I like posting pictures of the students actively going through scenarios of various types. It helps give people some idea of what we do in training at T-M Firearms Training. Scenarios like active shooter, charging attacker, hostage situation, defending and protecting a family member, close quarters contact, bad guy in a crowd, shoot/no shoot, home invasion, and others that a person may find themselves. The pictures are often action pictures that are taken while the student is shooting or beginning to engage the target or completing the follow through and getting off of the trigger and straightening the trigger finger after the shot. In the pictures it often appears that the student is on the trigger at the wrong time. Pictures don’t always tell the whole of the story or what is happening especially in action stills. I have on occasion had folks come down hard on the finger on the trigger. Sometimes getting down right rude. Screaming, “Where is the finger control?” You might say they are really quick to judge. For most folks who train on a square range with no movement or other actions this can seem an issue. After all how many do you know who actually train in a realistic manner and learn to utilize the skills they may need? Someone who trains strictly on, “Off trigger until sights are on target or at full extension” will certainly have concerns when they see these pictures. If they will note there is muzzle awareness which is another safety issue. Safety first, always. I get that.
So here is where we get into the trigger control and trigger finger discipline. They are different understand.
Trigger control is involving the act of squeezing the trigger smooth and consistent to the rear without disturbing the sight picture. The front sight should not move off of the target during the process of pressing the trigger. This means no jerking the trigger. No slapping at the trigger. No stopping and starting as the trigger is pressed. Proper placement of the finger on the trigger. Trigger control is essential for accuracy. Lack of it can be devastating to accuracy. Jerk the trigger you miss! “Trigger control, Trigger control.”
Trigger finger discipline on the other hand is keeping the finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot. This could be keeping the finger straight and on the frame or slide of the gun (best). Could be straight and placed on the trigger guard (not the best). Could be not completely straight but not yet on the trigger (most certainly not preferred or entirely safe). I do teach, “Trigger finger straight and somewhere other than the trigger.” In defensive shooting placing the finger on the trigger is dictated by the situation we find ourselves in. In a real life situation you may find the need to place the finger on the trigger but then find the bad guy running away or giving up. We don’t press the trigger and shoot at this point. No Need! We could be looking at something we are not entirely sure is safe or secure. Thus the finger might be on or remain on the trigger without pressing for the shot. The situation could be one that we have to fire during the presentation before we reach full extension and acquire sights, close quarters or charging attacker. You may find yourself going to the trigger in preparation to fire as soon as we clear the holster, muzzle oriented toward the bad guy, or anywhere along the line of the presentation. This is what you are seeing in some pictures. Should we not be training for real life situations when we own a defensive firearm or carry a gun in public? The integrity of trigger finger discipline is still intact.
Scenario based training is so important for training in defensive shooting. Part of it is trigger control for accurate effective hits and trigger finger discipline for safety and responsibility. It is training beyond the fundamentals and basics. Of course we get the fundamentals down before we move into advanced drills and scenarios. For example; Don’t go out and try to run a close quarters contact drill without first establishing good sound fundamentals and developing skills to get it done safely. Scenario based training is training for real life. Preparing for plausible situations and developing the skills that could save both your life and the life of another. Yet still being responsible and safe. As we train safety is always a big concern. Firearms are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury or death. As a good friend of mine Rob Pincus has put it, “The benefits of what we do in training must outweigh the safety risks.” There are risks that should never be taken when training but that could be another topic. Be safe! Train hard! Train often!