Glocks are great pistols. Proven reliability, decades-long track record for success. Consistently among the top-selling pistols in the world. There are excellent reasons for their popularity, and they deserve it. That’s why I am going to beat up on them as an example. I like Glocks. But I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret. They don’t have good triggers.
“But mine does!” I hear you cry. “I put in the latest Hypetech Ultimate trigger package!” Good for you, and I’m sure it’s a major improvement. But it’s still not a good trigger, it’s just good for a Glock trigger.
Put down the pitchforks and douse those torches. For now at least. I’ve had a lot of people brag to me about their tuned Glock trigger, and in truth some of them have been impressive…
…for a Glock trigger. I praised them as such. It’s not like they’re bad triggers and someone without a standard for comparison has every reason to think they are wonderful.
I have a friend who was always into classic muscle cars and insisted that they didn’t handle that badly. Then he got a performance car with a modern suspension and realized his standard for comparison had just shifted. He went from thinking the muscle cars handled well to realizing that they really, really didn’t.
It’s a horrible reality to face, but the average 1911a1 we had when I was in the Army, guns that were twenty years past their ‘sell-by’ date, had better triggers than a modified, tuned Glock trigger. I’ve never seen a striker-fired gun of any kind or description that had as good a trigger as a 1911a1, a CZ competition model or a 2011 can have. There are reasons for this; the interface of a mechanical sear with a hammer can produce a crisper, cleaner break and a shorter reset. For the same reason a hammer-fired double-action revolver or semi-auto will have a better trigger pull than a a striker-fired DAO auto. It’s the nature of the beast. Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger!
My 1911-based competition pistol has a 1-3/4 lb. trigger pull with zero take-up and a total of about 15/1000 of an inch of travel. No striker-fired pistol is going to match that. So that’s the bad news. The good news is you don’t have to.
You do not need a hyper-tuned competition trigger to succeed. In a defensive handgun your trigger just needs to be OK and to be consistent. Glock triggers are fine. Tuned Glock triggers are better. Yeah, they aren’t the best trigger possible, but so what? I’m not sure I’d feel safe carrying a super-tuned single-action trigger for self-defense. That’s not what it’s for.
You can get very good results, even exceptional results, from a striker-fired gun. People can and do compete with them with good results. How is this possible? because there’s another dirty little secret: it’s not the trigger that makes a gun accurate or fast. It’s the shooter. A great trigger can make it easier to wring the best performance you can from your gun. But almost any gun is already going to be more accurate than the person shooting it, at least among us mere mortals. For the worlds top-level competition shooters a fantastic trigger can give them an edge, but it really does take exceptional skill to get the most out of an exceptional trigger. A better trigger does not make you a better shooter, it just makes it easier to shoot to your limits.
Until or unless you reach the loftiest heights of competition shooting “Good for a Glock’ is good enough. Likewise a Sig, Walther or whatever. Focusing too much on the gun and it’s mechanism can take away from what matters: You. For most of us our money will be better spent on ammo for training than on a trigger-kit.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a trigger kit if you have the spare cash. Anything that increases your pleasure in shooting is good if for no other reason than you’re more likely to want to go shoot it. If part of that pleasure is ‘bragging rights,’ who am I to judge?
Here’s the last ugly little secret: The trigger on my competition gun is better than I can take full advantage of. The reason I set up that trigger had more to do with seeing just how good I could make it and to watch the expression on people’s faces when they try it. I mean, it doesn’t hurt my ability to shoot the gun. In fact it allows me to more easily reach the limits of my skill. But it’s just to reach them, not raise them. That’s going to take practice.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can buy skill. There are plenty of people out there who can take a bone-stock Glock up against my purpose-built, highly tuned competition gun and clobber me in a pistol match. They’ve put in the time and effort and a fancy pistol can’t overcome that.
It’s worth remembering. Where the rubber meets the road it’s training that matters.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 25 June 2023