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Springfield Hellcat Trigger Upgrade: Apex Tactical Reviewed

Apex Tactical supports the popular Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm pistol with a nice trigger upgrade.

Springfield Hellcat Trigger Upgrade: Apex Tactical Reviewed

Five designs are available for the Springfield Armory Hellcat including a stock-looking black and Apex Tactical’s signature red trigger. These are aluminum triggers, so the American flag was laser engraved on the Black Freedom Edition and Thin Blue Line Freedom Edition. Two Thin Blue line editions are available as part of a series to support Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding the lives of survivors who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Triggers, and what actually makes a trigger "good," are among the most misunderstood areas of handgunning. But Apex Tactical Specialties’ founder, Randy Lee, gets it. Engineering and experience matter, and Lee has both.

Many shooters, even experienced ones, make the mistake of thinking that a light trigger is a good trigger. That is not always the case. Have you ever shot a pistol with a trigger so light that it resulted in double fire? That’s a light trigger that’s not so good. Have you ever pressed a trigger and thought that it had a 3-­pound press only to find out it measured 6 pounds? That’s an example of a good trigger that isn’t light.

Starting 20 years ago, Lee was gunsmithing on competition revolvers. His company, Apex Tactical, became a household name in the gun industry when it introduced a machined sear for the Smith & Wesson M&P line. That was Apex’s first drop-­in aftermarket part and it was a huge success. Stock first-­generation M&P triggers were not good, as many of you remember, but Apex Tactical’s triggers made the pistols so much better. As demand grew for other popular makes and models, Apex Tactical morphed that experience and applied it to other brands including Glock and Springfield Armory. Today, Apex Tactical offers a solution for the M1911, CZ, FN, Ruger, SIG Sauer and Walther pistols.

Hangunning: Hellcat Triggers from Apex Tactical Reviewed
The Hellcat produces an average trigger pull of 5½ pounds. Removing the polymer trigger, sear spring and striker spring should be attempted only after watching Apex’s installation video on YouTube. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

I’ve been working with Apex’s new Action Enhancement Trigger for the Springfield Armory Hellcat. The Hellcat’s factory trigger is very decent. It averages consistently in the high 5-­pound range. While it does have some take-­up, the press isn’t bad and the overtravel isn’t so distracting that it makes follow­through tough. However, like most stock triggers, there’s room for improvement.

Starting at $80, the Apex kit includes a new anodized aluminum trigger shoe, a sear spring and a striker spring. The trigger’s appearance can be had in the distinctive Apex red as well as in black and several special editions.


Installation was fairly straightforward, but if you are inexperienced in working with guns, you may want to have an armorer or gunsmith perform the install. Once the new parts are in place, and the gun re­assembled, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the Apex trigger sits about an eighth of an inch further to the rear than the factory trigger due to new unit’s improved geometry. This is important for a couple of reasons.

Having the trigger further back means that there is noticeably less take-­up than a stock trigger. Less take-­up means that as you press the trigger, there’s less "mush" to overcome as you manage your sights. More consistent shot placement is the result. Secondly, a trigger set back into the frame makes it easier for shorter fingers to reach it and achieve better leverage. Leverage is important to the way a trigger feels. The more leverage that the shooter can apply to a trigger, the lighter it will feel because the finger has to do less work to achieve the same result. This efficiency yields less effort and more consistency.

I know that some people like to describe an Apex trigger as "crisp," but they are mistaken. People are comfortable with that adjective regarding triggers because it has been used for so long when describing M1911 triggers. Apex units are not crisp in the traditional definition that some would describe as "breaking a glass rod." With its combination of improved leverage and better springs, the Apex simply allows the shooter to feel considerably less stacking before reaching the wall of the trigger. This makes it easier to press through consistently. The shooter does not have to rapidly build pressure as they press, which means that the shooter is less likely to change their grip tension throughout the shot process. This leads to improved accuracy and faster split times during rapid fire.

Hangunning: Hellcat Triggers from Apex Tactical Reviewed
The Apex Tactical Action Enhancement Trigger for the Hellcat includes one of your choice of trigger designs, a new sear spring and striker spring. A shorter and smoother trigger feel was the result. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

With the sample I shot, the trigger weight didn’t drop drastically. It went from an average pull weight of 5 pounds, 7 ounces, to 4 pounds, 8 ounces, which seems to be the norm. As referenced earlier, the Action Enhancement Trigger for the Hellcat isn’t light, but it is good.

I did some direct comparison recently while shooting a stock Hellcat and one modified with an Apex trigger kit. I shot the Apex-­equipped pistol more accurately and faster, but the improvements up close were not that obvious. As I said before, the stock trigger is not bad. I noticed the most improvement when shooting beyond 15 yards. Up close, it’s easy to just run the trigger and put the sights (or dot) on the target and produce results. Moving back with the stock Hellcat, I saw my groups open up considerably — even with the dot-­sighted OSP model. They were still in the black of a B8 target, but the groups measured in the 2 1/2-­ to 3-­inch range. With the Apex installed, the groups averaged 2 inches. I was filming for Guns & Ammo TV concurrently, so I’ll admit that I didn’t measure every group with calipers, but the improvement was noticeable and consistent with the Apex-­equipped Hellcats, regardless of sighting system, ammunition or who was behind the gun.


I’ve never seen a bad shooter pick up a gun with a good trigger and become a good shot. I have seen competent shooters become good and good shooters become great because of a better trigger. Apex Tactical offers that type of solution. If you put in the work, these will help you maximize your capabilities and make a good thing great.

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