Back when I took Hapkido on a regular basis, we were taught very carefully to not only keep our fingers spread as much as possible (unlike Taekwondo, and despite being generally taught in the same schools, Hapkido is a very much open-handed style), but also to grip with only our middle, ring, and pinkie fingers, leaving our index finger available to "point" in the direction we wanted the grip to go.
On the one hand, metaphorically speaking, that is a very valuable training method, in that it really does provide you that convenient reminder of how you should be bending things in order to gain compliance. On the other hand (and I cannot say as though I put very much stock in this, not being a tremendous adherent to the necessary belief system), the "live hand" technique supposedly enhanced the flow of Ki into your arms and hands, allowing you to apply more power faster.
On the gripping hand, we were also taught that pointing your index finger while gripping someone’s wrist or whatnot actually resulted in a somewhat stronger grip, due to some peculiarity in the human brain that causes the other fingers in our hands to substantially relax whenever the index finger is involved in an actual grab. For the life of me, I cannot find a scientific explanation for that purported bug, or even an actual investigation of it, but here is a potential anatomical explanation for the phenomena, apparently the ulna side of your hand – the ring and pinkie fingers – is the driving force for a good grip, and your index and little fingers lose more grip strength when working with other fingers than your middle and ring fingers. All I can honestly state is that I believe I have a stronger grip pointing my index finger than not.
To momentarily change (but hopefully not strip) gears for a moment, Dennis of Dragon Leatherworks gave me a call over the weekend and invited me out to shoot some of his new handguns at Coal Creek Amory. I, of course, accepted, and thereupon got to meet the single biggest pile of suck and fail roughly shaped like a handgun I have ever had the misfortune of encountering: the Taurus PT740 Slim. Go ahead and follow that link – Dennis has some pertinent things to say.
All done? Shiny. I would like to specifically address points 2 and 3 – specifically, the stupid-long trigger take-up on the PT740 (and, reportedly, the PT709 too). I cannot seem to find an exact measurement of the trigger’s take-up before it actually bothers to engage something mechanical inside the firearm, but let me put it to you this way: when Dennis handed me the gun, I loaded it up, let the slide go home, took up my shooting posture, and pulled the trigger… And then set the gun down, ejected the mag, and racked the slide again to ensure that the trigger actually bothered resetting. It turns out that it had, and I just had not pulled the trigger far enough, but I had already pulled it so far that I was sure something had gone wrong.
This does not give me a warm fuzzy.
Giving it another shot, so to speak, I finally got the trigger to engage… at what must have been the very back of the trigger guard, right before the trigger ran out of space to go anywhere. Of course, at that point, given that this is a single-stack .40 caliber / 9mm, I damned near had to have the trigger planted in the second joint of my index finger, simply because I had to pull the lever that far back (due to middlingly-large hands (I used to be able to span an octave-and-a-half on a piano once upon a time), using the pad was simply not an option).
And this is all without even discussing that the trigger has now taught me what the whole "dragging a grand piano over a gravel driveway" meme actually means…
But then we get to "when the gun goes off", and, well, out of all the firearms I have ever shot, if someone were to hand me one of these and a box full of ammo with the instructions to "have fun", I would politely decline and hand it back. With my index finger pulled that far back, the circle of that finger and my thumb pretty much turned into a hinge for some crazy little handgun to go dancing around in, simply because I was focusing so much on trying to get my index finger comfortably that far back that I was not really paying attention to what the other fingers were doing. If my old Hapkido instructor is to be believed, my index finger was overriding the rest of my hand by squeezing that far, and the repercussions were a recoil that easily surpassed "mildly uncomfortable" – the gun was controllable enough for practice, spaced out fire, but damned if I could see myself doing rapid-fire or double-taps and actually keeping any but the first round on the paper.
Sure, a lot of this is probably due to my deficiencies as a handgun shooter. Sure, training could probably correct some of this. Sure, practicing with that particular handgun long enough would get me comfortable with its operations… maybe. Or you could spend a little more money (not much) and snag yourself a .40 caliber Walther PPS and have a handgun that posses a trigger with almost no takeup and only a little grit. I cannot speak to the recoil differences, since I only have a 9mm PPS myself, but it hardly could be worse.
Taurus may make good guns – I do not know, since I have not shot any of them – but this was not one of them. Based on nothing more than the trigger, I would avoid the PT740 like the proverbial plague, and that is without even mentioning the superfluous safety that is not easily disengaged, unnecessary integral locking mechanism, or any of its other "features". If you really want a "slim" .40 caliber pistol, there are unquestionably better options.