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When to touch the trigger

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chopper
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When to touch the trigger Empty When to touch the trigger

Post by SaraiEsq 8/23/2023, 12:19 pm

Ah, yes, it is time for another basic question from Sarah!  :-)


Starting with this gun safety rule:

          ALWAYS Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
          When holding a gun, rest your finger alongside the frame and outside the trigger guard. 
          Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

And adding this version (which is what I was told):

         Do not put your finger on the trigger until the target is in your sights.


WHEN does one put one's finger on the trigger when shooting precision pistol?

My process is to grip my pistol, index finger outside the trigger guard along the body, and raise the pistol.  Check natural point of aim.  Make sure the sights are aligned and generally (lol) pointing in the direction of the target.  Slide index finger down to trigger, adjusting it as needed.  Pull trigger straight back and hope for the best for the requisite number of shots.  Remove finger from trigger, lower pistol, drop the mag, insert ECI, reload, etc.


I ask this because, at a local match, I noticed a newer shooter had his finger on the trigger from the LOAD command on.  This included while he was checking shots through the scope during Slow Fire, with his pistol casually in his hand.  It made me rather uncomfortable.  Then I noticed a more accomplished shooter also had his finger on the trigger (or at least inside the trigger guard) when he raised his pistol.  I had seen the same kind of thing from shooters at Nationals during the team matches and thought it weird.  

So, I asked two of the Expert/Master level shooters after the local match "when do you put your finger on the trigger?" One looked at me blankly, replayed his process in his mind a few times, and wasn't entirely sure but thought it was after he raised his arm.  The other said it was part of his grip process (I think),  He very gently rests his finger against the trigger and does not remove it from within the trigger guard until he is done shooting.  He did admit that when he shoots other disciplines, he is sometimes called out on that.  

Thus, the question: When do y'all put your finger on the trigger?  And why then?
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Post by Jon Eulette 8/23/2023, 12:33 pm

99.9% of all HM shooters will put finger on the trigger when pistol is on the bench. It will remain there until sustained string is fired or reload during SF. Yeah its that important.
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Post by javaduke 8/23/2023, 12:49 pm

I always put my finger on the trigger and find the "sweet spot" right after the Load command - and I never let go of the trigger completely until the Unload command (or rather until after the shot #10 of the current target).
When I shoot AP, the finger stays on the trigger all the time, starting from the first sighter and until 60 record shots are fired.

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Post by DA/SA 8/23/2023, 12:56 pm

It depends... Some ranges allow it, some don't.

I've been called out for having my finger inside the trigger guard with the pistol benched, during the commands, at a match.
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Post by Steve B 8/23/2023, 3:10 pm

From the time I grip the pistol my finger is on the trigger, that's part of how I know the gun is positioned correctly in my hand.  I think everyone else should leave their fingers off though... Smile

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Post by bruce martindale 8/23/2023, 3:43 pm

It's part of my grip process. This can occur before the command to load.

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Post by targetbarb 8/23/2023, 4:15 pm

Personally I place my trigger finger just before starting the lift although like Bruce M. mentioned it's part of my grip process to "check" if my grip is correct and then comes off.  During SF trigger finger goes back on as I'm about to begin the lift, but while the pistol is stable on my bench block.  During sustained fire it goes on with "Ready on the Left", again just before the lift.  I too have seen BE shooters who seem to always have their trigger finger in place which is somewhat disconcerting/inconsistent with the other shooting I do such as instructing newbies on basic pistol, or general RSO duty at our local range.  When I'm at the range practicing non-bullseye shooting, trigger finger stays off until ready to shoot.

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Post by Wobbley 8/23/2023, 6:07 pm

I got yelled at at one range for having my finger in the trigger guard of my 41 by a “Range Safety Officer”.  This was while practicing at 25 yards.  I said for him to wait and I retrieved the target on the overhead rail.  I asked him if he could shoot the same as I had.  He said no. So I suggested that when he could then he could perhaps comment on my trigger control.
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Post by Steve B 8/25/2023, 10:03 am

Wobbley wrote:I got yelled at at one range for having my finger in the trigger guard of my 41 by a “Range Safety Officer”.  This was while practicing at 25 yards.  I said for him to wait and I retrieved the target on the overhead rail.  I asked him if he could shoot the same as I had.  He said no. So I suggested that when he could then he could perhaps comment on my trigger control.
Love that response!

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Post by jwax 8/25/2023, 10:56 am

As others have said, it is a vital part of the shot process to position the finger on the trigger before the gun is raised.
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Post by james r chapman 8/25/2023, 5:04 pm

Some firearms are cumbersome to get your finger into the guard when mounted or gripped.
I have to rest on the trigger while gripping before loading.
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Post by DA/SA 8/25/2023, 5:31 pm

That's my issue. It's doable, but a bit awkward to get my finger in there once I have my grip. It all needs to happen at the same time when on the bench.

When to touch the trigger QFtTqe3l

Trying to thumb the hammer on a revolver to shoot SA isn't pretty either.
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Post by sfcrobertson 8/25/2023, 9:04 pm

Bullseye is unique in that you firing movements are straight up and down range only and no lateral movements. It is inherently safe, that changes when one starts move around with the weapon. IMHO 

I too keep my finger inside the trigger well during the shooting process on the long line, but on sustained fire not until I bring the weapon up. That being said I would recommend removing your finger from the trigger while glassing, least frustration get the best of you while looking at the 5 or even worst a miss on the long line.

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Post by SaraiEsq 8/26/2023, 12:17 am

sfcrobertson wrote: That being said I would recommend removing your finger from the trigger while glassing, lest frustration get the best of you while looking at the 5 or even worse a miss on the long line.

I'll be honest-- it was the way the new shooter was holding the pistol after he was done shooting and was checking his shots that gave me the willies.  It just felt wrong.
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Post by chopper 8/26/2023, 10:15 am

This is part of my process, I need to know before shooting that my sights are aligned in my sight picture with dry fire shots. Also in sustained stages as soon as the line is hot or not safe and to confirm my grip, stance, position as I do in slow fire, I take a dry fire shot. Between the two strings I usually keep the trigger pulled back, and after the command to load I drop the slide, at that time I reset the trigger and am ready for the 2nd string. 
 Maybe that's not what I should do but it helps me out if I haven't been shooting matches regularly.
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Post by Jon Eulette 8/26/2023, 11:09 am

Food for thought…..
When shooting these events/strings of fire where is the trigger finger?
International Rapid Fire?
International Center Fire Duel Stage?
International Standard Pistol Timed and Rapid Fire?
CMP EIC .22 Distinguished Pistol?

All of these events start with arm at 45 degree angle. Pistols are pointed down range. The best shooters are placing their fingers on the trigger the entire time they are in the ready position. They are also applying trigger pressure during the lift.

In precision pistol events pistols are handled both dry and live continually pointing the pistol down range. There is even a provision in the rules for accidental discharges. I know a 2670 shooter who AD’d recently shooting 2650. It happens and it’s expected. Early  shots are fired before targets turn/face. It’s part of the game. 

Trigger finger position really is important. If you’re uncomfortable putting your finger on the trigger until the last second, then shoot like that. But realize that your best shooters are living with their fingers on the trigger and operating the pistols in a safe manner. 
Knock on wood I’ve never shot an AD, but have shot many early shots over the years before the target faced. 
Those who dare win!
Jon
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Post by SaraiEsq 8/26/2023, 8:27 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:
Trigger finger position really is important. If you’re uncomfortable putting your finger on the trigger until the last second, then shoot like that. But realize that your best shooters are living with their fingers on the trigger and operating the pistols in a safe manner. 
Knock on wood I’ve never shot an AD, but have shot many early shots over the years before the target faced. 
Those who dare win!
Jon

I was going to try this last night (Friday) at the range but didn't make it.  I did experiment a little during today's 2700 but found it really uncomfortable, especially mentally.  So I returned to my regular routine.  I noticed, however, that many other shooters did lift with a finger on the trigger.
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Post by Wobbley 8/26/2023, 8:32 pm

I think a lot of this “keep your finger off the trigger” mantra comes from the prevalence of these “dingus” safety levers on so many guns these days.  If you’re not touching it it’s on safe…I do know there were some ADs in the early days of Glock pistols even from “trained” 
LEO.  One officer drew her weapon in front of a grade school class and had an AD.  Oops!
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Post by Jon Eulette 8/26/2023, 8:43 pm

SaraiEsq wrote:
Jon Eulette wrote:
Trigger finger position really is important. If you’re uncomfortable putting your finger on the trigger until the last second, then shoot like that. But realize that your best shooters are living with their fingers on the trigger and operating the pistols in a safe manner. 
Knock on wood I’ve never shot an AD, but have shot many early shots over the years before the target faced. 
Those who dare win!
Jon

I was going to try this last night (Friday) at the range but didn't make it.  I did experiment a little during today's 2700 but found it really uncomfortable, especially mentally.  So I returned to my regular routine.  I noticed, however, that many other shooters did lift with a finger on the trigger.
Learn/train before a match. Match isn’t the time to try something new. Work on it and it becomes second nature.
Jon
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Post by TobagoMike 9/4/2023, 3:58 pm

I know of clubs that have to get special permission from the clubs governing board to allow Precision Shooting matches. Most if not all top shooters place their finger on the trigger before raising the gun to the target. This puts them in violation of the club’s safety rules.

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Post by bdas 9/5/2023, 10:58 am

As someone who thinks the gun safety rules matter (all of the time, regardless of the type of match or course of fire), and who teaches new and junior shooters proper gun handling, and who thinks putting a bullet hole in the bench, floor, or ceiling, or shooting over the berm *is* a negligent discharge, I keep my finger off the trigger until the gun is pointed such that the bullet would hit the backstop/berm.  Which means that I move my finger from the side of the gun, into the trigger guard and onto the trigger as I'm raising my arm.  By the time I'm "aiming", I'm putting pressure on the trigger.

As someone with long fingers, I do need to be careful about choosing exactly where I place my finger on the face of the trigger.  I have occasionally needed to adjust / re-place my finger onto the trigger at the last second, but it's not a serious problem.  It's something you can practice in dry fire (since that's where you figure out where to place your finger on the trigger in the first place). 

I understand what Jon's saying, that even when resting the gun on the bench, it's not pointed such that someone is going to get hit by the bullet if it goes off.  But that doesn't mean that it's a good habit to get into.

Dave

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Post by dlevasse 9/5/2023, 4:42 pm

I was shooting with a young couple last year, I noticed the lady half would raise the gun align the sights then she would give the trigger a swat with her trigger finger, only toughing the trigger for a fraction of a second. Her finger was out side of the trigger guard except for the swat. This was not a bullseye match.
 I put my finger on the trigger on the way up and take it off on the way down.

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Post by tovaert 9/6/2023, 8:55 am

This is a good discussion. I'm working on getting a consistent and correct (for me) grip each shot, so if I'm not perfect on my trigger pull the sights still stay (or mostly stay) in alignment throughout shot execution. It's eye-opening how small grip changes can affect a shot at 50 yds. I'm trying to minimize the need to consciously or subconsciously "correct" sight alignment when adding pressure to the trigger, and also not cause misalignment after the hammer impacts the firing pin retainer (easier said than done). I've been working this summer on this by adjusting grip panel thickness, plexiglass spacer(s), different trigger lengths, custom trigger shoe, and together with settling on a comfortable hand/grip pressure (I have Dupuytren's nodules in the palm of my shooting hand), have had some success, which for me is holding the aiming black at 50 yds for 10 shots in a row, and being able to call most shots. I guess in reality I'm trying to synch my pistol with the "biomechanics" of my shooting hand. But to get that grip I have to "set" the gun into my hand and place my finger on the trigger, which then initiates the rest of the grip itself. I don't feel it's unsafe (plus it's a 4# trigger), as long as the pistol is pointed downrange throughout the process. Is this a reasonable approach?

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Post by targetbarb 9/18/2023, 9:17 pm

tovaert wrote:This is a good discussion. I'm working on getting a consistent and correct (for me) grip each shot, so if I'm not perfect on my trigger pull the sights still stay (or mostly stay) in alignment throughout shot execution. It's eye-opening how small grip changes can affect a shot at 50 yds. I'm trying to minimize the need to consciously or subconsciously "correct" sight alignment when adding pressure to the trigger, and also not cause misalignment after the hammer impacts the firing pin retainer (easier said than done). I've been working this summer on this by adjusting grip panel thickness, plexiglass spacer(s), different trigger lengths, custom trigger shoe, and together with settling on a comfortable hand/grip pressure (I have Dupuytren's nodules in the palm of my shooting hand), have had some success, which for me is holding the aiming black at 50 yds for 10 shots in a row, and being able to call most shots. I guess in reality I'm trying to synch my pistol with the "biomechanics" of my shooting hand. But to get that grip I have to "set" the gun into my hand and place my finger on the trigger, which then initiates the rest of the grip itself. I don't feel it's unsafe (plus it's a 4# trigger), as long as the pistol is pointed downrange throughout the process. Is this a reasonable approach?
Like you, I have a significant callous on the palm of my shooting hand - mid-palm across the third metacarpal tendon and extending towards the forth.  (Hopefully you don't have Dupuytren's nodules as it's a serious connective tissue disorder.) 
Your grip process sounds OK to me, as long as the gun is always pointing down range, depending on trigger pressure there's always the option of using the safety.  My trigger finger goes into place at the end of the grip process to check if grip is correct.  I have reasonably long fingers, but still just reach the left edge of the trigger on my 45 with the crease in my trigger (left) finger when grip is correct and solid.

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Post by tovaert 9/27/2023, 10:04 pm

targetbarb wrote:Hopefully you don't have Dupuytren's nodules as it's a serious connective tissue disorder.
Your grip process sounds OK to me, as long as the gun is always pointing down range, depending on trigger pressure there's always the option of using the safety.  My trigger finger goes into place at the end of the grip process to check if grip is correct.  I have reasonably long fingers, but still just reach the left edge of the trigger on my 45 with the crease in my trigger (left) finger when grip is correct and solid.
I do have the nodules in the palm of my shooting hand. Surgery (and recovery) is in my future at some point. I've already had the same surgery in my left hand. It leaves side effects.

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