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Old July 24, 2014, 04:17 PM   #1
frgood
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Question regarding slight twitch when trigger breaks.

I have been shooting for a little over a year and most of my practice has been DAO with a Sig P250. I also started USPSA competition about 3 months ago with a 1911 that feels quite comfortable.

Recently, I started training with a CZ85 as I find the grip to be quite comfortable. However, I am noticing a 'twitch? flinch? sharp, tiny pull to the left when the trigger breaks. Admittedly, the pull seems quite heavy and, since this happens regardless of fingertip placement,

Is it reasonable to draw the conclusion that the pull is too heavy?

If so, then would exercise training (to strengthen my trigger finger) be a logical course of action, producing the results I want?
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Old July 24, 2014, 09:33 PM   #2
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You've tried moving your finger and changed how it's pulling.

But what about rotating the gun in your strong hand so the pad of your finger is hitting it?



vs.



In the second image the gun is rotated counter clockwise in my hand then the wrist is bent more, to align it forward. It feels awkward one handed but 2 handed, it's a lot more stable.

9mmepiphany and I went round and round about this a couple years ago, and at the time my wrist wasn't able to handle the recoil bent like that. Since then, I've strengthened my wrist, and adopted that grip, and my group sizes have shrunk considerably.

If you have large hands, this will put the "flats" of your strong hand fingers forward instead of the knuckles. You will be able to get a more secure grip with the support hand that way. (Your thumb of the weak hand will actually be moved quite a bit forward as well; the thumb of the weak hand and trigger finger of the strong hand should be an equal distance forward with one another if you rest the trigger finger on the frame).
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Old July 24, 2014, 09:38 PM   #3
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with a glock, note the position of thumb and trigger finger.



(Correct) "Flats" of fingers (middle segment) are presented on the front of the grip - pad of finger will meet trigger naturally, for a very clean straight pull.



(Incorrect) Knuckles of fingers are presented forward on grip, trigger finger is out "too far", results in too much trigger and inconsistent pull. Your trigger finger will want to "wrap" around the trigger, and if you try to force yourself to use the pad; you lose leverage, and you get a nasty inconsistent trigger break.

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Old July 24, 2014, 09:39 PM   #4
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(The latter makes a better one-handed grip; but in two handed grip you want to rotate that gun slightly counterclockwise in the strong hand, so everything "lines up correctly" with your weak hand.)

9mmepiphany has better photos than I do of this.
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Old July 24, 2014, 09:46 PM   #5
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:05 PM   #6
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:32 PM   #7
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There is a thing called lock time. From the time trigger breaks to the time the primer is struck. It is a few milliseconds but in that time the forces totally change, especially with DAO pistols. The force required to "cock" and release in that long stroke suddenly release. An item with mass (hammer, striker, whatever) goes from building spring tension and moving rearward to an accelerating mass moving forwards. There is no escaping lock time motion, but good shooters find ways to minimize it. The best shooters minimize it and learn to recreate it consistently. My suggestion is to affix a laser sight somehow whether it be a gunsight device or the $2 cat toy laser ziptied to the gun. Load a snap cap and dry fire until you are comfortable with the motion. Aim at a doorknob or lightswitch or something until you can keep the laser on it through the shot, then pick a smaller target. Minimize lock time motion, flinch, and misses by practice. You will be amazed at how much motion happens when the gun goes click.
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:39 PM   #8
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AND do what Trent said above. Start with a good grip on good equipment. Practice a lot and get good with that equipment, then win every gentlemans bet when it come down to soda cans at 30 yards.
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:30 AM   #9
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Thank you gentlemen. I will do exactly as prescribed and work on it.

@Trent, I noticed that rotation and have been practicing without it out of alignment for quite some time. Although I have short fingers, I found that I could get the same alignment as in your extremely helpful pictures.
By following that picture I did see some relief in the problem.

That said and compounded by @WestKentucky makes complete sense.

I had not realized I would start to get a callous on my trigger finger. I think my time and effort will tell.

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Old July 25, 2014, 07:43 AM   #10
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So, this twitch doesn't happen with your 1911, and it's done it with your CZ85 right from the start?

Your grip might be an issue, but I think you're on the right track suspecting the trigger itself. I'm not thinking pull weight, though, but more that it's got some wicked letoff and/or overtravel. Letoff is how the sear releases. A sear that releases abruptly can jerk the gun. Overtravel is excessive trigger movement after the sear breaks. It's effect can be similar to rough letoff.

If it were me, I'd ask a master or GM-level shooter shoot the gun at your next USPSA match and ask their opinion of the trigger itself. It could benefit from a good action job. And while you've got their attention, ask them their opinion of your grip.
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Old July 25, 2014, 09:51 AM   #11
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Relax. Breathe. Dry fire a lot. Your problem will go away.
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Old July 25, 2014, 11:38 AM   #12
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MrBorland - a bad trigger doesn't cause a problem, it just amplifies a problem.

Yes having a nice clean trigger break on a gun with short lock time on the action, really will help you stay accurate, but ask yourself.. why?

Shooting a gun with a better / cleaner trigger doesn't really solve the underlying problem, it just masks it. You'll still shoot that clean-trigger gun even better if the underlying problem is solved.

In the winter - all winter long when it's too nasty to shoot outside to keep the edge on - I practice regularly in the basement at 10 meters with a crappy C02 pellet gun that has a horrible trigger to work on the "clean break."

Dry fire is also a great exercise but I prefer seeing holes appear in something to confirm what my eyes are telling me about the gun sights 'not moving' when it breaks. Relaxation helps, always be relaxed when shooting.

Splitting hairs, there's also two ways to pull the trigger, and they involve different muscle groups. The most common method is to "curl the trigger finger" (think of motioning "COME HERE!"). That uses muscles in the palm of your hand which are very close to the gun (wrapped around the grip...). When those muscles contract it will cause a slight tremor in the sights.

Another set of muscles can be used, though, which allow the palm to stay 100% relaxed. To practice this, relax the finger and try to ONLY bend the finger at the second knuckle (leaving the third knuckle and tip of finger fully relaxed). When you pull the trigger using that method the muscles in your arm near your elbow flex; nowhere near the grip of the gun.

It takes a lot of concentration and work to get that different pull down but I've seen it split those hairs and get someone out of the 10 ring and in to the x ring consistently.

ETA: it's impossible to do that second trigger pull method if you aren't relaxed. Can't do it with a death grip on the gun. I don't teach that to novice shooters; only ones who are fairly experienced, confident, and relaxed, yet stuck on a plateau.

One other tidbit; your thumbs should be 100% relaxed. You should not be squeezing "in" with your thumb on the strong hand. Just let it sit there fully relaxed.
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Old July 25, 2014, 01:36 PM   #13
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MrBorland - I will take your thoughts under advisement.

Others do not seem to have the same issue so it is clearly on me. I will admit that the pull is strong for me. and there is some trigger travel immediately after the break where the yank becomes more pronounced.

Before I make any mechanical changes, I want to exhaust all my deficiencies. I am not experienced enough to say 'this is mechanically incorrect'. But I may look at additional work after I have benefited from some strength training.

I think 25,000 dry fires will help (or was it 2500?)
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Old July 25, 2014, 03:29 PM   #14
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With the guns, shot difficulties, and ammo in USPSA, lock time isn't going to matter at all, and you better have a very firm grip on the gun.

It is something to do with your grip and/or trigger pull.

Once you are confident you have a good grip, I'd start doing "whitewall" drills at increasing speed in dryfire. Just point the gun at a blank wall with nothing on it, and pull the trigger, really concentrating on the front sight to make sure it does not move. Start slow, increase speed. Then add a draw into the mix. I do these almost 100% double action but in your case I'd do some single action too, to make sure both are performing as expected.

If you see the sights move, pay attention to exactly what point in the trigger pull it is happening... you are doing something right at that point in time to disturb them.

If you are keeping a good fundamental sight picture through the trigger pull at speed in dryfire, then you are probably doing some kind of flinching or something during the trigger pull to miss in live fire.
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Old July 25, 2014, 05:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgood
Others do not seem to have the same issue so it is clearly on me.
Others shot this very gun? And they're good shooters who shot good groups with it? Not trying to be a wise guy or a snob, but your average minute-of-barn shooter isn't likely to notice anything's amiss with a bad trigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trent
MrBorland - a bad trigger doesn't cause a problem, it just amplifies a problem.
I'd normally agree, but my fundamentals are pretty strong, and I don't have to take a back to to many people when it comes to handgun accuracy, so I'm not quick to let someone off the hook if their fundamentals are an issue. But based on what the OP originally wrote, it sounds like the quality of the trigger may (or may not) be an issue. I had a G17 and quickly discovered it had some some wicked letoff that really affected my shooting, so though I could've worked on the trigger, I got rid of it. A technique issue? Maybe, but that's the only gun I ever struggled with.

Last edited by MrBorland; July 25, 2014 at 05:46 PM.
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Old July 25, 2014, 05:43 PM   #16
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I think you raise a really good question. One that I am not able to answer. Good vs. bad trigger.

I believe the trigger travels straight as there is minimal side to side movement.
The pull weight is high by my ability. I think an investment in a scale would be good next pay check.
the distance from the break to the end of travel (Lock??) is in excess of 5 mm.

the distance from the back to the trigger feels 'just a tad long' for my short stubby fingers.

Mind you. Perhaps, I'm over thinking this. I am seeing less movement when I grip without too much thought. I've also been lining my front sight on a vertical line on the wall [a target edge]. when relaxed, which has been known to happen, I see no movement through the entire pull.

When I start to think about it, it all goes to h... in a handbasket.

I think I should follow the adage to Carnegie Hall, Practice, practice practice.


My biggest lesson to becoming a better shooter is going to be .... patience.
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Old July 25, 2014, 05:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgood
I think you raise a really good question.
My question is does the trigger break so abruptly that you see the front sight consistently jar as a result?

Your initial description ("I am noticing a 'twitch? flinch? sharp, tiny pull to the left when the trigger breaks"), and that you don't have an issue with your other guns suggested to me it could be a trigger issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frgood
One that I am not able to answer. Good vs. bad trigger.
That's why I suggested you have a master/GM-level shooter give their opinion of the trigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frgood
I am seeing less movement when I grip without too much thought. I've also been lining my front sight on a vertical line on the wall [a target edge]. when relaxed, which has been known to happen, I see no movement through the entire pull.
ok, this suggests it is you.
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Old July 25, 2014, 06:15 PM   #18
frgood
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Quote:
My question is does the trigger break so abruptly that you see the front sight consistently jar as a result?
Absolutely.

Quote:
That's why I suggested you have a master/GM-level shooter give their opinion of the trigger.
I will ask around at the club this weekend.


Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by frgood
I am seeing less movement when I grip without too much thought. I've also been lining my front sight on a vertical line on the wall [a target edge]. when relaxed, which has been known to happen, I see no movement through the entire pull.
ok, this suggests it is you.
heh heh. It usually is. lol
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBorland View Post
I'd normally agree, but my fundamentals are pretty strong, and I don't have to take a back to to many people when it comes to handgun accuracy, so I'm not quick to let someone off the hook if their fundamentals are an issue. But based on what the OP originally wrote, it sounds like the quality of the trigger may (or may not) be an issue. I had a G17 and quickly discovered it had some some wicked letoff that really affected my shooting, so though I could've worked on the trigger, I got rid of it. A technique issue? Maybe, but that's the only gun I ever struggled with.
I agree with you on triggers being an issue; but I can't envision a bad trigger causing it. I've shot some horrible triggers and overcome them (thanks in part to all that work with the really horrible C02 pellet gun).

A good trigger is obviously a big advantage because a nice clean, consistent, smooth break, with no creep helps to keep other problems from becoming bigger problems.

There's so many variables with hold, proper grip, tension & relaxation, breathing, that also play in to handgun skills. Problems with tension, grip, hold, etc. are far more visible with bad triggers. (E.g. you know how poorly people tend to shoot the first shot of a DA/SA hammer fired gun).

Proper trigger technique w/ proper hold control means no matter *what* the only forces hitting the gun are on the trigger and moving straight back. The break & lock time "jerk" happens when something is wrong. Not with the trigger; but with the pull of the trigger, the grip, the tension in the hands or arms, etc. *Something* is not in balance when the trigger breaks.

The harder you have to pull on that trigger the more pronounced that movement can become if the grip isn't right, because more "force" is being suddenly unloaded before the primer ignites and the bullet gets on it's way.

But if the grip & trigger pull are correct, it doesn't matter if it's 2 ounces or 12 pounds, that force only goes where it should; straight back, nothing is out of harmony elsewhere to make the gun jump from it's current axis of alignment (left, right, up, down, whatever).

Now, if it was happening on ALL of the guns of that recoil level he shoots, I'd look in to recoil control - wrist tension, using the elbows as springs to absorb the recoil straight back, etc. But if it only happens on one gun? That's a grip problem; the "less than ideal" trigger is just amplifying the issue which is *probably* present on *all* of them. (e.g. correcting the underlying root cause(s) will cause *all* of his groups with *all* pistols to shrink).
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Old July 28, 2014, 02:25 PM   #20
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I'd like to follow up from this past weekend.

It turns out the match director at the Steel Match I attended was a GM. In attendance were a couple of Masters that were kind enough to have a little talk and discussion (actually we spent almost the entire morning talking as we were on the same squad.

The GM went into detail about the exact spots on the CZ to polish. particularly, he referred to were there is a bump on the trigger bar and it mated surface. As I've had a trigger and sear assembly apart on the CZ 85. I knew exactly where each of the several points were to gently buff.

This is consideration one.

The Master, who did provide great advice a key points throughout the morning. strongly suggested that I 'get my mind right' and work on grip some more before looking to a mechanical solution.

It is clear that both men are right and I am following the advice in the order of 'mind' then mechanical.

The advice during the day was most beneficial. I was inpatient and my frustration showed early in the first 2 stages of 6. The movement was not an issue as I simply did not follow any fundamentals and just hit by luck.
I was given a single piece of of advice [One I will force myself to remember]. "Focus on only hitting the target. Forget time". "Pull the trigger only when you are ready".

Okay two pieces of advise. (2) "Relax. Stop getting so tense".
This was followed by 5 strings of 5 shots, 5 hits. 25 rounds per stage for the remaining 4 stages. There was no flinching, no pulling, ganking, or etc. Each round went right were they were intended. There was a growth of both joy and confidence.

Now my times were, by your definition, crap. For example Smoke and Hope, were everyone is in the 3-4 range. I shot a consistent 7-8 per stage. I consider that good. 5 strings all with the same time and all with the same cadence. My 'times' were about 3 times the group average. But no more joy could be had by this person and those who cheered me on.

Cured? No. On the road. Absolutely! I am grateful to this group for giving me the guidance to seek appropriate knowledge and providing me with critical information for the future.
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Old July 28, 2014, 07:27 PM   #21
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Good to hear things are looking up. It's always rewarding to take another step down the path.

You realize that *everyone* keeps working on this same stuff, as long as we keep shooting, right? It's a physical skill, and as such, can never be truly "mastered". We just achieve successive increments of competence as we all keep working at it and refining things.

PS - one last bit of advice. Don't take long breaks on handgun. The skills deteriorate faster than long guns.
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