Not unlike other popular polymer striker fire pistols, the S&W M&P has factory internals that are meant to be a common denominator for all gun owners. While it's perfectly satisfactory for most gunsumers, Apex Tactical manufactures Action Enhancement Kits, or AEKs, to suit your competitive, duty, or carry needs. The Apex Tactical Duty/Carry Kit & AEK Trigger are two products I was recommended to add to my S&W M&Pc pistol to give the already decent performance and accuracy a bit of a "polish."
The Duty/Carry AEK kit is compatible with S&W M&P Full Size, Compact, Long Slide and Pro Models, with or without thumb safeties and magazine disconnects. It is not compatible with the M&P Shield or .45ACP M&P pistols.
The kit includes an APEX fully machined sear, APEX M&P Ultimate Striker Block Kit (Ultimate Striker Block, USB Spring, Talon Tactical Tool) and Duty Carry Spring Set (Sear Spring, Trigger Return Spring, aluminum slave pin). All those modiciation parts work in conjunction to shorten over-travel of the trigger and create a smoother pull, all while keeping the pistol at a safe 5-5.5 lb trigger pull weight for Duty/Carry applications. I know many of you have heard/read already the saying, "You don't want to have to explain to a prosecutor in court why you modified your defensive weapon with a lightened trigger" but there's a reason why all LEO and military keep their sidearm triggers in the 5lb range, and for a non-competition pistol you plan on using for personal defense its a good idea to follow step.
The AEK Trigger Kit is compatible with all S&W M&P Pistols including the 45 ACP models. It directly replaces the factory hinged trigger with a solid body machined aluminum trigger (a lower price polymer trigger is also available) that has a center mounted pivoting safety. The flat target style trigger purposefully forces the shooter's finger on the center line of the trigger and encourages trigger manipulation directly to the rear, which leads to better accuracy. The reduced pre-travel and over-travel is approximately a 20% difference from the S&W factory trigger.
I found that installing the Duty/Carry Kit was fairly straight forward when watching the Apex Tactical instructional Youtube video (Part 1 and Part 2). The only hangup I had was connecting the AEK trigger to the trigger bar. Despite being preset from Apex, it refused to budge for me. In fact, I broke a cheap punch on it after wailing repeatedly with far too much force than what should have been necessary. I had to use a bench vice to start the pin even more, which was then too far for the trigger bar to be attached. A quick visit to the gunsmith took care of it, and he was in agreement that the pin in question was unusually stubborn.
After installation of both the AEK Trigger Kit and the Duty/Carry kit, I found that the trigger pull was indeed very smooth and the distance for both pre-travel and over-travel were much shorter than before. The reset however disappeared almost completely, and will take some getting used to at the range as it feels like a competition trigger. I was able to bump the trigger and get unintended double taps, but installing the Reset Assist Mechanism (RAM Kit) next should reproduce a proper reset and an overall safer carry pistol.
I would recommend these kits to any M&P owner who is wanting a better trigger pull and tighter groups. It does take some getting used to, and if you have never disassembled a striker fired pistol beyond whats needed for cleaning I would recommend either taking it to a gunsmith or studying up on the Youtube videos repeatedly before taking it on yourself.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: The AEK Trigger is an enhanced trigger for the Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols, reducing trigger pre-travel and over travel.
The Duty/Carry Action Enhancement Kit delivers a smooth, consistent 5½ lb. trigger pull with less over-travel and shorter reset for an improved performance of your pistol while maintaining its safety features for daily carry.
Target Market: Law Enforcement, competition shooters, and individuals who own a S&W M&P
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Center Mounted Pivoting Safety bar
- Reduced trigger pre-travel & over-travel by approximately 20%
- Flat, smooth face trigger encourages trigger manipulation directly in line with the bore axis
- Trigger Return Spring
- Limited pre-travel, limited over-travel, and improved safety features out of the AEK Trigger
- Retain the factory sear spring to get a slightly lighter 5 lb. pull.
- Installation Slave Pin
- Both kits engineered for a drop-in fit, though gunsmith installation is recommended.
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: N/A
What others are saying?: "As a 1911 shooter, moving to any plastic gun is a challenge to shoot well. I am spoiled on 1911 triggers. This kit comes close to what I am used to on a 1911. A bit more take up, but otherwise smooth, light and crisp release and reset. My groups improved greatly and rival those of my 1911. A bit pricey to pay 150.00 for a trigger on a 400.00 gun. But if this is your carry gun, worth it." -Lawrence Plasek, Apex Tactical Website Review
- Creates a very smooth, consistent trigger pull that feels lighter than standard 5-5.5lbs
- Online videos available to assist with each process
- Shorter over-travel and shortened trigger reset.
- The kit itself is engineered to be drop-in and should not require further gunsmithing (however, armorer or gunsmith installation is recommended).
- The kit itself is engineered to be drop-in and should not require further gunsmithing, however AEK trigger pin was unusually stubborn and needed persuasion from my smith.
- Trigger reset is not tangible and barely audible, Reset Assist Mechanism is probably needed to finish off the kit for my carry purposes.
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