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April 26, 2012
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Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief 10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

Can the Trigger Trainer improve marksmanship?

The Trigger Trainer is a 1.25 pound hunk of Grivory plastic designed to develop smooth trigger control, subsequently improving accuracy and speed

In my position as the PoliceOne Editor in Chief, I sometimes receive an unsolicited box in the mail.  The packages which have oil dripping from them or are making an obvious ticking sound get slapped with a “Return to Sender” sticker, but those which seem like legitimate law enforcement products for testing and evaluation always get at least a quick glance. 

A couple of weeks ago, one such box was left on my desk.  It contained a product called the Trigger Trainer, from a company called Full-Scale Tactics. 

The accompanying letter from company president Derrick Jordan — a Federal law enforcement officer with more than 12 years on at a couple of ‘alphabet soup’ agencies — indicated that the product officially hit the market on March 21st so it’s pretty probable most cops out there don’t yet know about it.

Fistful of Polyphthalamide
I like getting into the elevator on the ground floor of any new product, so I immediately began using it with the intention of doing a complete product review today. The trouble is, the proof really is in the 'putting' (the rounds downrange), so I’ll need some time to gather enough before-and-after data to fully appreciate how effective the Trigger Trainer is in bettering my trigger control.  Look for a column in the coming months for that performance evaluation. 

For the time being, let me just summarize some of the product features.  As you can see from the image below and to the left, the Trigger Trainer is designed to simulate the grip and trigger of a generic pistol or pistol-grip rifle. 

Measuring 5” long, 4.5” wide, and 1.5” thick (at the handle), the Trigger Trainer is a 1.25 pound hunk of Grivory plastic — known officially as polyphthalamide, a material so dense and tough it’s being used to make non-metallic knives. 

The trigger itself moves straight back on a piston surrounded by a removable spring assembly.  That spring assembly is easily swapped out with a large size flathead screwdriver — a dime would do in a pinch. 

The basic unit comes with the green-capped, medium-weight (6-pound trigger pull) and the available accessory pouch contains a replacement green-cap spring, as well as a tan-cap spring (with 3-pound trigger pull) and red-cap spring (9-pound trigger pull). 

There’s no “break” or “sear reset,” so that the user “can concentrate solely on trigger control and not the anticipation of a click,” according to the company website. 

This could be interesting. I personally don’t subscribe to that adage stating you should be “surprised” by the break, but working with the Trigger Trainer might disabuse me of my opinion on that one (as long as I have a mind, I reserve the right to change it). 

Preparedness is Priceless
We can all agree that passing ‘quals’ is just not enough. Firearms training should go way, way beyond that level of competence. The real test is whether or not an officer is ready — mentally and physically — to WIN the gunfight (once the fight is won, that same individual has to be prepared to win emotionally, administratively, and legally as well, but those are topics for another time, another place). 

Furthermore, with the cost of ammo being what it is, conducting dry-fire exercises — as well as doing a variety of other types of practice, like unassing the vehicle and drawing your firearm — are literally invaluable.  You simply cannot put a price on preparedness. 

“That’s one of the main reasons I invented the Trigger Trainer,” Jordan said when we connected via phone yesterday.  “Being in law enforcement, knowing a lot of law enforcement officers, they get to the range four times a year when they have to qualify,” Jordan said. 

"That’s sometimes because of the cost of ammo, but usually it’s because of work schedules.  So my thought was, ‘You can’t sit there and dry-fire your gun while on duty, out on surveillance.  What other way can you do some repetitions and build some muscle memory?’  So I came up with this idea of the Trigger Trainer.” 

Example Exercise
The suggested use goes like this (copied and pasted verbatim from the website): 

Grip the Trigger Trainer with a firm One-Handed or Two-Handed grip, making sure the index finger clears the stock.
Place the middle of the first pad of the index finger or the first joint of the index finger on the trigger.
Moving ONLY the index finger, exert smooth, uninterrupted and even pressure on the trigger, pulling straight to the rear. Pause and then allow the trigger to return to its full forward position and repeat the process.
Pressure applied on the trigger must come from independent movement of the index finger only! Pressure on the grip should remain constant; do not move or tighten the gripping fingers or thumb!
Perform four sets of 20 Reps

Looks Like a Squirt Gun
“Someone told me, ‘Hey, that looks like a water gun — it looks toy-ish’,” Jordan said during our brief chat.  “The reason it was designed that way is that I wanted it to be ‘non-threatening.’"

Jordan didn’t want it to have a barrel or other elements that would make it look like an actual gun because he wanted it to be used anywhere.  “It’s designed to not look too toy-ish, but not to look threatening either.” 

I joked with him that I briefly entertained the notion of putting it in my checked baggage for my weeklong trip to ILEETA — I received the product just days before departure to Chicagoland — but decided I didn’t want to deal with the TSA headache that might have ensued. 

At present, the Trigger Trainer is sold exclusively online at TheTriggerTrainer.com, but Jordan says it will be carried by sporting stores sometime in the future.  The price for an individual Trigger Trainer is $55 — bulk sales to agencies and academies can be worked out with Jordan and his team at Full-Scale Tactics. 

One last thing.  Jordan advises me PoliceOne Members can get $10 off the purchase price by entering coupon code ‘10Off’ on the company’s shopping page. 

Can the Trigger Trainer Improve Marksmanship?
I don’t yet know. I do know I’ll test it out. And I’ll let you know how it goes. If you do decide to try it out for yourself, I would be very interested in hearing your own thoughts on the product, potentially for inclusion in that column I’ll write once I’ve done my own evaluation.  

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 800 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

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