By Andrea Micheli
SI Staff Instructor Director of Training for Italy and
I was training Swiss Army Reserves with their service pistol recently. During a break one of the officers asked why I was shooting with the first joint of my finger on the trigger. He explained how he had been told to pull the trigger with the middle, or second joint of the index finger. He further went on that this was the right way - as the Shooting Manual for the Swiss Army says. He asked why I was doing differently.
Actually I have to confess that I had never even realized that I was shooting that way. Usually I shoot a Glock but for the training with the army I had to use my military SIG 220 “Pistole 75” which is a double action, and for training was carried loaded with a round in the chamber - the first shoot was double action. Although some make a big issue of which part of the finger one shoots with, it was never an issue in hitting.
Then I explained that it depends on the type of chair, the size of the gluteus muscles, how much experience one has in sitting on said chair, the time allocated to sitting (hurried or leisurely), etc.
Placing the finger on the trigger depends on the type and size of the gun, the size of the hand, type of grip (one handed / two handed grip - dominant or support hand), how much training and experiences the shooter has, time interval available to shoot, etc.
Regarding shooting with a pistol: when someone learns confidence with the fundamentals like stance, grip, pointing in, the use of sights, breaking the shoot, and how to control the recoil, it is the
best to only put the pad of the finger on the trigger which is the most sensitive part of the finger.
This allows a better perceive to gradually press the trigger to the point when the shoot breaks helping also to pull it straight back avoiding jerking shoots in case that the grip and the wrist lock needs to be improved. Once the fundamentals are understood, the shooter is more experienced, and he starts shooting in more dynamic situations like from the draw, on the move and so on, it’s time to find out which position is more natural and works at best with the type of pistol he usually uses.
Becoming slave of one position could be counterproductive as shooting has also to do with being relaxed and produce accurate shoots, it is not only about the position of the index finger on the trigger but can only be done in conjunction with other related elements and fundamentals.
Trying to put exactly one spot of the finger on the trigger like many instructors and shooting manuals advice, could lead to an unnatural position of the hand, producing negative tension with negative results on hitting the target.
Where to positioning the finger has nothing to do with “wrong” or “right” even less with “always” or “never” but it is something individual that depends on different elements and situations like I have discussed.
Finally I told the officer: “When we do the next exercise just grab your gun with a correct and relaxed grip, pointed in, lock the wrist, squeeze the trigger and don’t think too much about your finger …. or your butt when you sit in a chair.”
In the USA you say, Just do it".