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I’m relatively new to the gun world. I’ve just completed a half-day of instruction with Dave Starrin at Gunsite. We started with dry fire practice and progressed to controlled pairs at three and seven yards. Dave emphasized the need to feel the trigger reset after the first trigger pull. For the dry fire exercise using the Glock platform, I first unload and check the weapon. With the magazine out, I then go through the draw stroke, put sights on target, and perform a controlled pull of the trigger. The trigger is then held in full compression while I pull the slide to reset the system. Then the trigger is carefully, released but only to the reset point and no further . . .

The finger is held in this position until it is determined that a threat is no longer present, then removed from the trigger as the sights are removed from the target or low ready position.

I have heard steady compression of the trigger emphasized many times, but have never before noted the emphasis on releasing it only back to the reset point and no further.  Releasing only to this point allows one to make a second (or third or any shot to follow) more quickly and with more control since you are not going through a complete trigger pull again.


As we did the live fire controlled pair (aiming between each shot, but not reholstering) exercise using this technique, I found my first shot was typically slightly low. Routinely, the second show was dead center. This tip improved my marksmanship.

Throughout the half day of instruction, I always tried to release the trigger just to the reset point until I was sure the shooting was done. This will now be a dry fire exercise for me. It makes sense and works well. As always, train as you mean to fight.

Often we emphasize the importance of leaving the finger off the trigger until sights are on target and the decision to shoot has been made. Just as important and worthy of practice is keeping the finger on the trigger, just at the reset point until the decision to stop firing has been made.

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  1. Trigger reset is fairly controversial. I advise my students that trigger reset is the fastest and most accurate way to shoot and I do NOT recommend it (for defensive shooting.)

    In short, there is too much opportunity to short stroke the trigger under stress. Also, may people own many different guns, each with different reset points. Training yourself for one trigger reset may present a problem with guns with different resets.

    I teach that the trigger should be allowed to go back to full extension (past the reset point) while maintaining complete finger contact.


    • Well reasoned counterpoint. Thanks for joining in. I am a complete newb, so half the reason I post this stuff is to get feedback from more experienced shooters.

    • When I took part one of the concealed weapons class last week, our instructor recommended that the trigger should be allowed to go back to full extension because it would be the best way to insure a complete reset everytime. The reset sounds good, but it’s to easy to screw it up under pressure. The Rabbi wasn’t our instructor for this class, but he always has excellent advice.

      • I am all for ignoring the trigger reset. I tried it when I first started out and would only shoot that way. I became tired of the different guns I was shooting (Glock .40, 9 mm and my Springfield) and the shot always coming as a surprise. My groupings are the same and I enjoy shooting my handgun far more than with the reset method. You would have to be pretty darn on the spot with your gun to be able to empty a clip under pressure with the trigger reset method vs. someone with smooth quick pulls.

  2. Does anyone know of a good training center within driving distance of Northen VA? I am looking for something within, say, a 6 hour drive. Flying would just add too much to the cost.

  3. Trigger reset is the least important thing in defensive shoooting.
    It can lead to unintentional shots, and short-stroking.
    Grip, however, is Very Important. And yours, in the 2nd video, is terrible

  4. The fundamentals of shooting are…

    1. Sight picture
    2. Trigger control.
    3. Follow through.

    Step three is simply holding the trigger back until the sights are realigned with the target, then allowing the trigger to reset, and only as far as necessary. This has been standard practice for decades, and is part of the NRA basic pistol program. Anyone who has had even the most rudimentary training should know this.

    I’m glad that shooters are starting to pay attention, and that gun makers are highlighting this feature (Walther makes it an advertising point on the PPQ now) but it’s almost scary how many people don’t know this. It means they’ve never had an even cursory introduction to the fundamentals. No wonder you see so much bad shooting on the range.

  5. It would be important to emphasize WHY trigger reset is important, and WHEN it is important. People who are learning will pick up on a certain skill or idea a lot faster if they know WHY they’re doing it, not just TO do it. If you can address the problem, and inform the shooter what they’re doing wrong, how to fix it and WHY it works better/best, they’ll keep it in their memory banks longer.

    Also, as noted, trigger reset is fairly dangerous in a defensive situation. It’s best to just hold the trigger back to confirm the threat is down, then reset or release as needed.

  6. Feeling for the reset point won’t work with a revolver, where the reset is all the way forward at the very beginning of the stroke. Unless the trigger is allowed to come all the way forward, the cylinder can be made to turn at the first detent but the hammer will not cycle.

    Pistols are different. Single stage target triggers have an instant reset, but they also have zero take-up and I personally consider them unsafe for my EDC. You may disagree, and that’s fine. Whatever works. Some good trigger jobs can provide a more easily managed reset, too. Most of us will be better off taking what I’ll call a revolver stroke (all the way back, all the way forward) even with a pistol, and concentrating on grip and sight alignment. Another benefit is that we only need to learn the one stroke.

  7. Trigger resets been a pretty well known thing since the 80’s. I remember reading about it n old guns and ammo mags of my Fathers. It’s probably been practiced longer than that with 1911’s, which IMHO have one of the best resetting triggers.

    But a lot of the current top shooters right now are advocating literally slapping the trigger on followup shots, and as soon as the trigger breaks, releasing your finger fully off the trigger, and slapping it again.

    So I guess what ever floats peoples boats.

  8. I disagree with may of the posters here that trigger reset is unimportant. It is an important aspect (though not as important as smooth trigger pull) of defensive shooting, and should be part of the dry fire practice. Reason being it allows much quickly and accurate followup shots. In every serious shooting classes I’ve attended, where fellow students were military and LE professionals, the instructor has taught us to reset the trigger to just the engagement point, with no slack. That should tell you something. BTW, the recommended pistol in every single one of these classes is either Glock 9mm pistols or a properly built 1911, which takes the guesswork out of where the trigger resets.

    BTW, both videos demonstrated sub-optimal trigger reset methodology: the proper way to reset the trigger is during recoil, use the forward momentum of the slide to help the reset, NOT after the action has already locked. The tell tale sign of an improper reset is whether you can hear the “click” after the bang. With a proper reset, you shouldn’t hear the click, and the gun is well set for quick followup shots.

    • Google around, I can’t find the article right now as it was a year or so ago that I read it, but there’s all sorts of references to it.

      It describe a test put on, involving some of the best shooters in the nation attempting to rapid fire, and use the trigger reset by means of a pressure sensor.

      Apparently NO ONE could press, fire, and let the trigger out right to the reset, they either let pressure off completely, or went past the reset point to the end of the triggers forward travel.


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