My trigger weight limit for a 1911 self-defense gun...

This is a discussion on My trigger weight limit for a 1911 self-defense gun... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is certainly a personal thing and others that carry a 1911 for SD purposes may have a different sensitivity, so this is by no ...

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Thread: My trigger weight limit for a 1911 self-defense gun...

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    My trigger weight limit for a 1911 self-defense gun...

    This is certainly a personal thing and others that carry a 1911 for SD purposes may have a different sensitivity, so this is by no means some kind of blanket ruling on the subject.

    Many of you may be under the impression that I am a new comer to the 1911 because of some of my threads about my new heart-throb, the Kimber line of 1911s. However, I've been into 1911s for a looong time. I started out about twelve years ago with a custom, Gunsite built 1911 that the Gunsite gunsmith offered to let me use in my 5 day Introductory Handgun Course. I couldn't stand it; I thought it was awful. I had grip safety trigger blocks, it had harsh recoil etc., you had to keep flippin' the safety up and down - I could not wait for the first opportunity to switch to my Glock 19. But it was too late. Even though I did switch back to the Glock and used it the rest of the class, something happened.

    A few months later, I bought my first 1911 - a Kimber full-size all SS and it was a beauty! Never gave me a bit of trouble. Of course that was before I knew the MIM parts were supposed to crumble into dust, become covered with rust, and jam every other shot. As a matter of fact, I sold that gun to my wife's cousin not long ago.

    Well I became a 1911 guy so the next summer, I bought the package deal with Gunsite for a Custom 1911 and the Intermediate Handgun Course. The Gunsite gun was built on a SA frame and slide and I had trouble from the start. When it came class time, I took my Gunsite 1911 and my Kimber to Gunsite. I took the Gunsite 1911 to the gunsmith, explained the problem and told them to make the trigger just like the one on my stock Kimber. While they were working on the custom job, I of course shot the Kimber. Never had a single problem with it. Of course that was before I knew....oh well, no need to repeat.

    Turned out, something had to be welded on the SA frame and it had to be sent out to a special weld shop to get it done. Well, by Wednesday the gun was back, fixed, reblued, front strap checkerd (had to pay for that) and the trigger broke just like my Kimber. So I finished the course with the Gunsite Custom and didn't have a problem.

    The next summer I signed up for the Advanced Handgun Course and got the crazy idea to build my own 1911 from scratch using Caspian parts. This wasn't the first 1911 I'd built. The first was the Wilson Combat frame and slide and most internals. This is the one where I silver soldered the beavertail to the frame - not the grip safety, the beavertail. Never had the first bobble from it. But this time would be different. I had 4 weeks to order the parts, fit it all together, test it, put a finish on it and fly to Gunsite. I made it with a three days to spare! I had zero problems with it, out shot everybody, and won the man-on-man shoot off. Think that wasn't gratifiying!!!

    Then for some reason I don't recall, likely boredom, I began a gun rotation through all kinds of guns, and then about a month ago, a guy walked up to me at the range (he'd seen me shoot) and laid his brand new Kimber Ultra Carry on my bench, followed with a full mag. As with all Kimbers I've shot, this one was a shooter. I knew I'd have to have a Kimber, but I wanted a larger one and started with the Pro Carry - amazing. Anyway...

    Between my Pro Carry .45, my Tactical Pro .45, and my latest Tactical Pro 9mm, I've experienced a wide range of trigger pulls and hence got to evaluate their effectiveness and application. All three guns were within the 4-5 pound range Kimber specifies, but that wouldn't last long since I can't leave a 1911 alone. . E.g. of my three Kimbers, one started out at about 4.25 lbs and I lowered it to 3.25 lbs - really sweet shooting at that weight. The next was right at 4.75 lbs which I lowered to about 4.25 lbs. The third is my 9mm Tactical Pro which I just adjusted this morning.

    I just did some slight tweaking, cleaned and dried all the internals and lubed the internals with Gun Butter Grease. I know, I know, Kimber discourages the use of grease anywhere and besides, what could they possibly know anyway? And on top of that I just couldn't resist. And WOW what a change. I must have done more than slightly tweak, the pull weight dropped from 4-3/4 lbs to 3-1/8 lbs - BOY IT IS SWEET! I can't wait to shoot this, but it also got me thinking if I want to carry a 1911 with a trigger that light? Oh, I don't think it would bump/jar discharge or anything like that, it's just that it's really easy to break a shot.

    In fact, I was quite surprised at the difference between a 4-3/4 lb trigger and a 3-1/4 lb trigger. That pound or so seems like much more. So I kinda decided that 3.5 lbs would be the bottom limit. The top (for me) is about 4 lbs. I feel too much difference between a 4 and 5 lb trigger break and much prefer the 4 lb - even in a SD 1911.

    So that's where I've come from and the conclusion I've come to. I actually get to shoot this 3-1/8 lb trigger tomorrow. I expect I'll eventually bump it back up to 3.5 lbs, but not until I shoot it. I've got this hankering to see if it will shoot a 1" group at 25 yds - from a rest of some sort - that I don't have.
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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    personal is forsure. but we share a love of kimbers...

    my Classic Stainless Gold Match came from the factory in 1998 with a 2.25 trigger. ultra smooth to match the guns simply perfect accuracy.
    remembering back that far, Kimber only offered 5 handguns that spring.
    alas, that trigger is too light to defend in court so i like a minimum 4 pound....like my defender, for carrying.

    good write up, be well
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    Good thread. My latest 1911 has a trigger breaking cleanly at a bit over 2# with an extra heavy mainspring installed and I think that it's too light for every day carry & so I've not carried it yet.

    This is the first time that I've had to "strain my brain" & "work" to make a 1911 trigger pull heavier.
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    For self defense, I don't like to go below 4lbs on the trigger pull. My cooler weather carry is a S&W 1911 in stainless that I bobtailed and the pull is between 4 and 4.25lbs. I shoot it in IDPA all the time, and I can tell you that I wouldn't want a trigger lighter than this while under stress. Even at 4 lbs, once in a while I get a surprise second shot of a double tap at this trigger pull weight, but the second "surprise" shot has always been on target. That is telling me don't go any lighter.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    stress don't bother me, its my IDPA and everything but carry gun at 2.25
    what bothers me is having to pay in court with expert witness's and my lawyers time to
    prove that im capable with that set up. few are, so i would likely not be able to convince all 12 that i am.
    so i don't carry it. besides, its too pretty to have held in evidence should the worst come to pass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Good thread. My latest 1911 has a trigger breaking cleanly at a bit over 2# with an extra heavy mainspring installed and I think that it's too light for every day carry & so I've not carried it yet.

    This is the first time that I've had to "strain my brain" & "work" to make a 1911 trigger pull heavier.
    Have you tried making a mainspring out of a leaf spring for a car?

    That is an unusual problem. I'm sure you're using a standard weight hammer spring. I guess you could try a heaviery hammer spring (if you haven't already). I'm not real keen on heavy hammer spring though, that could cause hook and sear wear and affect cycling, but wow, what else can you do? Hmmm, maybe a heavier hammer spring and a lighter recoil spring (if needed).

    Are the hooks and sear at the correct angles?

    Well, I guess you see you got my attention.
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    I know I'm just stepping in the steps you've already taken, but could you drop a different hammer and sear in and see if the weight goes up?
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    I'm not worried about defending a light trigger in court,down here if it's a good SD shooting trigger weight has no bearing.But I personally agree with Tangle 3.5# to 4# is a good trigger for SD,you are in a high stress situation and your fine motor skills become diminished,I have shot competition guns at the range,One STI had such a light trigger it fired just by me placing my finger on the trigger and starting to apply pressure,Too light for SD IMHO,I have also fired guns that had a creepy gritty trigger,For me it's a smooth trigger with a crisp break and high enough trigger weight that you mean to shoot it when it discharges
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    Your posts and tests with Kimber, as of late, have been enjoyable to read.

    It was very courageous to bring a flawless Kimber ( ) experience onto the forum.

    However, no one will take you serious until you take the 'bull' by the horns

    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

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    I've been carrying a Kimber Tactical Pro and love it. NEVER had a single malfunction of any kind. Now I have an Ed Brown Kobra Carry with a 3.5 # trigger... what a difference! The Kimber clearly had a heavier trigger. My experience tells me to do a lot of shooting with the EB before I start carrying it to develop some muscle memory in my trigger finger but over all, I don't think 3.5 #s is too light for carry. I'm pretty sure though that like you, I don't want to go any lighter though.
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    4.lbs is about the lowest I would go for SD.
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    Distinguished Member Array AKsrule's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    This is certainly a personal thing and others that carry a 1911 for SD purposes may have a different sensitivity, so this is by no means some kind of blanket ruling on the subject.


    I just did some slight tweaking, cleaned and dried all the internals and lubed the internals with Gun Butter Grease. I know, I know, Kimber discourages the use of grease anywhere and besides, what could they possibly know anyway? And on top of that I just couldn't resist. And WOW what a change. I must have done more than slightly tweak, the pull weight dropped from 4-3/4 lbs to 3-1/8 lbs - BOY IT IS SWEET! I can't wait to shoot this, but it also got me thinking if I want to carry a 1911 with a trigger that light? Oh, I don't think it would bump/jar discharge or anything like that, it's just that it's really easy to break a shot.

    In fact, I was quite surprised at the difference between a 4-3/4 lb trigger and a 3-1/4 lb trigger. That pound or so seems like much more. So I kinda decided that 3.5 lbs would be the bottom limit. The top (for me) is about 4 lbs. I feel too much difference between a 4 and 5 lb trigger break and much prefer the 4 lb - even in a SD 1911.
    Too light for me

    Heres what Mr. Vickers says...... Trigger Pull Weight

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    You bring to mind and interesting thought AK. When we think about it, there's probably not another pistol made that has a trigger pull less than 4.5 lbs. For example, H&K LEMs are about 6.5 lbs, H&K DA is about 12 lbs, a Sig P250 DAO and DAK is about 6 lbs, Glocks, XDs, and M&Ps are about 6 lbs also, and all these triggers have very long strokes compared to a 1911 trigger.

    Isn't it interesting that all manufacturers of non-1911 pistols set both their trigger weights heaiver and their stroke lengths longer than 1911s? I've always been curious about that.
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    I got my first permit in 1979 and started carrying my Gold Cup. My eyes were 20/10 and I was disciplined. Now that I'm older I prefer a heavier trigger, because it doesn't take that much to really piss me off.
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    I like this thread. I have as SA that is supposed to be in the 5-6# range. My finger tells me it is at or over the top end of this range. I need to have it measured to know for sure, but I am seriously considering having it lowered. I was thinking 3.5# to 4#, but after reading this thread, I think I will go to 4# to 4.25#.
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