Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Forty Caliber Flinch
When I first purchased a centerfire sem-auto I picked up a 9mm. Not unusual. It's perhaps the most common. I picked it up and fired it "adequately". Meaning I thought I could shoot better.
I then got a .45. I shot better with it. Not unusual. The old workhorse chambering of 45 ACP is known for accuracy.
Later on I picked up my first .40. I got it because I wanted to try the round that had filled the niche between 9mm and 45 ACP.
I was awful. Really, really awful. Yes, I know I shot it better than other people. I have standards that I apply to myself, though and expect better.
I thought it was the round. That it was inherently inaccurate. I've seen that charge from people who post on website forums. I stopped buying .40 guns, passing up ones that I could have gotten for a reasonable price.
What had happened to me has probably happened to a lot of people. I had developed a horrible flinch. The .40 is usually put into the same frame as a 9mm. It throws out a lot more energy because it throws more lead with each shot. The gun weighs the same as when it is chambered in 9mm but the round is as fast or faster and weighs more. More muzzle energy out of the same weight of firearm equals more recoil/muzzle flip.
Because the .40 is faster than a 45 ACP, even though it weighs less, it can also have more percieved recoil. Usually a handgun chambered for 45 ACP is heavier than a 9mm which helps fight against recoil and muzzle flip. A .40 doesn't usually weigh any more than the same handgun in 9mm.
What I needed wasn't magic. It was a better grip. A better grip and better trigger control. These two solutions brought my group size down from greater than 5" at 25 feet to under 3". It has become so easy to group well at 25 feet that I have switched to shooting at 50 feet.
The forty caliber is not inherently inaccurate. It can be as accurate as any other you can shoot. It can also pack more punch for self-defense or hunting purposes than the 9mm.
The lesson here is to work on grip and trigger control. Your own accuracy can only get better, no matter what caliber you choose to carry.
The images here illustrate what I'm currently shooting like at 50 feet. The ammo is bargain basement quality. I can do better. I will do better. It's just a matter of practicing.