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Apex J-Frame Duty/Carry Spring Kit

by Dan Johnson   |  June 14th, 2011 17

A smooth and light double action trigger pull is a joy to use and an aid to accuracy but a complete “trigger-job” requires a certain skill set and should be left to professionals. Aftermarket hammer and trigger springs are a popular way for the amateur tinkerer to improve the trigger pull on their revolver without getting into the risky work of stoning, polishing and fine tuning the internal parts. Lighter springs do not make the trigger pull smoother but the weight of pull can be significantly improved.

The trick is to lighten the pull without compromising reliability. Too light a hammer spring may cause misfires and too light a trigger return spring may result in the trigger not resetting in rapid double-action fire. Either situation could be a disaster in a self-defense handgun. Choosing the right weight springs for a light but reliable trigger pull can be confusing for the novice.

Apex Tactical Specialties, Inc. has taken the guesswork out of the process by introducing a Duty/Carry kit with springs of the optimum tension for both a lighter trigger pull and 100% reliability. Of course, you should always thoroughly test your carry gun yourself after any alterations. Thus far, Apex only offers these kits for the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers but kits for other models are expected to follow.

The kit contains a hammer spring, trigger return spring, and an Apex XP firing pin kit. It is a fairly simple installation but as the great American philosopher Clint Eastwood said, “A man has got to know his limitations.” Removing and reinstalling the side-plate requires a gentle touch to avoid marring the finish and installing the trigger return spring can be tricky without the right tool, but the mechanically inclined should have little difficulty. I suggest before starting you invest in a Brownell S&W Rebound Slide Spring Tool. It will serve you well for years to come. If you are not mechanically inclined, have an expert do the installation for you.

  • BPsniper

    Dan, I'm assuming you've tried the kit. Being a revolver guy of the highest regard, do you recommend this as a necessary/significant improvement over factory trigger pulls?

    Basically, would you spend the dough and put it in your revolvers and be glad you did?

    • Bigslug

      Odd that they would choose to begin their offerings with the J-frame, as those are the guns that generate the least interest in equipping with a "match" trigger, being good for little other than point-defense shooting. I'd think they'd have a much more lucrative market for the K/L/N frame market, as these actually DO get a fair amount of competitive use. On a dedicated-for-defense J, these would seem disturbingly like lawyer bait.

      Not that the factory Smith triggers have anything wrong with them to begin with, if one takes the time to learn how to run them.

      (Dan, are we getting our forum back soon? – Insert head-banging emoticon here)

      • Dan C. Johnson

        Not so odd, Bigslug. These are not competition springs.They are carry gun springs. The weight is selected to give reliable ignition yet lower the pull weight over factory springs. The J-Frame is one of the hardest revolvers to shoot well and the most carried, so it seems a natural place to start to me.

      • SuperNarc

        It's a point shooting gun if you're incompetent, yes.

        Thanks for the review Dan.

    • Dan C. Johnson


      Yea, I tried it, only my Chief is an old model with hammer mounted firing pin so I could not try the pin. I did a complete trigger job on my Chief years ago so no improvement was seen. I just wanted to test the springs for reliable ignition. Would I buy them and put them in my revolver? Every revolver I own has aftermarket springs so I would not hesitate to buy and use these if I was looking to lighten the pul on a new J-Frame.

    • WESS

      You screw around with your springs in a revolver, you screw with your life. If you want to make the trigger pull smoother, which will feel lighter, do some honing the trigger parts that move and are metal to metal……

  • breamfisher

    Okay, you've got me interested.

  • CCOwner

    Lighter trigger pull for a pocket gun? Seems I just read an article advising NOT to to that since pocket junk jamming against the trigger could cause a shot leg or SMITF situation.

    OK, so if you use a pocket holster this issues is nullified. The argument then is only shooters smart enough to have the pocket holster in the first place would even look into a spring upgrade. I'd agree with that.

    Given that shot placement is worth more than many of the myriad of factors involved with a carry weapon and actual need for use, then practice and proficiency become primary concerns.

    Investing in this Spring Kit may just inspire a person to get to the range to try them out; thus, that alone could lead to more practice time and vastly increased value in carry of that weapon.

    • Dan C. Johnson


      On average this kit takes the double-action pull from 12 lbs down to 9 lbs. That makes a big difference in shooting but not enough difference in pull weight to cause any safety concerns in the pocket IMO. 9 lbs is still enough weight you are not going to pull it accidentally.

  • Semperflyboy

    I wonder if this would work on my old model 31. I understand the logic in having a heavier trigger for a pocket gun but mine is so heavy I can barely shoot 8" groups at 7 yards.

  • klesb

    I hope that the Charter Arms .44 Spl. Bulldog Pug is next! Now that Crimson Trace has a laser grip for that, it has become my carry piece. For those interested in the original version of the Pug, the semi-bobbed hammer is available. All mine have it. It works well in a pocket holster from

  • Paulie771

    Anyone have any idea if this will work on their Bodyguard .38 spl? I don't know if the internals are J-frame-ish or completely different.

  • coolerhead

    Midway product # 312808 is described: Apex Tactical Duty/Carry Spring Kit S&W J-Frame 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 42, 49, 60, 63, 631, 632, 637, 638, 640, 642, 649

  • Jim Benat

    My J Frame (S & W 442)and my wife's J Frame (S & W 642) are double action only and both have Crimson Trace laser grips. The triggers on the J Frame are intentionally a little harder to pull as a safety feature. When you pull the trigger on a J Frame it's usually because you intended to. I'll stick with the factory version.

    • M. Nelson

      The stock 12lb. trigger is tough to shoot accurately for me. Sure, it's fine for extremely close work, but it's also nice to have confidence in your carry piece. Count me in on trying this out and have already placed an order. If I don't like it, or deem it to be too light, I can re-install the factory springs. This kit is under $30.00 shipped, which is a bargain to me. A local gunsmith quoted $150-$200 for a trigger job – no thanks. I'll give Apex a try.

  • David

    Installed three of these kits in my JFrames very nice!

  • selena272

    I wonder if this would work on my old model 31. I understand the logic in having a heavier trigger for a pocket gun but mine is so heavy I can barely shoot 8" groups at 7 yards.wing nuts

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