First Gear | The “Open” Pistol Build Continues

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posted on May 14, 2017
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A1F staff

First, a little housekeeping, so to speak. We’ve had a couple of careful readers bug us about our “Open” Glock build, suggesting, in more or (considerably) less polite terms, notions like: “Why in the world should I care about this? I have no plans to ever compete, to say nothing of competing with what even “First Gear” concedes is a less-than-practical carry/duty arm!”

Fair enough: Move along if you like. But consider what started the whole business: USPSA President Mike Foley’s observation (second paragraph here) about Open division as the “proving ground for firearms technology.” In other words, if you’re happy where you are, great. But long experience certainly favors the esteemed Mr. Foley’s contention: The likelihood your gear will be up to snuff in five years or so is actually pretty small. Where you’ll get a peek at things to come and a chance to vet them for yourself is with mods like those that are going into our Open Glock. Even if the “whole kit and caboodle” doesn’t strike your fancy at all, components may.

Our add for today is a good example: We’re giving the stock G17 a major control upgrade with a new trigger and trigger bar. Courtesy of our friend Freddie Blish at Robar, our stock rig will be upgraded to a “properly deburred, polished and NP3 plated” version.

Same contours as your original, but 7075 rigidity up front, and NP3-slick behind. Photo by Tim Schwager

Before we get too far down this road, an important point: There’s nothing wrong with the trigger bar and trigger that come in your Glock (we have a standard one in a fine-shooting Production division G17, and it’s capable of running much faster than we are even after 160K rounds). Some of the changes to Robar’s version of the Overwatch Precision Tac trigger can best be understood as accelerations of desirable wear that would happen over time. By having their pistolsmiths do this beforehand, however, Robar gives you the burnished surfaces as they would be with several thousand rounds fired, but with greater precision, repeatability and best of all, speed. Install it today, benefit from it today.

The NP3 coating enhances the handiwork by building in essentially permanent lubricity, corrosion protection and easy cleaning. We expect there are no questions about why we would jump at those prospects. (With some experience from this go-everywhere gem, we can vouch for how well NP3 works, and that such benefits last.)

There are other advantages too. The Robar/Overwatch has a flat-faced trigger, an increasingly popular characteristic within the Glock sphere and on many other firearms as well. More than anything, flat-faced triggers can reduce the penalty for slight errors in finger position on the face of the trigger, as well as providing a tactile cue that such an error has been made (your finger senses the edge of the face). Mainly, shooters find it helps in the execution of the vital straight back trigger press.

Not everybody buys this, and there are good arguments—though beyond our scope—as to why. In the end, we argue comfort, precision and familiarity are more important than geometry. If a flat trigger is trying to solve a problem you don’t have, get the Falx round-shoe version instead. Both are essentially flex-free 7075-T6 that put some tactile rigidity in exceptionally smooth-running triggers. They also won’t compromise the Glock’s original Safe-Action system.

There’s that flat-faced beauty installed. Photo by A1F staff

But our real hankering here—and reason for the flat-faced version—is for reduced pre- and over-travel. The trigger starts .24 inches closer to “bang” (better for smaller-handed shooters, by the way), and travels only a few hundredths of an inch rearward after striker release. For many shooters—ourselves included—this is a big help in catching the normal reset of the lockwork. Read that as “quicker follow-up shots,” if it is otherwise unclear.

It’s interesting to note that neither trigger assembly reduces press weight directly, though almost anyone will notice a decidedly different and superior feel right away. Mainly this is a reflection of the rigidity of the trigger itself, and lubricity of the trigger bar on other ignition components.

And here we get back to our housekeeping. Perhaps you now see why a “project” gun is so useful (as well as fun and interesting, etc). Changes like the Robar/Overwatch trigger can migrate directly to other parts of your armory, and make them run better too.   

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.

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