Guest Post: Viridian Weapon Technologies
Faster shooting isn't always better
Defense Mindset Training
I love exploring the finer points of effective firearms use, and I’ve become especially interested in trigger modulation.
What is trigger modulation? It’s how you as a shooter should vary the speed of trigger depression and reset based upon speed, standard of accuracy, and capability. For example, if the target is close and the standard of accuracy large, shots should be very fast. If the target is far and the standard of accuracy small, shots should be very slow.
But curiously, unless the distance and standard of accuracy are extreme, most shooters rarely modulate the trigger. This lack of training leads to more missed shots when it counts.
Here’s a course of fire we use at Defensive Mindset Training to help develop this technique.
Set up: Set up three targets on the range and play around with two variables for the targets: distance and standard of accuracy (aka, target size). The shooter stands in front of the middle target at roughly 12-15 feet. The middle target will be the "hub" that the shooter starts and transitions through while moving their firearm between targets.
Drill overview: To begin, the shooter starts with two shots to Target 2, then a Line of Sight transition to Target 1 and two shots, then a Line of Sight Transition back to Target 2 and two shots, then a Line of Sight to Target 3 and two shots, then Line of Sight to Target 2 and two shots, and so on until their magazine empties.
In this scenario, Target 2 is at about 12-15 feet, the standard of accuracy is large – chest-size, represented by an 8.5x11" sheet of paper. This means that the shooter should be going at FULL SPEED here, their two shots being as absolutely as fast as possible while maintaining the standard of accuracy.
Target 1 is at about 20-30 feet and the standard of accuracy is the same as Target 2 (a standard sheet of paper), but because of the distance change, your rate of fire should slow down to keep the rounds inside the standard of accuracy. For Advanced DMT students, this ends up being about .25 to .35 splits.
Target 3 is at about 50-60 feet and the standard of accuracy here is 1/4 of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, and usually Center of Face. To keep your rounds inside this standard of accuracy, your trigger speed must modulate yet again. It has to slow way down. For Advanced DMT students, this ends up being between .75 and 1 second splits.
Here's a video of me and a few students doing this drill (Below left). See if you can see the difference.
So what's the point of this exercise? Learn to vary your trigger speed in accordance to the range and standard of accuracy, and do so fluidly.
When students are running this drill, I usually don't have to look downrange to see if they're effectively hitting Targets 1 and 3, I can just listen. If it sounds like "bam-bam-bam-bam-bam," a very consistent beat, I’m sure that they’re missing shots on Target 1 and especially on Target 3. If instead it sounds like: bambam(Target 2) -----bam----bam(Target 1)--bambam(Target 2)-----------------bam----------------bam(Target 3)--bambam(Target 2), I know the shooter is properly modulating their trigger and will be getting effective rounds downrange.
These skills and concepts have multiple functions, not just in target transitions, but in structural changes too. Take a look at this video on Primary Hand Only shooting (Above right). This is another perfect example of where trigger modulation comes into play. You can't maintain the same level of recoil management because you only have one hand on the firearm, so your trigger speed must modulate to keep your standard of accuracy.
While it’s always great to train for shooting as quickly and accurately as possible, in real life you don’t know how far away your threat will be or how big a target will be exposed. In this case, only those who have practiced modulation will adapt smoothly and shoot well when it really counts.
Train hard and stay safe.