It’s NOT your Trigger Control

Thought of the day.

Have you heard any of these? “Trigger control is the most important part of shooting.” “He doesn’t know how to pull the trigger, that’s why he missed.” “She missed because she jerked the trigger!” “Squeeze the trigger slow…let it surprise you when the gun goes off”

They are wrong. I am going to rock the boat with this post and I would encourage you to read it (not just glance at it), think about it, and hear what I am actually saying versus what you want to hear. Then post your comments or questions. I will be happy to expand. The single biggest lie in the handgun shooting universe is that trigger control causes most accuracy-related problems. I strongly disagree. How you pull and reset the trigger might have an effect on your speed, and a slight effect on your accuracy, but not much. Please hear me out while you sip on that cup of coffee.

Count your fingers. Most of you have ten. Now, look at your little ole trigger finger. Count it. You should not have difficulty, you have one. So you are telling me that while you are gripping the handgun with nine fingers (and your palms if you have built your grip correctly), that the little ole trigger finger is overpowering the other fingers in the hand and pulling the gun offline? That is NOT what is happening. What is happening is a series or single movement that moves the gun out of alignment with the center of the target.

We ALL (even Rob Leatham) move the gun all the time when we fire it. The best shooters in the world have simply learned how to minimize the movement of the gun. So the question is, WHAT is moving the gun? You. It is you. And the trigger finger is NOT the culprit. It is the other fingers in the hand that is holding the gun that moving it out of alignment. Sometimes this translates to movement in the wrist as well.

Try this: Grab an unloaded handgun (double-check it). A gun with a red dot or laser is even better, but you don’t need either. Now I want you to simulate shooting the gun by applying pressure to the trigger and at the same time, I want you to watch the front of the muzzle for any small movement as you press the trigger. If it is moving, then I want you to repeat the test, but this time squeeze with the three fingers on the handgun grip as hard as you can, and whatever you do, do not release those fingers. Now press the trigger several times and you will see less movement in the front of the gun. Repeat again, but let the three gripping fingers increase and decrease in pressure. You will see the movement. Now (and remember this) GRIP THEN PULL, and the movement will minimize. Notice I did not say stop. We all move the gun all the time. Your goal should be to minimize it.

Those three little fingers on the grip under my support hand are often guilty of moving the gun out of alignment.

Read these and tell me the difference:

  • Grip (the three gripping fingers) AND pull
  • Grip (the three gripping fingers) THEN pull

The difference seems small, but if you are gripping the gun hard and increasing the pressure in the controlling fingers while you pull the trigger, you will be moving the gun. Switch that to gripping and THEN pulling (while maintaining the pressure) and you will fix your issue. The main reason is that you would not have much movement left in the control hand fingers if they are already clamped down on the grip.

By the way, the problem often comes in the way of releasing pressure in the gripping fingers at some point during the shooting sequence, accompanied by an increase of pressure to fire the next shoot and thus starts the process of moving the gun out of line.

Of course, this quick post only discussed the gun hand (whichever hand is holding the handgun). The support hand is a completely separate story for another time.

Until Then – Train Hard!

Mike S.

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