Jerking with Triggers

I hear this frequently from inexperienced shooters, oh and many trainers: “yer jerking the trigger!” What this means is your trigger pull is causing your aim to fail. But in reality, you are likely “pushing” the trigger, not jerking it. If you jerk something, you pull at it, right? Just because you are pulling a trigger doesn’t mean you are jerking it.


For a right-handed shooter, if they were actually “jerking” the trigger, that would imply they are pulling at it, which would cause shots to land to the right of the target. I rarely see this happen with new shooters.

Here is a video from Rob Leatham discussing the importance of pulling the trigger without moving your gun.

Instead I see a lot of right-handed beginners ”pushing” their triggers. Their shots land left of the target. In reality, it’s pretty rare to see someone actually “jerk” anything to the right. But pushing to the left is extremely common. And there’s a reason for that!


If you look at the mechanics of a trigger press, there are basically two different methods:

Hook Method - Most beginners employ some type of hook method during their trigger pull. This tends to result in your finger looking like a fish hook as you complete your trigger press. Typically the pad at the tip of the trigger finger is applied to the trigger. As the trigger is pressed, the first and second knuckles of the finger break, and the finger starts to curl into a hook.

This is why a right-handed shooter will hit left. As the tip of the finger compresses into the trigger, it has a tendency to push the gun to the left in the shooter’s grip. The gun simply rotates a small amount, but enough to prevent accuracy.

This is a common mistake that can easily be fixed with a small adjustment. Start by ensuring your trigger finger is as far as it can be inserted onto the trigger. That won’t necessarily fix bad aim or pushing shots. It just prepares you to learn about how your trigger finger should actually operate during a press.

Fulcrum - Few trainers will tell beginners to employ as much of their trigger finger as they can, to help alleviate pushing your shots. This is the beginning to help eliminate the hook effect, but it does not make you a marksman until you understand why.

Whether you employ the first pad or second pad of your trigger finger, depending on your hand and gun size, you want to achieve a fulcrum affect during your press. This means there is only one moving part to your finger, the middle knuckle.

Think of your middle knuckle like an elbow. As you pull your trigger, your first knuckle will want to bend. That is exactly what causes error. Instead, only the second or middle knuckle of your finger should break. If you employ the first or second pad of your finger on the trigger, seek to prevent curling your finger, breaking your first knuckle.

This problem is very much like a body builder with bad form. If I am performing bicep curls, I keep my wrists locked, they are essentially the first knuckle of my trigger finger. You don’t see professional lifters wasting time lifting massive weight with their wrists during a bicep curl. They are locking them, and breaking only their elbows through the curl, thereby isolating the bicep.

So you need to learn to lock your first knuckle and isolate movement to only your middle knuckle during trigger press. If you continue to break your first knuckle during this process, you may find it very difficult to master accuracy at any distance.


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