Practice: Moving the Trigger Straight Back

Don’t have an unloaded handgun to practice with? No problem. Here’s how to practice moving the trigger finger straight back. You can do this standing or sitting, any time day or night. All it needs is your attention and a credit card.

  1. Hold your arm, wrist and fingers the same as when you are holding the handgun.
  2. Hold a credit card vertically in your hand between the point on your trigger finger where you place the trigger and the web between thumb and finger where the back of the gun normally sits. Only the trigger finger and the web should touch the credit card.
  3. Check the alignment: You should be seeing the credit card “edge on”. Eye, “front sight” and “rear sight”, the vertical edges of the credit card, should all be lined up.
  4. Focus on the near edge of the credit card and then slowly pressure the trigger finger straight back.
  5. The credit card should stay perfectly aligned with the eye.

Do you also have a GripMaster exerciser?

  1. Hold it upside down and low in the hand with the middle two gripping fingers on what are now the “top” two finger spring pads. Note that, as when holding a handgun, the middle joint of the gripping fingers, not the finger tips, will hold the GripMaster.
  2. Then, add the credit card between trigger-finger-position and web similar to before.
  3. Compress the springs of the gripmaster with the middle two fingers and, thereby, grip the “gun” (GripMaster).
  4. Focus on the credit card as before and pressure the trigger finger straight back. You should continue to see the credit card “edge on” at all times.


  1. Hold the GripMaster normally.
  2. Fully compress the middle two springs with the middle two fingers.
  3. Practice pressing the trigger finger spring slowly but fully.
  4. Note that the middle two springs must be fully compressed throughout this exercise. If they aren’t, when the trigger finger spring is pressed, it will change the tension on the middle two springs and everything will move as you pull the trigger. Instead, you want everything to remain locked and still as you move the trigger. This is called “trigger finger independence”.

FYI: If you are shooting 45 ACP 1911 or other large caliber handgun, you will probably want the “heavy” (9 lb. spring) model [GripMaster (][1]. (Their webpage lists this model as appropriate for those needing to do “weapon retention”.)

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