Mastering Your Trigger

Different guns have different triggers, not all are the same and even in some manufacturers lines you will find different triggers. Semi-automatic triggers are different that revolver triggers. Mastering the trigger on any gun is really very simple but to commit it to sub-conscious memory requires multiple perfect repetitions.

First some definitions; Trigger reach is measured from the back strap to the face of the trigger once all play has been taken up. This is the measurement that will determine if your finger can reach the trigger face with a proper grip on the back strap. Trigger play or slack is the looseness in the trigger before it meets resistance as you move the trigger rearward, almost all semi-automatics have some. Trigger break is when the correct pounds of pressure have been applied and the firing mechanism has released and the trigger easily moves to the rear of the trigger guard. The trigger reset point is the place where after a shot has been fired, as you move your finger forward you will hear and feel and audible click which is where the firing mechanism has been re-engaged.

The firing sequence is fairly simple, after you have acquired your sight picture and are on the trigger begin to gently move the trigger rearward until you meet resistance. At this point you have removed any play in the trigger and are now preparing to apply the correct amount of pressure to the trigger face to cause the gun to discharge and move the trigger to the rear of the trigger guard. As you begin to apply pressure to the trigger face you must understand that there is a specific amount of pressure required to make the trigger break, if you apply more than is needed or you accelerate pressure that the gun will move just as the trigger breaks and you will miss what you are aiming at. I am going to step out on a limb here and give you an empirical fact; you do not miss what you are aiming at because of bad sight alignment or bad eyes or any of the other dozen excuses I’ve heard over the years as everyone I’ve ever worked with sights their gun just fine, you simply miss because you moved the gun right at the moment of firing. Where the gun was pointed at the time it fired is where the hole is on the target, it really is that simple.

Somewhere in the process of applying the correct amount of pressure to the trigger the gun will fire. Proper follow through indicates you should continue to the rear with the trigger and keep it pinned to the rear throughout the recoil of the gun. Once you have acquired your next sight picture you begin to release the trigger in a controlled manner until you hear/feel the trigger reset. Check your sight picture and repeat.

This method will help keep you from jerking the trigger and will increase your accuracy considerably as compared to flipping off the trigger. I have watched videos of accomplished shooters firing multiple rounds rapid fire and their finger never leaves the trigger and has minimal forward and rearward motion. Master your trigger, your shooting will improve.

Trigger reset with a Sig P239 and a Glock G23

Liberty Firearms Training



2 thoughts on “Mastering Your Trigger

  1. Guy, when you describe trigger pull, it all sounds so easy and attainable. Training with you has made me understand and appreciate the mechanics even more so. I have found when I can control that trigger just as you have described, that my accuracy has improved immensely. I have also found that time spent doing perfect dry fire trigger pulls with different pistols daily has been very beneficial as well. For me it was a matter of isolating the movement of my trigger finger from my other grip fingers and using a lighter grip with my strong hand as well that has led to better accuracy.
    Also as you say, the triggers in multiple firearms really are different. Hey, I never developed a callous on my trigger finger till I started shooting my new glock 23! Can’t wait yo shoot the Sig Master Instructor drill with you again!

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