Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage?

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; Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage? So let me ask you guys...have any of you pointed a gun at a bad guy...or ...

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Thread: Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage?

  1. #1
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Question Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage?

    Finger On The Trigger - Mistake Or Tactical Advantage?

    So let me ask you guys...have any of you pointed a gun at a bad guy...or suspected bad guy...or anyone you remotely thought you might really have to shoot with your finger OFF the trigger? I am not talking about "searching for the contact", nor "mid-fight movement", but rather the static times when you have challenged someone whom you thought you might have to shoot...but you didn't quite have enough information to press the trigger yet. Where was your finger?

    I am well aware of all so-called safety rules, but being anal retentive about this sort of thing only hurts your survivability n the real world for which we train.

    Lets set the dogma aside and actually think about this.

    Certainly there is a place for "finger off trigger", but holding an adversary at gunpoint while he decides how to respond to your challenge and determines whether you will shoot him or not may not be it.

    I am not the first to say this. In a 2000 write up in the now gone IWBA magazine, Dr. Martin Fackler wrote about the folly of teaching finger-always-off methodology. As expected, the dino-cops of the era ate him alive and the matter was dropped.

    Even earlier, gunmen of the pre-modern technique world did not suffer from fear of their triggers as is evidenced by the photos and data from that age. Look at the lead photo. It is of a young Rex Applegate in his "ready position". Notice the finger. Did we all suddenly become a nation of jittery butterfingers in 1976? Are we lesser men today than the Jordans, Askins, and Applegates of a bygone era? No..I don't think so. But I think a great deal of gunfight knowledge has been suppressed by the politically correct, guru worshippers, and liability ninnyhammers of the gun world today. all know how much I care about getting the approval of others in the community - so here we go.

    Read The Remainder Of The Article Here:

  2. #2
    Member Array Biggie313's Avatar
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    I drew and did not shoot. finger off trigger the whole time. I would not put finger on trigger until my mind was made up to shoot

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Too much can go wrong. If I'm not positive that I'm going to shoot him, the finger stays on the frame. If that .1 seconds matter, I was dead anyway.
    "What does Marcellus Wallace LOOK like?"

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  5. #4
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Well, I like the fact that Suarez always seems willing to open up atypical topics of discussion that are not normally rationally discussed by intelligent gun folks.

    The guy is never afraid to pop open a fresh can of worms.

    So...let's toss it against the wall and see what sticks and what slides off.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array BkCo1's Avatar
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    Yes. I have had my finger on the trigger. Didn't have to pull it. Gun has been aimed and ready to fire. I guess with years of hunting and military experince my stress level is not very high. I get very calm in tight situations.
    Semper Fi

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    in the event you need to pull and squeeze immediately your finger is going to be on the trigger as soon as you clear leather...if you are drawing to present as a warning i dont see the point of fingering the assumption that your control will be the same in an sd situation as it is at the range may be careless..the adrenaline rush alone may be enough for you to squeeze off a round inadvertantly...

    i am as interested in you to hear from the experienced members...

  8. #7
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    Senior Member Array MJK's Avatar
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    Many years ago I had a confrontation with a burglar who tried to break into my apartment. At about 15 feet I surprised him and leveled my Ruger Super Blackhawk at his COM. My weapon was cocked with finger off the trigger, outside the trigger guard. Fortunately he made a wise choice and attacked to the rear. (911 call resulted in quick apprehension of the BG who I later identified as the perpetrator)

    I shoot a lot of IDPA and have been trained to not put my finger on the trigger until I'm on target and ready to fire. Doing otherwise is dangerous and increases the likelihood of an ND.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    This is simple.

    Grab a shot timer...And a gunman.
    Take the shooter(s) to a live fire range and give the task to draw, bring the gun as charged in condition zero (frame safety thumbed off/down toward those that have one) to full extension and wait for the buzzer.

    Direct the shooter to first do so with finger on the trigger to their own degree of comfort, and that when the buzzer goes off to place a controlled pair into a static target (as per the OPs scenario of holding a threat) at a distance of 15 feet.
    Do this twice for a total of four rounds fired.

    On paper note down the time differential between the buzzer and the first shot as well as that between the first shot and the second shot.
    Also note/mark the location of the hits on target.

    Repeat the test in exact manner again for a controlled pair, only this time do so with trigger finger indexed as a the start point.

    Compare and contrast all four data points:
    * First shot fired time differential as from buzzer alert;
    * Second shot fired time differential as from first shot fired;
    * Point of impact at the threat relative to combat accuracy and internal organs wounding effect potential;
    * Shots fired group size/spread.

    I would bet a buck that the differential against this test for any handgun/pistol shooter regardless of skillset be the shooter by background...
    * Novice ('Joe Average-Gunowner' and 'Chris Generic-Criminal')
    * Competitor (IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, SASS, etc.)
    * Recreational Shooter (hunters, can plinkers and Airsoft as well as paintball marker device users too)
    * Professionals of indeterminate level and degree of training (military/para-military, law enforcement or EPS) which in itself functionally may be _anything_ up to and including novice level (!)

    ...That the results of this simple to perform and evaluate test would be negligible in time gain/loss at a measure of tenths of a second if not less.
    Along with target hit accuracy result differential measured in single digit millimeters as rather than inches.

    While gaining no real measurable advantage in ability to respond, especially for shooters who are by tested function (not paper certificates only or so called 'time on the job' merit assumption) advanced skillset shooters.

    In kind to the inverse I would also against the same dollar bet very much expect that there be a real and measurable advantage as to _prevent_ negligent discharges by manner of either operator error (see the SureFire WML thread that has been running two weeks now!) and/or that of sympathetic body alarm response upon being surprised by the unexpected and/or suffering from an adrenalin dump (see the FL school board video where the shooter make an ND into the floor from a week ago!).

    What a gun handler stands to gain from _training and putting to practice_ to have and keep the finger indexed so as to become an automatic learned behavior, far outweighs the commonly expensive if not life changing results of placing fingers on triggers and depending solely on brain to body muscular control to a degree of 4lbs. (SA mode combat/duty mode pistol) to 9lbs. (Glock 'NYC Trigger') trigger pull.

    One dollar says...
    Fingers off the trigger indexed at the ready to fire IF and when need be > Fingers 'resting' on the trigger at the ready to fire IF and when need be.

    As to the pic/image as featured in that blog entry, he does (or should) know that those images were propaganda photos specifically and commonly made in those times as _staged_ with purposeful appearance to look and seem menacing...As a deterrent to criminals present & future.
    See the famous Jelly Bryce shooting a flipped quarter tossed in the air photo for same. That and this image is not of a real person actually in the moment seeking to engage never mind hold a real live threat. To imply as much and base theory off of same is just plain silly.

    With respect to Suarez, who I generally agree with on many if not most items, to this I personally do disagree and am willing to bet buck that any analysis of real world scientific and quantifiable testing would support my stated view.

    - Janq

    He makes mention of holding a person using 'low ready'...Who does that?
    Who is trained to do such a thing as to hold an active threat using a _low ready_ position, outside of what you very often see featured on TV & Move cop shows...Especially circa 80s and earlier.
    Anyone fool enough to think to attempt holding an _imminent threat_ (if not an imminent threat then why is the gun drawn?!) using low ready position hold, simply is asking to be shot. That just makes no sense at all.
    Low ready is in fact a position of readiness as to hold the gun; It is NOT a manner of active engagement toward a threat as to seek nor to hold/detain...Ala Gary Cooper vintage cowboy flicks.
    Last edited by Janq; December 27th, 2010 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Dropped an asterisk ahed of "Competitor"
    "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

  10. #9
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    Janq makes great points!

    I always enjoy your posts....even when I disagree with you. In this case I agree mostly.

    As far as -low ready-, I always learned that low ready meant just low enough that you can see the BG's hands. And yes, low ready is a trained and acceptable method of engagement, at least in LE.

    As far as the finger on/off trigger, I agree completely. The safety advantage is clear, the time advantage is not enough to risk the difference in safety.

    Edit: I have had my gun on a suspect (on duty), finger remained indexed.
    Last edited by sigmanluke; December 27th, 2010 at 01:40 PM. Reason: more
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
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  11. #10
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    "And yes, low ready is a trained and acceptable method of engagement, at least in LE."

    Yes, that is true.

  12. #11
    Member Array Black Oak's Avatar
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    No one will even know that I have a gun until I shoot it. I am not going to hold anyone at gunpoint. That handicap belongs to Law Enforcement alone.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    I don't believe that in many cases that is the most time significant point, relative to the situation being addressed.

    I believe that with DA/SA handguns, of various types that are carried by many, there is a greater variation in time, from signal/determination to fire, depending on if that weapon is in double or single action mode than there is if the trigger finger is frame or trigger indexed.

    This would not be in effect with weapons that always have the same trigger pull.

    Carrying those types of DA/SA weapons (92FS or revolver) personally I address the type of situation described as follows. Manual cocking of the hammer, bringing the weapon to single action mode, trigger finger indexd on the frame. I believe that this provides a greater time advantage than if the weapon was left in the double action mode and the trigger finger indexed on the trigger. While increasing the speed with which a shot can be fired, it also maintains the safety factor. Relative to drama or actual effect, this also conveys a seriousness of intent on the part of the weapon holder.

    I would be willing to bet a dollar on that.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    For me I guess it all depends on the pucker factor.
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

    "A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves".

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Matthew Temkin's Avatar
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    Many years ago I quoted WE Fairbairns book, Shooting to Live, which advised training officers to SAFELY keep their fingers on the trigger of handguns on several gun/training forums.
    Why did Fairbairn advise this?
    Because it was his belief that under the stress of life or death combat men will naturally finger the trigger no matter how often they have been trained not to.
    Yes, some may say there is a very small difference in time between finger off/finger on, but the typical officer may disagree with the shot timer ( done in a non life threatening range setting.) when it's his ass on the line.
    I have not taken a bad guy at gunpoint in over 2 decades, but my finger was always on the trigger of my Model 10 or snubbie when doing so.
    Our academy ( I am a former NYC Court Officer and moonlighted security jobs for many years) never made an issue of this, other to warn us to never cock our revolvers.
    After posting this on several forums I got hammered by many for even suggesting such a dangerous practice, so I am glad to see someone else bring this up.
    I must add, however, that carrying in SUL makes it very hard to keep one's finger on the trigger due to it being unnatural, so perhaps this can be a valid alternative.
    Anyway, I will watch this threads responses with much interest.

  16. #15
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    I'm an old fart who would probably choose to keep the finger off the trigger until I decided to shoot.
    I'm not a cop, I've never been robbed (in person), nor have I had the experience of a BG induced adrenaline rush...though I have experienced adrenaline rushes.

    Not having the training nor experience of actually interacting with BG's while armed, I'm not confident enough to point a firearm and then decide to hold the BG for the cops...but one never knows what situations life may bring.
    In the scenarios my mind's eye sometimes develop while maintaining SA in parking lots and questionable areas at night, I would prefer to think that when the firearm has to come out of the holster, there WILL be a lot of 'thunder and lightning' as the decision will have already been made to defend myself.

    This is a tough question...I just hope that my life's shooting experiences will only encompass those at the range, and not in a Wally World parking lot.
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

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