Previous Post
Next Post

That’s “terrible shooting” as in “you can’t hit the broad side of a barn” and not the “oh the humanity” meaning of the phrase. Not that eleven people ending up with some extra orifices isn’t terrible, but that’s not what this article is about. This is about how the NYPD’s upper ranks chose the wrong specs for their firearms and the effect it had on the events of Friday outside the Empire State Building . . .

One of my friends is a NYPD police officer, and when he comes to shooting competitions he always uses his duty gear. I think that’s fantastic and more police officers should do likewise, but it always puts him at a disadvantage compared to other shooters. And the reason for that is the NYPD’s requirement for a 12 pound trigger pull weight.

NYPD cops are given a choice. They can have a SIG P226, a Glock 19, or a Smith & Wesson 5946. But no matter what they choose, the triggers are modified to have a 12 pound pull for every shot fired.

So even with the P226, which was designed to be double action for the first round and single action for every round thereafter, the NYPD requires it to operate in “double action ONLY” mode. Not only that, they raise the trigger pull weight from the designed pull of 10 pounds to 12 pounds. Its the same story for the Glock. What used to be a factory-issue 5.5 pounds of pressure required to trip the trigger becomes a 12 pound monstrosity.

As anyone who has fired a double action handgun knows IMMEDIATELY once they touch that round off, getting an accurate shot with a heavy trigger is significantly more difficult than with a lighter one.

To illustrate this point, I went out to the local range to do some testing. I brought my SIG MK25 P226, two USPSA targets and a shot timer. I set up one target, set the shot timer to “random delay start” with a par time of one second and shot one target single action (light trigger) and one target double action (heavy trigger) from 15 yards.

Here are the results. The target on the right is single action and 100% combat effective (only 2 shots dropped into the “C” zone). On the left, the double action only target is not so good. And the reason is that as you use more force to pull the trigger, the sympathetic muscle contractions in your hand move your gun off target.

I’ve spent countless hours on the range trying to overcome those sympathetic muscle reactions to get a better, cleaner first shot, but I still haven’t been able to do it. If you’ve seen my competition videos, you may notice that I take three shots at the first target — the reason is that I assume the first round to be a miss thanks to that DA trigger pull.

Cops don’t practice nearly as much. A range near where I used to live in Virginia was under contract to the police department to provide free range time and free ammunition to any LEO who wanted to get some practice — no one ever took advantage of it. So its no surprise that when it comes time for them to use their gun in a life or death situation they can’t compensate for that muscle contraction as well as someone who focuses their practice on it.

The same complications keep my NYPD friend from being able to scratch the upper half of the list in competitions. No matter how fast he goes, his heavy DAO trigger keeps him down. The only time he sees improvement in his shooting is when he asks to use my SIG instead.

This heavy trigger pull is exactly the reason I’m selling my competition P226 in favor of either a S&W M&P or a Glock (haven’t quite decided yet) this week. While I agree that bad shooting isn’t necessarily the gun’s fault — and in this case if I spent thousands more hours on the range I could probably get that first round under control — it doesn’t make sense to keep using a gun or equipment that keeps you from being as accurate as you can be.

You can’t throw money at a problem that needs to be fixed through training, but you shouldn’t use equipment that holds you back when you know you can do better, either. And in this case, it seems like the NYPD needs to do both; get some help training their officers AND stop requiring the “ND-proof” 12 pound trigger. Unless they like their cops shooting bystanders, that is.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. “They can have a SIG P226, a Glock 19, or a Smith & Wesson wheelgun.”

    I thought the S&W that NYPD cops was a 3rd gen autoloader, specifically the 5946. The only wheelguns you’ll see (if any) are on the gunbelts of officers serving when the force changed over to autoloaders.

    As for the triggers, shooting accurately with a heavy DAO trigger is not impossible, after all there was a time when DA revolvers were the standard (especially for cops) But it does take signicantly more practice. NY is handicapping their cops for no good reason.

    • Cocaine. Off the dash of their patrol car to be exact. If they’d just enforce their no drugs policy the officers might not be so twitchy and could safely carry something with a 5lb pull.

  2. Some pundits have also mentioned that the officers were restricted to FMJ rounds and 10 round mags in the pistols. Is that really true?

    If there is a thread of truth about the FMJ rounds, it may be a costly liability lesson.

    If I remember correctly, one of the primary reasons for switching to JHP about 40 years ago was the reduced likelihood of passing through the perp and striking an innocent citizen, yet there are allegations that some of the innocents hit were hit by rounds that passed through the perp’s body.

    Has anyone else heard this from reliable sources?

    • What Bob says below. NYC police used to carry FMJ rounds, but they made the switch to hollow points, per my training instructor. I have to check my notes to find the exact year. TD, I can give you the source if you message me.

    • If that stuff is true then the 9mm rounds are also part of the problem. I would think they would be carrying at least .40 or .45. Don’t get me wrong, I like 9mm, if it’s not strong enough then your using the wrong type of rounds, but for that environment it’s just too much over pen and ric potential.

      • Meh, I don’t know. If you’re shooting 147 gr HP, muzzle velocity is only around 975 fps, which is comparable to a heavy load in .40 or .45. With lighter loads, though, you may be correct.

  3. The NYPD’s SIGs are 226 DAK’s. Believe it or not there is a difference between the DAK and DAO, most lying in the reset you get in a DAK over the DAO. From the factory SIG’s 226 DAK’s come with a consistent 6.5 lb pull with a double strike capability of IIRC 8.5-9lbs. While I agree the “red” spring they replace the normal spring for the NYPD probably caused the accuracy issues, I also know most civilians that shoot more than police officers. I don’t know what the NYPD’s regulation is for duration between qualifications but I wouldn’t bat an eyelash if it was 6 months to 1 year. Let’s not blame the firearms when adequate training can solve it.

    That being said I have a DA/SA 226, and a DAO 250. I can consistently double tap the DAO accurately and my DA shot with the 226 isn’t always, as you put it, a “miss.” All it takes it practice.

    • DAK is not authorized in nypd, all duty and off duty weapons require the 12 pound trigger and all have to be DAO

      dont know where your getting your information

    • The P250 has a fantastic DA trigger pull; easily the best I’ve ever shot except for gunsmithed S&W revolvers. A stock P250 will have a 5-7 pound DAO pull, which may be longer but isn’t much stiffer than a stock Glock. Those 12-lb NYPD monstrosities should never have been born.

      • Dude, shoot a Walther PPQ and you know will know how uninformed your opinion is. Nothing is better in stock DA polymer than the PPQ trigger. That said, the P250 has a fantasitic long DA REVOLVER pull and would be excellent for departments that transitioned from revolvers to avoid ND.

        • The PPQ may have s great trigger, and you can prove it if you’ll kindly loan us yours for testing. Contact Farago for our FFL information.

        • I would have to disagree on a PPQ being the best. The Walther P99AS has just as good a trigger out of the box.

  4. The NYPD didn’t switch to JHPs until around 1999 shortly after the Amadou Diallo shooting. The cops shot him 21 times and he survived. They found that several of the FMJ rounds completely penetrated his body and ricocheted back at the officers. They had been discussing the issue before that shooting because there were instances of bystanders being hit by FMJ rounds that completely penetrated their targets.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I called for a documented 12 – pound trigger rapid fire vs. standard, and that’s exactly what you posted! I routinely am challenged by my first DA round out of my duty Smith. In the event of a precision shot, I would literally rack out a live round to switch to a SA pull (my hammer is shaved on my duty gun, so I cant get to a SA pull unless I rack or fire).

    As to the NYPD, I absolutely agree that the problem is at least two pronged: bad equipment via a heavy trigger pull, and a lack of training. Anti-gunners who limit officers to stupid trigger pulls. The NYPD definitely needs an attitude adjustment in other respects such as training, but they also have some good folks doing the best they can with the equipment they are forced to use.

    Its a challenge at times to deal with all of the rushed LEO bashing by posters. Certainly TTAG values training, and I positively respect that. The other side of the coin is that officers are limited as to the equipment they can use, which can have a detrimental effect to accuracy with potentially fatal consequences.

    Anyone here want a Glock with a 12 pound trigger?

    • I know people who carry DA/SA pistols as duty weapons and go out if their way to train drawing and thumbing the hammer to SA.

      • Yikes, are they limited to DA/SA guns by whoever they work for?

        IMHO, DA/SA guns should be shot they way they were intended to be shot… DA then SA. A lot of people don’t take the time to learn how to handle that transition, I don’t know how many people I’ve met who carry DA/SA guns and have the attitude that they’re going to “throw away” their first shot in order to get to that SA trigger pull. A few are like the people you know, they plan to thumb the hammer back during the draw. Neither plan is a good idea, and neither plan will be taught to you by any reputable firearms instructor, LE agency, or military service.

        Is learning to shoot DA/SA properly harder than learning to shoot a handgun that only has one trigger pull? Yes, but it isn’t THAT hard. I’d know, I learned to shoot on DA/SA Sigs.

        • Agreed. We train (and qualify) specifically shooting DA/SA drills. The only time we are allowed to shoot SA only is on the 25yds line. I don’t know what the thinking is, but I have to guess that the gunners in charge of the training have come to the conclusion that if the threat is 25 yds away, you would have time to cock the hammer manually.
          I also train to do the same (DA/SA 4 shot drills with a mag change) with my carry pistols: SIG 225 and 229. It takes time, practice and hard work, but it’s a necessary skill if you carry a DAO or DA/SA firearm. As a CC, you will not get a Mayor B type to back you up, so you need EVERY round to hit the intended target.

        • Gunsite Academy teaches that cocking the hammer on the DA/SA is an “alternative approved method”. It is not the primary way they teach DA/Sa but is considered acceptable. The technique is to cock the hammer with the off hand as the weapon is presented on the target. I tired it for a whole day with instructors helping me and I never could make it work. Not right for me, but again, it IS taught as an acceptable way by one of the premiere shooting schools in the country

    • Good point. I think when people who are ignorant about guns try to stipulate stupid “seemingly obvious to them only because they don’t know better” gun “safety” features like 12 lb triggers, brass should stand up to the politicians and say “respectfully, you have no idea what you are talking about, let us handle the weapons selection.” and put the safety and effectiveness of their force ahead of politicking with morons.

    • I absolutely agree that the problem is at least two pronged: bad equipment via a heavy trigger pull, and a lack of training

      @Accur81, they are two sides of the same coin. New York requires the infamous New York trigger to cut down on NDs because the City won’t train its police to handle their guns more safely, which is the right way to fix the ND issue. Why won’t the City train it’s cops better? Because the heavy trigger is free, but training isn’t. Then the NYPD brass sends out the patrolmen ill-prepared and ill-equipped and wonders why they get bad results.

      New York is like a sixty year old hooker. They both look great until you get up close.

    • NYPD Authorized Service Weapons

      On-duty – Glock 19, Sig P226 DAO and the S&W 5946
      Off-duty – Glock 26, Sig P223 and the S&W 3914/3953
      Ammunition – Speer 124-grain Gold Dot Hollow-point +P

      BTW: The original Glock “NY1” trigger spring was 8 lbs.

  6. I have to wonder how many injuries New York City as avoided over the years with their 12 pound trigger weight … versus how many bystanders were injured during shoot-outs because of the 12 pound trigger weight?

    In my mind an 8 pound trigger weight is plenty safe for a duty firearm — especially if the first squeeze is double action. Someone has to convince the brass in New York City of that fact.

    • The way NYPD doctors their crime stats will probably keep us from ever knowing the full truth on that count.

      That said, by anti-gunner standards, the Police are supposed to be well trained and able to protect us. Well, when the 12lb Trigger is cheaper than training, and they favor free vs. extra cost, AND they discourage officers from training on their own in the name of not getting trigger-happy… it adds up to tragedy.

      I agree, get rid of those 12lb triggers for something more reasonable, like the 8lb triggers you mentioned. Second, get the officers trained, encourage them NOT to be trigger happy, but to be able to shoot what they aim for way better than 34% of the time. (bare min 2x that, ideally ~3x that.)

  7. I believe that with enough training that nearly any technical handicap can be overcome. The shooter is the single biggest variable in marksmanship. That being said, a 12 pound trigger is one hell of a handicap to overcome. And the average NYPD office shoots in a year what the average TTAG reader goes through in an hour.

  8. Good post, thanks. I really need to consider having a trigger job done on my revolver to reduce the pull weight.

    • Seriously look into and try some Wolff mainsprings and reduced weight trigger return springs. If a smith and Wesson, also pick up a 8-32 x 0.5 stainless set screw to replace the stock strain screw (because the formed rib in the wolf spring effectively reduces the distance the strain screw pre tensions it. It is easy and cheap (less than 20 bucks) to try a spring upgrade and it may give you the result you are looking for. The duty strength Wolff mainsprpring and a reduced power recoil spring are what I use and people think my revolver triggers are amazing. the duty strength mainspring feels lighter and smoother than the stock spring tot me. The reduced strength mainspring is worth try on a target gun but I wouldn’t use it on a defense gun personally.

        • Nice choice on the SP-101. From personal experience aftermarket trigger kits work absolute wonders on Ruger revolvers. I put one in both my SP-101 and GP-100 and they’re both damn near as good as the no-dash S&W model 57 I have.

        • APBTFan,

          Thanks for your reply. I’ve noted down the Ruger Popper (saved the photo) and will be looking for it. Good to learn about your experiences. The GP100 is on my wish list.

    • Aharon, I posted my report on installing an Apex kit on my 642 a while back. While the installation was a (mis)adventure, the results were excellent.

      If Apex makes a kit for your gun, buy it. It includes a new mainspring and firing pin return spring and even a new firing pin that makes up for the reduced power of the new mainspring. If Apex doesn’t make a kit for your gun, then I agree with Don. Install a Wolff spring and don’t look back.

      • Also, if you’ve not taken down the particular make and model of gun to springs and screws before, don’t be shy about taking a picture with your digital camera after each piece you remove! Also, a steel bowl with a magnet in it is your friend!

        • I haven’t done that and your ideas are good ones. I hope I don’t end up doing to my gun what I did to my ten-speed bike when I was 13 years old. I ended up taking in my stripped down frame and a box of gears and bolts to the bike shop since I couldn’t put it all back together again.

        • To me camera shots of an SP-101 aren’t entirely necessary or even useful. Ruger’s break down into sub assemblies unlike no other revolver and are super simple. No sideplate means no angle for a usable camera shot. That said, reassembly takes a bit of getting used to but is easily mastered. Here’s a GP-100 (same as SP-101) field stripped.

          I own Taurus and S&W revolvers that require the sideplate be removed to do spring work or detail cleaning and absolutely agree camera shots are a big plus. The beauty of the Ruger system is each subassembly is super easy to change springs or detail clean and the design is incredibly strong.

          Shameless plug,

          I’ve owned my GP-100 (my SP-101 was lost to a skag ex long ago) for 13 years and it’s one in my collection that I’ll never part with – it’s that good. The aftermarket spring kit brought it to a whole new level especially after all these years of use. Both double and single action are incredibly smooth with the single action being a beautifully crisp 2 pound pull. 90% of the loads I’ve shot through it all these years are handloads with a max charge of either H110 or Win 296 with a 125gr. bullet and if there’s a difference in tightness I can’t tell (unlike the aforementioned ex).

        • APBTFan,

          Good pic of breakdown. Saved that one too. The Ruger DA revolvers (esp my SP101) just keep amazing me the more I learn about them. A 2lb pull? Thats great! Extremely different from what comes out of the factory. I keep hearing sad stories from men who lost good guns to their ex-wives. Sorry man.

          BTW, I’m reading Grant Cunningham’s book ‘Gun Digest Book of the Revolver’ and it’s great. It has a huge focus on the SP101 and GP100 revolvers. GC also has a good blog focusing on revolvers since he is a revolversmith.

      • Ralph,

        I’ll be looking up your post about your experience and the research Apex along with Wolff. Thanks.

    • Devils advocate here… Be careful and don’t go too light when installing reduced power springs in revolvers. It raises the possibility of reliability issues, namely light primer strikes or failure of the trigger to return, depending on the springs you replace. I know it’s easy and cheap, but it’s not always best.

      If you do install lighter springs in your wheelgun and it’s a gun you carry, make sure you test it with your carry ammo to ensure proper function.

      A lot of experienced wheelgunners will not lighten any springs in a wheelgun meant for carry, if they desire a better trigger they take it to a experienced gunsmith for a real tune-up. A good gunsmith can reduce the felt weight of your trigger without touching the springs.

      • The wolff standard weight mainspring is the same weight as stock, but due to its geometry has a different different load curve as a function of position in the trigger stroke and is much smoother I believe.

        • Oh boy, I’m getting the sense I better find a gunsmith. I want my gun to go ‘bang’ if I ever have to shoot it in self-defense and not go (silence) without a following boom.

      • 2wheels,

        I appreciate you playing devil’s advocate. I might end up taking my Ruger SP101 to a revolversmith. I know more about politics than I do mechanics. Wish it were the other way around.

        • There’s certainly nothing wrong with using reduced power springs on a carry gun, just be careful and test the gun after any changes. There are a lot of people who’ve installed Wolff springs in their revolvers without any ill effects.

          That said, it’s my personal opinion that replacing springs shouldn’t be the first thing you do to improve the trigger pull on a wheelgun intended for self defense. And I do not have reduced power springs in my S&W 442, the only wheelgun I currently carry.

          First thing you should do if it’s a new gun, is dry firing with snap caps a LOT, this should improve the pull at least a little by smoothing out all the internals. If you’re still not happy, then it’s time for a trigger job by a gunsmith, which for the most part is nothing more than polishing up the internals, removing any burrs, etc. Sometimes tuning the lockwork if it needs it. If done right, you might be surprised how much lighter the trigger will feel simply because it’s smoother. At least, that’s been my experience with S&Ws, I haven’t spent any time with Rugers.

        • 2wheels,

          Thanks for your reply. I do need to dry fire my revolver more and to give it a real good cleaning oil job. FYI, Ruger recommends against using snap caps because if done too much it can create a drag on the cylinder. Supposedly, these days Ruger says that ALL of its guns can be dry fired and without snap caps. After being trained never to do that in a .22 it is almost difficult to do it the new way.

      • If you shoot someone with a gun that you altered for a lighter trigger operation, the DA will come after you as a crazed killer lusting for the chance to ventilate anyone who annoys you. Good luck with that.

    • Can anyone suggest a qualified gunsmith who has experience with Ruger D/A revolvers should I go that route in the Portland Oregon area?

      • Aharon, do you happen to be a member at If so, you might ask about a gunsmith in the Hometown > Oregon forum. People are generally pretty helpful in the Hometown forums specifically.

        • Haha, stay out of General Discussion, except as a source of amusement. Think of it as people watching at WalMart. The type of behavior that is freely accepted in GD is usually very frowned upon in the Hometown forums, and that helps keep the threads there focused and helpful.

  9. I own a Walther PPK/S because I like its looks, but that first, double-action round usually goes barely near where you want it to – and it has about a 12 lb. trigger pull. Ugh.

    • Yuck. Unless the DAO version is significantly lighter than the DA/SA’s DA pull. I would love the M9 if it weren’t for the position of the safety and the horrid DA pull. (I notice how Beretta USA doesn’t tell you how heavy it is.)

      • It is lighter, though I don’t know by how much off the top of my head.

        It’s a pretty common piece of advice from Beretta guys for owners of DA/SA M9/92s to switch out the DA mainspring for one from a DAO 92D to achieve a lighter DA pull.

  10. A heavy trigger on a glock especially, but really even a DAO semiauto is way worse than on a revolver because you can stage a revolver utilizing the cylinder lockup as feedback. Can’t do that with a semi. They simply are not designed to have triggers that heavy and certainly do not need them.

  11. I just boggles my mind how a major organization like the NYPD that does so many things well, can completley “whiff” on this issue and ignore common sense.

  12. My department issues Glock but allows a range of personal owned weapons in 9mm, .40, and .45. The top scores come qualification time are more often than not posted by those of us who bought 1911’s. Anything outside the target, even a graze, is instant disqualification.

    100rds per month issued for practice, I do 200rds per week out of pocket. I figure no matter what you want to do in this job, you should figure out what the worst day in the world might be, and prepare for it.

    And I’ve never shot a dog.

    • Curious, does your department have issues with carrying the 1911 condition 1?

      Lol on the dog comment.

      • No issues, they look at it the same as the AR-15. As long as it has at least a 4lb trigger, the thumb safety is considered to be enough. Guns without a manual safety need a heavier trigger, think it was 5lbs but not sure right now.

        And I’ve never heard so much emphasis anywhere else about safety discipline/indexing trigger finger discipline. When us 1911 guys go to qualify, sometimes they have a range safety assigned specifically to make sure we’re using the safety when appropriate. Haven’t gotten dinged for it yet.

    • As an owner of a dog that I consider part of my family, I thank you from my heart. I’m sure Lazlo would thank you too.

      • I have two dogs at home, don’t want to treat yours or anyone else’s different than mine. Provided it’s deserved, of course… now if I could just find some decent pit bull owners. Knew some as a kid, but lately it seems to be all thugs keeping them. Poor dogs. They often pay for their owner’s mistakes.

        • They do. I volunteer at a shelter sandwiched between a couple of s***hole cities. Pit after pit after pit. We save the dogs we can, But its heartbreak over and over again. In their hearts, every one of ’em is just a puppy. All it comes down to is the misfortune of being raised by some thug s***bag that shouldn’t be trusted with an ant farm.

          I’ll tell you what though- when you watch the dog that wanted to rip your face off when he came in a couple months back start wiggling with excitement when he sees you coming, and then you get to see him go home with someone that’s gonna love him……..all I can say is it’s tough to beat.

          BTW- good on you for your commitment. You sound like my kind of cop.

    • 100rds per month issued for practice, I do 200rds per week out of pocket. And I’ve never shot a dog.

      Then what do you use for a target?

      Kidding. You’re very conscientious. Keep it up. It might save your life — or mine.

  13. Let the officials state the objective – less NDs, and not stipulate the solution. Let someone knowledgeable on guns do that. They would tell you the side effect of a 12lb trigger is less rounds on the target – perp, and more bystanders hurt. How many lawsuits will it take before NYC sees it’s more cost effective to get their officers more training time? Why in our most crime infested cities – I mean action prone jurisdictions, are police not given training commensurate with the amount of crazy situations they’ll be exposed?

  14. “Cops don’t practice nearly as much.”

    Nice generalization there. Bonus points for citing one lonesome department as back-up for that claim.

  15. “Cops don’t practice nearly as much.”

    Nice generalization there. Bonus points for citing your experience with one lonesome department as back-up for that claim.

    While I agree that these guys were a couple of non-shooting zilches, not all LE agencies, and not all LE officers, are equal in this regard. You should consider checking these generalizations. Although, for the record, I agree with this website’s stance that LEOs need much more training, across the card.

  16. I’m confused. While I can see how a heavy Glock trigger could affect accuracy, the folks here who complain about an inability to be accurate with the DA shot on a DA/SA auto are doing something wrong.

    Maybe it’s because I grew up shooting revolvers. Maybe it’s because I had DA/SA autopistols for a long time before I bought a Glock, but I have no problem putting my first shot where it needs to be with any handgun.

    My carry pistol is a Kahr P9, which is DAO. Yes, it’s an excellent DAO trigger, but I can shoot just as well with my HK USP Compact .40, and my S&W 686. Most police departments carried DA revolvers for decades, and they weren’t thumbing the hammer back before the first shot.

    It’s not the gun, it’s the shooter.

    • I train through the DA / SA pull, but if I have time to set up for a precision shot, I’ll switch to SA. That’s exactly what I did when I took a deer handgun hunting with a lovely Ruger .454 Casull. I cocked the hammer. Of course, the deer took off like a bat out of hell, and I was relatively lucky to hit it. Meat in the freezer.

      I just train for adverse situations whenever I get the chance. I can handle the DA / SA transition, but if I’m trying to hit an empty 12 gauge she’ll at 10 yards, or some other such thing, I’ll switch to a lighter pull if I can.

      If I had the choice, I’d probably carry a Glock 35 with a roughly 5.5 pull all day long, or maybe a Kimber Desert Warrior .45.

  17. This is why I read TTAG… stories like this. I had no idea it was NYPD regulation to modify the trigger to 12 pounds! That’s crazy… not to mention they’re changing a perfectly good factory SIG / Glock / S&W to do it.

    All the money wasted on the trigger jobs ought to spent on better training and giving officers paid range time – I had a friend whose a cop who stays in practice all the time, but he makes the comment that the reason he can do so is because he’s single, unmarried, and has no kids…

    • Clearly you don’t know government procurement.

      Dear Gaston (you evil weaponmonger you):

      If you want any sales to my boys and girls in blue you will provide us the option to buy G19s with the stupid 12 lb trigger at no increased cost.

      Hugs and kisses,


  18. FWIW, the source of the “12lb” spec for NYPD is that 12 pounds is the double-action trigger pull on a factory S&W revolver. The spec for the single action trigger pull is about 2.5 to 2.75 lbs.

    For the revolver-carriers up-thread: You can typically lighten a revolver’s DA trigger pull by a couple/three pounds by replacing or trimming the rebound spring. The mainspring should not be lightened in many cases, as that will increase the odds of a too-light primer strike. The rebound spring should not be made too light because it affects reset time on the trigger.

    What revolver carriers should ask for before they ask for their trigger pulls to be lightened is an “action job.” This entails smoothing all the points in the lockwork where one piece of metal slides, rotates or moves against another piece of metal inside the revolver. When this is done, a 12lb pull doesn’t feel quite so objectionable. 9lb is nicer, but taking the pull down to 9lb with the crunch/creep/roughness in the long pull, reduction to 9lb doesn’t feel as nice you’d think it should.

    • The NYPD no longer allows any SA on any firearm (including personal off-duty cary). Meaning that they are all DAO. Hammer or striker always returns to the de-cocked position after every shot… even on the revolvers. So it’s not just on the initial trigger pull – that wouldn’t be so horrible.

  19. i have a bone stock s&w 442 and model 10. i’ve been shooting revolvers all my life and have no problem putting trhe first round da in the hurt zone at any reasonable self defense range. same with my sigma. i bought my in feb and have a 1000 rounds through it. no issues at all putting that first round in at any legal self defense range. how do you get to carnegie hall from here “practice, practice,practice”.

  20. Great article, this “gun control environment” in NYC is out of control. I have spoken to officers there and it amazes me the “brain washing” they get. The ones I have spoken with that carry the glocks firmly believe that they need a heavier trigger because there is no safety. This is really simple, Glock’s standard trigger is good enough for 95% of the world. However bloomberg and his idiots “in-charge” seem to think otherwise! They are the ONES to blame and the people need to hold them accountable for their blatant negligence!. The lack of training AND heavy triggers is why this happened period. The reason for this can be traced back to the so called “leaders’ and their overall anti-gun mentality!

    • Nah, this pre-dates Bloomers by several years. The basic problem is that the NYPD’s equipment requirements appear to be driven by the legal and accounting teams, who want to minimize 1) negligent discharges and 2) training costs.

      This is not even remotely new.

  21. Regarding the trigger: you can have two different triggers on two guns that are both “12 pounds” yet one will be greasy-smooth and capable of good accuracy, the other one will be gritty, grindy and just stink.

    The difference in smoothness matters.

    In a revolver the linkage between the trigger and the hammer is very “direct”. Trigger connects directly to hammer. 12lbs or not, it can be made butter-smooth and damned accurate. In a series of shots you can learn to start pulling the trigger while the barrel is still up from the previous shot’s recoil and as the barrel comes back down, let off another as the sights line up. This is what it looks like in the hands of a master:

    In any semi-auto there has to be a “linkage” going around the magazine well (the hole in the grip where the mag goes) connecting the trigger to the actual make-it-go parts at the rear. Whether it’s a hammer-type (Sig) or sear-type (Glock) doesn’t matter so much – it’s that long linkage that makes the trigger feel horrible in comparison to a good DA revolver trigger.

    In the 5.5lb stock Glock system it’s not so bad. Add a mainspring from hell and it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

    My credentials:

    Controversial part starts here:

    In my opinion, there’s another factor. The sights. And this applies to all police firearms in the US today.

    Cops are taught to focus their sight on the front sight rather than the target. The target is supposed to be blurry. In this system, trying to make sure the backstop is clear (“what’s behind what you’re shooting” is the “backstop”) is difficult if not impossible.

    There are sights out there that allow “target focus” shooting. They fall into two categories:

    “Glass” sights for handguns are generally not doing magnification – but they do throw up a “red dot” over whatever the gun is pointed at. These “holographic” sights add cost, bulk and complexity. They also add the possibility of failure due to glass fogging up, batteries failing, circuit going poof, etc. Here’s an example of something tricked out with very tall front and rear standard sights used as a backup to the glass sights “just in case”:

    More from a company that pushes this concept:

    As far as I know there isn’t a single police department set up to run these on a standard basis.

    The other answer is an unusual set of “plain iron sights” (actual polymer coatings over steel bases or cores) that are meant to be used even when blurry. The Goshen Enterprises Hexsite is being used by a few smaller police departments and is being experimented with in some more. I have a funky hand-made prototype of an upcoming variant mounted on my revolver. More on these critters:

    Here’s a more detailed article on these things:

    If you focus your eyes on something 10 feet out (typical handgun combat distance) you’ll see that it’s pretty easy to also keep track of whatever is behind the target, out to a good distance. But if you focus your sight on, say, the end of your outstretched finger (about where a Glock’s front sight is) tracking what’s further out is very, very hard. Our eyes only want to focus on one sight plane at a time, and the closer the sight plane the worse it gets.

    That’s part of the problem the Hexsite (and the various un-magnified glass sights) solve. The Hexsite does it without batteries, wires or glass and in a size that fits a standard holster, doesn’t get hung up in a seatbelt, etc.

    The other major “moral advantage” with target-focus shooting is that you can actually see what the target is doing! You can tell if he’s pulling out a cellphone, wallet or small gun. This more than anything is what went wrong in the Amadou Diallo shooting when the NYPD emptied 41 rounds at some poor guy pulling his wallet out because he thought he was being robbed.

    Target-focus shooting is where the cops need to go, esp. in bystander-dense areas like NYC.

    • TSD Combat Systems is ran by Gabe Suarez, who is a ex-cop who plead guilty to defrauding his government out of over $100,000 in workmans comp fraud. There are plenty of other legitimate companies out there that will mill your slide to accept a optic. MRDSes are really nice, I have a 3.5 MOA Doctor on my FNP-45 Tactical. They even give you a lot of feed back when you’re dry firing.

      And to nit pick, MRDSes are not “holographic” sights, only EOTechs are.

      • Also if you need a holster to protect that optic, Blade Tech sells kydex level 3 retention holsters with optic shrouds. They aren’t listed on their website, so you’ll have to call them up. I know they have them for FNP45s and Glocks, I would presume they can make them for any other gun as well.

      • “TSD Combat Systems is ran by Gabe Suarez, who is a ex-cop who plead guilty to defrauding his government out of over $100,000 in workmans comp fraud. There are plenty of other legitimate companies out there…”

        Gabe Suarez: Saved by the Voice of God –

  22. You could try a CZ 550 in the appropriate caliber. They have adjustable single set triggers. Regular hunting weight trigger pull if you just pull straight back — mine is about 4 pounds, but I haven’t measured it. For sighting in the scope or target shooting, push the trigger forward a fraction of an inch, and now it will go off with a pull of a couple of ounces. Is the regular trigger pull the best of any rifle I own? No. Is it fine for hunting? Well, I’ve sure shot a lot of deer and feral hogs with mine. Is it great for target shooting or shooting at any small or difficult target from a rest — like a shooting rail on a deer stand? You bet! The rest of the gun is not bad, either.

  23. Good point on the trigger but the hardware isn’t the real problem. It’s the tactics. Federal LEOs and MPs are trained to used Shoot-Shoot-Look firing rules (the two in the chest thing) and lead-follow two man tactics. The lead has the primary responsiblity for taking down the shooter with his partner backing him up in case there is a second guy or the lead can’t get a good shot. At most you are going get four shots into the guy and at 10′ they are not going to miss. When you add accountability into the equation you aren’t going to get a lot of collateral casualties.

  24. Maybe instead of wasting all that money on detrimental heavier trigger jobs they should install instant activation lasers. I’m no expert, but I bet the hit-to-miss ratio would improve dramatically. Possibly. It could be worth trying.

  25. Maybe I am missreading something, but how exactly do you convert a glock to double action only? I don’t see any way that could be possible, unless they somehow broke the feeding mechanism so the cop has to rack the gun manually for every shot. Yikes!

    • Sorry I Felt I Had To Repond To Your Post. The Definition Of D.A. Is “Double Action”, Meaning When You Pull The Triger Of A Gun The Hammer Falls Back And Fires On It’s Own. The Definition Of S.A. Is That Like Many Of The “Old Western” Guns, Or Modern 1911’S You have To Cock The Hammer Back Then Pull The Trigger To Fire The Gun. The Definition Of D.O.A. Is “Double Action Only” Like A Glock, Or Hammerless, Or Spurless (Hammer Revomed Or Not Visible To Cock) Firearm. The Glocks Are All D.O.A. As In You Can’t Pull The Hammer Back To Fire The Gun Because The Hammer Is Inside The Upper Receiver Of The Handgun. All Handguns In The NYPD Are D.A.O. Except For A Very Few Old Timers Who Stick With Their 6 Shot Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolvers. Iv

  26. I’m retired NYPD and I find that I’m so used to the heavier DAO trigger that I now prefer it. It is true that such a pistol is not particularly good for IPSC, but then again, combat shooting and competition are two very different things. I was a DA/SA revolver guy and then got a S&W 5946 when they switched over. I always liked the 5946 trigger. It is long and heavy but is also smooth and breaks well. The knock on the gun is that it’s heavy enough to be a ships anchor. MY wife has the new Walther PPS and I find the DAO trigger on this to be way too light for my preference.

  27. …while it is true that a twelve pound trigger is a ridiculous answer to the problem of insufficient training, it only compounds the problem, which is, insufficient training. If you gave officers more time (read, spent more money) to train, you wouldn’t need a twelve pound trigger as a deterrent to sending too many rounds too quickly and erratically which I assume is the rational. (Obviously doesn’t work as planned). There is no substitute for training, practice and trigger time. With it, you can develop the skill to employ even a DAO or 12 lb SA trigger accurately and effectively. Without it, a lighter trigger would simply result in a faster emptying of magazines with the same undesired results. As they say, you can’t miss fast enough, and speed us fine, but accuracy is final. Give the officers better training ( read paid trigger time, not do it on your own time and your own dime), and maybe you will have the kind of officers that are as proficient with their weapons as the public seems to erroneously beleive they are.

  28. I believe that the police at the Empire State Building did every thing “by the book” and acted professionally.

    I am not a gun owner and have only once or twice have shot a handgun.

    While I am not knowledgeable about handguns and pull rates, I believe that the NYPD is lacking in one aspect of its’ semi annual qualifications. As I understand it the current requirement is to calmly walk up to a booth at the range and shoot at a stationary target 25 feet away. I believe that I could qualify in this situation.

    I believe that most shootings will probably occur at this approx. distance. That said, I don’t believe that the “average” police involved “calmly walking” to a suspect that is shooting.

    I do believe that most will involve some sort of “running” toward the suspect, therefore creating an elevated heart rate with heavy breathing making targeting more difficult.

    I believe that adding a 100 yard run toward the target at the range (to qualify) could reduce (not eliminate) such collateral damage.

    PLEASE FEEL FREE to correct or bash me if I am off base on this.

    • The qualification consists of 8 rounds from the 25 yard line, 12 rounds from the 15 yard line and 30 rounds from the 7 yard line. The belief, rightfully so, is that in an area as densely populated as NYC most gunfights will be up close. The NYPD gets it wrong in that most gunfights will be a rapidly evolving, dynamic event that will, in most cases be closer than 7 yards. 1-2 yards is more likely.

      You’re on the right track as far as stress needs to be created, but just running alone will not do the trick. Running causes heart rate elevation from physical exertion. Police officers need simulation training where the stress is caused by the same thing that causes it in a real fight: FEAR. The NYPD has made great strides in recent years to provide better stress/simulation training, but it still is not enough. This problem has existed for the NYPD for decades. The NYPD has the greatest cops in the world, but their training, although improved, is still inadequate for what they face.

      The ONLY reasonable answer for NYPD cops and I imagine most North American cops, is to get training from private training centers that available all over the country. Always seek to improve your ability to prevail in a deadly force encounter and engage in realistic practice on a regular basis. Not only for shooting, but hand to hand skills as well. NYPD cops cannot risk their lives waiting for the department to bring the training up to the level it should be. The cops have to be responsible for their own training, health and well being.

  29. Why blame th epolice when their Mayor is the biggest Anti-Gun advocate. That’s what happens when you have an idoit running the show.

  30. I have been working for the Veteran Affairs Police now for two years, prior to that I was at a Sheriffs Department in Iowa. Here at the Veteran Affairs we only have the double action handguns, (Beretta and Sig) and I shot well with both of these guns. While at the Sheriff’s Department we had the Sig double action to single action P226, and I shot well with this gun also. The key to shooting well with any gun is “PRACTICE” I shot as often as I can with my duty gun or one like it. The more you practice the better you become. You can’t blame a gun for doing what it does if you aren’t doing your part in learning the way the gun operates.

  31. Many comments posted on here are correct. It is VERY true that the NYPD alerts it’s Officers firearms with 12 pound trigger pulls and makes each gun D.A.O. As far as for extra training goes. Each day a cop is training on shooting his firearm to save his/her life and the lives of his/her’s fellow citizens, is a day that same cop isn’t fulfilling his/her’s “Quota” for the day which the NYPD now likes to call “Quest for Excellence”. Writing tickets is far MORE important to the NYPD’s eyes then training their officers on proper tactics, firearms control, and marksmanship.
    Now as for for the use of hollow point bullets. These came to be in the NYPD after the 1997 North Hollywood Shootout. The NYPD “High Command” with all of their wisdom felt arming 9mm semi automatic handguns to it’s officers would help in the event of having to deal with armed maniacs with full auto AK-47’s. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a former Active Duty U.S. Combat Infantry Marine who served in a Weapons Platoon for 4 years. I just like to read countless military books on warfare, and other books on ballistics and theories of a gun battle. I don’t spend my days reading on true police shootouts and after action reports from real police shooting and large scale battles form combat zones. I don’t know anything about tactics, ballistics, trigger control, sight alignment, sight picture, fear, adrenalin, duress, reaction time, and or moving targets. My experience also goes a bit father then just the military. The truth is the NYPD AND the Liberals of the City of NY want their officers the LEAST armed as possible. They want the officers writing tickets. Tickets are the priority! Training is NOT!
    For your everyday street cop living and working in the Biggest Anti-Gun city in the U.S. try finding a handgun range to shoot in! Police Precincts don’t have indoor ranges. Ranges are VERY limited and limited to certain times of the month. BUT, tickets to write are ALWAYS plentiful for the same officers. If anyone has any particular question that they would like to ask feel free to ask me and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

  32. My father a security contractor, my grand father a police officer, me a security guard and yet no thank you I won’t sign up for the NYPD too much bullshit like this AND they ask for 60 college credits HA HA HA no thank you when the time comes for me to join a police force I am going to a free state where I most likely will make more money too. The NYPD just have a big name for being a police force from a large city and that-is-all. The human behind that uniforms suffers with shit like this.

  33. The problem is the HQ people are idiots. The 12 pound pull was initiated years ago because the NYPD was transitioning from wheel guns to Glocks. Oh and no one bothered to give the officers a sufficient amount of training in the transition. The result was the officers were having a ton of unintended discharges which resulted in officers shooting themselves and perps. Now over a generation of new cops has cycled through who have never touched a revolver and don’t have the bad habit of inserting their finger and applying pressure to the trigger as they draw the pistol.

    No the heavy pull only serves to shoot bystanders.

  34. I am sure the NYC Police chiefs would dearly love to be in Old London Towne, where the bobbies carry whistles and no guns. They walk down the street, it’s full of people, they think “Our cops aren’t that well trained, we can’t risk them letting off weapons in this environment”, so they mandate a trigger weight that guarantees no cop will ever willingly pull his gun out.

    I am sure they also hold a sneaking suspicion that if guns were the cop’s go to solution, they may well decide that their biggest threat comes from their own management. The heavy trigger might just dissuade a disgruntled cop from drawing down on his own captain in moments of crisis, like a dressing down for not writing up enough parking tickets.

    And learning lessons from past failures is not really that apparent in NYC. All that matters is that the stats are well polished and that the pols are kept happy. They have their own private armed security after all. And the tourists keep coming. Why?

  35. Wow. At 15 yards getting off 10 rounds with a 1 second par time and all but 2 in the A zone. You could beat Jerry Miculek with that performance. Or you could start bagging fertilizer.

  36. Because every minute they’re at the range, they’re not issuing summonses and fines.

    It’s a cost/balance issue. Cheaper to pay out.

  37. Even if they were to make the trigger pull less. Most MOS don’t care to practice. Most mos can’t handle the recoil of their weapons. If you change the trigger pull. Those individuals would put more bullets down range at a faster rate. That’s more stray bullets missing its targets and landing in unknown places. Its a give and take. What side of the coin is better?

  38. Good article Nick, but you know better.

    Regardless of the trigger pull or DAO vs. Single action, it has always and will always come down to realistic training and realistic practice.

    I’ve met some fantastic tactical-minded, excellent shooter cops while with the NYPD. They all had one thing in common. They sought out the best training they could find on their own dime, on their own time and they practiced on a regular basis. They were the exception, not the rule, unfortunately.

    If you placed a pistol of NYPD standards in the hands of a Special Mission Unit operator and asked him to use it for his duties I believe we’d find that the pistol would be just as accurate and perform just as well as the operator’s regular weapon.

  39. see u all never shot a revolver a smith wesson model 66 4 inch came with a double action trigger pull of about 12lbs that was the cops gun before autos cops never had trouble keeping them in the circle and double tapping but we are old school and didnt have semi autos we made what we had work through training

  40. Interesting perspective! I have never ever measured trigger pull weight on any firearm yet!

    It is the Guns Fault? Really,
    So weak minimum law enforcement standards don’t have anything to do with it?
    How about addressing the real issues? They were shooting at a moving target and no practice or training to do so!
    What about the next incident 84 shots fired 83 misses?
    Is a 12lb trigger excessive?
    Ok so your a carpenter, you use a 12 oz hammer then a 16 oz hammer at first u miss a few nails before the day is over well you don’t miss anymore!
    Yes probably but at what point do the bean counters stop their intervention without bucking up for real training?

  41. Here is the solution: Defund Progressive Education in the entire state of New York, and replace it with common sense Western Enlightenment.

    Of course, over time, NY will get rid of the stupid gun laws, including the city requirement for 12 lb. triggers.

    The point is, all societal self-mutilation in policy and government stems from Progressive Idiocracy, because Progressivism is based on the Hegel lie “No proposition can be proved true” which allows idiocracy idiots to make any law for any reason, and that ends up being tyranny plain and simple.

    We can fix one thing of Hydra Head Progville, like dumb trigger policy, or we can wet the witch and see her melt by defunding Progressive Education in the entire Empire State… and this kills the mother of all Prog Hydra heads.

    PROPOSED: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment and support of the anti-religion of Progressivism, and shall make no funding of Progressive education, nor shall it fund Progressive training in government, military or any other agency… since Progressivism is at eternal, deceitful, hidden war with individual rights, with life, with liberty, with happiness, with logic, with truth, with economy and with laws.

  42. It’s TOTALLY both. I personally know many many LEO’s that NEVER, EVER practice with their duty sidearms, even though they could, free of charge. Some of them show up to the local IDPA matches and they SUUUUUCK. They scare the HELL out of us. ALTHOUGH, a Delta operator couldn’t make a 12 lbs trigger work so, there’s that. There are TONS of trained personnel in the military that use standard factory, non “nd” trigger weights with zero ND’s throughout their careers; there’s no reason whatsoever we have to make our cops carry 12lbs triggers. I know for a fact this is a Band-Aid to a lack of training, and a lack of training to people that shouldn’t even be carrying a gun. I love cops to death, but there is SOOOOO much affirmative action going on in departments that unintelligent, overweight, out of shape, or physically & mentally weak people get hired, and these people are simply untrainable. And our public suffers as a result. If you want a trained and competent force, there must be tough entrance standards, and these standards MUST be maintained throughout. PT tests and sidearm/patrol carbine qualifications (NOT FAMILIARIZATIONS) must be required quarterly. This is really the only way to significantly improve our officer’s chances of success. Otherwise you can do the caliber dance from 9, to 40, to 45, to 357, back to 40, and back to 9 again, with all the 28lb triggers you can find, and you’re still going to change absolutely nothing. It’s going to be exact same shit every, single, day, until this planet explodes. The triggers only half the problem, the training and culture’s the other half.

  43. Not exactly the point of the article, but I guarantee that you will regret selling your Sig 226. Get another to toy around with but DO NOT under any circumstance sell your 226 for at least 3 years. Trust me on this one. You are welcome.

Comments are closed.