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  • Post last modified:August 19, 2023

Whether you're a new shooter or a seasoned gun owner, there are always ways to improve your trigger pull.

Two key concepts to focus on are proper trigger-finger placement and dry firing. In this article, we'll explore why these concepts are important and how to incorporate them into your practice routine.

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Proper Trigger Pull - Finger Placement

If you are shooting a rifle or handgun. What is the best way to pull the trigger for an accurate shot?

When you put your trigger finger on the trigger, the ideal location is about 1/3 out from your first knuckle. This position allows for a smooth rearward motion of the trigger, resulting in better accuracy.


If your finger is not in the proper location, it can greatly affect your accuracy.

For example, if you have too much trigger finger on the trigger, your first knuckle will be overextended, causing you to drop the muzzle of the barrel every time you shoot.

too much trigger finger placement
too little trigger finger placement

On the other hand, if your finger is on the outside of the trigger, it can result in pushing your shots off to the left.

good trigger finger placement

To ensure proper trigger-finger placement, aim to position your finger right at that point where it's about 1/3 out from your first knuckle.

A straight and smooth pull to the rear of the gun is also crucial. Avoid applying too much pressure from the right or left.

Check out flat trigger upgrades here

Anticipation Recoil VS Flinch

One of the most common errors that shooters make is anticipation, which is the instinctive response to counter the force of the recoil. This can result in shots that are centered but low.

pistol error chart

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Anticipation recoil is a natural response to the force created by the recoil of the firearm. It is an instinctive response to counter any force that pushes you forward to preserve your balance. 

fn 509 muzzle flip

Flinch is an inability to separate the action of the trigger finger from the rest of the hand. It triggers a sympathetic movement of the fingers, which can cause the shots to be off-center.

How It Affects Gross Motor Skills

On the other hand, the flinch is a lack of isolation of the motion, specifically of the trigger finger. Most shooters apply too much energy in the trigger pull, creating a sympathetic squeeze with the rest of the fingers.

This turns a fine motor skill into a gross motor skill, involving more muscle groups and causing the gun to move down left (for right-handed shooters) or vice versa for left-handed shooters.

Develop Finger Dexterity

To deal with the problem of flinching, the key is to develop better dexterity of the trigger finger to relax the muscle group of the trigger finger from the rest of the muscles while maintaining a firm and stiff grip on the gun.

Use a Iron Mind Gripper Strength Trainer: 

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  • Grab and close the gripper with your shooting hand, exactly how you hold the gun, and clamp an empty casing at the bottom
  • If the empty casing falls down, it means you're relaxing your grip, which is a sympathetic movement of the fingers that corresponds to the movement of the trigger finger
  • Isolate and separate the trigger finger's motion from the other fingers and muscle groups.

Follow Through

Proper center of gravity to help manage recoil. Recoil pushes into the body opposite of where the bullet comes out.

Therefore, having a good stance helps to better manage recoil, allowing the gun to return to its original position quickly.

fn 509 ls edge low light shoot

A bad stance could prolong the gun's return to zero, taking more time to take another shot.

Of course, different ammo type will recoil differently, but this is the best we can do to train without live ammo.

Dry Firing


Dry firing means shooting your gun without any ammunition inside the gun or even in the vicinity of where you're practicing. You can dry fire at home or at the range.

Dry firing has many benefits.

  • Since you're not shooting any ammo, you get to save money 
  • You can do high repetitions during your practice sessions 
  • Trains your muscle memory and improve your accuracy

The Partner Drill

The drill involves standing in the proper stance with a partner hitting the shooter's arms, mimicking the recoil.

The partner should be as passive as possible. So no explosive movements, blowback, or anything like that.

The shooter should fight the urge to push back when the partner hits their arms. 

The partner should hit the shooter's arms within a second and a half to two seconds, so their brain is registering it as real recoil.

Use Mantis X

mantis x10 elite on Glock 19

One tool that can help take your dry-firing practice to the next level is the Mantis dry firing trainer. This product is a device that attaches to your firearm and provides real-time feedback on your trigger pull, grip, and other aspects of your shooting technique.

The Mantis dry firing trainer uses advanced sensors to measure your shooting performance and provides you with instant feedback through its companion app. With this device, you can see exactly where you need to improve and track your progress over time.

mantis x10 elite

The Mantis dry firing trainer is an excellent way to enhance your dry-firing practice and take your marksmanship skills to the next level. It's an investment in your shooting ability that can pay dividends in the long run.

mantis x10 elite shooting tracker

If you're serious about improving your marksmanship, consider incorporating the Mantis dry firing trainer into your practice routine. It's an effective and innovative tool that can help you become a better shooter.

Safety Concerns

firearm safety checks

Before starting your dry-firing practice, ensure that you have an unloaded gun. Confirm that there's nothing in the chamber and an empty magazine.

Ensure that you have all ammunition in a completely separate room, so there's no chance that a live round will make it into your gun.

Practice Tips

Take the time to line up your sights, get a good sight picture, and bring your trigger finger on a nice slow squeeze to the rear.

Once you hear the click, reset the trigger by pulling back on the slide a little bit and letting pressure off your trigger finger until you hear it click again. Then, continue with your dry-firing practice.

Dry firing is something you'll want to do literally thousands and thousands of times. Shooting competitors dry fired their guns at least 10,000 times over 6 months. It's one of the most simple, cost-effective ways to enhance your marksmanship and become a better pistol shooter.

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Live Firing Drills

One way to acclimate yourself to controlling anticipation is by doing the 50-50 drill. This is a live fire exercise that can help you recognize any deficiencies with your shooting technique.

holosun 507k x2 on hellcat pistol

The goal of the drill is to fire two shots at a trigger stripe target placed horizontally, with one shot being live and the other dry. If the front sight dips on the second shot, it means that you still have anticipation.

The main idea is to stay absolutely passive and hear the click, and the front sight should stay absolutely steady according to the rear sight notch.

Only the trigger finger moves, and there should be no sympathetic reactions with the other fingers. The grip should remain consistent, regardless of whether the shot happens or not.