How Can the Ergonomics of That Little Curvy Thing Affect Your Accuracy?
Understanding a trigger’s ergonomics is essential and a personal affair that’s unique to each shooter. Hands vary in width, length, finger size, some are boney while others are fat. Evaluating a trigger’s fit and quality will solely be determined by your hunting/shooting needs and how your hand and trigger intersect.
The Test Drive:
It sounds rather cliche, but the old adage of “Try before you buy” is sound advice. Today’s modern rifle triggers are fairly uniform across the board unless you are going custom. However, variables to consider are stock configurations, the distance of the trigger itself from where your palm naturally sits, length of pull, break and weight. In addition, just as hand configurations differ, triggers do as well from each manufacturer. Larger triggers tend to be geared toward target shooting, punching steel, while slim sleek triggers are generally designated for precision, in the field, game dropping shots.
Does Reduced Trigger Weight Increase Accuracy?
Yes and no. Triggers set to lighter weights don’t always mean increased accuracy and precision. Your shooting style, practices, rifle, rest, optics and current circumstances, all play a significant role. In theory, you should be surprised by the break, not struggling to find it. Trigger weight is directly related to the trigger mechanism and your rifle’s intended purpose. The trigger weight itself is best described as the force that’s required to squeeze the trigger until successfully discharged. Heavy trigger weights that feel like you’re trudging through a swamp lead to pulled shots, anxiety and hesitation. A little trigger weight is recommended because it can offer you immediate skillful feedback in real time and physically make you a better shooter. In addition, some insist that light triggers are a safety hazard. However, if responsible shooting practices and protocols are properly followed, there will never be an issue.
The Trigger of my Dreams:
My TriggerTech Trigger installed by Horizon Firearms is set at 2 Ibs. It’s crisp, responsive and a pleasure to shoot with. Since receiving my custom built 6.5 Creedmoor from Horizon Firearms that features this TriggerTech Trigger, I have noticed significant improvements in my grouping and that consistency is carrying well out to 500+ yards with ease. Repeatedly, shot after shot, this trigger never falters and performs precisely the same, no matter what. Inherently, modern triggers are dependable and consistent because their internal mechanisms are working in unison and execute the same action, with the same parts, over and over. This process should never change and if you notice a difference in your trigger’s behavior, then dirt, lubricant, etc., the usual suspects, have most likely built up and infiltrated your trigger housing. So, occasional thorough cleanings could be required for optimal trigger performance.
Can There be Too Much Movement or Take-Up in my Trigger?
Exaggerated trigger travel is undesirable for me because I want my trigger’s movement to be meaningful. We’ve all shot a rifle where it seemed like we squeezed and squeezed and squeezed, literally as though the trigger traveled for a mile, before the rifle discharged. That’s wasteful movement and there is no benefit to it. Conversely, if your trusty old rifle has a loose trigger, meaning there is free floating movement in the trigger when it’s not seated, your trigger altogether should be replaced. Loose movement, all too often, leads to confusion and poor grouping and in a hunting situation, is unethical. That being said, common wear after years of use is unavoidable and no trigger is meant to last a lifetime, if you shoot frequently like I do.
Understanding Single-Stage Triggers:
Single-stage triggers are simple, frequently misunderstood and most likely what you already own in your rifles, as they are probably the most used triggers. Often times, a single-stage trigger like my TriggerTech Trigger can be adjusted, mine is set to range from 1.5 to 4 Ibs and it has flawless resistance from start to finish. As my finger squeezes the trigger, I am met with subtle, yet even, well distributed and sensitive force up until the sear releases. There should never be an increase in pull weight and you shouldn’t feel trigger movement, a drop, grind or click, before the release. In essence, with a single-stage trigger, as you apply pressure up through breaking, there will be minimal uptake or slack. A good trigger should be pressed, and the rifle goes bang, end of story.
A Clean Break:
“Break” is the finale, the point where the rifle discharges. The entire motion leading up to the break and the break itself should be seamless, poetry in motion. As aforementioned, if there is increased pressure in take-up, exaggerated creep, etc., these are telltale signs that you don’t have a good trigger. Sure, we all want to be surprised when our rifle fires, however it is our trigger’s reaction, that message it relays to you the shooter, that lets us know when a clean break is going to happen. That felt, imminent, reassurance and unwavering trigger execution builds confidence and puts antlers on the wall. There should never be a gritty crunching feeling as you squeeze. Unevenness in a trigger’s performance is attributed to poor trigger construction and internal workings or neglect overtime. A high-quality trigger should glide freely without its own innards impeding the break. If a rifle you have or want has any of these negative attributes, a top end replacement trigger for around $150 could fix what ails that specific rifle’s trigger.
Over-Travel and Reset:
Over-travel in a trigger relates to unnecessary movement after the trigger breaks. If over-travel is prevalent in your trigger or in a trigger of a rifle you are interested in purchasing, you need to assess the trigger’s performance during over-travel much as you would leading up to the break. Trigger reset, much as implied, is the path of travel your trigger takes back to the firing position after the break occurs, discharge, in order to reset. If multiple shots are required with the rifle you are using, and it's a semi-automatic, reset is equally as important as the ergonomics of your trigger. The shorter the reset the better, but with a bolt-action rifle such as my Horizon Firearms 6.5 Creedmoor, reset isn’t a concern since the reset is manually triggered by the bolt action. On the other hand, with my self-defense pistols I want curtailed travel for fast, smooth cycling shots. I have shot numerous semi-automatic rifles and during reset they gave me the awkward sensation that the trigger was unengaged, wiggly, and that left me wondering when they were going to fully reset and be ready to fire again. In all sincerity, the majority of hunters will never find themselves in a situation where they are going to stress their trigger’s firing capabilities enough to worry about reset, so I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a trigger if it features a little delay.
In The End:
This was just a crash course in triggers and trigger performance, but I hope it inspires y’all to immerse yourselves in proper education of trigger assemblies and the how-tos of properly evaluating them as a whole. Be open minded and analytical about trigger selection. Whether you’re a fan of stock triggers, customs like TriggerTech, Timney or one of the many trigger builders out there, if used enough, you will always find issue with what you’re shooting in some fashion. Discover what trigger and weight works best for you, what trigger elevates your shooting game and helps you avoid shooting errors. And if you’re truly wanting the hard facts, the skinny on all things triggers, look to a pro, a firearm sensei like Derrick Ratliff of Horizon Firearms, he will certainly be able to point you in the right direction.
Stay trigger happy,