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M&P Pistols: The Apex Decision

Though the M&P has remained a popular handgun since it was released, I've never heard someone rave about how great the factory triggers are. Unlike aftermarket Glock triggers, of which there are N+1, Apex Tactical Specialties is one of the only games in town as far as M&P drop-ins are concerned. But even if you're just limiting yourself to Apex triggers, you've got options. And where there are options there are also some decisions that have to be made.

In the latest issue of RECOIL, inside the special Brownells Gunnery insert, I go through different modifications for both the Glock 17 and fullsize M&P 9mm–for the full story pickup Issue 28 on shelves November 11th. Specifically regarding the M&P I used both the Apex Action Enhancement Trigger Kit (AEK) and the Red Flat Face Forward Set Trigger (RFFFST?–we'll just called it ‘Red FFFS' from here on out). Though they are both M&P triggers from the same company, there's more going on here than simple names, shapes, or colors.




It wouldn't be entirely incorrect to think of the AEK as a duty trigger and the Red FFFS as a competition performer. Given the different purposes for these triggers, it can seem like a bit of apples and bananas. At the same time these are the two triggers I hear my friends and colleagues vacillating between. Today let's take look at both


As shipped, the AEK is pretty damn simple: it's a trigger and a sear spring. Had I not seen firsthand just how much of a difference a trigger shoe can make, perhaps I would be more skeptical. The AEK is designed to be paired with any factory spring and sear combination, as well as those from Apex sans their forward set sear. No more weird mid-trigger hinge, and both pre and over-travel are reduced. It's generally just an overall improvement and how I wish S&W designed the trigger in the first place.

If you've never worked on an M&P before, installation can be a bit of a pain. Apex has a whole set of excellent videos that you should watch before attempting for yourself. Alternatively you can have a local gunsmith perform the work.

The Red Flat Face Forward Set Trigger is a different animal entirely, as you can probably tell from the multiple of springs and parts in the above photo. Do you want an extremely short throw? Do you want to experiment with different trigger weights? While you can't perfectly mimic the straight rearward pull of a 1911 with a pivot point above the trigger, you can get pretty close with the Red FFFS. Apex accomplishes this by moving the striker breaking point forward with their proprietary sear, shorting the throw and reset considerably, and flattening out the face itself.

The Red FFFS ships with choices too. You can choose silver trigger return spring for a 4lb pull or the green for 5lbs. Used in conjunction with other Apex parts you can reliably tune this trigger to break below 3lbs. As you probably surmised, installation takes a little bit more work, tools, and tuning; it's definitely ideal that you already have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the M&P, or go to someone that does. Even still, once again I strongly suggest that you watch the installation videos put out by Apex before just diving into the process.


You can see here just how far forward the Red FFFS sits compared to the AEK here:

In fact, it sits far enough forward that those with shorter fingers or smaller hands may not find it as comfortable. The Red FFFS also significantly reduces travel compared to AEK and absolutely blows away the OEM:

I found the Apex  AEK to be the largest improvement straight out of the box. However, not being a 1911 shooter and being only an occasional competition shooter might play a part of that. But where the AEK in an improvement, the Red FFFS trigger is a complete transformation. Both triggers are performance enhancers; my suggestion would be to roll with the Red FFFS if you're the kind that likes to tune up cars, and the AEK if you're one that maybe just changes their own oil. Of course these are just two options on the continuum of Apex trigger options. A nice in-between would be the Aluminum Forward Seat Sear & Trigger, which maintains the traditional trigger shape with all of the other advantages of the Red FFFS.


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