5 drills for trigger finger isolation (One is “Magical”)

One of the most common problems in shooting is low-left groups for right handers.

It’s normally caused by a combination of anticipating recoil and/or “sympathetic squeeze.”

Basically, it’s not always easy to press the trigger without squeezing the rest of the fingers, the thumb, and flexing the wrist at the same time.

To complicate things, we’re supposed to grip pistols firmly, but the tighter you grip with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers, the harder it is to isolate the movement of your trigger finger.

The good news is that trigger finger isolation is a skill.

This means that no matter how good or bad you are at it right now, you can improve.

And the same drills that will help you shoot better will help protect you from repetitive use injuries and can reduce stiffness in the hands.

Some people are better at isolating their trigger finger than others.

Injuries and what you do with your hands on a daily basis are going to play a big role in how well you can isolate your trigger finger.

A lot of this has to do with something called “brain mapping.”

Your brain has a map of the body where sections of your brain are mapped to parts of your body for motor function.

These motor maps operate on a use-it-or-lose-it principle.

If you constantly wear stiff boots, shoes, and slippers that don’t allow much foot movement, the motor map in your brain for your foot kind of turns into a block, because discrete motor control isn’t useful when the entire foot moves as a single unit.

Start going barefoot and moving all 26 bones in the foot and the motor map in the brain is going to get bigger and more granular.  That’s why some people can grab things with their toes, or even write with their toes.

The same rule applies to your fingers.  You either use them individually or your brain starts seeing your hand as a claw rather than a hand with 5 individual fingers.

If you’re cranking on a wrench all day, a fighter who primarily uses your hands as clubs, or do a lot of other activities that use all of your fingers as a single unit rather than as individual fingers, these drills will be difficult at first, but you’ll see the biggest, fastest gains in performance.

If you are a fast typer or play a musical instrument that requires individual finger precision and dexterity, you’re going to have a leg-up on the drills, but they’ll still help you build better trigger finger isolation.

With that in mind, here’s 5 quick drills that you can do that will help expand the motor map for your fingers in your brain and help you isolate your trigger finger better.

First, is a drill that has become one of my favorite finger manipulation drills…coin rolling.

It’s a drill that magicians and pianists use to improve the motor maps in their brain to get fingers moving independently.

Quick disclaimer…I’ve got jacked up hands and I’m no magician.  They’re scarred, my knuckles are knotted, and to top it off, I was trail running across a creek a few days before filming this, slipped on a rock, fell, and have cuts, abrasions, reduced range of motion, and swelling as a result.  I can’t tell you how to be a GREAT coin roller…but I can show you how to use coin rolling as a drill to make you a better shooter.

The challenge coins come as part of our Private Video Coaching program that you can learn more about >HERE<

The other 4 drills are functional neurology drills from Dr. Eric Cobb.  Eric is a friend, mentor, and an all-around great guy.

There will be several opportunities to attend Z-Health (Eric’s) live events with me…if you’re interested, let me know below and keep your eyes open for scheduling information.

These 5 drills will help you if you have no pain, but will probably make more of a difference for people who currently have pain in their hands, so try them out and see which ones work best for you.

Does this look like “normal” firearms training?

No.  And that’s a good thing.

Our training doesn’t focus on the newest gear or coolest technique.  It focuses further upstream…on the brain…and how you learn.  And here’s what that means to you…

Our training will help you improve faster and cheaper than what’s possible with live fire training or old school dry fire training and help you perform better under extreme stress situations.

It’s a combination of 2000+ year old battle tested martial arts training techniques and cutting edge neuroscience, and there’s nothing else like it on the market.

You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t serious about improving your performance with a firearm in high stress situations where your life is on the line, so take the next step today and check out our home study course by clicking >HERE<

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  • Bob Younghusband

    Reply Reply April 20, 2018

    Great drills!! On the Finger Spread and Squeeze, I have NEVER been able to split the fingers on either hand between the middle and ring fingers. Can’t do the Vulcan…. I’m gonna keep working on it.

  • Edward Minor

    Reply Reply January 31, 2018

    Ilove the coin flip and even though I have severe Osteo Arthritis I have a challenge coin from the U.S.C.C.A. and my Sheriff buddy. I think I can do just fine with that exercise.

  • Jim Zorn

    Reply Reply October 29, 2017

    @Cindy, the advice on the .38 Special is spot on. I’ve been firing .38 Special and .357 Magnum out of several different revolvers since 1976. I have never had a problem with a stuck case in the cylinder. In fact, I shoot competitively with a .38 Special and even after firing 100 to 150 rounds, none of the cases demand the use of the ejection rod to knock them out. Checking your brass and cleaning your cylinder should take care of any problems you are having. If not, back to Bass goes the gun.

  • Jim Zorn

    Reply Reply October 29, 2017

    @Cindy, the advise on the .38 Special is spot on. I’ve been firing .38 Special and .357 Magnum out of several different revolvers since 1976. I have never had a problem with a stuck case in the cylinder. In fact, I shoot competitively with a .38 Special and even after firing 100 to 150 rounds, none of the cases demand the use of the ejection rod to knock them out. Checking your brass and cleaning your cylinder should take care of any problems you are having. If not, back to Bass goes the gun.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply October 27, 2017

    I should add that .38 S&W is not .38 special. The .38 Smith & Wesson round predates the .38 special round. Sometimes the .38 special is also called the .38 Smith & Wesson special. Definitely not the same round as the .38S&W. I don’t have my reference book here in front of me, but I believe the .38S&W has a slightly larger diameter than the .38 sp. If you are using .38S&W in a .38 sp. the bullet could definitely stick in the chamber. In addition, it is dangerous to fire .38S&W in a .38sp. gun, assuming you can get it seated.

    Sound confusing? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people find caliber designations confusing. I won’t go near the .223 vs. 5.56 or.308 vs. 7.62problems. I don’t want to unnecessarily complicate your life.

    • Sam W.

      Reply Reply April 20, 2018

      Another thing to check for is barrel leading. I had a 22 that stuck cases a good bronze brush cleanup barrel and cylinder with bore cleaner, several times got rid if the problem. The previous owner had never cleaned and a pull through cleaner didn’t get the job done.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply October 27, 2017

    @Cindy: If the .38 you are talking about is a .38 special revolver, there is something wrong if a round is stuck in the chamber. A new, unfired .38 sp. round should slide in and out of each chamber with no difficulty at all. You shouldn’t even have to push the ejector rod to get unfired rounds out of each chamber. If they are sticking and don’t just drop out, first, examine the rounds and make sure they are all without defect and are, actually, .38 special rounds. If all the rounds look exactly the same and none of them have obvious defects and they are indeed .38 special rounds, then the problem is in the gun itself. Carefully clean each chamber with a bronze brush and a good bore cleaner. Make sure you clean under the ejection star with a tooth brush. Clean the ejector rod. Make sure the cylinder spins easily on the ejector rod. If it doesn’t, lightly apply oil at the front of the cylinder and the rear of the cylinder at the point where the ejector rod enters the cylinder. Move the rod back and forth as if ejecting shells about ten times. Dry the rod off. Now try again to spin the cylinder. It should move freely around the ejector rod. Some guns spin more freely than others, but it should certainly rotate several complete revolutions when you spin it. If it does not, that means there is a defect in the cylinder/ejector rod interface and the gun needs to go to a gunsmith because it is something you shouldn’t let any amateur fool with. Assuming the cylinder spins freely, dry out each individual chamber in the cylinder. Examine each cylinder to make sure there is no visible defect in any of them. At this point you should be able to just drop rounds into each cylinder and they should fall completely in without any force other than gravity. Turn the gun over and they should all fall out. If that is not happening and the ammunition is .38 special and not some other .38 round, then you have a problem with the cylinder and again, it needs to go to the gunsmith. Actually, if you bought it new from Bass Pro, I would head back to the store with my receipt in hand and have them take care of fixing it.

    Now, assuming that everything works before you fire it. Cartridges fall into the cylinder and fall out, cylinder spins freely and you are using new, factory ammunition, you should not have any problem ejecting .38 special expended cases from the cylinder. I have been firing .38 special since 1963 and have fired many different .38 special loads through a variety of .38 special revolvers and have never had difficulty ejecting any of them. Even firing the old SuperVel ammunition back when Lee Jurris was marketing it, I never had trouble ejecting the cases. If you are firing somebody’s homemade .38 special ammunition and it is sticking in the cylinder, stop immediately. They are way too hot and you are going to damage your revolver. Throw that junk away. Hope this helps you solve your problem with your .38. If it is a .38 super semi-automatic, why in the world did those two guy talk you into a .38 super?

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