Does Recoil Affect Accuracy?
No one likes going to the range and spending their entire time missing the target. It’s an unpleasant experience and it certainly doesn’t lend itself to wanting to shoot again.
Part of the reason for why you may be missing is due to recoil, which can indeed have an adverse affect on your accuracy. Thankfully, there are a lot of great ways to fix this. First we’ll look at what recoil actually is, and then we’ll explain how you can overcome it so that your accuracy does not suffer.
What is Recoil?
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that every action generates an equal and opposite reaction. Recoil represents this law perfectly because the force used to propel a bullet forward and out of the muzzle pushes a gun backward in the opposite direction. The more force used to propel a bullet, the harder the backward push (or recoil) will be.
Felt recoil is the backward push you experience from your gun when you fire a round. Depending on various factors, including ammo type and your body weight, felt recoil can be mild or intense enough to feel like a painful mule kick.
How Does Recoil Affect Accuracy?
Moderate recoil won’t overly affect your shooting experience. However, if it is excessive, recoil can throw off your aim, making it harder to hit targets, especially targets beyond 100 yards. Also, when recoil is too much, you are more likely to flinch when you shoot, leading to reduced shooting accuracy.
Lastly, excessive recoil can make shooting less enjoyable because your weapon jamming into your body can cause shoulder, back, and arm injuries. Consider switching to a lower recoil option if your firearm’s recoil is difficult to bear. However, with enough practice, you may grow accustomed to a high-recoil weapon and learn to shoot it accurately.
We mentioned flinching briefly above, and that’s a key part of recoil anticipation. You know what’s coming and you’re anticipating it. As a result, your body flinches as it prepares to deal with the coming recoil. Often, the anticipation and flinching are done subconsciously, so don’t feel bad if it’s happening to you. Recoil anticipation is something that you can train yourself to overcome.
You know that a gun is going to recoil when you fire it, and it’s only natural to want control over that aspect of the shooting experience. To control the recoil, you compensate for it. However, there is such a thing as too much compensation, and that leads to overcompensation. This can manifest itself in many ways, but one of the most common is an excessively tight “death grip” on the gun.
How to Effectively Manage Recoil
Don’t let recoil get you down. There are a lot of ways you can effectively manage recoil so that you’ll have a pleasant – and accurate shooting experience.
Use a Suppressor to Reduce Recoil
Suppressors (also called silencers) are arguably the best firearm attachment you can buy. The barrel-shaped device attaches to the muzzle of your firearm to slow down the explosive force with which propellant gases escape the muzzle, leading to less recoil.
Also, using a suppressor reduces gunfire noise and muzzle flash, making you less likely to flinch and miss when you shoot a suppressed firearm. Lastly, you can get a suppressor that adds weight to your barrel to minimize muzzle rise and stabilize your shot for better accuracy.
The energy from recoil manifests itself in a backward and upward motion. Knowing this, you can position your body in a proper stance to counteract the recoil.
Your lower body is, quite literally, the foundation of a solid shooting stance. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, approximately shoulder-width apart and put a slight bend in your knees. This allows you to have a solid footing on the ground, but also one that isn’t so rigid that you can be easily knocked over.
With your upper body, you want to extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Similar to your legs, you also want to keep a slight bend in your elbows for the same reason.
A slightly forward cant to your body, out over your hips, will also help keep you stable during shooting.
Of course, there are myriad variations to this depending on whether you’re shooting a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, or if you’re crouching, kneeling, etc.
There’s more than one way to grip a gun. With the correct grip, you can improve your aim and minimize recoil intensity to reduce the risk of injury. A proper handgun grip usually requires not gripping the gun like you are trying to squeeze the life out of it.
Instead, wrap your dominant hand around the handle and ensure that the web between your thumb and index finger is as high as possible on the back strap. Wrap your support hand’s fingers around the fingers of your dominant hand but keep your thumbs free with both pointing forward. Gripping a handgun like this will provide maximum leverage to manage recoil when you shoot.
Many shotgun and rifle grip styles are also available. However, a proper rifle grip typically requires firmly seating the butt of the gun inside the shoulder pocket of your dominant arm. Keeping the butt against your shoulder will minimize how much the gun jerks each time you fire, stabilizing your firearm for better accuracy.