What is Trigger Discipline?
When watching an action movie or an action-packed television show, it’s not uncommon to see the heroes using guns to win their fight against the villains. Depending on the year the television show or movie was made, or the firearm knowledge the hero has, you may notice that when pointing their firearm at the villains, their finger is already on the trigger. This is something many people would assume is the correct form when holding a firearm. By having your finger on the trigger, you are ready to shoot whatever it is that is threatening you, thereby allowing you to make a quick decision in what may be a life or death situation.
While this thought process is not wrong in logic, it is wrong because it negates an important rule: never have your finger on the trigger unless you’re ready to shoot. This little rule is called “trigger safety,” and it’s one of the core values of firearm safety taught today. Today, firearm safety is incredibly important to teach and know for those in the firearm world, and it’s something that is stressed in any good firearms course. It’s so important that even television shows and movies now show their characters practicing these rules because these practices are something that any trained professional would know, which makes the characters more believable.
Trigger discipline is a vital part of firearm safety, and it’s a habit that all good firearm owners should practice any time before they take their firearm out for a day at the range or for a hunt. Like any habit, it’s difficult to keep consistent when you start, but once you’ve done it enough, it will become second nature, which will make you a safer and better firearm owner and shooter.
Is Trigger Discipline Really Necessary?
Now, many people will question whether trigger discipline is actually necessary. After all, another basic rule of firearm safety is to never point at something you don’t intend to shoot. While this is true, trigger safety allows for those caught in tough situations to make the right decision without letting nervous jitters make it for them. For example, let’s say a member of law enforcement was called to a scene where they were asked to sweep a building where a possible gunman might be hiding. For their safety, the law enforcement officer would have their firearm drawn and ready to shoot. Now, what if that officer instead finds an innocent bystander in that building? If that officer had their finger on the trigger, it's much easier to have a negligent-discharge, injuring or killing an innocent person. By having their finger off the trigger, they cannot accidentally pull it.
For such reasons, trigger discipline is taught to anyone going into a career in which firearms are or may be used. This includes professions such as police, forest rangers, private security, all branches of the military, and so on. Teaching this discipline to civilians who are interested in firearms is also encouraged and necessary, since they themselves might find themselves in a situation where it is necessary. Hunters often find themselves in situations where they are unsure if it is safe to shoot, and so knowing trigger discipline will allow them to make the right call before they shoot. Even target shooters wait to put their finger on their triggers so that they don’t “jump the gun” and make a shot that isn’t centered.
No matter who you are, trigger safety is important, and it’s something all members of the firearm community need to know and understand.
How to Practice Trigger Discipline
Trigger discipline can be learned in a firearms safety class or by anyone with a good knowledge of firearms. Learning trigger discipline is the easy part, though. The difficult part is practicing it until it is second nature. Some of the ways you can practice trigger discipline includes:
Cleaning your firearm
When you clean your firearm, you are handling it for a long stretch of time when you know there is no ammunition inside of it. This is a great time to practice trigger discipline. While holding your firearm, find a grip that is comfortable for you while you practice not having your finger on the trigger. Once you find what’s comfortable, continue to practice holding your firearm that way so that it becomes second nature to you.
Holstering and unholstering
When you holster or unholster your firearm, you should never have your finger on the trigger. If you were to have your finger on the trigger while your firearm was still loaded, you put yourself in the situation of shooting yourself or others, which no one wants. Always be aware of where your fingers are when you are handling your firearm, even when getting it out or putting it away.
While practicing with a new firearm
When you are practicing with a new firearm, especially when dry firing, practice finger discipline. This is a great opportunity since you’ve never worked with this firearm before. Form a new habit of being aware of your finger placement with this new firearm. By practicing this discipline from the first moment, you give yourself the best chance of always being safe with your firearm since it will be a habit from the beginning.
At the range
Safety at the range is, of course, incredibly important. Ensure that you and others are safe by only having your finger on the trigger when you are ready to hit your target. This is also a good time to practice your trigger discipline since most people spend at least an hour at the range. This is a great opportunity to practice your safety for a long stretch of time, which will help make it easier to incorporate into your firearm habits.
Purchasing Your Next Firearm
If you’ve always been a master at trigger discipline, or are just a beginner, find a firearm that will feel comfortable in your hand whether you’re shooting it or waiting to shoot it. At 80 Percent Arms, we’re happy to help find the right firearm for you no matter what hobby you’re looking to pick up. Call us today, or visit our online store to see what firearms we can pair you with today!