Nit-picking Col. Cooper's Third Rule


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Kind of Blued
April 28, 2008, 02:55 AM
Personally, when I handle/unholster a loaded gun, I have my finger straightened and pointing as far AWAY from the gun as possible. I guess subliminally, I realize that having my finger touching the side of the frame means that I am applying at least SOME pressure to the frame, which means that I am applying pressure in the general direction of the trigger.

If I pressed hard at all, and my finger slipped, it would move toward the trigger.

I think this is why I keep my trigger finger completely off of the gun, although I didn't think about it until recently.

I have a feeling that most hold their trigger finger against the frame and that I'm in the minority, but I'd like to find out.

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Coyote Blue
April 28, 2008, 03:07 AM
I am with you.
Completely off the gun,parellel with the barrel.
Never an exception.

LawofThirds
April 28, 2008, 03:12 AM
There was a study done on officers and most of them would touch their trigger multiple times during video simulations when they weren't planning on firing. This was done unconsciously and most had no idea they had done it.

I've done it both ways, both not touching or touching the frame above the trigger and I've found (By other people observing) that I do not touch the trigger nearly as much when my finger is along the side of the gun. Thus I feel the way I do it is safer.

Keegan
April 28, 2008, 04:19 AM
I rest it on the slide. I don't apply any pressure, my (everybody's?) fingers just naturally bend inward if I completely relax them.

Jimmy Dean
April 28, 2008, 04:39 AM
my taurus has a scalloped recess in the frame, I rest my trigger finger there until I am on target (unless of course I am dry-firing the gun checking pull or slack)

Elza
April 28, 2008, 04:47 AM
Resting on the gun above the trigger.

Ditto_95
April 28, 2008, 04:56 AM
I hold my finger off the gun. I have had SO's say finger when I had it out in the air during an IDPA match. I am sure it was conditioning on his part.

1911 guy
April 28, 2008, 07:48 AM
I keep my trigger finger either on the trigger when ready to fire or on the ejection port when not ready to fire. My opinion is that having a finger hanging out in space deteriorates your control and retention ability.

doc2rn
April 28, 2008, 07:56 AM
I keep my finger off trigger by not touching the weapon at all. Some slim griped over built things like highpoints will have my finger touching slide but that is the rare exception.

MakAttak
April 28, 2008, 08:57 AM
I keep my finger on the slide.

As was said before, a relaxed state for your finger is curled. I don't know what you mean about pressure, my finger is not pressing against any part of the gun, it is resting on the gun- there is no "slipping" toward the trigger for me.

Deanimator
April 28, 2008, 08:59 AM
parallel to the barrel, along the frame.

hankdatank1362
April 28, 2008, 09:06 AM
I LOVE that dished-out area on my Taurus! It's such an easy and comfortable place to park the pard of your finger when not shooting... and I have long fingers.

When shooting my SIG, I leave my finger on the slide-stop hole. I find it to be pretty comfortable.

usp_fan
April 28, 2008, 09:08 AM
I have an "index" point on each of my pistols. usually the back of the slide stop pin. This is wear my finger rests when not on the trigger.

scurtis_34471
April 28, 2008, 10:02 AM
I rest my finger against the frame above the trigger guard.

strambo
April 28, 2008, 10:10 AM
Touching frame above trigger guard.

If it is just floating off to the side either the subconscious action mentioned by the study above can get you (It can anyway no matter where you put it) or the startle reflex can cause you to curl your fingers into a grip on the trigger.

Putting the finger on the frame at least helps with the startle reflex issue.

Technosavant
April 28, 2008, 10:14 AM
Touching frame above the trigger guard. On my semiautos that translates to putting my first knuckle against the slide stop pin where it protrudes through the frame, with the pad just in front of that.

Sticking my finger out into space just doesn't feel comfortable.

Ltlabner
April 28, 2008, 10:18 AM
My finger rests perfectly into the depression with the take-down levers on my Glock 23. This allows me to keep my finger bent slightly, in an area well away from trigger and they provide a noticeable purchase to keep my finger from slipping around.

WayneConrad
April 28, 2008, 10:18 AM
Finger alongside stock/frame

Rovi
April 28, 2008, 11:10 AM
Resting on the 'bump' on the end of the slide release on my CZ-75 TS.
Our IPSC Range Officers will DQ if they can't see clear daylight through the triggerguard.

41magsnub
April 28, 2008, 11:52 AM
Parallel with and lightly resting on the frame, however it ends up based on the gun I am handling at the time. One bad habit I have that I am breaking myself of is on guns with the cross bolt safety in front of the trigger I tend to rest my finger on it.

glockman19
April 28, 2008, 11:55 AM
I rest my finger against the frame above the trigger guard.
+1.

Henry Bowman
April 28, 2008, 11:55 AM
My opinion is that having a finger hanging out in space deteriorates your control and retention ability.
If it is just floating off to the side either the subconscious action mentioned by the study above can get you (It can anyway no matter where you put it) or the startle reflex can cause you to curl your fingers into a grip on the trigger.

Putting the finger on the frame at least helps with the startle reflex issue.
I agree with these statements. But I'm not going to criticize anyone who prefers the "finger away from the gun" position.

phoglund
April 28, 2008, 11:58 AM
Finger on the frame. Contact is assurance of location above the trigger. Held out in space, it could be next to trigger where finger contraction reflex could spell trouble.

Regen
April 28, 2008, 12:01 PM
My HK USP has a pin which is part of the sllide release, above the trigger. I touch the tip of my finger to this pin. I was taught that you should get used to having your finger consistently touch the same part of the gun (other than the trigger) so muscle memory can be developed moving the finger to the trigger.

Dick1911
April 28, 2008, 12:10 PM
I point my trigger finger straight ahead and rest it on the area of the trigger guard/frame. That way my finger is does not impact anything else related to my grip and all I have to do is bend the finger and move it sideways slightly to be back on the trigger.

I think like many of the others that pointing your finger off into space somewhere will impact your grip, aim and the ability to get stay on the target.

jrpbullrider
April 28, 2008, 12:12 PM
I know I need to be shot, I am going thru Gun Rules with a friends who knows nothing about guns. He do not own any nor want any But I am telling him all of the good things. He saw this post and asked what are the rules they are talking about, he said that is # 3 what are the rest? Right now I can not remember the 4 rules, My brain is not working right now and I do not want to give him the wrong info. I told him that some one here will write them out so he can see them, and that 99.999% of gun owners are good guys.
Thanks and I know i should know them off the top of my head.
John

woerm
April 28, 2008, 01:05 PM
trigger finger on slide or cylinder/stock

if it's not time to shoot finger is not on trigger period

El Tejon
April 28, 2008, 01:09 PM
I'd keep my finger finger on the weapon. I've seen people slap the trigger when it is off floating in space especially when they trip or fall.

That said, as long as your finger is off the trigger, you are golden.:D

(Rule 3 is known as the Golden Rule)

John,

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point the muzzle at anything you do not want destroyed.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you are ready to fire.
4. Be certain of your target and what is behind it.

Blackbeard
April 28, 2008, 01:11 PM
A little of both -- sometimes touching, sometimes not. Usually touching the frame above the trigger. My thinking is that it's less likely to go where it wants to (the trigger) if it has somewhere else to sit. If it's out in the air it takes conscious effort to keep it there.

freakshow10mm
April 28, 2008, 01:12 PM
On a Glock, my finger touches the take down release thingie on the right side of the gun.

On a 1911, my finger touches the slide lock bump thingie on the right side of the gun.

On a revolver, my finger touches the bottom of the cylinder on the right side of the gun.

SSN Vet
April 28, 2008, 01:13 PM
my taurus has a scalloped recess in the frame, I rest my trigger finger there until I am on target

ditto for me.....

I'm not sure I see an issue here....

if it's possible that my index finger can slip off the side of the receiver from it's reference indent and accidetally pull the trigger, is it not also possible that my middle finger could slip up over the trigger guard and inadvertantly pull the trigger????

what's next....

no wearing flip-flops while handling firearms? :p

jrpbullrider
April 28, 2008, 01:21 PM
Thanks El Tejon
I just not remember the words for them.
My finger is on the gun and down the side of it just above the trigger.
John

Cosmoline
April 28, 2008, 01:24 PM
Your poll questions are loaded. Cooper's rule is overbroad:

KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

I would argue that with a DA revolver you'd best have your finger on the trigger whenever it appears likely you will need to fire. A wheelgun is NOT a 1911. The balance is different, the trigger is different and the firing dynamics are different. The trigger weight is 10 or more times heavier than one of Cooper's 1911 triggers, and if you don't keep finger on trigger in the runup to a shooting you put yourself at an enormous disadvantage. That doesn't mean you should run around fingering the thing. You simply keep your finger in the guard if it appears likely you will need to shoot. Otherwise you'll have to readjust your grip, move your finger into the guard, readjust again, and then finally start the long stroke for firing. All AFTER you have the target in sights. That's nuts.

I've never seen a competition DA shooter who actually keeps finger out of guard until the sights are on the target. They pick up or draw the weapon with their finger in the guard, ready to fire. The revolver is part of their fist. A 1911 is of course different, and keeping anything inside the triggerguard prior to shooting is foolish. Plus, with the balance further back the trigger finger can be shifted without readjusting the grip.

My third rule for DA revolvers:

KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE ABOUT TO FIRE.

Thus, Jerry here is about to fire though his sights are not on target, yet look where his finger is going:

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b52/Gussick/trigger.jpg

rcmodel
April 28, 2008, 01:30 PM
On the frame or slide stop pin above the trigger-guard.

A persons reflex action when startled is for the fingers to curl into a fist, or grasp whatever you have in your hand tighter.
In this case, a loaded gun!

If your finger is waving around out there beside the trigger-guard, and you trip, or are scared enough, you may slap the trigger by reflex.

Best to have it resting on something above the guard, so if it jerks or flex's unconsciously, it's not going to be doing it against the trigger.

rcmodel

El Tejon
April 28, 2008, 01:40 PM
Cos, I use both so I follow Rule #3. I'm not as smart or good as Jerry.:D

Cosmoline
April 28, 2008, 01:52 PM
My point is that the long, heavy pull of a DA revolver is itself a safety feature that allows you to have finger inside the guard in circumstances where that would be very ill-advised with a pistol. Specifically in the runup to firing. It's a different firearm and you have to use common sense. I've experimented waiting until sights were on target to get my finger in the guard, and it's convinced me not to try it if my life is in danger. It takes way too much time and the sights waver all over while I'm doing it.

Also, remember that Cooper's third law didn't exist when many of these DA revolver frames were designed. For example try picking up a Police Positive Special without letting your index finger go inside the guard. It requires some difficult stretching with that small thin grip. Folks back then just kept a finger in the guard. The weight of the trigger and a thumb to block the external hammer prevented accidental discharge.

Winchester 73
April 28, 2008, 01:52 PM
On the frame,just above the trigger guard.

jrpbullrider
April 28, 2008, 01:59 PM
I don't know if it is right or wrong but my finger is on the "DA" revolver just above the trigger and I have been doing this for years on the job or off.
Just my .02
John

El Tejon
April 28, 2008, 02:01 PM
Also, remember that Cooper's third law didn't exist when many of these DA revolver frames were designed.

Clint Smith painted The Four Rules signs at API circa 1979. Those DA revolver frames were alive and kickin'.:D

Kind of Blued
April 28, 2008, 02:06 PM
The responses are about as I suspected.

I actually realized that when shooting at the range, I keep my finger on the frame until ready to shoot, however, when I am unholstering or clearning a gun, I keep my finger out in mid-air. The difference is that in the latter situation, I am moving slowly and watching my hands while I use them.

Ltlabner
April 28, 2008, 02:07 PM
My point is that the long, heavy pull of a DA revolver is itself a safety feature that allows you to have finger inside the guard in circumstances where that would be very ill-advised with a pistol.

Human hand can exert 22lbs of force when under stress.

I highly doubt your DA revolver has a trigger heavier than 22lbs.

blackcash88
April 28, 2008, 02:14 PM
Slide stop pin protruding through the right side of the frame.

Cosmoline
April 28, 2008, 02:20 PM
Human hand can exert 22lbs of force when under stress.

What does that even mean? Where did you get it from?

If my finger is jerking with 22lbs of force without my say so I've got bigger problems. Probably some neuro degenerative condition.

I've kept my finger in the guard of my wheelguns when approaching beasties and strange poundings at the door. Never had a problem with the finger jerking out of control and capping off rounds. If I did the thumb would be there to stop it. Moreover, I have the firearm aimed at the ground.

SSN Vet
April 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
tell 'em Cos.....

Ltlabner
April 28, 2008, 02:39 PM
What does that even mean? Where did you get it from?

That when your hand squeezes it can exert upwards of 22lbs of force. Because of the sympatheic responce your finger will tend to move as well. Unless your trigger takes more than 22lbs to pull it, it will move and perhaps discharge the weapon. Your hand can sqeeze tighter for a number of reasons; stress, being started or even tripping.

Got it from a 3 day training class I took this past weekend from an instructor that has studied shooting and self defense issues for 20+ years.

A second common cause of accidental discharges is when the gun-handler places his finger on the trigger before he has decided to shoot. With the finger so positioned, many activities may cause the finger to compress the trigger unintentionally. For example, if one attempts to holster the firearm with finger on trigger, the holster edge will drive the finger onto the trigger, and discharge is likely. If one stumbles or struggles (with an adversary) with finger on trigger, the grasping motion of both hands will likely cause the trigger finger to compress the trigger.

From here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidental_discharge)...


If my finger is jerking with 22lbs of force without my say so I've got bigger problems. Probably some neuro degenerative condition.

Without regard to the actual number of pounds exerted, AD's have been shown by trained police officers using automatics and revolvers due to being started, tripping or mearly just overgriping during stress. Has happened for years.

Certinally it takes more force generally to move the DA revolver trigger than say a Glock or 1911. But the body does interesting things under stress and it's still possible (I'd agrue likely, but that's only my opinion) that you could AD a DAO revolver.

Kind of Blued
April 28, 2008, 02:39 PM
I don't own any DA revolvers, so I can't add to that conversations, but whoever it was that said that a 1911 has a trigger pull 10X lighter than a DA revolver might want to do the math on that.

Charles W Webb
April 28, 2008, 02:50 PM
i put my finger on the trigger cuz im gangsta and it makes me cuuler!

Ok fun had, I do both of what the op said. Sometimes I have my finger not touching the firearm at all and sometimes I rest it along the trigger guard parallel to the receiver with no force. That way if I need to pull the trigger, finger comes straight back and is against the trigger ready. I also have big hands :P

Cosmoline
April 28, 2008, 03:16 PM
whoever it was that said that a 1911 has a trigger pull 10X lighter than a DA revolver might want to do the math on that.

Than my nagant, anyway ;-) For a Ruger it would be over twice as much weight, with a longer length of travel.

jakemccoy
April 28, 2008, 03:42 PM
The Four Safety Rules have exceptions if you're professional enough...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhIJOVD8hwY

neapoi
April 28, 2008, 04:20 PM
I keep my finger flat against the frame when not on the trigger. There's this great place on my Baby Eagle that my finger just slides onto.

DirksterG30
April 28, 2008, 04:25 PM
On the frame above the triggerguard

North of 49th
April 28, 2008, 11:29 PM
on pistols along the frame, above trigger.
on rifles I put my finger tip on the front curve of the trigger guard.

Scratchy
April 28, 2008, 11:37 PM
Always along frame.

LWGN
April 29, 2008, 01:43 AM
Human hand can exert 22lbs of force when under stress.

Depending on the human involved, the human hand can exert a great deal more than 22 lbs force, especially when "under stress". I'd venture to say that 22lbs of grip strength is pretty weak - it definitely falls in the range that most insurance companies would agree justifies rehabilitation services to restore function. Seriously!

I am well acquainted with a gentleman who frequents this board who had 180 lbs of grip strength in his non-dominant hand two weeks after having major surgery on that arm. His primary shooting hand topped out the gauge the PT was using. His brother, an unremarkable-appearing fellow except for the fact that his wrists don't taper between the forearm and the hand, used to win money from the unsuspecting by opening the old steel Budweiser cans by squeezing them and popping the top off that way.

Now, I don't have nearly that much grip - more in the range of about thirty-five pounds in my dominant hand, which is at the low end of normal for my age and build according to those rehab tables.

I would be very surprised if many people owned weapons that had trigger pulls so heavy that they could be relied on as safeties to any significant degree in a situation involving impact, falls, or startle response.

bogie
April 29, 2008, 12:20 PM
Guys... Three pages on THIS?

Just how the bleep hard is it to keep your booger picker off your boomstick flicker? Some of y'all are acting like guns just "go off" from random jostling...

And I guess I better not even get into the concept of revolvers...

md7
April 29, 2008, 12:31 PM
Along the frame.

Cosmoline
April 29, 2008, 12:44 PM
I would be very surprised if many people owned weapons that had trigger pulls so heavy that they could be relied on as safeties to any significant degree in a situation involving impact, falls, or startle response.

Is there any actual study showing people's INDEX FINGERS jerk down with 20+ lbs of force because of a "startle response"? I've never heard of this. My own experience is that the hand OPENS UP if a fall is coming, dropping the weapon in hand. Indeed this has happend to me half a dozen times during slip and falls in the woods. The firearm always ends up flying, because my hands instinctively ditch it in favor of catching my fall. This is one reason I favor Mosins for trail carry. I had one fly out of hand, do a 360 and crash on river rocks below the rotting bridge I fell through. No discharge, no serious damage. Other than to the bridge.

Cooper's rules, as often written, are overbroad. The notion that you should "never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy" is great, and I follow it. Except when I pop the bolt and inspect a bore and crown against a bright light. I suppose there are shooters out there who have literally never had their hand over the muzzle during cleaning or in other circumstances, but they must have pretty filthy firearms.

The third rule is the same way. If you make it so inflexible that the trigger figer must be out until the sights are on the target, you limit its application to those firearms where this is practicable. It is better expressed as "about to fire" or some variation on that common sense notion. Nobody is advocating running around fingering triggers, but different firearms have a different drill. The presentation of a double action revolver in preparation for shooting calls for the finger to be in the guard earlier than the presentation of a 1911.

GardDog223
April 29, 2008, 12:46 PM
Front of trigger guard.

caltek1911
April 29, 2008, 02:06 PM
Usually in the slide-stop hole or along the frame parallel with the barrel.

Zach S
April 29, 2008, 06:23 PM
I keep my finger on the frame above the triggerguard.

Geronimo45
April 29, 2008, 06:51 PM
Finger inside the triggerguard, behind the trigger when using a revolver. Usually done only when I'm loading/unloading the thing. Safer than finger-off-the-trigger, as the gun is incapable of firing. :p

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