Here is an updated edit of an older Online Training Lesson for all to enjoy.
Manipulation of the trigger without disturbing the lay of the sights. Very simple definition, but how people execute this fundamental varies greatly from shooter to shooter. The biggest issue with the mistakes made with Trigger Control is because of the different disciplines in shooting. Let's face it, when you have a heavy rifle in rest you can get away with a lot. Bolt guns have very short lock times, and when you support a heavy rifle with a strong front and rear rest you can get away with anything, even bad trigger control. Add in some really great hand loads and you have a recipe for bad habits. People see great short range accuracy results and never realize they doing things incorrectly. They learn to adapt to their personal bad habits. However change the rules so the shooter is not in charge, like with a competition and they fall apart. We all set ourselves up for sucess, it's when you don't control the situation we need to step up.
The tactical shooter, even the field shooter does not always have the luxury of a heavy supported position. We are, at minimum a 3 position shooter, and when you combine that with things like a non-existent follow through it becomes a lesson in frustration for the shooter with poor fundamentals. One of the biggest problems I see on the line, whether in training or competition is the lack of Follow Through, and like I have said, it is a Fundamental. We have to master the fundamentals of marksmanship, which includes Follow Through.
There is a material factor contributing to this lack of follow through, it's been identified on more than one occasion and that is the bench rest light trigger pull. Having your trigger set too light, especially with a rifle that is designed to shoot something more than from a heavy rest is the quickest way to a problem with follow through. The fact your trigger can be adjusted to 8 ounces doesn't mean it should be. I have seen this happening more than once on the firing line. Guys read about F Class shooters or a Bench Rest Shooter using very light trigger and feel they need to copy this. It's the wrong solution for our specific problem. I generally recommend between 2 and 3 pounds of trigger pull for your tactical / field rifle. These light trigger cause bad habits. if you are not following through look to Dry Practice first and your trigger weight second. You have to learn to marry your finger to the trigger and if you can't even touch it without it firing you're not learning anything. It's the beginning of creating a flinch. It's where guys see issues with semi autos, and magnums, but the rifle fires before they are ready and the brain reacts in a negative way.
After you gain some experience you can lower the trigger pull, but still I would never go below 1.5lbs in a tactical rifle.
Trigger Control, it's critical when it comes to putting rounds effectively on target. So understand the firing sequence, the fundamentals of marksmanship and what it takes to properly execute control of your weapon system.Trigger Control is about consistency, without the ability to control the break of the shot, you'll never have consistency. The idea the trigger break should "surprise" you is false, this is something you tell a new shooter how has absolutely no concept of the fundamentals. However hand a rifle to an experienced shooter and the first things a good shooter will do is, Dry Fire. Why they want to know where the trigger will break. That is an important piece of information. There is no command fire, without knowing this information. If your instructor is lecturing you on the trigger break surprise, they do not understand the fundamentals.
It's your job, to manipulate the trigger without disturbing the lay of the sights. Then both physically and mentally follow through, some call it, riding the rifle through recoil. Let the machine do it's job, and then run the bolt after the recoil pulse has ended.
Thanks and good shooting,