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Old May 2, 2016, 12:00 PM   #1
Idaho 45 Vaquero
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Putting my left index finger on the trigger guard

Is shooting with weak hand index finger on the front of the trigger guard inaccurate or susceptible to be? Anybody else do that?

The first semi-auto (Browning BDM) I got had a swale in the front of the trigger guard that I thought was for putting a finger on. So I started shooting that way with my left index finger up in front; I did that for all my teenage years.

In more recent years I noticed that nobody else does that; also my CCW trainer said that I shouldn't do that but never gave a clear explanation as to why. I've tried not to and usually don't anymore. The other day while plinking around I resorted to putting my left index finger in front of the trigger guard; I didn't notice till after I'd shot a magazine that I was doing that.

A couple of times I've compared putting my weak hand index in front of the trigger guard with the more conventional grip. The groups I've shot were the same either way. I'm not really noticing much of a difference.
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Old May 2, 2016, 12:10 PM   #2
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When I learned to shoot handguns the trainer at the range told me to place my left index finger on the finger pad which he said was designed for that purpose. Then about ten year later I took another class and was told not to do it. Now, I tend to avoid placing my finger one the trigger guard, but as you said seem to notice little difference either way.
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Old May 2, 2016, 01:26 PM   #3
T. O'Heir
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Don't think it makes any difference where you, um, stick your finger. Used to be frames made with squared and serrated trigger guards. It's a fad like a lot of stuff.
Has zero to do with accuracy though.
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Old May 2, 2016, 01:34 PM   #4
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It wont matter if what you are shooting is slowfire groups. Where it will come into play is recoil control for FAST follow up shots. 3 or more shots in a second will show whether that grip works for you.

Most people agree that the finger on the trigger guard face does not help with recoil. Try a good thumbs forward locked wrist grip and compare split times.
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Old May 2, 2016, 01:48 PM   #5
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I'm in the "keep your finger off the trigger guard" camp. Matter of fact, I'm in the "keep your thumbs off the frame" too.

Weak index fingers on the trigger guard (and thumbs on the frame) don't affect accuracy if their contact with the gun is consistent. But here's the rub: that's a huge "if".

Neither a weak index finger on the trigger guard nor thumbs on the frame do much for an effective grip, yet can certainly hurt your accuracy if applied inconsistently, so I recommend against them.
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Old May 2, 2016, 02:32 PM   #6
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It has a tendency to loosen the grip on the gun, as it did for me.
So it aggravated recoil, instead of helping to reduce it.
But some of the top shooters, like Angus Hobdell of CZ Custom, use the technique quite effectively.
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Old May 2, 2016, 02:52 PM   #7
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That gimmick was started by some of the custom smiths in the '70s. But serious shooters found it just meant that you had just one more muscle to control so they dropped the idea ! The gun companies then caught up and copied the earlier [found to be a bad idea] fixture on the production guns. Some companies still haven't figured it all out !!!
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old May 5, 2016, 07:36 AM   #8
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Hey Idaho,

It boils down to a mechanical leverage issue.

If you picture the muzzle as the load, the webbing between your firing side thumb and index/trigger high on the tang as the fulcrum, and your support hand on the stock as the working arm, you are on the right track.

The idea here is that you want to get the maximum amount of force on the working arm as far away from the fulcrum as possible.

In the case of a handgun you are trying to get the force as low on the magazine well/stock as possible, applying pressure from front to rear (not around with a crushing grip).

By putting the support hands trigger finger up in front of the trigger guard (much closer to the fulcrum and the load) one reduces the force that can apply to the working arm.

Also, if you start using a weapons mounted tactical light, you won't be able to put your finger up there anyways.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Silent_Bob; May 6, 2016 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old May 5, 2016, 07:03 PM   #9
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Does seem of course that you speak of shooting a self-loader pistol. Just in case any newbies are reading this , and they're shooting a revolver - NEVER put any skin you value any place near the front edge of the cylinder. You may not always see it but some pretty hot gases spray radially between the cylinder front and the forcing cone.
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Old May 6, 2016, 03:06 PM   #10
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I have seen it argued that the trigger guards are shaped that way to provide a surface for stabilizing the pistols against cover barriers, and that they were never intended to be a grip enhancement. I wasn't at any meetings where their introduction was discussed, so I wouldn't know firsthand, but I do wonder how we got along without them so long if they were so essential to grip and recoil management.

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Old May 22, 2016, 12:21 AM   #11
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finger on the front of the trigger guard

This was a common technique for IPSC shooters in the late 70s to the mid 80s. A hooked trigger guard was a requirement in the military JSSAP tests for a new handgun in the early 1980s (which resulted in the adoption of the Beretta M9)

The instructors who did our instructor transition training for the automatic pistols were trained by the Smith & Wesson Academy and the S&W Academy taught that technique at that time (1986)

I never particularly liked doing that so I never did. I have big hands and long fingers and my fingers were long enough to make it work but I felt it compromised my grip. Some people really liked it and you'll see a few shooters using that technique to this day.
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Old May 22, 2016, 07:15 AM   #12
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Different strokes for different folks. When you find what works for you, you should shoot that way. Be sure you try most things, then decide for yourself. Books and forums may well lead you astray.
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Old May 22, 2016, 07:11 PM   #13
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Many of us started on firearms that had the cut-away for your weak hand index finger and used it. It is very common. It isn't the worst thing in the world, but it does cause some small increment of inaccuracy. You can probably out shoot your buddies with your index finger out front. You probably can't out shoot some of the forum members here.
I don't know of any actual benefit to having it out front.
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Old May 23, 2016, 03:03 PM   #14
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I use to think that putting the support index finger on the trigger guard is bad practice. I do not do it. When I teach new shooters, I tell them not to do it.
There is a Jerry Miculek youtube video where he explains why he puts his support index finger on the trigger guard. Works very well for him. I think he said it helps him control recoil and wobble especially on light guns like M&P.
So, I guess it just depends on what you get used to.
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Old June 20, 2016, 04:09 PM   #15
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Ive always found it to be very comfortable to place index finger on trigger guard.
Im going to try to avoid training that way in the future because like mentioned earlier, a weapon mounted light will interfere.
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Old June 20, 2016, 05:50 PM   #16
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I am old school but my off hand fingers have a job and that is to support my primary grip on the weapon. I see no reason to extend a index finger to some other part of the gun. If I cant control the gun without doing such a thing, I will simply start doing some pushups.
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Old June 20, 2016, 08:50 PM   #17
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I use both, and see no difference at all. Pistols like my Beretta 92FS and old model Ruger 22/45 with the flat front trigger guard I use it. Pistols like my M1911s or revolvers, I don't.
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Old June 20, 2016, 09:04 PM   #18
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Finger on the trigger guard feels awkward to me. Thumbs forward works best for me.
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Old June 20, 2016, 10:08 PM   #19
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It was never done much in the "old days", because few people held guns that way. But then some gurus decided that it gave better support when using a two-hand hold with an autoloader. There was enough support that several companies began to make guns that way and the U.S. Army specs for the M9 required a squared off and checkered trigger guard.

Is it a good idea? I have never been fond of it, but many people like it and to each his own.

But there is a small fly in the ointment. Note I said "with an autoloader." But some folks took to the idea with such enthusiasm that they decided to fire revolvers that way, usually without checking to see where the flash from the barrel-cylinder gap would go. Yyyyyeeeeoooouuuucccchhhh!

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Old June 20, 2016, 10:43 PM   #20
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I shoot both revolvers and semi autos competitively with my index finger on the trigger guard. It won't burn your fingers as long as you aren't dumb enough to put your finger next to the forcing cone. I've got 30,000 bullets down range as proof that it won't burn your fingers.
As for semi autos, it's really just a factor of hand size. I have really big hands so it works well for me. I would note that Eric Graufel, IPSC world champion for the last several years, puts his left index finger on the trigger guard. Several other competitors do as well. It must be working for them because they keep on winning.
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Old June 21, 2016, 08:09 AM   #21
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Although the finger on trigger guard has fallen out of favor, there are probably better things to do than to try to break a longstanding habit. You might find yourself between two stools and flip flop indecisively between on and off.

Somewhat related anecdote: From 1997 til 2005, IDPA could require a Tactical Reload with magazines exchanged at the gun and a Reload With Retention with old magazine pocketed before the reload not allowed. They were declared equivalent in 2005. But I will STILL habitually do the Tac Load even though I have practiced the RwR.
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Old June 21, 2016, 01:35 PM   #22
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Trigger guards were never intended to be grips. Remember, just because something has serrations or stippling on it doesn't mean you should grip it!
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Old June 21, 2016, 05:30 PM   #23
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Interesting note.... My Glock 33 will jam *every single time* I put my left finger on the front of the trigger guard if I use any kind of force at all. I mean *at all*. A normal "grip" with that finger and the gun will stove pipe every single round.
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Old June 21, 2016, 08:37 PM   #24
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Hi, Radny97,

Whether the blast can hurt depends a lot on the gun, caliber and how it is held; I have seen folks pick up some nasty peppering and prefer to keep my finger out of the way but again, to each his own.

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Old June 22, 2016, 07:14 PM   #25
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I agree. I certainly wouldn't do it with a 454 Casull.
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