Alright, you have successfully practiced your smooth, steady, and straight-back trigger press, since you got your ideal handgun from the manufacturer. You regularly dry-fire practice with snap caps. Your gun fits your hand good, and it is comfortable. And you are holding the gun steady, your wrist is locked, and you are gripping it firmly. You are not anticipating the recoil or the bang sound. You are not blinking when the shot breaks, you don’t have undesirable movement, and your stance is fine. And you don’t slap the trigger, milk it, heel it, push it, jerk it, or flinch. You consistently press the trigger straight back without moving the sights.
You know the basics, and your marksmanship fundamentals are solid.
Your hits still seem to be off some, and you are not happy with the smoothness of the factory trigger, its grittiness, its heavy weight, its reset, or its longer takeup.
For example, assume you have a Glock 17 Gen 5 9mm pistol. Sure you can live with the gun’s present decent factory trigger for your personal protection and competition uses, but you just prefer to have a smoother, crisper, and a slightly lighter trigger and reset.
NOTE: The above can be a very frustrating situation but accept that you must first ensure your marksmanship fundamentals and your basics of grip, stance, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, movement control, breath control, and follow through to meet accepted standards.
VIEWPOINT: Generally, NO trigger enhancement modification will significantly help you shoot better nor be considerably more accurate than your present skills permit.
Then the question follows:
Why Should I Get A New Trigger System?
Well, the problem might not be you and your shooting skills, but it could be your present trigger system or you just WANT a new trigger for the boost. The factory-shipped “one size/type configuration that works for all” might not be working for you as you want. Maybe it’s too curved or perhaps it’s too thin or too thick for your fingers. Or, you just simply want a smoother trigger feel, a crisper break, or a shorter reset distance. Now might be the time to focus on a trigger action enhancement upgrade.
One of the most important upgrades or enhancements a shooter can do for their pistol is to improve the trigger, including its press weight, travel distance, trigger reset, smoothness, crispness, and overall performance.
Should You Modify Your Gun’s Trigger?
Most contemporary handguns ship with a fine functional trigger designed by skilled engineers. But, there can always be refinements and personal preferred-adjustments in anything, including triggers and their action. And you could just want to get a slightly (or more) upgraded trigger system. You might just want the action to be a little smoother and crisper. Or not as heavy a trigger press, etc. Shooters differ in their desired trigger characteristics, features, and uses for the gun. There are many after-market trigger configurations and upgrades on the market, so finding the optimal one can be a challenge.
VIEWPOINT: Decide for YOURSELF and your specific gun use and purpose IF you should modify your gun’s trigger. Modifying your firearm’s trigger is a very PERSONAL and INDIVIDUAL DECISION. One size/type does NOT fit all. There are advantages AND disadvantages to modifying duty, carry, home defense, personal protection, target shooting, and competition guns. MANY believe that modifying a concealed carry gun’s trigger, especially for a shorter and lighter trigger press, is a dangerous NO NO!
Most competition shooters want a lighter trigger press weight, like near 4 pounds or less. Some even modify their guns with a heavier trigger press. Glocks, for example, are used by law enforcement, military members, and civilian citizens and are built with a middle-level press weight for tactical and liability reasons. But, some choose to modify them for duty use with a heavier trigger and spring (e.g., New York-1 with an 8-pound press and NY-2 with a 12-pound press.)
See my January 2017 article “Should You Modify Your Concealed Carry Handgun?” I offer my ideas about developing the proper muscle memory discipline and other tips. Remember, you must be able to control and use any modified trigger system safely. SAFETY is a critical factor, and you must be aware of a quick undesired DANGEROUS double-tap press that can occur with a light trigger. ANY modification to ANY stock trigger needs to be very carefully planned, considering use, personal abilities, and specific type of enhancement or modification. There are LEGAL considerations also since legal issues might arise. Get legal counsel about this important consideration for your jurisdiction and state.
VIEWPOINT: I usually do NOT recommend replacing a factory trigger with an after-market trigger, until the shooter has learned to shoot adequately with their factory trigger first.
Possible Glock 17 Gen 5 Trigger Enhancement Options
The new Glock 17 Gen 5 introduction improved the previous trigger designs some, but it made swapping out parts more difficult and mostly prevents the use of Gen 4 aftermarket parts. But, Glock is probably not offended because aftermarket parts help drive their primary market for their guns. Still, shooters often want a smoother, crisper, and enhanced trigger package.
Polish, Polish, And Polish
Well, get out your polishing compound, Q-tips, soft cloth, and start polishing. You can polish the key parts to help some, but don’t use a Dremel unless you’re skilled because you might remove some necessary metal. It might help some to polish BY HAND the connector, safety plunger, firing pin, and trigger bar… and put in that new 3.5-pound connector to lower that trigger press. But why not get a nice Trigger Kit for a decent price now and install it. Yes, there are videos to help with installation, but I recommend that you have an experienced gunsmith do it because of the possibilities for failure, danger, and damage to your nice gun.
Trigger Kit Tested
There are several Trigger Kits on the market, but the one I have used before for my Smith-Wesson M&P Pro 9mm for competition and recommend is the Apex Tactical Specialties “Action Enhancement Kit”… now for Gen 5 Glock Pistols. Other available ones are:
- Taran Tactical Gen 5 Grand Master Glock Trigger Kit
- Ghost Inc.
- Suarez International
- Zev Technologies
- Velocity Arms
- Overwatch Precision
Apex Tactical Specialties (ATS) – Glock Gen 5 Trigger Enhancement Kit
ATS states that their “mission is simple: Superior Parts, Exceptional Performance and Craftsmanship, and above all, unparalleled customer service.”
What Does the ATS Glock Gen 5 Trigger Enhancement Kit Provide:
The ATS Kit is a direct drop-in replacement of the factory Glock 17 and Glock 19 GEN 5 (NOT Gen 3 or Gen 4) polymer trigger and connector and, according to their website, provides for a smoother trigger press with reduced travel, reduced reset, a crisp break, and approximately a 1-pound reduction in trigger press weight. The available color is Black.
NOTE: As of May 15, 2018, this trigger kit is legal for use in USPSA’s Production Division (see Appendix D4, Section 21.6 of the USPSA Production Division Rules.)
What the ATS Glock 17 Gen 5 Trigger Enhancement Kit Includes:
- Action Enhancement Trigger- Gen 5 (wider and not as curved)- Machined Aluminum
- Gen 5 Apex Trigger Bar
- Apex Performance Connector- Gen 5
What Results Should You Expect:
- Direct Drop-In Replacement of Factory Polymer Trigger and Connector
- Reduces Trigger Press Weight by Approximately 1 Pound
- Smooth Uptake and Reset
- Reduces Trigger Pre-Travel, Overall Travel, and Reset Distance
- Crisp Trigger Break
- Center Mounted Pivoting Safety Maintains Factory Safety Values
Comments, Cautions, and Suggestions from ATS (and from this Author and this Website):
- We recommend a competent Gunsmith installs this product.
- Modification of your firearm may nullify the Warranty of the firearm manufacturer.
- No Liability is expressed or implied for damage or injury which may result from improper installation or use of this product.
- You are responsible for the safe handling, legalities, and correct use of the firearm.
Remember, no trigger enhancement modification will significantly help you shoot better nor be considerably more accurate than your present skills permit, generally. You have to ask yourself for your use/purpose, should you get a new trigger system? And should you modify your gun’s factory-tested trigger system? You must decide for yourself if you should modify your gun’s trigger. Certainly, one type/size does NOT fit all, and there are advantages and disadvantages to modifying any gun. Safety, legal issues, Warranty, and liabilities are concerns you must understand and honestly answer for yourself. You must be able to SAFELY control and use any modified trigger system. Upgrading your Glock trigger is easy, and there is a modest cost to do it.
I recommend this Action Enhancement Kit for the Glock 17 Gen 5 pistol. I had a gunsmith modify my new (not broken-in) Glock 17 Gen 5 that I use for home defense and competitions with this Apex Tactical Action Enhancement Kit. I got a 1.25-pound reduction over the factory trigger press, with a smooth uptake, shorter reset, and crisp break. I went from a 6.95-pound press before the Kit to a 5.70-pound trigger press after installation. After further rounds down range for this new gun, I believe the press will lighten more. So, the question for you is should you enhance your Glock Gen 5 pistol for your purpose and reasons? Consider the comments and cautions above and this fine Apex Trigger Kit.
Apex Tactical Specialties, Inc.
Peoria, AZ 85345
Photos by Author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only, and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2018 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.