Once you get the concept of how trigger reset works, you will quickly appreciate how much better your accuracy gets and this opens the doors to firing follow up shots at a brisker pace. The combination of speed and accuracy is pretty vital, if you’re forced to stop a person, or 3, with only a pistol.

If you’re a “gun person” and spend time on the range, you will find that there are many opportunities to help people, if you’re willing and they’re receptive. Be advised that wandering up to strangers with guns takes finesse, so use your range etiquette.

Something I often see people struggle with, or know nothing about, is trigger reset.Having said this, if you know how trigger reset works, don’t run up on strangers with loaded guns, and proceed to get into “Fire Marshall Bill” mode saying “Let me show you something!”

As a person who has spent years on the “square range”, I’ve helped hundreds of people from literally all walks of life. With exposure to this career -composed of primarily observing the human condition, there are definitely varying levels of experience. There are a lot of people who will grasp the concept momentarily, but tend to forget it when things like qualifications come up and they fixate on a score, rather than a valid survival concept. I can honestly say that things have indeed favorably changed, in that more people seem to be aware, but, in an arena where I deal with a lot of guys fresh out of departments, and off deployments, many still don’t know just how the mechanics work.

The mission is education for those of you who perhaps get to visit a local range, but don’t necessarily get much professional help.The range day is for fun, and practicing what you may believe to be skill, but if you don’t know about reset, maybe the following will help you.

This next bit is not intended to eye poke ANYONE, but, let’s face some facts. People tend to gravitate to those they are told are “experts”. Most people equate “experts” as police officers and military personnel. There is nothing wrong with that, but, are the people you gravitate to experts, indeed? Probably not. On the flip side, most people don’t have the time, money, or inclination to attend whichever “High Speed/Low Drag” guru they see on videos out there in Internet Land.Let’s examine the factors for a moment, shall we?

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Time- the constant premium. Most people spend the majority of their time generating income to survive. Do I work for an employer who’s going to allow me to be gone? What is the spouse going to say about this? Money- Let’s say the class costs $500 to get in. Where is the class? Does this involve a plane ticket or a long drive? How many guns do I need to bring? How much ammo do I need to provide for each gun? What if something breaks, can I repair the firearm, or will someone do it for me, for a fee?

There will need to lodging for me, that’s more money. Hauling guns/ammo on a plane? Man, this is getting murky, fast. Now, let’s factor in inclination. The goal is to improve skill sets, which I currently feel are not all that great. I don’t want to be the guy that’s at the back of the pack.

As you can see, the whole idea of a class can get pretty cumbersome, pretty expensive, pretty fast. Pretty doesn’t necessarily denote happiness all the time, does it? So, with our tail between our legs, and dreams of what could have been, we look for avenues to gain experience, and the same experts rise to the forefront again- the law enforcement/military types. Again, this could be a wonderful thing, or maybe not.

We will get to the trigger reset stuff, I promise, but this is important, too. Realize that if you’re friends with a SWAT guy, that’s awesome. He can likely give you a sound foundation on manipulation skills for firearms, as can other types of law enforcement. A former military guy can do the same, but usually, with a rifle- not everyone in the service is issued a pistol. There are LOTS of different types of gunslingers, and they will have LOTS of differing ideas as to what their missions demand. For our scenario here, you are just an Average Grey Duck- who is not a “doorkicker”.

Believe it or not, “doorkickers” have various missions in different capacities- say law enforcement versus an assaulter. What we’re looking for is safe/effective skills to protect our homes with, we’re not pondering High Risk Entry. In our capacity here, the Bad Guy is the “doorkicker”, and we need to shut him down, pronto, Tonto.

Since I’ve been asked to generate articles about useful topics, I lean toward the new person who doesn’t have a lot of skill yet, because, let’s face it- we were all rookies, once. With a lot of my students, I use the term “Average Grey Duck”, and you should check this topic out. Why duck? Well, because young ducks learn through their parents, and the learning process is called imprinting. When you are the person selected to train the people in your agency, or your student is the spouse , child, friend, etc. it is critically that you show them proper technique. I explain this to my new trainees, and it lets them know early on that we are developing their abilities TOGETHER, not just them floundering and trying to learn. As we have to be extremely careful with words, I’ve been calling trainees this for over a decade, post explanation, and no one has sued me.

At this juncture, you’re reading the words of a total stranger, and he’s telling you that the police and service people are not the Be All/End All in all things firearms. Not exactly- the advice given is that a guy who can put 10 rounds in a group the size of a quarter with a pistol at 15 yards obviously has mad skills, but they might not be a cracker jack at explaining to you how they do it. They might not want to help you, at all.

My personal advice to a beginner is this- for a pistol, I would go with a gun that’s butt simple- like a Glock. It’s Double Action Only, and you don’t have to employ fancy complicated decockers, Double action first shot, ride reset, then fire Single action rounds subsequently. This is sound advice. If you’ve not got enough anxiety already as a new person, do an internet search about trigger assemblies, and you may walk away with a nosebleed.

I’ve mentioned in other articles that I’m a Glock guy from way back. The BATF agrees that a Glock is Double Action Only. Since Glocks ride in nearly 75 % of police holsters, doesn’t it make sense to have similar equipment? After all if this is good enough for law enforcement, why not the Average Grey Duck? If you have a friend who’s an officer, ask what duty round they use, as this might be a good idea for you, as well. This is a little bit of defense in the event that you’re forced to fire on someone- you did the research for your firearm and ammunition, and opted to use what the local police use. This is just food for thought.

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For our scenario here- you are pondering buying a pistol, but might not have the best idea of exactly what it is you want/need.Please don’t fall prey to the keyboard commandos, go to the vendor website, and research that way. Please don’t fall prey to the people at the local gun store either. Many have your money, not your best interest, in mind. You will also find that if you have people in your circle that are police/military types, they will likely have VERY strong opinions about what they use, but here is a simple fact.

These people are typically (in the police line) mandated (definitely in the military) to use whatever tool it is that’s provided. They can also be brainwashed to believe some of the stuff they’ve been told-a.k.a.-indoctrination.Ideally, you may have a local range where you can rent guns. If you’re old enough to carry a firearm for self-defense, you’re allegedly an adult. Adults need to make mature decisions.

Okay, I’ve rambled about everything BUT trigger reset, so let’s explore the concept.We will perform a drill. Since you will need a second person to do this correctly, find one. Since everything works as designed when it’s typed up, we’ll say it’s the spouse. You’ve both taken an 8 hour class to obtain permits, and in this 8 hour fiasco, you have both became eligible to carry for say 5 years. Obviously, I don’t know how every state meets criteria, I’m just rolling with my area of Earth. You’ve both gotten pistols, and 1 of you has stumbled across all of my cajoling, and curiosity has set in. What is this trigger reset of which you speak?The old dude that gave us our seminar for the class said nothing about this.

Hmmm…
For this drill, both of you will be working dry- that means, absolutely no live ammunition in either firearm, and no magazines, either.If you’re at a range working on this, put the mags in the car, with all of the bullets. If you’re working this at home, put all magazines/bullets in a different room.

This gives us a moment to learn something, and kill a myth, simultaneously-with the exception of some rimfire guns, (.22’s), and a few shotguns, it is perfectly fine to dry fire modern firearms. Do NOT believe the goober behind the counter at the gun store that you will damage the gun. Two things are possible here-#1-He should not be allowed to work in ANY capacity where his words are listened to, or #2- He has no dummy rounds to sell you, but he’s damn willing to sell you Snap Caps at 3$ each in order to “help” you.

Dry fire is wonderful, and free.However, this is not time to be flippant- you do not want to be “That Guy” who improperly “checks” the gun with a chambered round, and kill someone when the round you “forgot” goes through the wall.

So, here we are, 2 people willing to learn, 2 empty guns,we’ve cleared them visually, and physically- not a round or mag to be found. Swell. The “Shooter” cocks the pistol, aids with proper fundamentals, presses a shot, and holds the trigger to the rear. The second person manipulates the slide for them- charging it to the rear, and releasing the slide.The shooter eases the trigger forward, and if done correctly, you should feel and hear a click. That is trigger reset- you only need to press to the rear for the next shot. Do several reps of this, getting the feel for the trigger, and what it takes to reset it.When you feel you have the hang of it, switch roles.

Please people, for the love of all you hold dear, work on dry fire as a pair. To dry fire solo basically breaks a Cardinal Rule of firearms safety, do not put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire. People tend to revert to base levels when under duress, and if you’re racking away on your Roscoe alone, on a regular basis, that means your finger is on the trigger.This will only end in calamity.
If you’re the person wanting to show off this new skill you’ve acquired, DO NOT ever touch another person during manipulations, without their consent. If one of you (as a married couple) isn’t the strongest physically, it’s most likely okay to touch them during dry fire practice, say with a hand on the back as you rack the slide with the other hand. If you do this to someone else… you may find yourself in serious Doo Doo.

Since everything goes swimmingly on paper, when both parties are comfortable with getting the reset, load up, and go live fire. This would be at the Range, of course, not the living room. Remember this, you’re a New Baby Duck at this point- put your ear protection on, or in. We just got excited about hearing this wonderful aural “thingy”, but you don’t want to gut it out with no ear pro. When muffed or plugged up, work harder to FEEL the reset versus hear it. When it’s for real you won’t be wearing plugs, so the hearing part won’t be there, anyway.Have one person shoot at a time, you can play Bonnie and Clyde toward the end of the range session- develop skill first.Don’t be surprised when you don’t get the reset every time when going live fire- like all good things, it takes time and reps.

What you’ll find is that your groups will get smaller, and you’ll have better/faster follow up shots. Realize that if you’re having to stop someone with a pistol- follow up shots are a good thing. Remember the 7 Fundamentals of Shooting, and if you don’t know them, do a quick Google search. Of course, since no one can agree on anything, you will find less, and more, than 7.  All I’ll say on the matter is that way back in the dinosaur days when I first got minted as a new Instructor, there were 7. I looked at it like Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.In some examples, you will find that the “trigger control” portion is in bold type, as if to say this is pretty important. Hmmm…

Work as a pair, especially if one or both of you are new. Learn proper stance, and form, and all of those things you need to do to be effective. Two people on line is favorable to one. If there’s an injury, there’s a person there with the trauma kit you brought with you, because after all, you do have that, correct? Having a person coach you is a wonderful thing, provided the coach knows what the hell is going on.
So, it all worked out on paper, a problem was resolved in 30 minutes or less (like pizza delivery, or a sit-com). Seriously, 30 minutes is ridiculous. Skill at arms takes time.This will hopefully lead up to you wanting to purchase a rifle, say in the AR Platform type. The trigger works the same way. Tah-Dah! You can dry fire the same way, as a team, again verifying the firearm is unloaded, no ammo/ mags in sight.

At this juncture you may be thinking, Gee, Mister Internet Wizard, if the AR Platform firearm were to have a magazine in it, why, I’d be able to see it, don’t you know? Yes, that is indeed true, Dear Reader, however, if your extractor were to be broken, there could be a live round in the chamber, and the firearm would work as designed, which could potentially end in disaster. This can also happen with pistols, which is why we check, and have our second person with us also check.

If you’ve not ever seen something like this happen, well, when you’ve spent enough time on a range, you will. The longer you work the range, the more bizarre things you will bear witness to. That’s why we stay vigilant, to mitigate the bizarre thing from turning into a Bad Thing.

So, what did we learn?
We might not want Internet Expertise to sway our decision making in regard to anything firearms related
We might not want to rely too heavily on family members, either
Most modern firearms have some type of reset
We need to find a gun store that has firearms we can handle, and manipulate (with their permission)
With proper practice, we can learn to use this reset to great effect
When exploring a new skill set, we want to work DRY first, and this won’t damage our firearm
We can show this new skill to others, provided they are receptive
We don’t run up on people with guns at the Range
We don’t touch anyone without their permission
Avians learn through imprinting