Your trigger pull: 3 Invaluable Exercises

by Alexander Vostrykov

Even the most severe mistake in aiming will not spoil your accuracy that much as an incorrect trigger pull, tremor etc.

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Today I'm going to talk about how to make your trigger pull if not perfect, then at least acceptable. We all face this problem firing pistols. It's not very noticeable with rifles or shotguns, because there in most cases you fixate the gun between your shoulder and your weak hand, so the impact of your incorrect trigger pull is not that obvious. But handguns unveil this problem right away: if the pull is not exactly backwards, the barrel will move slightly away from the line of fire, affecting your accuracy. Here I'm going to share 3 very effective exercises to master your trigger pull.

Cleaning Rod DrillExercise #1: aka Cleaning Rod Drill. My favourite one. Take your handgun's cleaning rod as shown on the picture. Put on the ring onto the last phalange (distal phalange) of your trigger finger, the opposite end of the rod should rest on your hand between the base of trigger finger and the thumb. Your task is to pull the rod strictly rearwards. If it doesn't work, try to change the exact placement of the ring on the finger. Find out the correct position and stick to it. Practice till you make this motion correct automatically.

Also, you may practice the same exercise with a pen or a pencil, in similar way, but you need both hands to be involved (your weak hand will support the pen additionally, since it doesn't have a ring).

Exercise #2: aka Laser Drill. For this exercise you need a handgun equipped with a laser sight. Make sure your gun is unloaded first. Aim at a target or another object on the wall. Pull the trigger and watch the movement of the red dot (beam). Practice till your pull doesn't make any movement of the dot. Then - increase the distance and practice the exercise again.
IMPORTANT. Any dry fire exercise, including this one should be done pointing the gun in the safe direction!

Penny DrillExercise #3: aka Penny Drill. Another entry level exercise. Personally I would rate it lower than the first two. You aim your handgun in the safe direction. You or your partner puts a coin on the front sight of your handgun. You should be able to dry fire your handgun and not have the penny fall off. Practice the exercise one-handed and two-handed grip. Also, the difficulty may depend on the front sight shape of your handgun.

Don't neglect these exercises. Sceptics may say that just actual shooting makes it perfect. Yes and no. Developing the muscle memory will better your skills, so that it will save you thousands shots to gain the same results.

Anyway, practice and may the good trigger pull be with you!