Trigger Squeeze for Target Shooting

The following information comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.

I appeal again to your intelligence. Do you really believe that your mind is receptive enough to soak up wisdom without back talk? Well, then, for Pete’s sake—SQUEEZE.

How you should do it? It is· very simple.

Slip your index finger into the trigger guard, not too far, not too little—just handy and comfortable.

Then find the trigger.

Barely touch it—very lightly, as if it were something hot.

After you have established this zephyr-like contact with your trigger finger, say to yourself:

Now I am going to crook my finger a little—just enough to let the trigger depress the skin.

Now I am going to bend my finger 1000th of an inch—now another 1000th—

(Let the muzzle wander wherever it will, so long as it sticks somewhere near the bu1lseye.) See Illustration in previous chapter.

Now another 1000th—Hold it!

It seems that we are going a little too fast.

All right! We’ll now try half the speed. Hold it all the while. Don’t let go of what you have.

Another tiny impulse. BING!


Oh, oh, yes sir, a bullseye! Some kind of a bullseye, but a bullseye just the same.

And you didn’t even know when the shot went off.

This, my friend, is what I mean by Squeezing. Treat the trigger as if it were brittle glass.

You remember that you crooked your trigger-finger 1000th of an inch at a time—then you slowed down by half. Not bad for a start.

It is not necessary to take a micrometer to measure the movement. Just get your imagination to work. Visualize a situation where a dear (?) relative who has slightly overstayed her visit, according to your notion, is approaching with the intention of announcing that she will stay permanently. You can already see the purposeful glint in her eyes; but we assume that she knows that she dare not talk until you have finished squeezing. (If you consider the slow squeeze an ordeal, just think what tortures she must be undergoing, you heartless brute!) Pretend that the slower you squeeze, the longer it takes her to get at you.

Are you listening? Please wipe that expectant intensity off your face. (This is after all only a psychological experiment, and your gun is empty and not pointed at any one in particular.)

If you can bring yourself to cut that really slow speed in half again, you are still going too fast. Get the idea?

When I said that you should crook your finger, I was speaking in general terms. If I were fussy, I should have said (and I am saying it now):

Don’t crook all of the trigger finger. Just crook that part of it lightly which touches the trigger. Don’t exert or bring into play any major muscle—certainly no muscle of your hand, wrist, or arm.

Muscles don’t do your shooting at all. Their function is to hold the gun up as lazily as possible.

This delicate treatment of your trigger is an important key to success. Again you will have to take my word for it. Don’t argue. Just try it. And, I dare say, any person who cannot make himself do with the trigger-finger what I have advised, is not well controlled enough to become an expert shot, and he might as well start practising with a trench mortar or a snow shovel.

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Trigger Squeeze for Target Shooting

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