Trigger Hurts Your Finger?

Last week I worked with a student who mentioned that his finger hurt when shooting his Glock pistol. He said that the trigger safety lever (the small, inset “trigger within the trigger”) was striking his finger after firing.

Like most new shooters, he attributed this to the design of the gun. In fact this type of trigger safety, though pioneered by Glock in the 1980’s, has been widely adopted in models made by Beretta, Ruger, Taurus, HK, etc. Also like almost any tool that one may use, if it hurts when you’re using it, you’re probably doing something wrong.

The problem is not the tool, it’s how you’re using it.

This type of complaint is not uncommon among shooters who are improperly firing their handgun. When using any firearm, regardless of whether it is a handgun or a rifle, the finger should remain in constant contact with the trigger before, during and immediately after the firing sequence. The finger is only removed when you will cease firing and disengage from the target.

All other factors being equal, how one activates the trigger is the most important factor in marksmanship. Note my use of the term activate. While we often speak of “pulling the trigger,” it is more accurate to say we squeeze or press the trigger. This implies the finger remains on the trigger until it is completely compressed, and then held for a moment. For more information see my post Top Three Shooting Tips for Beginners.

Over the years, I have witnessed large numbers of shooters who were perplexed as to why, when they aim squarely at the bulls-eye, the bullet strikes elsewhere on the target. Trigger pull is absolutely critical to one’s accuracy. Proper trigger pull involves:

  • Taking up any “slack” in the trigger.
  • Pausing at the “wall” (where the trigger feels firm)
  • Then slowly pressing / squeezing the trigger rearward.
  • Keeping the trigger completely compressed for a moment after the firing sequence is complete.
  • Lastly, releasing the trigger slowly.

Among the more common mistakes made in activating the trigger include:

  • Jerking the trigger (starting in contact with the trigger, then pulling it abruptly in a manner that is haphazard and not smooth)
  • Slapping the trigger (starting without prior contact, this involves rapidly moving the finger rearward until it makes contact with the trigger, continuing the motion until the gun fires)

In closing, remember the third of my top shooting tips: “if you don’t hit the bulls-eye, pull the trigger progressively slower,” and you will hit accurately.

Good luck and happy shooting!

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