The last dry practice drill I shared with y’all was received with some mixed responses. Most of the responses were either positive or neutral, but a few contained some skepticism regarding it’s value in the development of defensive pistol skills with a tune to the effect of “when the real deal goes down the trigger is going to be yanked as fast as it can”. Given the most stressful situations where I’ve operated a pistol are IDPA matches and once when fending off a four legged creature, my opinion of developing refined muscle memory does make a significant difference while shooting under stress might fall short of being authoritative. Regardless, I do believe it makes a significant difference and will therefore continue to share more drills with the readers.
This time around I’d like to share Gabe White’s Three Triggers drill which I learned while attending Gabe White’s Pistol Shooting Solutions course. The idea behind this drill, as I understand it, is to develop a faster trigger press while maintaining an adequate sight picture for the target at hand with the trigger finder starting various positions.
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:
- Unload the firearm.
- Place all ammunition in a separate location.
- Visually and physically confirm the condition of the firearm to ensure it is unloaded.
- 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 Gabe White’s Three Triggers Drill:
- Hold the unloaded at full presentation with a good sight picture on the center of mass sized target (an 8″ paper plate will work) at a known fixed distance.
- With the trigger finger indexed in register, press the trigger as quickly as possible with a continuous increase in pressure while maintaining a good sight picture until it breaks.
- Rack the slide.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 as many times as desired.
- Repeat the steps 1 through 4, this time starting with the trigger finger resting on the face of the trigger (but without taking out any stack).
- Repeat steps 1 through 4 again, this time starting with the trigger finger resting on a staged trigger (slack taken out and resting against the wall).
- Repeat steps 1 through 6, using a smaller head box sized target (in a pinch a 3×5″ index card will work) at the same known fixed distance.
- Repeat steps 1 through 6, using a smaller eye socket sized target at the same known fixed distance.
The difficulty of the drill can be increased by increasing the known fixed distance to the target or by using reduced size targets.
One of the most important parts of this drill is to observe the movement of the sight picture to ensure it remains stable enough to get a good hit on the target at hand. The idea is to develop a fast and clean trigger press from the three different starting positions. The variance in the starting positions will be slightly different and essentially feel like three different triggers, hence the name the three triggers drill.
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. Regardless of whether one is shooting competitively or in a defensive encounter, the name of the game is fast and accurate hits. I’ve found this drill to help increase trigger press speed. One might be tempted to slow down when noticing undesirable sight picture movement, when this happens take a moment to critique the grip and improve it if possible. The whole point of this drill is to develop and increase speed while managing to maintain a clean sight picture.
I hope y’all find this drill as useful as I have.