Coaching for Accuracy: Improving Your Trigger Technique

Submitted by Hannah Sones of ELEY

Test range manager for ammunition manufacturer ELEY and GB coach, Martyn Buttery, knows a thing or two about shooting in the center of the target. Here, he gives his advice on perfecting your trigger pull.

What causes poor trigger technique? As Martyn Buttery simply states, “It’s the shooter”. The only external influenceaffecting the trigger is the user. Perfecting your trigger pull is one of the earliest things you’ll learn when starting out, but how many of us actually put the theory into practice when out on the range?

First things first. Let’s look at what the correct position should be. Good trigger technique involves placing the trigger in the middle of the pad of your fingertip so that it forms a right angle to the barrel.

Pressure needs to be applied in a straight line towards the rear of the gun. The tendency is often to apply pressure to one side of the trigger in effect pulling or pushing it at a slight angle. This smallest bit of movement can negatively impact the accuracy of a shot.

Finally, it’s important to follow through when pulling the trigger, continuing to hold it down until recoil has subsided. How do you know where you’re going wrong and how you can improve?

Martyn uses a Scatt trainer, which involves an advanced optical sensor being mounted onto your firearm to record its position during aiming and impact. This then provides visual feedback on your barrels position when focussed on the target. It is not a scoring mechanism, but purely an analysis tool. It will tell you if you have good approach, good hold and good follow-through – all vital elements to perfecting your trigger pull.

Martyn notes, ideally when taking aim at the target, you want to be bringing your barrel down between 11 and 1 o’clock until you’re straight above the target. Then take a breath allowing your diaphragm to open up and your body to be in a completely relaxed and natural position. Then you’re ready to drop down onto the bullseye. When the trigger is pulled, the Scatt trace should be short. The shorter, the better.

If the trace is pulling to one side for example, this means that you’re not pulling the trigger back in a straight line andcould be causing shots to go off horizontally.

Once the Scatt data has provided visual feedback, the only way to improve is practice. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

3 Responses

  1. Bringing your barrel down between 11 and 1 o’clock until you’re straight above the target is a part of this method but is it for rifles only? The article does not indicate. "Then take a breath allowing your diaphragm to open up and your body to be in a completely relaxed and natural position...." Is it just one breath? and hold.....No mention of when to exhale exactly. My understanding is … the last exhale is just about to the end ,,,I slowly "release" the trigger.
  2. I agree in theory, particularly about applying pressure straight back, but the joint of the finger should be directly over the trigger to eliminate the feeling of sponginess. The exhale will provide the shooter between 3 & 6 seconds to get the shot off, pistol, because this will be as still as a person can be depending on their physical condition. Good luck!
  3. If side pressure on the trigger is the same all the time bullet impact will be the same. 1/8th movement from center left or right will place bullet impact at 88 yards with a pistol 1" right or left. When you see vertical diversion in your groups this is one place to find out why!

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