Nov 10, 2015

The “F” Word, Conclusion

My previous two columns have dealt with the dreaded “Flinch,” the causes and the fixes. I want to provide the disclaimer that these opinions/conclusions are based on my own personal experience, not a scientific study. I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, although it is occasionally pointed out that I might benefit by seeing one.

I shot competitive clay targets for years without flinching, and then, BOOM! It was there. I tried ALL of the “cures” previously discussed. Some worked, for a short time, then back to the flinch. It got so bad that in a 100 target round, I flinched 5 to 15 times. It became impossible to shoot competitively and I eventually quit shooting competitions for five years.

I came back to competitive shooting but, after two more years of struggling, I couldn’t take the frustration anymore and decided to try the last “fix” I thought available for me, a “release trigger.”

Before I go any further, while ALL guns can be dangerous if handled incorrectly, a release trigger has the potential to make them MORE dangerous. That is why all of the clay shooting sports require a shotgun with a release trigger to be CLEARLY marked, in a highly visible manner, with a big red/orange “R” or word “RELEASE.”

A release trigger is exactly that, you operate the trigger by pulling, or “setting” it, and then the gun goes off when you release the trigger. (Much like we all used to shoot a bow with our fingers, pull it back to “set” it and then let it go to “fire” the arrow.) The theory is by changing the “physiological chain of events” (changing neural pathways, synaptic nerve functions, subconscious/conscious thought process, muscles used) it takes to pull a trigger, the “short circuit” in your brain is circumvented.

I am in my 5th season of shooting a release trigger and I can definitively say that it has solved my problem and saved my competitive shooting career. My flinch was what I defined as a “competitive” flinch. Many will always believe a flinch is recoil induced, but consider the facts. In golf they call it the “yips,” in archery they call it “target panic,” and there are other examples like this that clearly do NOT involve any kind of recoil.

It is a physiological, subconscious competition driven problem (in my humble opinion) and that’s why the release works. It “rewires” your brain sequencing. I have seen other shooters achieve the same positive results by switching to a release trigger.

Aside from concerns of danger/safety, the biggest question I hear is, “What about when I want to use my “pull trigger” hunting gun?”

I can say that I have no problem going back and forth between the competition release trigger and hunting pull trigger. My brain just adjusts to the difference. All I can say is that if you love to shoot clays and the flinch is a problem, trying a release trigger is a viable, time saving solution you should consider.