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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, this may be a stupid question but I am going to the academy soon (knock on wood) and I was thinking of having my M&P 9's trigger weight dropped to around 4lbs. through Dan. I was wondering if a 4lb. trigger would be considered dangerous for duty carry. If anyone has any experience with this it would be great. Thanks
 

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First check to make sure such modifications are allowed by your agency. Many if not most law enforcement agencies have policies limiting or restricting such work.



Personally, I would not recommend a substantially lighter trigger pull. If you wanted to send it to get smoothed out (which will probably lower the weight a little bit) and that was within agency policy, no problem. But substantially reducing the first-shot trigger pull weight on a gun with no manual safety will not only make it easier to have an accident under stress, but it will also open all sorts of potential legal problems should you ever have to use your weapon in the line of duty.



How much shooting have you done with the M&P9 so far and what makes you think you'll be more capable with a 4# trigger pull?
 

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Light triggers under 4 pounds can be an issue. That is why I DO NOT build triggers less than this. Alot of factory 1911's have triggers at or just under this so that has set a standered that this is not to light. But remember every modification is a double edged sword. No matter what you do to your gun. One attorney is going to say you made the gun unsafe or made an irresponsible change. Your attorney will need to articulate that the change made the gun more shootable for you and lessened the chance that you would miss your intended target and endanger others. Or the modification added to the reliability of the gun. Beyond that you need to make sure like stated above that your academy and or agency has no trouble with this. I have many agencies that have approved my work on department guns and private owned department carried guns. Some agencies have even sent me the guns to modify for thier officers.

A trigger under four pounds is not neccesary for any combat type shooting. Anyone needing less than that needs more training than gunsmithing. The need for lighter than that is to make up for bad independant trigger finger control. It allows for poor control of the shooting hand by allowing the shot to break before the over grip or convulsive gripping can have have much effect on the shot.



Good Luck and Stay safe

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David Bowie
 

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Bowie Tactical said:
Alot of factory 1911's have triggers at or just under this so that has set a standered that this is not to light.


David -- I don't know nearly enough about mainstream 1911 manufacturers to answer this. Can you give some examples of major-brand 1911's that are sold/marketed as duty guns with triggers that light from the factory? I know for a fact that SIGs aren't that light. Do Kimber, Springfield, or Colt make them that light?



Most agencies/departments won't allow 3.5# disconnector-equipped Glocks, and those usually weigh in right around four pounds.



The other big difference is that the 1911 has a positive manual safety so there is another conscious step needed to discharge the gun.



I remain very skeptical that most people really shoot significantly better under stress with a 4# trigger than with a 5# or 6# trigger. This assumes equal "quality" of the trigger otherwise ... smoothness, crispness, amount of pre- and over-travel, etc.



So while there's nothing wrong having an experienced guy (like Dave or Dan) do an action job on a duty pistol -- assuming it's within policy -- hopefully folks will consider the disadvantages of a light pull, not just the assumed benefits, before making a final decision on whether to have the pull lightened in addition to cleaned up.
 

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ToddG said:
David -- I don't know nearly enough about mainstream 1911 manufacturers to answer this. Can you give some examples of major-brand 1911's that are sold/marketed as duty guns with triggers that light from the factory? I know for a fact that SIGs aren't that light. Do Kimber, Springfield, or Colt make them that light?



Most agencies/departments won't allow 3.5# disconnector-equipped Glocks, and those usually weigh in right around four pounds.


Todd,

Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Rock River all have 4# Ed Brown's are all set at 3.5# (rumor has it they don't even test fire before they leave the factory). These are all production guns/semi-custom that are marketed for duty/carry . Kimber's are all over the board some under 4# most around 5#. I think STIs and SVIs are most always under 4# depending on the model can be as low as 2#(not marketed as "Duty").



While I don't pretend to know all the answers, I also know having a heavy trigger is not "safer" under stress. I have heard of plenty of AD's on guns with non-modified triggers. In fact these seem to out number the AD's by modified guns, likely only a result of numbers, but it could be a result of training by those carrying modified guns?? ok I am playing Devil's advocate a little here



To answer the original question, you always have to find out from your Dept what modifications are allowed and what the restrictions on the modifications are. Most agencies have some sort guidelines that MUST be followed.
 

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Dan Burwell said:
Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Rock River all have 4# Ed Brown's are all set at 3.5# (rumor has it they don't even test fire before they leave the factory).


Understood. But there aren't many agencies buying Baers, Wilsons, or RR's, and the vast, vast majority of the "duty" guns those companies sell are going to hobbyists. While there may be some SWAT teams using such guns, I don't know many CCWers or patrol officers who get the same kind & amount of training as top SWAT teams, especially in terms of operating in a 360-degree high-stress environment. It makes a difference.



While I don't pretend to know all the answers, I also know having a heavy trigger is not "safer" under stress.


By that logic, you would put no lower limit on a trigger pull weight for a duty gun. Is that true?



We'll simply have to agree to disagree. While it's certainly possible to AD with any trigger (you could AD a VP70z if you were inept enough
), more weight means more pressure needed to have an accident. A 6# trigger requires 50% more pressure than a 4# trigger to make a mistake.



Even more important is the length of the trigger pull and how early in the stroke you get resistance. The FBI firearms instructor school used to include a study they performed showing that trigger pull arc played a bigger role in ADs than weight; they stopped including that when they switched to Glocks though.
 

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ToddG said:
By that logic, you would put no lower limit on a trigger pull weight for a duty gun. Is that true?
I believe that every individual is different in what they can handle and what they are comfortable with. Who am I to tell some well trained high speed low drag operator that I think his 2.5# trigger is unsafe, that he would be better off with a X# trigger. (I know several of these guys and I ain't going to argue with em)



ToddG said:
We'll simply have to agree to disagree. While it's certainly possible to AD with any trigger (you could AD a VP70z if you were inept enough
), more weight means more pressure needed to have an accident. A 6# trigger requires 50% more pressure than a 4# trigger to make a mistake.



Even more important is the length of the trigger pull and how early in the stroke you get resistance. The FBI firearms instructor school used to include a study they performed showing that trigger pull arc played a bigger role in ADs than weight; they stopped including that when they switched to Glocks though.


Ah yes the VP70z, the original striker fired polymer gun. what was the pull weight on those 15#? My good friend had one for awhile until he noticed his trigger finger was starting to look like Popeye's.



I also recall a story about an AD with a Beretta 92, an officer was entering a room he placed his weak hand on the door frame as he pulled himself into the room he squeezed off a round due to some sort of crossover reflex. Apparently you cannot forcibly contract all the finger on one hand without doing the same on the other. Point is the DA on a Beretta in not exactly light ~9# I believe and that poor guy light one off, I don't think anything short of a VP70z is going to keep you from doing it even then that is questionable.



See the problem with this whole discussion is there is no right answer, not matter what we do to guns there will always be ADs NDs or whatever you want to call them.



We'll just have to agree to disagree. 8)
 

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Dan Burwell said:
I believe that every individual is different in what they can handle and what they are comfortable with. Who am I to tell some well trained high speed low drag operator that I think his 2.5# trigger is unsafe, that he would be better off with a X# trigger. (I know several of these guys and I ain't going to argue with em)


Of all the Tier-1 and similar guys I've dealt with, I know only one who thinks a trigger pull that light is appropriate for duty/combat. But you're right, it's not your place to tell him you won't build a gun to his spec! Doesn't mean the rest of us should agree it's a smart idea, though.




Ah yes the VP70z, the original striker fired polymer gun. what was the pull weight on those 15#?


I want to say it was eight kilos, so about 18#. A revolutionary gun that doesn't get enough credit for its place in the development of the modern pistol.



I also recall a story about an AD with a Beretta 92, an officer was entering a room he placed his weak hand on the door frame as he pulled himself into the room he squeezed off a round due to some sort of crossover reflex. Apparently you cannot forcibly contract all the finger on one hand without doing the same on the other.


Sympathetic response ... very true. There's a very famous case of a DEA agent shooting a bystander with a shotgun because he had his finger on the trigger as he opened a car door with his other hand. Closed the left hand, closed the right hand in sympathy, and bang.



As I said, nothing can prevent all accidents.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the info. The dept is reviewing thier policy on firearms and have not released the info on them ( the M&P9 was on the allowed list previously). The reason for my asking was my M&P was purchased in Massachusetts where we had some very screwed up laws on the purchase of new weapons. All new firearms had to be sold with a 10lb trigger. After purchase the owner could then modify but it had to sold with the 10lb (what a pain in the [email protected]#). So what I was thinking of was either dropping it down to 4lbs or around 6-6.5 (factory weight everywhere except MA) but I guess I should wait to find out the academys new policies are. And to answer an earlier question I have put about 2000 rounds through it so far.
 

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This has been answered in spades but Also Nighthawk has the option of 3.5 pound triggers. Understand that under stress and suprise the average person exerts about 24 pounds of preasure in thier hands. I don't know of any triggers out there that will stop this from setting of a loud bang if you have you finger on it.

If you put your finger on the trigger and are startled chances are you will set off about any gun. Tactical Defense Institute, where I teach does ALOT of force on force training in day and night scenereos. One thing we have found that is very constant is just that fact. When people get stressed and put thier finger on the trigger and then are startled they have AD's We see this all the time with soft air glocks and even revolvers using code eagle rounds. We teach people and preach it constanly to keep the finger off the trigger. But shooters who lack confidence tend to trigger hunt. This has even been studied outside of our school. And this leads to the shot being fired irresponsibly. You can't fight this with equiptment but only training. As we take people to higher levels and stress innoculate them this tends to fall off big time.

I know this is a long answere but understanding what happens and causes it, is also how to prevent it and make your bosses understand that it is a training problem not an equipment problem.



Good Luck

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David Bowie
 

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I think its also important to add that competition triggers are for just that; gun games.



I cringe when accomplished ipsc-type shooters put their comp gun in their carry rig after a match, when I know their triggers to be sub #3.
 

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We're talking about different things. I've said more than once, I agree that startle pulls are going to happen regardless. But there are plenty of other times where a finger (or something else) comes in contact with a trigger. There are things other than "startle" which can lead to an unintentional trigger press.



As someone who used and taught TDA pistols for many years, I can tell you from experience that people are a lot more likely to have an AD with a gun in DA mode than SA mode.



And using Nighthawk as an example of a major mainstream 1911 manufacturer falls into the same category as Wilson, Baer, etc. These are tiny companies catering to hobbyists, not agencies in any significant number. And ok, they have an option for a 3.5# trigger. So does Glock. Glock is at least smart enough to tell people it's not a good idea for duty/ccw.



If a light trigger pull with no safety is just as safe as a long & heavy DA pul, why do 1911's, BHPs, and other guns with light SA triggers have safeties while DA revolvers don't?



Light triggers have become a status symbol.
 

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Bowie Tactical said:
This has been answered in spades but Also Nighthawk has the option of 3.5 pound triggers. Understand that under stress and suprise the average person exerts about 24 pounds of preasure in thier hands. I don't know of any triggers out there that will stop this from setting of a loud bang if you have you finger on it.

If you put your finger on the trigger and are startled chances are you will set off about any gun. Tactical Defense Institute, where I teach does ALOT of force on force training in day and night scenereos. One thing we have found that is very constant is just that fact. When people get stressed and put thier finger on the trigger and then are startled they have AD's We see this all the time with soft air glocks and even revolvers using code eagle rounds. We teach people and preach it constanly to keep the finger off the trigger. But shooters who lack confidence tend to trigger hunt. This has even been studied outside of our school. And this leads to the shot being fired irresponsibly. You can't fight this with equiptment but only training. As we take people to higher levels and stress innoculate them this tends to fall off big time.

I know this is a long answere but understanding what happens and causes it, is also how to prevent it and make your bosses understand that it is a training problem not an equipment problem.



Good Luck

CHECK 360

David Bowie


I was wondering when someone was going to bring up that old proven safety rule,,,Keep your finger away from the trigger until ready to shoot.
 

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EMTCOP said:
I was wondering when someone was going to bring up that old proven safety rule,,,Keep your finger away from the trigger until ready to shoot.


A perfect rule for perfect people. Heck, I've fired an Olympic free pistol with a trigger pull weight measuring less than a dozen grams (about one quarter of one ounce). I guess that would be just as safe. :roll:
 

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ToddG said:
[quote name='EMTCOP']

I was wondering when someone was going to bring up that old proven safety rule,,,Keep your finger away from the trigger until ready to shoot.


A perfect rule for perfect people. Heck, I've fired an Olympic free pistol with a trigger pull weight measuring less than a dozen grams (about one quarter of one ounce). I guess that would be just as safe. :roll:[/quote]



I don't think I am perfect, but I do know the basic safety rules, and I have also been in many

situations where I have had to point my weapon at another human being. In these adrenaline

charged situations I have NEVER had my finger on the trigger until it was time to shoot. I have

had a lot of training, but I would bet there are civilians out there who have had as much training

as I have had, probably more in some cases. I would submit, however, that because of my

profession I have been put in situations that most civilians will never experience. I hope that is

the case anyway. I am a firm believer that repetitive training in keeping your finger out of the

trigger guard until ready to fire can be taught to those who aren't regularly put in these types of

situations.

I have read your posts and have no doubt that you are knowledgeable about weapons and training

with them. I have been to your website and it is informative. However, like a previous member

in another thread, I would be very interested in hearing about any real world experience you have

in situations like this, or have just been to a bunch of schools, done a bunch of reading, and talked

to a bunch of cops, soldiers, etc. Theory and real life are two different things my friend.
 

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Never been in a gun fight and never been shot. I'll say that right up front and would never pretend otherwise. If you'd like a list of the firearms training I've received (it was closing in on 800 hours of formal schooling last I tallied), send me a PM and I'll list it all for you.



I've been both a student and instructor for countless FOF training with military and LE folks, though, as well as a student of use of force for quite some time. If anything, that experience has shown me that many people, perhaps even the majority, do put their fingers on triggers under stress. The vast majority of them would swear up and down they did not, but a quick roll of the videotape shows that they wanted the feel of that trigger on their finger pad when things got spooky.



Whether you personally have ever done such a thing I couldn't say. But let's suppose you never have made a mistake and touched the trigger. Does that mean the average cop, soldier, or ccw holder should feel confident he'll never make a mistake? Remember, I have personally witnessed dozens of people who believed they would never do it ... even after they did.



This stuff isn't just in my imagination. There is a reason why agencies like the FBI won't allow a 3.5# trigger in their duty Glocks. There is a reason why departments return DA pistols to the manufacturer if the single-action trigger pull gets below specification. Because rational people realize that under stress, mistakes happen. The lighter & shorter a trigger pull, the more likely such a mistake will result in a very loud noise and a caliber-sized hole somewhere.



Don't get me wrong ... "trigger finger" is the best, first, and most important safety. But the trigger finger is connected to the brain, and not everyone's brain behaves perfectly all the time. If they did, we wouldn't need seat belts and airbags.
 

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Not to denigrate you, but I am a firm believer that, other than teaching basics of firearms safety

and marksmanship, instructors who teach military and LE tactics should be military and LE

people who have "seen the elephant". Clint Smith, Larry Vickers, Ken Hackathorn, and many

others not listed have "been there done that". I don't know how a thing can be taught without

having experienced that "thing". You must certainly be a very good instructor to be accepted

into the military / LE training circles without having experienced the things you teach.
 

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I wrote out a very long response to this, but it seemed like a mighty threadjack that was little more than "why I love me, and why you should love me, too."
EMTCOP, I'll pm you with it. If anyone else wants to talk to me about me, just pm me.



edited to add: Getting back to the original topic, though. If some people with LE experience say that their trigger finger is the only safety they need, and others say that they've seen accidents both in training and in real life with guns that are less forgiving of mistakes (or guns which are in a mode that is less forgiving, like safety off, cocked, etc.) then who is right?
 
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