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Old 12-15-2017, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Identifying & Fixing Common Trigger Control Problems

Maybe someone can benefit from the advice given in this article?

Professional football coach Vince Lombardi won five National Football League championships in seven years and never coached a team with a losing record. He once said, “Excellence is achieved by first mastering the fundamentals” and he believed focusing first on the fundamentals is what most contributed to outstanding results. Over the years, I have learned several things about effective handgun shooting, and I still have much more to learn. But my next sentence is a major revelation, and I sincerely mean it.

Of all the eight key shooting fundamentals I have learned and regularly teach to my students, there is one fundamental that stands out and is responsible for the most in number and severity of mistakes. It is not blocking, tackling, passing, or catching, but is also a fundamental. Of course, all shooting basics are essential, and it is difficult to isolate just one area with mistakes because all fundamentals are important and inter-related. But, I continue to identify common mistakes in every class in one fundamental area for both new and experienced shooters. That fundamental is Trigger Control.

Many students ask me how they can overcome these trigger control errors and fix them. Well, there are readily-apparent symptoms, and there are some fixes for these common trigger control mistakes. Most do not even realize they are making these mistakes in this crucial area until I point them out and they see their imprecise target hits.

Early on I experienced all of these myself personally and now I occasionally experience them. So, I want to share how I identify trigger control problems, list the common ones, and suggest how to fix them. And, by the way, this is a perpetual process, especially for me. Hope this helps you some.

"The truly dangerous man dresses inconspicuously and is soft- spoken. He walks away from most confrontations. The only time you learn that the truly dangerous man is mad at you is a split second before you die, for he never fights. He only kills. The truly dangerous man knows that fighting is what children do and killing is what men do." - Charley Reese 1986
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:40 PM   #2
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Very good advice. Thanks. I typically try and teach new shooters on a revolver first. Being new, they just don't count rounds and so I haven't had one not pull the trigger on an empty round after shooting all five or six live rounds. It's very obvious then to them and me if they're flinching, anticipating, jerking, heeling, etc. or a combination of all of them. I don't ever let them shoot the revolver in single action. I've found that even a half assed mastery of double action revolver shooting, translates to rather acceptable auto pistol shooting. ....usually. Conversely, I've seen folks who have shot autos acceptably for quite a while perform miserably when trying to transition to double action revolver shooting. Double action revolver is much less forgiving of a weak grip, or lack of trigger control and mastering that solidifies the importance of isolating the trigger finger and having that surprise at the end of the longer and heavier trigger pull. After "torturing" the new shooter with double action revolver and working to where all their rounds are at least impacting somewhere on a silhouette target at combat distance, I will then let them shoot an auto before they get burned out. Besides being relieved of the long heavy trigger pull, typically their hits on target are pretty damned good. They go home with a smile, which is really what I want after a first range session. I impress on them that double action revolver requires a bit more work, hand strength and dry and live fire, but it's worth it. ...and it translates well when shooting autos. Of course the trade off with autos is learning to clear a jam quickly under fire. That would be saved for the next lesson if they choose to go the auto route, which most do. ...in my limited experience. I always emphasize to them in the strongest terms the importance of learning to clear a jammed auto. Their lives may very well depend on it.
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Old 12-15-2017, 10:45 PM   #3
S. Fisher
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I found the US Army’s trigger control chart to be helpful. I’ve blown them up and used them as targets when showing someone new the fundamentals of shooting.
The article definitely explains the common control issues many beginners have. It really doesn’t take long to correct when you know what you’re doing wrong.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:56 AM   #4
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Very good article for instructors and shooters, experienced as well as newbies.

Thanks for posting, Sanders.
zulu6 out
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