One of the most common problems in shooting is low-left groups for right handers.
It’s normally caused by a combination of anticipating recoil and/or “sympathetic squeeze.”
Basically, it’s not always easy to press the trigger without squeezing the rest of the fingers, the thumb, and flexing the wrist at the same time.
To complicate things, we’re supposed to grip pistols firmly, but the tighter you grip with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers, the harder it is to isolate the movement of your trigger finger.
The good news is that trigger finger isolation is a skill.
This means that no matter how good or bad you are at it right now, you can improve.
And the same drills that will help you shoot better will help protect you from repetitive use injuries and can reduce stiffness in the hands.
Some people are better at isolating their trigger finger than others.
Injuries and what you do with your hands on a daily basis are going to play a big role in how well you can isolate your trigger finger.
A lot of this has to do with something called “brain mapping.”
Your brain has a map of the body where sections of your brain are mapped to parts of your body for motor function.
These motor maps operate on a use-it-or-lose-it principle.
If you constantly wear stiff boots, shoes, and slippers that don’t allow much foot movement, the motor map in your brain for your foot kind of turns into a block, because discrete motor control isn’t useful when the entire foot moves as a single unit.
Start going barefoot and moving all 26 bones in the foot and the motor map in the brain is going to get bigger and more granular. That’s why some people can grab things with their toes, or even write with their toes.
The same rule applies to your fingers. You either use them individually or your brain starts seeing your hand as a claw rather than a hand with 5 individual fingers.
If you’re cranking on a wrench all day, a fighter who primarily uses your hands as clubs, or do a lot of other activities that use all of your fingers as a single unit rather than as individual fingers, these drills will be difficult at first, but you’ll see the biggest, fastest gains in performance.
If you are a fast typer or play a musical instrument that requires individual finger precision and dexterity, you’re going to have a leg-up on the drills, but they’ll still help you build better trigger finger isolation.
With that in mind, here’s 5 quick drills that you can do that will help expand the motor map for your fingers in your brain and help you isolate your trigger finger better.
First, is a drill that has become one of my favorite finger manipulation drills…coin rolling.
It’s a drill that magicians and pianists use to improve the motor maps in their brain to get fingers moving independently.
Quick disclaimer…I’ve got jacked up hands and I’m no magician. They’re scarred, my knuckles are knotted, and to top it off, I was trail running across a creek earlier this week, slipped on a rock, fell, and have cuts, abrasions, reduced range of motion, and swelling as a result. I can’t tell you how to be a GREAT coin roller…but I can show you how to use coin rolling as a drill to make you a better shooter.
Does this look like “normal” firearms training?
No. And that’s a good thing.
by Mike Ox
Mike Ox is an avid defensive and competitive shooter who has co-created several firearms training products, including Dry Fire Training Cards, https://se965.infusionsoft.com/go/dftcmedia/loadout
Dry Fire Fit, 21 Day Alpha Shooter, and See Faster, Shoot Faster. His brain based training focuses on accelerated learning techniques for shooting as well as controlling brain state and brain chemistry for optimal performance in extreme stress situations. Learn more about dynamic dry fire training for defense and competition at www.DryFireTrainingCards.com/blog
Photo courtesy of Travis Pike.