If you were following the Apex DCAEK/RAM thread....

This is a discussion on If you were following the Apex DCAEK/RAM thread.... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I decided to start a new thread - I thought an update in the previous thread I posted on this subject might be difficult to ...

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Thread: If you were following the Apex DCAEK/RAM thread....

  1. #1
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    If you were following the Apex DCAEK/RAM thread....

    I decided to start a new thread - I thought an update in the previous thread I posted on this subject might be difficult to locate or overlooked, soooo...

    Bear in mind that this is the results I experienced; there have been a few that have have seen more significant changes than I did which goes to show that results can vary some and APEX agrees with that.

    Just to review, Apex provides essentially two products for the M&P trigger. The DCAEK is a carry gun kit designed to lighten and smooth the trigger pull, shorten the trigger reset, shorten trigger overtravel, and may have a very slight affect on the trigger's tactile characteristic. But as related to me by Scott of Apex on the phone, the tactile component is essentially imperceptible. The DCAEK is expected to reduce trigger pull weight from 6-6.5 lbs stock to what APEX claims in their installation video of a low 4 lb range. I wonder about this. My stock trigger was already at 5.5 lbs and it only went to 5.1 lbs with the DCAEK and polishing. When I told Scott my trigger pull weight was already at 5.5 lbs, before I bought the DCAEK, Scott told me I probably wouldn't see a lot of pull weight reduction and he was right.

    The second product is the RAM kit; this does one thing - enhance the tactile response of the trigger.

    I finally got both products in my M&Pf 9mm and then finally got to shoot it. Again, this is my experience, and as I mentioned before results can vary some.

    First, my measured trigger pull weight was reduced from 5.5 lbs to 5.1 lbs. Unfortunately, I did not measure the overtravel with the stock trigger. The rest of my experience is subjective, which I've found over many years can be influenced by expectation. IOW, if you want something to be, your mind may perceive it to be whether it actually is or not.

    But, I think I was about as objective with my subjective evaluation as I could be. I really wasn't anticipating or expecting, if anything I was a bit skeptical. My approach to a shooting evaluation was to compare the tricked out M&P to another gun used as kind of a baseline because it is a known quantity. The gun I chose was my gen 2 G17 with a Ghost Rocket connector. The Ghost Rocket has to be fitted to the gun for the sole purpose of minimizing trigger over-travel. I shot 50 'range' rounds through each gun and then an additional 50 NATO rounds through the M&P because it was fun!!! I would have shot 50 of the hot NATO rounds through the Glock too, but I'm really needing to replace the recoil spring and I didn't want to shoot it any more until I replace the recoil spring.

    My reaction? A Glock is just hard to beat. But, the M&P with the DCAEK and RAM is impressive. The trigger pull is just about right as far as pull weight goes. However, keep in mind that my pull weight only changed from 5.5 lbs to 5.1 lbs. As far as I'm concerned, the trigger pull is everything it needs to be, but I could just about say that for my stock trigger. There's only about 7-8% difference in my case.

    The reset is much improved, and this is the component of the M&P trigger that really needs help and the RAM does help significantly, although it would be stretching to say it's equal to my Glock reset, but it's close. The RAM kit ($23) certainly improves the reset, and will work with the stock trigger or the DCAEK.

    The DCAEK also enhances reset some due to the heavier trigger spring that comes in the kit. You'd think that'd be counter-productive to trigger pull weight and it would be, but you still get an overall pull weight reduction with the added benefit of a more forceful trigger return. I noticed and really liked that, I could feel the trigger forcefully returning to it's reset position.

    To me, it is extremely difficult to measure the impact of reduced trigger over-travel. Sometimes I think that's a bit over-rated. I simply could detect no impact in trigger overtravel. That doesn't mean it didn't reduce over-travel, I'm sure it does. What I'm saying is I was unable to demonstrate the benefit of the over-travel reduction via shooting.

    I did some rapid fire, but I couldn't tell that the tricked out M&P was any faster than it was stock, although it may be since I did not use a timer to measure splits etc. However, split times, rapid fire, etc. is hidden somewhat by shot placement. I.e. when you speed up, groups get larger. So I may have much faster split times on a given day, but the grouping may have fallen apart to get the faster split times, and there's everything in between, so it's a difficult thing to measure accurately.

    Plus, there is one thing that really, really bothers me about over-travel reduction in a SD gun. Let's consider what over-travel limits do: Over-travel mechanisms, minimize the distance the trigger can travel after the shot breaks. Probably the most 'famous' over-travel machanism is the set screw in the trigger of a 1911. I wonder how many people have 'tweaked' this screw thinking they were adjusting trigger pull weight. Anyway, heres the potential problem.

    The over-travel limit, in whatever variation it exists, consists in something 'dead-ending' the trigger right after the shot breaks. Purportedly this limits the amount of movement of the gun due to the continuing travel of the trigger. But all the variations have the same potential problem - they marginalize the reliability of the trigger. I know this has not been a prevalent problem (that we know of), but if we're going to whine about locks on revolvers, and magazine disconnects meaning instant death in a gunfight, what about a very tiny piece of debris getting under the stop of the trigger over-travel mechanism? I mean, it's already near the edge. All it would take is a little bit of something getting in the works, the trigger would dead-end before the shot breaks....not good, and there's no immediate action drill to deal with that.

    I've actually heard (Masod Ayoob writings) of pocket lint getting under the hammer of a J-frame carried in a pocket and preventing the gun from firing when it was needed. But couldn't a trigger block occur even without finely adjusted trigger over-travel? Sure it could, but it's a matter of probability. The a piece of debris that might stop a trigger prematurely with a finely adjusted over-travel, may just limit how much over-travel the trigger has on a stock trigger. It's just something to be aware of and make a decision about over-travel based on knowing the full implications and risk.

    So, in conclusion, is the $90 DCAEK worth the money? Does it do enough to justify the cost? Well, all things being equal, absolutely not. The $23 RAM kit yes. By all things being equal, I mean the M&P costs $550; a Glock $499 and the Glock already has an acceptable trigger. To bring the M&P trigger up to the performance level of a Glock trigger, is going to take $90 + $23 which brings the total cost of the M&P to $663, a difference of $164 over a Glock. Even if you put a Ghost Rocket connector ($25) in your Glock as I do all my Glocks, you are still looking at spending $140 more going the M&P route. However, the reality is, you may not be able to realize the full potential of the enhancements unless you train a lot. Then again, rarely are all things equal, sooo...

    If you don't like Glocks - that's your brain malfunction (just kidding, but...), and/or you already have an M&P then is it worth the money for the DCAEK and the RAM? The RAM certainly, it only cost $23. But the DCAEK? Not really. If you just want to maximize your M&P then money is not an issue. But if money is an issue, to me, spending that money on ammo and shooting or even better formal training would be money better spent.

    Don't misunderstand, the DCAEK and RAM does everything it is suppose to, but it comes at a significant cost, and not everyone that owns an M&P would be able to realize the full potentlal of a tricked out M&P because they just don't shoot enough. And if money is an issue and they spend the money for the APEX enhancements, then they're going to be shooting even less.

    Then for a competition gun, it's different. The APEX comp kit does more than the carry kit so you could potentially be getting more bang for the buck. But even with the comp version, not everyone will realize the full benefit.
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  3. #2
    Member Array marcodo's Avatar
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    Can't comment on the RAM kit...although I agree the tactile reset is something S&W should look into.

    as for the DCAEK it was money well spent on my 45C. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I hated the original trigger. Nowhere near the triggers on my XD, USP (fair comparisons) and certainly no 1911 (I know apples and oranges)

    It lightened my trigger to just under 5lbs...but there is more than that. Again subjective (cause I not sure how to measure it) but it took the grittiness out and reduced the creep.

    Perhaps the difference between us was your trigger was better at baseline and mine stunk...therefore I got a bigger change.

    It really was a game changer for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcodo View Post
    ...as for the DCAEK it was money well spent on my 45C. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I hated the original trigger. Nowhere near the triggers on my XD, USP (fair comparisons) and certainly no 1911 (I know apples and oranges)
    Well, kind of apples and oranges, but triggers are triggers, and I think it is both rational and logical to compare triggers. If one gun has a trigger we like and another gun doesn't, the first gun, the one we like, becomes our reference. It may be that they are different guns altogether, but we know what we're looking for and if the next gun doesn't measure up....

    Quote Originally Posted by marcodo View Post
    ...It lightened my trigger to just under 5lbs...but there is more than that....
    I'm hovering right at 5 lbs now too.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcodo View Post
    ...Again subjective (cause I not sure how to measure it) but it took the grittiness out and reduced the creep.
    I noticed that too; I stated that the DCAEK smoothes out the trigger, so we're seeing the same results here.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcodo View Post
    ...Perhaps the difference between us was your trigger was better at baseline and mine stunk...therefore I got a bigger change.
    That sure seems to be accurate and I'm not sure how the same gun from the same manufacturer with the same trigger can be so different, but that does seem to be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcodo View Post
    ...It really was a game changer for me
    Absolutely, depending on your game and where you are with it and where you plan to go with it. But still for the average M&P owner, I'm not sure they'll ever realize the full potential of the enhancements. For example, I have no doubt that one shot accuracy could be a measurable improvement. But accurately measuring and quantifying rapid fire etc. is much more difficult and the skill of the shooter may be by far the limiting factor rather than the gun. Hence my comment suggesting one would be better off using the money to shoot more or for formal training.

    Plus, some careful polishing and more shooting is gonna likely improve the trigger significantly anyway. That's the only logical thing I can think of that would reasonably account for my M&P having a 5.5 lb trigger to start with - it already had over 2000 rounds through it.

    I'm not disagreeing with you, not at all. But, we do need to present the whole picture. Part of that picture is that one could buy a Glock or XD for less, and saving another $90 for the trigger enhancement that a Glock and XD really doesn't need. On top of that, I kinda think the M&P trigger is gonna get some better by just shooting it. This kinda goes back to your thought about apples an oranges, but if we're looking to rationalize an additional $164 to come up the the performance of a Glock or XD, it's difficult to justify.

    However, let me say this: would I be willing to sell my DCAEK and go back to stock? Not at the moment, but I'm not caught between sacrificing ammo and shooting to buy the $90 DCAEK - it's kind icing on the cake. And I have to say that if one is having trigger issues, and I really wasn't except for reset, one might be better off with a different gun (Glock or XD) rather than spending more money on a gun to fix a trigger. OTOH, I had SA do a carry package on my XD - made a world of difference and it cost a lot more ($175)!

    The RAM is a different story, I believe it is a good addition to the M&P and I believe it would be good for just about anyone.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    "The second product is the RAM kit; this does one thing - enhance the tactile response of the trigger."

    I'm still kind of confused on exactly what this means. Please forgive the incoming horribly structured sentence. Does it mean that after you pull the trigger and fire a round and begin to let the trigger back out that it makes the point where the mechanism re-engages (without letting the trigger ALL the way out) and you are ready to fire another round easier to "feel" or does it actually shorten the distance that you have to let the trigger out to be able to fire again?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    "The second product is the RAM kit; this does one thing - enhance the tactile response of the trigger."

    I'm still kind of confused on exactly what this means. Please forgive the incoming horribly structured sentence. Does it mean that after you pull the trigger and fire a round and begin to let the trigger back out that it makes the point where the mechanism re-engages (without letting the trigger ALL the way out) and you are ready to fire another round easier to "feel" or does it actually shorten the distance that you have to let the trigger out to be able to fire again?
    Good question. Let's start with what tactile refers to. It is not a gun term, it is more of a machine-human interface term appropriately applied to the trigger of a gun. Tactile basically means you feel an action take place. For example, let's say we press a 'key' on a keyboard that has no tactile response. Let's further say we don't press the key to its fully depressed position. So we press the key - what tells us we've pressed it far enough? Nothing. Now the same thing with a keyboard with tactile response. We start pressing the key and suddenly we feel a distinct, unmistakable click or pop that tells us beyond doubt that we have pressed the key far enough, we need not press it further.

    Now to the release and reset of a trigger. Let's say we fire a shot and we are holding the trigger to the rear most position. We start to slowly release the trigger. What tells us when we've released the trigger far enough to reset? The feel and perhaps audible click of the reset. That let's us know that further release is not required. Now for the degree or intensity of tactile reset.

    The tactile reset of the Glock trigger is the 'bar' by which all others should be evaluated. Of course that's my opinion, but I think it would be quite difficult to argue with the superb tactile reset of the Glock trigger. The tactile response of the Glock trigger does three things. One, it produces an audible click, two it produces a very distinct feel that is easily, well, felt. And three, the least of the three, it gives the sense of a distinct edge and in a sense a distinct rest position for the trigger while preparing for the next shot. For time and space sake I won't go into the advantages of all this, but I'm having to bite my fingers not to. Anyway on to the RAM....

    The RAM does not change trigger pull weight, reset distance, over travel, none of that; it does one thing. It increases the tactile intensity of the reset. It makes it more distinct, increases audibility, and increases the feel. It does this by applying more lateral spring force to the trigger bar. Hence as the trigger is released, the trigger bar will eventually slide off the tab on the sear and 'slap' against something that stops its motion. The harder it hits, the more you hear and feel.

    The stock M&P trigger has a horrible tactile reset - it's like that key that has no tactile reset, how do you know when you can stop? The RAM kit goes a long way to correct this problem. I highly recommend the RAM kit to anyone that owns an M&P. It's only $23, easy to install, and while I don't think it's as good as a Glock, it's significantly better than stock.

    But, again, unless you incorporate the tactile reset as part of trigger management training, it may be of minimal, if any, benefit.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation. I understand now and think I'll pick on up for at least one of my M&P's to see if I like it.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    The RAM helps, but it won't blow you away with improvement, but it is better than stock and for $23....
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