Gun Digest

Trigger Pull Gauge: A Snap With Lyman

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The Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge makes measuring trigger break easy as pie. But this raises the question, do you need one?

How The Lyman's Gauge Get A Handle On Pull Wieght:

Gun writers are expected to be multitalented. Not only are we supposed to be expert shots, encyclopedic historians, wizard reloaders, and skilled photographers, we also have to be able to measure everything (we’ll leave out the “thrifty” and “wise” part).

The Lyman trigger pull gauge—complete with its hard case and the measuring rod extended.

Readers, shooters, and the editor all obsess over trigger pull weight. In the old days, that was a real hassle. Using dead weights—iron discs hanging from a rod—I could spend an inordinate amount of time measuring triggers and dodging dropped weights.

It’s a Snap!
Now, Lyman has made it easy. Its trigger pull gauge, the electronic version, makes it a snap to snap.

The process is simple: Unload and lock the firearm in place. Turn the unit on, ready it, and then place the extended rod against the trigger and exert pressure. Now, this does require a certain amount of finesse: If you vary the location of the rod on the trigger, you’ll get varying readings; if you change the angle, you’ll get varying readings.

Well, in any case, you’ll get varying readings, but only varying within an ounce or so; and you can press the “average” button to find what the set so far averages at. The gauge measures from 1/10 ounce up to 12 pounds. Beyond that, you’ll have to rig up something … and then also get that trigger corrected.

More Gun Gear:

If you have a metric urge and you just have to know the trigger pull weight in grams, you can switch over to that. When you do so, you can expect your gun club buddies to make fun of you at the next range session. But, in this international world, Lyman would be un-clever to have two separate trigger pull gauge units—one English and one metric—and this company is not un-clever.

Do You Need A Trigger Pull Gauge?

How does this work? Well, the same way we measure pressure in cartridges these days. There’s a piezoelectric chip epoxied to an aluminum bar inside the unit. The piezo changes its electrical resistance as it’s compressed, expanded or bent. The electronics simply read the change in electrical resistance as the aluminum bar flexes, flexing when you apply pressure as you pull.

You get a direct readout in pounds, ounces, and tenths of an ounce right on the screen. And, you can average up to 10 measurements with just the push of a button.

Now, if you have a fine trigger pull—and you’re happy with it—perhaps you shouldn’t weigh it.

I found that out awhile back when I was working on my 1911: The First 100 Years book. I had a chance to handle a bunch of prewar and World War I 1911s that had been unaltered since then.

Nice trigger, I thought to myself on the first one. And then, I weighed it: It was more than 6 pounds. But, it was clean and crisp, with no grit, creep, or other obnoxious things. The others were the same. If you hadn’t known the weight, you’d think, Nice trigger; must be 3½ to 4 pounds.

So, if you like your trigger, you might not want to measure it. However, if you’ve paid for a trigger job and specified a certain weight, you’ll want to know. If you’re a competition shooter and you have multiple thousands of rounds through your gun, you’ll want to know if the trigger pull has changed since you started. Changing is usually bad and is an indication that something is wearing and needs tending to.

And if you’re a gun writer, you absolutely must provide the trigger pull weight for every firearm you review … or your editor is going to be more than a little put out. That’s why my Lyman trigger gauge rests in its provided hard case, and I have spare batteries in my gear bag.

I won’t go so far as to say that I won’t leave home without it, but if I’m going to the range, it definitely goes with me.

For more information on the Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, please visit

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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