Perfect Trigger Pull

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We picked up the eland’s track at dawn and followed in single file behind Buti, our Namibian tracker, who somehow sorted the bull’s print from the thousands of others pressed into the blazing Kalahari sand. The track had wended roughly 10 kilometers when, around 11 a.m., I caught the bull’s silhouette in the shade of a camel thorn tree 200 yards out. I slammed my rifle into the V of the shooting sticks and found the bull in the scope. Afraid he’d bolt and assuming I couldn’t miss such a huge target, I mashed the trigger—and whiffed.

I had proved, the hard way, that while executing a proper trigger pull is not terribly difficult, doing it when everything is on the line is. No matter how much you’ve practiced, no matter what experts you’ve learned from or snipers you’ve trained with, that ¼-inch movement that frees the firing pin can be devilishly tricky to execute under pressure.

Grip Lightly

So what’s the problem? It’s just pulling a stupid lever, right? The problem is that even a slight amount of pressure or movement in any direction other than straight backward can cause you to miss. What’s more, unwanted pressure can come not only from the trigger finger, but from any of the other digits on your trigger hand. So the first key to a good trigger pull is to take the proper grip.

When you’re shooting from a rested position, do not wrap your trigger-hand thumb over the stock’s wrist. Instead, rest it along the same side of the receiver as the trigger finger, which helps guard against canting the rifle, and aids in applying even pressure directly backward.

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