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At my range there are a few new shooters. I get asked sometimes " how do I teach myself to stop jerking the trigger? " So I put it out for those that are more qualified to answer this than I.
 

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lots of dry fires and drop some snap caps in with regular ammo and that will tell you what the problem is and the dry fires will always help you see how youre doing...
 

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Jeff :

Great site. I will pass on the info about the wall drill.

101:

That is what I have told them to do. Snap caps are great because you can really tell if they have a flinch

Thanks for the info guys
 

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Revolvers are great for learning trigger control. You can hide a spent cartridge in the mix and the shooter can really find out what is happening when the pistol does not go bang.
 

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Learning to minimize trigger jerk (no one every completely eliminates it) takes practice, concentration, and relaxation.



The Wall Drill is an outstanding way to start.



Once you go from the wall to the range, though, quite a few people still jerk the trigger when the noise & recoil of a gunshot is added to the equation. This is where the ball & dummy drill will help. Or, even more effective, you can use a variant that Larry Vickers came up with called the "dummy & ball" drill. Instead of having a few snap caps in a mag full of live ammo, have a few live rounds in a mag full of snap caps. It really does work much better. Instead of catching yourself with a trigger jerk, you instead are practicing perfect trigger pulls and the gun going *bang* is a true surprise.



Of course, just doing the drills won't help unless you know how to pull the trigger properly. One of the most common causes of trigger jerk is that people rush their shots. It can be "perfect sight picture syndrome" (the sights are lined up perfectly so they pull the trigger quickly while the sights look right), it can be impatience, etc. To learn proper trigger manipulation you have to pull the trigger slowly. When you start to get resistance, don't yank through it. Just keeping adding consistent pressure while moving the finger straight back. There is nothing wrong with taking 5 seconds to pull a trigger when you're just starting out or working on the very best possible accuracy you can deliver.



Too many people get impatient, feel pressured to fire the gun sooner than they should, and so they just yank through the last part of the pull. It's a very bad habit.
 

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I think the anticipation of the noise is a big issue, but lack of upper body strength and stamina is an overlooked reason. Holding a 3+ lb. pistol in the ready position for extended periods is a lot work. Then to ask a new shooter to manipulate a trigger with finesse is a lot to accomplish with tired forearm muscles.



Weight training improved my shooting dramatically, more than anything else.
 

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These are new shooters asking how to stop jerking the trigger. To me I would first want to watch the shooter and make sure that they are indeed jerking the trigger. Why do they think they are jerking the trigger?



A new user could have to tight a grip, not placing his trigger finger correctly on the trigger, anticipating the recoil and breaking thier wrist up or down and improper follow through and the list goes on.



Others have posted good tips on how to improve jerking the trigger and can help with the other problems as well. But if they are truley new shooters I would answer thier question, but offer to watch.



On a side note a very talented shooter the other week at the range asked me to watch him shoot and see if I noticed anything. I am not the caliber of shooter he is, but sometimes having someone else watch you shoot can help a lot. Turns out he was simply jerking his trigger on this particular gun.
 

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ToddG said it better than I ever would be my first recommendations would always be to dry fire a lot and during live fire take your time pulling that trigger. If are rushing it then stop and try again. Call your shots. You should have a pretty good idea where each shot is going to hit. Dry fire on the range in between live fire shots if you are getting low lefts to bring yourself back to good slight alignment, trigger control and breathing. Breath control is important. If you find yourself holding your breath and the pistol starts moving around then stop and try it again.



Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.



Focus on the front sight. All the cool kids are going to black rear sights and a dotted front sight.



The Marine Corps teaches BRASS and it has always worked for me and anyone I've helped shoot.



Breathe

Relax

Aim

Sight

Squeeze.



I also avoid caffeinated beverages for some time before I hit the range.



Take classes. If nothing else NRA pistol classes are everywhere.



Read books.
 

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I feel the two most things that contribute to trigger jerking are:



1) Being subconsciously afraid of the gun.

Cure: Respect the gun, but don't be afraid of it.



2) Using your sights and trying to get the shot off before you lose your target.

Cure: Always learn to point shoot first. Don't worry about your sights yet. Practice point and squeeze before you go into target shooting. In a SD environment, you'll probably not even use your sights anyway.
 

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Steelshooter said:
Dry fire on the range in between live fire shots if you are getting low lefts to bring yourself back to good slight alignment, trigger control and breathing.


Every time I see someone do this at the range (which is rarely), I wish I had a cookie to give him. I'm as guilty as anyone of making the same mistake over and over again instead of stopping to fix it the smartest way possible ...



My wife and I were out for some lunch today and stopped in a little arts & crafts store. They had a refrigerator magnet that I still wish I'd bought. It simply said, "Only make new mistakes."



DSHIDS said:
Cure: Always learn to point shoot first. Don't worry about your sights yet. Practice point and squeeze before you go into target shooting. In a SD environment, you'll probably not even use your sights anyway.


Your suggestion is blasphemous and you shall reap the rewards of your wickedness!



Though actually, California Highway Patrol has been following that model for quite a few years now with outstanding success. And quite a few programs which teach use of a firearm as part of a broader self-defense system actually ignore the sights altogether.



I personally think that using your sights is a critically important part of learning to be a good shooter, but reality has taught us quite clearly that it's not necessary to becoming a survivor.
 

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ToddG said:
I personally think that using your sights is a critically important part of learning to be a good shooter


100% agreed.



I just think that point and squeeze shooting should be your foundation building block form until you have pretty much eliminated your trigger slapping habit. Only then will you be a good target shooter with your sights.
 

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DSHIDS said:
I just think that point and squeeze shooting should be your foundation building block form until you have pretty much eliminated your trigger slapping habit. Only then will you be a good target shooter with your sights.


Actually, I've seen two completely opposite but equally effective approaches:

  • Teach people to point and squeeze, live fire at human-sized targets from the beginning. This has the effect of getting people over the flash & noise which is so much more noticeable when you're boring your eyes into the front of the pistol as it contains a huge explosion over and over again. Once they're used to guns going off, they can learn to shoot with precision without being annoyed or distracted by the gun going off.
  • Extensive dry-fire before the first live shot is fired. You achieve essentially the same result, people learn to handle the gun without needing to worry about muzzle blast. While it may not eliminate as many "problem shooters," the average person also walks away from it with better (proper) fundamentals. It's a trade-off.




    • It's also been my experience that, while neither approach is as effective for someone who's already done some shooting and established bad habits, dry-fire is much more likely to correct their problems than blasting away without worrying about their sights.
 
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