Handgun Basics: Trigger Control

Handgun Basics: Trigger Control


Caution: Please always make sure that you are using the utmost care when handling a firearm. Never point the firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy. Before handling ANY firearm please always make sure it is unloaded. Both physically and visually inspect the chamber (not the muzzle) to make sure it is clear. For information on how to safely operate your firearm please consult your owner’s manual.

Trigger Control and Sight Alignment are probably the most important parts of shooting. You can think of sight alignment as pointing at what you want to shoot at, but the trick is to keep pointing at it until the shot goes off.


This is much easier said than done. Every one of us could be a perfect marksman, given the ability to hold a pistol steady for long enough. The problem you are going to have stems from recoil. We are programmed, from caveman times, to flinch when there is a loud bang or very sudden movement. These reflexes are very hard to eliminate when shooting. The gun goes off and the muzzle usually flips up, so after he first shot we “teach” ourselves to compensate and push the muzzle down, called pushing. Once you have convinced yourself that you don’t want to shoot low anymore, sometimes you will actually push the muzzle up to compensate for your pushing down, this is called heeling.

The only thing that you need to do is hold steady on the target and gently squeeze the trigger backwards using the first pad of your trigger finger. Do not jerk the shot back quickly, squeeeeeeze it. If you have checked your stance, grip, and sight alignment and keep focused on the front sight picture, every shot will be a perfect hit. You must convince yourself that you don’t need to do anything about the recoil other than hold onto your weapons system firmly.


When teaching their new recruits how to shoot handguns, some military units teach them to say “squeeze” either in their head or out loud slowly while pulling the trigger backwards slowly. The goal is for every shot to be a “surprise” in the sense that you are not aware of when exactly the trigger will break.

Coming Soon: Double Action vs. Single Action, What’s the difference?

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One Response to Handgun Basics: Trigger Control

  1. Andre Basile says:

    excellent blog.
    like the clarity and relevance of the topics you choose.
    I am glad to know there is anew gun resource in town. I will come visit soon.
    keep up the good work.

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