Two stage Meditations: Controlling Pressure Points
By Nathan Mitchell
I was recently listening to the “We like Shooting” podcast and one of the subjects was about 2 stage triggers. There was a lot of debate and questions asked why they are even a thing and if they are even better. No one on the podcast could produce an answer. I then started to think what my answer would have been since I am a diehard believer in the 2-stage trigger. It took way more time than I had figured it would to come up with an answer.
My Experience Learning A Trigger
It wasn’t until I recently attended a GBRS training that I figured out how to elaborate on what it does for the shooter. So, this training was all about pistols. Most pistols if not all come with a single stage trigger. We were running a drill where we really got to know our trigger. They would call out 1 pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds and we tried to add a little more pressure each time and have it go off at the same point every time. I found this really helped me understand the breaking point of the trigger and be able to put enough pressure on the trigger and not have it go off as I pushed out to the target. I realized there was slight pressure on the trigger for 1 pound and the 2 pound I would feel the spring activating and then 3 pounds it would break. It took a lot of time to get to this point in a controlled situation. I then later found out how difficult this was to do in an active scenario. After about 1700 rounds over the 2-day training, I got to know my trigger and grip well. Highly recommend those guys for all training.
The Leading Preference
Ok back story is over and now back to the 2-stage trigger for the rifle. I’m sure if you’re reading this you know I don’t sell rifles with single stage triggers. If you ask for one, I’ll put one in for you, but I’ll be judging you. This is because I don’t think there is a reason for them in shooting. I can see exceptions for maybe PRS shooting but those triggers are dangerous in the hands of people that don’t know what they are doing. I’ve gotten a range violation because of them. That was poor trigger control on my part but hey I think you can get the same benefit from a two stage.
The Safer Option
What is the actual use of the two-stage trigger? Well funny you should ask. It was designed to be a combat trigger for both military and law enforcement. The way I like to explain it is through storytelling. I’m sure this was in a movie somewhere as well so just picture it. You are in a hostile war zone. Let’s say Iraq. A hostile looking car pulls up on the entry point that you are standing at, and everyone is guns drawn fingers on the trigger. As I mentioned before you have tension in the hand and pressure on the trigger. With a single stage trigger that thing could go off because when the adrenaline is going you have no idea how much pressure you are putting on the trigger. A two-stage trigger gives you a second wall so no matter how much stress is going on. A two-stage trigger gives you that margin of error in a stressful situation. The ODA guys that get out of that car all dressed in local garb will thank you for not shooting them. Think of it as a good check in. That’s just the first benefit.
The Trigger On Our Rifles
Let’s take the triggers that come on the MD rifles. They are Giessele SSA triggers and are SOPMOD drop safe. That is kind of a big deal but that’s another story. The trigger pull is a total of 4.5 pounds which is a safe trigger weight for a stressful situation. It also serves as a precision trigger. How so? The first stage is 2 pounds and then the wall. The second stage is 2.5 pounds. If you look at most precision rifles, they have an exceptionally light trigger. Around two pounds is my guess. If you take up the first stage to the wall you have a much lighter trigger for a precision shot. Since there is controlled tension to the first stage the shooter will tend to have less weird movement through the second stage. Try doing that with a 5-pound single stage. I recommend getting the Mantis training system to prove this point. It will show you all the movement in your trigger pull.
A Final Word About Safety
You don’t do any of the things I have mentioned? Well, you can relate all of that to why we own rifles and shoot. If it’s self-defense and defense of your property, then I bet you will benefit from having a trigger designed for high stress. If someone is breaking into your house, you may want that extra buffer to make sure it’s not your daughter’s boyfriend sneaking in. Then there are the competition shooters. This is a trigger that can make the long shots easier and still have the smooth pull for the quick shots.
I really didn’t mean to turn this into an essay but hey if you read this you are now a more educated shooter or think I’m an idiot. Either way you read it congrats.