August 19, 2010
Hurteau: Do You Pull or Do You Squeeze?
By Dave Hurteau
Last year for the July 2009 issue, I edited Dave Petzal’s “No B.S. Accuracy” field manual (not that Dave needs much in the way of editing). He wrote: “It’s common advice that you should squeeze the trigger so that you’re surprised when the rifle goes off. This assumes you can hold the rifle perfectly still. I can’t do that in the field. I wobble and weave—not much, but enough. Instead, I pick the precise instant when the crosshairs are where they should be and then pull that trigger smartly.”
Dave actually gave me this advice almost 15 years ago, and since then I’ve done just as he describes. In the field, hunting deer, I pull the trigger. I don’t squeeze it. I try to pull it straight back with minimal extraneous movement—but it is not a surprise when the gun goes off.
Now, I am interested in whether you pull or squeeze a rifle trigger in the field, and you’re welcome to comment on that below. But what I’m really getting at is: What about the trigger on a mechanical release for archery? You can’t hold a bow perfectly still either. Yet the common advice among top shooters is to simply not worry about that. Instead, you should allow the pin to float over the target and then slowly squeeze the trigger. My question is: Do you do that? Or do you punch that trigger when the sight picture looks good?