Law enforcement recruit using trigger control.

Trigger discipline and control are two critical aspects of law enforcement training.

  • Trigger control refers to the delicate balance between applying pressure on the trigger and maintaining your firearm's aim and sight alignment. 
  • In contrast, trigger discipline refers to keeping one's finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target and the shooter is ready to fire.

    The former is a fundamental skill for shooting accuracy, ensuring that each shot counts and hits your desired target while the latter helps prevent accidental discharges and potential injuries. 

    While both are unique, mastering these skills can be the difference between life and death in a high-pressure situation. Fortunately, practice often makes perfect. So, it's crucial for law enforcement personnel to continuously sharpen these skills using the proper techniques and shooting targets.

    What Are the Elements of Trigger Control?

    There are four primary elements of trigger control: grip, sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger press. Each element plays a critical role.

    Grip: A proper grip on the firearm helps control recoil and maintain sight alignment. A good grip should be firm, with the fingers wrapped around the grip and the thumb resting on the frame.

    Get tips on how to hold a pistol

    Sight Alignment: Sight alignment refers to the proper positioning of the front and rear sights in relation to the target. The shooter should focus on aligning the sights before pressing the trigger.

    Sight Picture: Sight picture is the alignment of the front and rear sights of a firearm in relation to the target. Shooters must align the sights with the target, making sure that the top of the front sight is level with the top of the rear sight and the front sight is centered in the rear sight. 

    The target should be in the center of the sight picture, with an equal amount of space on either side of the front sight.

    Trigger Press: Trigger press refers to the deliberate application of pressure on the trigger. Shooters must avoid jerking or flinching and instead maintain a steady pressure until the shot breaks.

    How to Practice Trigger Discipline and Control

    Law enforcement recruits and experienced officers can practice trigger discipline and control with paper, cardboard, or steel targets:

    Choose a Target

    Begin by selecting a shooting target that suits your needs and skill level. Qualification Targets, Inc. offers a wide variety of targets for law enforcement departments across the country. 

    Master Your Grip

    Once you've set up the shooting target, begin by focusing on your grip. Make sure it's firm and your fingers are wrapped around the grip while your thumb rests on the frame. 

    Focus on Sight Alignment

    Ensure that the front and rear sights are properly positioned in relation to the target. 

    Aim for a Clear and Steady Sight Picture

    Make sure the sights are aligned on the target, and you have a clear view of the target. 

    Focus on Trigger Press 

    Apply smooth and deliberate pressure on the trigger without jerking or flinching. Maintain a steady pressure until the shot breaks. 

    Pay Attention to Groupings

    Examine your target after firing a few shots and pay close attention to where your shots hit. Doing so will give you instant feedback on your technique, allowing you to make necessary adjustments. 

    Paper targets are particularly useful for this purpose, as they allow shooters to record their training and compare groupings to ensure they're improving each target practice. 

    Shop Qualification Targets, Inc.

    Remember that consistent practice is key to mastering trigger discipline and control. Qualification Targets, Inc. offers a wide variety of paper, cardboard, and steel shooting targets for training and qualifications. 

    You can shop our store online or start your department order by calling us at 866-498-8228.