If I told you there is one technique that, once mastered, will allow you to hit your target every single time, you’d probably write me off as one of those infomercial con guys. But, believe it or not, I speak the truth, and there’s no trick, no gimmick to it.
What is the technique? Perfect trigger press. A bad trigger press is the top reason shots go off target when shooting a handgun. Why? Most handguns require between four and 12 pounds of trigger pressure to fire. Most handguns also weigh less than three pounds; some these days weigh less than one. Now, if I remember my high school physics correctly, when you apply 10 pounds of pressure to a two-pound object, that object is going to move. Therein lies the problem. For you to hit your target every time, you have to press the trigger, with its four to 12 pounds of required pressure, without allowing your handgun to move at all.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to develop your ability to press the trigger without moving your gun: dry-firing. Dry-firing is practicing your trigger press without using ammunition. It allows you to focus on technique without the noise and recoil. You can also dry-fire at home—no need to go to the range to practice—and it won’t cost you a red cent.
The most important consideration when dry-fire practicing is safety. It is paramount that you commit to never having live ammunition anywhere near your gun when you dry-fire, and I mean not even in the same room. Beyond that, four gun safety rules always apply when dry-firing:
- Treat your gun as if it’s loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to dry-fire.
- Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
- Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
Looks a lot like the rules for regular practice at the range, don’t they? That’s exactly my point. Gun safety is gun safety, with or without ammunition.
Now let’s take a look at how dry-firing should be performed, but one note before we do: Be sure to check with the gun’s manufacturer to make sure it’s all right to dry-fire your gun. With the exception of most .22 rimfire handguns, most modern pistols and revolvers are fine to dry-fire without ammunition, but some guns, especially older firearms, can be damaged by this practice, so better to check first. All set? Here’s how dry-firing works: