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Trigger Control Tips

By Chris Nelson

Dry firing is crucial for mastering trigger control. Contrary to popular belief, trigger control isn't about a very slow squeeze to the rear. Instead, it means applying a smooth and consistent pressure to the rear until the break point is achieved. After reaching this break point, allow the trigger to return to its staging position, ensuring the firing finger stays in contact with the trigger. To prevent firearm damage, always use a snap cap when dry firing.

Trigger control is the most vital aspect of firearm manipulation because of its intricacy and its significant impact on accuracy. Abruptly jerking or hastily slapping the trigger can shift the sights at the most pivotal moment of the firing cycle, leading to inaccuracies. Many issues faced by shooters stem from improper trigger control, not poor aiming.

Primary Elements of Trigger Control

  1. Smooth Trigger Pull: It's about applying steady and consistent rearward pressure on the firearm trigger without any interruptions.
  2. Trigger Control Finger Placement: The first pad of the trigger finger should be centered on the trigger, ensuring an optimal sight picture and preventing any side pressure on the firearm until the shot is completed.
  3. Trigger Break-Point: After mastering a smooth trigger pull, familiarize yourself with the trigger's break point. Recognizing this point will help you align your shots with the precise moment the weapon is presented and the decision to fire is made. Additionally, this awareness can assist in halting a shot if a target suddenly changes.
  4. Trigger Reset Point: This point is where the sear is re-engaged post firing. By holding the trigger to the rear and cycling the weapon, you can both feel and hear the reset. Slowly release the trigger until you detect a distinct click, indicating the weapon is primed for the next shot. There might be some initial slack in the trigger that can be adjusted before the break point. This adjustment is part of the follow-through, another essential element in firearm manipulation.

Training for Trigger Reset Point

  1. With a safely cleared weapon in your firing hand, hold the trigger to the rear.
  2. Using your other hand, manipulate the slide to re-cock the weapon.
  3. Gradually release the trigger until you feel the trigger/sear reset.
  4. Once you feel the reset, adjust any slack up to the break point.
  5. This exercise can also be practiced with a partner. While holding the weapon in a combat shooting stance, let your partner manage the slide or charging handle. Execute the steps as mentioned, focusing on both maintaining and reacquiring your sight picture.