The use of guns is, of course, a standard of certain genres, and [[GunsAndGunplayTropes many a trope has been dedicated to analyzing their use]] and the various StockPhrases that they bring.

In this case, you have two characters: one is an experienced marksman, and one is inexperienced. At some point in the story, the need for the inexperienced individual to use a gun comes along. Sometimes the training takes place on a simplified ShootingGallery, perhaps during a [[HardWorkMontage montage]] of some type. It may also work as a moment for the relationship between the two characters to be showcased: sometimes as parent and offspring, sometimes as mentor and student.

During this scene, the inexperienced shooter is having difficulty hitting his or her targets. At this point, the experienced marksman approaches, and gives one piece of advice:

"Don't pull the trigger. ''Squeeze'' the trigger."

Sometimes this particular [[StockPhrases stock phrase]] is followed up by further advice, the most common being a breathing method (such as "take a deep breath"). Often, this advice is shown as the only thing the novice needed, as he or she [[InstantExpert now hits the targets with relative ease.]]

Real expertise in this field, of course, can take years of training and practice. Plus, it may not be clear to an amateur gun user what, specifically, the distinction between "pulling" and "squeezing" a trigger may be. These are issues that are generally not addressed when these scenes take place, but this is somewhat justified in that a [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail lengthy scene featuring detailed instructions on how to fire a gun might be boring.]] This is, of course, TruthInTelevision: many first-time shooters yank on the trigger and thus pull their gun way off.

It is rather difficult to become a proper "marksman" or even just an good shot. Guns and ammunition are fairly expensive (In the United States, even the cheap stuff gives you overhead easily into the hundreds of dollars before you even fire your first shot, and are even more expensive and highly regulated much of the world), range time in most places is bought by the hour and is not exactly cheap, instruction is even more expensive and eats up both lots of fairly expensive ammo and significant amount of the student's time (often much of a day, if not two or even more), and then there is the matter of getting to visit facilities which are more than short static ranges or simple trap clubs. And then there comes the commitments of time and money involved. To be frank, it takes a lot of time and even more money to become a solid shooter. And then there's the matter of marksmanship being one of the most perishable and temperamental skills in the world. To maintain high grade marksmanship, practice has to be not only frequent but also of sufficient volume. Just sending a box or two of ammo down a static indoor range every week isn't going to cut it. Nor is saving up all year for a weekend class by a top tier instructor at some elite school going to make up for the 363 other days that year you didn't so much as dry fire your gun while waiting for your breakfast to toast. But don't worry, even most cops and soldiers don't get all that much practice either, thanks to live fire training budgets being notoriously tight things as well as not particularly popular with health and safety conscious forces.

Pretty much, unless you are living a lifestyle in a place where developing guncraft is a central pursuit, you'll likely never become a marksman.

Luckily, it's not too difficult or demanding to become an okay shot and then protect your skills by doing dryfire and airsoft / pellet gun/ airgun practice in your home frequently while making somewhat regular trips to the shooting range with occasional competitions and instruction. And luckily, you don't need to have anything approaching ImprobableAimingSkills, since most shots, apart from sniper shots or long range competition events, fall within 400M, with the vast majority taking place well within 200M. If you can consistently shoot within a human torso at 100M/Yds, you're fine.

A subtrope of InstantExpert.



[[folder: Comics ]]

* Horrifically averted in ''ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye''. Swerve is told that he must take down a crazed [[spoiler: Fortress Maximus]] with the large riveter gun he has. Swerve freaks out and explains that he's not trained in weapon combat and is a horrible shot. Rodimus tells him to do it anyway (apparently being a firm believer in this trope). [[spoiler: Swerve [[RealityEnsues misses his target]] and ends up shooting Fort Max's hostage instead. He survives, but is in a coma for the next few issues.]]


[[folder: Film -- Animated ]]

* In ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'', John Smith gives the inexperienced Thomas advice on how to handle his gun, including a gentle reminder to "keep both eyes open". This becomes an IronicEcho when [[spoiler: Thomas shoots Kocoum]].


[[folder: Film -- Live Action ]]

* In ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'', Tallahassee gives this bit of advice to Little Rock, something that comes in handy later when she and Wichita are under attack by a horde of zombies.
** Little Rock, a 12 year old, had brandished firearms before this, but had not fired except into the air while brandishing. She was unable to hit a large vase with a long arm at twenty yards, a feat which would be considered laughably easy by most youth shooting programs. As soon as she hears Tallahassee's advice, she hits the target, playing this trope straight.
** Also, Tallahassee's advice is more focused on having her relax, calm down, and take her time while aiming down the sights. And she never displays any amazing feats of marksmanship, so this makes for a comparatively realistic example.
* ''Film/BangkokDangerous'', or, at least, the [[CulturalTranslation American version]] of the movie, has a scene in which Joe (Creator/NicolasCage) gives this advice to his student Kang.
* TheMovie version of ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' shows Quartermain giving this advice to Tom Sawyer.
** Quartermain has ImprobableAimingSkills in this film (he can fire an ordinary rifle at a great distance without aiming for the center of mass), which he passes to Sawyer after one session (in which the latter ''fails'' to hit the target).
* In ''Film/HarleyDavidsonAndTheMarlboroMan,'' the Marlboro Man says "Squeeze the trigger, Harley. Don't yank it, it's not your dick. ''Squeeze'' it." In this case, however, there's no training taking place; the Marlboro Man is making a [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] comment on Harley's piss-poor shooting skills.
** Later, when the two eponymous heroes are facing the BigBad and his legion of bulletproof henchmen, Marlboro Man says it again as sort of crash course training: "Don't yank. Don't pull. Squeeze." The trope is partially averted in this case, though, because no matter how many times he hears this advice, Harley Davidson's gun skills never get better.
* ''Film/CowboysAndAliens'' had a similar line from Meacham when he teaches the shopkeeper how to shoot.
--> ''"Don't yank it, now, it ain't your pecker."''
* From Creator/WoodyAllen's ''Film/LoveAndDeath'':
-->'''Sonya:''' I'm not leaving here until we shoot Napoleon. Here. ''(Hands Boris a pistol)''\\
'''Boris:''' Oh, I see. Thanks. I'm the hit man.\\
'''Sonya:''' Remember, you can't take any chances. Now, make sure the barrel of the gun is pressed against his head or his chest. And don't pull the trigger, Boris. Squeeze it.\\
'''Boris:''' Where did you go to finishing school? On a pirate ship?
* Leon gives this advice to Mathilda in ''Film/TheProfessional'', allowing her to hit her target on the first try, with a paintball rifle from a rather long distance too.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* Used in the ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "L.D.S.K.", wherein resident geekboy Reid is trying to pass his firearms qualification test, and resident sharpshooter Hotch is giving him lessons, telling him "front sight, trigger press, follow through". Hotch also mentions the "squeeze, don't pull" advice. Reid fails his test twice, even with Hotch's help, but proves his competence in the climax of the episode, where he gets a perfect [[BoomHeadshot headshot]] to the [=UnSub=] via Hotch's distraction gambit and his spare gun. He went on to joke that [[DeadpanSnarker he was actually aiming for the leg]] (or at least, we think it was a joke).
* In the ''Series/MastersOfHorror'' episode "The Screwfly Solution", this advice is given from mother to daughter, with the usual effect.
* Played with in an episode of ''Series/UltimateForce'' when Henno gives a pistol to an ambassador he is protecting with the titular instructions. However, he then reveals he was actually suggesting a suicide method.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'', Charlie, in order to understand how a criminal sniper operates in the field, tries to learn what shooting a gun feels like because his usual [[AwesomenessByAnalysis math-heavy approach]] was failing to give him the whole picture. After struggling with a rifle in the shooting range, Don gives Charlie a few pointers; relax his hands, fire the shot in-between breaths, etc. It works; [[DownplayedTrope Charlie's next shot is a lot closer to the bullseye, and his prediction on where the suspect will set up his sniper nest is off by only one window.]]
* Jack teaches Gwen how to fire a gun in the second episode of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}''. She becomes an expert after that one session. Oh, and Gwen is a cop who has never handled a firearm. Justified, as she was only a PC (constable), who are not issued guns.
** Possibly justified in that we're never really sure how long the session goes on for (possibly hours), and some people ''do'' have a natural gift.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Stephen Sondheim's ''Theatre/{{Assassins}}'' sets this to music in "The Gun Song", which, apart from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin doing exactly what it says on the tin]], contains the line:
-->''And all you have to do is squeeze your little finger''\\
''Ease your little finger back''\\
* ClickHello*\\
''You can change the world . . .''


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Inverted in the video game ''VideoGame/UnchartedDrakesFortune'', right in the beginning when Drake hands Elena [[IntrepidReporter (a journalist)]] a pistol. His advice is "Just point...and shoot," which is something one would only expect to hear from somebody who's never, ever held a gun in their life.
* Averted in the first ''[[VideoGame/SilentHill1 Silent Hill]]'' game. Harry, who's never handled a gun before, is given one by policewoman Cybil Bennett. Her instructions are pretty terrible and do not include this advice. She even says, "Before you pull the trigger..." which of course is the wrong way to manipulate a trigger. Calling Harry a mediocre shot is being charitable. The scene can be seen [[ here]], where Cybil dives pretty deep into ArtisticLicenseGunSafety.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Somewhat averted in ''DeadWinter''. After Liz [[AccidentalAimingSkills headshots the wrong zombie]], Alice [[ gives her]] the usual "squeeze the trigger" advice. She fires again...and hits a vending machine.
-->'''Liz:''' It seems that hat grants him some sort of magic shield...


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Marge is shown how to shoot by former neighbor Ruth Powers in ''Marge on the Lam.'' Ruth tells Marge to squeeze the trigger, although she does not mention the part about not pulling the trigger. Marge does show immediate skill as a marksman.
--> My cans! My precious antique cans! Aw, look what ya done to 'em...