If I say the word “squeeze,” what do you start to think about? Maybe you imagine giving your child a quick hug before he runs off to class. You might think about getting all of the toothpaste out of the near-empty tube. Or perhaps you envision tightly shaking someone’s hand in a warm greeting. That’s the funny thing about words. And the word squeeze, especially, will likely conjure up a variety of images and thoughts.

While squeeze’s definition, “to exert pressure,” makes sense when we talk about manipulating the trigger on a firearm, a good friend and mentor of mine brought up some interesting points about why this word is not the best option. George Harris, co-founder of SIG Sauer Academy and owner of International Firearms Consultants, LLC, pointed out that the word squeeze may actually create some problems in firearms training. Why? The word squeeze causes many people to think about using all of their fingers in the motion of the trigger press. And if we use all of our fingers when we are shooting, we are much more likely to miss our target since that extra motion and pressure will cause the firearm to move and, therefore, cause the shot to move off target.

When it comes to trigger manipulation, we want to create a solid and firm base with our hands and fingers on the grip of the gun and then only move our trigger finger when we shoot. So we want to isolate that trigger finger, or, in other words, we want to focus on not interrupting our shot with any other motions.

Of course, we all know that the firearm will move when the trigger is pressed. But we want to be sure we do not create any additional movement of the gun by squeezing our fingers. That’s why a good trigger press is a smooth, steady motion. In fact, championship shooter Julie Golob compares this motion to dragging your finger through some creamy peanut butter. Imagine that!

So instead of squeezing the trigger, from this point on, try thinking about pressing or manipulating the trigger. Focus on that smooth movement next time you dry fire or next time you go to the range…and see if isolating your trigger finger helps you get on target!