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Heavy vs. light trigger pull – which is better?

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Robert B. is a former Tulsa County Sheriff’s volunteer deputy.

During an undercover sting operation, Robert assisted with the arrest of a suspect. But as the suspect was being arrested by officers, Robert shot the man.

The man died from the gunshot wound.

Robert immediately said that he meant to shoot the man with his taser, but he accidentally used his pistol.

Instead of a taser, Robert shot the man with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver.

The man was unarmed.

Robert was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison.

But there was a part of this case that had nothing to do with training, or tasers…

Instead, it was about firearm triggers.

During the case, the defense attorney described the gun as having a trigger that is “unbelievably light.”

This statement raised the question of whether Robert was carrying a weapon with a modified trigger, meaning it would be easier to discharge.

The problem was the sheriff’s department had no record of inspecting the volunteer’s weapon.

You see, full-time deputies must have their weapons inspected. And their duty weapons cannot be modified.

The gun carried by Robert was not listed among the weapons approved for reserve deputies.

The fact is, a lot of firearm enthusiasts have their guns modified by gunsmiths, or buy aftermarket triggers that have a lighter trigger pull…

So, let’s take a look at trigger pull… why it matters… and why you might want to have a heavier or lighter trigger pull on your gun.

What is the trigger pull weight?

Trigger pull weight is the amount of force or pressure it takes to pull the trigger on a gun to make it fire.

The greater the trigger pull weight, the greater the force needed to make the gun fire.

For example, most Glocks (both full and compact size guns) have a trigger pull weight of 5.39 lbs.

But a Smith & Wesson 642 .38 revolver has a trigger pull weight of about 12 lbs.

Especially if you have weak fingers, trigger pull weight is something you should pay close attention to.

It could affect how accurately and safely you fire the weapon.

How trigger pull affects accuracy:

A gun with a heavier trigger pull could lead a shooter to need to use so much force when they squeeze the trigger that they move the gun when firing.

For instance, if they are shooting with their right hand the gun will move left of their intended target.

This is because the person is pulling the trigger with so much force that as their hand flexes to create the pressure, it shifts the aim point of the barrel.

If you are thinking about buying a new gun you should rent it at a local gun range.

Ask about the trigger pull and test it to make sure you can pull it.

On the other hand, a light trigger pull isn’t always a good thing. You don’t want to accidentally fire your weapon because of the light trigger.

Is light or heavy trigger pull better?

The exact trigger pull weight comes down to personal preference. Some people like it heavy while some prefer a lighter one.

Each gun owner needs to make that decision for themselves.

A lot of people who shoot in competitions like to have a light trigger pull. This makes sense since their focus is speed.

Yet in a self-defense firearm, a lot of shooters like a pull weight between 5-8 lbs.

This weight of trigger pull isn’t too heavy or too light.

It’s heavy enough that you can put a slight squeeze on the trigger without the gun firing.

Which allows you more time (if you want it) to make a fire/no fire decision on a target.

But the 5-8 lbs. weight is still light enough to allow you to fire quickly without using so much finger and hand strength that it affects your accuracy.

Should you change your trigger pull?

You may have heard people mention that they did a “trigger job” on their gun.

What this means is that they’ve changed the trigger on their gun to make the pull weight lighter or heavier.

If you only use the gun for competition shooting then there is nothing wrong with doing that.

But I would never change the trigger pull on a firearm that you use for home defense or concealed carry.

Now, I’m obviously not a lawyer…

But as you’ve seen in the story above, lawyers could have a field day with a firearm that has a modified trigger.

A liberal prosecutor could argue that the person lightened the trigger pull to make it easier to “kill people.”

On top of that, if you buy a quality gun, from a well-known manufacturer, they know how to make the perfect trigger pull for their guns.

Usually, the factory specifications are more than acceptable for speed, accuracy, and safety.

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