Gear Review: Apex Tactical SD Spring Kit

There are two (gunny) things I hate: low combs on rifle stocks, and crappy triggers. And readers, the Smith SD9 VE trigger ain’t nothin’ to write home about. Coming in around 8 – 8.5 lbs, it’s a gritty, terrible road to get there. And like all (or most) things, it can be fixed. But spending a few hundred dollars upgrading a gun that has an MSRP of $379 probably doesn’t sit right with most people. Law of diminishing returns and all that. Our friends at Apex Tactical happen to agree, which is why they sell a Spring Kit for $19.95 that can clean up that mess S&W left in your safe . . .

7 Yards – Rapid Fire

I’m no stranger to the Sigma family of pistols. In fact, I did a writeup back in late June on how to take a Sigma trigger from awful to decent for less than $5. And while the SD series isn’t a Sigma, the guts of the pistol don’t lie. There are some crappy trigger genes in the SD9′s DNA. But for the price of a meal for a family of four at Subway, your SD doesn’t have to be so low brow.

The 4-piece Spring Kit from Apex contains a trigger return spring, a striker block spring, a striker spring, and a slave pin to help during installation of the trigger return spring. The kit promises to improve the overall characteristics of the SD trigger and bring the pull weight down from the 8’s to the 5’s.

Installation

As with all of their kits, Apex provides a handy video on how to install your springs.

I found Scott’s video to be very well done and extremely informative. Truth be told, had these instructions been written, there’d still be a pile of SD on the bench. Scott is clearly a talented guy, and if you follow the instructions, you too can install one of these kits. My only issue during the install was getting the trigger return spring pin out of the frame. It took me two weekend sessions and probably 2 hours of struggling before I finally got it. When I emailed Scott for some pro tips, his response was the following.

 I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the SD kit install.  The most difficult part is the removal of that pin.  It’s the same process as removing the Glock trigger pin, it just takes some time and practice.

I did have one customer tell me that he spent nearly 2 hours on it and was about to give up so he called me, I suggested he take his mind off it for a while then come back to it. He called back 2 hours later and said “Man it worked, I took a break, had a couple beers and went back and tried again and it came right out”.  I’m no advocate for drinking and playing with guns, but it worked for that customer.

I took Scott’s advice, took a week off, and came back to it with a clear mind and a small rubber mallet. I gave it a little mechanical persuasion, and within 10 minutes of picking up where I’d left off, things were going back together.

Range Impression

The trigger pull is now under 6 lbs. which is a huge improvement. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s an easy trek until just the last little bit of takeup. The reset point is still wayyyyy out there, as you can see in the video below. I think that could be resolved, but we have to take a step back and ask ourselves if it’s really worth it. Twenty bucks is a small price to pay to get a good trigger in an inexpensive gun.

Apex did a really great job with this kit, and if you have the right tools to get the job done, don’t hesitate to contact them and get one on order. If you aren’t sure of your gunsmithing ability or don’t own the necessary tools, give some thought to sending your SD off to Apex, and they’ll do the install for you. It will take about 4-6 weeks and cost you $80 + shipping. Better yet, find a friend who’s comfortable and pay them a 6 pack of beer to install it.

Apex Tactical SD Spring Kit

  •  Includes: Trigger Return Spring, Striker Block Spring, Striker Spring, and a Slave Pin
  • Cost: $19.95
  • Installation Time: ~20 minutes if you are Scott Folk. Anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours depending on that TRS pin.
  • Installation Difficulty: With the right tools, fairly easy.
  • Installation Cost: If you choose not go the DIY route, $60 for the installation and $20 for test fire + shipping.

Design * * * * *

The Spring kit is very well designed and comes with all the right stuff to get things done.

Functionality * * * * *

Our T&E SD9 performs flawlessly now. I have had zero reliability issues and would feel totally comfortable carrying the SD.

Overall Rating * * * * *

This is a well-put together kit that will make a “cheap” gun feel like a couple thousand bucks.

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About Tyler Kee

Tyler Kee is a small town kid trying to make it in the big city of Austin, TX. A salesman by day, he is an avid motorcyclist and aspiring chef out of the office.

21 Responses to Gear Review: Apex Tactical SD Spring Kit

  1. avatarST says:

    Nice review. Of course, the wise consumer would purchase a different handgun to begin with if the factory trigger pull isn’t appealing.

    For those short on cash for a new 1911 or Sig, TTAG should complete an article on buying used guns. Being a veteran college student living off a government stipend, I could offer some real-world tips .

    • avatarClay says:

      That makes sense if you have no real budget. Why does a twenty dollar kit make the gun of no value. The advice to find a different gun with a better trigger is silly IMO.
      I have many guns I love the trigger from the factory. NONE of them cost 360 bucks. I have an SD40VE now which has a trigger kit and the trigger is very good for a $380 gun(with kit)

      • avatarHank says:

        Even more so now that a year later you can sometimes score an SD9 at Academy for $289, or $319 if you’re too impatient to wait for sale.

  2. avatarRokurota says:

    Since the “SD” stands for “self defense,” shouldn’t the pistol be as suited to that as possible? It seems like a stiff trigger is a bad idea for its intended audience — folks who put the gun in a drawer and forget about it.

  3. avatarrjason says:

    I highly recommend Apex Tactical products. I put their FSS and RAM into a M&P Pro and the improvement was great. The trigger is awesome and it compares very strongly to my Wilson CQB. I have sold at least one M&P and Apex FSS to a friend after they fired my M&P w/the Apex FSS and RAM. Iagree Icould not have done it with out the video.

  4. avataruncommon_sense says:

    I was able to handle a Smith and Wesson M&P 40 with an Apex Tactical trigger upgrade. It is VERY nice. My only complaint is that I would actually like a slightly stiffer trigger for concealed carry. If the Apex spring kit for the SD is anything like the kit for the M&P, it must be excellent.

  5. avatarjwm says:

    The sigma’s and sd’s are what they are. A low price, reliable weapon for self defense. I paid about 300 for my sigma and for that I got a reliable, over a 1000 rounds in 7 months without a jam, gun that fits my hand better than a glock.

    As a lifetime user of revolvers I don’t find the trigger that hard to work with. And if I ever have to use it for it’s intended purpose I’ll shed no tears if the cops take it and never return it.

  6. avatarRalph says:

    As a self-professed Smith & Wesson weenie and also an Apex weenie (I’ve put Apex kits in two of my S&Ws), all I can say is that this is a marriage made in heaven. If you have a S&W J-frame revolver, install an Apex kit. You’ll love it. If you have an M&P, you probably do not need an Apex kit unless you bought the pistol in Massachusetts and are stuck with the awful MA trigger. Apex hardware turned my compact M&P from a minute-of-barn-door shooter into a precision instrument.

    • avatarMark says:

      I have the SD9, from S&W, which has now been discontinued. From your photos it looks like it’s pretty much the same gun as the VE series, except mine has a black slide. I haven’t measured my trigger, but yes, there is a lot of travel, there is no crisp break. It doesn’t seem that hard to pull.

      The philosophy behind the type of trigger a self-defense gun should have is interesting. I guess S&W’s solution is to make a gun that no one is going to shoot accidentally. You really have to be trying to make these guns fire. On the other hand, if most folks who buy this put it in a drawer and never practice shooting it, how would they ever be expected to hit anything with it with a trigger like that? I like my SD9, but it’s a good thing there are lots of choices out there.

  7. avatarJay W. says:

    I installed the Apex spring kit in my SD9 at the beginning of the year and it is worth every penny.

    I too struggled with the trigger pin, but pushing it in the opposite direction than shown and it installed in a snap.

  8. avatarWill says:

    . In fact, I did a writeup back in late June on how to take a Sigma trigger from awful to decent for less than $5. And while the SD series isn’t a Sigma, the guts of the pistol don’t lie.

    Our friends at Apex Tactical happen to agree, which is why they sell a Spring Kit for $19.95 that can clean up that mess S&W left in your safe . . .

    But for the price of a meal for a family of four at Subway, your SD doesn’t have to be so low brow

    Man the price just keeps getting higher and higher… For the price of feeding my family of four at Subway, Quiznos, Firehouse, Tubby’s, or any other sub shop… I’m talking about $44.00 including the taxes, $30.00 IF I am lucky and they’re not very hungry.

  9. avatarGreg says:

    More than once your review states that installing the Apex kit is doable if you have the right tools. Your review would be enhanced by listing the tools to which you are referring.

  10. avatarjohn says:

    Just bought one brand new or the door for 325. Find this video, get out my debit card, click the link….. only to find this “19.99″ kit is 50 bucks. I’ll stick with the trigger not putting a $50 dollar trigger kit in a $300 gun

    • avatarNicholas says:

      Just get it off amzon for $25. Maybe less if you can find it on sale.

    • avatarEric says:

      I just bought the kit for the SD9VE from Apex’s website a couple weeks ago. 19.99 plus shipping. Don’t know what you saw for $50. I had it within 4-5 days. The SD9VE is the first gun I’ve ever owned and I’ve not even had it a year. I did the install myself with no experience just the video on my iphone and the tools mentioned in the video. Took me about 30-40 minutes. Beginner’s luck I guess.
      I’m going back to Apex’s site now for the full trigger replacement kit that shortens the travel as well. I think it was about $35 bucks.

  11. avatarjohn says:

    Just bought one brand new or the door for 325. Find this video, get out my debit card, click the link. Only to find this “19.99″ kit is 50 bucks. I’ll stick with the trigger not putting a $50 dollar trigger kit in a $300 gun

  12. avatarBill says:

    You can find them on Amazon for $19.95. I just installed it on my SD40VE…took about 45 minutes with a small hammer and a roll pin punch set (and it was really my first forray into ‘gunsmithing’ aside from standard cleaning). I followed the Apex video step-by-step. The only advice I would give is that the trigger pin may actually come out easier if you do it in the opposite direction from the video. Otherwise, it wasn’t too taxing, and the video makes it pretty simple.

  13. avatarRaymond says:

    i havent seen a sd9 apex kit over 20-25 dollars…u sure that was the right kit? they are on ebay also, just got mine for $22.59 with 3 day shipping

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