This is the fourth drill in a series of simple exercises you can do to improve your trigger control. These exercises will help you become more aware of your trigger finger and better able to control its motions. No matter how fast you can draw or how dynamically you can move, you will not be prepared to defend yourself with a firearm until you can hit your target reliably. You cannot hit your target reliably until you develop good trigger control, and that’s what this series is about.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE! Start with an empty firearm within the confines of your safe dry fire routine. Check to be sure it is really empty, then choose a safe direction. Never “dry fire” a gun outside of your safe dry fire routine. Before beginning this or any other dry fire drill, ALWAYS check the status of your gun to be sure it is unloaded. Regardless of the gun’s loaded or unloaded status, ALWAYS follow the universal rules of gun safety while you practice.
Exercise #4: Whistle Stop
Remember your practice drill in TAE #3, the one with the penny? We’re going to ramp that drill up and stand it on its head. This is an advanced drill, so be patient with yourself if you have a hard time making it work at first. With repeated practice, you’ll find success!
For this exercise, you need a smartphone stopwatch app or some other way to give yourself a repeating “go” signal that you don’t directly control. For example, on my Droid, I installed a simple timer app that allows me to set it on an infinite loop. Your signal should beep every five seconds or so — long enough that you have time to settle down once the penny is on your sights, but short enough that you won’t need to wait too long until it’s time to press the trigger.
(If you don’t have a smartphone, grab a smart friend to give you a start signal instead.)
- Start your infinite loop timer. Prepare to ignore it a few times while you get set up.
- Place the penny on your front sight. Carefully (so you don’t disturb the penny) get into your perfect shooting stance, including putting your eyeball correctly behind your sights with the sight on your chosen target. Yep, that means you’re looking through the rear sights, at the front sight which will be underneath the balanced penny.
- Place your finger on the trigger and settle down with your eyes on your front sight.
- Wait for the next beep. Immediately, as soon as that next beep sounds, press the trigger. Your goal is to start your trigger press immediately when you hear the beep – not a moment later. Try to finish your trigger press before the beep shuts off, too.
- Now ignore the next few beeps while you reset the gun and put the penny back on the front sight to do everything again. Get into your stance, settle down with your eye on the front sight, put your finger on the trigger, and press the trigger immediately when you hear the next beep.
What are we practicing here? We’re practicing a sudden, quick compression of the trigger without jerking the gun off target. If the penny falls when you press the trigger, you aren’t pressing the trigger smoothly enough. If it stays there throughout your entire trigger press, you did it right — as long as you pressed the trigger immediately when you heard the beep start!
This skill translates directly into being able to get good hits with a good speed.
Try again. And again…
(Watch this blog. More exercises to come!)