It is easy to look at the plethora of aftermarket triggers and be in awe of the choices. If there is a specific look you are going for, there is most likely a trigger that will meet your aesthetic demands. However, when it comes to a function standpoint, some are quite a bit different than others. In this chapter of the great book of triggernometry , I am going to dive into the trigger shoe and the functional differences between various shoes on the market.
*Of Note* I will not be going into a long rant about the benefits or detriments of flat vs curved triggers. That is not the direction or concern of this article. The physical form of the trigger will be noted, but not delved into.
See that…that is the rear of the trigger shoe, and the slot (the right slot on those that have two) is where the trigger bar is inserted. You will notice that each of these has a different vertical length. That is actually very important, that, more than anything else is what is going to give you a reduction in takeup. Aside from all the different colors, shapes, machine details and materials, this is where the magic happens. Right here….take a good look. Sandwiched in the middle, in the above photo, is the factory trigger shoe, and you will notice that it has the widest slot of the bunch, save two. Those two are the Apex and it’s off brand brother, we will get to those shortly.
There it is…..most of the meaningful difference is right there. Look hard at it and then move on, as I give the measurements of the shoes for a few key areas. First up, the trigger pivot pin (where the trigger shoe is pinned to the trigger bar.) to the face of the trigger. This is going to give you an idea of how much reach you will have to the trigger face, and it is something I used to focus on more than I do now. Next, the locking block pin hole (the fulcrum point of the trigger in the frame) to the tip of the trigger. This will give you an idea of how long the trigger is. 3rd we have Pivot pin to locking block pin distance. This measurement used to upset me, as I was reading sales copy that said a trigger had improved geometry, I was hoping to see something change in this area. You will see that all of the below are the same. Why does this bother me, class 2 lever…and I will tell you that the Elite Marksman V2 was not .435 as the examples below. Last, but in no way least….the almighty trigger slot!!!! This is the reason we are all here, this is more than likely why you like one trigger over another. Take the measurements in this area as a guideline to how that trigger is going to perform in the takeup realm. The smaller the number, the less the takeup.
As with my last guide on trigger connectors, this is for informational purposes only and to try and dispel myths that arise in a world of options. I bring this to you in order to educate you and allow you to make the best possible choices when building your gun. I am, at the end of the day, a trigger freak and want to see you get the best possible trigger for yourself, and by sharing my experience and data, I feel like I have made a difference. I have bought a TON of triggers in this quest and here is some data to help you from walking the same path…so you can get the right trigger from the start.
****Note, the Agency has an inordinately small slot for trigger bar travel, leading me to believe that it is also designed to try and limit overtravel as well. I will be testing this further*****
Factory polymer- the standard by which all others will be contrasted off of. This trigger is of course curved and has a safety blade in the center. The safety blade does not fully seat into the trigger when depressed and can cause some discomfort after long periods of use. Your body can grow a callous, so you should get on that.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .155 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.127 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .516
Kinetitech – This trigger shoe comes in several different designs. This trigger shoe is able to be bought by itself, or as an assembled unit with trigger bar, pricing from $50-120. Built from 7075 aluminum and anodized
Pivot pin to trigger face: .196 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.089 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 slot: .496
Apex- This trigger shoe is a curved design with a much broader circumference which gives it almost a flat profile. Built from aluminum and anodized for protection, available in several colors. Available as a standalone trigger or a kit, prices range from $75-130. The somewhat strange shape of this trigger shoe reduces pre-travel by altering where the locking block pin goes through the trigger. The trigger is not allowed to go as far forward because a ledge built into the trigger face blocks it from doing so, thus taking up some of the movement before the trigger ‘wall’ as the rear of the trigger bar meets the connector. This still leaves a decent amount of take-up, but a noticeable reduction from factory.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .270 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.130 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: infinite
Suarez Semi-flat- This trigger bears a striking resemblance to the Apex Tactical trigger shoe. Think of it as the Springfield XD and the Apex as the Glock. Functionally it is the same as the Apex, however at this time it has been discontinued. Aluminum construction that has been anodized.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .269 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.135 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: Infinite
Suarez Face shooter- From the name alone, this trigger could be crowned the winner, however from a function standpoint it is a flat faced trigger with minimal pre-travel reduction. This pre-travel reduction is accomplished by the slot that the trigger bar sits in. By reducing the width (vertically) of this slot, you reduce the distance the trigger is allowed to move, both forward and backwards. This trigger is available by itself and as a complete drop in, ranging from $39-$130. Built from 6061 aluminum and anodized or NP3 coated.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .173 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.049 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .424
SSVi Tyr- Sculpted by Anthony Hopkins himself and given to the other Norse God who didn’t get a Marvel movie, the Tyr is perhaps the finest looking trigger of the lot. Curved in design, but shallower than factory for a hybrid feel. This trigger is available in a variety of materials for a variety of prices, but expect to pay $135 for the aluminum anodized model mounted on a factory trigger bar.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .185 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.105 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .550 (WIDER THAN FACTORY)
Overwatch TAC/DAT- A flat trigger shoe (with a slight hook on the end for the TAC model) milled from 7075 aluminum before being anodized a variety of different colors. This trigger has a pre-travel reduction feature using the slot that the trigger bar rides in. Currently this trigger does not seem to be available as a shoe alone, with an NP3 coated trigger bar it will set you back $135
Pivot pin to trigger face: .173 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.115 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .445
Overwatch Poly TAC- This budget version of the above aluminum TAC trigger replicates the action and design in a high quality polymer form. See above for dimensions. This trigger runs $60 mounted on a polished factory trigger bar.
Agency Arms- A staple of the aftermarket Glock world, the Agency is a flat face design with a slight hook in the bottom. It is constructed from aluminum and anodized a variety of colors, however special editions have been constructed from a variety of high tech materials that leave your wallet asking for a divorce. These are available as a kit that includes a modified trigger bar and a Glock minus connector for $150 for the aluminum version. The short action of this trigger is dictated by the slot that the trigger bar rides in to limit movement.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .156 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.137 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .360
Ranger Proof Swag EDGE- This trigger is a flat faced trigger built from 6061 aluminum and anodized a variety of different colors. It is available at this time as a shoe only for $75. As its name hints at, it is designed to produce an action that is right up to the edge of the ‘wall’ before the trigger breaks, pre-travel being at an absolute minimum. This characteristic is defined by the slot that the trigger bar rides in.
Locking block pin hole: Pivot pin to trigger face: Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: Pivot pin to locking block hole: Trigger bar arc in degrees:
Ranger Proof Swag Long Ranger- This is the big brother to the EDGE, featuring more exotic lines and detailing. Also a flat face trigger that spans to reach almost down to the trigger guard itself. Crafted from 6061 aluminum and anodized a variety of colors, it is currently only available as a standalone shoe for $75. Quickly becoming known as a top tier trigger for a superb action that sets it right up against the ‘wall’. Travel characteristics are defined by the slot that the trigger bar rides in. The preferred trigger shoe of TacticalPontoon.
Pivot pin to trigger face: .188 Locking block pin hole to trigger tip: 1.126 Pivot pin to locking block hole: .435 Slot: .400
CMC Glock trigger- With a name that is synonymous with not quite budge drop in flat triggers in the AR platform, it was supposed to be the second coming when they dropped this svelte little lady on us polymer heathens staring up into the sky. Looking like a scaled down version of their famous rifle trigger, the CMC just had a certain look when paired with Gaston’s old glory…..however it was not to be. The promise of a medium end AR trigger action in the ‘spongy’ Glock platform was an atrocious mess that would make most people hang their head, but to this day the CMC trigger is available as a complete system for $185. All of that intense mediocrity is built from aluminum and anodized black to remind you that it came from the black rifle. When called for to do a trick, the CMC does not disappoint, as it literally has more travel to the ‘wall’ than the Cold War, which leads up to the aforementioned mediocrity. Not going to bother with any further measurements.