Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Trigger Finger

One of the issues that I see a lot, especially with new shooters, is when the finger should and should not be on the trigger. This is an important factor for everyone, no matter how much training/practice we’ve had.

The bottom line is that your finger and brain working together is your safety, regardless of the weapon you’re holding. We use mechanical safeties because they provide an extra layer of protection from making a mistake, but if you’re not thinking about keeping your finger and trigger eventually you’ll end up in trouble.

When should your finger be on the trigger? When your sights are on target. How do you confirm when the sights are on target? By looking through them. When your sights are on target and you’re looking through the sights your finger should be on the trigger ready to press off an accurate hit. Once the sights come off target or your eyes come off the sights your finger should be off the trigger. And off the trigger means indexed on the frame or slide, clear of the trigger and guard.

At all other times, with the exceptions of firing from a retention-position or other close quarters type situation, your finger should be off the trigger. I lower the weapon down to a ready position, the sights come off the target and my finger comes off the trigger. My weapon is indexed on the threat but my eyes come off the sights to perform a quick scan. My finger comes off the trigger. When you think about it your finger is off the trigger more than on.

There are two places for your trigger finger. Off the trigger and clear of the trigger guard, or on the trigger in anticipation of firing. Having your finger on the trigger at the wrong time makes you dangerous to everyone, including yourself. This goes double when things start going wrong, someone is trying to put some hurt on you, and lives are at stake. If forced to shoot it’s because lives depend on shooting accurately to stop the threat, accuracy being defined by the shot you’re attempting. Lives also depend on you not making a mistake, firing a negligent shot and injuring someone not involved in the conflict, or shooting yourself. (Note: Everyone I know who shot themselves said they knew it immediately, and it hurt like hell. People shot during a fight sometimes never know they are hit until the fight is over.)

Do not let yourself get into the habit of the finger being indecisive, wriggling around in the air between your “safe” index and the trigger. This is a sign of a clouded mind. One thing we can’t afford in a fight is indecision. It doesn’t do us any good, and threats will pick up on this to use to their advantage. Assess the situation, decide on a proper course of action, and then perform safely and efficiently.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15, Auto Pistol

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