Article Index

The industry standard for pull-weight on triggers of production pistols is currently 6 to 7 pounds. I think that is about right. I’m sure it’s too heavy in the minds of some, too light for others. While I think 12-pound triggers exhibited by the NY2 Glock Trigger Modification are needlessly heavy. I’m not comfortable with triggers any lighter than 6 pounds, owing to the foregoing.

I consider myself a reasonably competent operator, and I carry routinely. All my carry pistols comply with the foregoing industry standard. 3-pound, or lighter, triggers have no place in my life!

The term, “hair trigger,” has an inherently malignant and unsafe ring to it, particularly among the ignorant. It is predictable that a prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney will use that term, ad nauseam, when doing his best to establish your “reckless disregard” for the safety of others, when he is able to show that your firearm has a significantly lighter trigger than it did when it emerged from the factory, a modification for which you arranged, not the manufacturer.

In addition, during a real fight, the fine motor coordination necessary to realize what scant speed/accuracy advantage of which a light trigger may be capable, will likely all be a moot point anyway!

My conclusion is that over-tuning of serious guns is folly, dangerous folly! When an out-of-the-box pistol has a trigger that is too heavy for your taste, the best strategy is to look at something else, rather than tinker with what the factory produced.

These comments on the subject were sent to me from a colleague:
“I put an aftermarket, 3.5 pound connector on my Glock, and really liked it. Then one day, shooting in cold weather, with gloves, I realized I could hardly feel the trigger. I have since come to my senses, put the original connector back in, and re-learned to use it properly.”

My friend and colleague, Pat Sweeney, puts it best, as he usually does!

“In writing ‘The 1911: the First Hundred Years’ I had a chance to handle some very early 1911s, pre WWI! They are startling, in that they all have (at least by some standards) ‘heavy’ triggers, 6 to 7 pounds, but crisp and clean. You press the trigger to take up the slack. The trigger stops. Keep pressing, and 6 to 7 pounds later, the hammer falls. You can put a lot of bad guys in the ground, with a trigger like that!”

You bet you can, and all with no ADs, even when in a cold, muddy ditch, at night, in the rain, with bullets whizzing by your ears. That’s what pistols are for!

MASSAD AYOOB

While more training helps with lighter pulls, it also makes lighter pulls less meaningful to performance, and I don’t see training making any difference on this particular issue in court.

Pull weight goes gun by gun, and seems to come down to manufacturer spec, common custom and practice, or both. If Walther puts a 4.5 [pound trigger] into their new striker-fired pistol and calls it good, the user will be more protected than if he put a factory-forbidden 4.5 in his Glock, and the same 4.5 pound pull is well within spec by any standard for the 1911. Go figure.

EMANUEL KAPELSOHN

I have worked in many cases, both civil and criminal, in which trigger pull weight has been an issue, including at least two cases in which the opposition sought to argue that a handgun had a “hair trigger,” a sensational term lacking any technical definition. I’ve also worked in a good number of cases in which the phenomenon of involuntary muscular contraction as a possible cause of unintentional discharge has been an issue, and I have written several articles and taught widely on that topic for over 20 years. I’m currently working on a police shooting case where the deceased had an AR-15 with a 2.5 pound trigger pull that seems to be the result of home gunsmithing, to the point where the rifle is unsafe to use for that and several other reasons.

[Continued...]