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Thread: 1911 trigger job

  1. #1
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    I have a SA 1911 GI, and the trigger is not exactly rough, but it's quite a bit stiffer than I prefer. I have enough ammo through it that I consider it broken in, so it's not going to get better on it's own. So my question is, what needs to be done to get the trigger pull lighter and smoother, and is it something I can do myself? I have never torn into a gun quite that far (no need so far), but I have no problem trying. Can I just take it slow and careful, or is it easy enough to break something that I should take it in somewhere?

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    OK, if you've never worked on the trigger group of a 1911 before, you're not going to want to work on the functional safe factory trigger you've got now. IMO.

    You can buy drop-in trigger kits, which have a sear, sear spring, disconnector, hammer, and mainspring all fit such that (hopefully) you have a safe, clean trigger of whatever weight you elect with no work on your part. At least that's the idea. :?

    If you wanted to try doing some fitting yourself, but didn't want to risk ruining the factory trigger, you could buy a new sear like this one and see what you can do.

    This page will give you a good idea what is entailed in a trigger job (he basically uses these stones with this jig), but even this guide shouldn't be used alone. For starters, he doesn't even mention the use of these sear engagement check pins, which are probably necessary for those of us who still need visual confirmation of our work.

    Also good information to be gleaned over at THR and m1911.org.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the thumb safety is likely going to have to be adjusted (or even replaced) if you replace the sear and/or hammer.

    On that note, if you ever do any modification whatsoever to your trigger group, always perform the thumb safety safety check described on the first page here very carefully before carrying the gun or using the thumb safety. Mere adjustment of the sear alone can change the sear/hammer engagement and thus sear/thumb safety interface enough that this check should be performed.

    Barring any of that, get a gunsmith. :P

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    Hmm, sound's like the best and safest option is to take it in or simply leave it. Thanks for the info.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    If you're not completely knowledgeable and comfortable about working on your 1911, take it to a competent smith for the job.

    If this is your carry piece, give very serious consideration about doing this.. in other words, don't. If you ever have to use it in your defense, the police will almost without fail, take it from you for evidence. It will be checked out and if the trigger has been worked on, they will know it. This could return to haunt you in a criminal trial and certainly, in a civil one if you are sued. Just a thought.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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    It is too true, unfortunately they will say that you modified it so that it would be easier to kill someone with it.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a cite for that ever happening? Loads of people carry guns with custom triggers. I assume you guys are familiar with 1911s. Well, they don't have magic serialized parts. Every part must be hand-fitted to the gun. So, I actually fail to see at all how investigating officers are going to even have any idea whatsoever that you modified your trigger group. One hand-fitted part isn't going to look substantially different from another properly hand-fitted part. At least, if you keep your trigger with a clean 5+ pound break.

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    marshaul wrote:
    Does anyone have a cite for that ever happening? Loads of people carry guns with custom triggers. I assume you guys are familiar with 1911s. Well, they don't have magic serialized parts. Every part must be hand-fitted to the gun. So, I actually fail to see at all how investigating officers are going to even have any idea whatsoever that you modified your trigger group. One hand-fitted part isn't going to look substantially different from another properly hand-fitted part. At least, if you keep your trigger with a clean 5+ pound break.
    Massad Ayoob talks about it happening. He warns against customizing triggers and using hand loaded ammo in your carry guns.

    That is the problem, most custom trigger jobs that I have seen reduce the weight of pull below 5 lbs. That's why most people get it done.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Fair enough, but my custom trigger is just at 5 lbs (I would agree this is the min. for a carry gun). It's really no different than the stock trigger, except I used a harder sear so (I hope) it will last longer and generally be safer (in the long run).

    So, I can see a DA arguing "he had a 1 lb. hair-trigger! super dangerous!".

    But, many people carry surplus 1911s. Are we really to imagine that they all have the original sear? Are we to assume that a DA, faced with a well-maintained gun that happens to have a non-original trigger group, is going to argue that the trigger was unsafe?

    I guess what I'm saying is, I agree as much as the next guy that light triggers are to be avoided. But is some custom work really going land you in jail for self-defense? I have a hard time believing this, whatever Massad may have to say.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Yes, Mas Ayoob has written of this many times with actual cases to back up his assertions. His take is quite simple. There are overly zealous prosecutors and litigation lawyers out there who will jump at the chance to make an example of some poor victim who was merely defending himself and just happened to do so with an altered gun. Why give them any more fodder with which to "hang" you?


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    marshaul wrote:

    Are we to assume that a DA, faced with a well-maintained gun that happens to have a non-original trigger group, is going to argue that the trigger was unsafe?
    Not necessarily unsafe, made more effective to be used to kill.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I agree as much as the next guy that light triggers are to be avoided. But is some custom work really going land you in jail for self-defense? I have a hard time believing this, whatever Massad may have to say.
    Are you willing to trust the DA and their office in San Franciscowhen it comes to a gun related issue? If so, you have a lot more faith than I do. San Francisco politicians are not exactly know for being gun friendly or even neutral.

    Massad has more experience with police work and testifying in court than the average person by many times. You can pretty much trust him when he talks about these things.

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    I have considered the possible legal ramifications, and personally I feel the modifications I want to make are not something that would hold up in court. I don't want a super fine match trigger. That actually seems a little on the dangerous side for a carry piece. All I want is to take the (in my opinion) very stiff trigger and lighten it up a little bit. I couldn't tell you where it's at right now (I'd assume standard for a GI model 1911, anyone know what that is?), but it's entirely to heavy for my taste.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I suspect one would be fine with some tuning such as a general cleanup and polishing of parts. The feed ramp, the trigger components to help make them smoother. Things along these lines I would bet are not a problem.

    But lightening the trigger, removing a magazine disconnect safety, adding a longer barrel with compensated cuts at the muzzle, and removing a mag safety are not something that would help you in a questionable shooting or in a part of the country known for its gun control fever.

    Also, you probably would want to avoid guns and ammumition with exotic names, nor names which might conjure up an image of wanton violence. Once again, you do not want to be at the mercy of those who are more than willing to use you as an example and along with it, drain your financial resources to the bone.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I absolutely agree with that. I don't want any fancy high tech new parts, or to alter the functions of the gun, I just don't want to feel like I need a Mack truck to fire my gun.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    FogRider wrote:
    I absolutely agree with that. I don't want any fancy high tech new parts, or to alter the functions of the gun, I just don't want to feel like I need a Mack truck to fire my gun.
    Yep. I have installed 3.5 Ghost connectors in three of my Glocks, one of which is my primary carry gun. Not very much difference from stock, but its nice. And not something the casual examiner is likely to notice.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    FogRider wrote:
    I absolutely agree with that. I don't want any fancy high tech new parts, or to alter the functions of the gun, I just don't want to feel like I need a Mack truck to fire my gun.
    Yep. I have installed 3.5 Ghost connectors in three of my Glocks, one of which is my primary carry gun. Not very much difference from stock, but its nice. And not something the casual examiner is likely to notice.

    I've got a Glock 19 and a Glock 22. Both of them have the same connector as yours. I also did the "$0.25 trigger job" as well. They're both safe to carry in a proper holster. Keep your finger off the trigger and your firearm won't go off when you don't want it to.

    I'm FAR more concerned about missing my target because the trigger pull is ridiculously heavy, rough and creepy and hitting an innocent.

    I live some place where being an armed robber or rapist is held in much lower regard than defending oneself from same. If it's a good shoot, it's a good shoot. Ask Arthur Buford... if you know how to hold a seance...
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Deanimator wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    FogRider wrote:
    I absolutely agree with that. I don't want any fancy high tech new parts, or to alter the functions of the gun, I just don't want to feel like I need a Mack truck to fire my gun.
    Yep. I have installed 3.5 Ghost connectors in three of my Glocks, one of which is my primary carry gun. Not very much difference from stock, but its nice. And not something the casual examiner is likely to notice.

    I've got a Glock 19 and a Glock 22. Both of them have the same connector as yours. I also did the "$0.25 trigger job" as well. They're both safe to carry in a proper holster. Keep your finger off the trigger and your firearm won't go off when you don't want it to.

    I'm FAR more concerned about missing my target because the trigger pull is ridiculously heavy, rough and creepy and hitting an innocent.

    I live some place where being an armed robber or rapist is held in much lower regard than defending oneself from same. If it's a good shoot, it's a good shoot. Ask Arthur Buford... if you know how to hold a seance...
    I live in Prince William County, VA and I know the prosecutor here. His younger brother was a friend of my brother's and his youngest brother was a friend of mine. Not that this means a hill of beans but I suspect he is still a good man. But I don't trust ambulance chasing lawyers who might love to crucify me on behalf of their "poor" client whom I saw fit to use deadly force against to save my own skin.

    As a side note, with Glocks, like most any other pistol, lightening the striker/hammer spring can potentially make the gun less than fully reliable. It could be very bad if you had to use it and it went "snap" instead of "bang" because you had installed a 4 pound striker spring in place of the OEM string.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Gordie wrote:
    marshaul wrote:

    Are we to assume that a DA, faced with a well-maintained gun that happens to have a non-original trigger group, is going to argue that the trigger was unsafe?
    Not necessarily unsafe, made more effective to be used to kill.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I agree as much as the next guy that light triggers are to be avoided. But is some custom work really going land you in jail for self-defense? I have a hard time believing this, whatever Massad may have to say.
    Are you willing to trust the DA and their office in San Franciscowhen it comes to a gun related issue? If so, you have a lot more faith than I do. San Francisco politicians are not exactly know for being gun friendly or even neutral.

    Massad has more experience with police work and testifying in court than the average person by many times. You can pretty much trust him when he talks about these things.
    WTH would I be doing carrying a gun in SF, CA. You mean with my CA non-resident CC permit? Actually, WTH would I be doing in SF, CA given the high crime and lack of ability to carry a firearm and defend myself? I am sure that even if I carry unloaded OC in SF that I will spend more time talking to upset hippies and LEOs than I will enjoying Fisherman's Wharf. So I don't think that a commie DA in SF is remotely an appropriate example for this subject matter.

    What is with all the 5lb trigger minimum stuff? I have always read that carry minimum was recommended at 4.5#.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    It depends who you ask. Some say 4.5, others say 5. I was hedging my bets for the sake of the current topic of conversation. Besides, my trigger is really 4.5# anyway. :P

    There aren't any hippies in San Francisco. They've all gone elsewhere. Berkeley is the closest destination. Sometimes they come to visit the parks, especially when there is a music festival or the like.

    At any rate, SF isn't really a high-crime city. I certainly blame what crime exists on the gun-control mentality, and it's certainly worse than some cities, but the reality is that even UOC would probably be enough to deter the kind of crime you're likely to encounter here, with the possible exception of the random shootings in traffic that happen in every city with enough MS-13. Just like any city, you want to stay in the good neighborhoods. And in these good neighborhoods, having the trigger at all is likely going to be enough to ensure that you're unlikely to actually press it. At least, if you assume that most guns used in self-defense aren't actually fired, which is something I hear often.

    With that said, I wouldn't put it past the DA to try anything to convict a gun owner. However, with their lack of interest in even certifying with their guns, I wouldn't bet on anyone affiliated with law enforcement here in SF being qualified to actually argue any issue regarding the mechanics of a 1911. (You should have seen the look of bewildered confusion when I told a local cop, upon being asked, that my favorite handgun is a 1911. I don't think she had any idea what a 1911 is. )

    Edit: EIther way, if you carry a gun with a 2# trigger, in any city, all bets are off.

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    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    As a side note, with Glocks, like most any other pistol, lightening the striker/hammer spring can potentially make the gun less than fully reliable. It could be very bad if you had to use it and it went "snap" instead of "bang" because you had installed a 4 pound striker spring in place of the OEM string.
    I installed the 3.5lb. CONNECTOR which is not a "spring". Are you aware of any problems with 3.5lb. connectors? Nobody I've ever talked to is.
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    deepdiver

    I was responding to marshaul, he lists his location as San Francisco. I didn't realize that situations in other parts of the country that don't affect you were inappropriate. I will try to be more appropriate in the future.:P

    If you read the entire thread you will see that there was a discussion about the legal ramifications of altering your carry weapon. Therefore, the mention of a "commie DA in SF" is appropriate for those who live in the west (or anywhere else for that matter)and may find themselves in San Francisco.

    Sorry that I can't answer your questions about what you, personally, would be doing in San Francisco with or without a gun. I simply don't know you that well.

  21. #21
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Deanimator wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    As a side note, with Glocks, like most any other pistol, lightening the striker/hammer spring can potentially make the gun less than fully reliable. It could be very bad if you had to use it and it went "snap" instead of "bang" because you had installed a 4 pound striker spring in place of the OEM string.
    I installed the 3.5lb. CONNECTOR which is not a "spring". Are you aware of any problems with 3.5lb. connectors? Nobody I've ever talked to is.
    No sir. You're good to go with the 3.5 connector.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Gordie wrote:
    deepdiver

    I was responding to marshaul, he lists his location as San Francisco. I didn't realize that situations in other parts of the country that don't affect you were inappropriate. I will try to be more appropriate in the future.:P

    If you read the entire thread you will see that there was a discussion about the legal ramifications of altering your carry weapon. Therefore, the mention of a "commie DA in SF" is appropriate for those who live in the west (or anywhere else for that matter)and may find themselves in San Francisco.

    Sorry that I can't answer your questions about what you, personally, would be doing in San Francisco with or without a gun. I simply don't know you that well.
    Sorry! I didn't realize at first that you were directing your comments to Marshaul and being that this was in General Discussion I didn't get the connection of your picking such a liberal city where carry is difficult to make the comment. Got it now!
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    A stone job by a good gunsmith can really do wonders for the 1911 trigger pull and feel. You can diy if you know what you're doing, but a smith won't charge too much if you don't. My SIG GSRs are at 4#--now that they're broken in, and that's perfect for me. Too light is worse than too heavy--you don't want an AD.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    You can diy if you know what you're doing, but a smith won't charge too much if you don't. My SIG GSRs are at 4#--now that they're broken in, and that's perfect for me. Too light is worse than too heavy--you don't want an AD.
    +1
    I have my Para Ordinance SSP @ 4#

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