Trigger manipulation terminology; 'Squeeze', 'Press' and 'Pull'

This is a discussion on Trigger manipulation terminology; 'Squeeze', 'Press' and 'Pull' within the Basic Gun Handling & Safety forums, part of the General Firearm Discussion category; Today at SigForum there is a thread running with a poll toward the subject matter of trigger manipulation. Question: When instructing a new shooter do ...

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Thread: Trigger manipulation terminology; 'Squeeze', 'Press' and 'Pull'

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Trigger manipulation terminology; 'Squeeze', 'Press' and 'Pull'

    Today at SigForum there is a thread running with a poll toward the subject matter of trigger manipulation.

    Question:
    When instructing a new shooter do you find it best to describe the action of the trigger finger?

    Squeeze
    Press
    Pull
    Other [My own vote]

    Thread source - Squeeze, press, or pull? -SigForum.com
    This is an item that in my own travels I have seen mis-used and confused by all manner of persons albeit almost always by certain degree/level shooters and by persons attempting to 'show' another how to shoot...But not actually doing or being an 'instructor'.

    Below is is my response to that thread which I thought would be useful here too.

    ~~~

    I generally use none of the above, even as they all are commonly used.
    Instead I have taken to use the term 'toggle' as in the action to; "Toggle the trigger".

    Squeezing a trigger is what you do when shooting bullseye type fine accuracy effort precision shooting, with a handgun or rifle.
    Most often this is appropriate for and what is taught to newbie gun trainees as well as to fine accuracy shooters and to instructors as by instructors when discussing how to train new shooters and/or precision shooting.

    Pressing the trigger is what you do toward combat handgun and rifle shooting, as at close to intermediate distances.
    Pressing the trigger does not work well for bullseye and other fine accuracy shooting nor does it help new shooters best develop good fine motor control of their finger by their brain.

    Pulling the trigger is what is done on shotguns when firing shot.
    There is no trigger squeeze nor press as related to the projectile itself being shot. Even as the shotgun might be highly choked (full or extra full), which is purposed to extend range of the projectiles fired, and result in a tight pattern at distance.


    Because the above three are specific as based on firearm type, projectile type, firearm application, user skill and user intent...Rather than muddy the water confusing a given student (especially new shooters) with terminology that may not be appropriate in specific or at large...I have taken to using a term that encompasses all.

    Toggle

    intransitive verb

    : to switch between two options...

    Source - Toggle - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    By that as specific to the firearm, type, application/intent and who I am speaking to I may specifically choose to use 'Squeeze', 'Press' or 'Pull' as term.
    If so though I almost always will explain why I am using that specific term and what exactly it means by applied action.

    Examples:

    Squeeze the trigger

    Image source - http://www.juniorshooters.net/...eek-9-feet-position/

    Press the trigger

    Image source - http://www.imakenews.com/valha...119524.cfm?x=b11,0,w

    Pull the trigger

    Image source - Mayville Flat Private Upland Bird Hunting Preserve In Oregon

    I've very much found that every person knows what toggle means, and by that how they go about manipulating the trigger as relevant to the conversation I may add the term press, squeeze or pull as being an adjective in addition to the verb as to toggle (the trigger).

    This has proven for me to result in muchless confusion by students and persons I am talking to as toward what I or they expect to be done, how and to what degree.

    - Janq

    Instructor Certifications:
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    US Fish & Wildlife Service
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    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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  3. #2
    Member Array Mr Sir's Avatar
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    That is an excellent explanation! Well done! I was always taught to "squeeze" the trigger, which as you stated, is fine for a handgun at the range. But I also do a lot of sporting clay shotgun shooting and you just cannot squeeze a trigger in that context; it is definitely a "pull."

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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    im not a big fan of the word sqeeze, b/c at least for me, when i hear that , I think about squeezing a lemon, a whole hand motion.
    that obviously is not what you want to be teaching someone.
    i think i tend to use the word press when teaching someone to shoot who is new and is working on accuracy
    Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
    (Murder begins where self-defense ends)
    Georg Büchner

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Definitions of the terms as I explain them to newer shooters.

    Squeeze = Slow and ever building pressure until the break point arrives [As by surprise...Aka the 'surprise shot']


    Press = Pushing through to a determined point of cessation followed by a return of the finger to the start point, at the ready to repeat as necessary


    Pull = Applying force without thought for fine tactile feel with focus only toward eliciting a reaction from the business end of the tool


    I use these examples as everybody knows what it's like to squeeze a grape, push an elevator button or to pull at the trigger of a water gun.

    When I teach to new shooters I even bring with me an actual water gun as is in the format shape of a 1911 (it's day glo orange with green front sight) and I use it to show these three different types of trigger manipulation methods and how different they are.
    Easy.

    Sadly many folks get told to use just one of the three as at all times and then wind up being crappy shooters simply because they didn't now any better and/or weren't directed in such a way to apply a given skillset to a given specific application and tool. : |

    - Janq

    P.S. - As well different firearm triggers have different trigger weights and setups that can require a specific type of trigger manipulation.
    But then that gets in to advanced level stuff such as; Trigger Creep, Trigger Stacking, Trigger Overtravel, Trigger Reset and Trigger Break. A whole other subject matter and thread. : )
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Wink

    What...not compress, actuate, activate, & depress?

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Too much to remember QK.
    I try to keep it simple & easy and as close to the base root as possible. : p

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Member Array Ice Man's Avatar
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    Very useful and easy to understand.
    My GLOCK goes BANG every time!

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    Member Array Emrah's Avatar
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    I watch a lot of gun/hunting/self defense shows and I've noticed the term "Press" or "Trigger Press" used often, so that seems to be the "proper" terminology for some reason.

    I HATE IT!!!!!

    While your explanation above is very detailed, I still can't get my head around saying "press" when I'm "pulling" something towards me. Like the trigger.

    To me, anything you bring closer to you is pulling. Any action that is going away from you is pressing. You PULL a rope. You PRESS a button. Towards you/away from you. See?

    Emrah

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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    y'know,
    I can't think of the last person I worked with on the range where I used any of those terms. The terminology I employ is: "take up the slack, apply gradually increasing pressure until you get a surprise break". Graduates of Randy Cain's th101 will recognize this mantra.
    I suppose I've just sort'a left it to the individual to name the action for themselves, so long as its good hits due to a proper break, I dont particularly care what they call it.

    Janq, i gotta admit, dude. You can cause me to do more thinking over otherwise mundane stuff. Thanks again for the chance to re evaluate how things are done.

    dan

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I like your definitions. Trigger 'press' works for me, with handguns. Although, I might think that 'squeeze' might be appropriate for triggers with a heavy, long travel, like a revolver.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Emrah,

    The use of these terms is as an analog toward the speed, pressure and force used to 'toggle' the trigger.

    Toggle being to cause it to open upon being depressed and close upon being released.

    There are two distinct types of 'press'.
    As detailed one is slow and focused, while the other is fast(er) and less focused.
    The action overall is a 'press' because you are applying a degree of concentrated pressure to the trigger as rearward moving/swinging it into the gun.

    Here is an example of a button to be _pressed_ in mechanical motion as you would a trigger.

    Image source - Powerlifting Equipment - Strongman, Strength Training, Powerlifting

    This applys to handguns be they revolver or semi-auto, swing trigger or slide trigger and as to rifles.

    Trigger pull on the other hand is just that.
    The amount of speed, force and pressure is higher, greater and sharper.

    Here is an image to help you better understand the difference even as the motion is in the same direction.


    Image source - Hand Grip Strength test

    I hope this helps you better understand the concept.

    Pushing and pulling of a button going rearward toward your body is around us in regular life outside of firearms toward various other types of tools and devices.

    But if you still can't get your mind around it then well that's fine.
    There is always that 1 out of 100 as nothing works for everyone.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Very nice "primer" there Janq. Thanks for the post and follow-on.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Zacii,

    Consider that any type pistol/handgun can have a heavy and long trigger for all manner of reasons including as being shipped OEM.

    See Sig P Series/Classic and Glock with NY triggers as well as the S&W M&P among the first to come to my own mind.
    It's not so much the firearm type that you should come to your mind as it is the application.

    Combat shooting or fine accurate precision shooting, without regard to target distance.
    One would squeeeeeze the trigger for a fine accuracy shot (i.e. headshot) while that same heavy and long trigger would be pressed right through, rather than squeezed, as when say firing against an attacker as in say direct close quarter combat (i.e. defending your life as in the immediate).

    Again application specific.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    I was taught by my dad to pull the trigger.

    He taught me the difference between pulling the trigger, as to fire as many rounds as posable in the least amount of time.
    And pulling the trigger as part of the process of placing a well aimed shot.

    I think I'm going to stay old school and keep using "pull the trigger".
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

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