Gear, Parts and Accessories

Tackling Trigger Jobs — Top Tips for Triggers

Timney Triggers Adjustable Mosin Nagant Drop in Trigger 1.5 to 4 pounds 307

Trigger pull, trigger jobs, trigger reset—the trigger has as much (or more) to do with accuracy on a handgun as the sights. However, there is a lot of bad information on how and when you should look into having a trigger job done on your favorite pea shooter, and the best trigger pull weight for your purposes.

This article will take a look at triggers and answer common questions as well as many of the questions you may not have thought to ask.

Black Wilson Combat Trigger on white background
The Wilson Combat trigger drops in and gives good service and a crisp action.

Last week, The Shooter’s Log ran an opinion story advocating for the 9mm over other calibers in handguns. The debate and comments were spirited to say the least. However, the most common theme among the comments was the importance of shot placement (accuracy). That got me to thinking about the importance of the right trigger and how it affects accuracy. Here are a few notes for your consideration.

The Right Trigger Pull

There is no definitive, or right, trigger pull. Competition shooters most often opt for a trigger as light as two pounds. The average concealed carry gun will likely feature something around a 5.5-pound trigger. However, law enforcement officers in New York City are required to carry handguns with a 12-pound trigger, while Deputy Sheriffs in Los Angeles carry sidearms with 5.5-pound triggers. With a spread such as this, it is hard to determine where to start or whether a trigger job is even worthy of consideration.

To get the answer, I reached out to a well-respected gunsmith, Jim Jones of J&L Gunsmithing. Jones is an accomplished competitor, law enforcement trainer, and builds or tunes up many firearms for law enforcement and members of elite members of our military’s Special Forces.

Jim Jones
J&L Gunsmithing LLC

Here are a few lessons from our discussion regarding trigger jobs.

The first reason to get a trigger job for many shooters does not have anything to do with pull weight. Many shooters are happy with the trigger weight, but want the trigger pull to be smoothed out to make it more consistent. It is not uncommon for a handgun—out of the box—to feel gritty. As the trigger is depressed, it feels like it needs a good cleaning to get the sand out. In other words, the trigger feels like it is sticking in places. A good trigger job will smooth out the action. Then, when the trigger breaks, it will be as crisp as the snap when glass breaks.

Trigger Face Finger Contact Point
For the best triggering mechanics, this should be the approximate point of contact with the trigger face. It’s not always easy to attain on a stock trigger, but you can take steps to get as close as possible. Of great importance is that no other portion of the finger make contact with the trigger. If it does, there will be unintentional movement (torque) during firing.

Individuals concerned about the performance of their concealed carry guns often fall into this category. They are carrying a firearm they may be forced to use to defend their life or that of a loved one, but are concerned about the performance of a light trigger under a stress situation. A trigger job that does not lighten the trigger weight, but offers a smooth pull through the entire range will enhance performance without the concern of being too light.

Advantages of a Light Trigger

Speaking of a smooth trigger, let’s back up and discuss why a light and/or smooth trigger is advantageous. Let’s say your handgun weighs 40 ounces (2.5 pounds). Perhaps your handgun has a heavy, double-action trigger of 12 pounds. That means you have to apply 12 pounds of pressure while trying to steady a 2.5-pound gun. A lighter trigger brings this ratio down, making it easier to remain on target.

Trigger Creep

Trigger creep is commonly referred to as the distance the trigger has to travel before it breaks and the shot fires. Like a heavy trigger pull, it is considered an accuracy killer. Ideally, your finger should just touch the trigger and as pressure is applied, you’ll feel the instant resistance of the trigger. When it breaks, it should feel like an icicle or candy cane snapping within the first 1/16-inch. Inside the gun, the sear will drop, the hammer will drop and the gun will fire. At that point, if everything is lined up, you’ll hit your target. However, the longer you have to pull the trigger, the more time the sight has to get out of alignment, and the greater opportunity you’ll have to torque the grip ruin accuracy.

two targets showing different group sizes
Before and after a quality trigger job performed by a gunsmith. Smoothing out the trigger action and, sometimes, lessening the trigger pull weight can improve accuracy because the shooter will no longer torque the gun, resulting in misaligned sights, with a trigger that is rough or too heavy.

Next, you have trigger reset to consider. The longer the trigger has to travel to fire the gun, the longer the trigger has to travel back toward the muzzle before you can make a follow-up shot. This decreases your speed performance as a competition shooter—the faster shooters are doing double taps in 12/100-second. Likewise, it could also mean sacrificing critical fractions of a second in a self-defense situation. Remember, the longer the trigger travels forward to reset, the longer it has to travels back to fire again.

Trigger Pull for Neophytes

So, it all boils down to the shooter, and why you are shooting in the first place. That answer is simple—accuracy! If you are a competition shooter, your goal is accuracy. If forced to use your firearm in a self-defense situation, your goal is accuracy. If you are shooting Tin Can Alley in the backyard, your goal is still accuracy. And, quite simply, you are more likely to be more accurate with a lighter trigger. That is a true fact whether you are a new shooter or a seasoned veteran.

I have a Dremel tool. Can I do my own trigger job?

Yes and no, but certainly not with a Dremel tool. The difficulty of performing a trigger job varies by the firearm. The parts can be expensive and must be cut at appropriate angles. This is typically done on CNC machines.

One basic drill that helps you focus on trigger control and sight alignment is the penny drill.
One basic drill that helps you focus on trigger control and sight alignment is the penny drill.

However, nowadays there are trigger kits you can buy for many guns. In these kits, the parts have already been cut. You will not be doing a true trigger job. Instead, you will be swapping parts to accomplish the desired results. For instance, using Glocks for example, you can buy a connector that the trigger butt cams on. You can replace the connector and it will noticeably improve your trigger but…

Hmmm. Replacing your own parts may seem like a good idea, if you are mechanically inclined and you get the right information on how to do it. The advantage of going through a gunsmith goes beyond a simple part swap though. During a trigger job, the gunsmith will change the shape or geometry of certain parts. After that, the part is polished as well as many other parts of the internals. Last, the gunsmith tests the handgun. If something goes catastrophically wrong, or a part was cut wrong during the trigger job, it is the gunsmith who suffers a financial loss, not you.

The Dangers of an Improper Trigger Job

A poor trigger job may result in a handgun that goes full auto when fired. As soon as the slide is dropped to chamber a live round, you could also experience a slam fire (the force of the slide being released cause the gun to fire although the trigger was not depressed). Is a few extra dollars for a professional who has likely performed hundreds of trigger jobs really worth the risk of wanting to say you did it yourself?

Two firearm triggers in side by side comparrison
DIY trigger jobs are possible, but potentially complicated. You could get info from the Internet, but how reliable is it?

If the trigger job is not done right, you may not see any performance improvement, or you may actually lose performance. You could damage or destroy critical parts that may be expensive. You’ll have to buy new ones in that case and may not save any money, or you may end up paying more.

Facts and Myths

I am worried about getting sued if I am ever forced to defend myself and it is discovered that my handgun has had a trigger job.

Well, we know a lighter trigger often means better accuracy. If there is one shot that has to be on target, a self–defense scenario trumps plinking or competition any day! Why would you want to practice with a 3.5-pound trigger, then turn around a strap a 10-pound trigger to your waist for self-defense? Would a racecar driver do practice laps in a car that went 200 mph and then on race day jump in a model that only went 150? Or switch it around, would you only practice doing laps at 150 mph then try to hold the car on the track through a corner inches from the wall with 25 percent more power? You need to practice the way you’ll actually have to perform in a critical situation.

Would you be held accountable during an investigation because your handgun had a trigger job?

That is highly subjective. All other things being justified, no one questions a seven-pound trigger versus a 10. So, why would they question a seven-pound trigger versus a four. Now, that is when everything goes right and is justified. In a self-defense situation you are going to be under a lot of stress. Snap off an errant shot, or have an accidental discharge, and it could be held against you. You won’t have the protection of the manufacturer’s liability for its engineering. This is one decision that you cannot be advised on. You are a responsible gun owner; make an informed decision because it will be your safety or freedom that is on the line.

I am a new shooter. I will get a trigger job when I get better.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article. Accuracy improves with a smoother, lighter trigger. Would you learn to race a bicycle that has warped wheels? Quality counts. Your shooting skills will improve faster with a smooth, crisp, light trigger. The process works something like this. Your brain takes a snap shot every time the gun fires. You see the hit or miss and the brain learns based on its action and feedback. Your brain learns good or bad habits based on the muscle memory and feedback of what works and what does not. The sooner your brain starts getting positive feedback from a certain action, the quicker you’ll improve.

Arrested person and gavel
Sorry, no legal advice here. Do your homework and make an informed decision. Texas Law Shield is a great resource.

What can we learn from law enforcement?

As earlier mentioned, New York City police reportedly have 12-pound triggers in their Glocks. They also have an average 15 percent hit ratio. Contrast that with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs using single action five-pound triggers with a 51 percent hit ratio. According to the FBI, anything heavier than the 5.5-pound triggers their handguns are equipped with results in poor performance in shooting under successful conditions.

Parting Shot

As long as the trigger is safe and installed by a professional, it is no more dangerous for self-defense, on the target range punching paper or while having fun in Tin Can Alley—regardless the trigger weight. To use another analogy, it does not matter whether you are driving a 20-year old mini van or a sports car with 600-horse power when sitting at a red light. However, you take responsibility for the vehicle when your foot touches the gas pedal. Practice sound gun safety and trigger discipline at all times.

  1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
  3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “safety.”
  4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
  5. Use correct ammunition.
  6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care!
  7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
  8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
  9. Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly by a professional.
  10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

What is your experience with trigger jobs or replacement triggers? Have a favorite replacement trigger brand or trigger weight? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (42)

  1. You should lead the legal advice out of it. It’s just wishful thinking that people don’t need to hear that is more likely to get them into surprising trouble if they ever get sued or investigated. And it depends on their jurisdiction and circumstances.

  2. As long as we’re on the subject of triggers and how they can help with a quicker fallow up shot; on Oct. 10 the House of Representatives introduced to committee HB 3999 (read it for yourself). In short it says anything that increases rate of fire but does not make a machine gun will be illegal. A good light weight trigger very well may fall under this. If you like any aftermarket trigger call and email your representatives to put a stop to this, the bill is vague on purpose and needs to be stopped. The second amendment says nothing about sporting purposes only “security of a free state” meaning defense.

  3. Pretty new to pistols/SD. Purchased a P30SK for a couple of dfferent reasons. The “trigger reach” has bothered me (heavy DA/light SA) — picked up a couple of Kahrs to help with that — but finally, after reading the recommendation on where the tip of the shooting finger should make contact, I think I just need to learn proper to shoot .

    Thanks for the artcle.

  4. Dave,

    Good article. I had Jim Jones, a referral from Hennings, mill off the front signt on an EAA Witness Compact 10mm and install Tru Glo TFX sights. Very satisfied with the job. Left the original finish undamaged.
    I did, myself, a Precision Overwatch DAT (Defensive Applications Trigger) on my Glock 29 (yes, I like 10mm) because the grip was slightly too thick for my hand. The flat faced trigger was just enough to make the grip work just right for me. It was an added bonus that the Glock trigger was improved significantly by the DAT installation. The DAT preserves the Glock factory pull weight, pretty much but it does, in my opinion, shorten the pull significantly. Also, dandy reset. Did the job myself watching a UTube video and am fairly sure most anyone could do the same.

    1. Jim is a great guy and an exceptionally good gunsmith. He has worked on a few of my guns—never a disappointment! ~Dave Dolbee

  5. I enjoyed your article on triggers, but you missed one important detail. When I went into the Army I enjoyed practicing with a match grade .45 auto. I thought I was doing pretty well so I entered a post pistol match. On match day we were required to use rack weapons. The one I drew had excessive overtravel. I found all my shots going out the bottom of the target as I reacted to the trigger break before the gun had a chance to fire and recoil.

  6. Cleaning the trigger assembly and adding a drop of oil in a few(very few)spots and firing your pistol enough.that is what worked for me.A double action revolver was changed from being questionable To being great doing this.

  7. One thing that I have found, is that too much oil will attract dirt into the internal parts and cause stickiness or grittiness to occur over time. Always clean well and use the best quality gun lubricant you can get. My Glock smoothed out over time and now is much better than it was new, and my GP100 now is crisp as breaking a glass pipette straw. I broke a few of those in classes by accident. The gentle polishing with minimal lubrication of the metal moving across metal is more of a burnishing effect and it results in a slightly harder and much smoother surface.
    Go out and shoot your properly lubricated firearm, then clean it well. Repeat. This will result in a better trigger pull over time and probably will make you a better shot due to the practice.

  8. Dave. I changed my Glocks triggers to a NY 1 (about 8.5 lbs) The jury is still out and I may change back. But although the pull is more accuracy has not significantly degraded at defensive distances I just felt that I needed a little more resistance on the trigger. It is funny that today I was firing a single action revolver at the range and when I switched to firing one of my Glocks well the difference was significant. After firing a few strings through the Glock the trigger felt more normal. Thanks for the article.

  9. I ordered a modular trigger replacement for an AR-15, but sent it back without installing it when I realized that the lighter pull would likely cause problems with gloves that I have to wear during deer season.

    Was I wrong?

    1. Maybe, Maybe not. I had such a light trigger in my 300 blackout that it was way to sensitive for a gloved finger but it was a JP Enterprises trigger that i did custom and went overboard with about a 3.2 lb pull and 0 creep. I since learned my lesson. A 4.5 lb – 5 lb trigger is light enough for hunting. I prefer a single stage trigger but many like the 2 stage with gloved hands. It all what you prefer and can shoot safely.

  10. Dave,

    Thanks for the heads up. I wasn’t trying to push the rules or get anyone’s hackles up. The article was, I thought, germane to the point I was espousing.

    There are very many mentions on-line of the “legal” ramifications of touching a trigger. Yet many very old guns have quite nice triggers. It only been in the last few decades that triggers, by and large, have gotten crappier due, I’m guessing, to mfg’s liability concerns – – I wouldn’t know what else would be behind it.

    In any case, sorry if I offended in any way.

    1. bumper,
      Quite the opposite. No harm, no foul, just the limitations of what I can do. However, I appreciate your efforts and read the article you linked to. I have an assignment out to writer and The Shooter’s Log will have an article on the legal ramifications (or lack of) in the near future. Thanks for the great idea and your support ~Dave Dolbee

  11. Regards the risk of a defensive shooter being charged, as I mentioned earlier, it’s extremely low, especially if it’s a “good” shooting. The fact a gun has had a trigger job is irrelevant *unless* the shooting itself is questionable enough to warrant further attention. I tried to post a link to a study on this, but apparently that is verboten here.

    If you’d like to read the short article I’d like to link to, do a search using the words:

    I’m not advocating super light trigger pulls for a self defense gun, but the 8 – 10 lb “lawyer triggers” are not conducive to accuracy for many shooters.

    1. The article can be found using the search words

      Study: out of 146 self-defense shooting

    2. Bumper,
      Links are not necessarily verboten. Links, even when to good articles, that point to competitors (content or especially e-commerce platforms) tend to really upset my boss for some strange reason. Maybe the boss is just funny that way, but the boss gets to pass out the paychecks if you know what I mean, and my bill collectors all agree that it is a wise course of action to follow the rules. I publish what the boss allows—the boss’s sandbox; the boss’s rules…~Dave Dolbee

  12. The 1911 is prettier, carry one for eight hours. The reason their are so many models of handguns is so all you guys can have one you like!

    My Glock 21 with loaded magazine and two extra loaded 13 round magazines weighs the same as my empty 1911.

    Carry what you want, I choose Glock!

    1. have a fnx tactical. single action triger goes all the way back before it fires . anybody else have that problem.

  13. The purpose of language is to communicate, and perfect grammar and spelling is not required for the effective sharing of information and ideas. I work in critical care and have written my fair share of professional and scholarly papers in APA format with perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling and guarantee I could have conveyed the exact same information without being held to such strict standard. I also wince and shake my head when I see some of the errors that frequently appear on this and other blogs, but I can’t say that I’ve ever failed to understand what the author was saying. Dave, keep doing what you’re doing!

    1. Thanks Ben! We try our best, but fail at walking upon water. My skin is however pretty thick and I always welcome feedback whether it is positive or negative (but just between us, I prefer the positive). Thanks again for the read and your support! ~ Dave Dolbee

  14. On Glocks, one only has to polish the metal to metal connections. Start with where the connector meets the cruciform. I also polish where the trigger bar meets the firing pin safety, and the exposed part of the firing pin lug. In addition, polish the feed ramp. I’ve noticed I can reduce close to a pound of trigger pull by doing this on a new firearm. However, this isn’t anything running 2000 rounds through it won’t naturally do.

    Recommendation: If you aren’t familiar with how to do a complete break down on a Glock, of course, don’t do it yourself.

    1. I have attended three GLOCK Armorer’s schools while a police officer for 29 years. We were told to only do what the instructor showed us in class. None of the classes had polishing or modification of parts. Parts out. Parts in. Oil here and not there. Looking at a modified pistol from a Defense lawyer’s perspective in court kept our attention. If you modify a pistol, it’s on you. If it’s a stock, unmodified product, the factory will stand behind you. Be careful and use only factory approved parts during repairs, and not non-factory aftermarket parts. The Defense will pay good money for someone to determine if any modifications have been performed. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your employer.

    2. The American Gunsmithing Institute, or AGI, has dvd’s available for assembly / disassembly of many different models of handguns. Very useful for the 80% builders crowd. I have a Glock and a 1911, and in both the instructor goes from fully assembled gun all the way to the layout of every part not welded together.

  15. I think another factor worth considering is the length of pull, the ergonomics vary between guns and some may have a longer or shorter length of pull requiring the shooter to compensate by adjusting their hold and/or pull technique from one firearm to another. This is unavoidable to some degree of course, but modular backstraps, thinner or differently contoured grip panels, and other devices can be used to bring the length of pull to a more comfortable distance.

    1. “…the ergonomics vary between guns and some may have a longer or shorter length of pull requiring the shooter to compensate by adjusting their hold and/or pull technique from one firearm to another.” If you have to adjust your hold or pull technique, you need to get a different gun. Your gun should fit your hand with the correct grip and trigger reach. Example: if you have smaller hands, a gun with a larger grip, such as a Glock, probably isn’t going to be a good fit.

  16. “Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.”

    To Dave Dolbee,

    I was once stopped by a State Trooper, I informed I had a gun in the console. He asked me if it was unloaded and I said yes. His response was “What good is an unloaded gun?”

    I am REALLY disappointed that a statement like that has actually been printed in an article on this forum!

    I ALWAYS have my 1911A1 “Cocked and Locked” and I have NEVER had an “accidental” discharge. EVERY person who carries a weapon for self-defense has to constantly be aware that they have a TOOL capable of killing and treat handling of it accordingly.

    1. Retired,
      I have to consider litigation and liability when writing an article. When I went though the Sheriff’s Academy we were taught the mantra, “A loaded gun is a happy gun!” I live by that even today and many happy guns. I also remember another instructor looking at my SIG and asking whether it was loaded. When I said, “no” he informed me it a nice $700 paper weight and questioned why it was on my hip. I took the hint.

      In your case, carrying your gun in the console, I would say that was a gun “in use.” For me, firearms in a ready state for a SHTF scenario are also “in use.” However, a firearm on my photography table is not in use, nor is one for instruction, dryfire practice or my upland game guns. Looking into one of my gun safes, the ARs or shotguns on the front line or second row are “in use,” but sporting models, collector guns, and those that are cased are not in use in my book. I guess it is all perspective and a system that works for me.

      Although I check and recheck (visual and tactile) every firearm, I can look at one of my guns, know its purpose and position in storage, and tell you whether it is loaded and the number/type of rounds if it is “in use.” ~Dave Dolbee

    2. Dave, your ability to write and your grammar are atrocious. You should seriously consider another line of work, as you are putting out misinformation, and doing so in a manner that brings shame to your employer and all those that consider themselves pro-gun. Stop writing. You’re not very good.

    3. english was my worst subject. we all can’t be english majors. i find people degrading others as very offensive. maybe you should go to an other site that has what you are looking for. why don’t you try and specifically give the misinformation you are taking about. i find people like you very funny and disturbed. you sound to me like you are anti gun and just trying to cause problems. so matt, just trying to degrade someone for your own pleasure makes you an ahole. it does not matter how eloquently you say it, it just makes you look bad to others.

    4. When I was young and stupid, I did have a 1911 go off unintentionally, by performing the classic blunder of racking the slide before dropping the magazine. Luckily, the shot went into the ground with no harm except my ringing ears. I do not refer to those as “accidental discharges”, but as “negligent discharges” and swore to God I would NEVER have another. I consider that my “one gimme”, and when clearing a firearm I check at least three times to be sure it is clear, and usually leave the slide locked back when unloaded. When putting it away, I’ll check to be sure its clear one more time and never drop the hammer carelessly. It is slowly lowered into position and then the gun is locked up.

    5. A firearm that is being carried for self defense is considered “in use”.

      Furthermore, a person who needs that explicitly explained to them probably shouldn’t be carrying a firearm in the first place.

  17. I did one “trigger job” on my Ruger GP-161. The Ruger simply needed the mating parts lapped by hand with a stone. In single action it was fine, but very gritty feeling on double action. I also did a sear replacement on a 1911 that made the trigger break very crisp, and I installed a Timney Trigger group on a Mosin-Nagant that I made into a KGB Sniper Special. All three were successful and produced the results I sought.

  18. Agree with Uhoh and would add.

    Hammer spring (or mainspring) strength has a direct affect on double action (DA) pull and less so, but still affects SA trigger pull weight. This is so due to simple mechanics as the DA trigger is compressing the spring to cock the hammer. In SA, the trigger pull has only to release the sear.

    In SA, the affect on trigger pull weight is to a large extent determined by geometry, finish and lube, as Uhoh said. If the sear engagement angle is negative, it will hold the hammer back more securely when cocked (for safety and liability reasons, mfgs tend to do this). There is a trade off, as a negative angle means the sear surface will have to cam the hammer back further, compressing the hammer spring more as the trigger is pulled to disengage the sear. You may observe this by carefully watching while squeezing the trigger slowly, the hammer moves slightly rearward in SA. As the sear angle is adjusted more towards neutral, there will be less hammer rearward movement, and the sear will require less effort to release, thus reducing trigger pull.

    I think it wise to function and safety test a gun to ensure security and safety after any such modification. I use a rubber mallet to simulate drop tests.

  19. The threat a self-defense shooter shooter would be prosecuted in a otherwise “good” shooting, regardless of whether or not the trigger was modified, is essentially nil. If it’s a bad shooting, and the justifiable part is somehow in question, then a modified trigger might be a factor. See the link below.

    I’m not an attorney, so no legal advice. I was a police officer and evidence tech in Oakland CA, and been involved and testified in hundreds of cases.

  20. Good article but I would have preferred a bit more information on trigger “process” — ie, pulling vs. squeezing, staging a trigger vs. one uninterrupted pull from start to finish and words on follow through after the trigger breaks. Also, I notice you emphasize using the pad of the finger on the trigger and not positioning on the first joint. Why?
    Very interesting topic but, I suspect, written down for “newbys”.

  21. Please, share your experince that you have had in court and any problems that you had becuase you had a trigger that was modified. I have a pistol that I carry and it has a 7.4 pound pull and I would like to lessen it. My wife has the same pistol and hers is 6.7 and is nice and smooth and I think it is unfair that I have to put up with a harder, gritty trigger. They are both a blast to shoot but it seems so much eaiser with her’s to get the shot off than mine and other shooters agree that hers is better.

    Thanks for any input.

    1. Expert witnesses have discussed this based on their experiences in court.

      The short version is that modified triggers are usually only a factor if the shooting is accidental/negligent, because it can be argued that the modified trigger was a significant contributing factor.

      If you claim the shooting was intentional but legally justified, the emphasis will be on your actions and state of mind. You’re more likely to get attacked by the prosecutor for cosmetic modifications that make the gun look scarier (like painted skulls) than for mechanical modifications like a trigger job.

  22. Dave,
    Not to be the terminology police, but slam fire usually refers to a round being discharged because the slamming bolt managed to set off the primer, not necessarily that the sear was dislodged. Commonly the cause is a firing pin stuck in a protruding position or a high primer. Most pistols incorporate a firing pin block safety that would prevent such a discharge if the sear slipped.

    One aspect you fail to discuss is reliability. Often a lightened trigger is achieved with reduced power springs. Going too far down this path results in a gun that does not go bang every time. Many competition guns are set up to run the softest most sensitive primers only and will fail to fire more common primers. As an example I have built cz’s with 2 lb triggers that will run federal all day but won’t fire winchester more than about 1 in 5 times.

    Creep is not the same as trigger travel. Creep is the stick/slip sort of stop/go feeling of the sear actually moving across engagement surfaces. Ideally this movement happens cleanly all at once but a creepy trigger allows the shooter to feel the movement as the poorly finished suraces slide across each other. It makes it difficult to get a crisp surprise break or to properly feel the impending breakpoint. Creep is distracting and makes for an unpredictable trigger. Finish, geometry (camming) and material hardness all affect creep, along with cleanliness and lubrication. With the prevalence of double action autos and 2 stage triggers this distinction between travel and creep is important.

    1. “….reduced power springs.” “….not go bang every time.”

      Exactly so! Having ‘modified’ several of our Glocks, even in our competition guns, I stay with the ‘stock’ spring weight on the striker! On my personal carry 29, I have a 3.8 lb trigger w/no creep – except, of course, the take-up on that “safety tip.” What I have found is that some brands of primers are definitely suspect, not, however, any U.S. brands.

      We use CCI, primarily, Winchester and Remington without issue, using stock or similar weight springs in our Glocks. We purchased 10,000 TulAmmo primers, one time, and experienced >10% failure rate in stock guns! Sent 9,000 of those back. Sellier and Beloit LPP will have ‘occasional,’ as in 1/20, failure to ignite on the first strike – the first retry often goes off, seldom having a total failure – we continue to use these only for practice! Of course, most of that applies to those that reload; anyone “carrying” any ‘foreign’ made stuff to defend their lives should definitely rethink that “cost savings!”

      Last thought on this “trigger weight” issue: With the exception of that 12 pound idiocy, under duress and a life or death situation, most will tell you they did not even hear the gun go off, much less how hard it was to make it do it! “Squeezing the trigger” in that scenario is almost laughable. Think about doing a double tap, what part of “squeezing the trigger” is involved with doing that? “Trigger control,” or I call it ‘mashing’ is a better definition. Even in a competition setting, I want to “know” when my rig is going to go bang – not wait to be “surprised!” There is a reason that small arms military weapons have 6-9 lb triggers – ‘friendly fire’ killing our own – a.k.a. inadvertent, negligent, discharges!

      That police woman, recently, still AMPED UP, aiming her Glock at a now under control perp, being handcuffed on the ground by her fellow officers (plural), had her finger on that trigger, and fogged off a round that fortunately only hit concrete! She was ‘definitely surprised’ when the thing went off!! I doubt even a 12 lb pull would have helped in her condition? Hopefully, she only rides a desk today.

      Said all that to say, don’t get brain overload with concern over “trigger weight” in your CQ (close quarters) self-defense rig. Under “assault” you won’t care. With a ‘stock’ Glock trigger of 5.5 lbs, you should be capable of putting 10 rounds in an 8″ circle, @ 21 feet in a minimum of 5 seconds. Want to do “Bullseye” shooting, or test yourself at long range with a handgun – that’s a game – don’t mix up the two!

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