After installing the Apex Tactical Hard Sear and competition sear spring, I set about to evaluate the other springs at my disposal.
If you recall, when I received the pistol, I ordered up Apex Tactical’s CAEK and their duty spring kit. This would give me all the appropriate parts to mix and match and evaluate all of the potential options from Apex’s drop in kits, and see what could be done to improve on the stock pistol.
The next thing I did was to install the CAEK’s competition trigger return spring. Before start, I weighed the stock spring along (I pulled the sear block back out, so that I was only measuring the trigger return spring). Mine was at 24 ounces. I then set about installing the competition trigger return spring. The picture at the top are the two Apex trigger return springs (the one with the larger diameter wire is the duty spring).
Here’s where things got a bit tricky. Mostly, it goes exactly as Randy Lee describes in Apex’s install video for the DCAEK (the install for the CAEK trigger return spring is exactly the same as the duty weight spring). In fact, it’s potentially a bit easier, because Apex includes a small slave pin just the right size to hold the spring centered in the middle of the trigger, etc.
The problem I had was that the slave pin is only “one way” – it has a flat side and a rounded side. What’s intended to happen here is that you insert the pin rounded side first, and then push it through with the trigger pivot pin in the same direction. You have to be careful, though, and just take your time – the pin can become dislodged pretty easily, and the whole works needs to be perfectly lined up. Otherwise, you can maul the slave pin pretty badly as you try to push it through. Randy talks about it a bit in the video, but it’s a little trickier than he makes it look. You could really use a third hand to hold everything in place just so, and then start in the pivot pin. Another way to mess this is up is to put the slave pin in facing the wrong way. Guess what I did the first time around and rendered a slave pin unusable?
Luckily, I had a spare – it came in the duty spring kit I’d ordered! The moral here is, double check the direction on that slave pin before you start pushing on it, and don’t force anything at all! Randy states this in the video, but I’ll restate it here. You may need to hold a small amount of pressure on the pivot pin, pushing in, as you tweak the alignment on the trigger and trigger block with the frame (a small punch helps, here). That helped me get it all back together. Once you’ve done it once and you know what to expect, it gets a lot easier the next time.
So, back to the trigger pull gauge. The CAEK’s trigger return spring measures a sprightly 8 ounces. A full pound less on my gauge. After re-assembly, the trigger pull weighed 38 ounces – almost 2.5#. That’s certainly a competition weight trigger. I could now feel the trigger safety scraping the frame as I pulled the trigger – there’s not enough resistance on the trigger’s take up to cause the safety to be deactivated before it reaches the frame. Scott at Apex Tactical told me that he carefully breaks the edge on the trigger safety for competition trigger jobs to fix that issue, and that would make sense. I didn’t want to take that step on this gun, though, as it could potentially see carry.
Light as the trigger was, at this point, I really wasn’t happy with it. It was a bit mushy feeling, and had basically zero reset feel (let’s call it a vague reset feel, for argument’s sake). I’ve read at least one well known smith conjecture that shooters are basically full of it when they think they need to be able to feel the gun reset. Au contraire, mon frere. Perhaps if the shooter only ever slaps the trigger, this might be true, but a shooter who rides the trigger on shots that require accuracy is going to need to be able to feel the reset in the trigger. A number of very highly skilled, very well known shooters use this technique – I wouldn’t lump myself in with that group, but I do the same thing myself. And, I’ve noticed that at high speed, if I don’t have a positive reset feel in the trigger, I tend to trigger freeze, so vague reset is no bueno for me (how about that, tri-lingual in one paragraph!).
The last step in the CAEK is the striker spring. The Apex spring is the longer one in the picture to the left. Again, the install went perfectly as described in Apex’s install video for this part. Strangely, I saw no difference in the trigger pull after install – still 38 ounces. The spring is most certainly different than the stock spring. In an email exchange with Scott, he confirmed that the spring should make a noticeable difference in the trigger pull vs. the stock striker spring. My gauge just wasn’t showing it.
The final parts to test were the duty springs – a sear spring and a trigger return spring. I went for the (relatively) difficult one first and did the trigger return spring. It went much easier the second time around. The duty trigger return spring by itself measured 3 pounds, 10 ounces. That’s over twice what the stock trigger return spring weighed. With it installed, my trigger pull weighed in at 4.75#, and had a very strong takeup and return pressure. To my finger, it felt heavier than 4.75# (but that’s likely just perception after handling it at 2-ish pounds). Remember, that’s still with the competition sear and striker springs installed.
The duty sear spring brought the final trigger pull up to exactly 5#, which is exactly what Apex targets the duty kit to arrive at. I swapped the striker spring back to stock at this point – still 5# trigger pull. Strange.
With this wide array of springs to choose from, between the CAEK, the duty springs, and the stock springs, you can come up with a lot of different options for feel and trigger pull weight. For my part, based on my testing I like what I get best with the competition sear spring, and stock trigger return and striker springs. It’s a nice, fairly crisp 3.5# trigger, with plenty of reset. I might play with the duty sear spring, as well, and see what kind of difference that makes – I haven’t tried it with the stock trigger return spring, yet, and would be worth a go.