The Importance Of Trigger Reset And Reset Under Recoil

For those of you who already know what this is then congrats, You are ahead of the curve. Chappy of Beretta wrote a short article about the importance of the trigger reset.

For those not familiar with the concept, and there are a lot of people I have met out there who don’t, you might learn something important.

According to Chappy:

Trigger Reset is a term used to describe letting the trigger forward only far enough to reset the sear after the previous shot is fired.

Chappy goes on to briefly explain that trigger reset was a codified technique back in the 1920s for high power rifle shooters. It gave them an advantage during rapid fire stages.

Trigger reset has since then moved on to almost all types of shooting. It is very crucial in handguns. Chappy identifies three benefits of resetting the trigger.

1. Eliminates unnecessary motion. All motion equals time, and time is not on your side in a gunfight.

2. Minimizes movement of the sights thereby reducing time wasted realigning sights.

3. Helps reduce jerking of the trigger, which reduces the likelihood of missing.

When firing a handgun you would press the trigger to the rear but do not let go. After the gun cycles, you reacquire your sight picture and ease the trigger forward enough to feel the sear engage. Then you press the trigger again. Each gun is different. Some are better than others and a lot of it is personal preference. However if you follow the three key components above, the shorter the rest the better. Of course this applies to firearms that have a trigger reset. Although, you can apply this to a DAO trigger. Revolver shooters will pull the trigger to the rear and learn the proper distance before the hammer is released. If you practice doing this, you will become a better shooter. Great example is Jerry Miculek and how he can rock a revolver fast and accurately.

Chappy then explains that learning the reset distance is only a first step. To advance your skills at pistol shooting he then suggests learning to reset the trigger as soon as the gun is recoiling. This is a rather advanced move. He calls it “reset under recoil”. It will feel odd. But if you can practice this and be proficient at it, your followup shots will be quicker and more accurate. Chappy goes further and recommends that a shooter learn this so well that not only will the shooter be proficient and comfortable resetting under recoil, but it will feel strange to do so any other way. When a shooter can be that proficient, then the shooter can be more focused on other things.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • iksnilol

    Wouldn’t resetting the trigger during recoil negatively affect accuracy?

    NOTE: I am not a pistol shooter but that small part there goes against everything I have been taught about triggers.

    • No, the bullet is out of the barrel once the front sight lifts. Resetting the trigger or doing a target transition has no affect on it.

      • Nicholas Chen

        Exactly. Watch any slow motion video of a bullet being fired from a firearm. The bullet has left before muzzle climb and recoil sets in.

  • Dave

    Funny how all the best competition pistol shooters never do this and instead do full strokes for every shot…

    • All?

      I guess Dave Sevigny been demoted from the best.

  • Will

    As one, of several, firearms instructors for a large, mid west, law enforcement agency we taught trigger reset as part of double tap. It works VERY well once the technique is mastered.

    • Jeff Asbury

      Too many commas, bro.

  • David

    Trigger reset opens you for the possibility of short stroking. Also, it is problematic is the shooter has multiple guns, each with a different trigger. Best the keep the finger on the trigger for the entire length without using the reset

    • It is only an issue when dealing with guns that have a false reset.

      Simple solution is to not shoot guns with false reset.

      • david

        Its an issue with every gun. Stress will decrease your ability to hit the reset poperly

        • Bill

          Stress will decrease your ability to reset the trigger is you haven’t trained to reset the trigger under stress. That’s a training issue. NOT resetting the trigger slows the shooter down and opens the opportunity for trigger bashing.

          • david

            Disagree. Training only works at the level of stress that you train under. Increase the stress and you decrease your abilities. That’s why groups open up under stress. Fine motor control, which is required by the reset, is reduced under stress.

          • No, no it doesn’t.

            Or else everyone would fail at force on force. Experience, and training override almost all of the performance issues under stress.

            Stress degrades the amount of tasks that you can think through with your conscious mind. You often are only able to focus on a single thing. But if working the gun becomes a task that you can do unconsciously (like we work a car), then you are easily able to do it under stress.

            Granted testing it under stress by going through Force on Force training or competition is a must.

          • Phil Elliott

            Absolutely! During early 70’s competition, with (a dbl. action revolver) practiced this all the time, both on the range and at home during dry fire training. During competition used to regularly put 12 shots in 15 sec. in the x ring at 7 yds. Admittedly slow now what with semi-autos being able to do that much faster.

          • Bill

            That’s the theory, that hasn’t really been empirically challenged. As I said, it IS a training issue, and you will function to the level to which you have trained. But ask a F16 pilot, where a 1/8th movement of the wrist will roll the aircraft, or a neurosurgeon teasing out veins and grey matter, if they have lost their fine motor control under stress.

            The issue with the firearms community is that we hold things as Gospel without really studying them. An “expert” tells us something, it metastasizes throughout the community in various guises, and now it’s carved in stone.

            We also have a lot of semi-hind-sight bias: we study BAD examples and hold them as the norm, instead of the cases where a shooter settled down, managed his/her sights and trigger, and won the fight.

      • R “rch02474” Horton

        *cough* M&P Shield *cough*

  • DontTryWithTapco

    Will cause bumpfire/ doubling in rifles with a tapco g2

    • R H

      My Arsenal SLR 104 has doubled up on me once or twice when I reset the trigger before the rifle is done recoiling. But the thing shoots so smooth that I still hit the target both times!

    • Giolli Joker

      I once let a friend of mine shoot a cilynder of Casull out of my Mateba autorevolver… by using this tecnique he, very much unwillingly, fired a 3 shot burst, sending 900 grs downrange and getting a serious pounding on his hand.
      I’ll mock him about it until I die. ????

      • Sianmink

        Now that I know you have a Mateba I will be jealous at you forever.

  • Treiz

    People in shooting situations can’t even keep track of the number of rounds that they fire, much less the reset of the trigger. I don’t see the advantage of training for something that is going to be the furthest thing from your mind when it counts. >.>

    • Hardly the same. You work the reset into how you run the trigger. After enough repetitions it becomes a integral. If you are working the trigger, you are using the reset.

      • Treiz

        Practice doesn’t restore your fine motor skills under stress and adrenaline, I fail to see how this example is exempt from the rule, apart from your wishful thinking.

        • Actually it very much does. The very idea of working the trigger is not just a fine motor skill, but it is among the finest required on a gun.

          And yet people demonstrate the ability to finely working the trigger under stress ALL the time. For example recently an APD officer made a 105 yard one handed shot on an active shooter. The level of sight picture, and trigger control to make that shot is very high.

          The old “everything degrades under stress” like many gun phrases is true, but in the limited cases it was meant to be applied to. It was meant to be used with the follow up that is overcome with training, practice, and stress inoculation. I could do a whole web series on classic training quotes that are taken out of context.

          • Treiz

            “Working a trigger involves closing the finger, which is ancillary to the instinctual fight or flight mechanism of creating a fist. This is NOT a fine motor skill. Pressing a trigger is an action designed to cater to what a person is capable of in an adrenalized state.

            “And yet people demonstrate the ability to finely working the trigger under stress ALL the time. For example recently an APD officer made a 105 yard one handed shot on an active shooter.”
            Exceptions that simply prove the rule. For every single hundred yard shot there are dozens of officers unloading their magazines and hitting nothing.

            “The old “everything degrades under stress” like many gun phrases is true, but in the limited cases it was meant to be applied to.”
            You can’t in one breath acknowledge that “everything degrades”, and then claim that “everything” is not actually everything. That is a contradiction.

            “It was meant to be used with the follow up that is overcome with training, practice, and stress inoculation.”
            Even with such preparation you are never going to get the kind of fine sensitivity, never mind clarity, required to track a trigger reset back while under stress. You will just end up training yourself into a bad habit and risk short stroking the trigger. Not a layer that I would like to add on top of a shoot out personally.

          • SevenStepsSouth

            I think everyone is different. I think you might as well practice what you can. Some might remember training, some might not. Nobody…not you, me or the other guy…will know how individuals will react unless we are actually presented with a *genuine* situation. What’s the alternative? Not train or practice this at all?

          • Treiz

            There’s useful training, and then there’s less useful training. All reports I’ve ever seen show that even trained professionals loose fine motor skills and situational awareness in an adrenalized state.
            Based on that fact I’d rather spend my limited time, money, and energy training more useful skills like shooting straight and dealing with failures, as opposed to jumping over hay bales and shooting to reset, etc etc every other gun fad in the last 10 years, etc.

          • SevenStepsSouth

            Damnit, there goes my tactical operator flat dark earth molle short reset 1.5-pound ghost ejector polishing tier VII hay bale idea…

          • Sianmink

            In an adrenaline dump you fall back on your training.
            If you trained working the reset and did it enough that it becomes automatic, it will just happen.

          • Treiz

            I suppose you could train to the length of the reset, but I still think you are risking short stroking the trigger. I don’t see how the minor benefit is worth the risk and effort.

          • Bill

            Resetting a trigger is arguably one of the most useful basic skills, as it is the key to fast and accurate followup shots and handling multiple targets. With it you can shoot straight and fast, without it you risk your ability to shoot straight by inducing an opportunity to bash and you are by necessity going to slow down. Your choice, I made mine.

            And as someone else pointed out, this isn’t a “fad.” It’s been around since the Modern Technique was invented, which means someone probably figured it out a hundred years earlier but didn’t write it down or teach a class.

          • Grindstone50k

            “All reports I’ve ever seen show that even trained professionals loose fine motor skills and situational awareness in an adrenalized state. ”

            Yep, clueless and inexperienced. Relying only on third-hand information.

          • Bill

            You won’t have it if you believe that you can’t have it. People convince themselves that things can’t be done, without pushing themselves thru the training to do it.

          • Grindstone50k

            “Even with such preparation you are never going to get the kind of fine sensitivity, never mind clarity, required to track a trigger reset back while under stress.”

            You obviously lack experience.

          • Treiz

            Says the keyboard warrior on the internet.

          • Grindstone50k

            I’m not the one making the assertions. Get a clue.

          • Treiz

            You are the one not supporting your claims, so, how many fire fights have you been involved in? Put up or shut up.

          • Grindstone50k

            How about you answer that question first, since you’re making the claim. My claim was that you are inexperienced. You have not responded to that, instead went straight for the ad hominem attack, which only further proves my point.

            Now, I’ve not made any statement whatsoever in clear support of either position in reference to the trigger reset. Yet you make post after post referring only once to Col Applegate, whose techniques are CLEARLY outdated (point-shooting? really?). And your reactionary attack when called out on your lack of personal experience is proof enough that you are just a clueless troll who has done nothing but watch Youtube videos and a couple Magpul DVDs.

            No, I don’t have to prove anything to you. What I did during my time in the military is mine to share as I please. YOU have to prove to US that you’re not just a clueless mall ninja moron.

          • Treiz

            Back the trolley up bro, the article made the claim, not me. I provided relevant information about actual encounters. If you want to participate you can start there by finding some reports of people in gun fights actually using the reset method, or even having the capacity to notice the reset in the middle of the fight, and that that method produced a noticeable difference in the outcome.

            “You obviously lack experience.”
            This is an ad hominem, ad Hominem statements do not prove points, they are fallacies. You did not attack my point, you attacked me and I responded in kind to illustrate your failure. If you are too slow to see that, I apologize. I will not respond to further ad Hominem statements from you in kind anymore.

            ” Yet you make post after post referring only once to Col Applegate, whose techniques are CLEARLY outdated”
            I responded to an authority fallacy with another authority fallacy to illustrate the point. I did not endorse the entire canon of Col Applegate’s teachings. Don’t put words in my mouth. Please actually read before commenting. Context is important.

            “YOU have to prove to US that you’re not just a clueless mall ninja moron.”
            That’s cute. You claim the mantle of knowledge and to represent consensus without so much as a single shred of evidence or line of reason. If you have something to say in support of the article’s claims that contradicts my points, now would be a good time for you to be “pleased” to share it.

          • Grindstone50k

            All that huff and puff and you’re still a clueless inexperienced child.

          • Gordon

            You forgot to mention that the officer in question was holding a horse by the reins with the other hand and it was at night. Working the trigger had less to do with it than massive amounts of luck. (assuming it even happened at all)

          • Jeff Asbury

            Got a link to those facts?

        • Aaron E

          Perhaps not, but practicing to perfection (not just shooting for fun) does create muscle memory.
          And muscle memory will allow the shooter to perform the task without thinking about it – like rapidly drawing a firearm from a retention holster. When the shooter develops muscle memory, they don’t “think” about the drawing process, they simply perform the action.
          I’ve been training and using trigger reset on Glocks for 15 years. It took several training sessions to master the skill, but once I mastered it is second nature (muscle memory). My accuracy, and speed in follow-up shots are phenomenally better than before mastering trigger reset. The skill is as important as proper grip, proper stance, and proper sight alignment.

  • Marcus D.

    Kahr triggers have to be completely released to reset, and there is no tactile reset to it, nor possibility of “shot stroking.” My 1911, although single action, has such a short pull with negligible overtravel that I don’t think there is a reset point on release either.

    • On long DA triggers working the trigger during recoil is even more important. That is how Jerry Miculek and other super fast revolver shooters shoot so fast.

      I remember at Bianchi Jerry saying something to the effect of “My gun is going to go off every .3 seconds, it is up to my eyes to make sure that the sights are on the proper point when it goes off.”

      Which basically means if he is going to be shooting, the trigger is always moving. The only time he isn’t working it is when he is reloading or moving.

  • Treiz

    “My definition of working the trigger doesn’t include spasmaticlly yanking the trigger due to fear.”
    That’s fine for you, but that seems to be what most triggers are designed for, aside from competition triggers, and what mostly actually happens in gun fights.

    ” As they aren’t going to be able to hit the broad side of a barn,”
    Most people, even the trained ones, in gun fights experience this exact phenomena, save for those fights taking place at bad breath distance, in which case shooting to reset still doesn’t offer a benefit.

    “It simply isn’t passed down in the LE circles because they have 40 hours to get someone, who will never practice independently, to a marginal skill level somewhere above spamaticlly yanking at the trigger.”
    …or they simply don’t do it because the marginal benefits don’t outweigh the risks, time, and effort required, even if you believe it can be done.

    “Trigger reset is a skill that requires the user to spend independently practicing until you can’t get it wrong. Or else it can bite you in the end. But with it you can shoot faster, and more accurately.”
    I’d rather spend the time working failure drills and draws until I can’t get those wrong, the bad guy isn’t going to be more dead if I hit him 9 times instead of 7 or 8. >.>

    • You lack a fundamental understanding of what is important to shooting. Trigger controls IS the most important aspect of pistol shooting. If your front sight is anywhere inside the rear notch on most pistol sights, and you do a proper trigger press, you will get a hit on the target. But even the most aligned sight picture will result in a miss if you mash the trigger with 30 lbs of force. Even the most tactical of the reputable trainers will teach that.

      Your idea that even the most experienced turn into spasmatic trigger yankers in insulting to the many people who have been in gun fights and didn’t revert into an caveman yanking at the trigger with no regards for technique. There are many departments that have implemented progressive training programs which include training the fundamentals with stress inoculation training that have hit rates completely opposite of lowest common denominator programs like the NYPD.

      Go ahead spend time on draws and failure drills if that makes you happy. You wouldn’t be the first person that doesn’t spend time on the hard stuff.

      • Treiz

        “Trigger controls IS the most important aspect of pistol shooting.”
        Then this is what you should be practicing, not shooting to the reset.

        “Your idea that even the most experienced turn into spasmatic trigger yankers in insulting to the many people who have been in gun fights and didn’t revert into an caveman yanking at the trigger with no regards for technique.”
        My “idea” is drawn from factual after action reports. Your wishful thinking has no basis in reality as far as I have seen. If you have a plethora of after action reports featuring people shooting to reset and yielding significantly better results I’d love to examine it.

        “You wouldn’t be the first person that doesn’t spend time on the hard stuff.”
        Lol, this kind of elitism is NOT what the gun culture needs more of.

        • Trigger reset is part of trigger control.

          Your “idea” is based on AARs from the untrained, and minimally trained. Departments that believe in good fundamentals with stress inoculation have hits rates to the point that they are attacked by news media, and other pro-criminal groups/politicians because when their officers get into gun fights the criminal dies.

          And it isn’t elitism, it is an observation. A vast majority of shooters like to practice what they are good at. You have to drag them kicking and screaming into practicing what they aren’t good at. Things like weak hand shooting, and extended distance shooting.

          • Treiz

            Trigger reset is a mechanical feature of the trigger mechanism, many triggers have no discernable reset at all. Trigger control is nothing more or less than pressing the trigger as part of the overall shooting skill. Shooting to reset is an ADDITIONAL layer added on top, it is not required for proper trigger control, therefore it is not a part of trigger control.

            “Departments that believe in good fundamentals with stress inoculation have hits rates to the point that they are attacked by news media”
            Good fundamentals and stress inoculation, sure, shooting to reset, no, unless you have those reports I asked about stating such.

            “Things like weak hand shooting, and extended distance shooting.”
            …but not shooting to reset. The justification for weak hand and extended distance shooting is easy, shooting to reset is not so much.

          • Honestly I can’t argue with you. We are going around in circles, to most of the reputable shooting world, shooting to reset is an accepted technique and is considered part of the fundamentals of shooting.

            If you can’t accept that, that is your problem. There are a lot of people that use suboptimal techniques.

          • Treiz

            Honestly I can’t argue with you. We are going around in circles, to most of those actually involved in shootings, shooting to reset is an overblown technique and is considered superfluous based on results from actual shooting reports.

            If you can’t accept that, that is your problem. There are a lot of people that waste time on fads and superfluous techniques.

          • LOL, tell that to people like Larry Vickers.

          • Treiz

            LOL, tell that to Col. Rex Applegate.

          • Oh I see now. LOL

            Col Applegate like, Col Cooper should be respected for the contribution they made to shooting, but shouldn’t be taken as gospel as some of the techniques, and methods have moved on.

            Even Gunsite has realized that so back before he passed after Col Cooper would do the lecture, one of the instructors would come in and brief the students on the new methodology and terminology because Col Cooper wouldn’t change. Many of that generation were that way.

          • Treiz

            How nice for you, to be the final arbiter of what is and is not gospel, as opposed to reality. Thanks, but no thanks.

          • You didn’t know that? Anyone that considers their work to be gospel, is way behind the times.

            Col Applegate was a proponent of point shooting, a technique that is widely regarded as suboptimal.

            Col Cooper was a proponent of the weaver stance, a technique widely regarded as suboptimal.

            They got some things right, but free form competition shooting combined with big budget military units that place marksmanship at speed as a highly desirable trait have proven some of their techniques wrong.

          • Treiz

            They got some things right indeed, like not shooting to reset.

          • Col Cooper believed in utilizing trigger reset.

          • Treiz

            Not that I recall, it was the rolling trigger, not trigger reset. Not the same.

          • Col Cooper believed in a riding the trigger to reset and “compressing” it for the next shot. And that is the method that Gunsite teaches as of 2008. And based on a recent Gunsite newsletter I found on Google that is what they teach today.

          • Treiz

            My bad, I meant Col Applegate. Are we done with authority fallacies yet or should we keep going.

          • I honestly think the idea that you used a WWII era methodology as your justification hilarious.

          • Treiz

            Please go into great detail as to how the human body and finger have changed so much in the last 60 years as to make methodology that old laughable. The methodology was not my justification, just an example. The after action reports were my justification, real reports on real fights by real people. You have yet to provide anything similar other than authority fallacies and wishful thinking.

          • Training techniques have changed in the last 60 years, and people have learned what is the best method to teach students willing to put in the time.

            Most older training techniques are based on the idea that the student will not practice outside the training classes.

            I can give examples, but none of them are in easily available resources. If you had access to those resources, you would already know them.

          • Treiz

            Fads come and go, the gun culture waxes and wanes, but fingers and fists and reflexes have stayed the same. Shooting to reset wasn’t a good idea back then, and apart from passing qualifications it isn’t any more useful today in a gun fight as after action reports have clearly shown. People haven’t changed, the methodology for swinging an axe has changed in thousands of years, and the methodology for pressing a trigger hasn’t changed for as long as they have been around either.

          • So stay stagnant because everything that I don’t agree with is a fad regardless of how long it has been around.

            You sound like Col Cooper toward the end of his life. He was set in his ways, and anything that was shown to be better was a gamer fad.

          • Treiz

            You have yet to show that it is better, sure it works on the qual range, but nothing about actual fighting.

          • Why would I bother? Anyone that doesn’t spasmatically yank at the trigger is an exception to the rule to you.

            Never mind the fact that the thoroughly trained shooter is the exception to the rule. As the departments that consider firearm skills important enough to do
            regular training, including stress inoculation training are extremely
            uncommon. Most of the unclassified shootings are done by people that trained 40 hours during their academy, and then spend only the amount of time required at the range to achieve qualification.

            So of course the level of training they mastered is ridiculously low, and that is the level they typically shoot at during actual lethal force confrontations.

          • Bill

            Where are these AARs you keep referring to? Are they the ones with a lot of rounds fired and few hits? Because in those the shooters were mangling their triggers. The ones in which they got behind the sights, pressed the trigger straight to the rear, and yes, it’s a trigger press, not a trigger pull, let the gun fire and reset the trigger while riding out the recoil and getting back on the front sight tend to be pretty short, with the perp assuming ambient air temperature.

          • Bill

            You’re on cheap drugs. Cooper practically invented reset and the surprise break.

          • Aaron E

            Name the reports please.

        • Bill

          This kind of elitism is EXACTLY what the gun culture needs more of, instead of settling for mediocrity.

          You can strive to be Bob Ross or Picasso.

          • Aaron E

            Hey! I like Bob Ross … he’s got good vibes.

          • Bill

            and he had happy little trees and clouds…..

  • spencer60

    I never understood anyone’s acceptance of riding the reset for anything but competition.

    If you have lost all fine motor function in a stressful situation, being wired to wait for a reset you will never feel is not just silly but dangerous.

  • David Loeffler

    Watch a video of Jerry Miculek. I watched several and his finger looks like it goes off the trigger every time, revolver, autoloading pistol or rifle. I’m no where as fast as he but he’s faster than most anyone else. So…

  • Jkeller87

    One of my main focuses while practicing and traing myself at the range is working on my trigger reset. Even when I think I have it down I keep working on it. It will greatly improve your accuracy in my opinion.