A “Performance” to Remember

As I drove south on Route 61 just below Cabela’s near Hamburg, PA, I suddenly realized at least one major error I had made this evening. Pistol shooting 101 says “Focus on the front sight”. While I was shooting a rather putrid indoor GSSF round with my faithful Glock 17, I had basically done anything but. I remembered clearly watching rounds hit the paper target. All of the paper target. The top, the bottom, in the scoring rings, out of the scoring rings, even off the white scoring part of the paper. This will happen when you ignore the basics. But that wasn’t everything.

I can’t explain proper aiming technique any better than this picture except that for me, the front sight is a bit blurry too. The joys of getting older.

In case you can’t tell, my second entry into the “stock” category of Schuylkill Gun Works winter GSSF league wasn’t a performance to remember. In fact, I’d like to forget it or have a do-over. I only glanced at my score sheet before I left but think I was some 49 points lower than last month. This was the sort of score sheet one holds delicately with two fingers on an extended arm whilst the other hand pinches the nostrils and the breath is held.

Yeah . . like that except replace the sock with my “Stock” score sheet.

I was actually pretty happy with the way I shot stock in January. But then I had been primarily shooting my Glock 17 almost daily up to that point so it sort of made sense.

Not to make excuses, (okay I’m totally making excuses) but the biggest issue I have with shooting stock is the iron sights. My weird, progressive lenses and old-guy vision prevents me from seeing the sights clearly. As I’ve mentioned previously, things are a lot better since I installed the Dawson Precision sights on my Glock 17. The bright, yet small red fiber front sight is still blurry, but it is compact and visible enough that it doesn’t matter. I have recently noticed a challenge with properly aligning it in the notch of the rear sight especially in low light. As noted above, the focus should always be on the front sight with the rear sights and the target out of focus. Happily, I am equal opportunity with this and all three things are a bit out of focus. Proper alignment with the rear notch is important to the degree of having proper elevation on shots but that is really the extent of it. What one should not be doing is looking downrange at the target after every shot (or during every shot) to see where one’s bullet is hitting. The proper sequence after the trigger breaks is to maintain focus on the front sight, let it move back to the center of the target, let the trigger finger return to reset (where the gun is cocked again), and then press the trigger smoothly and steadily rearward again until it breaks.

Damn the technique. Let ‘er rip!

For comparison, my shot sequence today was aim the first shot carefully, take up the slack in the trigger, get impatient because the gun isn’t going off, and jerk the trigger backwards pulling the muzzle down. Maybe feel it go back to reset? Maybe not? I don’t really remember. Next, take the focus off the sight and stare down range at the target to see if there are any new holes. This last bit is particularly challenging at 25 yards. Don’t wait too long though before trying to regain focus on the dancing front sight and yank the trigger again as it drifts somewhere across the paper. Oh, and do all this in a rushed fashion completely ignoring the fact that you know you have plenty of time. In other words, pitch the fundamentals in the trash bin and fling a lot of lead downrange.

Actually stock started out okay. I was nervous enough in January that I botched up a couple fairly easy shots in the first couple sequences which are only 5 shots in 15 seconds the further of which is 15 yards. Dumb. This time at least I did mostly better there but I’m pretty sure there was maybe one major shank low at 15. It wasn’t until the 2nd half that I really started my “fire at random” tactics. Especially the last sequence of 10 shots in 30 seconds at 25 yards. Remember I said 30 seconds is plenty of time? Well I didn’t.

Anyway, enough about Stock and on to the more interesting topic at hand. Specifically “Performance” as in Glock’s new Performance trigger which was announced at the 2023 SHOT show. The SHOT show is the big vender reveal conference for all things firearms. People love to beat up Glock for “never coming out with anything new”. When they aren’t griping about that, they are griping about Glock’s triggers. Let me say right now there is nothing wrong with a stock Glock trigger. Glocks are built first and foremost to the standards set forth by various military and police forces around the world. All the private sales globally don’t add up to the profits of one good military contract. Typical Glock triggers break at about 5 to 5.5 lbs of pull and tend to be a little gritty when new. That said, they smooth out as they are shot and last indefinitely no matter how much abuse they take. Glock firearms are famous for going BANG! every time the user pulls the trigger. So why did Glock invent a new trigger?

Glock’s new Performance Trigger is a whole new system that offers a very consistent 3 lb. break.

Well, even though they can’t or won’t change the stock trigger to something lighter for fear of losing major military and law enforcement contracts, there was nothing stopping them from designing something for the civilian market that made their pistols a bit more competitive with some of the fancier after-market triggers or other firearm brands who aren’t beholden to big, government contracts. But this new trigger had to be up to the high standards Glock has set for safety and reliability. Enter the Glock Performance Trigger.

Without diving into too much mechanical detail, it is important to note that Glocks in general and the trigger in particular are ingeniously basic with few moving parts. They are also incredibly safe. Replicating that simplicity and safety into a new trigger designed to be smoother and crisper with a lighter break I’m sure was no easy task but the engineers at Glock proved up to the challenge. If you want more details on this new offering from Glock I can’t describe it better than this video.

I think I figured out, for now, how to beat WordPress’s video upgrade charge.

Wow. Three paragraphs and a video later and I still haven’t gotten to the point. Still with me?

Glock’s next release should probably be the “Glock Performance Packaging” featuring the tighter “Glock Performance Rubber Band”.

Typically new products introduced at SHOT aren’t available for weeks to months but a few dealers must have gotten some in. I was able to score a new Glock Performance Trigger (henceforth referred to as GPT) at Primary Arms for a really good price. In their typical fashion, Primary Arms shipped it out really quickly via USPS. The USPS, in their typical fashion, managed to break it. Well, not really but it did disassemble itself in transit which was probably much more the fault of poor packaging. In the video above, Johnny says “Don’t take this thing apart if you don’t have to.” Thankfully, he did and shows how to reassemble it otherwise it may still be laying in pieces on my workbench or possibly hurdled in frustration against the wall and left abandoned on the garage floor. Instead I was able to reassemble the trigger and replace the stock trigger in my Glock 34. The GPT made me smile almost immediately.

Compared to many other shooters my age, I started shooting pistols late in life and I’m still learning. I’ll admit to being a bit jealous watching those that are lifelong shooters, especially the former military folks, punch the middle out of a target at 50 feet without so much as one stray round off the reservation. For me it is sometimes a struggle to stay patient and press through the trigger break without yanking the trigger backwards which makes the gun go off but quickly forces the muzzle down causing a low shot. I know I do this. When I take my time and consciously focus, I get a good trigger press and the round goes where it should at almost any distance. Mostly anyway. Refer to fuzzy iron sights above. With the GPT installed, the break is so clean that yanking the trigger is minimized. As soon as I installed it, I was looking forward to range time.

I’ll admit I can usually shoot like this at closer distances, but struggle as shots get longer.

I had installed the new trigger one week ago knowing the last round of SGW’s GSSF match was upcoming. I wanted to give myself plenty of trigger time to get used to it and make sure it functioned well. Between dry fire practice at home and a couple trips to the range I squeezed the new trigger several hundred times. I was pretty excited for the match.

After wrapping up a really terrible go at “stock”, I tucked my Glock 17 in its box, briefly considered putting it up for adoption to someone who actually shoots well, and then prepared for “unlimited” with my Glock 34. On a side note, about the same time the the GPT was announced, the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation also added an MOS (Modular Optic System) division to their indoor shoots. Basically, this division is for those, like me, who have stock pistols with only a red dot style sight added instead of the iron sights. It is further noteworthy (if not fairly boring) that the GSSF also specified that users of the new GPT still fall into all normal “stock” categories since the GPT is in fact an official Glock product. The addition of any after market trigger (and there are dozens) pust the competitor immediately in the “unlimited” division both indoors and out.

Okay . . on to unlimited. My unlimited round with the GPT and Crimson Trace Rad sight went much better than my stock round. I didn’t carefully take note of my score but I am pretty sure it was improved from last month. I do know I kept most rounds at the shorter distances pretty tight and really noticed on the clean break of the trigger. Unlike the fuzziness of open sights, the red dot is crystal clear for me and it was a lot easier to focus on the dot than the fuzzy front site. There is still a lot of room for improvement at the longest distances. Once again, I found myself rushing and didn’t force myself to let off the shot when the red dot was dancing the heck all over the place. I completed my 10 shot string with plenty of time left and could have shot far more deliberately. Still, way more shots found the middle of the target than the outer edges.

Glock 34 Gen 5 with Crimson Trace Rad optic. My MOS gun. This pic was before the GPT was installed.

Now I want to offer up one last fairly lame excuse for my poor stock shooting. In retrospect it really isn’t all that lame. I should have probably spent a bit of time mixing in some shooting with my 17 while playing with the new GPT this past week. I got really used to the light, clean break of the GPT. A few minutes of dry firing at least would probably have been a good idea before the stock round yesterday. The expectation set by the GPT might have made my impatience with the heavier stock trigger a bit worse. To be clear, again, there is nothing wrong with the stock Glock triggers. The problem in this case is mostly the nut behind the grip.

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