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Old March 13, 2008, 01:08 PM   #1
bushidomosquito
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Finger off the trigger until when?

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?
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Old March 13, 2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 01:19 PM   #3
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 01:25 PM   #4
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:01 PM   #6
Steli
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@ 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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:09 PM   #7
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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:
Quote:
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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:24 PM   #8
Steli
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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)
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:28 PM   #9
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:32 PM   #10
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my 2 cents

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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 04:46 PM   #11
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" 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).

Quote:
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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 06:03 PM   #12
Hawg
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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.
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Old March 13, 2008, 06:17 PM   #13
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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...
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Old March 14, 2008, 12:56 AM   #14
chris in va
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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.
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Old March 14, 2008, 01:04 AM   #15
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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.
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Old March 14, 2008, 01:50 AM   #16
TexasSeaRay
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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
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Old March 14, 2008, 07:50 AM   #17
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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.

Last edited by Creature; March 14, 2008 at 08:28 AM.
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Old March 14, 2008, 09:09 AM   #18
TexasSeaRay
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Quote:
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
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Old March 14, 2008, 09:24 AM   #19
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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.

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Old March 14, 2008, 10:01 AM   #20
Boris Bush
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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!!!
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Old March 14, 2008, 11:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
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.

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

Quote:
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.
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Old March 14, 2008, 01:38 PM   #22
Creature
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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?
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Old March 14, 2008, 02:11 PM   #23
Lurper
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Quote:
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).
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Old March 14, 2008, 02:25 PM   #24
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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.
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Old March 14, 2008, 03:30 PM   #25
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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...
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