Fundamentals of handgun shooting: Part 2 trigger control

Safeties were invented by individuals steeped in the idea that more restrictions make something safer. True safety is teaching intelligent, careful and respectful handling of tools that have the power to maim or kill those individuals using them.

As I have taught my children and they know from experience, (two major car accidents caused by others in my daughters short life alone while she was in she was in the vehicle) accidents are always a result of someone not paying attention to their actions. By default an accident is not accidental, but rather quite simply the active result of irresponsible, ignorant or simply lazy behaviors.

True safety with a firearm begins and ends with trigger control, muzzle awareness and situational awareness.

  • Treat all firearms as always being loaded, if you follow this simple rule of thumb you will avoid 100% of all incidents that may occur.
  • Never point a firearm at something you are not prepared to shoot.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and target area. Understand, if you miss what else could you hit?

Trigger control is essential to the proper handling of any firearm, but even more essential to the proper handling of a handgun. If a revolver is cocked or a double action hammer fired handgun is cocked, the mechanical safety CAN fail, and doesnt exist on the handgun. ALL that prevents the firearm from discharging is your FINGER on the trigger!

The safest firearms I have ever fired never had a safety on them, rather they were safe simply because I understand and respect the very simple idea that my finger on the trigger of a firearm equals a round down range. I was taught two simple rules by an individual who in my strict opinion is one of the finest examples of humankind around.

  1. Loaded or not, keep your finger off the trigger.
  2. Loaded or not, always ensure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.

Follow these two very simple rules and you will never regret it, ever. He is absolutely right, I will say that individuals who shoot regularly are almost assured to have a negligent discharge once in their lives. We are human, we get tired, we get complacent and or we get into habits that can be detrimental. However, by ensuring that one of those two rules is always followed we and those we love will remain physically safe.

For myself I have taken to using an old German flak jackets inserts (stacked and taped) to aim the barrel at when cleaning, before stripping said firearm. They also sell some great pads for the same purpose, however, remember that quite simply no amount of safeties can or will make up for human careless behavior. Dont be stupid, dont play around with firearms, they are NOT toys, do not follow the examples of the many, many internet idiots and use firearms when you are drunk, high or simply stupid. Of course, me being who I am, if you do that and end up terminating yourself its probably for the best anyhow.

When gripping the handgun in preparation for shooting, keep your index finger above the trigger well, you can crook it slightly or keep it straight BUT always keep it above the trigger well. This assures you do not trigger a round before getting the barrel on target. When shooting around others, I suggest keeping the barrel pointed down, unless at a location where spalling and or fragmentation and ricochets may occur and than keep the barrel up. (Caveat, I detest ranges that require the barrel to be up, what goes up MUST come down!) however, when in someone else’s house, follow their rules.

Shooting is enjoyable and fun, and can be extremely stress relieving and is almost always a positive thing. However, it can easily be ruined through the actions of one idiot not paying attention and acting carelessly, DONT BE THAT IDIOT.

Now that the safety portion is out of the way, when squeezing the trigger, do so with a firm steady press, and continue all the way through. Remember, firm steady press, you are NOT pulling the trigger, you are pressing it, big difference and it will affect your accuracy. Thats it, that is trigger control.

Free the mind and the body will follow.


About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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2 Responses to Fundamentals of handgun shooting: Part 2 trigger control

  1. Joe McDraken says:

    Thanks for the guide. too educative!


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