We shot Stoner-pattern rifles for a long time before we chanced across one with a truly good trigger, and it made an impression. Getting to that good ignition system had been a chore, the owner of that rifle told us: The original, plus a couple of sets of replacement hardware, had bitten the dust for various reasons. The fourth time had been the charm. Ugh.
Happily, that was a long time ago, and there are lots of possible cures for those six- to eight-and-a-half-pound “milspec” AR trigger blues. One decisive ray of this particular sunshine recently found us in the form of a Rise Armament RA-535 “Advanced Performance” trigger. Variously referred to as a “module,” “cassette,” or “cartridge” style, our first impulse was: “It’s so pretty!” It’ll seem a shame to bury this beauty in the bowels of a lower. Do it, all the same. It’ll seem a shame to bury this beauty in the bowels of a lower. Do it, all the same.
Right off the bat, the cartridge design commends itself in terms of easy installation. This frequent source of muffled—or maybe not so muffled—cursing (we’ve catapulted a few parts in our time) is all but completely eliminated. Installing the RA-535 takes about five minutes with semi-improvised (read “at the range”) tools and about two minutes—literally—in the shop.
Next, it shot beautifully in three 5.56 lowers and one 7.62 lower, improving repeatable accuracy in the two milspec samples, and performing easily on par with two reasonable “competitors.” Given this, you might reasonably ask, “What makes the Rise a standout, then?”
Simply, it’s the trigger lever. Granted, we’re sailing in somewhat subjective waters here, and fully acknowledge that folks are entitled to their own tastes. All the same, it was our perception that the very shallow curve of the trigger from top to bottom combines with the rounded face to make the RA-535 a perceptible advance on many competitors. We were not able to run it (nearly!) as thoroughly as it demands—like, say half a dozen 3-gun matches, and a precision Tac Rifle match or two—but we proxied many of the highly varied hand, arm and body positions that those rigors can require.
It’s that well-conceived shape of the trigger itself that presents the shooter with a remarkably consistent “feel” through those unavoidable, subtle changes, and lets all the great engineering behind it shine through: If the jargon there is imposing, we’ll translate—highly recommended.
MSRP on the Rise Armament R-535 is $259. Visit them here.
GlockKraft Flat Face Trigger
That we are big fans of the Glock pistol should be news to no one. As a result, we like to keep a close eye on both new pistols and enhancements for any flavor, new or not so. Lately, it’s been a veritable feast: MOS, the G42/43, G40 and G41, etc. Deeeelightful. Our test pistol ran both flawlessly and scalded-cat like.
When it comes to trigger mods, however, we concede to some pointed cynicisms. This could be a longish screed on its own, as the goals of such improvements are often at least unexamined (“I want it to be like my 1911” being the most heinous) or just shabby: A nexus where bald-faced avarice and poor engineering leavened with claims of “a drop-in fit” translate into “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” And then there was the simplicity of a safe, direct solution: Buy a G34 or G35 and a Wolff spring kit and practice. Or better still, quit being such a cheapskate and go to a real gunsmith. And practice more.
So along comes the Robar/GlockKraft D.A.T. (Defensive Applications Trigger), and we concede we missed it. When we were brought up to speed by the arrival of trigger upgrade kit, we replaced an already-excellent trigger of our own confection not particularly expecting to be much “whelmed,” over-, or otherwise, though the Robar guys get it right with (slightly annoying) regularity. In this case, did they ever.
First, the D.A.T. really is drop-in. While this is certainly more common nowadays, we have that “gulp!” feeling in a major way with such claims for triggers, having experienced everything from stone dead, to they run for 20 rounds and then go stone dead, to full-auto (yeah, removed that one before we got back in the car), to “it’s easy”—four hours later.
Second, the D.A.T. brings the benefits of a flat-faced trigger to your Glock. We allow that this can be a subjective artifact: If you’ve mastered the original, it may seem a tempest in a teacup. But the appeal is logically and physically sound—slight finger position changes that can occur for all kinds of reasons don’t get translated into a sort of “tick” that interferes with sound trigger “press” mechanics, and therefore botch a shot. The GlockKraft trigger adds to this is an extremely short, crisp reset—perhaps the toughest of all attributes to reliably obtain in striker-fired pistols from any manufacturer.
Third are the things the D.A.T. doesn’t do, and all to the good, in our book. No affect on safeties, and no (explicit) press weight changes. Keep in mind, however, that lots of folks feel like press weight has fallen, and with reason: This is a common perceptual side effect of the very vertical “break,” which the GlockKraft does in spades. If your D.A.T. trigger actually does measure lighter, well, that’s the NP3-slick (a la Robar) trigger bar weighing, so to speak, in.
Our test pistol ran both flawlessly and scalded-cat like, by the way. Our only (tiny) lament is that we couldn’t now run this pistol in USPSA Production or Carry Optics Division—prohibited as an “externally visible” modification. We suppose we can’t have it all.
If you’re still on the fence, know that you’ll be sending your business to a combat veteran-owned and operated outfit. As for our test trigger, we hope the good folks at Robar forget where they sent it …
Note: While both the Rise Armament and Robar/GlockKraft were indeed drop-in fit modifications in our experience, we, along with the manufacturer, recommend gunsmith installation. Any trigger modification should also be followed with a series of single-round, then two-round tests. Never load a full magazine into a firearm that has had trigger or other action work until it has been thoroughly tested in this or another self-limiting fashion.
Our D.A.T. was provided by The Robar Companies, $112.50. Visit them here.