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Old September 15, 2015, 05:59 PM   #1
9x18_Walther
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Trigger Discipline

I would say that a good majority of the gun owners I encounter have great trigger discipline.

When did the idea of keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot become standard practice?

I was wondering since I just stumbled upon this WWII photo.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...Lorient_01.jpg

That grease gun is itching to go off...
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Old September 15, 2015, 06:50 PM   #2
mete
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I had a technician who went through France in WWII with his Thompson - always set on Full Auto ! But constant use every day taught him to be able to fire any number of rounds he wanted .Yes trigger discipline !
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Old September 15, 2015, 06:59 PM   #3
9x18_Walther
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Just amazing to see how much technique has changed since the past 70 years.

All that crap I hear about USGI 1911s not being able to hit the side of a barn must have stemmed from the horrible one handed crouching position which I see in period training manuals.

I've seen folks shoot these "loose" pistols better than experienced folks with TRPs and such.
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Old September 15, 2015, 07:08 PM   #4
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Seems like he is following the rules, his weapon is pointed at something that he is willing to shoot
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Old September 15, 2015, 07:18 PM   #5
AK103K
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Hes not going to shoot much...the gun is on safe.
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Old September 15, 2015, 08:25 PM   #6
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AK103K, nice catch! I had to lookup the field manual for the M3 to understand the "safety" works.

Must have been a staged photo for propaganda/morale purposes.
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Old September 15, 2015, 10:03 PM   #7
tangolima
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The doctrine of keeping finger off trigger is as young as the 4 firearms safety rules as we know today. They didn't have that no too long ago.

-TL
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Old September 15, 2015, 10:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Must have been a staged photo for propaganda/morale purposes.
I think he's holding it "backwards" so the camera man to get his shot. The M3 is a right handed weapon, and when fired from the right side the selector switch is readily accessible to the left thumb.
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Old September 15, 2015, 10:47 PM   #9
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I was under the impression that the only safety on the M3 was the flap that covers the bolt. The photo shows the bolt in the shut/safe position.

Didn't think the M3 had a selector switch.
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Old September 16, 2015, 03:31 AM   #10
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The "cover" is the safety. They dont have a selector.
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Old September 16, 2015, 01:07 PM   #11
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Yes, a lot has changed in the last hundred and four years since the army adopted the 1911. A lot more will change in the next hundred and four years, although I haven't any idea what it is.

I don't know if an army issue 1911 was all that inaccurate when they were new. Original army training videos suggest otherwise, even when using just one hand--the way the gun was intended to be used. On the other hand, some old-timers believed it took a long time to make a good handgun shot. But Elmer Keith's idea of a "good man with a handgun" was making hits at a distance most would have trouble making with a rifle. Yet men were sent behind enemy lines with less training and practice than most of you get in over the weekend armed with only a handgun.

It might also be true that issue army 1911 .45 autos were beginning to be slightly worn out by the 1980s. I am 69 years old and I don't think the army acquired any newly manufactured .45 autos in my lifetime.

However, the army may have been aware that some men had trouble being effective combat shooters with a pistol, even in 1940. That's why the .30 caliber carbine was introduced. Energy-wise, it's way ahead of most handgun rounds, especially when it was adopted, even if it doesn't make a good deer cartridge (according to Frank Barnes). But my father, who fought in Italy and was captured and held prisoner for a year for his troubles, claimed the carbine was not accurate. I don't recall him mentioning anything about the pistol. Oddly enough, in the two photos I have of him from during WWII in which he was armed, he has a shotgun in one photo and a revolver in a reverse draw holster in the other. Coincidentally, I also have a photo of my son in Kuwait in 2006 also armed with a shotgun.
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Old September 16, 2015, 01:53 PM   #12
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I have a film strip somewhere of me drawing and firing double action with my Model 19. (Yes, they actually had them new fangled cottiges back then.)

I am wearing a Bucheimer Federal Man holster (a thumb break type); the gun is out of the holster and coming up at about a 45 degree angle. The hammer is halfway back. It will fall just as the gun lines up on the target. The holster has a fully exposed trigger guard, and my finger was on the trigger as I released the strap. As hard as it may be for our current safety conscious (some might say "safety insane") trainers to believe, I still have all my toes, and no bullet holes in any part of my anatomy.

Today, at 82, I do not draw, or even attempt to draw, that fast. But it can be done, and I did it, without mishap.

Jim
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Old September 16, 2015, 02:48 PM   #13
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From a blog post I wrote some time back:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornered Cat blog

I’ve long been fascinated with the history of defensive firearms training. I like to understand how different shooting techniques started, why they were created, who used them first or most effectively, and how they evolved into something else or were discarded for something better. Of course, understanding things like that is important for what I do as an instructor, but it’s also an intriguing study in its own right.

Historically, most firearms training has been for law enforcement and military applications. These fields are related to, but not identical with, the way ordinary people use defensive firearms. And when it comes to choosing which techniques and skills you need to learn, context matters. Still, there’s a lot we can learn from these sources as long as we remember that the contexts are quite different.

Lots more there to think about and explore, but I’m already off track. I just wanted an excuse to show you this cool old video, a training film from World War II. It’s about 15 minutes long, but if you don’t have that much time, just skip to 3:15 and watch for a half-minute or so. There will be a quiz later.
Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14qTdp-Dd30

And the pop quiz is, "After watching for thirty seconds after the 3:15 mark, can you name one important way that firearms training has changed since 1944?"

pax,

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Old September 16, 2015, 06:07 PM   #14
9x18_Walther
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I think the answer would be, everyone including that instructor would be kicked out at a modern range for muzzle discipline...

Firm grip... with your finger right on that sweat single action trigger.
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Old September 16, 2015, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9x18_Walther
I was under the impression that the only safety on the M3 was the flap that covers the bolt. The photo shows the bolt in the shut/safe position.

Didn't think the M3 had a selector switch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK103K
The "cover" is the safety. They dont have a selector.
Oops. I stand corrected, and feel like an idiot. In my defense the last time I fired one was 1979, but I still should have remembered that bit. Sorry.
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Old September 17, 2015, 07:29 AM   #16
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In the not too distant past, there were many long established practices in gun handling that would not pass muster today. Most of them were little details that were for greater accessibility of the pistol with speed in mind. Usually, the "pistol" was a revolver. The army has never expressed much speed in fast draw pistol shooting. Fast shooting, yes, just not a fast draw. But that was the army. Individual soldiers often had their own ideas.

There are a few photos of soldiers somewhere in the west in the late 1800s, all armed with revolvers, which meant they were cavalry. The holster in use was a reverse draw pattern with a flap and the revolver was the .38 Colt. Many of the men had the flap open and tucked behind the belt with the revolver reversed in the holster, meaning butt to the rear. Totally unofficial.

Decades later, I believe western movies had a pronounced influence on handgun shooting and which I suspect is still there underneath all the layers the years add on. Hollywood holsters were all the rage and even Elmer Keith sported a fancy set. Not particularly authentic but decidedly modern sixty years on (in 1940, that is). Good for a fast draw but still of questionable practicality for a mounted man. Authentic styles are still available, too, by the way.

Ignoring swivel holsters that were very common when policemen wore white shirts, an up-to-the-minute combat rig had a cutaway style that left the trigger guard exposed, the better to do a fast draw. A super fast draw, which was basically trick shooting, required you to put your finger inside the trigger guard almost from the start of the draw, speed being everything. Of course, the draw was so blindingly fast that no one could really tell what was happening.
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Old September 17, 2015, 11:21 AM   #17
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Blue Train,

Holster design is kind of a fascinating side trail on this. As JamesK pointed out, we didn't always design holsters with covered trigger guards, and it did used to be standard practice to draw with one's finger on the trigger -- for speed.

Hate to quote my own blog twice in one thread, but what the heck...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornered Cat blog

Awhile back, I picked up a copy of a book titled, Triggernometry: A Gallery of Gunfighters. It was written by Eugene Cunningham and originally published in 1934 (although my edition is a paperback from 1996 or so). In this book, Cunningham tells the stories of dozens of different fighting men from the cowboy era. His stories that have an immediacy to them because the people he wrote about, or at least their friends and family members, were still alive at the time he wrote the book and because he had personally interviewed many of the people involved. Given the relative dates, this would be like someone today penning stories about the civil rights marches of the 1960s, using personal interviews of the people who were there. If you were such a writer, you’d know you had to get it right because if you didn’t, plenty of eyewitnesses would step forward to set the record straight.

Anyway, holsters. That’s what this post was about. Says so right there in the title, so I must stay on topic. Here’s a quote from Triggernometry about holsters and holster use. I’ve added a couple of paragraph breaks that aren’t in the original, to make it easier for modern eyes to read:
During the percussion-revolver era, body-belt “scabbards” (known today as “holsters”) were introduced. At that time pistols were generally carried butts forward. This enabled the wearer to use a cross-body draw or the plains “reverse” or “twist” draw—a method adopted by the United States Cavalry. It allowed the trooper access both this his saber and to his pistol, leaving his left hand free to control his horse.

It worked as follows: as the hand dropped to the butt, it was turned so that the palm faced away from the body. At the same time the thumb curled around the hammer spur and the index finger entered the trigger guard. With a firm grip the pistol was pulled out, and the momentum both spun the barrel forward to line up on its target and also cocked the hammer. The shooter could either hold the weapon at full cock or fire it as it came level.

Because the thumb was locked over the hammer spur, releasing the spur was impossible until the barrel was clear of the body, making the cross-body or “reverse” draw much safer than the hip draw. The later so-called “conventional” hip-draw holsters did and do sometimes lead to accidents: when the barrel snags, jerking the trigger finger, the result can be a bad leg wound or, perhaps, a dead horse!
One striking thing about this passage is the author’s casual revelation that older “quick draw” holsters almost all held the gun with the trigger exposed. That’s just the way things were done. Holsters were designed that way because the designers fully expected that shooters would put their fingers directly on the trigger during the drawstroke. This action was perfectly safe with the old percussion revolvers, and reasonably safe with single-action revolvers, because neither of these weapon types would fire when the trigger was pulled unless the shooter first retracted the hammer. Putting one’s finger on the trigger during the draw became unsafe when the shooter was using a double-action revolver, and became even more unsafe as modern semi-automatic pistols [with lighter trigger pulls] came into widespread use, especially models without external safeties.

Holster makers eventually realized the dangers of an exposed trigger, and shooters began training themselves not to handle the trigger until the gun was withdrawn from the holster and the muzzle on target, so you will rarely find such a holster today—outside of cowboy-action shooting events.
After I posted that entry, a Facebook fan told me that modern cowboy action holsters do cover the trigger guard.

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Old September 17, 2015, 11:43 AM   #18
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This action was perfectly safe with the old percussion revolvers, and reasonably safe with single-action revolvers, because neither of these weapon types would fire when the trigger was pulled unless the shooter first retracted the hammer.
I'd bet a lot of shooters performed both actions of cocking the hammer and staging the trigger on single-action revolvers in the day. You can only be so fast performing each action separately.
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Old September 17, 2015, 02:44 PM   #19
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Having owned one for a six-inch barrel revolver, I believe that a reverse-carry holster is more comfortable on horseback and in a few other positions. It's interesting that the army started out with that kind of holster.

Actual western cowboy holsters from before WWI tended to be a sort of deep pocket for the revolver so it wouldn't be lost when riding. They apparently were always worn loose on the belt and the belt was relatively loose, too, so it could be easily moved around for comfort. By today's standards, and even more so by 1950s Hollywood holster standards, they were not fast draw holsters. And not every revolver was a Colt Single Action Army, either, for that matter. It could be said that real advances in holster design did not occur until after WWI, mainly in law enforcement circles.
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Old September 17, 2015, 06:44 PM   #20
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Is bolt cover on that M3 up? If it's not, the gun is on safe.
And, with his hand placement, that German could be on him before he got the lid up.
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Old September 17, 2015, 10:25 PM   #21
9x18_Walther
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Quote:
Is bolt cover on that M3 up? If it's not, the gun is on safe.
And, with his hand placement, that German could be on him before he got the lid up.
I've come to the conclusion that this photo was probably staged for morale.

No way you would have your finger on the trigger and have the bolt flap shut.
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