trigger squeeze


One of the fundamental pistolcraft skills is trigger control. Trigger control is the ability of the pistol shooter to apply pressure on the trigger to fire the weapon without disturbing sight alignment.

There are a wide variety of trigger actions available today, from traditional double/single action to double action only and Glock’s “safe action”. Each of these requires a slightly different trigger technique. The most difficult to master is the traditional double/single action. The transition from the first shot’s double action to the remaining shots’ single action requires the shooter to learn and master two different trigger techniques and to transition between them after the first shot. The easiest trigger to learn and master is the Glock’s. It is the lightest version of the double action only trigger, and the lack of levers and buttons makes transitioning revolver shooters to autos easiest on the Glock.

The key to trigger control is a steady press of the trigger. The trigger finger should slip into the trigger guard from its “safety” position on the frame only when you are ready to shoot. Otherwise, it stays out of the trigger guard along the side of the frame. One must guard against “slapping” the trigger, however. Once inside the trigger guard, the area on the pad of the forefinger between the center of the pad and the first knuckle should touch the trigger. Having the trigger touched by the center of the pad or down in the crevice of the first joint of the finger will cause the gun to pull to the left or right and slightly down instead of staying exactly where the sights were aligned. (Other than flinching, this is the most common cause of misses.) The trigger press should be a smooth rearward steady rolling motion. Watch the front sight and align it with the target while the trigger is being pressed. One must guard against squeezing with the entire hand. The action of your finger against the trigger should be totally independent of the movement of the rest of your hand. When the trigger reaches the point where the trigger releases the firing mechanism, the shooter will feel a sudden release of tension on the trigger. This is the trigger’s “break”. This moment should come as a surprise, especially on single action mode. You should be able to “call” your shot by remembering where the front sight was on the target, the moment the trigger breaks.

Practice your trigger control by dry firing your pistol at home. Use a target on the wall. Make sure the pistol is unloaded (check it three times after you’ve put all ammunition in another room)!! Then, practice all of these points while aiming at your “target”. Never dry fire more than 50 to 100 times in each session. Take a break and relax, then go back to dry firing. You cannot dry fire too much. Just make sure to concentrate on these fundamentals, and as soon as you feel fatigued or recognize that you can’t do each one of these fundamentals every time you dry fire, stop and take a break.

To even begin to be a good/passable shot, you MUST master, front sight/trigger press.



Within miltary training, there is a saying that in order to be effective, a unit (from the individual serviceman/woman up to the largest units) must be able to shoot, move and communicate.

Translating this saying to civilian self defense training isn’t too hard IMO.

Shooting: for civilian translation this should probably be changed to offensive skills such as striking, grappling, throwing…all the way up to and including firearms training if applicable.

Moving: footwork, health/fitness/flexibility, running, vehicle driving, horsemanship, motor bikes, cycling, roller blading, land navigation, GPS tools,… cuz hey you never know.

Communicating: to borrow from NYS English standards; the ability to read/write/listen and speak for information and understanding, literary response and analysis, evaluation, and social interaction. Simply put, can you deliver and recieve messages effectively from a variety of sources – people, media, instruction…including non verbal ques.

As a self defense oriented martial artist, I tend to consider these categories of skills more than what system of martial arts when I think about training/preparation for realistic situations. I see the standard floor training/martial arts program stuff as an important component to self defense, but I don’t think it is the ONLY venue that should be explored for self defense training.

As it is packaged today, “Martial Arts” training is a pretty narrow field of kicking/punching/grappling/non ballistic weapon styles in some combination. I would consider a defensive driving course ‘martial arts’ training because it teaches driving tactics that improve safety. I would consider firearms training – self defense type – as ‘martial arts’. I would also consider a psych course or communication class as martial arts because they can equip you with tools and skills that help read and react more effectively to people on a daily basis as well as in a crisis situation.

I have been accused of having a ‘cop’ mentallity about self defense, and I admit freely to its truth. There are tons of good things to be learned from the standard “martial arts” training as it exists today. But there is more to realistic self defense than just kicking and punching. Since my goal is self defense and not ‘martial art’ mastery, my view is a little different than others. It is purely a personal view and not something anyone else has to agree to.

I think much of this topic has to do with training and expectations. Folks like what they are doing and are proud of it. They know that what they do will work for things they have trained for – but don’t really move out of that comfort zone too far.

Let’s face it, civilians, are enthusiasts/hobbyists and not ‘professional martial artists’ for the most part. Their lives (professional development/promotion/pay increases, survival….) don’t depend on the training. Because of that, there are usually motivations other than self defense that are the prime motivators in training. Whether it is the self esteem, fitness, pride, social interaction, belonging to a special group, cultural exposure, philosophy…..what ever, the first and foremost inspiration is not always self defense.

Since my first and primary motivation is self defense (and since the most well rounded ‘martial artists’ I have known have been ‘professionals’), my training and mentallity is going to be similar to those folks.

Martial arts training that ignores or at least doesn’t research/include some kind of contextual consideration (society, technology, tactics, culture…) may be good athletic and personal training, but it is not going create a well rounded, generally capable self defense artist. It will develop students who are VERY good at one part of a larger whole.

-Paul Martin



As a noun, Honor is a basically living consistently between your thoughts, words, and deeds in a way that demonstrates respect and care for the people, society, family, yourself.  For example, in the world of martial arts, if you talk about fitness as an important component of a healthy life, while your belly button is pushing hard against your uniform, then you might be acting in a way that is less than honorable, thus your message looses credibility and so do you.  This is a very undramatic example, but I think it is the little things on a daily basis more than the ‘big’ moments where honor should be practiced because it prepares us for those rare ‘big honor’ moments.

as a verb, it is either giving or recieving recognition in some way.
The titles “Mr., Mrs., Miss, Professor, Sir, Your Honor…” are all called “Honorifics” for a reason.  Same with scholastic certifications and so on.
These are recognitions/titles/ranks that should be earned through some demonstrative work that elevates oneself, the chosen discipline, and serve the wider community since ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ as the lastest cliche goes.
Unfortunately, people who chase these ‘honors’ have demonstrated how ‘dishonorable’ some ‘honors’ are by virtue of how much ‘honor’ went into the pursuit, so the word as noun or verb is sort of like ‘fried chicken’ in a way.  It just is a term that does not automatically connote ‘quality.’  How well it is prepared, presented, and whether or not it is consistently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is in the hands of the artist.
-Paul Martin

liger belt


I recently purchased a Liger Gun Belt. Made by Liger Products Inc, the belt is made up of a high-strength resin-embedded polyester fabric and a machined aircraft aluminum buckle.  It wears quite comfortably, no biting, pinching or edges and for all appearances looks like a leather dress belt. I purchased the black/black combination and it goes quite nicely with any pair of pants I own from uniform to jeans/Kakis to dress pants. The “Ligerthane” material looks like leather but feels like plastic. It claims to be impervious to sweat, solvents and abrasion. There is no stretch to it and it is custom cut. You have to actually measure your waist through your belt loops when sizing. Do not just use your pants size. The toughest part with donning the belt is that the buckle hook is a tight fit to the belt holes. The documentation claims that after continuous use that it wears to an easy and secure fit.

The material has a “tacky” feel to it and it has to be fed trough the belt loops, I suggest that you place your holster, mag carriers, cuffs etc where you want them on the belt before cinching it. Items tend to “lock in place” and stay where you put them. The belt wont easily shift or roll under weight, which is good. I have been wearing it as my “underbelt” at work, to which I attach my duty rig. It has been doing a fine job. Recommended.