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When did people start teaching trigger discipline?

17375 Views 19 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  peckman28
When did people start teaching trigger discipline?

Might sound like a weird question but what I mean is this: I just watched El Dorado (60s?) and in one scene James Caan casually points a cocked shot gun at John Wayne’s head from a foot or so away with his finger on the trigger. Now I realize it was a movie but that’s not something that a person who had been taught muzzle or trigger discipline would ever do casually and the gesture had nothing to do W/ the plot or story line.

I also recall an episode of magnum PI (80s?) in which Magnum is shown W/ his finger on the trigger of his 1911 and you could actually see him realize what he was doing and take his finger off the trigger and place it on the frame. Again, not an acting technique but a habitual response of someone familiar W/ weapons Like the scenes in Quigley where Selleck picks up his rifle and clears the chamber.

I also recently watched “To Hell and Back”(1955) and I noticed all through the movie that Audie Murphy had lousy trigger discipline. I point that movie out because trigger discipline is (IMO) a habit that you either have or you don’t.

I personally don't change my behavior relative to the status of the gun so I assume Audie Murphy and Ton Selleck don't either

Now even though I realize that this may have been due to the fact that all the guns were unloaded and everyone knew it but I watched “Uncommon Valor” (1983) the other day and all the actors there practiced strict trigger discipline.

There was a short lived series on tv last year called "Life On Mars" The main character was a cop from 2008 who somehow got sent back in time to 1973. One of the things they did to show that Sam (the 2008 cop) was different from his 1973 co-workers is that every time he drew his gun he observed proper trigger discipline and his co-workers didn't signifying that this was a "modern" idea that wasn't practiced in 1973.

That's kinda of my point the idea of placing your finger alongside the frame rather than on the trigger is (IMO) a relatively recent thing and I'm curious when it started becoming prevalent.

I don’t recall an issue ever being made when I was in the army WRT to this (1988-2003)
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I, too, have noticed the habit (or lack thereof) in movies and TV shows being practiced. Instead of a time period when it becomes regular practice, I think it's more a matter of the care that the director or actor(s) take to be accurate to real-world, safe standards.
Hollywood is not real life. My thought is that we can't assume a timeline based on what an actor's fictional character does in a movie.
Actors take direction from Directors, if Director says finger on trigger then it is a finger on trigger. It really depends on if they have professional advicer on gun handling or not. Actors who want to work try and avoid conflict with Directors.
I learned trigger discipline before I even picked up the old mossberg 36B.I was 7 years old. I didn't touch a handgun until I was an adult,mainly because I didn't own one.
In the movies, they keep their finger on the trigger and have mags that hold 75 rounds.:rolleyes:
Anywhere else, keep your finger off the trigger...:hand10:
I'm 73 years old and have been shooting all of my life. I remember clearly my earliest instruction included the admonition, "keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot". Trigger discipline has been around that long for me.
the idea has been along probably as long as guns.
hopefully now some directors / actors know it well enough to do it even in movies.
If Audie Murphy wants to keep his finger on the trigger, I'm not going to argue with a certified hero!

It's probaly a byproduct of lawsuits and Neg discharges. Back in the day when cops carried revolvers, such things weren't so common. Now, with Glocks and the like, adreneline and triggers don't mix well.
I'm 52 shot my first 22 when I was about 10 years old,and my dad drilled the rules into me before I ever shot the gun,still have that 22 in my safe
"I'm 52..."

You're a classic then Dukalmighty, like a '57 Chevy Belaire.

I'm thinking all the best forum members are 52 and live in Texas, hah!

We're the same age and pretty much have the same story on trigger control.

I never was too concerned about what Hollywood was doing.
You can thank GLOCK..

It was taught to prevent sympathic reflex, but I still don't remember it being preached until we switched over from revolvers to semi and then really only after Glock came out.

I know we had at least 3 or 4 ADs right after Glocks were approved for carry...

Then it was Katie bar the door..everyone preached finger off trigger..
Hollywood is not real life. My thought is that we can't assume a timeline based on what an actor's fictional character does in a movie.
Bingo. ^^

As well speaking to history prior to roughly the 90s the vast majority of handguns one would come into contact with were revolvers...And to that it was very normal to keep the hammer down on an empty chamber, so having trigger discipline was not an item of issue or need simply because the gun was not kept in Condition 0; Chamber loaded, hammer cocked and unlocked.

Further when autoloaders were first introduced as through to the 70s they too were regularly kept and carried same as a revolver; Condition 3; Chamber empty, hammer down, magazine or cylinder with revolvers as loaded...Requiring cycling of the action or press of the trigger to cycle the cylinder to make the gun in to Condition 0 and by that ready to fire.

Looking at or toward Hollywood for material information is as much as a non-starter as it is to look to them for training.

As I understand it the concept of teaching trigger control and having an 'indexed finger' is very new as circa the early 90s.
If someone were to research this through past NRA instruction documentation I'd bet they could better and with more accuracy determine exactly when the transition began, as opposed to reviewing TV shows and movie actor practices.

I mean heck actors still drive cars on TV and in moves with the steering wheel turned at various angles even as the vehicle is clearly being shown as traveling in a straight line, and vice versa.

- Janq
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I was unfortunate in that my childhood was completely gun free. I basically taught myself by reading about guns. First thing I read was about Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Cooper and all the wonderful rules and concepts he had developed. I guess from there the rest is history.
Agree with the above: You can thank GLOCK for that.

I'm 73 years old and have been shooting all of my life. I remember clearly my earliest instruction included the admonition, "keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot". Trigger discipline has been around that long for me.

I be a "young 67 +++++ & DITTO !!!

I'm guessing that trigger safety was invented shortly after the first AD.
I'm guessing that trigger safety was invented shortly after the first AD.
That is probably the best answer yet. :hand10:
When did people start teaching trigger discipline?
I think it's been around a long time. A person's age, perception, the length of ones involvement in the shooting sports, their knowledge of it's history, their training, all play a part. There are several picture threads running on the M1911.ORG forum dealing with the model M1911/M1911A1s used in the world wars, any number of them show servicemen with their trigger finger indexed along side the slide, and many are shown with their fingers on the trigger. There is an ad running on the History Channel hawking a disc set about WWII, in one scene, it clearly shows a GI trotting across a street during a fire-fight with his finger along side the slide and the hammer cocked. Many think carrying "cocked & locked" is a fairly modern phenomenon, invented by Col. Jeff Cooper, it isn't, he did greatly popularize it, but it has been a form of a carry since at least the 1920's by southwestern lawdogs (Texas Rangers Charlie Miller & Joaquin Jackson to name just a couple) and many other gun savvy pistoleros. Many, many people think the "high thumb" hold in pistol shooting is relatively new, it too isn't anything truly modern. Pick up the old book (1st pub. 1930) "Shooting" by J. Henry "Fitz" FitzGerald, you'll find many pictures of shooters using a "high thumb" hold with 1911s and revolvers. There really is very little "new under the sun," just different packaging. :wink:
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For me I knew about guns, but my father owned none. My grandfather was an avid hunter and had a few long guns and some BB Guns he taught me to shoot. Generally speaking I mostly learned from personal experience with the weapons. I don't recall much in the way of rules except that I couldn't touch them except if I asked and was supervised. Up until I was old enough to safely handle them myself (the BB guns that is). Once I got into purchasing my own weapons I joined the NRA and took a CCW class and made the rules of gun safety my life so to speak.
My Grandfather taught me too keep my finger off the trigger until I was ready to shoot when I was a kid. I think the idea has been around about as long as firearms have, as someone else indicated.
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