Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Instructor Corner: Trigger Control

Trigger Control is one of the fundamentals in learning how to shoot handguns. It’s very important that you learn to press the trigger straight back without any sidewards motion. The sidewards movement is what can cause the gun to go off target. Which is one of the main reasons a shooter will miss their target or not have those “bullseye” hits they so desire.  You should have a visible gap between the frame of the gun and your trigger finger, this allows you to press the trigger back correctly. The proper placement of your index finger on the trigger is on the pad of your finger approximately half way between the tip of your finger and the first joint. Basically where your fingerprint is. So it’s very important that you have a handgun that fits your hands properly so your able to press the trigger straight back without any extra movement.

The ability to control the trigger smoothly is not sufficient by itself to produce that perfect shot. If you’re sights are aligned properly and you press the trigger back correctly you will hit your aiming point. Some of the most common errors made by shooters is jerking, flinching, improper positioning of the finger on the trigger as well as improper sight alignment. All of these can be corrected by practicing correctly and help from a qualified Instructor for proper diagnosis.
TIPS: Please remember to treat all firearms as if they are loaded and keep them pointed in a safe direction at all times. For Dry Fire practice sessions at home ALWAYS verify that your firearm is unloaded!! Safety first!!
– A great way to practice Trigger Control at home is to lay a penny flat on your front sight, and aim at a small target or object  that is easily visible (I like to print targets offline and tape them to the wall). Once you have your sights aligned press the trigger back slowly, and if the penny did not fall off, then your off to a GREAT start!! If the penny did fall off, start over and keep trying until it no longer falls. This will really help you improve your shooting fundamentals and get those hits where you want them.

Jamie Meyer

Shoot Like A Girl Pro Staff & Firearms Instructor. Owner of Oklahoma Gun Training www.oklahomaguntraining.comNRA Certified Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, RTBAV and Oklahoma Conceal/Open Carry Instructor.


  1. Cristy, thank you for this! Very instructive – I love the photos and the penny-on-the-front-sight tip – I plan to start using this in my practice. Dry firing seems to be under-utilised as a training technique. I guess it's because us shooters like something to happen when we press the trigger! But many of the top shooters like Julie Golob and Gabby Franco advocate it, so it obviously works! Thanks again, I will be sure to share this tip with my Australian readers.

Leave a Reply