Trigger Control and Why It's So Important
Jan 2, 2017
Trigger Control Is Practically THE Most Important Aspect Of Shooting
One of the most basic, yet most vital actions in shooting is trigger control, and it can easily be neglected. Trigger control sets the stage for everything else and if the trigger isn't being correctly pulled, it throws everything else off.
Improper trigger control is one of the most common mistakes shooters make, and it's responsible for a number of issues. It's vital that a person practice trigger control along with regular shooting practice.
Pulling Shots Despite Sights Being Used Correctly? Trigger Control The Likely Culprit
If you or someone you know has ever complained about their sights being correctly on-target yet still pulls a shot right or left, it's probably due to poor trigger control. It's one of the most common causes of missed or pulled shots and with pretty much any kind of firearm. This is by no means isolated to handguns; this is just as true for clay or wingshooting with a shotgun as well as any shooting (target or hunting) done with a rifle.
A shooter that isn't properly controlling the trigger will, ever so slightly, "jerk" the gun just as the trigger breaks. Since most people are right-handed, it usually pulls the pistol, shotgun or rifle just to the right, though not always.
Usually a shooter that does this doesn't necessarily realize it's happening, since the sights were on-target as far as they were aware.
It's The Reason Some People Can't Shoot Double-Action
Ever hear someone complain that they just can't shoot a double action pistol accurately? Or that the first shot of a double-action pistol is less accurate than the single-action followup in double/single action autos? Poor trigger control is the reason.
The double-action trigger is not mysterious. It neither requires a rocket scientist nor Arnold Schwarzenegger to pull the trigger successfully. The requisite pressure is easily created by all but the smallest or most arthritic of fingers.
What doesn't necessarily occur to most people is that what the double action trigger DOES require is long, steady pressure to break. What hangs people up is the lack of follow-through.
It's like making a tackle in football. You don't just hit the person carrying the ball; you drive through the ball carrier. This, plus hitting below their center of gravity and wrapping up properly, get the ball carrier off their feet and stops the play. Alternately, a boxer doesn't try to merely punch someone's nose; they're trying to punch through the target.
A person with poor trigger control doesn't follow through, as they expect discharge with minimum effort. When you pull the trigger, it should be smooth, steady and with sufficient follow-through regardless of whether you're firing a concealed carry .45, a .22LR rifle, a 9mm Glock or - if you feel lucky - a Smith and Wesson Model 29.
Trigger Control Training Is Essential...And Unbelievably Easy
But, you say, I don't have the time or money to pay for expert trigger control training! How is the busy working person supposed to do all this training? The best trigger control practice can be done without having to fire a shot, and doesn't require getting a trainer. In fact, it's basically free.
Trigger control is best learned through dry fire drills. They're simple, they're easy, they're free (or at least cheap - snap caps don't go for too much) and furthermore, it's how the professionals teach trigger control.
Start with the most basic - the wall drill. Make sure your gun is completely empty of ammunition, and aim at a fixed point on a wall, like a piece of texture. Focus on the front sight and pull the trigger. Did the sight move? Then you're doing it wrong. Practice slow, smooth pulls until the front sight doesn't move.
Once you've improved your trigger control, your shots at the range should tighten up a bit. Even in double-action.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.