Pistol 5: Trigger Reset Drill

In the early pistol drills we have shooters regaining sight picture before resetting the trigger and finding the break point for the follow on shot. While that procedure may seem awkward it is extremely effective in training the shooter to have a good follow through. It also teaches the shooter not to immediately come off the trigger, which leads to slapping in multiple round engagements.

This drill is where that discipline pays off. The Trigger Reset Drill ties together all of the firing fundamentals for pistol and makes for faster and more accurate multiple round engagements.
Given the fact that most live engagements include moving targets, a tighter shot group on the range equates to a greater hit ratio in a lethal encounter.

This drill is fired in three phases. In the first phase the Range Master/Coach calls all steps in firing. Phase two is where shooters reset on their own and the Range Master/Coach controls the firing rate. In phase three the shooter engages the target with rhythm drills. We prefer to fire one magazine for each phase.

There are possible control issues for the Range Master/Coach. With many shooters firing at the same time the commands can be lost in all the noise.

If the shooters are disciplined and performing the drill as it is supposed to be performed, then it ought to sound like a 21 gun salute every time "fire" is called.

Instructions to Shooters:

1. Once out on the firing line you will be instructed to load and press check.

2. Once you have loaded the pistol, de-cock or safe the pistol come to position 3.

3. Stay with the Range Master's call.

4. On the command of “UP,” you will present from 3 to 4 and fire, regain sight picture and keep the trigger pressed to the rear.

5. On the command of “RESET,” keeping a good sight picture reset the trigger.

6. On the command of "FIRE," all you should have to do is fire, keep the trigger pressed to the rear and regain sight picture.

7. We will fire in this manner for a number of rounds. RESET, FIRE... RESET, FIRE. The pace will pick up between RESET and FIRE.

8. At some point you may be told to come back to the 3 position. De-cock or safe the pistol and perform a condition check. Then the drill will continue as before.

9. When the magazine goes empty, perform an emergency magazine change and holster the pistol. This will keep everyone as close together as possible with their round count.

10. After the first magazine is complete, the Range Master/Coach will have the firing line draw to the 3 position and stand by.

11. For the second magazine, you will receive the command of "UP," present the weapon to the target, fire, obtain a second sight picture and reset on your own.

12. The Range Master will call "FIRE." All you should have to do is pull the trigger. You should have a sight picture, the trigger should be reset and the slack should be removed.

13. As before you may be told to go to position 3, de-cock, condition check and be prepared to continue. At the end of the magazine, reload then holster the pistol.

14. The Last magazine is a 5 round rhythm drill. Shoot at a smooth comfortable pace. "Bang, sights, bang, sights, bang, sights."

Range Master's Call:

Once the shooters are on the line and the line is “hot,” start calling the drill. Be sure to keep the pace slow. Give the shooters time to make good shots and follow the drill. If you are shooting alone, you can also record the call of the drill and play it back on headphones while you are on the range.

Phase 1:
For the first few rounds ensure that the pace is slow enough for shooters to pick up the rhythm and stay with the call.

UP (shooters fire when ready, but have them hold the position until you call the next step)

RESET (you should hear all the "clicks up and down the line)

FIRE (repeat the RESET/FIRE steps at least 5 times then give the shooters a break. Have them return to 3, de-cock and condition check. Then repeat the drill until the first magazine is complete.)

Shooters reset and acquire sight picture on their own.

UP (popcorn sounds up and down the line, as shooters fire the first round at different rates. When the line appears ready to continue start calling fire.)

FIRE (Repeat the "FIRE" step at least 5 times. Then give the shooters a break as above)

Phase 3
Remind shooters that the pace must be smooth. If the shot group is tight have them pick up the pace until the shot group becomes unacceptable.


Common Mistakes:

All the common mistakes from the other pistol drills apply here. New mistakes inherent to this drill:

1. Not staying with the drill. Whether the shooter is inattentive, or can't hear this is sometimes a problem. Be sure to fire a demonstration to help remove this problem.

2. Slapping the Trigger. Usually during phase 3.

3. Rushing the Shot. Shooters are often ready to push their abilities at this point. Tell them to be patient.

Bull’s eyes will be removed after this firing table. Then it will be time to quit thinking and shoot.

Drills & Skills


We don't currently offer training but, we know some folks who do.

Don is a Retired Green Beret over at:

Rodney and Brian are Law Enforcement Officers over at:

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