Chapter 3: Army Marksmanship Training Guide
Encyclopedia of Bullseye Pistol
Correct trigger control must be employed in conjunction with all other fundamentals of shooting. The physical act of applying pressure on the trigger to deliver an accurate shot may vary from individual to individual. Proper trigger control for each individual gradually assumes uniformity when the techniques of proper application are mastered. Many shooters, for example, maintain a degree of trigger control with a relatively light grip, while another shooter may use a very tight grip. Some shooters prefer to apply consistent trigger pressure at a rapid rate, while maintaining correct sight alignment. For another shooter, a slower, deliberate application may achieve the same results. An ever increasing number of shooters use the positive approach to trigger control, that is, once it is initiated, it becomes an uninterrupted, constantly increasing pressure until the weapon fires.
Trigger control is of very great importance in producing an accurate shot. When the shooter exerts pressure on the trigger, he must do so in a manner that does not alter the sight alignment, or position of the pistol. In Figure 3-1 below, either finger position on the trigger will pull the trigger straight back and not alter sight alignment when the pistol fires. Consequently, the shooter must be able to exert smooth, even pressure to the trigger. Furthermore, the trigger must be pressed in conjunction with maximum concentration, peak visual perception of sight alignment and minimum arc of movement.
In order to produce an accurate shot, the shooter must carry out many diverse, but related, actions. Fulfilling this action is compounded by the fact that the pistol is in some degree of motion throughout the period of sighting and aiming. The movement varies according to the stability of the shooter's stance. Consequently, the sight alignment deviates from the aiming area. Often it will move through the aiming area, pausing only for a short period of time in perfect alignment with the target. It is impossible to determine when, and for how long the properly aligned sights will stay in the center of the aiming area. This difficulty is aggravated further by the fact that the shooter is trying to execute coordinated actions when reflex action seeks to contradict them. Such a situation requires the development of conditioned reflexes, and improvement of coordination.
Figure 3-1. Correct Placement of the Index Finger on the Trigger. (a) With Joint of Index Finger. (b) With First Bone Section of Index Finger.
From the "Four Fundamentals of Marksmanship" for the M16A2
Trigger Finger. The trigger finger (index finger on the firing hand) is placed on the trigger between the first joint and the tip of the finger (not the extreme end) and adjusted depending on hand size, grip, and so on. The trigger finger must squeeze the trigger straight to the rear so the hammer falls without disturbing the lay of the rifle. When a live round is fired, it is difficult to see what effect trigger pull had on the lay of the rifle. It is important to experiment with many finger positions during dry-fire training to ensure the hammer is falling with little disturbance to the aiming process.