Following the rules of firearm safety is essential for anyone using a gun. These basic actions can help prevent accidents and you should practice them until they become second-nature. One of these rules is trigger discipline, which is keeping your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Instead, your pointer/index finger should rest on the side of the frame. Although it seems simple, trigger discipline can take some training to fully ingrain.
What Does Trigger Discipline Look Like?
When you pick up a gun, draw it from a holster, or move it to point at a target, your index finger should rest on the frame. It should not touch the trigger or enter the trigger guard until you have made a decision to shoot.
The photo above shows good trigger discipline. The person has their index finger on the frame of the firearm.
This photo shows poor trigger discipline. The man’s finger is resting on the trigger, which makes it more likely that he could fire unintentionally.
This example shows how to properly draw from your holster with safety in mind. Your finger should remain extended at every point as you draw the weapon and aim at the target, up until the moment you decide to pull the trigger.
In the photo above, the man is not practicing trigger discipline. His finger is on the trigger as he removes the gun from the holster.
Why is Trigger Discipline Important?
Some people question the importance of trigger discipline because if you are following the other gun safety rules, you won’t have your muzzle pointed at anything unless you are ready to shoot. However, this line of thinking does not account for the rapidly-changing situations that can occur if you are using your weapon in a real-world tactical environment. For example, if you are using your gun for self-defense, an innocent bystander may move in front of the target. If your finger is in the trigger guard, you are likely going to move it unconsciously and could fire your weapon without meaning to. When your pointer finger is resting on the frame, you have time to make a decision to move it and fire, which requires you to evaluate the situation more carefully.
Why is Trigger Discipline Sometimes Difficult for Beginners?
The concept of trigger discipline seems very simple in theory, but it can be difficult for those who are new to firearms to get the hang of it. This is because the most natural way to hold an object is with all four of your fingers and your thumb wrapped around it. For good trigger discipline, you need to override that impulse and keep the pointer finger extended. The best way to develop this habit is to practice until it is automatic for you to keep your finger out of the trigger guard any time you hold a gun.
Practicing Safe Gun Handling
Dry fire practice can be a great way to reinforce trigger discipline, especially when it comes to drawing from a holster. All you need to do is remove your unloaded gun from the holster, paying attention to your finger position as you do so, and aim at a target. Firearms training can also be beneficial and in this setting, you will have an expert who can alert you if you are putting your index finger in the trigger guard without realizing it.
Gun Safety Training at The Hub
At The Hub, we offer one-on-one training as well as concealed carry weapon (CCW) classes to help you learn more about gun safety. Our Lakeside location offers a variety of other classes and both locations have indoor gun ranges to practice target shooting. In Tucson, our MILO virtual-reality simulator is a great option for improving your decision-making using realistic self-defense scenarios.