How Much Trigger Finger Do I Need To Shoot Properly?


Watch TV, movies or just surf the gun web and you’ll see lots of images like the one at the top. You’ll see it plenty at the range, too. The shooter in that photo is using way too much finger in the trigger.

The shooter’s trigger finger is past the first knuckle on the trigger shoe…way too much (Dan Z for TTAG)

When you place that much of your finger across the trigger, it’s difficult to maintain good trigger control. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll pull the gun to one side (the right side if you’re right-handed). Your shot will land outside of your original point of aim.

Make no mistake: the proper grip and a good trigger pull is critical to accurate shooting — and the most likely weakness for any shooter.

It’s not difficult: assume a proper stance, get your sights on target, breathe and squeeze. Your trigger finger is the only part of your body that should move. (Unless you’re moving, which you should be in a defensive gun use.) The key is to always pull the trigger straight back towards you. That keeps your front sight steady and on target until the pistol goes bang.

For the correct trigger finger placement, many shooters and trainers advise using the middle of the first pad of your finger. But most shooters usually find they actually have better trigger control when the shoe is just ahead of — but not on — your trigger finger’s first joint.

That’s the first crease in your finger. Pull straight back and voila!

You can practice proper index finger position on the trigger by dry firing at home (Dan Z for TTAG)

That said, there are two situations where that might not be possible.

First, if you’ve got really small hands. Your finger may not be long enough to get enough purchase…only your finger tip is on the trigger shoe. That means you have the wrong gun. There are handguns that enable our smaller-fingered friends (like the GLOCK 43 above). If you have the wrong gun, get another one.

Second, if you’ve got giant hands. In that case, again, you may have the wrong gun. I say “may” because there may not be a handgun capable of properly accommodating your lengthy trigger finger.

If you don’t or can’t change your gun to suit your small finger, or if you can’t find one that enables proper trigger placement for your humongous digit, training is the answer (both dry fire and live). It’s entirely possible to master a straight pull — and accurate shots — with either too little or too much trigger finger, as long as you train enough. And we suggest that you do.

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