The following information comes from Manual of Police Revolver Shooting by R. M. Bair. Manual of Police Revolver Instruction is also available to purchase in print.
Of the six Principles of revolver shooting, TRIGGER SQUEEZE is the most important, and should be thoroughly mastered by the officer as quickly as possible through practice and concentration at the time of firing, for his proficiency as a good revolver shot will depend largely upon his ability to squeeze the trigger for each shot.
The proper method of squeezing the trigger at the time of firing, (being sure the proper grip has been taken) is to equalize the pressure between the trigger-finger and thumb until the shot is fired. The action of the thumb, at the time of squeezing the trigger, is forward and against the frame of the revolver if firing with either hand, equalizing the pressure of the trigger-finger before and after the hammer is released and until the firing-pin strikes the primer of the cartridge. Another method of equalizing the pressure between the trigger-finger and thumb, is to place the thumb against the side of the frame as described in the chapter on grip with sufficient pressure to equalize the pressure of the trigger-finger. In this case the thumb is not moved forward during the time of squeezing the trigger.
If the thumb pressure is NOT equalized with the pressure of the trigger-finger, at the time of squeezing and until the shot is fired, it will cause a slight movement of the barrel at the time the hammer is released before the firing-pin strikes the primer of the cartridge, causing the shots to group to the right or left of the bull’s-eye, depending upon which hand is firing the revolver, even though the trigger was squeezed by the trigger-finger but without thumb pressure. This is a very common fault with many shooters who usually blame the revolver for being inaccurate.
The officer must be very careful at the time of sighting and firing, not to give the trigger a yank causing trigger pull at the time he sees the sights in perfect alignment with the target. With the sights in alignment with the aiming point on the target, he should hold as close as possible and maintain a steady trigger squeeze until the shot is fired.
The officer will find that the sights weave back and forth, up and down, during the time he is trying to hold them on the target. He should not allow this to bother him, for as he continues his sighting practice this weaving will gradually diminish to a very small area, but under all conditions during the weaving he should squeeze the trigger until the shot is fired. It will be readily understood that when the sights are weaving across the target they are moving in parallel motion and if the shot is fired it will be confined to a very small area on the target, depending of course, on the extent of weaving. However, if he sees the sights in perfect alignment and pulls the trigger, he changes the angle of sights in their relation to each other and the target, causing wild shots and complete misses.
The officer should never know the exact instant the shot will be fired, for each time he knows when the shot will be fired, he will close both eyes and pull the trigger, causing wild shots and flinching.
The trigger-finger should be placed in the curved portion of the trigger, (Figs. 5 and 6) and the action of the trigger-finger at the time of squeezing is straight to the rear. He should be very careful not to place the trigger-finger high on the trigger (this is a common fault with novice shooters) as it greatly reduces the leverage on the trigger and increases the pounds trigger pull of the revolver, causing yanking, jerking and very often flinching.
The officer will never be able to fire accurately until he has learned to concentrate on squeezing the trigger for every shot. If he were to fire one thousand shots each day, one thousand times each day he would have to think and concentrate on squeezing the trigger. The reason for this will be found in the chapter on flinching.
Squeezing the trigger should be mastered in slow fire, before attempting to fire timed and rapid fire, for again the proficient timed and rapid fire shooter is the one who has mastered trigger squeeze. The method of squeezing the trigger is the same for slow, timed and rapid fire, except that in timed and rapid fire the action of the trigger-finger and thumb is speeded up when the trigger is squeezed. This action should be smooth and even and should never be jerky in order to get the shots off within the time limit. Again the officer should hold as close as possible and always squeeze the trigger.
A very good rule for the officer to remember, in slow, timed or rapid fire, is to never hold longer than it requires to bring the sights into alignment with the aiming point on the target and squeeze the trigger. A very good way for the officer to satisfy himself that he is squeezing the trigger properly, and he should try this frequently in his DRY SHOOTING, is to balance a coin (a dime is most suitable), on the barrel of the revolver about one inch forward of the frame. Cock the hammer first, place the dime on the barrel and see if he can squeeze the trigger until the hammer falls without having the coin drop off. This he should be able to do with the arm fully extended in the firing position, and after he becomes proficient with this practice he is well on the way to becoming a good revolver shot, providing he squeezes the trigger with the revolver loaded.
Trigger Squeeze Quiz
- What is the most important principle to think of at the time of firing?
- What is the action of the thumb when firing with either hand?
- What is the proper method of squeezing the trigger?
- What will be the result when firing if the thumb pressure is not equalized with the trigger-finger?
- What will be the result when firing if the trigger is pulled or yanked?
- By what method should the revolver be fired, if the arm that is supporting the revolver weaves back and forth, up and down, during the time of sighting?
- By what method should the revolver be fired if the officer sees the sights in perfect alignment with the aiming point on the target?
- Should the officer know the exact instant the revolver will be fired?
- What rule should the officer remember when squeezing the trigger in timed and rapid fire?
- When dry shooting, how may the officer determine if he is squeezing the trigger?
- Why should the officer be careful to see that the trigger-finger is placed in the curved portion of the trigger at the time of firing?
- Would firing a great number of shots each day overcome the necessity of having to think of trigger squeeze at the time of firing?