A trigger pull gauge is one of those accessories that is not used often, but is often used to great effect. After all, one of the best upgrades for accuracy is often the trigger. The pull on some triggers feels harder or softer than than they really are. Adjustable triggers may be tuned to be optimized for a specific use, but it takes more than guess work. I have also know savvy consumers who shopped for used firearms with a trigger gauge. It can tell you as much about a gun as a bore light.
All shooters need a cleaning kit as a minimum. From there, depending on your level of interest, type of shooting, and aptitude for tinkering, you’ll want to add a few tools. For example, if you are shooting with an optic, you’ll want a set of Allen and/or Star wrenches as required. A cleaning mat and gun vise are never bad ideas. For those willing to go the extra mile, I would also recommend a trigger pull gauge.
Trigger pull gauges are useful to the casual or precision shooter, hunter, and competition marksman. A trigger pull gauge gives the home gunsmith or professional the ability to adjust or tune the trigger for a perfect shot. Hobbyists would be well advised to check their firearm occasionally, especially after a through cleaning that goes beyond a simple fieldstrip to ensure proper function. As such, the more accurate the gauge, the better the data. Fortunately, digital trigger scales have made significant advancements over the past few years. They are definitely a game-changer.
Competition triggers may feature a trigger pull measuring scant ounces. Therefore, to be effective, the trigger gauge needs to be sensitive enough to measure a minimum of two ounces. On the high end, triggers may be set for an intentional double-action pull of 10 pounds or more. While this is still important to measure, the top end is less critical to most.
A four-ounce benchrest trigger that measures six ounces would be a serious issue, whereas an eight-pound trigger that measures two ounces over, or under, would be less of a concern. After surveying the field of contenders and comparing capabilities, I settled on Lyman’s Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. Although it is not the cheapest trigger gauge on the market, it is perhaps the most accurate.
Lyman’s Digital Trigger Pull Gauge features state-of-the-art strain gauge technology that allows for accuracy of 1/10 ounce/2 grams. The gauge will read to a maximum 12 pounds/5.4kg, covering the majority of firearms on the market. It also features a large, easy-to-read LCD display—a nice feature for aging eyes.
To operate Lyman’s trigger gauge, start with a triple-checked, unloaded firearm. Next, press the ready button, hook the roller around the trigger of your firearm, and gently pull the gauge straight back until the trigger releases. The gauge will display and hold the exact trigger pull weight. For a new reading, press the ready button and repeat. The trigger gauge stores each measurement. Pressing the AVG button will display the average of up to the last 10 readings.
Other notable features include easily switching from ounces to grams with the push of a button, a fully adjustable rod that works on any firearm, and two AAA batteries.
- Precision measurements accurate to .1 ounce.
- Best accuracy versus cost
- East to read scale, vast improvement over the small print with a slider common to less expensive models
- Requires batteries
- Moderately priced
Measuring Range: 1oz – 12lbs / 2.8g – 5.4kg
0 – 5lbs: ± .1oz
5 – 12lbs: ± .5oz
0 – 2.2kg: ± 2g
2.2 – 5.4kg: ± 10g
To test Lyman’s Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge, I retrieved a Arex Rex Zero 1S pistol. After triple checking to ensure it was unloaded, I followed the procedure previously mentioned. In single action (hammer back) I measured the trigger pull 10 times. I then pressed the average button. The display read 3 lb. 3.4 oz. That is very good for a factory grade trigger! The Rex Zero 1S has a heavy double action trigger. That is why I selected it for this test.
Do you own a trigger pull gauge that you have had good luck with? Which one? What is your favorite aftermarket trigger? Share your answers in the comment section.
Growing up in Pennsylvanias game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Daves writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersens Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersens Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
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