Trigger Control

Trigger control is the most important component of firearms manipulation due to its complexity and effect on hit ratio.

Jerking or slapping the trigger will alter the position of your sights on target at the most critical point in the firing cycle.

Follow through is addressed in greater detail in another section however; in this section we will address the aspects of trigger control that are inherent to the recovery stages of the firing cycle.

The majority of the problems that shooters encounter are from poorly fired shots, not poorly aimed shots.

Learning proper trigger control is divided into three stages:

1. Smooth Trigger Pull: Trigger control is defined as the proper application of continuously increasing, positive, rearward, even, and uninterrupted pressure upon the firearm trigger by means of centering the first pad of the trigger finger on the trigger while maintaining optimum sight picture and avoiding lateral pressure to the firearm, until the hammer falls and the firing process is completed.

Dry fire is the key to acquiring this skill. Trigger control does not mean a SLLLOOOWWW squeeze to the rear; it means smooth continuous pressure to the rear until the break point is reached. Once the break point is reached, ride the trigger back to its staging position. Every attempt should be made to keep the surface of the firing finger in contact with the trigger.

2. Trigger Break Point: After a smooth trigger pull is mastered you must learn where the trigger breaks. This break point should not come as a surprise. Shooters should know the break point intimately. This knowledge will help you time your shots to coincide with full presentation of the pistol; when the decision to fire has been made before the weapon is presented to the target. This skill will also aid you in a split second decision not to fire should the target change before the shot breaks.

3. Trigger Reset Point: The reset point is where the sear is re-engaged after the previous shot has been fired. You can feel and hear the reset if you hold the trigger to the rear and cycle the weapon. Then, slowly let the trigger forward until you feel and hear an audible click. The weapon is now ready to be fired again.


In most pistols, it is a part called the Disconnector, not the seer, that we hear click as the trigger is reset.

The Disconnector prevents the pistol from firing multiple rounds if the trigger is held to the rear.

At this point there may be some slack in the trigger that may be removed before encountering the break point. (This portion of the trigger control is also part of the next element of firearms manipulation, follow-through).

Find your Reset Point:
Place the weapon, which has been cleared and made safe, in your firing hand and control the trigger to the rear and hold it there.

Now with your other hand work the slide in a manner that re-cocks the weapon.

Then, slowly, release the trigger until you feel the trigger/sear reset.

As soon as you feel the reset, remove the slack to the break point.
Never lose contact with the trigger until you have decided that the training/engagement is over!

This can also be practiced with a partner. While gripping the weapon with both hands take up a combat shooting stance; have a partner manipulate the slide/charging handle and perform all above steps while maintaining and regaining your sight picture.

Daily Drills

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