Al Thompson - I agree - if i can knock out trigger control problems then the rest is smooth sailing
Here is some stuff out of one of my instructors manuals. It might be disjointed if you dont have the rest but you should get an idea what i meant when i wrote it
1. Shooting mantras
This is the most basic and useful of the assistance drills. With newer shooters that are beginning to master the fundamentals of marksmanship the ability to remember and utilize the fundamentals and manipulate the weapon correctly (multi task) may be limited. The basis of this drill is simply to have the shooter’s coach repeat a lacking fundamental or priority fundamental over and over again in the shooters ear.
The most useful two mantras to repeat to a shooter are :
Front site, Front site, Front site …….
Smooth Trigger, Smooth Trigger, Smooth Trigger,
2. Ball and Dummy Drills (BAD drills)
The ability to correct trigger control problems equal the ability to correct the vast majority of all shooting problems. This drill is used specifically to diagnose a shooters trigger control abilities. When the shooter can focus specifically on their trigger control then gains can be made on fixing poor control.
The drill is done as follows:
a. An x number of rounds is put into the coaches pocket
b. The firing order is broken down into shooters and coaches
c. The shooter is lined up on the firing line 10 meters from his target
d. The coach is placed on the shooters firing side behind and to the side of the shooters holster
e. The shooter keeps his eyes downrange concentrating on his target
f. The coach either loads a live round into an empty magazine or doesn’t
g. The coach removes the shooters weapon from the holster
h. The coach points the weapon in a safe direction (45 degrees and downrange)
i. The coach loads the weapon with a live round or empty magazine and lets the slide go forward
j. The coach carefully places the magazine into the shooters holster.
k. The coach tells the shooter “weapon is ready”
l. The shooter presents the weapon from position one and takes a carefully aimed shoot while applying a smooth trigger pull.
m. The coach carefully watches the shooters front site from the side and watches for a dip during the trigger break.
n. The shooter carefully watches his front site during the trigger squeeze and looks for a dip in his site alignment.
o. The coach queries the shooter if a dip was observed.
p. The coach critiques the trigger pull
q. Steps e – p are repeated until the ammo is used or the trigger control problem is corrected.
3. Assisted Trigger Pull.
A second diagnostic procedure to identify if a shooter is having problems with trigger control is the assisted trigger pull drill. To accomplish this drill the instructor will move to the shooters firing side and physically pull the shooters trigger for him.
The drill progresses from pulling the students trigger while the trigger finger is placed straight alongside and above the trigger guard to pulling the trigger by physically placing the instructors trigger finger over the shooters.
This drill only works if the instructor applies steady, smooth, correct trigger pull straight to the rear.
To perform this exercise the shooter is briefed on the actions of the instructor and one of the two techniques is used. During the initial stages of the trigger control the instructor asks the shooter if his actions are not bothersome to the student. The steps that the instructor takes are:
1. Move to the shooters firing side
2. Place the instructors no firing hand (depends on shooters hand) on the students shoulder
3. Tell the shooter to present his weapon to the number four position
4. Tell the shooters to concentrate on the front sites and steady hold factors
5. Tell the shooter that you will take control of the trigger pull.
6. The instructor places his finger on the shooters trigger finger and pulls the trigger smoothly to the rear until it fires.
7. The instructor observes the shooters other fundamentals
If the shot group tightens up considerably from previous down / angled groups then there was a good chance that the problem was indeed trigger control.
4. The site on the rail mental exercise
The exercise is perhaps on of the best to improve a students trigger pull. This exercise is also one of the most difficult to effectively explain. The reason for this is simple it is all performed within the shooters imagination and cannot be observed or even known if the shooter is performing the drill correctly.
The drill is explained as follows:
This drill is done utilizing the shooters imagination
Imagine that the handguns front site sits on a rail on the top of the slide (many use the choo choo train analogy) and that the rail extends from the front to just in front of the rear site
The front site slide freely up and down the rail.
Imagine next that one end of a string is tied to the trigger and that the other end of the string is tied to the front site.
Imagine as the shooter pulls the trigger to the rear that the front site is pulled rearward towards the rear site via the string.
Instruct the student to visually watch the front site and imagine that it is being observed coming towards the rear site.
Tell the shooter that the site should not be stopping and starting and that the site is moving at a steady pace down the rail.