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This is just some thoughts with the hope to stimulate some open and honest thinking about our perceptions and other things we commonly read and claim. This is just one aspect of a gun – the trigger.

In researching the Sig P250 for a possible purchase, I noticed a common theme among threads about the P250 - it's got a long trigger pull. It's been a while since I had a P250 in my hands, but I don't remember the trigger pull being significantly longer than the first DA pull of DA/SA triggers. What I did notice was the trigger on the P250 was smoother and lighter than any DA/SA trigger - some have likened it to a DA revolver trigger.

There seems to be a perception that a shorter trigger pull makes a gun better than a gun with a longer trigger pull. If that is true then the 1911 is, based on trigger characteristics, the king of all guns, case closed. It should logically follow that a 1911 can be shot faster than any other gun, right? I mean with the light, short trigger pull and the short trigger reset, why would one choose any other gun?

As for me, since I shoot a lot and sometimes just want to take a break and do something different, I occasionally shoot a bunch of guns side-by-side and see what works best for me that day. The results have been amazing. One time I can shoot a 1911 better than anything else; another day it's a Glock, another day it's a Sig, another day an H&K, etc. But there is one exception - if my S&W 686, 2-1/2 bbl revolver is in the mix, it is the one I shoot better, every single time with no exceptions. Know how I shoot it? DAO exclusively, big ol long trigger pull and all. Granted, I have done some trigger work to lighten the trigger a bit, but nothing to shorten it.

Also, it's curious how some that find the DAO such a detriment to shooting, turn right around and claim they do much better with a DA/SA. From my experience, ALL DA/SA may be a bit shorter than say a P250, but it's also a lot heavier and noticeably not as smooth. So what happens? We draw our DA/SA and fire that first shot with a heavy, i.e. about a 10 lb pull, and it doesn't have a short pull. So our first defensive shot out of the holster is the one that's the hardest and I bet we practice the very least.

Just a guess on my part here - most that prefer DA/SA shoot 99.9% of their shots in SA. Typically we load the gun, rack the slide and now we’re in SA. We shoot the gun empty, stuff in a full mag, drop the slide and blaze away. That's all SA, so yeah, I bet we do like that, but let us not forget that first shot out of the holster is gonna be DA - the one we practice the least and we consider the least desirable trigger action.

Then there’s the speed perception that a SA trigger is faster in rapid fire. I wonder. I read the claim that you can’t defy physics, but I wonder if we’re fully taking physics into account. E.g., here’s a physics problem: I can run about 5 shots a second, which means I have to fire a shot every 0.2 seconds. Two tenths of a second, I wonder if the gun has recoiled and settled back on target in 0.2 seconds? Well, by my tests, which include a timer, it hasn’t. Now if you just count a hit as anywhere on the paper (a static target quite different than a real-world confrontation), then recoil isn’t a problem – you just spray and pray as fast as you can.

There are a number of variables that need to be accounted for to do a fair comparison between guns, esp. trigger types. E.g. let’s say I have carried a Sig 229 DA/SA for three years and shot it fairly regularly. Then I see someone at the range with a P250 and I shoot it. Is there any doubt which gun is gonna shoot better, feel right, and have the better trigger system for me? But, what if I carry a P250 for three years and shoot it regularly, and then one day shoot a P229 DA/SA. Is that gonna be a predicable outcome? I think so, and if not, it is inescapable that there will be an inherent bias for the gun I carry and shoot the most.

So I guess it comes down to this: have there actually been carefully executed tests to determine which trigger is best or advantageous and to who and when is it advantageous and why? Have we even used a timer and scored ourselves, AND given each gun equal and fair carry/shooting times, to see if trigger configurations really make a difference? Or, are we going by feel and perception? If the latter is true, realize that’s not expertise; it’s biased opinion.

I’ve even gone to the range just to see if one gun is better than my current favorite – guess what it never is. What I’m saying is there is a lot of bias inherent in us that sway our perceptions and even our performance when comparing two different guns.
 

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If one doesn't desire a long trigger pull on his favorite rifle or shotgun than why would he be alright with it on his handguns? I loathe any flavor of DAO design.

I'm not even into DA/SA designs. Only 1911s and Hi-Powers need apply.
 

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If one doesn't desire a long trigger pull on his favorite rifle or shotgun than why would he be alright with it on his handguns? I loathe any flavor of DAO design.

I'm not even into DA/SA designs. Only 1911s and Hi-Powers need apply.
I understand personal preferences - this is not about personal preferences. What it is about is when personal preferences and/or any other unfounded issue becomes the basis for claiming that other trigger systems are 'less', inferior, or not as fast. Until that has been thoroughly tested fairly without the influence of bias, we can't really substantiate any claims about trigger types.

I've seen too many times where our perceptions and 'logic' prove to be far from accurate, esp. when it comes to time perceptions as pertinent to shooting.
 

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It has been my experience that a longer trigger pull is a detriment to shooting accurately for people that dont shoot much or have never shot at all until that day.

Many of those attending our CHL classes will bring a a gun that is designed for personal defense,its usually compact and many of them have DAO triggers.

Although it is OK for defensive purposes, it sucks for new shooters because if they don't hit the target, they are easily discouraged. That long trigger pull, no matter how smooth it may seem, allows too much movement of the gun in the hand, therefore the sights wont be on center where they were when they started taking up slack.

Without fail, these new shooters shoot much better when given a single action design, such as a 1911 clone or even a Ruger MK 2 or 3 .22.

As for the testing of such, in my hands I shoot much faster with a single action trigger than a double action, my scores when shooting steel plates from a draw are much faster.

Of course, it's whatever you are used too. All of my Sigs have both double and single action. For the purposes of accuracy on a paper target that is standing still and not shooting back, I'll thumb back the hammer every time. When shooting Police qualifications with it, most of it is from a long double action trigger. Although it doesn't seem to affect my score much, too me it feels atrocious, especially if I happened to use my Colt XSE first.

In reality, I think that its not the gun that matters, its the man(or woman) behind it that makes the difference and alot of it is what you are comfortable with.
 

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I agree with HotGuns, it's the person behind the trigger, not the trigger that matters. Based on that, I'll come down on the side that says a long/DA trigger won't matter. There are two types out there... those who have inadequate training with their firearm (we all saw them in our permit classes), and those who train regularly. For those who train regularly, the discipline takes over and the trigger doesn't get touched until they're ready to shoot. For those who are inadequately trained, the adrenaline will be pumping so much that the trigger could be set at 15 pounds and they're going to stroke it without even noticing.

It's got way more to do with the gun-handler than the gun.
 

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I agree with HotGuns, it's the person behind the trigger, not the trigger that matters. Based on that, I'll come down on the side that says a long/DA trigger won't matter. There are two types out there... those who have inadequate training with their firearm (we all saw them in our permit classes), and those who train regularly. For those who train regularly, the discipline takes over and the trigger doesn't get touched until they're ready to shoot. For those who are inadequately trained, the adrenaline will be pumping so much that the trigger could be set at 15 pounds and they're going to stroke it without even noticing.

It's got way more to do with the gun-handler than the gun.
:yup:
 

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As someone who owns a few pistols, including at Sig P250. I think it comes down to being a shooter with basic fundamentals. I can honestly say that it took a couple times to get used to shooting the P250, but now I think it's a sweet trigger. It has a great, light, smooth pull.

As far as shooting it fast, well it's fast enough for me. I honestly don't think that the speed is much of an issue for defensive purposes. We are talking milliseconds here folks.

I think this might be the most underrated gun on the market. The simplicity is unmatched only to a revolver. You don't have all the safeties to deal with like striker fired pistols and 1911's.
 

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DA, DAO, SA is all fine with me. The only trigger I hate is DA/SA...I hate the transition from DA to SA. As long as the trigger is consistent shot to shot, I don't care what it is.

In a real-world fight, I don't see a difference in shot times due to the trigger. Once the firing starts, it's more an issue of recoil control than the trigger.

I keep reading (as an example) folks complaining about the trigger and accuracy with DAO pistols like the LCP and P3at. I can keep all my shots within a 2" circle at 7-10 yards with my LCP - and I am not a great shot. It's just a matter of training.
 

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There's a reason most champion shooters use a 1911...short, light, consistent trigger pull.
 

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A measureable example: my HK P2000 V3 (DA/SA) has a long 12lb DA and a relatively long SA reset. While it's a fine firearm (truely), there is no comparision to how much faster I can shoot my Glocks because of thier relatively short pull and reset. My 1911's are, well they're 1911's.

I'm a reluctant Glock dude FWIW.

C-
 

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Long Pull Confusion

I'm attaching a close up of the trigger from my 1911 Gold Cup (after the late Austin Behlert remade it).

I've been told numerous times that the pull is too long.

Considering I won a bunch of awards shooting I.P.S.C., and this is my main carry gun and I've been shooting it for approx. 25 years, and I wear a size 7 glove, I don't find the pull too long at all.

Maybe I have long fingers, doubt that, or this is what I'm use to, or a too long pull is an easy excuse for poor shooting?

Can't figure this one out?

Behlert-Trigger.jpg



Bruce
 

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LOVE my Sig DAK, but I'm biased, it's my first gun, my EDC, and what I learned to really shoot well on.

I agree that it's the shooter, mainly, not so much the trigger, though each affects the other. If you're talking just precision, I love the DAK with its long pull, and can get downright surgical with it. Since it's my EDC and there are no real external safeties, I also appreciate the long and heavy trigger pull, because it's almost like a semi-safety in my mind. Though other folks who play with it at the range like it, they do complain about the distance.

If you're talking about something for speed and competition, then probably not, because something like an SRT would give you even just a fraction of a second's edge per shot, but every little bit counts, right?

Personally, I'm just a big fan. The long and heavy pull help me work on trigger control with myself and my students, and I see that as a valuable tool. But speed-wise, it's probably not the way to go.
 

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A measureable example: my HK P2000 V3 (DA/SA) has a long 12lb DA and a relatively long SA reset. While it's a fine firearm (truely), there is no comparision to how much faster I can shoot my Glocks because of thier relatively short pull and reset. My 1911's are, well they're 1911's.

I'm a reluctant Glock dude FWIW.

C-
I am talking about a 5.5 to 6.5 pound DAO trigger pull on a P250. A 12.lb trigger pull is a different animal.
 

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"I understand personal preferences..."

Hi Tangle;

It's not only a matter of personal preference. The longer double-action-only trigger is clearly no aid to either speedy shot delivery or pin-point accuracy. For combat accuracy it's adequate and perhaps that's good enough. The design simply isn't as effortless as a good single action design. The additional effort it takes to effectively operate the DAO trigger was put there for a reason.

As originally marketed, automatics with the long DAO (including "safe-action") triggers were touted for simplicity, ease of training, safety; and for requiring an additional degree of deliberation to operate. The DAO trigger is a mechanical design in which the pistol exerts additional trigger control that supplements the control the shooter exercises. It's a designed-in "detriment" if you will but really takes no responsibility off the shooter and his use of the handgun. A DAO trigger brings more hindrance to actual trigger operation than all reasonable SA triggers. It's just the way it is.

Certainly a dedicated shooter may overcome the characteristic design features of the DAO trigger and shoot it very well indeed. It's amazing though that many accept the DAO trigger and choose to live with its features. It is wildly popular though.

Trigger control is what it's all about. Does one want to maintain more complete control over his trigger or does he want the gun's design to "assist" him with trigger control? The shooter with the single action trigger has less to deal with in exerting that control. Less pull weight, less trigger movement, and less over-travel. If one seeks speed it will be found in trigger control as well. If a new shooter typically shoots better with a single action trigger design as Hotguns correctly suggests, then imagine what the trained, dedicated pistolero could do with the benefits of a short, crisp single action trigger.

Many are willing to trade off the benefits of the single action trigger for the double-action-only trigger in order to avoid the external safety and its use. Other dedicated students of pistol craft don't feel the safety is an impediment to either safe operation of the pistol or to the speed in which it may be brought into action. They value the fine trigger available on single action designs. Some folks "ride the fence" and go for DA/SA triggers which has it's own set of issues.

There are all sorts of aftermarket kits, parts, and gunsmith tricks to lighten and smooth the DAO trigger and some DAO shooters take advantage of them in order to gain some measure of trigger efficiency. This is an amusing approach as the results sought through use of these parts and methods diminishes the degree of designed-in control that is the purpose of the DAO trigger in the first place and the thing still won't approach the goodness of the SA trigger.

Certainly it has more to do with the gun-handler than the gun and the person behind the gun is more important than the gun itself. A skilled person can run a DAO pistol well, but then he could greatly benefit from a fine SA trigger and perhaps shoot even better. The DAO trigger attempts to address some training and proficiency issues at the expense of a lower measure of true trigger control by the operator.

These are only my views and I realize that I'm an old geezer who predates DAO designs and their wide acceptance. The DAO trigger is the handgun version of the tale of the "The Emperor's New Clothes." A design concept that has won wide acclaim when less is actually there than meets the eye. Much less when considering the well-trained pistol shooter.

Life is about choices.
 

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It's the trigger in each particular pistol that matters. I have no problem getting my 32 acp PPK or 22 cal SP101 going in double-action. It seems that double-action pulls "make me" point the pistol effectively. I'm no bullseye shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
bmcgilvray,

Some of your remarks are classic of the trigger configuration theory (TCT) - no slight intended at all. However, Jerry M. shoots a revolver in DA as fast as his peers do their highly customized 1911s. Plus, if I remember this correctly, Jerry M. cannot shoot a SA any faster than he can a DAO revolver.

Granted, we are not Jerry M.'s, but his peers that he shoots with are - the best against the best. If TCT were true, equally skilled and talented shooters would always shoot better with a SA trigger than a DA revolver. But we see in practice that is not the case.

From a personal experience, when I took Gunsite's Advanced Tactical Pistol course, I took a 686 revolver that I had only shot for about two weeks. I did lighten the trigger just a bit, but I had no speed or accuracy problems due to the DA trigger. To wit: In one drill, I was shooting against a Wilson Combat 1911, and a Glock 21. The drill was to start from a low ready and when the target turned, fire as many shots into the target as you could until it returned to the 'no-shoot' position. The target exposure time was 1.5 seconds. I had no problem at all firing my six shots and a 7th 'click' before the target rotated away. How'd the Glock and 1911 guy do? No better than me, in fact, not quite as fast.

What this means is, if we allow a quarter of a second to raise the gun, I had 1.25 seconds left to fire 6 shots. To do that I had to fire a shot every 0.2 seconds. And actually, I emptied the gun and could have fired a 7th shot! I can do no better with a semi with any kind of trigger.

Then considering accuracy. When I take semis and my 686 revolver to the range for a side-by-side comparison, I shoot more accurately with the 686 in DA than with any semi, including 1911s. And, I'm not a revolver fan at all. Again according to TCT, I should always shoot better with a DA/SA or SA than a revolver, but I don't find that to be true.

I guess we could point to competitive shooting, but then we'd have to immediately concede that Jerry M. turned the shooting world upside down when he started shooting revolvers in DA every bit as fast as his peers shoot with highly customized 1911s.

TCT claims, "Why do more competitors shoot 1911s?" Well, why do so many competitors shoot Glocks and now XDs and M&Ps? I suspect if the numbers were crunched, more people shoot Glocks in competition than 1911s. Take Dave S. that shoots Glocks; according to TCT, he shouldn't be able to shoot a Glock as well as a 1911 because the 1911 trigger is shorter to break and shorter on reset, but there's Dave S. out there beatin' everybody.

Ernst Langdon use to beat everybody with a DA/SA Beretta 92FS. Again, according to TCT, he shouldn't be able to do that, yet there he was. One other thing Ernst did was take a Sig P220 ST DA/SA and beat Rob Leatham with his high dollar, highly customized 1911. According to TCT, that can't be, but there it is again, a DA/SA beating a 1911 with a SA. Realize that is peer to peer - the best against the best.
 

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Thru the last 40 +years, I have noted that individuals who have mastered the LONG DOUBLE ACTION PULL of a revolver are the ones who have been able to master any pull. Just my observation.
 

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I understand personal preferences - this is not about personal preferences. What it is about is when personal preferences and/or any other unfounded issue becomes the basis for claiming that other trigger systems are 'less', inferior, or not as fast. Until that has been thoroughly tested fairly without the influence of bias, we can't really substantiate any claims about trigger types.

I've seen too many times where our perceptions and 'logic' prove to be far from accurate, esp. when it comes to time perceptions as pertinent to shooting.
Unfortunately, personal preferences/perceptions/abilities are part of the equation. I'm sure that if you placed the gun in a Ransom rest, it would be just as accurate when fired in DA mode as in SA. But human beings are not "bolted to the table, cast iron machines".

Take any handgun fitted with a laser and aim it at a target. You'll notice the laser dancing around. That means that there are only brief fractions of a second when the gun is dead on target. Anything that prevents you from firing the gun at that precise moment is going to be detrimental to accuracy. Throw into the mix that that the longer the trigger pull, the more forces that are applied to the firearm which can pull it off target, and I think you'll find that for the vast majority of the population, a long trigger pull is definitely a detriment to accuracy. I'd like to make it clear though, that I'm talking about bullseye accuracy, not practical, self-defense accuracy.

Hoss
 
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