Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Double Action Shooting Trigger Control

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

The reason a lot of shooters out there have problems with double-action triggers is due to bad trigger control. I blame the plastic fantastics; so many people have gotten used to only having to deal with a trigger pull in the 4-pound to 7-pound range common to poly striker guns, which are just too easy.

It’s something to bear in mind if you want to put either a DA semi-auto or revolver in a concealed carry holster or on the nightstand, as you ought to know how to shoot it well.

It’s kind of like how no one drives a manual anymore because basically every car comes with an automatic transmission. Similarly, not too many people get used to the longer, harder pull of a DA trigger and consequently seem to have issues hitting the broadside of a barn with one. The reason why is they never learned good trigger pull technique, since the typical poly striker gun doesn’t require good form to shoot, or at least doesn’t to the degree that DA revolvers or pistols do.

The Roman legions would train with dummy swords that weighed three times as much as the gladii they carried into battle, so soldiers could wield them with ease. Similarly, if you can learn to operate a trigger with a longer length of travel and more resistance decently, a short-travel light trigger will be a breeze.

Where to begin?

First is with how you pull said trigger.

A trigger is a lever, and like any other lever there is a load on one side and a fulcrum. The shorter the lever, the more effort will be required to move the load. Therefore, the closer to the bottom of the trigger you place your finger, the easier it will be to operate.

If you have issues getting the trigger to move, then you’re probably holding too high. Shift your finger a little further down the face of the trigger. You can also install a spring kit, but that’s taking the easy way out.

Next, consider part of the finger with which you pull the trigger.

The pad of the finger seems natural, but in truth isn’t the best part of the finger to squeeze the trigger with. Instead, try either the distal joint (more precisely the distal interphalangeal joint – that’s the first knuckle from the tip) or between the distal and proximal interphalangeal joint – the middle knuckle – to contact the trigger, as the DIP (as it’s called) or area between the DIP and PIP joints is capable of applying more pressure than the pad of the finger itself for most shooters.

Granted, if you have the hand strength and hand size of a Sasquatch the pad is fine, but most people are better off not doing that technique.

Since the DIP or area between the DIP/PIP is stronger, it therefore is more capable in accomplishing the task. However, don’t use so much finger that it starts to curl.

Also, pay attention to the mechanics of how you pull the trigger, and this is the area where most people end up pushing shots off-target.

Trigger compression should be smooth and uniform. A hard, swift squeeze – which many people use to compensate for the harder pull of a double action – will pull shots to the right. What will pull shots to the left is the trigger finger curling around to the thumb. Instead, the finger should slide across the trigger face, but stop short of curling. Similarly, the trigger finger should slide back as the trigger resets. Pressure, therefore, should only be applied when it needs to be; relax the trigger finger after the break.

Start with slow dry fire practice with all these techniques. If you can get to the point where you squeeze slow and smooth and the sights don’t move when the trigger breaks – and when it resets – then you’re getting it.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.