CHOOSING A CARRY GUN – PART 4: YOUR ABILITY TO USE THE GUN FAST AND EFFECTIVELY

Two more important considerations when choosing a sidearm for concealed carry are both the abilities of the gun, as well as your personal abilities to use that gun.

A few questions to consider: How long does it take for the trigger to reset? How about for the action to cycle? How fast can you acquire the sights on this gun? How fast can YOU shoot this gun while maintaining “combat accuracy”?


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE TRIGGER TO RESET?

   Shooters have argued in forums over whether the “trigger reset” on a handgun is something to utilize or whether it is just another “problem” or another useless “something to think about”.  Trigger reset is an actual design element of the firearm – part of the mechanism known as the action that makes the gun fire. It has been argued that understanding the trigger reset is useless knowledge. I would be leery to shoot with anyone who regarded ANY knowledge of their firearm as useless.  So what exactly is trigger reset? 

         Trigger reset is the distance the trigger has to travel FORWARD after firing a shot to re-engage the action so that the gun is ready to fire again.

   This being said, the trigger usually does not have to go all the way forward (back to the resting position) to reset.  The distance it needs to travel varies from handgun to handgun.  You can feel and sometimes hear when the trigger has reset; it resembles the click of a mouse. Once the trigger has reset you can immediately pull it back again and fire another round. Because your finger never lost contact with the trigger and because you restrained it from going back into the resting position, the distance the trigger must travel backwards to work the action and fire the round is shorter than the initial shot. This travel distance is directly proportional to how far FORWARDS the trigger must go to reset the action. A handgun with a shorter trigger reset has the potential to be faster than one with a longer reset.  Notice I said potential. The weapon can only fire as fast as the shooter can shoot.

   There are few advantages to using the trigger reset when shooting. One is that, like I mentioned earlier, the gun has the potential to shoot quicker. Another advantage is that because you don’t have to travel the longer distance backwards with the trigger, there is less disruption to your arc of movement, sight alignment, and sight picture.  So basically, you may find when using your trigger reset you can shoot both quicker and more accurately

(You can click the images to view them larger)

Trigger is in full resting position, all the way forward

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Trigger is pulled all the way back, cycling the action and firing the gun

Trigger is in reset position . IT IS NOT RELEASED but eased forward until it resets, the gun is ready to fire again

Versus the distance of releasing the trigger all the way forward:

Trigger is all the way forward in the resting position

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE ACTION TO CYCLE?

You can get to know your guns specific “rhythm” by practicing with the trigger reset.  As you shoot the first round and the slide recoils, keep your eye on that front sight and the trigger just at the reset position.  Just as the sights re-align squeeze the trigger and fire another round. You will notice that your gun actually has a consistent beat, or feel to it as the action cycles. Getting in-sync with this rhythm and building your muscle memory can greatly improve your skills. The quicker the rhythm, the quicker you can get rounds on target.


HOW FAST CAN YOU ACQUIRE THE SIGHTS ON THE GUN?

Sight alignment is crucial to accurate placement of a round. In fact, it is so important that it is officially one of the NRA’s basic shooting fundamentals.  This being said, it is important that you can see the sights on your gun. Tritium night sights are a great way to ensure that you can see them even in the dark. The harder it is to acquire a good sight picture, the longer it is going to take you to get a round on target.  In a world where it can take an assailant only a fraction of a second to get from ten feet away to directly on-top of you, time is something one cannot afford to waste. When shopping for a defensive sidearm, give the sights a test drive. Practice brining the gun up to eye level and getting a sight picture. Often times, sights are something you can have changed by a gunsmith, so if the standard sights on the gun are not ideal you can ask the dealer about whether or not that can be done with this particular gun.


HOW FAST CAN YOU SHOOT THIS GUN WHILE MAINTAINING COMBAT ACCURACY?

Let’s start by discussing just what combat accuracy is.  Combat accuracy is the accuracy needed to put an assailant out of the fight. It is not bulls-eye shooting; it is shooting to STOP an attacker.  If you can shoot at a 8 ½ by 11 inch piece of paper at seven yards and all your rounds land in that piece of paper, that is considered combat accurate. Unless you are a S.W.A.T.  sniper, bulls-eye shooting is not necessarily even a great approach to shooting an assailant.  If all your rounds go through the same hole, the only useful round was the first one. Since the idea is to put the attacker out of the fight, it is imperative to drop his blood pressure enough that he collapses and goes unconscious.  Well placed rounds are necessary, and usually having them spread a little bit out; as opposed to “key- holing” or shooting through the same hole, can mean far more damage.

   So once you have learned to shoot your sidearm with consistent combat accuracy now you can work on building up the speed by practicing sight alignment, trigger reset and anticipating the rhythm of your gun.



Author: Gracie McKee (c) March, 13 ,2011