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How to pull the trigger properly?

Sean Answered question September 6, 2022
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As a beginner, you are likely aware that there will be a loud noise and some recoil when firing the gun. Consequently, you might tend to press the trigger quickly to get it over with, which in turn creates movement of the gun and barrel.

However, even after pressing the trigger, it still takes some time for the bullet to move down the barrel. If during this process there is any movement of the gun or barrel, your bullet will no longer be on target. So then what’s the secret? To cause as little movement to the gun as possible when pressing the trigger:

  • Use the middle finger pad of your first index finger.
  • Take away any initial slack or “pre-travel” in the trigger by gradually squeezing it forward.
  • Follow through by not releasing the trigger right away after you’ve fired.
  • “Reset” the trigger by easing it back just enough to hear a click.
  • Follow through for another shot

Dry Fire Practice is one of the most effective ways to improve your pull. This entails pulling the trigger without any ammunition in the weapon. If you’re going to be doing this a lot, I recommend getting snap caps. These are dummy bullets with padding on the back that will prevent your firing pin from over-extending itself if you fire repeatedly without using real ammo.

So, let’s move on and  let me remind you a little bit of the theory before I continue.

When it comes to actually taking the shot, that’s a whole other issue. Every time you take a shot, there are 4 distinct points:

  • The Initial Slack – this is a no man’s land when the trigger is between its normal position and when it breaks.
  • The Trigger Break –this is the part of the gun that actually fires.
  • The Stop – This is where the trigger stops moving after the gun has fired. The most common stop and break are at the same point. It’s not always the case with every gun.
  • The Reset – This is the point where, upon releasing the trigger, the gun is ready to fire again.

There are four main points that can go wrong during a trigger pull, each of which will affect your accuracy in a negative way:

1. First and the most important is jerking the trigger.

You don’t want to just jerk it back as harshly as you can. You need to smoothly and consistently squeeze it each time. And when I say “squeeze,” I mean do so like you’re slowly trying to squish a rubber stress ball between your thumb and index finger. Later on, you can speed up the process, but for now, focus on keeping the motion smooth from start to finish.

Also, once you’ve reached the point where firing the gun will occur (also called “the break”), don’t stop pulling the trigger. You want to keep pulling until the trigger can no longer go any further back, and then release it back to its reset point.

If target practice consistently shows that your shots are veering left of center (or right if you’re a left handed shooter), and you have verified that your sights are undamaged, then there’s a high chance that you’re jerking the trigger.

If you want your squeeze to be slow and smooth, literally to the point where the firing of the gun surprises you (at least at first), then you need to reset your muscle memory. The only way to do this is by slowing it down and pulling the trigger multiple times. You have to unlearn bad habits and relearn good ones. It`s a bit tedious but it will be worth it in the end.

2. Anticipation of the recoil.

If your shots are all over the place, you might be unconsciously tensing up in anticipation of recoil. You can easily test this by loading some dummy rounds along with live rounds into your magazine at the range.

A few rounds loaded this way will create uncertainty about whether the gun will fire or not. This is what you want, as it’ll help you train to not anticipate/flinch when the gun doesn’t go boom. If your gun still twitches after pulling the trigger, then that’s a sign you’re anticipating/flinching. Don’t worry, though – it’s fixable with some time and effort dedicated to slowing down your trigger pull speed.

3. The last major thing is “follow through.”

As I mentioned before, the trigger will break at some point. However, this does not necessarily mean that the trigger will stop moving backward. In many cases, it does continue to move back.

However, you should never cease once the break occurs. If the stop doesn’t correspond to the break, then carry on to it. You should release just to the point of reset and restart your squeeze from scratch regardless of where the break/stop is on your weapon.

4. Pad of your finger on the trigger.

Although not classified as a primary issue, this nonetheless causes problems for people intermittently. When pulling the trigger, many individuals wrap their first knuckle around it instead of using the pad. However, experts maintain that one should use the pad rather than the knuckle.

Personally, I noticed an improvement in my shooting when I started using my finger pad, but I also know of some amazing shooters who have always used their knuckle and despise doing so. This one is subjective.

Consider double-checking your sights and double-checking what part of your finger you’re using if you can honestly claim that you’re not doing problem 1, 2, or 3 but you’re still having difficulties.

The reset point is never in the same place for any two guns, and it’s usually not where the trigger rests when your finger isn’t on it.

Sean Edited answer September 6, 2022
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I hope you understand trigger discipline and trigger control, so let’s get right to the trigger pull and look at a few general issues and misconceptions.

From my experience, I would say that one of the most significant challenges a shooter will face is stopping themselves from jerking the trigger. When you jerk or abruptly slap the trigger, it creates an sudden spike in energy which then causes instability. When you jerk the trigger, your entire hand tightens up and causes the gun to twist, which makes it harder to hit your target. And just by using your trigger finger alone, you can inaccurately fire the round.

To ensure accurate shots, it’s important to heed next principles:

  • Only the trigger finger should move + Straight to the rear

A simple and effective dry-fire practice exercise for trigger control is to balance an empty case on your front sight. Do repetitions of a consistent, straight-to-the-rear trigger press without knocking the case off of the front sight.

The objective of this training is not to move slowly – you won’t be taking your time in a real confrontation or competition. Instead, you want to learn how to move as quickly as possible without losing focus and messing up.

Another excellent way to practice trigger control while adhering to the two aforementioned principles is by aiming and shooting your gun at a 1-inch pastie placed 1-3 yards away.You’ll be doing it with only your firing hand and holding the pistol just with the web of your hand, thumb, and the first knuckle of your trigger finger.

It’s also a good idea to load one bullet in the chamber for safety, then remove your magazine so you can only fire one shot at a time. You may continue to fire numerous shots without reloading after you’ve become accustomed and comfortable with the drill.

In order to improve aim, accuracy, and success rate, begin by prepping the trigger so that when it’s time to pull, the trigger is already at the wall.

  • Grip Hard

Many shooters struggle to keep a solid, hard grip on their weapons.

For trigger discipline and control, you want a firm grip that allows you to be aggressive with the trigger without disrupting your sight alignment. Apply pressure to the trigger while gripping the firearm tightly for maximum stability.

Many individuals just throw out percentages at random. For example, use 70% pressure with your support hand and 30% with your firing hand. Here’s a simpler way to figure out how much pressure is required, which I frequently hear from the world’s best shooters.

Grasp the weapon as tightly as you can with both hands, without disturbing your sight. If your gun begins to shake, ease off the pressure a bit. If you have difficulty moving your trigger finger swiftly, reduce the pressure a little but still crush down firmly with your support hand; alternatively, if you have trouble maintaining a firm grip on the gun, somewhat increase the pressure.

As you shoot, keep in mind to have a strong grip. You will be able to remove the movement of your trigger finger from the rest of your hand with practice.

The grip trainer also can help you to maintain a consistent firm grip. To use it, hold the trainer with both hands as if you were holding a pistol. Squeeze the grip trainer completely with both hands, excluding your trigger finger. Hold this position for at least one minute.

Having acknowledged some of the general issues, let’s now address some mistaken beliefs.

  • Trigger finger placement

The location of your trigger finger in practical shooting isn’t as crucial as you may believe. As long as you pull the trigger straight back, follow all of the other guidelines and ideas, and assume that your grip and aim are correct, you will achieve the intended effect.

Hand and finger sizes vary from person to person, which implies that we’ll all have to handle guns that suit us differently. My finger’s contact with the trigger will be different than most other people’s, but I believe these differences should be accepted.

The key is to have a straight pull back, no matter where your finger is placed.

Trigger finger placement can be difficult to understand, but it’s important to know that based on the size of your hand and gun as well as your specific fingers, there might be a trigger finger placement that makes it easier for you to have a straight pull back.

However, it isn’t necessary. As long as you visualize a straight-back pull and practice, you honestly can achieve a good trigger pull.

Another factor to take into account is the distance between your trigger finger and the gun’s frame. Shooters generally have a little gap in between their fingers.

If you don’t have enough space, you might accidentally shoot to the left (for right-handed shooters) or right (for left-handed shooters).

  • No Surprise Breaks

The phrase “surprise break” may be familiar to you. When students are taught by their instructor to pull the trigger slowly, so they don’t know precisely when the gun will fire, this is called a surprise break. While it can be beneficial for beginners who are learning not to flinch in anticipation of the shot or recoil (which is different from jerking the trigger), it isn’t the most efficient way to operate the trigger..

In my opinion, those who are taught the surprise break approach appear to do well when firing at a relaxed pace. Although, they have more difficulty completing satisfactorily under pressure or while shooting multiple shots.

The trigger press is much more effective when applied with consistent pressure in a controlled way rather than the slow surprise break approach. The slow surprise break technique often causes more problems because it builds suspense in the shooter’s mind, which can result in errors.

  • Stop Pinning the Trigger

After each shot, many instructors teach their students to reset the trigger by pinning it to the rear. To take follow-up shots, we need to release the trigger so that it can travel forward and re-engage with the gun’s firing mechanism.

In actuality, there is no reason to reset the trigger slowly in practical shooting because doing so doesn’t affect when the next shot will be fired.

Learn how to reset your trigger after each shot as your weapon recoils. It allows you more time to work the trigger properly and deliver the next shot more accurately. When waiting until the gun comes to a stop to reset the trigger and then attempting to pull it, you may often get jerking and anticipating the following shot, especially when a timer is involved or other stress factors are present.

Sean Edited answer September 6, 2022
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When you shoot, the trigger pull is the most important aspect. If done correctly, you will hit your target. However, if done wrong, no matter how good everything else was—breath control, grip, stance, and sight picture—the shot will not find its goal.

Though it may seem like a minimal movement, pulling the trigger requires more than just using your index finger. For example, you must also account for the trigger lever, pressure, and mechanism involved. And that’s not all- your technique, game strategy and psychology play critical roles as well.

Trigger

Consider the trigger to be a basic mechanical lever. The degree of resistance that must be overcome to fire the shot is determined by where the finger is positioned on the trigger. The pressure required to discharge the bullet is higher if you put your finger high up on the trigger, while lowering it reduces the mechanical advantage of that lever and provides a lighter feeling. As a result, whenever you want an identical sensation, you must always position your finger in exactly the same place.

The width of the trigger can also affect how different triggers feel. A wider trigger spreads pressure over a larger area, making it feel like less pressure is needed to fire the shot. However, one of the risks associated with wide trigger shoes is that more pressure may be applied to one side or the other, causing lateral displacement of the gun.

Another consideration is curvature. Curved triggers may assist the shooter find the middle of the trigger by allowing him to curve his finger. Straight triggers might have a tiny clip or a marking point that allows the shooter to put his finger on the same position for each shot.

Developing Your Trigger Technique

he trigger hand has several uses. It is a critical contact point between the shooter’s body and the gun’s stock that aids in maintaining and supporting the rifle. That makes it essential for a shooting position’s stability and balance, but its major purpose is to ensure that the trigger finger is positioned correctly on the trigger. The grip must be consistent for every shot, with identical placement and firmness. The trigger finger must be positioned on the trigger at precisely the same point each time, with movement directly in line of sight from one shot to the next.

Mind Games

Not only do you take in information through your senses when you shoot, but also the thoughts running through your head can affect your shooting results. These would be things like what happened at work or what’s on tomorrow’s to-do list—anything that doesn’t relate directly to what you’re seeing and feeling in the moment.

Pressure and stress cause the release of hormones that can impair accuracy. Anxiety, worry, dread, and tension are all muscular tension. This physical manifestation is caused by an uncontrollable set on our part and has nothing to do with a genuine danger or safety concern. In reality, the majority of these thoughts aren’t linked directly to the shot’s successful completion; as a result, shooters are unable to think about their work. Critical information may undoubtedly be lost in this process; furthermore, making an incorrect decision is more likely because you aren’t thinking fully about it. The risk of missing the shot rises when you don’t have complete attention. You must learn to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful ideas and control them.

If you maintain an unwavering focus on the right things at the right time, in the correct sequence, trigger problems will fade away. If your sequence of thought and focus is consistent, there will be no space for doubt or error to enter. Systematically developing and executing a shot plan takes significant effort, but it is the only way to improve consistency between your thoughts and actions- which leads to success.

Sean Edited answer September 6, 2022
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Trigger technique is just as essential as posture, aim, and gun placement in taking accurate shots. This is especially true when aiming to master hitting targets perfectly. Expert marksmen may prefer various methods, which might cause confusion.

The ideal method to fire a shot without missing is to relax and take a deep breath before pulling the trigger. The aim is to gradually squeeze the trigger until the weapon fires, applying little and constant force.

There are several factors that contribute to becoming a great shooter, with trigger squeezing techniques being one of the most important. However, as any gun enthusiast will tell you, mastering the art of pulling the trigger takes a lot of practice and patience. Experience is also key in becoming a great shooter.

Check on Your Grip

Although gun grip is not normally considered important by first-time shooters, it is actually pivotal to success. When talking about grip, people should pay attention to how they hold the gun and position their trigger finger, not just the trigger itself.

The more secure your grip, the less likely you are to miss due to hand or anxiety-related tension. Keep in mind that a simple movement from one of your other fingers will almost certainly ruin your shot.

Keep the following principles in mind while searching to enhance your grip:

  • Wrap your thumb (on your trigger hand) above the stock’s wrist, as it might cause discomfort or impair mobility. Try resting on the same side as the firearm frame or receiver instead. Canting the rifle will be reduced, and even backward pressure may be applied more easily.
  • In addition to the trigger finger and thumb, you should also check on how you position the other fingers. Find a comfortable place on the grip so that your overall grip on the gun is improved.
  • Keep your finger steady between the trigger and the first line on your finger. This will help you aim better and reduce inaccuracies.

As you squeeze the trigger, remain calm

Debate continually circulates about the best trigger pulling technique. Some shooting experts argue that you should never be surprised by your shot, while others maintain that the shot should always surprise you. So which is it?

Ideally, a shooter ought to have enough control over the trigger pull to determine when to fire deliberately without fixating on the act itself. However, since focus shouldn’t be on triggerspulling ,the shotsshould come as small surprises ratheron then unsuspecting target .

The key is to keep your eyes on the target and not think about anything else, like how hard you’re pressing the trigger or your breathing. So, breathe in and exhale slowly a few times before taking the shot. Doing this at a regular pace will make sure you stay accurate. And when you finally shoot, do it right as you finish exhaling – that way you won’t mess up your form or position.

Until your weapon fires, gradually apply firm, measured, and constant pressure to the trigger. Clenching the trigger hand swiftly or jerking it might cause the weapon to move.

Follow Through

Unfortunately, although pulling the trigger is the final step in firing a weapon, it isn’t the end of the story. The manner in which you handle your trigger finger after taking a shot has a big impact on whether you hit or miss the target. It’s highly recommended that you maintain touch with the trigger throughout your shooting sequence.

Slapping the trigger is a dangerous habit that risks consistency and accuracy. By keeping your finger on the trigger, you are able to shoot as soon as it resets.

Sean Edited answer September 6, 2022

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