Trigger Prep

Improve the draw stroke speed, control, and confidence.

What is the Trigger Prep Drill?

The Trigger Prep drill is incredibly quick, simple, and easy. It is an ideal warm up drill to kick off a training session, for live fire or dry fire.

A fast and consistent draw stroke is critical for any handgun owner, but it is especially important for conceal carriers. A slow draw can create opportunity for the assailant, resulting in your death. A mistake on the draw can mean a missed shot, resulting in the death of a bystander. Remember, owning a firearm for self defense is an immense responsibility – one that should not be taken lightly.

A very useful skill is knowing exactly where the trigger pull will break the shot. Knowing this can help you prep the trigger before the shot to shoot “sooner.” Trigger prep during recoil or during a transition can shave valuable time, providing an edge. The Trigger Prep drill helps you become intimately familiar with the length of pull on the trigger so you know exactly where the shot will break.

A single target at 10 yards is simply for par time standardization. It’s also a good distance to ensure that the sights are stable on a just challenging enough target. It is encourage to perform this drill at a wide variety of target difficulties and target types.

How to Setup

Drill Setup

  • 1 Target at 7 yards
  • Start position: Gun loaded and holstered. If in dry fire, hammer back
  • 0 rounds required
How to Dry Fire

Drill Steps

  1. At the beep, draw the gun
  2. While drawing the gun, begin to prep the trigger. The goal is to have the trigger prepped just before the trigger breaks as the sights settle on target
  3. Pause with the sights on target and the trigger prepped
How to Mod

Drill Modifications

  • To push draw speed, move the target closer. 3 yards is a great distance to really push speed, particularly when training for conceal carry.
  • To improve natural point of aim, make the targets smaller, farther, or more difficult.
  • To improve natural point of aim, don’t square up perfectly on target. Rotate your feet and body so you’re facing in random directions off to either side of the target. This will help ensure a solid natural point of aim for practical accuracy since the target is rarely squared up perfectly in front o you.
  • If you are struggling to prep the trigger without breaking the shot, remove the draw stroke. Bring the gun to the compressed ready, then push the handgun out to trigger prep. Bring the gun to compressed, ready, then push the handgun out to trigger prep. Removing the timer and draw stroke allows for fast repeated reps on learning where the trigger breaks.
  • Closing your eyes is a nice addition to this drill. It helps you “feel” the draw stroke and trigger prep without getting distracted by what you see. Closing your eyes during the draw is also an effective test of how good your natural point of aim is. Upon finishing the draw stroke, open your eyes and see how close your sights are to being lined up and how close the sights are to being on target. If your sights are lined up and on target – you have an excellent natural point of aim.
  • LEO should strongly consider running this drill without putting the finger on the trigger as LEOs are more likely to draw the gun without needing to fire the gun.

Drill Tips

When just starting out on this drill, it is perfectly fine to accidentally break the trigger. In fact, if you’re just learning where your trigger breaks and you’re not breaking the trigger during the trigger pull, it means you’re not pulling the trigger close enough to the edge of the break.

Members only content available.
Login Get FREE All Access Training

Drill Diagnostics

At the end of the draw stroke, pay close attention to where the sights stop. Do they stop right at the desired aiming point? Do they bounce as the sights stop? Or do you have to align the sights or find the red dot? Do you have to move the sights to where you intended to aim? Try to ensure the sights smoothly stop at the desired point of aim.

Members only content available.
Login Get FREE All Access Training

Drill Author/Popularizer

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is the author of the original dry fire book. He’s a USPSA Grandmaster and traveling instructor.

Steve Anderson’s Website »

Don't know what drills to run to meet your goals?

Try out a virtual training call to talk with Brian about shooting goals, training methods, and drills to best meet those goals.

Drill Environment

More Drill Modifications

Modifications to focus on: Conceal Carry

Modifications to focus on: General Modifications

Modifications to focus on: Movement

Modifications to focus on: Push Speed

  • Broaden what is considered “acceptable accuracy” - More info »
  • Decrease the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Increase the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Move targets closer - More info »
  • Put a black dot on the main point of aim on the target - More info »

Modifications to focus on: Tighten Accuracy

Modifications to focus on: Transitions

  • Decrease the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Don’t pull the trigger during transitions - More info »
  • Increase the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Transition from outside targets of an array and work inwards - More info »

Summer Practical Pistol Course

Join me for a three month virtual training program!

Learn More