At a Glance: The 8 Best Trigger Upgrades For Your 1911
Comparison of The 8 Best Trigger Upgrades For Your 1911
Our Top Pick
|Nighthawk Custom 1911 Drop-in Trigger Unit||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Ed Brown 1911 Trigger||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Wilson Combat 1911 Ultralight Match Trigger||View Latest Price|
The trigger is one of the most vital parts of any gun. Unfortunately, the stock trigger on a 1911 pistol is not that impressive. Thankfully, there are many high-quality aftermarket triggers available that can greatly improve your shooting in whichever environment you operate your pistol in.
There are a lot of trigger options on the market, but not all of them are of the same supreme quality and build. That’s why it’s essential to know exactly what to look for in an aftermarket trigger to dodge the sub-par quality products.
In this article, we’ll explain how upgrading your trigger will improve your shooting, how to find the best triggers for 1911s, and how to install your new part.
Our Guide To The 8 Best 1911 Triggers On The Market
We’re here to assist you with upgrading your 1911 and choosing the highest quality parts. We’ve scoured the market to find the best 1911 triggers available. We’ve then tested and reviewed each one to help you confidently choose one, which is both good value and high quality.
You’ll also find the pros and cons of each model to help you easily understand which trigger will suit your pistol and upgrade your shooting the most.
Nighthawk Custom 1911 Drop-in Trigger Unit
The Nighthawk Custom drop-in trigger system for 1911 pistols is an all-in-one unit that replaces your existing hammer, hammer strut, sear, disconnector, and sear spring. Constructed in the USA, a steel housing secures the unit and all internal components are fully machined with stainless steel, giving a sleek silver finish.
The traditional three-pronged sear spring is no longer needed as the springs for the disconnector and sear are built into the unit. A single-leg grip safety spring is included with the unit to replace the existing sear spring.
This drop-in trigger system requires minor gunsmithing skills to install. It will fit most 1911’s and 2011’s. The trigger pull will vary between 3 3/4 – 4 lb based on your mainspring weight and there is a 100 round break-in period.
This aftermarket trigger results in a crisp, clean break and improved fire control. Until now, a trigger of this high-quality has never been possible with a “drop-in” upgrade. Nighthawk Custom has changed that with the introduction of this drop-in trigger system, giving 1911 users a high-quality trigger upgrade with an easier installation process.
- High-quality trigger with drop-in installation
- No serious gunsmithing skills are required
- Gives a crisp, clean break
- Lightens the trigger pull to less than 4 lbs
- Made in the USA
- An expensive option
Ed Brown 1911 Trigger
This 1911 trigger from Ed Brown is a curved bow trigger precision-machined from stainless steel and aluminum to provide smooth, no-flex trigger movement. The curved shoe features a finely serrated surface that gives improved feel and trigger control and the overtravel stop screw prevents creep.
The shoe height is slightly oversized for the most precise fitting. Ed Brown offers a choice of long or short length shoe to give all 1911 shooters the most comfortable length of pull. The long length model features 3 drilled holes for an even lighter trigger pull.
The shoe is built from silver anodized aluminum, whereas the bow is constructed with polished stainless steel. Note that unless you’re experienced with fitting 1911 upgrades, this trigger will require gunsmithing to install it onto your pistol.
It may not be the easiest trigger to fit, but it is one of the most affordable models we reviewed. As well as the awesome price, the finish looks great, and it feels very smooth. It’s lighter than a stock trigger and gives a lot less play too. Overall, it’s a great budget trigger upgrade for your 1911.
- Great budget trigger
- Slightly oversized design to give precise fitting
- You can choose between a long or short length shoe
- Long length model has 3 drilled holes for a lighter trigger pull
- Delivers smooth, no-flex trigger movement
- Overtravel stop screw prevents creep
- Quite difficult and time-consuming to fit
Wilson Combat 1911 Ultralight Match Trigger
Wilson Combat’s 1911 trigger is a high-quality lightweight match-grade trigger that gives a smooth pull and ultra-crisp let off. Weighing a minuscule 2 oz. (6g), the trigger ensures a consistent trigger pull for competition or tactical shooting.
The solid shoe is precision machined from high-grade aluminium alloy with a high-gloss, low-lustre finish. The design integrates polished, well-defined serrations on the face for positive finger contact. There are also neatly radiused edges to prevent friction and scraping between your fingers and the frame. What’s more, the stirrup is made from heat-treated stainless steel to minimize unwanted flex.
Many options are available to allow you to find the best fitting trigger for you. You can opt for a curved face style in three different lengths, a skeletonized model with 3 drilled holes, or a flat face design. Furthermore, you can customize your 1911’s pre and overtravel using the adjustable overtravel screw.
The multiple length and style options allow your trigger to fit perfectly in your hand, giving consistent trigger pulls. The adjustability that this trigger gives makes it a top choice for competitive shooting. Considering the features and customization this trigger gives the Wilson Combat 1911 trigger could easily be the best 1911 trigger for competition shooters.
- Many styles and length options to choose from
- Ultra-lightweight to give the most consistent trigger pull and crisp let off
- Radiused edges to prevent friction
- Adjustable pre and overtravel
- Great value for money
- Ideal for 1911 competition shooters
Greider Precision 1911 V-series Match Trigger
The V-series trigger by Greider Precision is a lightweight, competition trigger that minimizes drag and reduces pull weight, creating an extra smooth engagement and faster return. The V-series features the proven Videki design for match-winning performance, making it a must-have for all serious competitive 1911 shooters.
The tough, high-strength bow is machined using the original Class A, Videki tooling along with 400 series stainless steel. The shoe is CNC-machined from top-quality, aluminum billet and is slightly oversized to give a custom fitting. Both have a polished, silver finish for a sleek look and feel. The trigger design also features a stop screw to significantly reduce overtravel as well as a grooved face for better handle and control.
The solid show design is available in three sizes (short, medium, and long) to provide the correct length-of-pull for almost all shooters. There is also a 3-hole shoe model for those looking to keep their pistol weight low.
What I liked most about this trigger is how it drops right in with minimal fitting required. It fits perfectly and operates smoothly, allowing no movement whatsoever. While it reduced much of the vertical slack, I feel it could have eliminated more. That being said, for the low price and easy installation, many 1911 shooters will find the V-series to be the best 1911 trigger.
- Uses the proven Videki design
- Slightly oversized for custom fitting
- Creates an extra smooth engagement and gives faster return
- 4 model choices to choose from
- Easy installation
- One of the lowest priced triggers on the market
- May require some file work and polishing to get the perfect fit
Harrison Design & Consulting 1911 Extreme Service Trigger
The 1911 extreme service trigger from Harrison Design is a strong and reliable trigger that delivers a precise, comfortable trigger pull. The strength and durability this high-performance trigger provides make it an ideal trigger upgrade for shooters who run their guns hard.
The extreme service trigger consists of a solid aluminum shoe for a comfortable, natural finger position that prevents uneven pressure and thus, maintains high accuracy. The smooth, curved face design has radiused edges to prevent friction against your fingers.
The short, medium, and long shoe length choices let you set a length of pull that concentrates the pull force on the centerline of the trigger. You can also choose a black or silver finish. The shoe is permanently staked to a non-flex bow of hardened stainless steel with a mirror-polished surface that eliminates friction with the frame.
I liked how easy it was to install this trigger and how very minimal fitting was required. The stainless bows are nice and stiff, and shoes are firmly affixed. The quality is top-notch and I found the pull to be crisp and smooth as silk.
- One of the strongest and most reliable triggers on the market
- Precise, comfortable trigger pull
- Curved face design eliminates friction
- Easy to install with minimal fitting needed
- Fits well and holds tightly and securely
Wilson Combat 1911 Competition Match #1 Trigger
The Wilson Combat #1 competition match trigger is an updated version of their famous design from 40 years ago. This enhanced version is built with the benefit of more experience and modern technology.
The 1911 trigger has a drop-in installation and requires little-to-no fitting other than some minor final adjustment. The long, three-hole design makes this aftermarket trigger lighter than factory triggers and is designed to prevent trigger bounce that occurs after the hammer falls.
The bow is machined from hardened stainless steel and given a polished, matt-silver finish. The included take-up tabs allow shooters to adjust the trigger pre-travel distance. Further customization is given from the overtravel screw that allows you to adjust the backlash.
Although there are no additional size options, if a long trigger design is what you’re looking for, you’ll find many benefits from this one. A big plus is an easy installation. Furthermore, the adjustability is impressive, and at the lowest end price range, this is a top choice for many.
- Easy to install with minimal adjustment needed
- Adjustable pre-travel, over-travel, and backlash
- Lighter than stock triggers, reducing pistol weight
- Designed to prevent trigger bounce
- A high-quality product for a super cheap price
- No smaller length models
Caspian 1911 Trik Trigger
The Caspian 1911 trik trigger lets you build the ultimate custom 1911 for target, action-pistol, or tactical applications. The flat face design provides positive finger pad placement.
The USA made trigger is designed for single-stack M1911 models. It has been built with high-quality, precision-machined parts including a stainless steel bow and skeletonized aluminum shoe.
This is not a drop-in trigger therefore gunsmith fitting will be required, and the installation process takes between 1-2 hours on average. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly formed the bow was out of the box and required no work.
I found the take-up and travel this trigger gives is very little, yet very crisp, thus I was happy with the result. It gives a much more comfortable feel than stock triggers and is a brilliant trigger for shooters with long fingers.
Overall, the Caspian 1911 greatly upgrades both the look and feel of a single-stack 1911 pistol and is one of the best economical high-performance triggers on the market right now.
- Flat face design for better finger pad placement
- Very high-quality, precision-machined parts
- Gives a very crisp take-up
- Feels extremely comfortable
- Looks aesthetically pleasing
- An excellent choice for target or tactical single-stack 1911 shooters
- Not the quickest or easiest to fit
Brownells 1911 Trigger Stirrup Die
The last product on this list is not a trigger but is a super helpful stirrup die that assists you with the fit and finish when installing your new aftermarket trigger.
The 1911 trigger stirrup die from Brownells lets you re-shape your trigger bow for a precise pull. It allows you to smooth out the bends and bumps found in triggers and match-fit them for precise, no-wobble travel.
To use this trigger stirrup die, slide your trigger over the die and tap lightly around it with a small hammer. It maintains the correct shape and angles plus, it lets you save dented and damaged triggers too.
There are two models available; one for standard Single-Stack 1911s and the other for double-stack STI pistols. This 1911 trigger die is great for touch-ups and modifications to your exciting trigger, or for giving the best fit when dropping in a new trigger. Just a few taps with a nylon hammer and any bumps or waves on the trigger bow will be gone.
- Allows you to re-shape your trigger bow
- Smooths out bends and bumps in triggers
- Results in a more precise trigger pull and travel
- A great helping hand when fitting your new drop-in trigger
Why A New Trigger Is The Most Important Upgrade
There are a few main reasons why you should upgrade your 1911 trigger.
- One of the most common complaints about stock triggers is that they feel gritty. This is because the stock parts have jagged edges and surfaces that cause the parts to skip and drag. This results in tension and resistance throughout the trigger pull.
- Many factory triggers produce a long take-up, mushy break, and an excessive amount of over-travel, which is not satisfactory when your shooting situation requires speed.
- Upgrading your factory trigger will result in a faster, improved trigger pull. Upgrading to a high-quality trigger will give your 1911 an impressively tight and quick sweep. This will allow for a snappier reset and quicker follow-up shot.
- Aftermarket 1911 triggers have smooth, polished surfaces that glide much more freely. This greatly improves finger comfort as well as the pressure needed.
- Shooters who upgrade the trigger will also see immediate results in better accuracy. The inconsistent long travel of a factory trigger can rob even experienced shooters of their optimal accuracy potential.
- Upgrading the trigger can also eliminate any trigger slap. Trigger slap is the stinging sensation of the trigger springing back or “slapping” the shooter’s trigger finger during firing.
How To Choose A 1911 Trigger
There is more than one type of 1911 trigger available. For example, some are adjustable and others are drop-in triggers that are housed in pre-assembled, ready-to-install groups.
Finding the best trigger for your 1911 pistol will depend on your shooting purposes. Here are a few things you should look for in a top-quality trigger for your pistol:
- A smooth pull and cycling – A smooth trigger will allow you to press without any stopping and starting. It gives uninterrupted pressure motion from start to finish, increasing accuracy.
- A shorter length of pull – Most aftermarket triggers will have a shorter length of pull than your standard factory trigger, which means higher accuracy.
- A crisp, clean break that you can count on time after time – In a good trigger, there’s no mechanical pause or hesitation between the press and the actual release.
- Good trigger reset – Resetting the trigger is the key to firing multiple shots accurately and efficiently. A good trigger reset is easy and is vital for combative/defensive purposes.
Weight Of Pull
The weight of pull means the amount of pressure required for the trigger to break. The weight of pull you will want for your new trigger will depend on your shooting purpose.
- For target or competition shooting, a light trigger with a pull weight between 3lbs-5lbs is recommended.
- For other styles of shooting, it’s better to opt for a heavier pull weight for reliability and safety reasons.
- A light trigger could potentially result in accidental discharge and thus, be very dangerous. For this reason, a trigger pull weight of over 4.5lbs is preferred for self-defense use.
Ease Of Installation
The ease of installing an aftermarket 1911 trigger varies greatly. Some are drop-in triggers that are not too hard to install, however, others will require gunsmithing and a fair amount of modification. If you don’t have the experience and skills of fitting new parts on your 1911, it’s recommended to look for the triggers that offer the simplest and easiest drop-in installation.
1911 Trigger Materials
Something else you will want from your new trigger is durability and longevity. To find a trigger that can take a beating and last a lifetime, check the materials used. The way it is cut, ground, polished, and connected also gives significance to the quality.
- Most triggers are made from either aluminum or stainless steel.
- Aluminum has a higher oxidation and corrosion resistance than stainless steel.
- Aluminum is extremely lightweight, whereas stainless steel can be fairly heavy.
- Stainless steel is thicker, heavier, and therefore stronger than aluminum.
For the best 1911 trigger, look for one crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum. This gives excellent durability and provides a smooth, clean finish that’s resistant to scratching as well as damage from wear and tear. The lightweight material will also add the most minimal weight possible to your 1911.
Flat Vs Curved 1911 Triggers
Some triggers have a traditional, curved bow, while others are flat. 1911 shooters tend to have a preference between the two designs. Here are a few differences between the two styles:
- Curved triggers can feel more comfortable and provide a better fit for your fingers.
- The trigger reach of a curved trigger is shorter in the middle of the trigger blade than at the top or the bottom. This means you don’t have to reach as far if your finger naturally finds the center of the trigger blade.
- Flat triggers give more flexibility for finger placement.
- It ensures the trigger pull length is uniform no matter where the trigger finger makes contact.
- The flat design is usually a preferred option for shooters with smaller hands as a flat trigger reduces the length of pull.
- It also provides more room for wearing gloves.
- The flat design allows your trigger finger to go where it may, giving more control over the speed and strength of the finger pull.
While flat triggers may be a bit more comfortable for many, that’s not necessarily the case for everyone. If possible, try both styles out to find the one that works best for you.
How To Install A 1911 Trigger
If it’s your first time installing a trigger on this type of gun, you may find it quite difficult. We have broken down the process to provide you with some basic, simplified steps to successfully remove your old trigger and fit your new one.
- Starting with the frame, remove the slide and slide barrel of the gun.
- Take out the grips.
- Punch out the pin and remove the mainspring housing.
- Take out the grip safety and sear spring.
- Remove the two pins that keep the hammer in place starting with the largest first.
- Next, you can remove the trigger bow. To do this, take apart the magazine release. The trigger will then slide out of the frame.
- Install your new trigger through the back of the frame the same way you took the previous trigger out.
- Ensure it moves freely by sliding it back and forth. The easier it feels to slide, the better.
- Now you can replace the magazine release. Once it’s back in, check it functions correctly and test the trigger movement.
- Finally, begin to replace all the parts in the order that you took them out.
As the installation process of all aftermarket 1911 triggers will vary, be sure to read and follow the instructions that came with your product. There are also various videos online that will show you how to remove and replace a 1911 trigger in the most hassle-free way.
Summary – Which Is The Best 1911 Trigger Upgrade In 2020?
What you use your 1911 for should be taken into consideration before choosing a trigger upgrade. As mentioned in this article, certain aspects of a trigger will vary depending on if you use your pistol for competition shooting or self-defense, and thus, the best 1911 trigger for you will be determined by that.
Moreover, all the triggers that made it to this list are high-quality, high-performance upgrade parts. Even so, the trigger I was most impressed by was the Harrison Design & Consulting 1911 extreme service trigger.
This is my favored 1911 trigger for many reasons but mainly because it is the strongest and most reliable trigger we found. In terms of longevity, this trigger will last a lifetime no matter how much rough handling and battering your pistol may be subjected to.
The trigger also performs excellently, giving a crisp pull, smooth grip, and high accuracy. On top of that, it’s not a headache to install like some of the others on the list. I hope this guide has shown you how much this upgrade can benefit your pistol’s performance, and thus, increase your satisfaction with your treasured 1911.