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Old March 14, 2013, 11:06 AM   #1
dayman
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Finger placement

First I should say that I have strange hands. I have big palms, but relatively short fingers (My wife refers to them as "gorilla hands"). In addition to making it hard to find gloves that fit well, I've found that my hand shape makes for a weird ideal finger placement on the trigger.

It seems that I get the best results by placing the trigger all the way back to the first joint. If I put the trigger in the middle - as I was taught - I wind up pushing all my shots about 2" in 10yds - or more like 3-4" when I'm shooting quickly.
It's something I've been fighting for years - and was kind of hidden by a a couple other trigger issues. But I've recently been doing a lot of shooting with a double action revolver, and decided that moving my finger over is the way to go.
My groups have been tightening up a bit, and I have to spend a lot less conscious thought on keeping my groups in the middle.
Almost all of my shooting thus far has been with the one gun, so I have a lost of experimenting to do before I go all in, but my tendency is to push everything over about the same distance from .22 up to .357mag. I notice it more in SA than in DA, which leads me to believe that I'm not flinching or gripping the gun oddly.

So, anyway, I thought I'd share. Finger placement on the trigger is rarely something that's presented as a variable, but the more I look into it it seems that historically some very good shooters have had some very different positions that worked for them.

Anyone out there in the same boat? Or, anyone have any ideas as to what else my issue might be? I'd rather not develop 2 bad habits to cancel each other out.
Training isn't really an issue for me right now as money is tight, my problem is pretty subtle, and any trainer worth seeing would be a fairly long drive.
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Old March 14, 2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Shoot what works for you. There are "optimum" finger placement for triggers depending on the type of gun/trigger, but if you can't shoot well, the optimum way, then don't shoot that way. Usually, I'll use the first joint when I'm shooting revolvers. It works well for the long, heavy trigger. But on my Glock, I'm using the pad of my finger. When I used to shoot target .22 competitively, I used the very tip of my index finger.

Do what works, and don't worry about what the "right" way to do it is, if that doesn't work.
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Old March 14, 2013, 11:33 AM   #3
Nanuk
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The FBI used to teach to put the trigger on a double action revolver in to the first joint like you are doing. That is what I do, I have similar hands, my wife call's them "mugs".
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Old March 14, 2013, 11:40 AM   #4
Gaerek
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Another way to look at this that I just thought of:

Me: Doctor, when I do this (raising my hand) my arm hurts.
Doctor: Well, don't do that!

It's a bit snarky, but it's something that works for your situation. If something isn't working, don't do it the way you're doing it. Everyone is different, and unless what you're doing is dangerous, there's no reason not to do it. And since trigger finger placement isn't a safety concern, do what works.
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Old March 14, 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
Frank Ettin
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I find that the choice of gun can make a big difference. I also have short fingers, and there are simply some guns I can't shoot well.

Shooting a large frame (N-frame) Smith & Wesson revolver double action or some of the large DA semi-autos is pretty much a lost cause for me. But K-frame S&Ws, 1911s (specially with a short trigger), Glock 17s or 19s, and other guns of similar size and trigger reach I can manage well with proper placement of the trigger finger on the trigger. Grips can also make a difference.

The key is to be able to press the trigger smoothly straight back, with only the trigger finger moving.
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Old March 14, 2013, 12:16 PM   #6
JRH6856
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In the past I have had the problem of pushing shots to the side (right in my case because I am left handed). After experimenting with finger placement, I changed directions...literally.

Instead of pulling the trigger with a "normal" finger movement that applies pressure across the trigger, I now "roll" my finger downward while pulling towards me so that the motion of the finger is along the same axis as the motion of the trigger. Presto! No more pulling of shots to the side.

(Credit where credit is due: I learned this from a post by 9mmepiphany in a thread on TheHighRoad.)
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:19 PM   #7
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You didn't say it but it seems possible your trigger finger is also thick. Your joint mobility may be limited. Result - your finger slides on the trigger, unless you wrap your distal joint around it.

I agree with gaerek, only you can decide what works best. My instructors and the expert writers leave it up to the shooter, as long as a consistent smooth trigger pull is achieved.

My hand isn't large but proportionally is about like yours. I order gloves from a company that caters to gorilla hands. More expensive but it pays not to have dangling glove finger tips.

Edit: addressing dayman

Last edited by LED; April 7, 2013 at 09:12 AM.
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Old April 7, 2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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I have longer narrow fingers, and wide palms. I have to go to the middle of the knuckle to get a good shot off. If not I have to use a strange grip that does not work well for me. I do what works for me. If somone has a way to try that they think will work better I will try it. If it works I will keep working on it. If not then I stick to doing what works for me. I doubt I would ever do very well in a bull's eye shoot. Though with combat type quick shooting I do well enough.
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Old April 7, 2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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If it ain't broke, et cetera. I carry a DAO revolver concealed and use the distal joint of the trigger finger exclusively. But if push comes to thug I doubt any of us worry a hell of a lot how the finger is placed if the threat is stopped.
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Old April 8, 2013, 02:58 PM   #10
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That's such a non-issue to me.

As long as you shoot well it doesn't matter where the heck your finger is on the trigger. Ridiculous.
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Old April 8, 2013, 03:48 PM   #11
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I think he wants to get better. He is trying to make sense of his trigger technique. In my training they called it shooter development.
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Old April 8, 2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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Finger placement

erased, because I cannot have a rebuttal without it being deleted.

Last edited by Constantine; April 9, 2013 at 08:53 PM.
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Old April 9, 2013, 12:29 PM   #13
MarkDozier
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Quote:
The key is to be able to press the trigger smoothly straight back, with only the trigger finger moving.
Well said
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Old April 9, 2013, 12:36 PM   #14
MarkDozier
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Quote:
In my training stances you do at the range and where you put your finger on the trigger don't matter in a gunfight. Especially with a pistol.

He isn't a sniper.
You are right and wrong.
Right about stance becuase it is going to be fast and you may not be able to pop to your trained stance.

Wrong about finger placement - If you train properly the finger will go right where it should be to allow foor good shots.

Sniper comment is totally nonapplicable since sniper are not usually in a fire fight and have the luxury of time. And it is a telling statement that shows your lack of knowledge and GOOD training.
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Old April 9, 2013, 01:10 PM   #15
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Let's not bicker, OK? Information and advice are on topic -- quibbling and snark, not so much.
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:20 PM   #16
Rj1972
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Quote:
Originally by Frank Ettin: I find that the choice of gun can make a big difference.
I think that's right on. For instance on my sig P226 I use the pad of my finger. On my kel-tec P3AT that doesn't work well for me and I end up using the joint.
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
In my training stances you do at the range and where you put your finger on the trigger don't matter in a gunfight. Especially with a pistol.

He isn't a sniper.
You fight like you train.

In my training, I deliberately place the pad of my finger on the trigger. When I ran a stress course during a training session at what was formerly known as Blackwater, I was not surprised to find that my training technique was how I 'fought' through the course of fire.
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Old April 9, 2013, 03:52 PM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Once again, let's avoid bickering.
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Old April 9, 2013, 04:25 PM   #19
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Gun choice is important- I have found that short triggered 1911's to be as big a reach as my mitts can make well, and my EMP is perfect ..... Double stacks are generally too large to run well for me.

Large framed DA revolvers? Forget it .....
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Old April 9, 2013, 04:30 PM   #20
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I like to use the first distal joint on double action revolver trigger pulls...preferably staging the trigger to just before the sear breaks, and press or sweep back the trigger in it's final stage.

For single action 1911's: "Grasp the pistol so that the bore is aligned with one's forearm, place the first pad of one's trigger finger on the trigger. Ideally the pad should be straight across the trigger. If the pad is angled toward the muzzle, the trigger is too long and one is having to stretch to reach it {this works against the desired straight-back trigger press}. If the trigger seems to naturally fall toward the crease/joint of the finger, then the trigger is to short.

If one must while wearing gloves, it is often a good idea to go with a shorter than optimal trigger, as the 1911's trigger guard is none to roomy to start with."
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Old April 9, 2013, 05:00 PM   #21
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Double action revolvers have a much longer and heavier pull than semi-auto pistols. This will affect how you need to place you finger on the trigger. For semi-autos that are DA/SA, the first pull should probably be done the same way. Pulling singel action triggers with your finger up to the first joint may cause you to pull right. If what you are currently doing works with what you are shooting, then stick with it. Just be ready to adapt if you switch guns.
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