Fixing A Problem

As I’ve aged, a couple of things have happened to me that have affected my barely-competent handgun skill.  (Cliff Notes:  I’ve always been a much better shot with a rifle than with a handgun, the latter being just average.)

The problem is twofold:  as my age-induced arthritis continues to plague my hands, I find that I can no longer grip the gun as firmly as I’d like, which has led to Problem #2:  I’ve started to develop a profound flinch whenever I pull the trigger.  No matter how gently I squeeze the thing — and all my handguns have excellent triggers — I often catch myself dropping the hammer on an empty chamber and seeing my hand pulling the gun down at least an inch, with predictable results on the paper.  To put it bluntly, at the end of the session, my target often resembles that of someone trying to register their shotgun’s grouping, blindfolded.  (I think it was either Mr. Free Market or The Englishman who once commented caustically, “I had an old shotgun that printed better than that.”)

Loyal Readers will already have seen my dissatisfaction with firing 158gr .357 Mag loads, and selecting instead the much-lighter 110gr pills for my backup ammo.  With the latter, there is no flinch;  with the 158gr loads, a profound one.  Ditto, by the way, my .45 ACP preference for 185gr loads over the 230gr.  Heavy bullets = flinch;  lighter bullets = no flinch, or at least not enough to make a fool of me.

This is not affected by my usual shooting partners, they being either the Son&Heir or Doc Russia, both being horrifyingly proficient handgun shots whose one-hole groupings never fail to make me look like a complete beginner.

All this, by the way, is to introduce Champion Pistolero Rob Leatham’s video entitled:  Aiming Is Useless (!!!!).

So my next few trips to the handgun range are going to feature his training tips, along with Mas Ayoob’s Wedge Grip.

I’ll let you know how it pans out.


  1. IMHO:

    Flinching is about inexperience, lack of training, noise, and pain.

    Three of those don’t apply to you, leaving pain, which is verified by captain physics, who will apply heavier recoil forces to heavier loads.

    Unless you’re planning to tangle with bears, there’s no real need to use the heaviest loads. (see )

    This suggests it’s time to look at cushy grips, and prophylactic ibuprofen.

    1. As my arthritis has crept into my support thumb, I have added a topical NASID to the prophylactic ibus. Seems to work but I have got a class next week for the first test. When I shoot on my own, I long ago abandoned long range sessions for 50-100 rounds. Get more quality practice if I don’t overdo it.

  2. I tried the wedge grip. Lets just say that I was astonished with the results. All groups with all guns tightened up! I am sold. This covers .380 out of a bodyguard all the way through some hot loads out of a 10mm Glock 40. Good luck!

  3. Rob Leatham: “Shooting is simple but not easy”.

    Channeling Carl von Clausewitz : Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult

    1. Should have gotten one of those “notaflamethrower”s from Elon’s “The Boring Co”.

  4. There is a reason for the popularity of 1911’s chambered in 9mm.
    With apologies to JMB.

  5. Don’t feel bad about developing a temporary flinch. It happens, especially when shooting unaccustomed heavy loads in a light revolver. The best cure for a flinch is the ball-and-dummy drill. I’ve never seen it fail. Find a good partner to practice with as your coach, and run that drill until you’re cured. Also, I’ve found it helps to video the shooter’s hands during the shot. Slo-mo analysis can reveal exactly what is happening.

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