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Old April 27, 2019, 11:22 PM   #1
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Ted Williams approach to finger placement on trigger

I have watched many videos and read many articles on proper finger placement and the general consensus of what I have seen is to put the pad of your finger on the trigger. I have spent most of my life using the crease of the first joint on my finger and have shot OK. But, I thought perhaps I could improve my shooting so I decided to try the pad, though it does not feel natural to me at all. I bought a Ruger Bearcat .22 a year ago, and have had problems with it shooting left. I thought it might be the ammuntion at first, but got the same results no matter what I used. Today I decided to try the Ted William's approach. Williams was perhaps the greates hitter in the history of baseball, and once made the comment that if a player is hitting the ball, don't change anything, just leave him alone. So today, I went back to the crease squeeze, and lo and behold, the group tightened up and was center of mass. Just my experience. It may not work for you. I do fire my Ruger Redhawk .45 Colt using the pad of the finger and most shots are centered, but when I miss, it is usually left. Believe I'll try the crease next time.
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Old April 28, 2019, 12:39 AM   #2
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What I have generally heard and read is that for rifles and single action handguns (such as the 1911) use the mid-point of the pad, and for double action revolvers use the crease of the first joint.
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Old April 28, 2019, 08:07 AM   #3
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depending on your hand size, the placement will vary.. its just how it is. Generally speaking, using the pad of your index finger is a good method. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Unfortunately, its not all the same with everyone.. people should probably decide on finger placement for themselves as they develop their personal method. Its a balance of ergo and control

My placement has always been in the area just below the pad. I guess it would be midway between the pad and the crease. I have med size hands
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Old April 28, 2019, 08:20 AM   #4
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What I have generally heard and read is that for rifles and single action handguns (such as the 1911) use the mid-point of the pad, and for double action revolvers use the crease of the first joint.
Absolutely. The FBI back in the revolver days called it the power crease. The correct way to shoot a DA revolver.
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Old April 28, 2019, 10:04 AM   #5
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It’s a SINGLE ACTION cowboy gun, fellas.
Let’s consider that there is no “correct” way. You have discovered a grip style that brings you on target and tightens your group. What kind of ammunition are you using?

Immediately (for those that don’t have one), the Bearcat is a very small single action .22

The stock rosewood ruger grips are beveled at about 45 degrees at the bottom and my factory grips are uniformly undersized such that the grip frame leaves an outline of stainless steel about the sides and bottom of the grip frame. My initial load testing with my Bearcat had me shooting 2” left at 12 yards. (One convenient indoor range maxes out at 12 yards). I was also feeling a pinch in the lower meat of my palm from the grip panel.

Using various grip styles, right hand, left hand, two hands, with my elbow(s) on foam rests, about 8 different kinds of ammo... finger in, finger pad, all about 2” left. One thing constant- I squeeze the grips hard. Really hard. I know it’s just a little cowboy gun, but it was brand new. Ruger resoldered the front sight a few hundredths for me noting it was in spec but they moved the sight for me without cost. Proving yet again Ruger customer service is second to none.

I wanted a black micarta grip for my stainless Bearcat, so I made some. A little bit thicker and without the 45 degree bevel at the base of the grip frame and a perfect proper fit to frame. I have not changed to custom spring (yet).

My hands are size medium and I shoot “duelist” style (one right hand), and it’s crowding fingers to get all around. I have my pinky finger curled an shelved underneath the grip frame so my hand isn’t so far up the back strap that aim and hammer cocking feel un-natural. I use the deep pad of my trigger finger, nearly the first joint. With the slightly smaller stock grips, I was using the second joint of my finger sometimes because the gun is small. I tried to use my pad, but it just wasn’t comfortable.

There may be “the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way” but your way is working for you. Ya can’t argue with the paper target.

For other Bearcat owners- I find that CCI STINGERS seem to group best for me, which was a surprise. Stingers are 32 grains, I think the case is longer and the bullet is shorter.

They are a bit pricey and they are loud.
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Old April 28, 2019, 12:46 PM   #6
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Twelve time National Champion Precision Pistol shooter Brian Zins uses the crease of his trigger finger on the trigger. He admits it's not for everyone, but if it works for you, do it.
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Old April 28, 2019, 05:24 PM   #7
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I think this stuff is more about hubbub over nothing than it is anything constructive. If a person loses a gunfight, its probably not going to be over their finger position on the trigger.
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Old April 28, 2019, 06:16 PM   #8
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"It's what works for you."

+1 Stinkeypete.

Where you put your finger on, and how you address a 4 oz. .50 BMG benchrest rifle trigger is going to be massively different from a .44 Mag Desert Eagle. Etc. Etc.
What's important is your own consistency with each different weapon.
One size nor technique does not fit all.
It's what works for you, and you just have to shoot a bunch of ammo to find that sweet spot.
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Old April 29, 2019, 06:52 PM   #9
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I once took a class where the instructor advocated shooting AR15s for close-quarters with your trigger finger jammed in there as far as you could get it (past the first crease even) and squeezing the trigger like you were shaking someone’s hands. With my hand size and a Sierra SPR grip, it actually gave me really good control over the trigger for rapid fire.

It didn’t really lend itself well to precision but I did manage to hit torso sized steel from standing at 300yds using that method.
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Old April 30, 2019, 06:16 AM   #10
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generally speaking.. exaggerated or unrefined movements are easier to accomplish under significant stress vs more precise or refined movements.
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Old April 30, 2019, 07:56 AM   #11
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Hand gun grips differ widely in the distance from the back of the grip to the trigger, and it's not just that distance that affects trigger pull. The width of the grip also has a part. Say, compare the flat grip on a 1911 to the rounded grip of the average DA/SA Sig.

Too, hand size is significant, longer fingers/bigger hands giving a longer reach, obviously.

The goal for trigger manipulation is a straight back press, even under duress and/or speed. Depending on the grip size, distance and hand size, a shooter must train with a firing grip that allows that straight back press. Ignoring that, you'll most likely see a lateral shot displacement.

Though I have large glove size hands, I find that it's difficult to get a grip that won't give me left of aim point groups with any DA revolver. To get the leverage I need for a consistent trigger stroke, for lack of a better description, I need to get the crease of my index finger well over to the trigger...this in turn, does not allow a straight line alignment of barrel, grip and's what gives me that lateral displacement...and it's something I work to avoid.

DA/SA Sigs, striker fired Glocks and my Sig 365 are not a problem; nor are my 1911's. My trigger finger goes to the ball area, centered on the trigger and I have no trouble keeping the shots in the center of the aim point.

Lastly, for those of us that truly like a variety of hand guns, of widely varying sizes, a consistent straight back press is a continuing challenge. In my case, no matter what hand gun I'm shooting for the day, I return to my day to day carry piece and finish the session by re-activating my muscle memory to what I carry, lately: a Sig 365.

YMMv, Rod
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Old April 30, 2019, 09:41 AM   #12
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Years ago I did a little experiment -- setting the vid camera on a tripod looking down -- with a 24" wood dowel jammed in the barrel and a ruler set on the table with the end of the dowel just over the 6" mark -- with my good eye closed and going by feel -- I very slowly pressed the trigger ( who pulls a trigger anymore ? ) - tip of my finger ( pushed the barrel to the left ) - mid point pad ( no real sideways pull at all ) - first joint ( real noticeable pull to the right ) --

It worked for me
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Old April 30, 2019, 10:06 AM   #13
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It makes no difference where you place your finger as long as the trigger is pulled straight back without muscling the weapon.
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Old April 30, 2019, 11:51 AM   #14
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I think Ted William's was right. If it work's, don't change it. I have that attitude with about everything. I use powder's that have been around forever, they work for me. I'm left eye dominant and right handed, I close my left eye to shoot rifle's and handgun's at distances much over 15 yds. It just works for me. With my carry guns I had a terrible time using sight's, I'm use to much more accurate firearms so figured just learn to point and shoot within 15 yds, it just seem's to work. It seem's to me using carry guns, semi auto's with short barrel's relate to shotguns. We don't aim shotgun's, we point them. Folk's, if it work's don't fix it!
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Old May 1, 2019, 11:15 AM   #15
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It makes no difference where you place your finger as long as the trigger is pulled straight back without muscling the weapon.
This. Whatever allows you to maintain the sight alignment for the shot is really fine.

My only comment to the OP is changing technique isn't easy. If you've been doing something for years and then change that method it's pretty unlikely you'll see gains in the short term. It could take a few months of trying something (depending on how often you shoot) to see positive results.
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old May 2, 2019, 09:29 AM   #16
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Another +1 on doing what works for you. Which also means, do it the same way every time. And that means if the gun doesn't fit your hand, change the grips so that it DOES fit your hand. Or else change to a different gun that fits your hand.

I grew up shooting bench rest with the pad of my finger on the trigger and that worked very well. But when I started shooting more combat style tactical, it no longer worked very well and I had to learn to shoot with the finger buried into the crease of the first knuckle. That made it possible to get the "right" finger placement very quickly and easily.

That means, of course, that depending on how or why I'm shooting, I may have to switch back and forth which causes it's own set of problems but far less trouble and using a technique that doesn't work in a particular situation. Over time, though, the switch is less and less of a problem and "warming up" makes the variances dissipate fairly quickly nowadays when I switch from one to the other.

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Old May 4, 2019, 12:26 AM   #17
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I have found that using more of my trigger finger on certain pistols tends to help me group better. It depends on what how good the trigger is for me as well.
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Old May 4, 2019, 10:27 AM   #18
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It shouldn't surprise us that different finger placements work better for different people, because fingers and the attached hands are of different sizes and shapes, so they thus have different ways of interacting with grips and triggers. Ol' Ted was right, as are the many who find their own "best" grip and trigger placement.
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Old May 17, 2019, 03:19 PM   #19
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In an actual life or death event, you'll do what you practice although I'd suggest not practicing the possibly poopin your pants part.
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Old May 17, 2019, 11:20 PM   #20
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While teaching juniors to shoot, I learned that you must wait for the teachable moment.

If they are doing well on paper leave them alone. If you try to make changes they will blame you for the difference until they see an improvement. Otherwise you may lose their confidence. Girls accept coaching better than boys.
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Old May 18, 2019, 09:00 PM   #21
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Different guns get different finger positions for me. My striker fire pistols get more of the finger than my 1911 or my single action revolvers.
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Old May 19, 2019, 12:42 PM   #22
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Different for different people and different guns.

Assuming you have a proper grip and the firearm is properly aligned with your forearm, the ideal would be to place your finger on the trigger blade in such a way as to be able to pull it straight back without any lateral pressure. This position will very much depend on the size of the shooter's strong hand, their finger length, and the trigger reach. Because of the way our finger joints are hinged, if you insist on always using the pad of your finger, you may be pushing the trigger more to the side than straight rearward, if you have big hands and/or the trigger reach is short. This is much more likely to pull the sights off-target than if you simply apply more finger to the trigger.

But sometimes the ideal position does not work. Heavy triggers will require more finger to be applied for leverage and this might result in a less-than optimal finger placement. Sometimes a compromise finger position is required for DA/SA pistols that have two trigger pulls of much different weight that start from very different positions.
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