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Trigger Finger Placement

Following up on my last article and the application of a Zen Mind to shooting…  …Here is a little gem, or just a dull rock to be tossed to the side.

One of the weapon safety rules goes something like, “Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.”  Why is this even there?  Why is it a rule?  We will touch on those questions as we get into a technique that is a “bend” on the “straight finger” rule.

trigger front 2


Leading up to and/or during a lull (not actively shooting) in a gunfight you will have your pistol/rifle in your hand.  You will be ready to disengage the safety, if it is so equipped, and your finger will (situationally) be outside the trigger guard.  Why is your finger outside of the trigger guard?  Because we only want the weapon to fire, when we WANT the weapon to fire.

Any number of factors can cause us to discharge that weapon unintentionally if our finger is on the trigger.  Such as a teammate bumping into you, clipping a door jamb in your haste, or having a fleeing by-standard running into you.  Not to mention just the sympathetic response to loud and violent noises which often cause us to flinch and clench.

With this, I have come to the conclusion in my mind that keeping my finger off the trigger is a good weapon safety rule.  But we get into situations where having my finger straight and off the trigger isn’t advantageous.  While this little technique may seem more applicable for Law Enforcement Officers, you may find it has merit for most all shooters.

For a LEO, the likelihood of someone attempting to grab your weapon is probably better than most average civilians.  Officer’s don’t just draw their pistols and shoot, often the weapons are drawn only to be re-holstered.  Within that time, an opportunity may arise for a unsavory character to attempt to take or effectively disable your weapon.

“Well I’d stay back”  “I’d guard my weapon”  “Bring it into a retracted position…”  Don’t go down the rabbit hole, stay with me, the world isn’t tactically perfect.

If someone grabs your pistol, or even rifle, and clamps your finger to the side of your weapon, you are now in a game of tug-o-war and any advantage you had, by being armed, is severely reduced…

How can this be mitigated as much as possible?  A solutions is, our finger is kept bent, outside the trigger guard, just as before.  Whether it is on the opposite side of the trigger guard (towards the barrel) or on the frame above the trigger guard.  What this does is creates time and opportunity; albeit very small, it is still there.  In a violent and dynamic situation there is that little pocket of time and space when you realize someone’s intent to take/disable your weapon.  Using that, you MAY find that little buffer you created for yourself is enough to collapse your finger into your trigger guard, if that is what that situation calls for…


Even though the physical space this technique creates seems insignificant, that time and space it provides, when your brain recognizes the situation, may pay dividends.  The dynamic aspect of this technique can be tried/trained and/or proven out with a blue gun or even an Airsoft gun.


“But it will make me slower firing…” “But it is uncomfortable…”  “But Jason Borne doesn’t use that technique…”  Stop for a minute, slip into that zen mind, internalize it, maybe *gasp* even go as far as to try it.  If you find merit in, integrate it, train to proficiency, let it become second nature.

“But it only has merit in a certain situation…”  Then just use it in that situation, or don’t.

“But this is geared for Cops…”  The minute you put a weapon in your hand, there is a chance someone may attempt and take that weapon from you.


Good luck on your journey.


Stay armed and stay proficient…



About Ivan Loomis

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Ivan Loomis is the Founder and President of Ivanco Incorporated. Ivanco Inc specializes in Custom ARs as well as firearms training in North Idaho. Ivan has spent his entire adult life in martial pursuits. With over 8 years in the military, some time with the San Jose Police Department and a number of years doing contract work in the middle east, he has amassed a a collection of experiences and knowledge he is passionate about sharing. Ivan spends his free time at his local Crossfit gym and on adventures with his wife and two young boys.

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