Trigger Press

By Troy Eberling

For those of us that live in the gun world, we often hear terms over and over. Or the experts give advice that often makes sense, but we might not fully understand it; information that might be antiquated, or doesn’t fit our body type. Sometimes this guidance can cause us to not reach our full potential when we shoot due to “not doing it right.” So my goal today is to give a little tip that might help you to shoot the pistol a little better.

Who has not heard the recommendation “to make the accurate shot, you have to press the trigger with the pad of your finger, straight back”? I think we all have. We have all been told that “too much” or “too little” index finger on the trigger causes us to “push” or “pull” the shot when we press the trigger. It makes sense. And mechanically it makes sense when you concentrate on your deliberate actions of squeezing the trigger. We can literally watch the muzzle of the gun walk left or right when we press the trigger with too much or too little index finger on the trigger. So we buy into this logic as sound counsel when shooting the pistol. It has been the staple of pistol marksmanship for centuries.

Sometimes, shooters have the potential to be really good shooters, but just can’t quite figure out why they can’t make that accurate shot. There could be a reason for that. Maybe it is their grip? Perhaps, when a shooter gets a good grip, high in the tang of the back strap, all they have left for reach to the trigger is the very tip of the finger. The shooter can’t help that he or she has short fingers. Or perhaps they have just the opposite problem, and have too much finger reach that their finger press falls in the first knuckle. Both of these scenarios present a problem for the shooter when it comes to the age, old advice of pressing the trigger with the pad. Often what happens when shooters are getting instruction from experts or certified firearms instructors, the first thing instructors want to do is correct the finger placement to follow this advice. This only puts the shooter in an awkward grip that often compounds the loss of accuracy in the shot. I have experienced this many times while receiving instruction from NRA certified instructors.

So what is the golden goose of trigger press? The trick lies in the placement of the longest joint of the index finger. As long as this section of the finger (Fig. A) continuously points in the direction of the target it won’t matter where you place the rest of your finger on the trigger. It is the deflection of this part of the finger (Fig. B)that causes the push or pull of the muzzle of the pistol. So the next time you go to the range, give this tip a try. You will be surprised at your results. And you will feel more comfortable gripping your firearm in the process.


Fig. A


Fig. B