Do you know where your finger is? (Safety first)


VA State CCW Holder!
When any of you were new to guns, did you have to break BAD habits? Not your stance or flinching or something like that, I'm talking REALLY BAD ones... I've got one that needs to be broken RIGHT NOW. I think judging by the title, you can guess what that is.

Not only do I find my finger on the trigger a lot of the time, but I also think I put too much faith in the safety and seeing the hammer is not cocked...

It's kinda scary...

One of these days, I'm going to pick up a Glock or something without a cocked indicator and something bad is gonna happen. :(

It's a sub conscious thing that I'm not even aware of sometimes. Friends at the range will tell me and I won't even realize. I didn't grow up with guns and have only been shooting for less than a year, but that's no excuse.

At least it's not like my cordless drill, where I'll pick it up and immediately pull the trigger to check if the battery is charged. :eek:

When I was new to carrying my firearms, I had a similar problem. I have a OWB strong side holster with a trigger guard. What I did was buy some snap caps (dummy rounds), load them into my firearm, and just practice my draw and fire technique. I focused on making sure my forefinger was always resting on the gun frame above the trigger guard. Initially, I had to think a lot about where my trigger finger was placed. After several hours of practice, it became second nature for my finger to not enter the trigger guard until I had acquired my target and released the safety. I also make it a point, even when cleaning, to keep my finger out of the trigger guard until it is required. Took some getting use to, but it is now second nature. Good luck breaking your habit, it is definitely one you want to rid yourself of.
Do you know where your finger is?

Wolfhunter has it absolutely correct.I have a holster which properly positions my trigger finger along the slide, but I was trained to use that hold, anyway. I have been noticing that the actors on TV and in the movies are getting much better about gun handling. You seldom see an actor with his or her trigger finger on the trigger nowadays, until their weapon is on target. There used to be a TV series long ago about the Los Angeles PD many years ago, when they carried revolvers with 6 inch barrels in clamshell holsters. to draw, the officer had to put his finger in the trigger guard to push the release, and the holster would then pop open on a hinge on the rear of the holster. The result was that the officer was now holding a loaded weapon with his finger on the trigger. An additional downside to this holster was that it took both hands to re-holster. Make sure your weapon is unlaoded and there is no ammo in the area, then draw, draw and draw some more, concentrrating on having the trigger finger along the slide or cylinder above the trigger guard. When you accomplish that step 100% of the time, then start pratciing getting your weapon on target, then slipping your finger down to the trigger guard. You will be amazed at how fast you can go from a safe hold to firing with a little dry-fire practice. Good luck, and try to think of dry-fire practice not as a burden, but a big help to you to avoid a negligent discharge.
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Train to develop muscle memory

It's a sub conscious thing that I'm not even aware of sometimes. Friends at the range will tell me and I won't even realize.


Clear your handgun, visually and physically inspect to ensure it's unloaded, and leave your ammo in another room.

Then, with your cleared and unloaded pistol, dedicate a certain amount of time to training. You can draw from a holster for additional reps in drawing from a holster if you feel the need, but to "train your trigger finger" you can simply go back and forth from the high ready - muzzle pointed at target but arms lowering the gun down to about low-chest level - with finger OFF trigger and up along the frame of the gun.

Then "punch" to a presentation of the gun, while moving your finger down onto the trigger - without pressure or squeezing.

Lower to high-ready and finger comes back off the trigger.

'Lather, rinse and repeat' this up and down exercise a couple dozens times a session. Don't beat yourself up if you catch your finger dragging on the trigger at the high-ready - just so long as you catch yourself and correct yourself. Positive reinforcement with numerous correct repitions, done over a period of time, and you will develop muscle memory.

You don't have to grow up with a gun in your hand to develop muscle memory, just like learning to drive a stick didn't come at age 5 (for most of us). When you first learn to drive a stick, all your focus is on NOT screwing up, lurching and stalling and all the many things you have to do simulataneously. Now, looking back, you drive a stick while drinking coffee and finding your favorite CD and don't even think about shifting. You just do it and usually without issue.

Training your trigger finger to be your best, safest buddy is the same. Train with a purpose and goal in mind, and you will get there.

Don't be like the DEA agent who was the only one in the room 'professional enough' to shoot himself in the foot, even after "clearing" the "Glock 40." Nobody wants to train with THAT guy. :secret:
Another thing:

I was at the range yesterday and my stepbrother (USAF) was giving my pointers... I'd unload a magazine and the slide would be back, and I'd still be holding the gun and turn to talk to him. (Gun still pointed down range.)

He'd tell me to put it down...

It's like I know the mag is empty, the slide is locked open, so I know it should be safe and that's reflected in my actions of holding it and not focusing on shooting. It violates the first rule that you should always treat every firearm as if it's loaded.

Same thing if I have it at home and the mag is out and I've just gotten done cleaning/oiling it. I'll cycle the slide a few times and dry fire at the wall to work the oil into the mechanism. If it was loaded, I could end up shooting the dog, the neighbors... I KNOW it's unloaded. but I should TREAT it like it's loaded and ready to go off.

At least I didn't do what my buddy did. He got reprimanded for this one:

Our range has the little tables in each lane to rest your gun and ammo on... As you're facing down range, behind you is a large window so observers and the range master can see you, just under this window is a ledge where you can put your bags, jackets, extra ammo, etc.

He set the gun on this ledge, pointing at the window... Slide closed. :rolleyes: Whoops!
He's a new shooter too. He won't do that again.
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Do you know where your finger is?

Don't feel like you are alone. When I first started handling a handgun, I also automatically put my figner on the trigger when I picked a gun up. It took a lot of work with a friend to learn to do the right thing every time. I feel I have to commend Hollywood, as i have been watching actors whose parts call for them to use handguns. they are training the actors well, as you hardly ever see an actor with his finger on the trigger while approaching a room or conducting a search.
I had a friend who was shooting in one of our regular Sunday afternoon shoots, where the stage called for the shooter to carry his belt (as in a camping scenario). he fired his six shots, dumped his shells, then had to locat his belt for his speedloaders. As he was doing so, his barrel swept across the spectators, and he was disqualified. He protested that the cylinder was open and his fingers were through the frame, so there was no way the weapon could fire. His protest was denied, as the rues clearly stated that the barrel would never point uprange. Good luck, and remember, practice, practice, and practice some more.
At least it's not like my cordless drill, where I'll pick it up and immediately pull the trigger to check if the battery is charged.

Well, that could be part of the problem right there. I'm so conditioned to NOT have my finger on the trigger that when I pick up one of my drills my finger is straight as an arrow and not touching anything until I make a conscious decision to change that. That sounds like a dig, but it's not; it's just my way of expressing how instinctive it is for me to not have my finger anywhere around triggers or switches.
I practice draw with my thumb clicks the safety off as I draw and my trigger finger is on the slide of the Taurus. I then point at target and place finger on the trigger. I practice about 10 minutes per day. It is now engrained

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