Flat Trigger vs Curved Trigger
As more of them are getting into factory guns, and aftermarket units have been around for awhile, is there really a better go pedal when it comes to a flat trigger vs curved trigger?
The flat blade is often touted as a benefit on new pistols that have them, such as the Sig P320 XCompact
Well...this is one of those things where there's something to it on-paper but it's mostly down to personal preference. Largely, it comes down to whichever is better for you on your gun and which one you run better.
So let's get into it.
Benefits Of A Flat Trigger
So...what's beneficial about a flat trigger?
The prevailing theory is that the finger makes uniform contact (or something like it) with a flat (or flatter) trigger blade. With a trigger shoe that's perfectly (or close to it) 90 degrees, the trigger reach is the same distance at the bottom of the trigger shoe as it is at the top.
An old trick for some shooters is to drag the trigger finger along the bottom of the trigger guard of some guns to get more leverage; it's been known about for some time with AR platform rifles and Glock pistols. The theory goes that it's not necessary or as necessary with a flat trigger.
So what does that mean?
The idea - in theory - is that a flatter, more vertical trigger does not require finger placement to be as precise, and can shorten the trigger reach.
Flat triggers have been popular upgrades for a lot longer than today's tactical goons might think. Flat blade triggers have been a popular 1911 upgrade for competition shooters for a long time. They're still very widely available.
Is There Any Benefit To A Curved Trigger?
Basically, the inherent advantage to a curved trigger is that the trigger reach - the distance from the back of the grip to the trigger face - is shorter in the middle of the trigger blade than at the top or the bottom. Therefore, you don't have to reach as far if your finger naturally finds the center of the trigger blade.
Now, the bigger the gun, generally the bigger the trigger is. Therefore, compact to full-size frame semi-autos and medium-frame or larger revolvers will be easier for more people to shoot as the taller trigger will accommodate a greater range of hand sizes for optimum comfort.
That's really about it.
Does Flat Trigger vs Curved Matter In The Real World?
A flat trigger vs curved doesn't matter much in the real world. Yes, the above pros/cons are true in the sense that they exist, but just because something's true on paper doesn't mean the practical effect - meaning how much it matters when you go out and do stuff - is necessarily dramatic.
The relative quality of a trigger pull has far more to do with the mechanical parts the trigger is connected to rather than the trigger itself. A gritty 1911 trigger, for instance, can feel that way for a number of factors including an unpolished trigger bow, sear geometry, hammer sear hooks that are a few thousandths too tall, a poor quality sear spring and so on; the shape of the trigger shoe is almost immaterial.
A flat trigger shoe being "better" than a curved one is almost entirely down to preference.
A truth about guns and gun-related stuff is there are a number of things that people talk up as if they're REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!! and they're just not, or at least don't matter outside of a limited context.
For instance, how important is it to have an adjustable gas block on an AR-15? Not very much; an H3 buffer (and maybe a red or blue Springco bufffer spring) cures most overgassing, so an adjustable block is really important if you're shooting a dog's lunch of ammunition with a suppressor.
Rifle shooters have been going on about "short action vs long action" for years. For those unaware, bolt-action rifle cartridges break down into several size classes based on the overall cartridge length. Short-action cartridges (like .243, 6.5mm Creedmoor and .308 Winchester) are 2.3 to 2.8 inches long and cartridges that are 2.8 inches to 3.3 inches long (.270 Winchester, .30-06, .338 Win Mag) are "long action" or "standard action."
Now, one of the only measurable differences between the two is short action rifles have a slightly shorter bolt throw, meaning the distance the rifle bolt has to travel to eject the spent cartridge before inserting the next one into the chamber. How much shorter?
0.5 inches. That's it.
How much does that matter in the real world? An unpracticed shooter might short-stroke a standard-length action (or a short action!) on occasion, but outside of that...it's practically meaningless in the real world.
Really, what matters is how well YOU run the individual trigger on YOUR individual gun. If it's flat, awesome. If it's not, awesome. You might find flat triggers a little more comfortable, you might not. That's really all it comes down to.