A trigger is a mechanism that actuates the function of a firearm. A small amount of energy, when applied to the trigger, leads to the release of the bullet with much more energy. Pulling the trigger of a handgun is easy and doesn’t require any specific technique. However, for hitting a specific target you need to apply the right technique. Moving the trigger straight to the rear and firing the handgun without disturbing the aim is the best way to control the trigger. The correct finger position on the trigger is essential for maintaining a perfect aim to fire a shot.
In single-action pistols with light triggers, the tip of the finger is used to pull the trigger. The idea of the engaging tip of the finger to pull the trigger originated with “bullseye shooting”. As bullseye shooting requires extreme precision for the accurate and perfect shot, heavy rifles with light flat triggers became popular. The tip/pad of index finger placement is appropriate for sport and clay shooting. However, in the actual world of Single action and double action autos, striker-fired guns, the finger placement may not work.
Determining Trigger Finger Placement
Many trainers and shooters find it easier to use the first joint of the index finger than the tip of the finger on double-action revolvers. This is because the double-action revolvers have heavy trigger pulls. These trigger pulls weigh approx 12-16 pounds and thus, it requires more hand strength. Moreover, when pressure is applied from the tip of the finger, to actuate the trigger, it pushes the gun to the left or right, thus off-target. Similarly, lightweight pistols combined with light trigger pull and lock time results in shooting errors. This issue has been rectified by the manufacturers. Modern striker-fired guns such as Beretta APX and SigP320 use a cocked striker that has limited pre-travel on the trigger. However, the shooters still prefer to use the first joint of the index finger to maximize strength for achieving accuracy.
The basic guideline to figure out the optimal amount of finger to use on the trigger is by looking down at the second joint of your index finger. It should be at or almost at a 90-degree angle. For a correct trigger finger placement, one needs to keep two essential facts in mind.
- Different sizes, shapes, and strengths of our hands
- Different sizes, shapes of handguns.
Hence, if told to place our finger on the trigger at the same point, it won’t work. This is because each handgun owner has a different interaction with their respective handgun. Pulling the trigger with your index finger would give you a better grip and thus improve accuracy. The remaining three fingers are used for grasping the gun. This enables you to have greater control over your shotgun.
Dry Firing & Trigger Finger Discipline
To get your finger positioned in an appropriate way on the trigger, you must train yourself with dry–firing and trigger finger discipline exercises in a shooting academy. Dry firing exercises include not using live ammunition and aiming in a safe direction. A white sheet of paper is used for dry firing exercises as it allows better concentration. You have to keep moving your finger on the trigger until you find the spot where sights do not move when you pull the trigger. Similarly, trigger finger discipline teaches how to apply the right amount of pressure on the trigger for desired results. Along with finger placement on the trigger, ensure to learn where to place your finger outside of the trigger to minimize the risk of an accidental shooting.
Shooting is best when you are calm and relaxed, both mentally and physically. You cannot be at ease when you have to put all your effort to place your finger on the trigger for absolute accuracy just because it works for someone else. For an effective shot, you first need to establish a good grip. Wherever your finger hits that trigger is the best place for you to put your finger on the trigger. When the gun is comfortably placed in your hand, you are going to have better recoil management and better trigger control. As a beginner in shooting, it’s better to join a popular shooting school to train and familiarize yourself with the basics of your handgun. The theory and practical sessions would aid you in understanding the functions of all the parts of your firearm. The regular structured practice sessions at the range would help you become a competent shooter.