ALL ABOUT THE TRIG­GER

LEARN TO MAN­AGE THE TRIG­GER THE SAME WAY FOR EACH SHOT. GOOD TRIG­GER MAN­AGE­MENT MAKES FOR GOOD GROUPS.

Gun World - - Train -

Talk­ing about trig­ger man­age­ment can be like bring­ing up pol­i­tics or re­li­gion in con­ver­sa­tion. Shoot­ers get whipped into an ugly froth over the topic. Trig­ger fin­ger place­ment and meth­ods for run­ning the trig­ger are cat­a­lysts for chaos. There is much to say on the topic. Trig­gers are as dif­fer­ent as their guns—re­volvers, strik­er­fired, sin­gle-ac­tion, dou­ble-ac­tion, bolt-ac­tion and semi­auto ri­fles. Trig­ger fin­ger place­ment and trig­ger man­age­ment are dif­fer­ent for all of them. Chang­ing what you do with each can make the dif­fer­ence in your suc­cess with them.

When re­fer­ring to any­thing trig­ger re­lated, “trig­ger man­age­ment” is the pre­ferred term, as op­posed to “trig­ger re­set.” Why fo­cus on re­set when it’s trig­ger press that most af­fects end re­sults? Trig­ger man­age­ment can be de­fined as “press­ing the trig­ger with­out dis­turb­ing sight align­ment or sight pic­ture un­til the gun fires.” It doesn’t mat­ter how slowly or how fast we do it.

TRIG­GER RE­SET

Be­cause of the ac­tual click you hear and feel when you let the trig­ger out af­ter fir­ing, some are fas­ci­nated with trig­ger re­set. They talk about “tac­tile” and “au­di­ble” re­set as if they were key com­po­nents of ac­cu­racy. The au­di­ble click of re­set and the trig­ger’s move­ment af­ter re­set are dif­fer­ent on ev­ery gun. But for some, it’s all about that click.

Surely, a good trig­ger makes even sub­par firearms more shootable. Most “out-of-the-box” de­fen­sive pis­tols come with a two-stage trig­ger. “Two stage” means that there is pre­travel—or slack—be­fore you meet the ac­tual pres­sure wall. The sec­ond stage—or pres­sure wall—is where you be­gin to ac­tu­ally press the trig­ger to fire the gun. Some guns have very lit­tle first stage, and some have a lot. Sin­gle stage or two stage, we press from the pres­sure wall.

STRIKER-FIRED GUNS AND GOD’S GIFT TO PIS­TOL CRAFT

Shoot­ers who un­der­stand the value of hav­ing the same trig­ger press ev­ery time they fire know the value of mod­ern-day striker-fired pis­tols. Be­fore striker-fired pis­tols be­came pro­lific, the 1911 was the gun fa­vored by many for its sim­ple and clean trig­ger. With very lit­tle pre-travel, an ad­justable trig­ger weight and lit­tle to no over-travel, the 1911 was—and still is—the choice of marks­men. Com­pared to the dou­ble-/sin­gle-ac­tion guns of the 1980s (think S&W Model 5906 or Beretta 92), it was much eas­ier to ob­tain con­sis­tent ac­cu­racy with the 1911.

Then, Glock came to the market with a light weight, no man­ual safeties, high ca­pac­ity and a trig­ger pull that was the same ev­ery sin­gle time. Fi­nally—there was a de­fen­sive pis­tol that re­quired less train­ing in the way of trig­ger ma­nip­u­la­tion and was al­most as sim­ple as the orig­i­nal “point and click” tech­nol­ogy: re­volvers.

The Glock has the same trig­ger press ev­ery time, but, from first shot to con­sec­u­tive shots, train­ers of­ten teach to man­age the trig­ger as if each trig­ger pull were dif­fer­ent. Press the trig­ger, the gun fires, pin the trig­ger to the rear, let the gun set­tle back to the tar­get, slowly let the trig­ger out un­til you hear the click, and you’re ready to fire again. Why waste the time?

If you have a re­volver and slowly let its trig­ger out un­til you hear the click and then try to press it again, it locks up! Many in­struc­tors are teach­ing trig­ger man­age­ment based on just one gun, and shoot­ers are ap­ply­ing that trig­ger man­age­ment to all guns. It’s not good.

I don’t un­der­stand why any­one is teach­ing shoot­ers to feel for the click. Maybe it was be­cause your daddy said, “Never let your trig­ger fin­ger leave the face of the trig­ger.” Or maybe it is a way of show­ing stu­dents how to find the sec­ond stage (pres­sure wall). This is cer­tainly a painfully slow way to show shoot­ers how far they need to come off the trig­ger be­fore the gun can fire again. One thing I am sure of: The process soon turns into click—bang! and ac­cu­racy suf­fers.

RE­MEM­BER: YOU DON’T SHOOT A GROUP. A GROUP HAP­PENS BY DO­ING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN— THE SAME SIGHT ALIGN­MENT, SIGHT PIC­TURE AND TRIG­GER PRESS.

KEEP­ING IT SIM­PLE

On pre­sen­ta­tion of the pis­tol, the trig­ger fin­ger meets the trig­ger face, comes through the slack/pre-travel and feels the pres­sure wall be­fore be­gin­ning the trig­ger press. No mat­ter how fast or slowly you press the trig­ger, it must be done from the pres­sure wall to ob­tain a press and not a trig­ger jerk.

The op­po­site side of the re­set is the pres­sure wall. So, for sub­se­quent shots, don’t waste time let­ting the trig­ger out to the re­set. Re­set dur­ing re­coil and be at the pres­sure wall when the gun set­tles—your time is bet­ter spent press­ing the trig­ger. Guns have dif­fer­ent trig­gers, dif­fer­ent re­set points and dif­fer­ent amounts of pre-travel af­ter re­set. I un­der­stand keep­ing your trig­ger fin­ger close to the trig­ger face, but why the need to feel the click?

De­fen­sive or com­pet­i­tive use of guns in ac­tion sports doesn’t of­fer gen­er­ous amounts of time. Heck, there is barely enough time to press off a good shot from the pres­sure wall.

What I find when train­ing peo­ple who’ve learned to feel for the click when fir­ing mul­ti­ple shots is that the first shot is their best, be­cause they are fir­ing from the pres­sure wall and they are putting sights, sight pic­ture and trig­ger man­age­ment to­gether all at once. The next shot or shots are trig­ger jerks, gen­er­ally low and left for right-han­ders. They wait for the gun to set­tle, align the sights, feel the click—and bang!—slap the trig­ger be­cause they feel rushed to shoot fast.

The so­lu­tion is to learn to man­age the trig­ger the same way for each shot. Good trig­ger man­age­ment makes for good groups. Re­mem­ber: You don’t shoot a group. A group hap­pens by do­ing the same thing over and over again—the same sight align­ment, sight pic­ture and trig­ger press. Move fast where you can. Slow down where you need to. Move to the pres­sure wall upon pre­sen­ta­tion of the pis­tol; and, as the sights set­tle and the sight pic­ture hap­pens, be ap­ply­ing pres­sure to the trig­ger un­til the gun fires. When the gun re­coils, quickly re­set. As sight align­ment and sight pic­ture come back to­gether, be back on the pres­sure wall, ap­ply­ing pres­sure to be ready to fire ac­cu­rately again.

Don’t waste time do­ing things that don’t in­crease ac­cu­racy. Spend time press­ing the trig­ger.

The speed with which I com­plete the fir­ing process has ev­ery­thing to do with the size of, and the dis­tance to, the tar­get.

Take these tech­niques to the range next time. I’m sure you’ll find that this econ­omy of mo­tion im­proves both your speed and ac­cu­racy.

More about trig­ger man­age­ment in fu­ture col­umns. GW

DON’T WASTE TIME DO­ING THINGS THAT DON’T IN­CREASE AC­CU­RACY. SPEND TIME PRESS­ING THE TRIG­GER.

A re­volver in dou­ble ac­tionre­quires very dif­fer­ent trig­ger fin­ger place­ment and sub­stan­tially more strength.

Groups on tar­gets tell an in­struc­tor what needs work. Usu­ally, it’s trig­ger man­age­ment.

The 1911 is the clos­est thing to a true but­ton. The move­ment is straight and to the rear, ex­actly as a trig­ger press should be. Just do it with­out dis­turb­ing your sight pic­ture.(Photo: Robb Man­ning)

Timed fire drills are a sure way to bring out trig­ger man­age­ment is­sues. The tar­gets tell the story.

A striker-fired gun might be eas­ier to fire than a re­volver, but it’s still a lever. It takes pres­sure—just not as much. (Photo:Robb Man­ning)

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