How to be a Better Shooter 101: Trigger Reset

By Suzanne Wiley published on in Safety and Training

Not everyone is as lucky as I have been in getting lessons from professional shooters. When you work in the firearms industry, opportunities arise that the mere mortal may never get the chance to take advantage. For that, I am eternally blessed and humbled. One such opportunity was attending an AR-15 clinic where Daryl Parker, Top Shot season two competitor and owner of Marksman’s Challenge Decatur, Texas, was on hand to give tips, tactics, and training. At the time, I had very little trigger time behind the AR-15 and I was soaking up every bit of advice people were throwing at me. Now that I have my own AR-15-style .22 LR rifle, every time I am at the range, I hear Daryl’s voice in my ear, “trigger reset.”

Trigger rest allows for more accurate and faster follow up shots.

Trigger reset allows for more accurate and faster follow up shots.

On semiautomatic pistols and rifles, trigger reset is the point of contact where the trigger mechanism engages the sear in order to fire the next round. To find your trigger’s reset, slowly let back up on the trigger after you firing the first round. You will feel the trigger “catch” before it sets back to its full starting position. Some guns will have an audible “click.” Where the trigger first catches is where you want your trigger to stay for your remaining follow-up shots. This is the trigger reset. The trigger reset gives you a shorter trigger pull.

When you are preparing for follow up shots, your finger should never leave the trigger. Shooting should be one fluid movement. Julie Golob in her book, Shoot, relates this movement to dragging your finger through peanut butter, “…executing proper trigger control will help ensure your shot hits precisely where you see your sights before the shot breaks.”

The trigger reset causes less muzzle movement and therefore allows you to have a more accurate and faster follow-up shots. It will help you keep aligned with your target. For me, the trigger reset helps me to slow down during practice and really concentrate on what I am doing. All of this makes for shots that are more precise.

In my experience, trigger reset drills will be slow at first, but with time and practice, you will pick up speed in your shooting.

Patrick E. Kelly does a great job of explaining trigger control, which includes the trigger reset in this video.

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Comments (3)

  • kevl

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    For me it is my drill Sergent, and I tend to flinch time to time since he would smack me on the head with a range safety paddle when I messed up my trigger pull.

    Reply

  • Pete Chilton

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    I like these posts. I like to see the AR build again.

    Reply

  • JSW

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    Funny you should mention hearing Daryl’s voice in your ear. I, too, hear those voices of long gone mentors gently reminding me of proper technique as I shoot- or a myriad of other things I do. Isn’t it wonderful to know you can still have those wonderful people working in your life?

    Reply

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