On the Trigger Reset

By ninpo_student from The Ready Line and Deus Ex Machina

The problem isn’t trigger reset as much as how it’s taught. Done properly, the end goal is the trigger resets under recoil, allowing you to pick up the sighting system and press off the next round as soon as the sights settle to an acceptable picture. We as an industry in general do a piss poor job teaching that, same with the draw stroke. Both, the way they are taught, are done so the student learns the proper motions in the proper order. We fail to explain to them that the end goal ( for trigger reset ) is to reset the trigger as the slide cycles so the followup shot ( if necessary ) can be taken immediately, without the extra step of resetting the trigger prior.

Both trigger reset, properly executed and slapping, for lack of a better term, the trigger both work to shoot fast. The key with both of them is a firm grasp of the fundamentals ( specifically grip ) and the ability to apply them at speed. To successfully “slap” the trigger and make good hits, you need to grip that gun like a 14 year old discovering masturbation for the first time or the sights will bounce all over hell and back. To reset the trigger at speed, the gun almost needs to float in your hand a bit and reset off a firm trigger finger if that makes sense. It’s easier to show than explain. The guys who came to Roger and I’s carbine class last year got a demonstration of what I’m talking about, albeit with a carbine vs a pistol.

All of which begs the question, how fast is fast enough ? The answer, like nearly everything in the application side of training, is it depends. The speed I need to successfully win a match is not the speed I need to win a gunfight. While the two are similar in that I need to engage a target under stress against the clock ( the bad guy in a fight and competitors in a match ), the other variables are vastly different. In a match I know I’m firing a certain number of rounds from this position at theses targets, and barring a miss or malfunction I’m off to the next firing position. In a gunfight I’m constantly evaluating the environment, the effects or lack thereof my rounds are having on target, the relative positions of my teammates or other bad guys, non-combatants in the mix, etc. those additional environmental details require time, however minuscule an amount, to process and act upon. Those factors control the speed you can engage at.

The shooting part of gunfighting is only 10% of the game. It’s a foundational 10%, obviously, but only 10%. Those other factors I mentioned above and a thousand things I didn’t are all in play too. If it’s your first gunfight you’ll have the added stress of that. That’s why we should be continually building up our foundation. Now, as a shooter, I’m never satisfied with where I’m at, I’m always looking to improve my game. I’m never as fast as I want to be, never as accurate as I want to be, etc., simply because I don’t know what particular sub-skill will be required to win my next gunfight ( my wife says no more, but I’m not too old yet…… ).

The other part of the problem is that we tend to isolate speed and precision when in reality they exist together as two sides of the same coin. Part of the issue is the YouTube and Instagram heroes who spend an afternoon shooting so they can post the one good run they had that day, or speed up the runs they did to make them appear faster. If you notice, most of them rarely show the target they are shooting at, for the simple reason at it either looks like a shotgun patterning at 25m or they flat-out missed. Speed is the byproduct of smoothness and accuracy. It’s the end result of eliminating excessive motion and ingraining a solid neural pathway for the skill in question. When speed is our end goal, we sacrifice smoothness and the elimination of excess motion to do it fast.

Watch dudes trying to go fast who don’t have it down and they look like they are having a fucking seizure. Now watch Leatham, Defoor, Chapman, etc shoot and it looks slow as fuck until you check out the timer. That’s what the proper combination of speed AND accuracy looks like. It’s what we should be striving for. Unfortunately it’s hard work and past a certain point gains are increasingly incremental and harder to come by. It’s so much easier to just rip it out of the holster and slap the shit out of the trigger and explain away the shit show the target is displaying…….

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