Trigger control is one of the most important aspects of firearm control. In it’s simplest form, trigger control means keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire the firearm, one of the Three golden Rules of firearm safety. Just as important is the way one “presses” the trigger. It is common even among seasoned shooters to hear them use the term “pull” the trigger. Pulling the trigger in it’s literal translation implies that the trigger finger grasps the trigger and with a squeezing motion of the hand , pulls the trigger into the palm of the hand. as is shown in the video, pulling the trigger causes a natural rotation to the right in the hand of a right handed shooter.

As the distance grows between the shooter and their target, the distance the bullet impacts to the left of center grows. For instance, if I “pull” the trigger on a target that is 10 feet away, the point of impact may be 2″ off center. “pulling” the trigger on the same target at 20 feet away may cause the point of impact to move left to the point that the target is completely missed. This “pull” is easily identified on the Shooters Wheel as points of impact to the left of center target.

Perfect Press

Pistol shooting tips and the trigger wheel


To correct this problem the fundamentals of the “Perfect Press” must be mastered. It starts with training the trigger finger topress flat on the trigger rather than pull on it. This can be a bit trickier than you might expect. I know that I spent many hours training my trigger finger to bend flat at the middle knuckle without curling. You may think that sounds a bit perplexing, but my line of work requires that my hands constantly grasp tools tightly, resulting in a curling of my fingers as natural muscle memory. To bend my trigger finger only at the middle knuckle, leaving the remainder of my finger straight was as foreign to me as wearing a skirt. I have worked and trained to teach my trigger finger to work properly, but as of the writing of this article have spent no time working on the skirt thing….. My training began with physically holding the lower portion of my trigger finger still with my left hand while bending the upper portion at the middle knuckle to a 90 degree position. This portion of my training took many hours until I could freely raise my hand and bend my trigger finger properly without assistance of my left hand as an anchor.


pistol shooting tips


Once I had practiced and trained my trigger finger into performing the proper movement I moved onto being able to “Press” or exert force straight backwards on the trigger without curling the end of my finger. Once I mastered this motion it was time to putthe whole thing into dry practice with a firearm. If you think that it’s all gravy from there, you will find that your body will always try and revert to its first state and cause you to periodically shoot left….the true litmus test of trigger control. To this day I practice this motion with my trigger finger every day while I go about my day. If you think it’s easy, once you have mastered this simple movement, ask some of your non shooter friends to mimic the movement you show them with your trigger finger. In my unscientific trials, 95% of people asked cannot make their finger work that way without holding the base of their finger with the opposing hand.

Once you’ve mastered the “press” with your trigger finger and forced the proper movement into your muscle memory, you can move on to all of the other “demons” that affect your shooting. Without building the “Perfect Press” foundation your efficiency and accuracy with your firearm will never be consistent.