Have you ever wondered why great shooters are so critical of their gear? Because sometimes the reason a shot is missed truly does come down to the gun. Or at least parts of the gun. Parts that do not work well together will result in poor performance, an inability to repeat performance time after time, and decreased shot accuracy.
One of the most important parts of a firearm is the trigger. It is also the most common part replaced. Even a basic firearm will typically improve with a new trigger. Mass-produced factory triggers meet all the manufacturer requirements for safety, fit, and operation – but they are not always the best triggers available.
Let us look at how:
A poor-quality trigger results in a rifle that cannot be relied on. You do not if or when it will work properly, when it will need to be attended to or whether the firearm will fire properly. Even worse, it could be unsafe. A few major firearm manufacturers have faced massive recalls and lawsuits due to faulty triggers.
Cleaner, Faster Action
If you have ever shot a rifle with a less than desired trigger you probably noticed a gritty, marble rolling on sand feel. Although this may not be dangerous it is not comfortable. Nor is it fast. If you rely on your firearm for more than punching holes in the paper you will appreciate the speed with which a clean, smooth trigger can function. Not only will it allow you to shoot quicker it will also reset and be ready for the next shot faster.
Many factory triggers will process small burrs, imperfections, and rough surfaces that prevent smooth, clean action. Sometimes it is easier, and cheaper, to replace a factory trigger than trying to address these issues.
Reduced Pull Weight
Plenty of quality factory triggers are still replaced by their owners for one simple reason – trigger pull. Some rifles come equipped with a trigger that is too heavy for the user. Others have triggers that are within the acceptable range but not to the user’s liking. Being able to replace your trigger with one that is set to the weight you prefer makes the firearm easier for you to use.
It also allows for steadier, more accurate follow-up shots.
Here is an example of trigger weights and their typical uses:
- 8oz – 2 pounds Target shooting, bench rest shooters.
- 2 – 3.5 pounds Target shooting, self-defense, hunting, and 3-gun competition.
- 4+ pounds Cold weather hunting, increased safety if gun may be dropped.
*** Note, these are ranges and every company / gun manufacturer has a different take on what weight will accomplish what objective. It ultimately comes down to the shooters preference. ***
The most common benefit of replacing a trigger is increased accuracy. Although many shooters will replace a trigger with accuracy in mind almost all will find it a secondary benefit. A cleaner, faster action results in less flinching and the ability to maintain better sight alignment. The result is increased accuracy.
Reduced pull weight means less strength is needed to operate the trigger, meaning there is less likely you will pull the firearm off target. The result is increased accuracy.
Better fit allows you to achieve better finger placement. The result is increased accuracy.
Of course, there is a limit to the improvements a new trigger will provide. Do not forget that training is still the key to overall accuracy.
Accuracy and performance are not the only reason you might consider replacing a trigger. There is also the matter of personal preference. Some shooters prefer a specific model trigger, while some shooters prefer a specific trigger brand. Others prefer a straight or curved trigger, a specific finish, or even a trigger that sits a bit further forward. Each can be addressed with an aftermarket replacement and, for those with a preference, this is the first upgrade they will make on any rifle they purchase.
When it comes to triggers there is no “one size fits all”. Each shooter has their style, needs, and preferences. Although a replacement trigger cannot fix every problem or make every rifle a precision platform, it can make a difference in any rifle and for any shooter.
If you are handy with tools and have a little bit of experience, there are plenty of DIY drop-in after-market triggers available. If you do not feel comfortable replacing a trigger on your own, any competent gunsmith can undertake the project. Just remember, when selecting a trigger, it is important to know what your desired result is. Not every trigger provides the same features, and many are quite different and designed to address specific issues.