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View Full Version : tips for improving SA/DA trigger squeeze?


steelcore
08-08-2012, 8:29 PM
Before shooting semi auto handguns I had experience with a Ruger SA revolver, M16 service rifles, and a Remington 700. All have had triggers that were easier to control than my semi auto handguns (previously USP 45 and currently FNX-9).

It seems that the creep is what really ruins the squeeze for me. With the other triggers the take-up was short, if any. With my semi autos I build anticipation, and often jerk the trigger, placing the shots around 7-8 o' clock. It's improved with the FNX, but I still tend to do it here and there.

I know that range time and dry firing will help me instill better habits, but is there anything else that could help consistency?

bvkhansen
08-08-2012, 9:37 PM
One of my favorites is to set an empty casing right behind the front sight post and focus on a good squeeze without letting the casing fall over.

9mmepiphany
08-08-2012, 9:39 PM
There are several factors to coming to terms with placing the DA first shot accurately. It is easy to teach in person, much harder to describe...especially as we have no idea what you are doing now.

Generally what you should be doing is:
1. Take a solid, but not too tight grip
2. Place the trigger behind the middle of the fingernail bed
3. Accept the wobble of the sights
4. Press the trigger straight to the rear at a constant speed
5. Do not slow down or stop the press to refine your sight picture
6. Do not speed up when you think the sight picture is perfect
7. Do not tighten the other fingers of your strong hand as you press the trigger

RoundEye
08-08-2012, 10:42 PM
There are several factors to coming to terms with placing the DA first shot accurately. It is easy to teach in person, much harder to describe...especially as we have no idea what you are doing now.

Generally what you should be doing is:
1. Take a solid, but not too tight grip
2. Place the trigger behind the middle of the fingernail bed
3. Accept the wobble of the sights
4. Press the trigger straight to the rear at a constant speed
5. Do not slow down or stop the press to refine your sight picture
6. Do not speed up when you think the sight picture is perfect
7. Do not tighten the other fingers of your strong hand as you press the trigger

^^^^ This and a lot of practice!

straykiller
08-08-2012, 11:28 PM
^^^^ This and a lot of practice!

i found just dry firing and focusing on a controlled trigger pull as well as keeping my sight picture steady and aligned help a lot. i actually shoot da better then sa at long ranges it seems like now.

if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket you might want to pick one of these up.
3YRXohA8DKY

CK_32
08-09-2012, 7:10 AM
Just practice.. I blamed and looked for other answers too with my 17 shooting low left just did a trigger job and said f it.. Not I shoot evenly center.. This is after about 3k rounds I would say..

People can fix up this and that and change out this and that but just shoot your dam gun.. Unless something's wrong or you don't take care of your gun you just need to learn how your gun fits and shoots and adjust..

It's like saying hey my viper i bought yesterday doesn't drive like my Ferrari should I change out the clutch and wheels and add a turbo and NOS??

Even your mini van going to a suv just drive it and get use to it. But if you let it sit in the garage and mod the things with no mileage what are you going to learn? Accept be a machanic/gunsmith.

Just to shoot.

Lead Waster
08-09-2012, 7:20 AM
For me the trouble I have is the "constant speed trigger pull" on DA. I keep wanting to pause when the hammer passed the half cock position, which I can feel.

The only way I can not do that while dry firing practice is to pull it quicker than I normally do. I'm not sure that is a good solution.

CK_32
08-09-2012, 7:27 AM
For me the trouble I have is the "constant speed trigger pull" on DA. I keep wanting to pause when the hammer passed the half cock position, which I can feel.

The only way I can not do that while dry firing practice is to pull it quicker than I normally do. I'm not sure that is a good solution.

If shooting for accuracy I believe that's what your supposed to do on semi and SA/DA. You take out the creep and not slap or rush the trigger so you have the least about of travel and manipulation going on. Even when speed shooting you don't want to slap the trigger you want to take the slack out till just about the break and then when ready its a slight tick like a hair trigger. Again part of learning your specific gun that's just one of many things why round counts helps as long as its legitimate practice and learning.

But again that's for accuracy HD/SD may very I'm no expert on it but I don't think finding the break should be stressed on findin the break than what's nessacary. But for the same of this thread not to turn into the mod for carry gun thread let's stick to target shooting and only refer to that being asked

Striker
08-09-2012, 7:58 AM
Before shooting semi auto handguns I had experience with a Ruger SA revolver, M16 service rifles, and a Remington 700. All have had triggers that were easier to control than my semi auto handguns (previously USP 45 and currently FNX-9).

It seems that the creep is what really ruins the squeeze for me. With the other triggers the take-up was short, if any. With my semi autos I build anticipation, and often jerk the trigger, placing the shots around 7-8 o' clock. It's improved with the FNX, but I still tend to do it here and there.

I know that range time and dry firing will help me instill better habits, but is there anything else that could help consistency?

Good, firm grip, but not a death grip. For the first DA shot, roll the trigger as you would a DA revolver because that's the closest to what it is. And for every SA shot after that, press the trigger to the rear. Does that make sense? If it doesn't, my advice is go take a class from someone who shoots DA/SA well. If your local LEA shoots DA/SA, it's fairly likely that one of their instructors gives classes and can bring you up to speed on the trigger system. Roll and press and lots of practice; both dry fire and live fire.

Lead Waster
08-09-2012, 9:01 AM
What does that mean to "roll the trigger?"

steelcore
08-09-2012, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the tips.

I should be more specific. Even the creep with the SA pull affects my point of aim. Practice with a casing sounds good! Kinda made me think that I may be taking aim for too long and fatiguing my shoulders. In long range shooting I would often restart a pull if I had been taking too long. Maybe that's another factor in my problems.


It's like saying hey my viper i bought yesterday doesn't drive like my Ferrari should I change out the clutch and wheels and add a turbo and NOS??

I've spent time tinkering with cars, and I only modify when it's something that can't be accomplished with driving skill, like suspension geometry or responsiveness. I'm not asking how to modify my pistol, I'm asking about corrections I can make with myself. A real comparison would be asking for driving tips, not modifying.

CK_32
08-09-2012, 11:19 AM
Gotcha I thought you meant you aknowlaged you understood training but wanted a machanical upgrade as well.. In that case just keep shooting and work on smooth trigger not jerking the sights and lining up the sights and work on a solid well balanced stance literally every time I hit the line I set up think of my trigger sights stance and muzzle then squeeze..


Another thing is either have a friend randomly load snap caps or drop the slide and dry fire and you'll be surprised even when you know nothing's I there watch your flinch.. I still do it every trip and once I catch my self flinching again my grounds tighten back up.. That's the biggest cause after you get the fundamentals down.. Also dry fire shows you if your koenig the sights but usually shows you that major flinch that creeped back up on you.

tbc
08-09-2012, 12:36 PM
There are several factors to coming to terms with placing the DA first shot accurately. It is easy to teach in person, much harder to describe...especially as we have no idea what you are doing now.

Generally what you should be doing is:
1. Take a solid, but not too tight grip
2. Place the trigger behind the middle of the fingernail bed
3. Accept the wobble of the sights
4. Press the trigger straight to the rear at a constant speed
5. Do not slow down or stop the press to refine your sight picture
6. Do not speed up when you think the sight picture is perfect
7. Do not tighten the other fingers of your strong hand as you press the trigger

Thanks again 9mm for spending your time on this subject. I found that pressing my HK DA trigger at a constant speed is extremely difficult. :(



Sent from my iPhone

SilverTauron
08-09-2012, 1:50 PM
Some thoughts on my own experience with DA/SA.

Earlier this summer I shot my S&W DA/SA 9mm like poop, and set about fixing the problem.

700 rounds later, here's my conclusions.

One, it is VITAL that the shooter check the fit of the DA/SA gun to your hand!

A single action trigger allows for more flexibility in grip types-a light trigger gun doesn't require as much finger movement to shoot, nor does it take as long to break the shot.As such you have the hold the gun steady longer in DA than you do in single action, so grip becomes elevated in importance. It is important to note that your grip in DA must be just as secure as it is in Single action, and with certain pistols the position of the trigger can make or break accuracy in this regime. If you shoot a pistol which doesn't ergnomically work in Double action, you can stroke the trigger till your joints ache and your accuracy will still be poor. You'll be rolling the trigger well and proper, but the gun will be moving and shifting in your poorly-established grip causing your shots to land all over the place. Short of milling the frame of the gun, there's not terribly much you can do about this problem.

In my case, the 700 round experiment proved that I had to make some changes in my carry rotation. Nothing wrong with practice, and I could put down a 5" group at 30 feet in single and double action with the S&W, but further improvement beyond that isn't possible given how my hands hold the gun. I post this so that you don't do what I did and end up burning 1000 rounds downrange only to slightly improve and think you just suck that badly.

9mmepiphany
08-09-2012, 5:25 PM
Thanks again 9mm for spending your time on this subject. I found that pressing my HK DA trigger at a constant speed is extremely difficult. :(
Is it a LEM...I have a friend I'm working with on his P2000 and it can be a challenge.

The issue is that H&K DA trigger strokes are very long. You keep pressing, thinking it should be going off, but it just keeps moving back. The other thing is that many of them seem to stack to a point before a drop off to release.

The best thing you can do is press back to the top of hitch, don't stop and don't slow down, but just keep pressing. All the free slack before the pressure starts building can be taken up quickly...it isn't part of the trigger press. You aren't slapping, because you aren't slamming the trigger to the rear...the fact that it lightens and allows your finger to move faster is just part of their design

9mmepiphany
08-09-2012, 5:35 PM
I should be more specific. Even the creep with the SA pull affects my point of aim. Practice with a casing sounds good! Kinda made me think that I may be taking aim for too long and fatiguing my shoulders. In long range shooting I would often restart a pull if I had been taking too long. Maybe that's another factor in my problems.
Fatigue shouldn't be a factor in pressing off a good DA shot. It doesn't take anymore time than a good SA shot. All handgun trigger presses are the same, the only thing than differs is the distance the trigger travels before the shot breaks. As a matter of fact, learning to correctly manage a DA trigger stroke will make you a better SA shooter.

If you are interested in some instruction on learning to manage a the DA trigger on your pistol...drop me a PM. I have clients who have driven up to Sacramento and I've worked with others in the Bay Area

BLR81
08-09-2012, 5:38 PM
Before shooting semi auto handguns I had experience with a Ruger SA revolver, M16 service rifles, and a Remington 700. All have had triggers that were easier to control than my semi auto handguns (previously USP 45 and currently FNX-9).

It seems that the creep is what really ruins the squeeze for me. With the other triggers the take-up was short, if any. With my semi autos I build anticipation, and often jerk the trigger, placing the shots around 7-8 o' clock. It's improved with the FNX, but I still tend to do it here and there.

I know that range time and dry firing will help me instill better habits, but is there anything else that could help consistency?

Maybe you're just being too hard on yourself. What range are your shots, 20ft or 25yds? How far off target are you 7-8 o'clock shots, 2" or 10"? If you were shooting in self defense would your shots still be in mid body?

I was hard on myself after practicing putting 10 shots from my 22 in a two inch circle at 100yds. When I got to the pistol range I couldn't hit the 2" circle from 30ft, and was beating myself up. Until I put up a silhouette target and realize I still was putting 9 of 10 inside the 8 ring and it would have taken more than 1 or 2 shots from my S&W 40 cal to get the job done with that accuracy.

tbc
08-09-2012, 5:47 PM
Is it a LEM...I have a friend I'm working with on his P2000 and it can be a challenge.

The issue is that H&K DA trigger strokes are very long. You keep pressing, thinking it should be going off, but it just keeps moving back. The other thing is that many of them seem to stack to a point before a drop off to release.

The best thing you can do is press back to the top of hitch, don't stop and don't slow down, but just keep pressing. All the free slack before the pressure starts building can be taken up quickly...it isn't part of the trigger press. You aren't slapping, because you aren't slamming the trigger to the rear...the fact that it lightens and allows your finger to move faster is just part of their design

One is LEM and one is DA/SA. The LEM is exactly what you've described but I can manage the long trigger strokes. The DA from DA/SA trigger is the one I am struggling with. It is difficult to describe in words -- it's sandy, long strokes, and inconsistent trigger weight. Love the SA though :p

I hear ya: Don't stop and don't slow down :D

9mmepiphany
08-09-2012, 5:54 PM
OK, now I feel for you...I know exactly what you mean by sandy and inconsistent.

It isn't you, it's the trigger, that is why my buddy converted his DA/SA to LEM.

You can have the trigger cleaned up and it would be a dream to shoot. Scott at Apex Tactical Specialties (Los Oso) does a really nice H&K trigger cleanup

tbc
08-09-2012, 6:00 PM
^ thanks. I'll look it up.


Sent from my iPhone

Striker
08-09-2012, 7:08 PM
What does that mean to "roll the trigger?"

The even, consistent stroke that 9mm was talking about earlier. Most people either want to rush it and jerk the trigger, do what you do and stage the trigger or just skip the DA all together. Guys who shoot DA revolvers get it because it's much like shooting a DA revolver. Your sight picture should already be set, so there's no need to stop or slow down. Speed is just going to come as you perfect it and smooth it out. So the speed is what it is. Don't try to speed up just to get to the break either because that usually causes people to jerk the trigger. I also find that grip is a huge part of it. Grip too tightly and you have a problem. Don't grip tightly enough and you have a problem.

I don't want to make it sound like it's easy, because it isn't. Pistol shooting in general is harder than long gun shooting, but you can perfect DA/SA with enough practice.

Some thoughts on my own experience with DA/SA.

Earlier this summer I shot my S&W DA/SA 9mm like poop, and set about fixing the problem.

700 rounds later, here's my conclusions.

One, it is VITAL that the shooter check the fit of the DA/SA gun to your hand!

A single action trigger allows for more flexibility in grip types-a light trigger gun doesn't require as much finger movement to shoot, nor does it take as long to break the shot.As such you have the hold the gun steady longer in DA than you do in single action, so grip becomes elevated in importance. It is important to note that your grip in DA must be just as secure as it is in Single action, and with certain pistols the position of the trigger can make or break accuracy in this regime. If you shoot a pistol which doesn't ergnomically work in Double action, you can stroke the trigger till your joints ache and your accuracy will still be poor. You'll be rolling the trigger well and proper, but the gun will be moving and shifting in your poorly-established grip causing your shots to land all over the place. Short of milling the frame of the gun, there's not terribly much you can do about this problem.

In my case, the 700 round experiment proved that I had to make some changes in my carry rotation. Nothing wrong with practice, and I could put down a 5" group at 30 feet in single and double action with the S&W, but further improvement beyond that isn't possible given how my hands hold the gun. I post this so that you don't do what I did and end up burning 1000 rounds downrange only to slightly improve and think you just suck that badly.

And this is the other thing. I think with enough practice you could probably shoot the Smith just fine; however, it's hard to spend time with a gun when you have guns that fulfill the same purpose and that you shoot better. Sometimes what you like and what you shoot well are not the same things. And if you've familiarized yourself enough with the gun to be able to run one if necessary and have a certain amount of proficiency with it, why torture yourself when you can just go back to something you shoot better, keep getting better with it and enjoy yourself more.

steelcore
08-10-2012, 9:26 AM
TomDw, when I put up a small target up at 7-10 yards I can get many shots within 5" of dead center. Sometimes I have fliers, but who doesn't? I don't believe I'm being too hard on myself. I constantly hear other shooters cracking off shots far more frequently than me, and their shots end up making tighter patterns.

I'm gonna try lots of dry firing while watching tv or if I can't sleep at night. The snap cap idea sounds good - randomly loading one to watch my flinch. During live fire I always try to imagine the FEEL an empty chamber when I pull the trigger, but some times I still jerk.

BLR81
08-10-2012, 10:06 AM
TomDw, when I put up a small target up at 7-10 yards I can get many shots within 5" of dead center. Sometimes I have fliers, but who doesn't? I don't believe I'm being too hard on myself. I constantly hear other shooters cracking off shots far more frequently than me, and their shots end up making tighter patterns.

I'm gonna try lots of dry firing while watching tv or if I can't sleep at night. The snap cap idea sounds good - randomly loading one to watch my flinch. During live fire I always try to imagine the FEEL an empty chamber when I pull the trigger, but some times I still jerk.

Let's face it, DA is harder than SA especially if your gun has a long trigger pull. Hickock45 recommends using a grip exerciser to build up your finger strength. Another guy that helped me with my Dry Fire Practice is SFC Keith Sanderson, you can look him up on YouTube, he's a world champ.

Sanderson says he practices 100 dry fires for every actual live fire. He suggests holding the sight picture for a extended length of time to build up your hand and arm stength and steady your sight picture. He also suggests a long follow thru after you pull the trigger, so that you learn not to relax until long after the shot is taken.

I think concentrated practice is better than practice in front of the tv. The Army Reserve video has you stand right up against a wall while you practice dry firing. I have a target with crosshairs taped to the wall, so that I can concentrate on keeping the front sight from moving to the side while I pull the trigger.

I knew DA would be a problem to start, so I began practicing in SA at first and when I was able to hold on my sight picture, fire, and maintain the same sight picture 10 times in a row, then I started practicing DA. Don't overdue it. 15-30 sec. per dry fire, followed by 30 sec rest with appox 10 reps will have you sweating and shaking if your not use to it.