Ed McGivern Training Sequence
by John Tate

I’ve used McGivern’s training scheme for several years. See below for details.

What really brought home the value of these techniques was the report from a friend of mine, a firearms instructor with NY State Police. The agency was transitioning from Glock 9mm to Glock .45s. There was one 30-year officer who just couldn’t get used to the increased recoil. He kept flinching. If he couldn’t qualify, he was going to be terminated.

My friend (then a SGT, later a MAJ), wrote me and asked for help. Oh sure, I gave all the conditioning drills I knew, but I also included the McGivern drills … of which I’d just learned.

Several weeks later, I got an e-mail stating that the officer had finally qual’ed. I will cherish the last line of that message as long as I live. My friend said, “You helped save the career of a 30-year officer.” The McGivern drills were new to my friend too. He said they were what made the difference.


* Ed McGivern’s trigger exercises will strengthen physical awareness and mental discipline to allow mental focus on marriage of sight picture and trigger movement as opposed to discharge. (Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting; ISBN 0-8329-0557-7. See pages 120 – 122, to a lesser degree pp 174-175) The McGivern trigger drills are dry firing drills performed in stages:

1st. Single action, Two Handed. Go through all dry fire sequences. Focus on having hammer fall without any sight movement. First, very slowly. Then, with time and mastery of keeping solid sight alignment, faster and faster. Faster and faster until satisfied that you’re snapping as fast as you can with no sight movement. One very important element: move the trigger finger back and forth at the SAME speed; slow back => slow forward; fast back => fast forward. The idea, of course, is to make the trigger finger move independently of the other 4 fingers and the hand itself.

2nd. Single action, Strong Hand Only. As above.

3rd. Single action, Weak Hand Only. As above.

4th. Double Action, Two Handed. As above.

5th. Double Action, Strong Hand Only. As above.

6th. Double Action, Weak Hand Only. As above.

Now – think about it – why does the weak hand train the strong hand? It doesn’t. It trains the brain! That is what we’re trying to train … the brain!