Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Interesting Conundrummmmmmmmm

I've been keeping tabs on all the response to the Ruger SR9, and it reminds me a lot of my old days as a rock critic in New York City.

The interesting point to me is that, ultimately, any "review" — including mine — is utterly subjective. To wit, what is a "good trigger?" As it happens, a few years back I commissioned a long-slide 1911 .45 ACP from Ross Carter, at the time one of the great gunsmiths on the 1911 platform. For once, I decided to spare no expense, have a gun built exactly to my specifications and with my favorite parts. The finished gun, which was on the cover of AMERICAN HANDGUNNER and was auctioned off with the proceeds going to Carter, who was severely injured in an accident right after he finished the long-slide, has taken on a kind of legendary status, especially regarding its trigger pull. The trigger pull had to be felt to be believed...a perfect 3 pound (as I specified) "glass rod snapping" break. It had the kind of trigger pull gun guys talked about with reverence every time you snapped it, John Browning smiled down from heaven.

I remember AH Editor Roy Huntington pulled the trigger and exclaiming, "Good lord! Now this is a trigger!"* Now here's the conundrum...does that perfect trigger mean you'll shoot the gun better? If you had asked me this 10 years ago, I would have said, "Are you nuts! Of course you'll shoot better with a perfect trigger, you moron!"

I am less sure of that now, based largely on my changing Real World experience. When I was a serious comeptition shooter, I believed in the Perfect Trigger Pull. I shot 1911s of various flavors — mostly Wilson's — and I fretted about trigger pulls the way a soon-to-be-bride frets about her wedding dress. Since launching SHOOTING GALLERY and DOWN RANGE, however, I typically shoot a lot of different kinds of guns. LOTS of different kinds of guns. Most of them have factory, stock triggers.

What I have found is the less I fret about the trigger, the bestter I shoot — Oh my heavens! Can shooting be mostly in the head rather than the hand? I've shot the GUNSITE basic drills with a really nice 1911 and an out-of-the-box S&W M&P...and scored the same. I've gone through classes with DA/SA Sigs — the DA to SA transition being the bane of many shooting experts' existance — no big. I bitch mightily about Glock triggers, but they're no harder to shoot than single-actioning a Colt Python, if you're paying attention. Ask Dave Sevigny, or Jessical Abbate, or Randi Rogers...all national and world champions with Glocks.

Super slick, super light triggers are VERY important...if you're shooting specific types of competition. My big turning point was my class at the Rogers Shooting School...essentially, Bill Rogers' message was "shoot what you have in your hand."

I thought Bill was full of bat dookey, but in for a penny; in for a pound. He was right; I was wrong. The less I fretted about the trigger, the better I shot.

I'm not talking here about WRETCHED triggers (think 1950s vintage Spanish semiautos), but the triggers in current production guns. Which brings us to the Ruger SR9...I stand by my comments, ie, the trigger is fine just as it comes out of the box. I do not believe that Ruger dinked the test guns we all shot...the guns, however, had all been shot. As I said before, there is no difference in trigger pull between my T&E SR9 and my S&W M&P that can't be accounted for in the number of rounds through the M&P versus an out-of-the-box unfired gun.

If you want a "glass rod snapping" trigger pull, you need to avoid striker-fired polymer-framed pistols! There is a fundamental difference between a FUNCTIONAL trigger pull — an out-of-the-box Glock, M&P, Taurus, XD or, yes, Ruger SR9 — and a competition trigger pull, just as there is a fundamental difference between my Honda Element and a Formula 1 race car. My Honda, however, does everything I need done by a car or truck.

I stand by my comments.

Ditto on the safety...I have talked to very credible people who have trouble wiping the SR9 manual safety. I don't, not at all, and I've shot a bunch of 'em. So we come back to my days as a rock critic...this stuff is TOTALLY subjective! As a rock critic, I tried to remind myself that there was this HUGE gap between "what I like" and "what is good." Heaven help me, I never cared for the Rolling Stones...that doesn't mean the band isn't brilliant at what it does.

For the most part, it's the same with guns. Modern guns are on the whole much better than we give them credit for. The marketplace is NOT like it was in the 1950s and even the 1960s...American manufacturers are simply not producing complete lemons, because the marketplace won't allow it!

Think about it!

PS: John McCain hunting down Osama with a Thompson Center? Maybe he should have toured Sig...

[*If you must know, I spec'ed a Cylinder & Slide trigger kit with a Match Commander hammer, an STI carbon fiber trigger and specific Wolff springs.]


RipRip said...

An Icon in .308 would do just fine.

gunman42782 said...

People have begged Ruger for a striker fired pistol for years, and when they produce one lots of people complain about it. Go figure.

Centerfire said...

I've read a few complaints about Ruger triggers and all I can say is that I'm a lucky guy. I had never shot anything but revolvers. My first semi-auto is a Ruger P345 with now over a thousand trouble free rounds fired through it. My second semi-auto is a P95DC with three hundred trouble free rounds fired so far. The da-sa trigger doesn't bother me and my groupings are good for a novice. I will gladly buy an SR9 when I can afford one. I guess that ignorance is bliss.

James R. Rummel said...

Great post, Michael.


Anonymous said...

I agree, the SR9 trigger is fine as is. A nice trigger is good, but I don't need a nice trigger to do good work.

Was at the range w several CBP agents. They tried the SR9. All of them would rather carry it, or their old Glocks, than their new HK P2000s w LEM. Ya never know...


gregnauman said...

I am brand new to guns. Just purchased an SR9 that hasnt come in yet. One of the main reasons I purchased a SR9 was the fact I had a military buddy when I was a high schooler that had me reading some guns and ammo and other magazines when the P85 came out. Only hand gun I have ever shot was a few weeks ago. A new S&W Sigma sw9ve.I shot my friends S&W and suddenly the name ruger P85 came to my mind and I started looking at rugers. I then read the reviews, liked the looks of the gun and overall felt ruger was a good AMERICAN MADE product. So I took the SR9 plunge. If I learn to shoot on a Ruger SR9 that is what I will like (to some extent). If there is something I dont like about it I might tweak it but it is so subjective to what you want not what everyone else wants.

Anyway I just want to say Michael you hit the nail on the head.
What you wrote can apply to so many things in life, and the things you admitted you were wrong about only shows how WISDOM comes with age.

Great write up!