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Finding Your Correct Grip and Trigger Finger Placement

Finding Your Correct Grip and Trigger Finger Placement

Grip and trigger finger placement not only influences your trigger press and shot placement but it can determine how quickly you’ll progress in skill.  Today’s post is a straightforward but often overlooked and misinterpreted fundamental.

First, ready your handgun

Grab a cleared pistol.

  • For semi-automatic handguns, ensure the magazine has been removed, lock the slide to the rear, and verify both visually and physically that the chamber is clear. 

  • If you have a revolver, release the cylinder and verify that no ammunition is present.

Prepare your grip as though you are about to dry fire.

  • Charge the firing mechanism by cycling the slide on that empty gun.

  • If it's a double action, leave the hammer forward.

  • See if you can press the trigger and hear it click.

Second, find the perfect master grip. The web of your dominant hand sits up high on the strap, just under the curve at the top of your grip.

 The web of your dominant hand sits as high as possible under that curve below your slide, an area known as the "back strap"

The web of your dominant hand sits as high as possible under that curve below your slide, an area known as the "back strap"

  • Your pinky, ring and middle finger are wrapped around the grip, high enough to allow your middle finger to make contact with the bottom of the trigger guard.

  • These two tactile points – the web of your hand on the back strap and the middle finger against the underside of the trigger guard - will ensure a consistent and proper firing grip.

Notice each of these shooters have the web of their hand as high up as possible on the back strap of their guns.
  • Short grips and hanging pinkies? On some compact guns that have shorter-length grips, your pinky may not be able to grip.  That’s okay.  That little finger contributes very little grip tension, so letting it relax will not impact the grip strength of your other fingers.  If it truly pesters you, you can get a “floor plate” for your particular magazine that has a finger step.

Third, find the correct place for your trigger finger. Place your relaxed finger on the trigger. Use touch and not sight.

  • Where your finger naturally rests is a result of your natural range of motion, the size of the pistol, and the size of your hand. You'll find your trigger finger placement may vary slightly between different-sized handguns. 

  • Your finger pad may not rest neatly on the face of the trigger as some may advocate. That's okay. The key is whether you can comfortably and consistently press that trigger straight to the rear without disturbing the lay of the sights. 

  • If you can do that without artificial adjustments to your grip every time you have to shoot, you have successfully identified your optimal trigger finger placement.

This is how your hand will naturally form under any stress with that gun, taking into consideration your particular hand size and the gun's type and size.  Train yourself to manage the trigger from that natural position so you can build consistency into your shooting technique.

There are internet pictorials that mislead you to believe you have to precisely place the tip of your index finger on the trigger for the perfect trigger finger.  This premise can lead shooters to micro-adjust their grip and index finger every time time they pull from their holster or shoot in order to mimic that pictorial.  

If you have to make those micro adjustments every time your gun is in your hands, your gun probably does not fit you and/or you are practicing an unnatural placement and burdening yourself with an unnecessary step to your draw and shoot sequence.

Remember, when you press the trigger, the only moving part of your hand should be your trigger finger pressing straight and uninterrupted to the rear of the gun. The rest of your grip and hand should be still.  Your grip tension is unchanged throughout. You are not going to shift your gun around in your hand in a real shooting scenario and it certainly isn't comfortable to practice that way.

Train to manage the trigger from your proper natural master grip and natural trigger finger placement, and watch yourself shoot with better and consistent results.

Do you have ways you practice your grip and trigger finger placement?  I'd love to hear them!


The Right Trigger Press

The Right Trigger Press

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