If your gun feels like it's going to jump out of your hand after every shot or you have trouble placing your followup shots in the same spot, there's a good chance you're dealing with a recoil control issue.
Here's the good news - making just a few simple changes can improve your recoil control in a hurry. While you can't completely eliminate recoil, there are some simple things you can do to manage both vertical and horizontal recoil.
Get a grip!
Getting the right grip with both hands is essential for managing recoil. Starting with your strong (gun hand), get your hand on the backstrap or beavertail as high as possible without interfering with the slide (no one likes slide bite). Next, bring your support hand up to the gun, making sure the top of your hand is all the way up against the trigger guard. Once both hands are on the gun, check to make sure that you are gripping tightly and getting as much purchase as possible on the gun - look for any gaps and close them by making small adjustments to your hand placement or by gripping the gun a little tighter.
If you're drawing from a holster, make sure you establish that same high grip as soon as you bring your hand down on the gun and while it's still in the holster. Place your trigger finger along the side of your holster to make sure you don't have to make any adjustments when you get further into your draw and presentation.
Resist the urge to overgrip
Recoil issues can also be caused by gripping your gun too tightly. When you overgrip with one or both hands, you're going to end up shaking from the tension, making it almost impossible to align your sights. Over-gripping your gun can also cause trigger freeze - that's when you're trying to pull the trigger rapidly and your finger locks up for a split second.
There's a sweet spot between gripping your gun too hard and not gripping hard enough, so you'll need to head to the range and fire some test shots while making small adjustments. Shoot a few groups using different amounts of pressure - when your groups get tighter, you'll know you've found your sweet spot.
Keep your elbows slightly bent
When you present your gun to the target (the press out), check to make sure you aren't locking your elbows. Your elbows should be just slightly bent, which will help better distribute the recoil. It will also help save your joints - our bodies absorb recoil and when you lock your elbows, you're putting a lot of extra stress on those joints!
You can't completely get rid of recoil, but these simple adjustments can make a huge difference. Once you've made these adjustments, you'll be able to get back on your sights faster and place your followup shots much more accurately!
Education is an integral part of being a responsible gun owner and continuous learning will help you improve everything from your gun handling to your mindset. Start with these 5 things that every gun owner needs to know.