Trigger Squeeze. A novice firer can learn to place the rifle in a steady position and to correctly aim at the target if he follows basic principles. If the trigger is not properly squeezed, the rifle is misaligned with the target at the moment of firing.

Rifle movement. Trigger squeeze is important for two reasons:

• First, any sudden movement of the finger on the trigger can disturb the lay of the rifle and cause the shot to miss the target.

• Second, the precise instant of firing should be a surprise to the soldier.

The soldier's natural reflex to compensate for the noise and slight punch in the shoulder can cause him to miss the target if he knows the exact instant the rifle will fire. The soldier usually tenses his shoulders when expecting the rifle to fire, but it is difficult to detect since he does not realize he is flinching. When the hammer drops on a dummy round and does not fire, the soldier's natural reflexes demonstrate that he is improperly squeezing the trigger.

NOTE: See Appendix C for the Weaponeer and ball-and-dummy exercise. They are good training devices in detecting improper trigger squeeze.

Trigger finger. The trigger finger (index finger on the firing hand) is placed on the trigger between the first joint and the tip of the finger (not the extreme end) and is adjusted depending on hand size, grip, and so on. The trigger finger must squeeze the trigger to the rear so that the hammer falls without disturbing the lay of the rifle. When a live round is fired, it is difficult to see what affect trigger pull had on the lay of the rifle. Therefore, it is important to experiment with many finger positions during dry-fire training to ensure the hammer is falling with little disturbance to the aiming process.

As the firer's skills increase with practice, he needs less time spend on trigger squeeze. Novice firers can take five seconds to perform an adequate trigger squeeze, but, as skills improve, he can squeeze the trigger in a second or less. The proper trigger squeeze should start with slight pressure on the trigger during the initial aiming process. The firer applies more pressure after the front sight post is steady on the target and his is holding his breath.

The coach/trainer observes the trigger squeeze, emphasizes the correct procedure, and checks the firer's applied pressure. He places his finger on the trigger and has the firer squeeze the trigger by applying pressure to the coach/trainer's finger. The coach/trainer ensures that the firer squeezes straight to the rear on the trigger avoiding a left or right twisting movement. A steady position reduces disturbance of the rifle during trigger squeeze.

From an unsupported position, the firer experiences a greater wobble area than from a supported position. Wobble area is the movement of the front sight around the aiming point when the rifle is in the steadiest position. If the front sight strays from the target during the firing process, pressure on the trigger should be held constant and resumed as soon as sighting is corrected. The position must provide for the smallest possible wobble area. From a supported position, there should be minimal wobble area and little reason to detect movement. If movement of the rifle causes the front sight to leave the target, more practice is needed. The firer should never try to quickly squeeze the trigger while the sight is on the target. The best firing performance results when the trigger is squeezed continuously, and the rifle is fired without disturbing its lay.

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