Wheeler Professional Digital Trigger Gauge
We would be willing to wager that the majority of shooters in the country do not have a trigger pull gauge, although every shooter should. Among those who do, once the majority measure the pull weight of the trigger on a firearm, the tendency is to forget about it and call it good. However, over time and given the normal wear of hundreds or thousands of shots on the trigger mechanism, the weight of a trigger pull can, and usually does, change.
In the past we purchased calibrated spring trigger pull gauges. They were okay, but their accuracy left something to be desired, with most of them being fortunate to be accurate to within a couple of ounces.
With the advent of solid state electronics and LCD readouts, it was only a matter of time before reasonably priced electronic trigger gauges hit the market. The Wheeler (www.wheelerengineering.com) Professional Digital Trigger Gauge that is the subject of this article is one such gauge. Like all electronic gauges, it is considerably more expensive than a spring operated gauge, but potentially offers improved accuracy and additional features.
At this point, some of you are probably wondering, WHY? All shooters who wish to maximize the precision of their firearm need to know the characteristics of the trigger. They need to know how and where it releases, how heavy it is and how consistent it is. Those who do their own action work must measure the trigger pull repeatedly to get it "right." An accurate pull gauge makes this possible.
While you still may not consider it an essential tool, a digital trigger gauge is a useful and desirable tool for all dedicated shooters. The Wheeler version is well constructed, folding, compact, comes in a foam lined case and is fully guaranteed. It is claimed to be accurate to within +/- 0.5%. This translates to +/- 0.025 pound for a 5.0 pound trigger pull.
The maximum pull weight it can measure is 12.0 pounds. This should be more than sufficient for any firearm. Unfortunately, the double action (DA) trigger pulls of many modern autoloading pistols and revolvers exceeds 12 pounds. Wheeler should extend the measuring range to at least 15.0 pounds, given the proliferation of "lawyer" (rather than shooter) trigger mechanisms.
There are two function modes: "Peak" and "Live." These are selected via the MODE button. The Peak function will hold the maximum force for each pull and calculate the minimum, maximum and average pull weights. The Live function continuously shows the force on the sensor and returns to zero when the force is removed. A digital timer turns the unit off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
The Digital Trigger Gauge comes with a bladed trigger adapter to allow its use with triggers that have internal safety blades, such as Glock, Ruger, Savage and other manufacturers. This little plastic adapter sits over the top of the standard trigger sensor and has a flatter profile for use on bladed triggers.
The gauge is powered by two AAA batteries. The battery compartment is secured by a Phillips head screw, which is not the most convenient type of battery case cover for an instrument normally used only occasionally and from which it is advisable to remove the batteries to prevent damage from leakage. (This is one problem spring pull gauges do not have.)
Features and Specifications
1. Once batteries are installed in the device, press the button in the center to power it on. The screen will light up and should display all zeros. NOTE: Avoid applying any force to the sensor when turning on the scale.
2. Press the UNITS button to change between Pounds/Ounces and Kilograms, as desired.
3. Rotate the arm 180 degrees out of the storage position until it snaps into the upright position.
4. The arm may also be twisted 90 degrees to increase clearance around some gunstocks. NOTE: Always twist the arm back before folding. Attempting to fold the arm in the twisted position can permanently damage the product.
Although the MSRP is $69.99, you can find the Wheeler Professional Digital Trigger Gauge online for under $50. More accurate than a spring gauge, the digital gauge is also more expensive, more complicated to use and more prone to damage and/or battery failure, which always happens at an inopportune time. Life is imperfect, but the Wheeler Professional Digital Trigger Gauge appears to be a good instrument of its type and it worked well on our firearms.
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