A Light Trigger Pull Is Not a Status Symbol

21-Oct-07 – 01:27 by ToddG

Having a very light trigger pull on a gun you use for duty, concealed carry, or home defense does not make you a tactical ninja operator. But it might make you the girlfriend of a thrice-convicted felon named Thumper when you go to prison for firing a shot unintentionally under stress.

Ridiculously light trigger configurations have become cool among many gun forum regulars. Whether it’s a 3.5# disconnector in a Glock or a “competition” trigger job done to other guns, far too many people are running around with guns in a condition that even the manufacturers consider unsafe for combat.

Does that lighter trigger pull help you shoot better? Maybe it does. But practice will help you shoot better, too … and without compromising safety. More importantly, that lighter pull probably isn’t going to make you shoot better under stress. It will make it a lot more likely you’ll have an accident, though. Remember, we’re not talking about calm range practice. We’re talking about being more scared than you’ve ever been before, a gun in your hand, worried that someone is about to end your life.

You think you’ll keep your finger off the trigger, but an awful lot of highly trained and experienced people look for the subconscious comfort of that trigger when they’re scared. If you really think you’re superior to highly trained SWAT and military special operations professionals, more power to you. For the rest of us mere mortals, reality is that mistakes happen and ridiculously light trigger pulls make them happen a lot more often.

More importantly, few people really do shoot better, from a practical standpoint, with the competition-type triggers. People don’t get on the forum and brag, “I decreased the size of my group by 17%!” No, it’s all about who has the lightest trigger.

Overheard at the 2007 IDPA Nationals: “I want to switch to an M&P for my carry gun, but you can’t do better than a three pound trigger pull on an M&P. My Glock has a two pound trigger.” Two pound trigger on a carry gun? What kind of fantasy-land wannabe really thinks a 2# trigger is an asset in a fight? If your skill with a gun is so pathetic that you can’t make hits on demand under stress with a 5# or 8# trigger, then I seriously doubt your safety skills are refined enough to keep your finger off the trigger when you’re scared witless!

It’s also worth noting that in many cases, the lighter your trigger pull the less reliable your gun will be. Lighter springs or competition-only internal parts usually don’t have the established history and testing to guarantee they’ll work under worst-case conditions. Compromising reliability for bragging rights online and at the practice range is just plain stupid.

Rather than bragging that you have the lightest trigger in town, how about bragging that you are the best shooter in town without relying on an unsafe modification to your pistol?

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 8 Responses to “A Light Trigger Pull Is Not a Status Symbol”

  2. I just read your article on light trigger pulls. Very interesting as I have noticed this especially when shooting Kimber Ultra models (I tended to double tap unintentionally after the first DA trigger pull).

    Do you have a strong opinion AGAINST the Sig p220 Carry SAO for this same reason? I like the Sig .45, and I have a big hand which does not feel as comfortable with compact models.

    I have practiced with my p220 DA/SA in the DA mode extensively, and generally like the feel in a relaxed environment. But the reason I am considering the SAO is because it has the safety feature, which seems more reliable/certain than a DA first pull.

    Any recommendations are appreciated.


    Mark Cancemi

    By Mark Cancemi on Dec 2, 2007

  3. Mark — I don’t know what the trigger pull weight specification is on the SAO P220. If it is less than five pounds, I would start to feel concerned. Less than four would be outright unacceptable for me, personally. It’s exactly like a 1911, and for me the same rules apply. Yes, you have a manual safety … but you’re going to take the safety off as part of your draw stroke. So if the gun is in your hand, odds are the safety is off and not doing much to help you prevent a mistake.

    Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

    By ToddG on Dec 2, 2007

  4. There was a study done w some experienced cops kinda related to this (I may have sent it to you earlier?).

    Sensors were placed on the triggers. Under stress, cops who swore they never put their finger on or near the trigger actually had done just that. Many of them applied more than 5 lbs to the trigger when doing it too.

    By MSO on Dec 6, 2007

  5. I purchaced a kimber ultra covert 2 days ago and love the grip safty but I agree a lighter trigger pull on that gun would probibly not help anything. The pull is not hard by anymeans but is just hard enough to give u the second chance u may need in a situation where the cercumstances might change like someone coming in your door at two in the morning and finding out it is your drunk brother. But then again I was always tought that you don’t pull a gun unless u are going to use it but then agin take my advice with a grain of salt because I am no where near a pro and am still amazed at what I learn on a daily basis

    By danny on Jul 22, 2009

  6. God’s Honest Truth: I have read a review of Springfield’s Professional Model where the writer spent one paragraph talking about how the gun was built to the specs called for in an FBI RFP and in the very next breath was bitching something along the lines of ‘the trigger pull seemed awfully heavy for a $2k+ pistol…

    By Tam on Sep 1, 2011

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  2. Feb 1, 2008: Pistol-Training.Com » Blog Archive » Gunsmith or Thief?
  3. Apr 7, 2010: What’s a good trigger pull? « Gun Nuts Media
  4. Apr 15, 2010: Kick Him, Honey » Blog Archive » Trigger pull

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