Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Skill Set: Rule #3

ImageRule 3: Finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target and you are ready and willing to shoot. In concept this is pretty simple. When the sights are off target your finger is off the trigger. Regardless of the type firearm the ultimate safety mechanism is your finger working in conjunction with the brain. This should be common sense, but the biggest safety issue with people and firearms is Rule 3.

Rule 3 is violated for several reasons. First, the firearm is designed so that when gripping it having your finger on the trigger feels natural and comfortable. Also, some people believe having their finger on the trigger will allow them to shoot quicker. This isn’t true, and only makes you a danger to yourself and those around you. Properly handling a firearm means the majority of the time when it’s in your hands the finger is off the trigger. If you don’t practice this habit you’ll end up with your finger on that trigger at the wrong time, especially under stress.

When it’s not on the trigger the proper location for the finger is high on the frame or receiver, well clear of the trigger and trigger guard. From this location it takes a mental decision and physical action to position your finger onto the trigger. Simply taking the finger off the trigger but leaving it inside the trigger guard isn’t enough. You get startled, stumble, or someone shoves you and suddenly the finger is applying pressure to the trigger. The same thing goes for placing the finger on the front of the trigger guard. It’s only a short distance for the finger to move from there to the trigger.

On the other side of the coin when the sights are on target your finger is on the trigger. If you are aiming that means you’ve made the decision, at least like 99.99%, that you’re going to fire a round, otherwise the sights shouldn’t be on target. The sights are on target and your finger is on the trigger, with any slack taken out of the trigger, ready to press. This doesn’t mean you have to press the trigger, but if you wait until it’s time to shoot to position the finger that motion will move the sights. It also greatly increases the chance you’ll slap the trigger, because you’re in a rush, as opposed to pressing it smoothly. Establishing this habit of “sights on target, finger on trigger” is especially critical for defensive applications.

With today’s weapons – their design and the materials they are constructed from -they don’t go bang unless something presses the trigger. Being owner and master of that weapon means it doesn’t fire until you’ve decided it’s time to shoot. Knowing when to have the finger off and on the trigger is one of the most important fundamentals of gunhandling.


October 4, 2012 - Posted by | General Training

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