Never satisfied with your trigger? You aren’t alone. The trigger is the heart of the machine, and it’s one of the things people complain about or blame their lousy shooting on.
What can you do about it, though?
Short of getting a custom gun built for you, there are some quicker, cheaper fixes that just about anyone can do. Granted, these are just generalized tips; YOUR gun will have some more specific things that can be done to tune it up. That said, let’s get stuck in.
A word of caution, though: semi-autos are easy to work on. Revolvers are a whole other matter. Unless you have experience, leave those to a gunsmith. In fact, leave any work to a gunsmith if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Now Go And Get Your Shinebox: Polish The Trigger Parts
Part of what makes a good trigger is a smooth, consistent pull from front to back. What some people really don’t like is grit in the trigger pull. As it happens, this can have a pretty simple fix.
What do you need to get it done? Sandpaper. That’s it. A sheet of 400 grit. If you want to get fancy, staple it to a length of 2×4, so you have a stable surface that the sandpaper sits on. This is best used on metallic parts; sanding polymer can be done but whether you want to chance it or not is up to you.
Disassemble the trigger mechanism. Any of the trigger parts that are metal, give them a bit of a polish with the sandpaper. A very light coat of oil afterward isn’t the worst idea either, but very, very little. Then put it all back together.
1911 guys can also polish up the surfaces the trigger contacts inside the pistol. The 1911 has a unique trigger system, as the trigger travels straight back to trip the sear. Most other triggers are a stationary lever actuating a trigger bar that does the job (so you’d only polish the internals rather than the frame itself) so don’t worry about this part if you haven’t achieved Handgun Enlightenment yet.
Spring For A Spring Kit
Factory springs are known for not being the best. Since they’re one of the cheapest parts of the gun, you’d figure springs would be a bit better; there should be no need for a spring kit. However, since how we live is so far removed from how we ought to, it’s one of the first things a lot of people will do to tune up a factory gun.
Some kits will give you a firm pull with less creep; others will provide you with a light press from front to back. It sort of depends on what you want. A lighter spring for a lighter pull, but stiffer will take out the creep.
The good news? A lot of companies make them for a lot of different guns; they’re incredibly cheap (like $20 or less) and easy to install. Trigger springs, maybe a hammer spring…it’s a pretty easy fix.
Another fix is to install an aftermarket trigger. Often enough, the factory model isn’t always the best. Aftermarket triggers can reduce a bit of grit, feel a little better or be a little more consistent and so on. Granted, the effect varies by gun and by trigger design.
It might also not make a darn bit of difference without a spring kit or even an entire trigger group kit; it all depends on the gun you’re getting it for.
For instance, some 1911 guys whine about Series 80 triggers. A fix is to get a flat-blade trigger and drop it in, which can tame the much poo-pooed trigger creep. Plenty of other guns have aftermarket triggers available which accomplish much the same, eliminating pre- and post-travel and making for a consistent pull from front to rear.
This is the more expensive option, however, as the cost can be anywhere from about $30 to $100, depending. That said, many units drop in without the need for fitting, so it’s an easy job. You will have to take down your gun, take the trigger mechanism apart and put it all back together, but rarely is that a complicated job.