Trigger reset is one of those skills, that if you were like me, when you learned it, it pretty much changed your level of accuracy instantly, especially with a pistol. I remember one of my trainers summarizing it for me:
“Unlike a rifle, where the barrel is 16 to 20 inches or greater, most pistol barrels are only 4 to 5 inches..that means the bullet has not got very far to travel before it exits, that means that any movement you make in working the trigger, exponentially effect the bullets path that much more.”
It made perfect sense. Pretty soon I was shooting the lights out.
But where the trouble came into paradise is when I learned the EXTREME differences between Competition Marksmanship and Combat Accuracy.
Most of the skills we are taught when we first start learning to shoot revolve around the square range and static targets. There is typically no stressors and no movement involved. Our success (and our ego) depends on the black X Ring and how well we shoot it out, right? Compare this to actual Combat shooting in a life or death struggle; whole new ball of wax. Now, all that really matters is that we stop the person trying to kill us right? Is he really going to grade us on our groupings or on our shot placement? Will he have his handy pair of calipers to measure your spread?
Now, I know most of you have heard this passionate spill before from me, so let me put it another way so I don’t sound redundant and boring.
The “Degree” of accuracy required is different in Competition and Combat shooting. In Competition Shooting, Accuracy is expected 100% of the time, no matter the situation. You are expected to punch a round through a paper target, preferably in the black, every time. In Combat Shooting, accuracy has looser tolerances and is both subjective and situational.
Let me give you an example: Some meth head has a taken a kid hostage, the perp standing still at 12 yards with a knife to the child’s throat, threatening to kill him. The only available and relatively safe shot the perp is giving you is the right side of his face, maybe 3 inches total from his nose to the edge of his cheekbone. Here, the SITUATION and in part, the DISTANCE, has determined that you MUST BE ACCURATE so that you kill the perp and protect the kid.
To contrast, if the same perp was just 12 feet away from you, armed with a handgun, but with no hostage, Now your level of accuracy is lowered, because you have a much bigger target in front of you (his center of mass) at a much closer range. Make sense? (FYI: In the first example, I realize the example is a bit far fetched for any CO. The reality, regardless of the weapon involved, is quite simple: for long distance shots that require a great degree of accuracy, ALWAYS get closer if you can! This is why they train hostage rescue teams to always try and close distance with the perp and get a shot angle on them that reduces the chance of an errant round hitting a hostage or bystander.)
OK, so going back to trigger reset. Since it is a skill that most of us practice on the square range, how applicable is it in an ass puckering, “kill or be killed” situation? I mean are you really going to remember a fine motor skill that involves you letting up the slack just enough to hear or feel the reset, all the while rounds are whizzing around you as you are moving to cover and your adrenaline is jacked thru the roof? Yeah, probably not. But that is OK, because you understand that TRIGGER RESET is a skill you can call upon (with Pistol or Rifle) when you need a greater degree of accuracy above and beyond standard combat shooting. Because, ultimately, when you look at the scenarios involved in most civilian self-defense shootings, in most cases, combat accuracy is going to be sufficient to end the threat.
So in closing, when the CO has Trigger Rest tucked away into his training memory bank, he has a very applicable and legitimate resource to draw upon when he needs it. The trick, is to train and drill in such a way that will force the CO to draw upon that skill frequently (and randomly), as the situation dictates.
Always remember that the thing that sets amateurs and professionals apart is the ability to seamlessly flow between skill sets.