Regular readers will know that TTAG has had a major beef with Ruger re: the trigger on the SR40. The go pedals on the guns we sampled (more shocking info to follow) stage like the Royal Opera, stack like a Jenga competition coordinator and have a less defined breaking point than waves on a windy day in a sheltered bay. We’ve also tested the Chiappa Rhino. V1’s trigger was harder than trigonometry. V2’s was lighter than a flea fart, leading to a failure to fire. Do we need to talk about Remington’s trigger troubles—however apocryphal—with the Model 700? And now comes news that the trigger on the new Smith & Wesson Bodyguard sucks. Sorry, I mean it’s a “disappointment.” Other than that, officer.com gun reviewer Steve Denney pulls no smooth trigger. I mean, punches . . .
Pull weight is not bad, probably in the 12 to 14 pound range, and trigger reach is no problem. What bothers me is that the relatively long travel of the trigger has a couple of spots where it feels stagey and you can literally stop and hold the trigger as if they are rest areas. If you pull the trigger relatively quickly and smoothly, it is not as noticeable, but if you are trying for a slow, smooth stroke for maximum accuracy it is a bit of a nuisance. I can stage the trigger every time, predictably and in exactly the same spot on each pull.
On the Ruger SR40, the crap trigger isn’t such a big deal. It’s a full-size .40-caliber gun— hardly a target shooter’s first choice. Aim and pull and you’ll probably hit what needs hitting. With the Rhino, dear dear dear oh dear dear dear oh dear dear oh dear no. As for a polymer revolver called a “Bodyguard”, to quote my surly step-daughter, fail.
Unfortunately, staging the trigger is not a good technique for combat shooting, despite what you may have been told by some instructors. It encourages unintended discharges and can lead to yanking shots low when you reflexively anticipate the recoil. A nice smooth roll of the trigger, in one continuous movement from start to trigger break, will give the best results. That isn’t easy with this gun. All of my colleagues who have tried the gun have said the same thing: The trigger needs work… or worse.
So what’s up with these trigger issues? In the Rhino’s case, the smart money reckons there’s something about the design that makes a smooth, reliable, not-too-heavy trigger a challenge. As for Ruger and Smith & Wesson, what? Are American mass market manufacturers blind to the importance of a great trigger? Or do they simply not care? Not to put too fine a point on it, how could they send out such lousy guns?