Saturday, September 19, 2015

Squeeze The Trigger


Proper Trigger Squeeze Is Important
Proper Trigger Squeeze Is Important
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When shooting handguns, the proper placement position of your finger on the trigger is on the pad of your finger approximately half way between the tip of your finger and the first joint. But according to the range master, it is not a fast and hard rule. What is more important is that when grasping a handgun you have a space or gap between the base of your trigger finger and the gun. If you have this gap when you fire the gun you will have better accuracy because you are pulling the trigger straight backwards and are not exerting any sideways motion on the gun during the trigger pulling motion. 

Visible gap between finger
and Glock 26 pistol
Close-up of finger placement
gap on Glock 26
Correct finger pad placement
on trigger of Glock 26


It's one of the fundamentals of good shooting and is the ability to pull the trigger straight back without any sideward motion which would move the gun off target or disturb the sight picture. Improper squeeze is one of the main reasons shooters miss their targets. Improper squeeze is usually caused by jerking, flinching or improper positioning of the finger on the trigger.

  1. Your hand must be properly positioned as high up as possible on the grip.
  2. Your trigger finger should have a small gap between it and the side of the handgun to allow for a straight pull back of the trigger.
  3. The front of the trigger should contact the mid-pad of the first joint of your trigger finger.
  4. Squeeze with steady increasing pressure. When you begin to squeeze it you will have a certain amount of slack. You will then hit the break point of the trigger and the gun will discharge. If you have a good squeeze you will not know exactly when the gun fires and you will not tend to flinch or jerk the weapon. The firing of the gun should surprise you each time you pull the trigger.


  1. Practice by dry firing your gun.
  2. Practice at the range with a low recoil .22 caliber handgun. The low recoil and reduced noise will help cure flinching.
  3. Only move your trigger finger during the squeeze. If your other fingers move you may be applying sideward pressure to the gun which will disturb the sight alignment.
  4. Concentrate on your squeeze with every shot. By paying attention and with repetition your trigger squeeze will improve. 
  5. Minimize flinching by wearing better hearing protection. The less noise you hear when it goes bang, the less you will flinch.
  6. Practice with a revolver at the range. Load some chambers some with normal loads and some empty chambers. Spin the cylinder so you don't know when you pull the trigger if you will fire a live round or an empty chamber. If you flinch it will be apparent.
  7. Shoot slower and concentrate on trigger pull.
  8. Some people repeat a word or phrase in their mind as the squeeze the trigger to take their concentration off of the expected flinching. 
Note - It is hard to "unlearn" bad trigger pull techniques and overcome flinching. It may take several hundred or thousands of rounds to overcome bad habits. Be patient.


You can check this for yourself by dry firing at home. With a verified empty gun (of course) practice dry firing by aiming at a small object or spot on the wall that is easily visible. Look for the trigger finger gap, then while aiming, pull the trigger. The front sight of the gun should not move off the targeted object as you hear the click. If it does move off target then you are doing something wrong and need to investigate your technique some more.


The amount of travel a trigger moves before discharge.


The point of travel of the trigger at which point the firing pin is release and the gun is fired.


A quick pulling of the trigger which induces slight sideward motion and throws you shot off.


The unwanted motion of your body when you anticipate recoil and the loud bang. Anticipated recoil is difficult to overcome. When you anticipate recoil you tend to push forward (or down) the muzzle of the gun which usually results in low shots on the target. How to stop flinching.


Keep your trigger finger gap in mind when purchasing a new hand gun. At the gun store grasp the gun as if you were going to shoot it, then look at the placement of your finger. If you don't see the gap between the gun and your finger as shown in the picture, then the gun or the handle grips is too large for your hand.  Try swapping grips or look for a different (but smaller gun) to fit your hand.

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