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Trigger finger placement


sroe3
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I have a trigger finger placement issue. I tend to press the trigger with my finger tip which leads to shots left at full speed. Yesterday's match was particularly poor with 2 shots going wide nearly every stage. When I notice or think about it I'm already several targets in and the damage is done. Outside of dry firing with proper technique, does anyone have a tip or trick to accentuate proper finger placement?

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I think you pose an excellent question. Since my accuracy is good or at least average for my level of shooting, I've just assumed there was no problem. I've recently started concentrating more on consistent trigger finger placement and trigger pull, especially on mid to longer range targets. I'm seeing an improvement in accuracy, and speed, or accuracy at speed. I've also been practicing making minute adjustments with the trigger finger when necessary, just like the minute adjustments we make when getting a sight picture. I think just being mindful of the trigger, has allowed a significant improvement. That awareness, combined with lots of practice, will get me where I want to be.

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My hands are pretty big so what I have found that worked well for me is going with the largest backstrap that comes with my Gen 4 Glock. That makes the grip long enough where I'm not curling my finger like I tend to do with my Beretta. My Glock 21 is just naturally long enough in the grip where it does the same thing.

I don't know what you are shooting, but maybe doing something with your grip selection might force you to get better with your trigger pull like it does mine. I've got more than enough shooting problems to work on so if I can just do something to the pistol to control something awful I'm doing, I can just concentrate on controlling all of the other bad habits that I'm trying to get under control.

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From your posts, sounds like you are going through some of the same issues I did a year ago when I bought my G34. Dryfire your Glock against a plain wall (white wall drill) while varying your trigger finger placement. Pay close attention to the sights. When the trigger breaks, you will see the front sight twitch. Move your finger around until you find the place where it doesn't move.

Most pistols I shoot with the front portion of the pad of my finger. With the Glock, me like many others have to have the trigger close to the crease of the first joint for the front sight not to twitch. I found with the larger backstrap, the top portion (near the web) of my strong hand barely contacted the backstrap. Caused me all types of issues on 20+ yard targets at speed. It also put my trigger finger in a more extended position which had me pushing more shots left by pushing the trigger left when I was shooting at speed at 20+.

Your results may vary.

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You definately want to get the trigger on the pad vs the tip of your finger. I have gone thru the same problem. I have large hands and changed all of my mainspring housings to arched and all triggers to SV with the long flat insert.That has resulted in the pad of my finger being on the trigger.

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The issue isn't where your finger is positioned on the trigger, it's that you are not pulling the trigger straight back. I can use the tip or the full pad and still manipulate the trigger. Watch the sights, the biggest problem I typically see is that shooters will get a sight picture and then pull the trigger. You should be seeing a sight picture WHILE you pull the trigger. When you don't its very difficult to self diagnose what is happening. You are likely getting the sight picture and then pushing the trigger, you should see your front sight move to the left. Spend some time dry firing and watch the sights as you pull the trigger, repeat this while taking different placements of your finger on the trigger. You will quickly notice that as long as your focus is on keeping the sights aligned you can place your finger just about anywhere and still manipulate the trigger straight to the rear. Learn to do this slow at first and then work in pressing it faster with the same result.

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Get one of those cheap laser boresights that wedge in the barrel and dry fire. You will see the spot bounce shift and wobble reflecting any flaws in your trigger press. Cheaper and easier than burning up ammo and, IMO, in some ways more effective.

I like this. I have been frustrated with consistently missing the a zone at speed. This along with other suggestion will be great help. Thanks guys

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Pat, you statements made smile. I remember a conversation I had with BE for a Frontsight article on trigger control.

I won't say he outright laughed at me but it was close.

He pretty much said, it does not matter what part of the finger you use, whether you slap or press or anything else BUT you must pull the trigger straight back so as NOT to disturb the sight picture.

Your dry fire practice must reenforce the mandate of not disturbing the sight picture as you pull(press, slap or any other verb) the trigger.

Don Golembieski of Kodiak Precision once said if you know where your front sight is pointed when the shot breaks..........you will know where your bullet hit. Pretty much sounds like calling your shots.

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The problem is with your gun... ;)

You start off your post with the conclusion "I have a trigger finger placement issue". I would suggest you look at other things than just your finger tip because there's a lot of things one could to to make a shot go wide.

What really jumps out at me with what you've written is that you're a couple targets in before you notice or think about it. This really sounds like you're rushing. If your fingertip placement was wrong the whole stage would have wide shots regardless of you noticing.

When that buzzer goes off all my training seems to go out the window along with my brain. Bad habits seems to resurface. So, all I think about is just getting the gun up and aligned. That's what I also do in dry-fire. As long as I don't rush things and just pay attention bad habits tend stay away.

I try to go fast but I make sure I don't rush. I tell myself "Make the hits as quick as I can".

This all seems to be the source of the sayings "balancing speed with accuracy", "slow is smooth, smooth is fast", "you can't miss fast enough", "glock triggers suck", "that's a double" and "there's something wrong with my gun".

I really don't think it problems can be reduced to one thing and if you don't notice what is going on you can't be sure what the issues are.

I'd like to hear how you're progressing with this.

DNH

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Good points Dave. Seeklander once told me I have training scars. I relate to his methods described in his book. I had to take a whole series of steps backwards and retrain using correct technique. As Mike explained, during practice I allowed myself to make errors, so this is what I learned. In a match, my mind would automatically go back to all the wrong things I trained my subconscious mind.

It has taken a long time to fix those problems.

For me, if I take my eyes off my front sight and start looking to the next target before the shot has left the gun, I shoot to the left.

My dry fire drill is to set up a variety of targets in my back yard. I practice Mike's firing cycle then reenforce 'eyes to the next target then the gun." Do this drill as slow as you want, speed is not a factor. What your are doing in this drill is training your subconscious mind to complete the firing cycle before you move your eyes, move your eyes, then move the gun. This routine will naturally happen much faster in a match. You just need to retrain yourself to do it correctly-IMO.

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I have a trigger finger placement issue. I tend to press the trigger with my finger tip which leads to shots left at full speed. Yesterday's match was particularly poor with 2 shots going wide nearly every stage. When I notice or think about it I'm already several targets in and the damage is done. Outside of dry firing with proper technique, does anyone have a tip or trick to accentuate proper finger placement?

By wide do you mean missing a paper target completely?

Are you certain the problem is trigger control? It is frequently the case that people will miss the target and then think that trigger control was the problem, when in fact they aren't really certain of what the problem actually was.

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I might have the same issue. I'm consistently shooting high and left no matter what pistol or ammo that I'm using. I'm getting nice tight groups that aren't all that far off center at 7 yards, but get worse, of course, as the distance gets greater. It's a consistent problem and it's either grip, trigger pull, or both.

It's interesting in that during my Weaver-style police days, my problem that I had to fight was low and to the left. I took fifteen years off from shooting and now I'm relearning everything including the "new" isosceles stance that is standard these days. I'm getting better since I have had some people show me the proper high on the pistol thumbs forward grip that is also popular. It's at least making my groups tight even if they're still maddeningly high and to the left now.

I'm really going to pay for this during this month's Steel Challenge match during Outer Limits. An 8" plate at longer range with my post-buzzer oatmeal brain could turn into a humiliating clown show, but I'm up for it.

I'm also reading Ben's excellent and indispensable Practical Pistol book. I'll put up a proper Amazon review when I'm done, but I'm just in the early stages of it. Turns out most of what I was taught as a police officer isn't really popular for training people to do action shooting these days. So I affectionally refer to the book as the "Everything you learned is wrong" book. :)

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Everybody's hand and coordination is a bit different. It doesn't make sense to me that there is a one size fits all for finger placement nor that it is necessarily the same for each gun. I think that for every hand there is the equivalent of a natural POA, one position where you get the best results without a struggle just like there is with your stance. I think what the OP was asking was how to consistently place his finger on the trigger under stress of rapid fire. There are ways to train for this but perhaps if the hand naturally gravitates to a certain position, it's not smart to fight it, rather work with it and learn how to press the trigger that way.

I shoot revolvers mostly and for tactical fire, that means DA. I only use SA for target shooting and for that I always put the center of the pad on the trigger. At this point anything else just feels wrong. But for DA, I use different positions for different guns. For some it's the pad and for others, usually small guns like my j frame, it's close to the crease of the first joint. I learn my guns so that when I pick up a particular finger placement and pull method comes to mind. I also have a sort of mental target that I aim for on the web of my hand. I feel that position and pull the trigger back to that point. This may not be exactly dead center on the back strap and again, varies with each gun.

IMO,for best results you have to know your hand and your gun.

Something I notice for myself is that as I speed up and recoil control becomes an issue, finger isolation is the real problem. When more is demanded of the grip, it's hard to stop the other fingers from 'helping'.

Just my experience. I am no hotshot.

Edited by meshugunner
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When I dry fire practice, if my trigger finger isn't on the trigger far enough I see the sight twitch left a little. Worse SHO than freestyle. Ironically WHO I do the opposite, sometimes too much finger also pulls sights left. I've been practicing more this month on trigger control, less on draw and reloads. My P99 has a pretty stiff trigger even with a lighter striker spring installed.

It's not uncommon for me to shoot a fair amount of A/C scoring targets. Last month was a classifier match with tight targets leading me to way more penalties than normal. Every shot was on paper, but not always the right color paper. I wasn't calling shots (also a big problem), just seeing good alignment and shooting.

I'm still in the early stages of my shooting career, trying to practice my fundamentals enough that I don't have to correct myself during a stage or match. Better trigger control, stronger weak hand grip and taking more time to refine my sight picture will help me get those A hits. Thanks for all the input.

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I had a similar problem when shooting one handed. When shooting with my left I would shoot right and with the right I would go left. After tons of asking, researching and practice I developed my own technique because nothing would help. I started wrapping my finger around the trigger. What I mean by this is that I would take the distal phalange of my finger and put it all the way in, pulling the trigger with the meddle phalange and the joint countering the force of pulling in the right direction. What apparently this do was a straight pull by canceling the motion of my trigger finger sideways. (Insert confused looking emoticon here)

Hope that was clear...

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My experience is that my trigger finger placement changes for each pistol that I shoot. This may get some criticism from others, but I find that I'm able to remember where it should go for the two guns I shoot the most: a 1911 and a Smith & Wesson M&P. Both of these guns (and any other for that matter) are going to fit my hand differently and have a different length of pull. I prefer to put my finger where I know I can use a natural press of the trigger rather than having to retrain how I pull the trigger. I do this during dry fire practice mostly to see where I can press the trigger without affecting my sight alignment.

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I have a trigger finger placement issue. I tend to press the trigger with my finger tip which leads to shots left at full speed. Yesterday's match was particularly poor with 2 shots going wide nearly every stage. When I notice or think about it I'm already several targets in and the damage is done. Outside of dry firing with proper technique, does anyone have a tip or trick to accentuate proper finger placement?

Chew gum or wear a rubber band on your wrist. I know it sounds funny, but in professional sports you would be amazed at what "weird" things people do to overcome what seems like little imbalances. Ever watch Michael Jordan play, what was his "thing"?

One other thing I learned from my doctor friend that shoots, there are no muscles in the fingers. The muscles that contract the fingers are in the palm and the forearm. You will be amazed at what this perspective will do for you when you learn the "feel" of what muscles operate what functions when firing a pistol.

I hate to say this again as it may seem like I am obsessed with closing your eyes to learn. But try it out.

Edited by SoCalNoMore
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