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bushidomosquito
March 13, 2008, 01:08 PM
When I got my first handgun, a Beretta 92fs Inox, I never gave much thought to using it in self defense. I had a ball punching paper and killing beer bottles but I noticed that I always had a better chance of hitting where I aimed if I pulled the trigger almost to it's breaking point right before I lined those 3 dots up on target. Fast forward several years through ownership of a Walther p99, GP100, Buckmark and finally a G23 and I still do the same thing. Every handgun I have ever owned I will pull the trigger until it almost breaks before I even bother to line up the sights. I often wonder why some don't like Glock triggers because they seem to be made for someone who shoots like me.

After reading more and more about defensive shootings I wonder how I would react in that kind of situation given my trigger habit. When do you put your finger on the trigger and when do you pull out the slack when your life is at stake? Is this just something that I can forget about having any control over with the tunnel vision and adrenelin kicking in?

Creature
March 13, 2008, 01:12 PM
Not a good idea. "Perfect practice makes perfect". Especially if you ever do find yourself in a defensive situation where you adrenaline is pumping and your fine motor control has gone all to hell. Remember, as a civilian, you are responsible for every round you fire...intentionally or not.

hogdogs
March 13, 2008, 01:19 PM
I will go finger INSIDE guard once target is aquired in sights or bead for shotgun. I am not the most disciplined shooter by far but agree whole heartedly about adrenaline interfering with typical procedures you are familiar with. As for HD I have only 6 rounds available so I won't risk wasting a round in the wall or ceiling and at the same time giving up my position.
Brent

model70fan
March 13, 2008, 01:25 PM
Defensive situations generally happen close quarters, not all but most, where sight allignment is secondary, still important, but you wont be trying to shoot 1" groups in a situation like that, practice and conditioning come into play more than conscious thought, and bad practice leads to bad conditioning, when in the heat of the moment your muscles react to training, only faster, and pulling the trigger before the firearm is pointed at what you intend to hit leads to hitting things you don't intend to.

Lurper
March 13, 2008, 01:51 PM
Even in a defensive situation, you should not put your finger on the trigger until you have made the decision to fire the shot. The amount of time it takes to put your finger inside the trigger guard and pull the trigger is neglible (hundreths of a second). Conversely, the risk of having the gun discharge when you don't want it to is greatly increased with your finger on the trigger (let alone taking the slack out). There may be a loved one or a bystander who bumps into or otherwise startles you causing you to fire. Also, in the heat of the moment, you may not be aware of the amount of pressure you are applying to the trigger. This is vitally important if you are holding someone at gunpoint. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you make the decision to fire.

Steli
March 13, 2008, 04:01 PM
@ Lurper

I have a question for you: I have watched your videos on youtube. When you demonstrate those different drills (bill drill, mocambique, double tap etc), at what point of your draw stroke do you insert the index finger into the trigger guard and at what time do you start to apply pressure on the trigger?

When doing drills in which I know beforehand that I will fire at least one shot, I have caught myself to insert the finger into the trigger guard as soon as I have the gun pointed toward the target which is pretty much right after the gun clears the holster. And I also do apply pressure onto the trigger while extending my arms.

Now, I was taught to only insert the finger into the trigger guard once the gun is fully extended and the target acquired. But I do believe that the way I do it, I do have a faster first shot, which is crucial when shooting against a timer.

Would you suggest that this is an unsafe practice or is it allright when applied to "competition-like" shooting?

I agree with you that in a SD-situation, I don't put my finger inside the trigger guard unless I'm going to shoot...

thanks for your reply.

Lurper
March 13, 2008, 04:09 PM
Steli
My finger goes on the trigger as soon as the gun is horizontal and the safety is off. I modify my 1911's so they have no pre-travel (take up), if they did however that would be when I started applying pressure.

The difference is this: I have already made up my mind to fire the shot. Since the gun is horizontal, it is pointing downrange. If it were to discharge sooner than I intended it to (which has happened), it is in a safe direction and usually hits the target if it is within 10 yards. I don't think it is as much a "competition" thing as it is a controlled environment thing. At the range, you know what is a safe direction and what your backstop is and beyond.
In a SD situation, if I needed to draw and fire (as opposed to already having my gun in my hand), the process would be the same. The key is not putting your finger on the trigger until you have already decided to fire.

Let me add:
Now, I was taught to only insert the finger into the trigger guard once the gun is fully extended and the target acquired.
There is no reason to wait until the gun is fully extended. In some cases you may not be able to fully extend. You should also practice that. At ranges of about 2m or less, I won't be anywhere near fully extended when I fire. Also, it is useful to practice from what some call the retention position - or as soon as the gun clears the holster. However, your finger probably shouldn't be on the trigger if the target has not been acquired, regardless.

Steli
March 13, 2008, 04:24 PM
I shoot a Glock 17 and a SIG 226. So I guess I'm fine the way I'm doing it. I have noticed that the closer I stand to the target, the sooner my finger goes into the triggerguard and applying pressure. Between about 0-10 yards
When I'm out to 15 - 25 yards, I do it differently. Usually I acquire a good sight picture first and then I start pressing the trigger.

what is your definition of "target acquired"? Because you said that once you have your gun horizontal you would start applying pressure to overcome the pre-travel of your gun (if you were shooting a gun that has pre-travel)

When I start applying pressure on my DA/SA SIG I have not visually acquired the target yet. If a shot did go off unintentionally it, would still travel downrange and in the direction of the target. But I couldn't guarantee a hit. So does that mean I should wait longer before I actually touch the trigger and apply pressure? (I have never had a negligent discharge btw)

bt 223
March 13, 2008, 04:28 PM
I "slack out" as soon as the muzzle is pointed downrange. Lots of dry fire practice, and drawing practice is required to perfect this. In my mind, if there is a question as to whether or not I will shoot, the gun will not even be drawn, with VERY FEW exceptions. FYI I carry a Glock 17, not slacking out before breaking the trigger will seriously hurt accuracy.

alizeefan
March 13, 2008, 04:32 PM
If you have ever seen kelly mccann's defensive shooting series or read andy stanford's book they advocate that the trigger is " prepped " as the gun is punched toward the target and the sear is finally released at or about full extension ( distance permitting of course ). I have been shooting this way for a while now and it has definately increased my accuracy. As Andy say's to those people who say " won't that increase your chances of an ND " he say's yes, especially while you are learning and building up muscle memory but he points out that you are still NOT making contact with the trigger until the decision to fire has been made and until you have SOME sighting referance, either the front sight, top of slide etc and that most misses are not due to poor sight alignment rather poor trigger control. For myself I have noticed HUGE improvement in my accuracy and don't consciously notice that I prep the trigger any more.

Lurper
March 13, 2008, 04:46 PM
" prepped " is the proper term I believe it was coined by J. Michael Plaxco (at least that's who I first heard if from more than 20 years ago).

what is your definition of "target acquired"?
I know where the target is. I can't concieve of a situation in a match where I wouldn't know where the target was, so it's a moot point. In SD situations, the same applies: if I haven't acquired (or identified) the target and decided that I need to shoot, the finger stays off of the trigger.
FWIW, I shoot wheelguns the same way. You can see the hammer coming back while I am extending.

Hawg
March 13, 2008, 06:03 PM
I don't shoot anything da. I like just a tad of slack with no creep and a light crisp trigger break. I put my finger on the trigger as soon as I decide I'm going to shoot.

hogdogs
March 13, 2008, 06:17 PM
For me, to aquire the target is to identify, and decide to engage. I pop off my safety with my thumb and finger the trigger in a single step. dead nuts on accuracy be danged I may not have the perfect aim at this point but it will be at least a COM shot. It all depends on distance to target from muzzle, available light etc...
Brent

chris in va
March 14, 2008, 12:56 AM
I think it's different with DA/SA guns like my Sig. The DA pull is pretty hard. If there is an imminent, obvious threat, my finger will go on the trigger. But considering how much force it takes to pull it back, I wouldn't be worried as much about a ND if something else is introduced to the situation.

Now SA only guns, yes...finger outside.

JohnKSa
March 14, 2008, 01:04 AM
Putting pressure on the trigger before you intend to shoot is a good way to shoot before you intend to shoot... Unless you can tolerate the consequences don't do it.

TexasSeaRay
March 14, 2008, 01:50 AM
We were drilled that when your weapon is pointed/aimed, your finger is in the trigger guard. And in the six-plus years our small unit was intact and active, we didn't have one single accidental/negligent discharge during training, exercises or battle. Not one.

It's called discipline and it's something you train for rather than wish for.

Jeff

Creature
March 14, 2008, 07:50 AM
Finger on the trigger is one thing...finger on the trigger and taking up slack is another. That isnt discipline in my book...that is an accident still waiting to happen.

TexasSeaRay
March 14, 2008, 09:09 AM
Finger on the trigger is one thing...finger on the trigger and taking up slack is another. That isnt discipline in my book...that is an accident still waiting to happen.

Agree.

It's also extremely poor, dangerous technique that is ONLY good in a controlled, relaxed environment such as at a firing range.

Jeff

pax
March 14, 2008, 09:24 AM
Here's why you don't put your finger in the trigger guard or on the trigger until you have made the decision to shoot -- even when you are aimed in at the target:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-yT5NC4cPM

Conversely, you can make the decision to shoot before you ever pull the gun. In such a case, your finger goes to the trigger as your muzzle aligns with the threat.

pax

Boris Bush
March 14, 2008, 10:01 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xrlKH8OM5o

Not funny!! I would not laugh, that day would have ended real fast and I would have taken ALL the ammo that idiot had and weapon if possible!!!

Lurper
March 14, 2008, 11:41 AM
Finger on the trigger is one thing...finger on the trigger and taking up slack is another.
Not really, especiallly if it is on the trigger before you have decided to shoot.

That isnt discipline in my book...
Discipline is not putting your finger on the trigger until you have decided to shoot.

that is an accident still waiting to happen.
It is no more inherently dangerous than putting your finger on the trigger. What is an accident waiting to happen is putting your finger on the trigger before you've decided to fire.
Don't take it out of context and try to make it something that it isn't. If you aren't comfortable using that technique then don't. The key point is when you put your finger on the trigger, not whether you prep it or not.

Creature
March 14, 2008, 01:38 PM
Oh brother. What I said was not out of context because you are missing my point. Finger on the trigger before deciding to shoot is, we all agree, just stupid and breaks more than one of the golden rules of gun safety.

So, my friend, how was I making it into something it isnt?

Lurper
March 14, 2008, 02:11 PM
Finger on the trigger is one thing... finger on the trigger and taking up slack is another.
The direct implication of the sentence the way it is written is that it is somehow worse than having your finger on the trigger. In the context which you stated it, there was no precondition that putting your finger on the trigger was bad. That removes the context of the statement which addresses prepping the trigger (which was; once you have decided to fire the shot, you should prep the trigger).

Creature
March 14, 2008, 02:25 PM
Au contraire. My previous post stated that putting the finger on the trigger at all was a bad idea because one tends to use the technique practiced in the past as the technique used in a real life SD scenario. That was the prefacing context you seem to have missed.

hogdogs
March 14, 2008, 03:30 PM
I reckon trigger action is also a point of interest here. I have in all my life of owning guns owned only one Double Action... All the rest were bolt action, pump action, revolver or pistols in single action trigger... No room to "take up slack" in a sd or even a hunting scenario... Once I have my target in the sights I know the back stop. Only at this point do I feel comfortable "covering" the trigger...
Brent

Steli
March 14, 2008, 04:22 PM
What I have learned from this thread so far is that the decision to put the finger on the trigger and even prepping it is dictated by my prior decision to shoot or not shoot the target. The type of weapen I'm using (SAO, DA/SA etc) also plays a certain part in it. It's also important to feel comfortable with this technique, otherwise one might be better off doing it differently.

On the other hand i believe we all agree that one never puts the finger into the trigger guard when just pointing a gun at a suspect in order to have him comply with one's orders. Same goes for scanning the surroundings after shots have been fired. In these circumstances finger outside the trigger guard is the only correct and safe way in my opinion.

zxcvbob
March 14, 2008, 04:30 PM
My finger goes on the trigger when the gun is on target and I'm committed to shoot, but not necessarily on the bullseye yet. (This is for target shooting. SD might be a little different but I don't think so)

On the other hand i believe we all agree that one never puts the finger into the trigger guard when just pointing a gun at a suspect in order to have him comply with one's orders. Same goes for scanning the surroundings after shots have been fired. In these circumstances finger outside the trigger guard is the only correct and safe way in my opinion.

Does this change a little with a double action revolver? (and not cocked)

Steli
March 14, 2008, 04:41 PM
On the other hand i believe we all agree that one never puts the finger into the trigger guard when just pointing a gun at a suspect in order to have him comply with one's orders. Same goes for scanning the surroundings after shots have been fired. In these circumstances finger outside the trigger guard is the only correct and safe way in my opinion.

Does this change a little with a double action revolver? (and not cocked)


I don't believe a DA revolver changes it. The problem is that with your finger on the trigger it still only takes around 10 pounds to overcome a DA trigger. If you do get startled while having your finger on the trigger, your reflex will most likely kick in and your finger will produce easily 10 pounds of pressure thus leading to an unintentional discharge.
We have watched a video on this subject at the academy and the conclusion was to always keep your finger off the trigger until you have decided to fire.

zxcvbob
March 14, 2008, 05:04 PM
You know that infamous picture of the federal agent pointing an M16 at Elian Gonzales and his uncle (?) hiding in a closet? I can't tell if his finger is on the trigger or not. It looks like it is, but since he is wearing gloves with the fingers cut out, that could be an illusion.

jfrey123
March 14, 2008, 05:29 PM
I've begun training myself in the "slack out" method on my semi autos. I know I'm more accurate when I do, and for me personally it works when shooting in a range environment. It works very well.

I believe if the SHTF and I need to use a carry piece, that if I've trained myself properly in this practice, then my mind will revert to that training when it needs an instant reaction based on instinct.

I think anyone who practices this needs to acknowledge it in their mind, and recognize that it undoubtedly multiplies the risk of a ND, especially for example if should you are 'slack out' and get knocked from your feet. However, I believe that in that same SHTF scenario that there are 999 more variables that could cause you to ND, cause you to miss and hit an unintended target, miss and over penetrate, etc.

I'll point out that this is response is coming from a guy who once had a friend lined up in his G17, 'slack out'. The only thing that stopped me was other training that made me identify my target. :eek:

bushidomosquito
March 14, 2008, 06:53 PM
Let me clarify the circumstances I'm talking about. I don't carry so no dark alley scenarios here. I keep a G-23 loaded in the nightstand simply because it has to live somewhere and why not have it ready, right? Missouri has a castle doctrine so if I find someone in my home I have only to consider their actions before I fire. Now, IF I have to engage a BG in my home there will be that period between when I tell him that he had better lay down where he stands because I'm within my rights to shoot him and him deciding his next move. Now one thing a castle doctrine does is insure that only the most brazen and fearless (or stupid) criminals enter your house at night. I have absoloutly no reason to think this is a man of reason at this point. I think I would want to have the sights lined up on his forehead with all the slack pulled out of that trigger at this point because that's how I hit the mark. If he makes any sudden moves that startle me then tough, that sudden move could have been him going for his own weapon.

My whole train of thought is just where do you draw the line between actions that warrant you pulling a gun on someone and actions that warrant pulling the trigger? I would think in most situations they would be one in the same.

Lurper
March 14, 2008, 08:04 PM
My whole train of thought is just where do you draw the line between actions that warrant you pulling a gun on someone and actions that warrant pulling the trigger? I would think in most situations they would be one in the same.
Not necessarily. You should pull your gun at the first sign of trouble. You shouldn't point the gun at someone until you feel you are in danger. You should not put your finger on the trigger until you have decided to shoot them. You should not prep the trigger until you have placed your finger on the trigger.
Maybe looking at it in that progression will help. You really shouldn't put your finger on the trigger until you've decided "I'm going to shoot this S.O.B.".

JohnKSa
March 14, 2008, 08:15 PM
You should not put your finger on the trigger until you have decided to shoot them.Agreed. My previous post was not worded carefully.

Mas Ayoob
March 14, 2008, 08:37 PM
The easiest way I've found to teach it is:

THE TRIGGER FINGER IS ONLY INSIDE THE GUARD WHEN WE ARE IN THE VERY ACT OF INTENTIONALLY FIRING THE WEAPON.

Didn't mean to shout...

TexasSeaRay
March 14, 2008, 08:42 PM
On the other hand i believe we all agree that one never puts the finger into the trigger guard when just pointing a gun at a suspect in order to have him comply with one's orders. Same goes for scanning the surroundings after shots have been fired. In these circumstances finger outside the trigger guard is the only correct and safe way in my opinion.

Well, don't count me in the "we all agree" crowd.

Actual experience in both situations you describe and that I quoted taught me otherwise. In situations where I/we just finished firing shots, we still had our fingers inside the trigger guards. When covering/taking prisoners (overseas) or covering suspects here in the states, if our guns were pointed and aimed, our fingers were in the trigger guard. After shots had been fired and we were scanning the area looking for more targets (read: enemies), finger in the trigger guard because we assumed we were not through shooting. Assuming otherwise is how you lose members of your team.

Gunfights/gun battles don't just end of their own volition. You end them, and you do so by making it clear that you will continue to shoot until the threat (enemy) either surrenders and lays down their arms, or is incapacitated. They key in communicating that is demonstrating that you are one-hundred percent ready and prepared to continue the battle.

Again, it is a discipline acquired by massive amounts of training, mindset and situational awareness and being "one" with your weapon. Anything less, and yes, you ARE better off keeping your finger off the trigger.

Jeff

JohnKSa
March 14, 2008, 09:02 PM
When covering/taking prisoners (overseas) or covering suspects here in the states, if our guns were pointed and aimed, our fingers were in the trigger guard.The rule is typically stated "Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot."

I believe that in the situation you describe, you were (and should have been) ready to shoot and therefore I don't see a contradiction.

On the other hand, the idea that enough training can always prevent a person who has their finger in the trigger guard from shooting when they don't mean to is not entirely based in reality. The human startle reaction includes sudden involuntary contraction of muscles. That would include the muscles of the forearm which cause the hand to close. I'm not saying that it's impossible to suppress a normal reflex, but I am saying it's more than just a little difficult and it's certainly unwise to bet a human life on one's ability to do so.

Sigma 40 Blaster
March 14, 2008, 09:49 PM
I have no official training but have ready many books about shooting, some competition and some self-defense based.

Most authors have differing opinions about when is the right time to "touch" the trigger and different perspectives about prepping the trigger as well.

The way I see it the threat is relatively close to you draw, present, and are already pointed at the threat.

If you are shooting a stock double action handgun, revolver or pistol I see no harm in prepping the trigger assuming you have made the decision to shoot and have a clear backstop and path to the target. If you draw "properly" you are not sweeping upwards, the gun is already pointed correctly, you're just extending your arms up and out...so you'll shoot lower than you intend to IF you over-prep. I have yet to find a DAO gun that had a friendly trigger that you couldn't learn when it would break.

I would do that with any 1911 I have ever shot or my XD. Revolver or Sigma...sure...if I still had it that is.

bushidomosquito
March 15, 2008, 01:41 AM
Right. I like the Glock trigger for this very reason. There is a definite stop that says, "Any further and we go bang." I wouldn't attempt to shoot a match 1911 or even a DA revolver or DA/SA auto in this manner because most I have owned or fired didn't give that much of a tactile warning before the hammer drops. To me pulling the safe action trigger back to that point is still safer than just lightly resting your finger on any other gun with a hammer back or striker cocked. It's like a 5 pound SA trigger and the only thing someone could do to "startle" me into pulling that trigger from the slack out point is to make a move that would likely get them shot under any circumstances.

So let me put it this way, the threat has been identified as such. The gun is drawn and orders to ease my worried mind have been given. The sights are on COM. The next move he makes could be to pull his own weapon, lunge at me, chuck his stereotypical burgular crowbar at my head or dart down the hallway towards my family. I would think that any sudden moves resulting in an adrenelin kick to my trigger finger and a bullet heading his way would be a good thing. I'll ease it back when he's on the ground.

Erik
March 16, 2008, 03:18 PM
"Finger off the trigger until when?"

I'm with the "until you've decided to shoot" crowd; the decision may come prior to the draw, or some time afterward.

matthew temkin
March 16, 2008, 03:36 PM
I was once stalking a deer with my Mossberg 500 shotgun.
There was snow on the ground and I had a good set of tracks to follow, so I was carrying the gun at high port, safety off, with my finger on the trigger.
Two deer suddenly burst out of a bush at my 9:00 and my shotgun went BANG!!!
Since I was still in high port when this happened, and I was hunting alone no one was injured--not even the deer.
Moral--finger off until ready to engage.