Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Training – “Pull the damn trigger!!”

I’m around nine or ten and Uncle Ted is standing behind me, shirtless, smokin’, hands on his hips waiting for me to “pull the damn trigger” on the .22 Colt Woodsman I was shooting for the first time. We were at his cabin “up north” in Michigan and I was getting my first shooting lessons. (just goes to show, we are taught bad habits early in life) For a ten year old, the Colt Woodsman is a sizable piece of iron to be holding for the first time. I was being taught “old school” stance – bladed 45 degrees to the target (a 7-Up can), support hand in my rear pocket, arm full extended, good sight picture and finally “pull the damn trigger Bill!” I still remember how the Colt wavered and shook – I could not hold a damn sight picture to save my soul. Finally, responding to Uncle Ted’s frustrations, as well as my own, I “pulled the trigger” – and was astounded that the can shot off the stump, a clean little hole in its middle.

Well, Uncle Ted slapped me on the shoulder, laughed and gave me a “nice shootin’”. I was pretty darn proud of myself as well, happy with my performance – with my initial impression of proper stance and “trigger pull” imprinted on my ten year old mind.

Well past my formative years, my initial pistol shooting intro by “Tiny” the Taiwanese MP – nothing changed – bladed stance, support hand in rear pocket, arm extended, fairly solid sight picture (I was considerably stronger by then) and my “trigger pull”. Let’s just say, accuracy was not one of my strong points. Things began to change in the pistol shooting world – Cooper began to talk about trigger “squeeze” – others talked about trigger “press”. Stances changed with the introduction of the Weaver and Isosceles – increasing stability and accuracy. And – I began to move as well, finding my new position – my new “shooting home” so to speak. It has settled into what I call a “modified weaver” – feet shoulder width apart, strong side foot toe even with the rear of the support side foot, two-handed grip, arms extended, both eyes open, solid sight picture . . . . . and NO TRIGGER PULL . . . . but a trigger press.

 What’s the best way to explain “trigger press”? Well, demonstration usually has a tendency to be more descriptive than words so let me show you how I teach trigger “press” to new shooters. I use a simple ball point pen, cradle it in my strong side hand, I use the very end 1/3 of my trigger finger to gently press the “trigger”. The video might make it a little clearer as well.

The tendency of many new shooters is to incorporate the trigger finger as one of the parts of the strong side hand that grips your weapon – IT IS NOT!! The ONLY PURPOSE of the trigger finger is to PRESS THE TRIGGER! Period. So, spend some time with this “training device” and see if it improves your accuracy.

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