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American Handgunner Sept/Oct 2012 Digital Edition - Page 38

BETTERSHOOTING this Glock 22 shows the trigger in its normal position as it comes from the holster. note the forward position of the trigger. DAve ANDersoN Here, dave has “prepped” the trigger, meaning pressing through the trigger slack/take-up. when the sight picture is acceptable, pressure (“press”) straight back on the trigger will fire the pistol. dave’s old wilson Master Grade ltd .45, built on a colt series 80, is carefully tuned to provide just 1/32" of smooth take-up followed by a crisp 3-pound break. even though take-up is minimal, dave still thinks of the pull as a process — prep then press. hese days it seems everyone wants to run without ever having learned to walk. Talk of accurate shooting and you can count on a sarcastic lecture about how unrealistic it is to waste time on basics. “What, do you think in a shootout there will be time to get in your nice balanced stance and to grip the gun just so, to fire a careful, accurate shot? No, you’ll be moving, the bad guy will be moving, it will be dark and scary and stressful. That’s what you should be teaching.” I try not to counter sarcasm with sarcasm. What I’m thinking, but don’t say, is: “Yes, you’re right. Some day you may be a pro quar- terback coming up to the line, spotting an opportunity and calling an audible. Maybe you’ll scramble to evade a tackler when your lineman misses a block; you’ll run left, spot an open receiver and throw back to the right off the wrong foot while running to evade one of those cat-quick linebackers. “But you aren’t a pro quarterback yet. Right now, this minute, you’re at the this-is-a-football stage. Someday you should be able to hit a moving target while moving yourself. But right now, let’s try and hit a stationary target while standing still.” Or as the great Tommy Campbell says, “If you can’t hit the target once shooting slowly, there’s a pretty good chance you can’t hit it twice shooting fast.” The great pros didn’t start out as pros. Several times I’ve read how irritating they find it when a fan says, “It’s easy for you, you’re such a great natural athlete.” It suggests their achievements are just a random gift, a lucky chance. It doesn’t recognize the endless work and discipline — not over just weeks or months, but years — needed to refine those gifts into greatness. No one is saying you must be a superstar in order to defend yourself with a handgun. But if you want to be a competent, skilled handgun shooter, it’s going to take time, effort and discipline. If you want to build your skills on a solid foundation, there are no shortcuts. take-up Vs. Creep Prep And Press I i n trigger terminology “take-up” (also called trigger slack) and “creep” have different meanings. Take-up is movement of the trigger, which doesn’t impart movement to the sear. A certain amount of take-up is normal with semi-automatic pistols. The trigger needs to move forward after each shot to reengage the sear. A little extra movement ensures the trigger can move forward far enough. Creep refers to trigger movement in which the sear is being moved under load. For now though, we are discussing take-up. The amount of take-up can vary considerably with different makes and models. I measured (at the center of the trigger) take-up on a few handguns. On my best target .22s, a High Standard Victor and an S&W 41, take-up is minimal, about 1/64". Most of my 1911s have 1/16" take-up, while a couple of competition models measure 1/32". Take-up on a stock Browning High Power measures 3/32" and on a Glock 35, 1/8". This is the take-up encountered when drawing or picking up the pistol for the first shot. Some models reset over a shorter distance. For example, the Glock 35 mentioned has 1/8" takeup for the first shot, but needs to move forward only 1/16" to reset. On the other hand, on a Ruger SR22 I tested recently, the single-action pull has a full 3/16" take-up and needs to move forward almost the full distance to reset. 38 n developing trigger control for accurate shooting, manage the pull in a 2-stage process — prep and press. To prep the trigger means simply to press through the initial take-up to take the slack out. Remembering our safety training, the trigger finger doesn’t go into the triggerguard or onto the trigger until the gun is on target — not necessary precisely indexed, but closely enough so an unintentional premature shot won’t endanger anything but the target. As the pistol aligns roughly on-target, the trigger finger moves into the guard, onto the trigger and smoothly takes up the trigger slack. Then as the shooter confirms a satisfactory sight picture, the trigger finger smoothly presses through to sear release; prep then press. With enough repetitions it can become a subconscious skill. Prep/press is learned first in deliberate fire without time pressure. Until it becomes a subconscious skill there will likely be times the shooter overdoes the “prep” part and presses right through to fire the pistol. As skill develops, prep/press is not limited to slow fire. With training it can be done very quickly, certainly during the interval during recoil recovery and acquiring the next target. For more on trigger control, go to www.americanhandgunner. com and click on the Web Blast link at the top. * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2012

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