Firearms Guides

Lynn Givens’ Visual Trigger Break and Reset Drill

A simple yet very effective dry practice drill that helps a shooter get familiar with a trigger and helps one to level up trigger control proficiency.

I’m going to attempt to make it a point to write about a drill once every month or so. This was something I intended to do last year, but didn’t quite get around to it. My hope is that sharing some of the dry and live practice drills that I’ve found helpful will level y’all up as well. I’m going to kick off this year by sharing a dry practice drill I learned while attending Tom Givens’ Combative Pistol course. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the actual name of the drill but Tom credited Lynn Givens for it.

Before sharing the drill, I want to emphasize proper dry practice safety. This may seem repetitive to some readers, but I think it would be irresponsible of me to assume that every reader is familiar with safe gun handling. Let alone familiar with the extra precautions that should be taken for dry practice. So here they are:

  1. Unload the firearm.
  2. Place all ammunition in a separate location.
  3. Visually and physically confirm the condition of the firearm to ensure it is unloaded.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until absolutely certain of the firearm is unloaded and no ammunition is nearby.

Also when dry practicing, it’s important to be in a place free from interruptions or distractions. It’s important to remain mindful and focused on the dry practice drill for safety, self diagnosis, and good skill development.

Here are the steps to perform Lynn Givens’ Visual Trigger Break and Reset Drill:

  1. Grip the unloaded firearm with the strong (dominant) hand only while maintaining the trigger finger indexed in register.
  2. Rotate the firearm so the palm is facing upwards and the trigger is visible.
  3. Place the trigger finger on the trigger.
  4. Slowly press the trigger until the wall is reached (look closely and make a mental note of where the trigger is when the wall is reached).
  5. Slowly continue to press the trigger until the wall breaks (look closely again and make another mental note where the trigger is when after the wall breaks).
  6. Without releasing the trigger, cycle the slide. If needed rotate the firearm to perform this action, but return to a palm up orientation before proceeding.
  7. Slowly release the trigger until it resets (look closely once more and make one last note of the trigger is after it resets).
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 as many times as desired.
  9. Repeat the entire drill with the support (non-dominant) hand.

The most important part of this drill is to observe the trigger as the slack is taken out, the trigger wall is reached, the trigger breaks, and the trigger resets. The idea behind it is to create a clear mental picture of the mechanical process while getting a feel for the trigger. This will help increase the familiarity with the trigger and the develop the muscle memory associated with manipulating it. In turn, this will help level up one’s trigger control proficiency with the firearm.

This drill works well with just about any type of firearm that is safe to dry fire. I’ve mostly used this drill with a semi-automatic pistol, but have also used it with revolvers and several different rifles. I’ve found that this drill helps speed up the process of getting familiar with a firearm’s trigger and also helps maintain that familiarity. I’ve also found that this helps when working to improve firearm presentations with a staged trigger while also assisting in the development of faster and more accurate follow up shots (due to better trigger manipulation).


  1. I will have to give this a try. In a class I took last year, the instructor said most of your accuracy on followup shots is tied to how you manipulate the trigger while firing. The drill you discuss may help become more familiar with arguably the most crucial aspect of firing.

  2. “Catching the LInk” may be a cool drill on the range, and it may enhance the Instructor’s credibility for bringing this concept to the class, and it fills a segment of otherwise empty time. Never-the-less, what person who lived through an actual gunfight ‘caught the link’ and lived to tell about it? As Rob Latham states, “Fast accurate shooting involves jerking the trigger…but NOT jerking the gun”. Nothing said about catching the link. In my personal experience in a gunfight with three armed felons intent on taking me, I followed Rob’s advise. No problem’s for me. But, IF it were possible for some ‘higher authority’ person to freeze time and tell me to stop jerking the trigger and catch the link, I would shoot them, and continue with the fight. No offense intended to those teaching ‘the link’. The technique may help some shooters speed up their ‘split’ time. Fine for the range.

    1. You (and Latham) are correct. While my experience with shooting under stress is limited to competitive scenarios, I can say that jerking the gun results mostly from a poor grip. At the same time, being intimately familiar with the trigger does seem to translate to faster follow up shots and better accuracy under stress (even when “jerking the trigger”). At least that’s been my experience in competitive and qualification scenarios.

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