Flinch: to draw back suddenly because of, or in anticipation of, pain or noise.
With a definition like that, it would seem that shooting firearms and flinching are inexorably joined at the hip. After all, we were born with a flinch reaction to loud noises; and, the pain component might have originated shortly thereafter when the nurse gave you your baby shots.
Whatever its origins, a flinch is the enemy of all shooters. To paraphrase the inimitable Dr. Suess:
When you’re in a flinch,
You’re not in for much fun.
Is not easily done.
A rite of passage for essentially all kids, is learning to ride a bicycle. As I recall, the experience included bruises, scrapes, iodine, and band-aides. It was the dreaded iodine that provided the incentive to never tip over again. Though perfection didn’t come immediately, it did come . . . eventually.
You may not have ridden bike in forty years, but if you get on one today, you will have a heck of a time trying to intentionally tip over. Why? Muscle memory. Your brain might forget that your glasses are on your forehead, but your muscle memory will never forget how to ride a bike.
It would therefore seem obvious that if you could incorporate this “bicycle effect” into your shooting experience, a flinch would never get started. Experienced shooters are so immersed in controlling the sight picture and trigger squeeze that they never hear the noise or feel the recoil.
How do we get there with our favorite novice shooter: kid, grandkid, wife, or girlfriend?
4-Sigma Bullets has a line of ammo, bullets, and training kits that address this need.
But, before you head off to their website, let’s take a minute and view the world through the eyes of a “newbie”. A shooting range is intimidating—lots of noise, ear plugs that don’t go in easily, strange equipment everywhere, bodies jerking when guns go off, and some guy in a florescent orange vest yelling “stuff”.
A newbie, of whatever age, is the audience to which Dr. Suess appeals:
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
You will meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
That can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
I know that sometimes there is no choice, but honestly, a trip to the hills or woods will yield a much better place to teach your favorite novice than the local rifle or pistol range.