TYR Tactical

Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

The king daddy of all marksmanship fundamentals is Trigger Control. I do not consider this debatable. Partially due to the fact that I cannot see my front sight anymore. It’s there and visible on target but all a blur. I’m still quite capable of knocking the X ring out at 25 though.

My teaching of trigger control differs from many other of my fellow credible instructors who I respect.

When I transitioned from 1911 to Glock 19 (For administrative reasons) about a decade ago, I would push my group to my non-firing side. Frustrated, I called a friend at the AMU and asked his advice. He told me that he puts so much finger on the trigger that when complete with his trigger squeeze, he can drop his magazine with his trigger finger. This became my magic elixir. Since sinking my finger, I’ve straightened out my group. I teach this as well with some push back mind you.

In my opinion, splitting the distal phalange, or finger tip, is an anachronism. When using this method, the trigger finger is essentially a fulcrum where sinking the finger becomes a vice. The vice pulls evenly while the fulcrum speeds up at the end of the squeeze. I’m not suggesting that I am right and that this is law. I will add though, that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)

Patrick McNamara spent twenty-two years in the United States Army in a myriad of special operations units. When he worked in the premier Special Missions Unit, he became an impeccable marksman, shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness. McNamara has trained tactical applications of shooting to people of all levels of marksmanship, from varsity level soldiers, and police officers who work the streets to civilians with little to no time behind the trigger.

His military experience quickly taught him that there is more to tactical marksmanship than merely squeezing the trigger. Utilizing his years of experience, McNamara developed a training methodology that is safe, effective and combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability, as well as provides courses covering several categories, including individual, collective, on line and standards.

While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.

He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting).


Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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10 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

  1. Bill says:

    This method worked for me. I primarily shoot my G19 and have terrible eyesight, courtesy of a Taliban IED. I can still shoot fine, but my groups would all drill an inch or two left of where I was aiming. I messed a lot of my trigger finger placement until it worked. Now I have a name to put to it, “vice like”.

  2. Jbgleason says:

    Ahhhh. I remember fondly the days when that front sight was crisp. These new ones are all fuzzy. I wish they made ’em like they used to.

  3. jrexilius says:

    I wonder if these various techniques are actually universal. I can’t imagine the grip my wife would have to have to finger the trigger that way with my USP 45? I’ve always thought that the grip and finger positioning was dependent on the shooters hand and gun?

    • Timmay says:

      Nothing is universal-except UCP-I think he is assuming the gun fits your hand to begin with. I can’t use a USP 45 comfortably, reset was not 100%. It was just too much gun. The G-19 is probably small enough for 90% of people to get comfortable with and if the gun fits your hand you have a little room to work your finger position.

  4. Ken Forbus says:

    I shoot my Glocks and SIG’s with a lot of finger inside the trigger. The reason I started doing that was just what Pat was talking about as well as we shot revolvers a lot and it worked across the board.

  5. Jeremy P says:

    All shootings techniques are baselines. You have to fine tune your own technique to match your body from there.

    You line up a bunch of top level operators and competition shooters, and I’ll bet you they are all using some form of modified isoceles, but no two have their arms, fingers, and heads in exactly the same place.

    Use what works for you.

  6. Ashley Letten says:

    Do yo have video on this? Also I would to hear your recommendation on a good carry weapon?

    • Haji says:

      In case Mac doesn’t check in here, he’s got a bunch of stuff on YouTube that is very helpful…especially compared to most of what’s on YouTube. Search for “Pat MacNamara” and “TMACS”.

  7. Brian says:

    Outstanding trainer. One of the best rifle pistol classes I have ever attended.