Where to Put Your Finger on the Trigger?

Where to Put Your Finger on the Trigger?

Where to Put Your Finger on the Trigger?

Trigger control is without a doubt the toughest part of becoming an accurate shooter. Most people can easily align the sights and acquire a proper grip, but when it comes to pulling the trigger, that’s when things start to break down.

The thing is, many people don’t even start out correctly learning how to master the trigger. In other words, they don’t put their finger on the trigger in the proper place from the beginning and that obviously affects the rest of their shooting.

So where exactly should you put your finger on the trigger? Well, like most things when it comes to shooting, there is no correct answer. You see, the majority of instructors will tell you that you want to pull the trigger using the middle of the pad of your finger.

Use the crease?

And a small percentage of instructors will tell you that you want to pull the trigger using the crease of your first knuckle. So who’s right? As I just mentioned, nobody is.

Personally, I pull the trigger using the pad of my finger. However, because of the length of my fingers I don’t pull the trigger using exactly the middle of the pad. The trigger happens to be slightly off center, closer to the crease of my knuckle.

Of course, since I’m always looking for ways to improve my shooting, I have tried pulling the trigger using the crease of my first knuckle. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I’m a good shot using where I place my finger now, but when I tried the crease it might as well have been a blind man taking target practice.

What Massad Ayoob does…

However, nationally known firearms instructor Massad Ayoob is someone who uses the crease of the first knuckle and he’s an excellent shot. So here’s what I recommend you do the next time you go to the shooting range:

I recommend placing your finger in the middle of the pad, in the knuckle crease, and even off-center of the pad. You just might surprise yourself and you might be the small percentage of people who shoot better using the crease.

You also might be someone who’s been using the crease and realize that you’re a heck of a lot more accurate when you only use the pad and don’t put so much finger on the trigger.

Just remember to always do what works best for you when it comes to shooting and the fundamentals. Don’t let any instructor or any friend of yours try and tell you to do it one way if you know your way is what makes you more accurate and a better shooter overall.

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  • Depends on reach, length of trigger pull and force required. I find I do it a bit differently on every firearm I try.

    • cj

      Bingo. I recently picked up a super compact pistol where I kept a nice group…just left of the bullseye. I finally figured out that the very short length of pull was pushing it to the left…lo and behold I found using the crease (instead of the pad) helped to correct this.

      And not 100% sure, but I believe Mas probably learned on double action revolvers, and using the crease would get you a little more strength for controlling some tougher triggers.

  • Mike W

    For me, generally the pad, however I will vary my grip to match a given firearm. Good article!

  • templepearson

    Using the center of the pad (the fingerprint whorl area) when firing a DAO revolver with a 12 or 13 pound trigger can be difficult. The resistance of the trigger on that particular gun just about forces you to used the crease of the finger (for extra strength) to pull the trigger.

  • Larry

    When in the military a Drill instructor told me to try using to use more of the tip of my finger pushing back instead of pulling back. It seems to move the gun less and increased my accuracy greatly. Have done that ever since.

  • One school of thought as pertains to instructor technique (pun intended) has the student learning trigger pull well before they ever look at the sights.
    A laser sight is perfect for this. Turn on the laser sight and point the gun at the wall. Don’t aim at any spot on the wall, just try to keep the laser at the same point on the wall. Now slowly pull the trigger and watch how the laser moves on the wall. Try to do the trigger pull smoothly so that the laser doesn’t move much on the wall. Try your finger in slightly different positions, and see which works better for you.
    The point of this exercise, and doing it very early in the training process, is teaching that a smooth trigger pull is MORE important than any other part of gun operation. This exercise also gives immediate and graphic feedback about your trigger pull. If, for example, you use the crease of your finger and the laser remains more stable on the wall, then that is the way you should do it. Firing a gun with a lighter trigger resistance (4 lb SA trigger vs. 12 lb DA NYPD trigger) might work better with the pad of your finger, and that will be blatently obvious as you run through this training drill.
    This is a good dry-fire drill for more experienced shooters too. (Pull the trigger at your normal shooting speed.) It never hurts to practice the basics a little.

  • I was taught to use the pad closer to the tip with a semi-auto and the crease with a revolver. As mentioned in the article and by many here, it depends on the weapon and your hands as well; in general though, that rule of index finger seems to work for most people. If you seem to be having to much finger or not enough, then maybe the gun is not a good fit in the first place. I’ve shot a large number of different revolver calibers and frame sizes, as well as semi-autos from the LCP, P238, Kahr MK40 to Full Size 1911’s, M&P’s and FN&H Polymer models. Been using the same trigger routine with good results.

  • I’ve taught CCW classes
    since ’96 and within the last several years or so “discovered’ that if I
    place the crease of my finger upon the trigger and then wrap my hand around the
    grip it easy to find out if the grip is too small/too large for my hand. If the
    grip is not a good fit and the grip does not have panels and/or back strap that
    can be easily changed out I tend to look at another handgun. I you use the
    crease and fit the gun to your hand the accuracy will be very good – and in a HIGH STRESS situation you will use the grip you use when practicing, muscel memory comes into play. I use the crease on most, if not all of my shooting, even with rifles/shotguns.

    Just my thoughs, for what they are worth.

    Just my thoughs, for what they are worth.

  • I shoot service pistol at national champ level in my country. If I’m using single action on my S&W 686, I prefer to use the pad of my finger to release the shot for more accuracy at the 50yd range. For the faster shots at 25yds and closer I shoot double action and then I use the crease of my finger, allowing the tip of my finger to contact the grip as the hammer draws back just prior to breaking the shot. Having the tip of the finger on the grip allows me to squeeze the crease part of my finger directly back with no side-ways push or pull – giving greater control. Requires a bit of practice but try it for yourself and see.

  • jimmy37

    As a novice, I’ve been fighting with myself about where the best placement is for me. Rather than trying to FIND the most comfortable place, I decided get used to placing my finger crease on the edge of the trigger so that I have a reproducible place to put my finger. I also know that my finger won’t slip sideway if I try to use the pad.