Poor Trigger or Just Misunderstood?
Glock’s (and similar handguns) are often beat up for having “poor” triggers. The 1911 with it’s short single action trigger is held up by some as the ultimate trigger. While I do believe that the 1911 is an excellent handgun, I do not believe that the Glock trigger is poor. It is different, which doesn’t necessarily make it worse. In fact, it has some pretty significant strengths that are worth noting. These strengths do not become apparent by clicking the trigger at a gun counter or during once yearly slow fire practices at the local range.
Maybe we should start by defining what makes a trigger good or bad. For many, a good trigger has a very short travel and a very crisp and light break. Those may be desirable qualities for some. Short, light triggers tend to cover a lot of short comings in technique which is probably a good thing. I would submit that there are two other qualities that should be considered as much as, or more so, than pull weight and travel. In my experience, a fast, positive reset and consistent action have proven to be paramount to fast, accurate shooting.
A fast, positive reset will allow you to feel when the trigger resets which is key in working the trigger quickly when multiple shots are required. I can not stress the importance of reset enough, especially with Glocks. You can use the reset to your advantage by learning to shoot from the reset position. This essentially means that you only allow the trigger to travel far enough forward to reset for the next shot so that you do not have to deal with the entire trigger travel for your follow up shot. This is one of the keys to learning to be fast and accurate with a Glock.
Consistent trigger action simply means that you don’t have to transition between different trigger actions. A trigger pull that is the same for every shot allows the shooter to master only one trigger pull, rather than transitioning between multiple trigger actions as is the case with double action/single action (DA/SA) triggers. This is also a key to fast, accurate shooting.
If you acknowledge that a problem that requires the use of a gun may not be solvable with just one shot, then reset and consistency should be a factor when you determine what is “good” about a trigger.
How Do We Make It Better?
While the Glock’s trigger may not always be light or crisp, it is consistent (consistently mushy in it’s stock format). The trigger pull is the same every time. There is no DA/SA transition. Glocks also have a very fast reset. The slide needs to only travel a very short distance rearward before the trigger resets. It also has a reasonably positive reset and by that I mean that the reset can be easily felt by the shooter. I do not find the Glock trigger to be overly heavy but it can be quite long (it is likely long as a safety feature). Glock triggers will never be completely like 1911 triggers but there are some things that we can do to mitigate the shortcomings and enhance the strengths of the trigger.
The stock trigger parts that Glock installs are the 5.5 pound (#) connector, and standard trigger spring. This renders a pull weight of about 5 to 5.5 pounds (though it lightens after several hundred cycles). The standard spring makes the trigger feel a very mushy or springy to me. The reset is fairly positive but could be improved on.
Some people like to do what is referred to as the $0.25 Trigger Job. I can tell you that it works. I can also tell you that lots of dry fire and plenty of time at the range will net you the exact same effect. The $0.25 Trigger Job is essentially just accelerating the normal wear that the trigger parts go through. I usually skip it. If you choose to do it, AlphaRubicon.com has the original and still one of the best tutorials.
In my opinion these two inexpensive parts will go the furthest in improving the Glock trigger: a NY1 Trigger Spring and a 3.5# connector. If you do nothing else, install these two parts. Together, they will improve trigger feel, consistency, and reset.
The NY1 Trigger Spring was originally designed to make the Glock trigger feel heavier and more like a double action revolver. It is a completely different design than the stock trigger spring. It is a beefier coil spring held in a plastic wedge. When you pull the trigger you are compressing the spring rather than stretching it as you are with the stock spring. When it is installed, it applies more consistent spring tension on the trigger which leads to more consistent and less mushy trigger feel. It also makes the reset much more positive which may be the best thing about it.
The 3.5# connector is basically just there to keep the trigger pull weight down. If you just installed the NY1 it would make the trigger pull heavier (about 7-8 pounds). If the 3.5# connector is installed it basically cancels out the pull weight that we added with the NY1. The combination of the NY1 and 3.5# connector renders trigger pull weight of about 4-5 pounds which is very manageable, especially considering the other improvements that we have made by installing these parts.
If you are after the best combination of consistency, pull weight and reset for your Glock (and you should be), then consider installing a 3.5# connector and NY1 Trigger Spring. There is more to a good trigger than just being light and short.