The F_ _ _ _ _ Word: Flinching
The F_ _ _ _ _ Word: FlinchingBy Darrell Holland
The admission and/or use of the F word is not socially acceptable in long range hunting/shooting circles. Pride, egos, and testosterone levels are all put on the line each and every time we shoulder a rifle in the presence of another male of the species. We tend to stand a little taller, our chest measurements increase, and we possess a little more bravado than usual when in the presence of firearms.
Looking through a medical dictionary, I was at a loss to find a specific disease associated with this anomaly. Then it hit me. It is a compounding of other similar diseases. With this realization, I had struck pay dirt.
ďBanty-rooster-itisĒ Ė is described as a clouding of judgment, an egotistical preservation of oneís pride and all that matters in life. It is often used in clinical comparisons with the F word. This affliction is known throughout the civilized world, and affects over 200,000,000 men worldwide! Clinical studies show 99% of all men are in a state of denial when the F word is mentioned. Many feel that advancements in technology and lack of range time are to blame.
Asking your doctor for a 30 day supply of Cialis is not the answer. While the problem usually starts below the belt, the cure is found higher up on the skeletal frame.
Flinching is as common as brown eyes and gray hair. We ALL do it at one time or another, and many folks do it ALL the time! Our individual nervous systems vary and the tolerance levels for pain and noise are equally varied. Technology is partly to blame for such epidemic numbers, most shooters are over-gunned and would do well to step down a caliber or two and regain their manhood.
Some afflicted shooters claim the following: I only flinch occasionally when Iím shooting at paper. When it comes to big game hunting I never flinch or miss, why I donít even feel the recoil... Apparently they have a built in switch that they can somehow turn off when game is viewed thru the scope. Wanna make a million dollars? Isolate that gene/switch combination and shooters will line up for miles to purchase one, not because they need it, but because they believe in the charity you are sharing profits with.... Swamp land anyone????
Flinching is really mind over matter. Convincing the mind that it doesnít matter is the tough part. We have thousands of miles of nerves in our bodies. Oddly enough, they are connected to the trigger finger and brain. The sequential thought process goes something like this:
Alright Joe, take it one step at a time, you never flinch. The crosshairs dance on the target and your trigger finger makes its approach toward the trigger. As it gets close, a distraction enters the thought process. Joe, there is going to be a loud noise and vicious kick as soon as you touch that trigger, be careful! Iíve done this before, trust me! But you never flinch, so you ignore the warning. You control the urge to ďget it over with.Ē Your finger finally touches the trigger. The brain overrides all other thoughts. JOE, it screams!!!! I told you itís going to get noisy and a terrible kick is going to follow. DO IT NOW!!!! The brain wins, as soon as the crosshairs waver past the bullís-eye, the intensity of the warning increases and Joe jerks the trigger to the obvious warning/conclusion from the brain. The noise and recoil are followed by: I told you Soooo!
After just a few shots this brainwashing takes root and every time Joeís finger touches the trigger, the same warning/response occurs. The vicious recoil masks the obvious tightening of shoulder and pectoral muscles, the blinking of eyes and the raising of Joeís head from the stock in anticipation of whatís next! Luckily for Joe, his friends canít eavesdrop on the conversation he was having with his brain. If they could, Joe just might take up fishing instead.
This process occurs in virtually all shooters, especially younger shooters whose dad wants to impress his friends that Joe Jr. can handle a 300 Win. Mag at age 12.
How the Brain Works
Despite the fact that Joe was born two weeks premature, the brain cannot think two conscious thoughts at a time. We have not evolved to the point that we can process multiple thoughts simultaneously. We must be able to control a single thought and remain focused on the task at hand. This is harder than it seems. Try focusing intently on something and see how long it takes for another thought to interrupt? Not long was it???
The brain is the enemy when it comes to shooting, and a difficult adversary it is. A common solution is to try and time the shot with our wobbly hold. Okay, here it comes by the bullís-eye. NOW, screams the brain, and in response (second thought process) the trigger finger yanks the rifle rearward, discharging the round. Often the results are less than desirable. When we do hit the bullís-eye, we pat ourselves on the back and applaud our superb timing and brain function. Life is good and weíve conquered our demons.
Madison Avenue hasnít helped the shooter either. The BIG MAGNUMS are more rifle than 95% of the shooters can handle under field conditions. Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.
Tony Cavallo with a nice antelope buck. Range 674 Yards Ė 6mm XC 107 Grain Sierra Matchking at 2950 fps. The F_ _ _ _ _ word did not apply to Tony!
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