pad of finger or distal joint?


February 11, 2007, 04:54 AM
It's said that you use your pad of finger only for single-action auto's.

For double-action auto's and revolvers, you use your first joint.

Do you abide by this?

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February 11, 2007, 08:49 AM
I don't. I have always used the pad of my finger - rifle, pistol and revolver. A friend (who usually outshoots me) always uses the first joint. When I try that, I "pull" the shot. I'm not saying I'm right. I don't have the finesse that a good competition shooter has to know if it would make that much difference.

Thought: If you're shooting something like the DA/SA Ruger P345, would you change your finger position after the first round?

1911 guy
February 11, 2007, 10:44 AM
Everybody has different shaped hands and likes the feel of a different handgun. Try both, see what you prefer and stick with it.

Personally, I use the pad of my finger. I know a hard core revolver type who "knuckles" everything he shoots.

Baba Louie
February 11, 2007, 03:18 PM
I'll go with 1911 guy.

Depends on your hand size as well as the grip size and trigger design (shape and size) and activation mode (straight back single action, pivoting single action, pivoting double action).

Hold an imaginary gun with your finger on the imaginary trigger and slowly press. Watch how your index finger rotates back and curls back in towards towards your hand. For a bit it goes straight back. With too long a pull it starts exhibiting some sideways pressure.

Anyway, that's kinda how my Dad explained it to me a long time ago as just one of the things you need to overcome or master when shooting handguns.

Having said that, I typically use the pad.

February 11, 2007, 03:22 PM
Always pad. But then again I am an auto guy.

February 11, 2007, 03:42 PM
Distal. Tried the other way, but my started cramping before I finished the mag. :uhoh:

February 11, 2007, 03:44 PM
Pad of finger for everything here. Doesn't matter to me if it's an SA auto or a DA revolver. PAD ONLY.

Ala Dan
February 11, 2007, 03:51 PM
Agreed~! Pad only ;) :D

February 11, 2007, 05:05 PM
My fingers are too short and stubby to use the distal joint. I've always used the "pad" of my finger for trigger pull.

February 11, 2007, 05:10 PM
How about rapid fire on DA handgun? Don't you use distal?

February 11, 2007, 05:12 PM
Depends on the gun. If I don't use the "crease" on my XD-40 my shots wander a bit. Slide in to the crease and everything tightens right up. Same for my Taurus Gaucho SAA when I'm doing cowboy action shooting.

On the other hand, firing my CZ-52 I'll pull the shots to the side every time if I don't use the pad. Same seems to hold true shooting a P-3AT as well (at least when I was shooting my friends gun anyway).

February 11, 2007, 05:13 PM
I train the way I expect to shoot if I am ever called upon to do so. From what I have been taught... and from what I have read... the stress of a shooting situation causes instinct to take over from thought. Although I have never been in a truly stressful shooting situation, the elevated excitement level in competitive defensive pistol shooting leads me to understand and believe how this could take place. Therefore, I practice getting a firm two-hand grip and squeeze off multiple rounds using the first joint. The fine motor skills needed to hit the little paddy... and the (for me) less firm grip with that slight adjustment... seem to go against what I have been taught and have come to expect. Slow fire and target shooting may benefit from the fingertip trigger pull, but that is not what I train for.

February 11, 2007, 10:33 PM
I would second this. I lay my gun on the table facing downrange, step back a few, walk up to it, pick it up and AIM. Wherever the finger goes, that's what I work with. For me, it's very close tot he joint. Which is weird, because I have
small hands, and usually can just reach...

February 12, 2007, 04:00 AM
It's said that you use your pad of finger only for single-action auto's.

For double-action auto's and revolvers, you use your first joint.

These are good rules for starting but everyone is different and needs to use what works for them.

February 12, 2007, 07:45 AM
I use the joint on most guns, but on some the pad works better/accurate.
I mostly shoot DA revolver.

February 12, 2007, 07:55 AM
Pad-only. If I use the joint area, I pull off target, to the right. When I shoot left-handed (ambidextrous) I pull off to the left. :) when using the joint. The only form that works for me is the finger's pad. I also note a significant decrease in sensory ability, making it difficult to determine the amount of pressure on the trigger if I use the joint. That can't be good.

Black Majik
February 12, 2007, 02:02 PM
I actually do abide by it. For single action guns I always use my pad, but for the DA pull on DA/SA guns I find my long fingers prefer the first joint in the trigger finger. It requires a lot more trigger control, but I find myself sometimes shooting slightly to the right on guns with long trigger strokes because I use too little finger. Since the first DA shot is with my first joint my SA shots ensues with the same trigger placement.

February 12, 2007, 03:18 PM
Always pad for me... but I shoot half a dozen semi's vs my single revolver. So I have just gotten used to shooting the SP101 with the pad of my finger.


February 12, 2007, 03:35 PM
Pad... Always..
pad of finger brings the trigger back straighter into yer hand, making for more accurate shot..

If theres an issue with gripping the gun, imo, yer gripping the wrong gun.


February 12, 2007, 08:30 PM
For shooting most DAO autos I use the pad. The joint must pull the muzzle down as I tend to shoot low that way. My Kahr PM9 is an exception. I pretty much shoot to poa when using the joint.


Highland Ranger
February 12, 2007, 08:36 PM
I was taught pad only - joint makes you jiggle the gun

February 12, 2007, 11:27 PM
First joint on DA revolvers, use the staged double action pull when my finger tip hits my support hand the DA trip is right next at that time I do a sight correction or focus and complete the pull. It is very fast with practice. Expect to shoot 5-10K this way and then you will be very good at DA.

Rebel Zero
February 14, 2007, 01:04 AM
Man, am I glad I'm not the only one struggling with this. When I got my first handgun, a Glock 22, I read and studied a lot about the best way to shoot because...well, because I'm kind of a nerd. EVERYTHING I read and everything I was told said the pad was the way to go. I shot that Glock silly and I never got comfortable with it.

Recently, I bought a Springer XD .40 because the slimmer grip fits my smaller hands better. The very first thing I noticed during dry fire practice was that my trigger finger slid comfortably in a bit shy of the first joint, just behind the pad. It was natural and easy. When I shoot with the pad, I have to fiddle with my finger to get it in place. Now, with the XD, I let my finger go where it goes, and I work with that.

My shooting improved instantly. My grip is more comfortable and secure because my trigger finger feels right. Every aspect of both my hands on the gun feels better now.

I've been told that you've found a good piece if you can pick it up and point and have it feel natural, like an extension of your hand. For me, my trigger finger is an integral part of that feeling. The XD fulfills the former criterion, and my new finger placement fulfills the latter.

In a year of shooting my Glock with pad only, I practiced at many different distances on the range. At the longest, 20 yards, I never once put a round into center mass. The first time I took my XD out and started using the spot just before the crease, I put six out of twelve into center mass from 20 yards.

Works for me.

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