It doesn’t matter how many times you explain trigger management to a student. They listen to you when they are ready to hear your message.
The Trigger Trinity
When I’m explaining proper trigger management I break it down into three parts; trigger finger placement, trigger finger location and trigger movement. Each of these can be further subdivided, but for our purposes I’m going to be talking about trigger movement. The first two parts are important and I have talked about them in detail in previous articles (Get Your Reset On). Granted, without proper trigger placement and location the movement of the trigger is not off to a good start. Assuming all things are properly performed on the first two parts it boils down to how well you can move the trigger without disturbing the sights.
When it comes down to the trigger’s movement I break it down into three stages (more three’s). The first stage is the slop, all the free travel before you meet resistance from the sear. The second stage is the slack; which is quite literally applying pressure up to the sear wall. Lastly, is the squeeze; which occurs when you press past the sear wall. Most of the time, the student is not able to feel all three of these stages individually. Instead, they think and move the trigger as one action. A big reason is they are moving the trigger too fast. There is this idea they need to break the shot “now” or pull the trigger fast to shoot fast. This impulse is both physiologically and phycological based. On the one hand, the body is reacting to the gun discharging or the anticipation of the gun discharging. The other is the mind telling the trigger finger to break the shot before the body may be ready to break the shot.
Doing It Right
While there are tons of theories on moving the trigger, here is what we know. Your gun and by proxy your sights have to stay on target during the movement of the trigger or the firing sequence in general. If the guns moves, the sights move and you produce a miss. Now, if you are moving the trigger with excessive force or applying force that moves the gun prior to the shot breaking you are going to miss. A good way to approach this is by understanding the importance of grip, mount and stance. These factors help keep the gun on target with minimal movement. That allows you to apply more attention to detail as you work the trigger. If you cannot control these steps at slow speed, you will not control them at full speed.
Surgical vs. Speed
At a certain point folks complain, they complain you are not going to be able to do that in a gunfight. Well, the reality is if you don’t learn proper technique it really won’t matter. Plus, that is a lame excuse to get out of doing the work. Instead, you need to understand there is surgical shooting and speed shooting. Very few can combine the two. In the case of surgical shooting, you will need to apply the fundamentals described to a high level of precision. Most of the time, this will either be a shot at distance or a shot versus a smaller target. Then there is speed shooting where the fundamentals have less negative consequences if not performed to a high level of precision. This is due to the size of the target being larger or the distance to target being closer. Each of these types of shooting will still require the shooter to know how to move the trigger accordingly and when one is more appropriate than the other.
You are not going to get out of learning surgical or speed shooting techniques if you want to be adaptable and resilient in a gunfight. You will have to do the work and master both.