Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage? - Page 2

Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage?

This is a discussion on Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; All of my interactions involving BG's and firearms have been in the military. But there have been several times I was pretty sure I was ...

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  1. #16
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    All of my interactions involving BG's and firearms have been in the military.

    But there have been several times I was pretty sure I was going to have to shoot someone, and once I flicked the safety off on my M-16, my finger was on the trigger. A time or two I as actually starting to put pressure on the trigger when I realized I shouldn't shoot. Generally these instances would be something like, yell a command at someone, and then, proceeding up the escalation of force ladder, when they didn't stop, I would sight in with finger off the trigger, and again yell a command. A few of them would keep coming, at which point the safety would come off, and finger on the trigger, and they would get issued a final verbal warning. And it probably took longer for you to read all of what I just wrote than for that whole encounter to take place. But then, most of the times, something would come up that made me decide not to shoot.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor


  2. #17
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    No doubt QKShooter brings up an interesting topic. And yes, gunfighters of yesterday did in fact have a finger on the trigger type style. Certainly at least in countless photographs. I also agree with Janq, in such that the difference in speed is probably negligible.

    However, for almost 40 years now, I have trained with finger off techniques which have been ingrained into my psyche to such a point, I don't see any advantage trying to switch would be. In fact, at this point, it would no doubt be more dangerous for me to try.

    As far as providing any tactical advantage, I think it's a coin toss.

    I do know that when I see someones finger resting on the trigger, my pucker factor goes up exponentially. And that's a fact!
    -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."

  3. #18
    Senior Member Array Matthew Temkin's Avatar
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    In the past few years I have re trained myself to keep my finger off the trigger, and have done so during stress and FOF training with a success.
    Hopefully if I ever get into another guns drawn situation I can do the same until it is time to shoot.

  4. #19
    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    For whatever reason, when I was taught the rules of safety, there were 3:

    1. Assume all guns are loaded until proven otherwise.
    2. Don't point the gun at anything you don't want to shoot.
    3. Know your target and your backstop.

    There was nothing about finger-on or -off the trigger. Rule 2 covers that issue.

    So let's look at that for a moment. The "no finger on trigger until ready to shoot" presupposes some instance in which you'd be pointing the gun at somebody, but for some reason or other not pulling the trigger. There is some room for discussion there.

    Another point is that some handguns, like an SP101, for example, or a 686, will have a fairly strong trigger pull. Unlikely you'd squeeze it all the way through DA by accident. Some semiautos are practically like a revolver at SA - hair trigger. In the latter case, finger-off-trigger is really important.

    In all the excitement and adrenaline of a real-life situation, there's no question that it's probably best to keep that finger indexed until the Moment of Truth. Then again, with all that going on, no matter how much training you have, you'll probably do whatever feels right at the time.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  5. #20
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    I've related this story a couple of times here, but what the heck - it's appropriate, and one more can't hurt...

    I read of a study (not a scientific one, but an interesting one nonetheless) where students in a FoF (airsoft) scenario were faced with the "bad guy in the alley" situation. While the students were engaging the bad guy (he was a potentially serious threat, but not an OBVIOUS and IMMEDIATE one - most students had their weapons out, some had it pointed at the bad guy), a hidden "bum" that was concealed in the debris lining the dark alley reached out and grabbed the student by the foot or ankle. EVERY student that had their finger on the trigger fired a round - even though they didn't INTEND to. This occurred regardless of trigger type or pull weight - if the finger was on the trigger in a (simulated) dangerous scenario, and the good guy was startled, he squeezed off a round. Conversely, every student that had their finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard did NOT have an ND...

    This is certainly not proof-positive of anything, but it does illustrate that you don't get to control all the variables (by a LOOOONG shot) in an SD situation. I am much more concerned that one of the ten million things I'm not thinking about might happen than I am that someone is going to "beat" me because I am a fraction of a fraction of a second slower because my finger is off the trigger. JMO.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  6. #21
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    OPFOR - That's interesting. Good addition. I need to test that out at least in some sort of (probably not very scientific) way.
    Good addition.

  7. #22
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    I haven't been in an encounter but every time I train it is draw to low ready, bring up to site target while disengaging safety, when target is acquired toggle the trigger. When pistol is off the target my finger is off the trigger.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  8. #23
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I coudnt count the times I have drawn on perps, and my finger is always on the trigger. I am very cool under pressure and methodical in my actions though. I know many in the current way of training find this risky, but I know myself and my gun.

  9. #24
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    Interesting thread. I'd like to say I'm a stud and will keep my finger off of the trigger but me-thinks that when the poop hits the fan I will have my finger on and ready to squeeze.

    On the other hand I am not an LEO and have no real intention of holding someone at gunpoint. Life has messed up my plans in the past though...
    It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.

  10. #25
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Training today is slanted to protect institutions from lawsuits. When we are talking finger off the trigger for safety reasons, we must first decide for who's safety. The BGs, who's actions committed you to draw in the first place, or yours?

  11. #26
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed OPFOR, very much.

    If a threat beats a GG to the trigger pull by a fraction of a second, then well that GG was doomed before the trigger pull.
    Not being glib...Just being honestly practical.

    I've got literally _years_ of formal FOF experience under my belt; Including eight years of semi-pro tournament level (state and regional long dollar entry & prize money not running on a Sat. around in woods shooting at little kids & teens with rental guns) paintball running a $1K+ marker system that had not a mechanical but an _electronic trigger_ running a solenoid based firing system requiring just the slightest half touch to the trigger to cause it to fire....While searching for and working against a human being that was equally equipped, and who wanted my lunch just as badly as I wanted his/hers.

    Guess what my manner of hold and trigger manipulation was that entire time?
    Yup...Finger off the trigger.
    Only in that world unlike with a firearm there is no trigger spring resistance measured in pounds...It's ounces. And there is no sear to break, just an on/off state contact switch or a magnetic pickup.
    Oh, and I played what is call 'front' or point which from the whistle blow mandates a _lot_ of on the foot max exertion running, sliding and diving.
    You put your finger on the trigger doing such things and absolutely positively guaranteed you will have an AD, only the round will go into your own foot or leg and boom you are out regardless leaving your 3, 5 or 7 man team down a player disadvantaged and very likely costing them the match if not tournament overall. Big money, weeks if not months of training and most times you are looking at 2 hrs to as long as a full days travel/flight. Very serious business.

    I never ever handled my markers any different than I would a firearm.
    Following the same four basic rules that everybody else learned and should know, with rule #4 being finger off the trigger until ready to fire. Absolutely!
    You do this once or twice with an electro trigger marker and you learn quick how fraught with issue not acting right can be. But unlike with firearms, nobody goes to the morgue or cop station if they screw up. Woot!

    The scenario you detail is very much believable.
    It's human nature to clench the fist when startled. It only takes 4 lbs. pressure to drop the hammer on any one of my street carried 1911s.
    Double that on an average Glock. Soo many people get caught out by this each year, especially so with Glocks (!), that to me I'm surprised anyone would even resurrect this item to discuss.

    Meanwhile speaking to functionality how many civilians and/or professionals are caught out by threats singularly because they were not 'quick' enough to the trigger, as in not to have their finger rested on the trigger as rather than indexed?
    I mean seriously can anyone even cite one case of this in the past say 36 months?
    I know I cannot.

    Again with respect to Suarez who unlike myself has had to hold real threats at bay while using no do over don't just sit in the 'dead zone' BGs, and even shoot them too.
    But still on the whole I cannot at all help but think; 'Why...And to what functional end?!'.

    It takes maybe a tenth of a second to transition from indexed to the trigger, and fire.
    There is a guy in the OPs cited link that goes on talking about the steps involved in going from finger indexed to 'finding' the trigger and locating the right spot along the trigger face (!) to only then pull the trigger. I'm like huh...Are you serious?! Either this person in specific has not shot a gun but once or twice in life, or is 80+yrs. old AND with severely arthritic hands...To which would not be relevant to the 90th percentile rest of us. His statement and others akin to it in agreeance they are ignorable right out the gate.

    Under pressure as we all know we do not rise to any occasion.
    Be the pressure to act functional toward driving an automobile under emergency maneuvering manner, or to accomplish some task as related to a given sport...Or to put a projectile as fired from some manner of 'gun' into a space of fine degree aim and motor control. All of these to bee accomplished at X distance under Y timing on any given Sunday,Monday, Wednesday or Saturday in a wood as being say a hunter or competitor.
    What allows us to rise and meet a given degree of expectation is training.

    IMHO rather than question this manner of trigger finger on or off and to possibly by way of that questioning encourage both LEOs and civilians alike to effectively act improperly so as to ultimately endanger themself AND the general population who might find themself down range.
    I would instead encourage Mr. Suarez to challenge more active duty LEOs to spend MUCH more of their annualized time and dimes _training_ in advanced gun handling and deployment skills as well as being more active in their quarterly & monthly practice of said training to develop and retain as mental and muscle memory what is overall scenario functionally optimal while also developing _quickness_ which in time actively allows a gun handler to BUY REACTION TIME against a countdown timer (!).
    Time that otherwise as being an under trained low if any practiced and thus very much AVERAGE gun handling 'professional' or civilian, would then have no need to try to game and cheat forward by placing fingers on triggers in hopes of through that buying time while _betting_ against the house that if startled or adrenalin dumped they themself won't startle reflex, applying 4 or more pounds of pressure to their trigger.
    Even as the guns bore might not in that moment of space & time be pointed at a human being...Which does not and will not make the NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE any less dangerous nor any ore excusable.

    People should ask them self before buying into this one honest and direct question; 'What will this gain me, as at what cost?'.
    Because in this life another truth we all know as adults not born yesterday; There is no free lunch.

    - 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

  12. #27
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    For me it would depend on what firearm I was holding at the time. My 1911 I keep my finger off the trigger. The first double action shot with my Ruger P-89 I am quite comfortable with my finger on the trigger. Same with my double action revolvers.

    Michael

  13. #28
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    I just tried to test this for my own edification with an airsoft and timer. I was not able to succeed as the shot comes so fast that the timer is unable to read the shot over the start buzzer. I may try it with primers in expended cases tomorrow and see if that provides for better reception.
    My perception is that the gain will be less that 0.1, possibly in the 0.06 to 0.09 range.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  14. #29
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Guantes that is precisely what I'd expect.

    Honestly with a stone cold novice shooter I'd expect no greater than one second, and this is _without_ benefit of fear induced adrenalin advantage (!).
    For any one of us regulars where who are either trained, gun experienced (be we professionals for pay or by background & training mindset) and/or who are practiced toward pulling handgun triggers in specific...I'd expect low tenths if not hundredths of a second difference. Hundredths!
    A real world net gain of slightly more than zero, to nothing at all.

    So again one should ask them self; What do they expect to gain...If there is little to nothing here to lose, and at what cost?

    - 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. #30
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    This subject brings up a phenomenon called Transference of Energy which I feel is important to touch upon. I'll start by a real life tragic event which happened to two personal friends of mine who are state troopers.

    State patrol was called to a residence looking for a fugitive who was known to carry a knife and assault police officers in the past. He had warrants out and the police were called by the man's father because the son was at his residence trying to strong arm cash from his father so he could flee the state. When the two troopers arrived, (one sergeant and one corporal) they found him hiding behind a furnace, inside a crawl space type partial basement. Very cramped environment with cinder block walls. They called for back up and our county Sheriff and several deputies responded. The troopers were inside the basement and had him at gunpoint commanding him to drop what was in his hands and show himself.

    Having failed to follow several commands, the Sergeant attempted to reach out and strike the suspects wrist with his ASP baton in an attempt to cause him to drop what was in his hands. When using the ASP he switched his G-22 to his non-dominant hand. When he struck the suspect with the ASP, his gun discharged sending a 155 gr. .40 cal Federal Hydra-Shok into the cinder block basement wall causing it to explode sending over 200 concrete fragments into the face and neck of the Corporal. The Corporal believing he had just been shot in the face by the suspect, opened fire and shot the suspect 4 times in the chest, killing him instantly before the Corporal himself, collapsed on the ground.

    I was just coming on duty for my shift in the ER when the ambulance brought the trooper in and worked on him before he went to surgery. (Again, a personal friend of mine, and a LEO who was just shot in a gunfight). He had a lot of facial swelling, lots of blood and threatening his airway, so we intubated him in the ER before going to surgery. He spent almost 6 hours in surgery removing as much cinder block frags as possible. The X-Ray looked like he had been shot in the face and neck with bird shot.

    He survived, and both troopers remain on the job today, although the Corporal transferred to a different troop. The coroners inquest determined that the death of the suspect was accidental and no charges were filed against the Sergeant.

    Not three weeks prior to this incident I had read an article from Massad Ayoob which described the phenomenon of Transference of Energy. When a person is gripping something in their non-dominant hand and then performs a forceful striking task or a gripping task with their dominant hand, the brain subconsciously sends the same impulse to do the same with the non-dominant hand. It can essentially transfer as much as 80% of the impulse energy to the other hand. Thus, when the trooper struck the subject with the ASP baton, he subconsciously tightened his the grip of his non-dominant hand, which was holding his G-22 with his finger on the trigger.

    It is a phenomenon which you can not over come, prevent or guard against. It is part of the brain's hard wiring and how nerve impulses travels though your nervous system. It also works the other way around but to a slightly lesser extent when striking something forcefully with your non-dominant hand and causing your dominant hand to squeeze, transferring somewhere around 40%-50% of the energy.

    I tried to explain that to the Sergeant a few weeks later in an attempt to help him at least understand how it happened. He just said, "Hmmm.... I just thought I was a dumb ass for having my finger on the trigger." Okay, point taken! He did say later on that he wished he knew about that before the shooting because he may have been more conscious of how he was holding his weapon. He always knew and trained with finger off the trigger, and at the time, during the highly charged event, he didn't even realize his finger was actually on the trigger.

    So, bottom line, even with training, you never know what might happen until it happens. Which also brings home the fact that immediately after a shooting event, you really want to talk to an attorney before making any detailed statements to the police. Because once you do, you're held to it and if scientific or forensic evidence proves something else, they will use your statement against you. They won't be sympathetic and understanding that you may have been legitimately mistaken in your initial statement.
    -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."

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