One of the most-universally accepted beliefs in shooting and shooting instruction is that flinch is caused by poor trigger control. And this universal “truth” has puzzled me for years now as I struggle to keep my flinch under control. I mean, my trigger pull is smooth and straight to the back strap of the gun. Indeed, it’s impossible to pull the trigger in any way that doesn’t have your trigger finger moving straight back to the rear of the gun. And while a smooth trigger pull – fast as well as slow — does have to be learned, it usually doesn’t take a serious shooter very long.
But flinch persists. And if your trigger pull is smooth and straight back, and you still flinch, then the flinch clearly isn’t about trigger control. Your trigger finger is doing everything exactly right.
What’s happening is that your wrist is breaking downward. Flinch is about wrist control! You have to lock your wrist and keep it locked as the gun fires…without breaking or changing the hand/arm angle.
Look at the photo above (that’s not my arm, BTW — I wish!). You have to tense the muscles on the top of your arm to prevent your wrist from breaking down, and you have to lock the muscles on the bottom to keep your wrist stable and in place. I had it half right a few posts below (fortunately Mike Seeklander hasn’t sued me yet!) when I talked about applying pressure between the pinky and the heel of the hand. That will lock up the muscles on the bottom of the arm. But you also have to think about, train at, and develop an unconscious kinesthetic recognition of the muscles on the top of the arm locking up, too. (I’m pretty sure that these muscles all have Latin names, but despite being a former alter boy I don’t know them. Plus there’s a bunch of them and they all have, like, different Latin names!)
So the next time some instructor tells you that flinch is all about poor trigger control, you’ll know that they’re unthinkingly repeating something that they were told, without ever actually evaluating, or even thinking much, about it.
Which frankly is pretty poor form from professionals. But hell, I did it for years too.