Friday, September 24, 2010

Words to Action - Ghost Ultimate Trigger Reset

In my last entry, I touched on the importance of trigger control when shooting firearms.  This is especially important for handguns, where sloppy triggers, bad control, and improper grip really throw you off. 

I had already honed and stoned my trigger controls in my Ruger SR9 in the quest for a smoother more accurate trigger.  After doing that, I had range tested the weapon and the groups didn't improve much.  I was still shooting 2-3" at 7 yards and about 7-8" at 15 yards.  I guess that's okay for most people, but I hate to miss. 

I researched the SR9 trigger a bit and found the website for Ghost Inc, makers of trigger bar resets for, among other guns, the Ruger SR9.  They have different trigger bar resets for different applications.  The one I bought is the Ghost Ultimate 3.5 lb trigger reset.

I also bought a trigger pull gauge to check the overall trigger pull weight before and after the reset was installed.  I wasn't counting on a 3.5 lb trigger pull because I didn't change the striker spring.  The trigger still has to pull the sear back, which pulls the striker back.  In order to fire, the weapon must first overcome this spring tension before the sear releases the striker and fires the gun.  So why not get a lighter spring for the striker?  Because the spring shoots the striker forward and attached to the striker is the firing pin.  A weaker spring could mean light primer strikes.  In a fighting gun, light primer strikes are just as deadly as the guy shooting at you.  This is because if the firing pin doesn't hit the cartridge primer hard enough, it may not ignite, resulting in a failure to fire.  In other words, the gun won't shoot when you need it most.  But I digress.

After getting the trigger pull gauge, I tested the trigger pull weight 10 times with the ghost reset and with the Ruger reset. From this I averaged them, as they were pretty consisted for each (which tells me I was doing something right as well). The area of the trigger tested was the part that my finger pad rests on, pretty much 3/4 way down the trigger.
Trigger pull weight without the Ghost Ultimate: Average: 6.326 lbs
Trigger pull weight with the Ghost Ultimate: Average: 5.5 lbs

Overall reduced trigger pull weight of .826 lbs - not a whole lot.

But trigger pull weight is not the only thing the Ultimate boasts. No, it definitely isn't the 3.5 lbs as listed on their website, and honestly, I wasn't counting on that since you WON'T get that unless you change the striker spring, which I won't do because I don't want light primer strikes.

I also tested the length of the trigger pull before firing. The Ruger trigger pulls 3/8" before the sear drops and releases the striker. The Ghost trigger pulls 1/4" before the sear releases the striker. That's a difference of 1/8" before the gun will fire.
So far, the Ghost trigger is 2 for 2. The trigger is a little lighter and the pull before firing is shorter.
Lastly, I checked the take up of the trigger (the slop from where the trigger sits at rest to where it begins to encounter resistance). With the Ruger trigger, the take up was 3/16". With the Ghost trigger, the take up is reduced to 1/8". That is a difference of 1/16".
So by now the Ghost is 3 for 3:

The trigger is .826 lbs lighter.
The overall trigger pull before releasing the sear (creep) is 1/8" shorter.
The take up is 1/16" shorter.

This should make for a more efficient trigger. When dry firing, there is definitely a difference in how the trigger performs with the Ghost trigger as compared to the Ruger trigger.
Lastly, the Ruger trigger does feel much less efficient than the Ghost. The Ruger trigger seems to take forever before it will release the sear, and that also causes the perceived heavy trigger stacking that some complain about.

After testing this, I took the SR9 out to the range.

7 yard shots with the new trigger were far more accurate than before.  I shot groups that ranged from less than an inch to about 1 1/2".  That's about double the accuracy of what I was doing last week.  At 15 yards, I was shooting an area about 5" wide, which isn't too bad, considering I don't shoot much at that distance. 

I performed double tap drills at a torso target at 7 yards.  Each shot was a kill shot.  I performed a rapid reload drill after loading just two round into the magazine.  Then I double tapped the target again.  As with the first two shots, these shots all went into the chest cavity area of the target. 

Why is this important?  It is important because your least accurate shooting is done fast and violently.  My double taps are point-shooting more or less, with some sights involved - mostly the front.  If I can do this at 7 yards without effort, then it makes me a better shooter, right? 

Overall, installation of a better trigger bar reset has made my SR9 more efficient in its operation, which translates to better accuracy, provided all the other fundamentals of trigger control are there.  Chew on this.  The FBI training manual, titled, Advanced Firearms Instructional Techniques has 7 pages dedicated to sight alignment, but 13 pages dedicated to trigger control.  That's saying a lot.  Sight alignment is very important to good shooting, but if you can't efficiently fire the gun, all that sight alignment is for naught.

-James

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