View Full Version : Trigger Reset

August 5, 2008, 10:10 AM
I haven't seen this discussed, I have done a search on trigger reset and it didn't come up with much. So my thought is to get better with one gun, with the majority of my practice and see if this will improve my over all ability. So I tried all my pistol's triggers reset for comparison, as a major parameter on what pistol to try this "one pistol training". I was surprised at what I found. I don't want to turn this into a brand war, so I will not mention the brands, but all of my pistols are what I consider mid-range price wise (600 to 900). They are all have completely different trigger resets. Some are very quick and some are at the very end of the travel. One actually has a false reset, it clicks but its not the right spot the right spot is a little further and has another click.
So I guess my questions are. (1) How much does the trigger reset mean to you? or is the importance overrated ?(2) Do you actually practice to feel that reset at the range? If so what is your mind set? (3) Is there something to be done about the pistols with resets I can't stand?(yes i have bought pistols before learning the importance of trigger reset) I know that this will vary from brand to brand by in general what can be done? If new trigger will solve it please elaborate(brand, lbs pull, takeup, anything that will help me understand the process.
Gentlemen, thank you, I appreciate your input, but Trolls stay home on this please.

August 5, 2008, 12:27 PM
One actually has a false reset, it clicks but its not the right spot the right spot is a little further and has another click. *cough* *cough* pf9*cough* p3at*cough* :)

If you practice enough with each handgun, you can subconsciously differentiate between them.
I know my p3at clicks twice, so it's not a big deal for me.
I will probably get some naysayers, but I don't try to find the reset on any of my handguns.
I let the trigger all the way out every time.
It's just how I was taught.

August 5, 2008, 07:25 PM
For years I taught trigger reset drills to other LEO's, thinking this was a useful technique. Several years ago, however the FBI did some real, bona fide scientific research on trigger pull with their problem shooters using a computer based graphic interface which graphed the trigger motion. The idea was to show the shooters how to pull the trigger with a feedback mechanism - it worked pretty well. To determine a baseline of how the trigger should be pulled, they got some of the competition biggies, I know Rob Leatham was one, to shoot on the machine. One of the things they found out was that even the experts return to full extension of the trigger finger during rapid fire. No one used the reset.

Not that you might not want to do it for pure target work, but it is a waste of time for defensive shooting. Kind of embarrassing for those of us who taught that drill for years.:(

James K
August 5, 2008, 07:38 PM
I can trigger an S&W revolver dozens of time without ever cocking the hammer, just turning the cylinder. That is a trick, of course, but anyone who can do it has superb trigger control.

But normally, you want full reset and it should be positive and firm. Loss of that reset is an often overlooked problem with amateur "trigger jobs". failure to reset can allow hammer follow down or even in rare cases, full auto fire.

Like other areas of trigger control, a lot depends on what you use the gun for. A range queen with slow or unreliable reset may not matter much; such an SD gun could get you killed.


August 5, 2008, 08:04 PM
I know Rob Leatham was one, to shoot on the machine. One of the things they found out was that even the experts return to full extension of the trigger finger during rapid fire. No one used the reset.

Rob Leatham and many other top shooters claim that they completely let out the trigger between each shot. I even heard Leatham say that he often can feel the back side of the front section of the trigger guard on his trigger finger between shots. I believe Jarrett is another who ascribes to this technique.

This being the case, there are many other top competition shooters who work the reset between shots. Sevigny and Burkett to name a few. Either technique can be made to work well (obviously) but I believe that a gun with short, distinct reset is far easier to shoot fast than one without. This is a reason why the glock / 1911 trigger systems seem to work so well in IDPA / IPSC competitions.

August 6, 2008, 01:39 AM
Thanks for the interesting replies. You guys are always very helpful which makes this place a good place to come and read. Thanks again all.

August 6, 2008, 09:38 AM
I have also heard (second hand) that Rob Leatham will stated that his finger hits the front of the trigger guard between shots.

August 6, 2008, 09:59 AM
So what I am hearing is that some top shooters use the trigger reset and some don't. So maybe its not the big deal as I assumed. I was at a advanced pistol course and there was a guy there that was practiced at the reset and his speed was awesome. Maybe he was just fast from practice and the reset was a plus but wasn't the main factor in his speed. Although he did say that the trigger reset was a biggy to him. Are there adjustments on triggers? Can the reset be moved ? Can creep be reduced? I am sure the answer will vary from brand to brand but has anyone done these? Thanks again for reading and answering.

August 6, 2008, 11:04 PM
From personal experience: Letting out the trigger completely my splits are around .17-.18 seconds. Going to reset on my glock 22, Im around .14 and on a good day a little faster with full power ammo.

Slapping the trigger if done right will keep your gun on target, but with the added movement of the finger the likelyhood of the gun being jerked off target is increased. Working the reset means less finger movement which tends to keep the gun on target a little better.

August 7, 2008, 03:01 PM
Evan1293, thats is really fast. Is that time between 2 shots or average over 6 or 8? Is there something you do to your triggers or are they stock? Do you prefer a early or later preset?

August 7, 2008, 09:53 PM
I can maintain that rate for as many shots as my magazine will allow me to fire (until I've done a good bit of shooting and my finger gets tired, then I start to slow down.) I keep my glock triggers totally stock. I don't care for the 3.5lbs connectors either, the reset is usually much less pronounced on the ligher connectors.

Heres a short clip of shooting 4 from retention then moving backward and shooting five from the sighted position:


All shots are center mass. Im using a glock 22 with 180gr FMJ. Im sorry I don't have the time on this video but if I remember right the splits were around a .14.

August 7, 2008, 10:06 PM
The key here is what KIND of triggers are being used.

If you have a very light competition trigger then full extension of the finger for each shot will work best--almost "slapping" the trigger for each shot. I believe that you'll find that the shooters advocating full extension are shooting mostly highly customized SA only pistols.

If you have a trigger that is more like what comes on a typical service pistol then you'll probably do better riding the trigger/using the reset. Listen to Miculek talking about shooting a revolver very rapidly and he'll say that he never wants his finger to lose contact with the trigger. The reason is that if you try to "slap" a trigger that weighs 6lbs on a gun that weighs 2.5lbs you're going to destroy your accuracy.

DCJS Instructor
August 7, 2008, 10:45 PM
“Trigger Control”

A Pressing Concern for Instructors & Students

By: Tom Perroni

I have been an Instructor for about 20 years. I have been an Instructor Trainer (Someone who trains Instructors) for about 5 years and I have been a Firearms Instructor Trainer for 4 years.

My father, who was a U.S. Marine Corps small arms Instructor & NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, taught me anyone can call the line… it takes an Instructor to fix the students problems. He would always say, “Watch the shooter, not the target.” In this way you can see what they are doing wrong and then verify it by looking at the target.

I teach that there are seven fundamentals of handgun shooting, and that each one is important to get accurate hits on a target. Whether we are talking about “Target Accuracy” or “Combat Accuracy” is something I will discuss in a future article. The most important thing in a gunfight is to hit what you aim at. However there is one fundamental that causes the most problems for students and instructors: Trigger Control. The vast majority of the time, a bad shot on an intended target can be directly traced to trigger control, or a lack thereof.

Here are some of the facts that I teach Firearms Instructors about Trigger Control:

1. It is the most common problem in shooters.
2. If not done correctly, you will not hit what you aim at.
3. Has to be done properly, even when hurried.
4. Trigger jerk and anticipation of recoil will consume 75% of your corrective action as an instructor.
5. This is the cornerstone of shooting fundamentals.
6. Once mastered, it must be practiced to the point where it is a subconscious act.
7. A shooter can practice with dry fire or ball and dummy exercises.
8. A shooter's target clearly tells the instructor whether proper trigger control is being employed.
9. Too large a percentage of firearms instructors do not know how to correct this in shooters, or themselves.
10. The exact same fundamental should be used no matter what weapon system the shooter is utilizing double action (DA), single action (SA), double action only (DAO).
11. Shooters will find a hundred excuses before they admit they are jerking the trigger or anticipating recoil. Most single action systems allow the shooter to jerk the trigger with minimal sight movement. Up close this is not a problem. To find out about trigger control, shoot from 15 to 25 yards.
13. A firearms instructor MUST be able to teach the proper method of controlling the trigger.
14. No matter what terminology you use, the trigger must cause the hammer to fall without disturbing the proper sight alignment!

All too often instructors will tell the student about their trigger control or lack thereof; however no one seems to be able to tell that student how to fix the problem. I will attempt to give you a few tools to fix this problem in your students or yourself.

Let’s begin with the trigger finger’s placement vis-�*-vis the trigger. At Perroni’s Tactical Training Academy we teach students who are using a semi-auto pistol that the trigger should cross the finger approximately halfway between the tip of the finger and the first joint, over the swirl of the fingerprint.

Finger Placement The finger is placed so that the trigger is halfway between the tip of the finger and the first joint. “The trigger is squeezed or pressed straight to the rear in a smooth continuous manner without disturbing sight alignment.” You should not be able to predict the instant the gun will fire. Each shot should come as a surprise. Note the trigger finger continually maintains contact with the trigger.

Trigger Squeeze / Press. After attaining proper placement of the finger on the trigger, proper trigger pressure can be applied to the trigger. There are three parts of trigger pressure each time the weapon is fired. They are slack, squeeze / press, and follow through.

All three parts are important to proper trigger control.

1. Slack. The shooter must first take up the slack at the beginning of the trigger movement by applying slight pressure to the trigger. The trigger will move slightly to the rear until the internal parts of the trigger mechanism come into full contact with each other, and the “softness” in the tip of the finger is eliminated.

2. Squeeze / Press. The trigger is then in the squeeze / press portion of its movement, which is when the internal parts of the weapon are being disengaged from each other to allow the hammer to fall. The pressure should be a smooth, constant, and even pressure, applied straight to the rear so that the sights are not misaligned at the instant the hammer falls. Once the hammer begins to fall, the follow through portion of trigger control begins.

3. Follow Through. Follow through is the continued steady pressure applied to the trigger until the trigger reaches its most rearward point of travel. If the shooter does not continue to apply the constant, even pressure during follow through, it is possible that the impact of the round could move on the target, thus spoiling an otherwise good shot.

Trigger Release
Once the shot has broken and the trigger is fully to the rear it must be released forward for follow up shots. The most failsafe method is to maintain contact with the trigger and let it move fully forward at the same speed with which you pressed it. The marksman’s trick of letting the trigger return only far enough to reset the sear or "hear the click" This is most evident in Glocks!

When shooting fast with a loss of fine motor dexterity the tendency is to not let the trigger forward enough. The result is at best a momentary pause in the firing and at worst a perception that the gun has malfunctioned somehow. We call it "double clutching" the trigger.

Dry fire practice is the key to achieve proper trigger press and will not damage a modern handgun. However you must press the trigger to the rear without disrupting sight picture and sight alignment.

Point of aim is point of impact. Which means where ever the front sight is when the bullet leaves the barrel is where it will impact on the target.

There is one Federal Law Enforcement Agency that has it’s agents repeat front sight, front sight, front sight, front sight until the trigger breaks. This allows them to focus on the front sight to get that surprise break “while using proper trigger control.”

Believe it or not there are more things to talk about when it comes to trigger control but we only have so much room for the article. Want to know more? Come to class, and we’ll talk…..

August 7, 2008, 10:55 PM
10. The exact same fundamental should be used no matter what weapon system the shooter is utilizing double action (DA), single action (SA), double action only (DAO).I think that the technique you describe is clearly the best method to teach students since it's what's going to work EVERY time on ANY gun and is really the only effective technique to use on a typical off-the-shelf self-defense pistol if you want speed and accuracy.

On the other hand, I'm not quite ready to tell Rob Leatham that he's not using the proper trigger technique... :D Clearly what he's doing works very well for him with the equipment he uses.

DCJS Instructor
August 7, 2008, 11:26 PM

What I teach is A way not THE way to train.

I would tell anyone who is shooting well using another method to continue to shoot that way if it is working! (Even Rob!):D

however Just like Rob folks come to me to learn how to shoot so.......I teach them what I know works for me and the students I have trained.

If any of us were the perfect firearms instructor the rest of those guys would be out of business!;)

August 8, 2008, 09:56 AM
Evan1293, That is fast! Thanks for posting the video. The video shows point shooting at close range but you kept all in the center mass, nice shooting.

JohnKSa, you talk about different kinds of triggers. Competition trigger as opposed to service pistol trigger. Which would you use in a CCW pistol and why would you differentiate. I am assuming that a competition trigger isn't safe for CCW. Excuse me if those are naive questions, I have been a casual shooter for a few years and now I am seriously trying to improve and the trigger seems to be most important variable. I have been searching for more info on this topic but not having much luck using Google.

DCJS, thanks for all your info, very helpful. I do agree that there is more than one way to be accurate. But my way isn't working so I am trying to learn more about trigger control especially using the reset, but only one of my pistols have a satisfactory pull and reset, so I have been searching for ways to improve my triggers. Jentra overtravel stop and a different connector and some polishing, some of the changes I am considering. I am sure that practice, practice and more practice will effect my accuracy more. I do take a advanced pistol course every year but we concentrate on shooting from different positions , shooting while moving, multiple targets. I would take your course but I am not LEO and I am several hundred miles from your facilities.

Thanks guys for the info and replies.

DCJS Instructor
August 8, 2008, 02:38 PM

If you can get 5 paying students a classroom & range for us to use you can train for free! I will come to you!

You don't have to be a LEO to train with me.

Tom Perroni
tperroni@ccja.com (Commonwealth Criminal Justice Academy)

August 8, 2008, 09:09 PM
Well, I didn't have a specific definition (list of parameters) in mind and there aren't really any formal definitions, but here's sort of what I was generally thinking.

When I say competition trigger I mean a light trigger that is either SA or with an SA like feel. Probably 4lbs of pull weight (or lighter) that is tuned for a crisp, consistent break. To understand what that might feel like, try the SA trigger on a good quality revolver that has been shot a lot. As Tom comments in #11 on his list, you can get away with a lot more using this kind of trigger, especially at what many people think of as "self-defense range".

A typical "service pistol" or off-the-shelf, self-defense pistol will probably have a trigger with a pull weight in excess (possibly well in excess) of 6lbs pull weight, probably a DA or with a DA like feel. So not only a heavy pull but also with a fairly long trigger travel as well as some creep and overtravel. You're going to have to come up with constructive ways to deal with a trigger like this. Certainly trigger work is one option, but going too light is considered undesirable in a "working" gun as you mention. It's going to take range work/training...

August 10, 2008, 07:32 PM
JohnKSa, I think you defined the difference well enough for me to understand. I don't mind the heavy pull as much as I don't like the creep(free travel) and a late reset. I guess that will be my trip to a smith. Glock have a booth and a smith at the local gun show that I can talk to. I will ask around for some help with my HK. Thanks again for your input.
DCJS, I would have a easier time coming to Virgina, than getting 5 other students. Most of my friends are liberals and hate my hobby:D:D and my friends that do shoot are just too casual to take the advanced classes that I take here. Thanks to you also for your informative post.