week of using the grip strengthener, the pain went away and it was back to normal.
 

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No matter how fast you want to go, squeeze/press the trigger. Don't slap/snap it back. You can still shoot fast using a fast squeeze. The squeeze or press has to be linear, meaning at a constant velocity. Otherwise you'll pull it off the bullseye, low and left for right-handers, low and right for left-handers.

A firm handshake grip would be an appropriate amount of gripping force with the control hand (right hand for most of us). The support hand can be gripped as hard/tight as you're capable of. Also, incorporate some amount of push-pull into your grip. The latest and greatest stance is a cross between the Weaver and Isosceles.
 
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