Fundamental 5: The Trigger Press

Double check the pistol to make sure it is unloaded. Don’t just go through the motions. See and feel that it is empty.

Place the center of your finger pad (the swirls of your fingerprint) on the center of the trigger. After you’ve done this make sure that there is a gap between your upper trigger finger and the side of the pistol frame as seen below. Without the gap you could push the pistol to the side as you press the trigger.

Your final act is to take up the slack of the trigger and then press. The press must be done smoothly without disturbing your sight alignment. The following clip will show taking up the slack. Then there is a pause, followed by pressing the trigger.

As you draw the pistol and the front sight is on the target, you can move your trigger finger from the frame of the pistol, place it on the trigger and take up the slack. Shortly after this you should see your front sight in the complete center of the target, your arms should stop moving and your focus will switch from the center of the target to the front sight. With a little bit of practice this can all be done in a quick and aggressive manner when compared to how you will then press the trigger. Often new shooters will press the trigger with as much speed and aggression that they draw and come on target with the pistol. This is incorrect. You can take up the slack quickly but you must change speed before you press the trigger.

Once you are on target and focused on the front sight there is a mental pause, then you can press the trigger. That pause allows you to concentrate on the tension in your unmoving hands. That tension should stay the same with no loosening or tightening of the hands as you press the trigger. That pause allows you to concentrate on having only one part of your body moving, the trigger finger. Once the trigger breaks and the pistol fires your job is to allow it to fire and recoil. Meaning you pause after the pistol goes bang. The pistol will move on it’s own. You just have to pause again and let it finish moving. This is called follow through. Don’t help it recoil or try to fight it. Just let it happen.

Once the pistol is finished moving you can do two things at once. First you will notice that the sights moved off the target. Bring the front sight back to the center of the target. Second, while bringing the front sight back on target release the trigger until you hear and feel a click. That click is the trigger reset. Once you feel and hear this keep releasing the trigger another fraction of an inch past reset. This insures that later on when you speed up this process you don’t miss resetting the trigger.

To fire the pistol again you would just repeat the process. Take up the little bit of slack, pause and press. Again you would be concentrating on keeping the tension in your hands the same and staring at the in focus front sight as you press the trigger.

Over time this process is made more efficient by minimizing the pauses. This combined with a stronger grip will allow the trigger to be manipulated at a faster rate without disturbing the sight picture.

In the video you will notice that I kept my finger on the trigger and manipulated the slide. I did this to show you the reset. With a striker fired pistol you must rack the slide to reset the trigger when practicing at home. You should try this ONCE with the finger on the trigger so that you may feel the trigger reset. After that I believe you should NEVER again keep your finger on the trigger while manipulating the slide. It is a bad habit and a safety issue. If you leave your finger on the trigger with a loaded gun and manipulate the slide, it will eventually go bang when you don’t mean it to. Another way to practice this is to have someone else manipulate the slide and then reset the trigger afterwards.



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