Managing The Trigger

One of the best things about my life is how I’ve cultivated so many great friends. Those friends enrich my life, and it’s a pleasure when I get the opportunity to do something nice for them. This week, Mitch Dawkins, whose dad shot on my rifle team when he was a teenager, called about a shooting lesson for his new bride, Megan. Megan is preparing for a career in law enforcement and Mitch wanted me to give her a pistol lesson.

They showed up in the afternoon with their gear, and I asked Megan how much instruction she’d had. As an answer, she showed me a piece of paper her instructor had given her. It was a copied story I’d written about a trip to Gunsite in Paulden, Arizona. Inspite of my years of competition shooting and teaching, I’ve continued to learn, and I like to share what I learn. I was relating my experiences at a writer test of the a then-new Pro Custom line of competition pistols. There are a few aspects of shooting a pistol that are critical to getting a good shot. Grip is certainly important, both in shooting accurately and quickly. Sight picture is obviously important, but the biggest impediment for most shooters is trigger management. No matter what you’re shooting, you won’t shoot well if you don’t manage the trigger properly. We’ve all heard that you squeeze the trigger and don’t jerk it, but sometimes just being told a simple fact doesn’t make a mental connection.

An accurate shot requires that the trigger be activated without moving the gun off target. On first thought, this seems easy. It would appear that all the shooter has to do is to make the gun go off with the trigger finger while not disturbing the aim with hand movement. This is a part of the equation in extreme accuracy shots, but close distance shooting doesn’t require this much precision. Many pistol shooters have trouble keeping their shots in a four inch circle at just five yards. How could this happen?

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