It never fails, someone will look at a software problem and try to solve it with hardware. Instead of addressing the root cause, they look to a piece of gear as their savior.

It’s the Indian, not the arrow

Why do we, regardless of the industry feel this is the best approach. Let me throw money at the problem, but not at a good solution. Is it possible a piece of gear can improve performance. Trick question. It depends on the quality of the equipment we are referencing and how it works with the shooter. All things being equal there are gains to be had for some. The problem is knowing if you are an ideal candidate. If you are struggling with performance look inward first. Start with what you may be doing right, the work to what may be wrong.


A typical example of a faulty decision making is when it comes to triggers. After market triggers have come a long way in recent years and I am a huge fan of them. Hell, I believe in them so much I was fortunate to work with one of the best trigger manufacturers to produce what I believe to be one bad ass drop in trigger for the AR15 platforms. However, I also recognize it can cause more problems than they solve. Where the problems arise is when you have a fear of the gun going bang.

Which is worse

Fear of discharging a firearm is not a new thing, it has been around as long as firearms. What most don’t recognize is they have a fear based response buried deep in their technique. Fear can come in many different forms, a common form is clinching in anticipation of firing the round. It starts out like a small ripple and builds to a huge wave surge by the time it reaches your trigger finger. These ultra light triggers amplify the problem. Teh subject of prep’ing the trigger can rub people the wrong way. Taking a running start at the trigger and disrupting the sights produce a miss just as bad.

Walk, don’t run

When the shooter is fearful of applying the slightest pressure the apply no pressure. Instead, when the sights are aligned on target the slap at the trigger expecting the sights to remain motionless. Will a more powerful crush grip help stabilize the pistol and minimize sight movement. Yes, but when you take a running start at the trigger with such a lightweight trigger it is harder than you think.

Focus on the movement details

There needs to be consistent movement of the trigger. Interruptions to the movement create the start and stop effect. This effect will force the shooter to apply uneven pressure to the trigger and instead of smooth to the break, it becomes heavy or heavy and fast to the break. Concentrating on the movement of the trigger also requires the ability to see all the stages of a normal trigger’s movement. There should be a little slop in the beginning, then slack up to the sear and the then squeeze through the break. Before you throw in the towel on your after market trigger ask yourself if you can feel each of these distinctly. If you can’t you have to ask yourself if it is because they are not there due to the trigger or you are not concentrating enough to notice them.

Understand the benefits

This last part is the biggest reason I discourage them for new shooters. If the shooter cannot concentrate enough to feel these three stages on a striker fired pistol then an after market will make it worse. Once you can feel these three stages you will find shooting performance improved. Which begs the question if your money was well spent on the after market trigger or range time with a qualified instructor to identify the problem.

Shooting a firearm is not difficult, align the sights then squeeze the trigger. It gets difficult when you fail to recognize all the variables and those variables have a negative effect on your performance outcome.

4 thoughts on “Triggers…False Expectations

  1. Jon Landwer says:

    While working on thousands of guns a year at the countries largest firearms training school in Southern Nevada, I have seen almost every trigger made for the Glock pistol, either fail, deactivate a factory safety or become unadjusted while shooting and even firing in the holster twice. I see more money waisted on gear attemting to buy competency in the trigger market than anywhere else in the supply chain. We have found with Glock triggers by doing an in house trigger tune makes them smoother is better, for the XD series of pistols the Powder River duty kit is ideal and for the M&P the Apex specialties duty kit yields a fantastic trigger.

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