What Triggers You?

Trigger feel, pre-travel, over-travel, length of pull, and of course weight of pull are always a topic of discussion. No matter what the firearm there’s always chatter about the trigger and for good reason. Most of it stems from shooters trying to blame their marksmanship on their firearm as if to dismiss the fact that most guns are more accurate than the human could ever be. There is such a thing as a clean, crisp trigger helping with your shot and a heavy, mushy trigger interfering with that one moment when you had the sights lined up properly, but that’s not what I’m getting at here.

Before getting all bent out of shape about the trigger of a particular firearm we must first stop and think about what the intended purpose of that particular gun was and what we intend to use it for. Not every handgun is meant to be a competition gun used only for speed, nor is the best defensive gun going to make for pleasant and lengthy range days. We accept this when we consider other features such as stock, sights, etc, but for some reason forget it when it comes time to pull the trigger. Some of the micro-compact models like the Ruger LCP are known for having terrible triggers, but is it really terrible?

I propose to you that such guns are often purchased by the less experienced or lesser trained customers and most likely to be used in a panic event. For this reason I respect that they have what I call “panic triggers”. Think for a minute about a low or poorly trained citizen scrambling for their pocket gun. What are the chances that their finger goes straight for the trigger? What about a sudden noise startling them? In these cases a long and heavy trigger is ideal as it reduces the chances of an accidental discharge that could harm them, an innocent, or send the attacker into a confident attack knowing that the wielder has little to no competency with the firearm.

While assisting recently at a training event I made an alarming observation that I think everyone should be aware of.  The event was a second-level class involving an active shooter scenario.  The students were given inert Glock 17s with standard Glock triggers and told to navigate through a building while keeping an eye out for the shooter and trying to escape safely.  Staff played various roles including those of unarmed civilians also trapped in the scenario.  75% of the time the student shot an unarmed civilian simply because they were startled.  Most of them kept their fingers off the trigger while walking about the building, but as soon as a stranger appeared the finger went straight to the trigger and began to take up slack.  From there all it took was a startle to unintentionally torch off a round.

Regardless of which firearm we carry and the triggers we’ve chosen training remains paramount. If you don’t know your trigger you don’t know your gun and are more likely a liability than a help in an emergency situation. When selecting your next carry gun, or helping another to do the same and it comes down to trigger talk, don’t forget to consider what the intended and possible uses of the gun are. Not everyone needs a 2lbs trigger with 1/8” of travel and a crisp reset. Save that for the range gun.


2 thoughts on “What Triggers You?

  1. The trigger on my new XD Mod.2 was designed by a product liability lawyer! Take up is long. Then the creep begins. Just before the break, the rearward motion stops. There might as well be a recorded lawyer’s voice asking “now are you sure you want to fire this shot?”. In contrast, my older XD SC just “rolls right on through” to the break. Makes a big difference!


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