5 Common Rifle Trigger Control Problems and Solutions

Whether you are a trained shooter or new to firearms, at some point in time you will have trigger issues. Rifle Trigger problems are responsible for most of the mistakes in the shooting. Many shooters don’t realize that poor trigger control is causing their imprecision. Shooters must familiarize themselves with the common trigger control problems and their solutions. This will help them to overcome shooting errors. Some of the frequent trigger control problems mentioned herein below:

Trigger Control Problems & Solutions: 


rifle trigger


Trigger jerking occurs when the shooter jerks the trigger at the last second with the sight being on target. Jerking the trigger is more of a mental issue than a physical one. A jerk usually happens when the shooter tries to time the shot and in quick action pulls the trigger at the same point assuming that they have the perfect sight alignment. However, this results in movement and compression of other fingers dominant on the grip. It makes the wrist move the muzzle of the target right before the bullet exits the muzzle.

Shooters must understand the necessity for mentally focusing on their trigger press. To improve the jerking issue, one must focus on the trigger press fundamentals. A smooth trigger press with minimum movement of other fingers is essential. Also one must focus on the front sight.


Flinching is an inability to pull the trigger at the appropriate time. It is a serious concern for many shooters. Flinching is often caused due to fear of noise, recoil, and fear of missing the target. Some shooters perceive bang after the shot as unpleasant and dangerous. Hence, for them, flinching gets stimulated by loud noise and movement of a firearm. Others anticipate recoil and this premature reaction to sound results in a flinch. New shooters usually close their eyes while pressing the rifle trigger and unintentionally shove the gun off their face and head. This moves the muzzle of the target.

To deal with the problem of flinching you must recognize the reason behind the same. When flinching is due to fear of recoil, light cartridges may help. Another way by which experienced shooters avoid the problem of flinching is by preferring a flat trigger over a curved trigger. Further, substituting snap caps for live cartridges at random also helps in overcoming fear. A Coach would train you in hypnotherapy and techniques of changing shoulders.


rifle trigger


Milking implies that your grip fingers are also contracting when your index fingers contract to press the trigger. Shooters must realize that when you grab a rifle trigger under stress, the other fingers on the same or opposite hands mirror the same movement. Some shooters by mistake fire their guns while doing something with their non-gun hands or fingers. Hence, they must be cautious of their actions. Shooters must focus on improving their trigger finger control and balance their movements with other fingers.

This will help shooters to maintain a constant grip on the firearm with the rest of their hands. Milking is an extra movement that affects accuracy. Practice moving your trigger finger straight back, rather than sideways or up or down. The movement should be smooth and uninterrupted. Regular practice aids in developing muscle memory thus increasing precision and accuracy.


rifle trigger


Heeling occurs when the shooter exerts excessive forward pressure with the heel of their hand on the grip as they pull the trigger. This pressure from the heel of your hand forces the front sight up. It will usually result in a shot group high near the top middle 12:00 position on the target. You may overcome the heeling issue with absolute focus on the front sight.

To rectify errors one should be aware of firearm basics such as proper grip, sight alignment. Complete mental and visual focus on the front sight will aid in overcoming heeling errors.


Pushing is a mistake when the shooter does not pull the rifle trigger straight back. Instead, he pushes the trigger to the left or right. If the shooter places too little of the finger on the trigger causes pushing.

This results in the bullet either hitting the target at 9:00 or 10:00 position. To prevent this, ensure to grip the gun with a firm hand. Make sure that the firearm is not pushed in the direction at the last moment. The shooter must place the middle pad of their trigger fingertip on the center of the trigger. You must also practice and experience a ‘surprise break’ when the shot fires.

For a gun to fire with a ‘surprise break’ apply gradual and even pressure on the trigger until it fires. With consistent practice, you may perfect surprise and achieve accuracy.


Trigger problems usually occur because shooters yearn for a perfect shot. This makes them slow, and overcautious in their trigger press resulting in a miss or an inaccurate shot. Hence, it is best to seek practical training to gain precision in your shooting.

Train yourself for accuracy with proper fundamentals before progressing to speed. Proper training and practice help to identify and overcome shortcomings in the shooting. Additionally, it also helps to manage anticipation levels necessary for desired results.

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