November 30, 2018: Apex Trigger Job

Specifically the  black Flat-Faced Forward Set Trigger Kit (Apex Part #: 100-154) for Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 pistols.  It was introduced in November of 2017 and is currently available in black (100-154) red (100-153) and Flat Dark Earth (100-159).  See my May 31, 2018 post for a view of the profile of the original S&W M&P M2.0 trigger. 

The black trigger kit is advertised with a MSRP of $169.95.  The red and FDE are $174.95.

Another option from Apex Tactical Specialties is the Action Enhancement Trigger kits with a polymer trigger for $119.95 or an aluminum version for $154.95.  The Action Enhancement trigger profile is much flatter than the stock S&W trigger.  They look more like a Ruger or Glock profile.

My preference for trigger faces is flat.  I find them more comfortable to shoot for longer range sessions.  My reason for replacing the stock M&P M2.0 trigger was to get a flatter face and to reduce the pull weight.  With the forward set trigger from Apex Tactical Specialties I also got reduced trigger travel and a shorter reset.

Before purchasing the kit I watched the videos on the Apex Tactical Specialties web site to verify the work was in my realm of expertise and I had the tools necessary.  After watching the videos I was confident I could perform this change out because of my previous experience reworking the sear on a S&W Sigma pistol.

I ordered from MidwayUSA and the kit arrived the day before Thanksgiving.  I started the project Thanksgiving morning after the turkey was in the oven.  I was finished before anyone else in the house was up.  It took less than two hours, including about 20 minutes to watch the videos again, and taking a break to baste the turkey.

The kit comes with a replacement striker block and spring which requires the partial removal of the rear sight.  A sight removal tool would be handy but can be accomplished with a non-marring punch and hammer.  A vise makes the process easier.

Taking the guts out of a frame is not for the feint of heart but it doesn’t take a degree either.  The kit includes a new sear and a sear actuator.  The slave pin provided is a nice touch to the kit and is needed.  I used the factory sear spring and trigger return spring because it reduced the trigger pull.  The kit includes Heavy Duty and Duty/Carry springs.

The Trigger Pull Weight Spring Guide available on the Apex Tactical website lists pull weights from 4.38 to 6.37 pounds in nine steps based on the combination of the sear spring and the trigger return spring.  The Action Enhancement trigger kits only include the Heavy Duty Sear spring and Duty/Carry trigger return spring.  Part of what you’re paying for with the Forward Set kit is the ability to fine tune the trigger pull weight based on your purpose.

A vise was essential in pushing the trigger bar capture pin into the trigger while positioning the trigger bar.  Don’t apply to much pressure once the pin is in so you don’t crush the trigger. 

Dry fire function testing had a noticeable difference from the factory trigger.  The kit provided the advertised reduced pull weight, shorter travel and reset.  I measured the trigger pull at 3 pounds.  That is a difference of 2 pounds and matches the advertised decrease.  It’s below the approximate weights in the available chart.  The chart starts the factory trigger pull at 6 pounds.  So either I got a “light” trigger to start with or my spring operated Wheeler Trigger Pull gauge needs to be upgraded. 

The length of pull increases from 2.63″ to 2.81″ with the S/M palm swells.  This is entirely predictable since the curve in the trigger face is gone.  I measured 2.62″ when the flat faced trigger stopped. 

The flat face gave me the comfort level I wanted.  I did take off a small amount of material at the bottom of the safety blade to smooth it out to contour more with the flat trigger.  I will admit I was being extremely sensitive to the blade and will state that I had done similar work to the Glock safely blade to make it match the contour of the trigger.  Just my personal preference, I don’t see the safety blade as an issue.

At the Range:  I was extremely happy with the new Apex Flat-Faced Forward Set Trigger Kit installed on a S&W M&P 9 M2.0 with a 5 inch barrel.  It had the lighter pull I desired in my “target” pistol.  The flat face trigger was comfortable through out the range session.  At some point I’ll probably swap out the slides so I can try the trigger on my 40 M2.0 compact with a 4″ barrel. 

I tested the setup firing at an AP-2 target at 15 feet.  Using hand loaded Inceptor 65gr RNP bullets and a 13 pound Wolff recoil spring, I shot the Distinguished Expert course of fire, but it was not timed.  The course of fire for each target is: 5 shots two hand strong side, 5 shots one hand strong side, 5 shots two hand support side, 5 shots one hand support side.

Keeping in mind these are untimed scores, my targets were 184, 185, 192 and 196 out of a possible 200.  The score with my “standard” gun, (a Glock 17 equivalent) shooting Winchester 115gr FMJ was 182.

The previous best untimed target was 190 with the hand loads and 13 pound recoil spring.  The combination of the hand loaded ammo, recoil spring tuned to the ammo and the forward set reduced pull trigger have had the cumulative effect I was expecting. 

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