S&W M&P 9: Part IV – A Comedy of Errors

I am exhausted. It’s after midnight and I’ve spent the last 10 hours working on this pistol on and off. Yes, this is a clear case of OCD but we knew that. The trouble started when I discovered the Apex Tactical trigger kit in the mailbox at lunch time.

The kit comes in a bubble wrap mailer and has many very small parts in it. I began watching the videos and working along with them. First I took out the sear block and removed the stock sear. Then I promptly dropped the block thereby ejecting the tiny sear spring and plunger into the Great Void known as the floor of my dining room. I immediately began searching the floor for the cap/plunger/button/thingy which is incredibly small. It is smaller than the diameter of a pencil lead. I grabbed a strong magnet, per Randy Lee’s suggestion in the video (gee, how did he know that might happen?) but still could not find it.

I gave up and called Smith and Wesson to order several sets but was told they don’t sell those tiny parts. Hmm. So where can I get them? He tells me that they can’t divulge their vendors because it’s a trade secret. OK, so what can I do? “Send the gun back to us and we will replace the sear block assembly”. OK, now I’m mad. Not only have I lost the tiny parts but now I have to pay for the whole block, 99% of which I don’t need. “Click”.

Back to the floor. I crawled over every square inch within a 10 ft. radius of the epicenter for another hour. No joy. I finally got a broom and swept every speck of dust, cleaning media, spent primers, dust bunnys and various small Lego parts into a nasty little pile and began my CSI routine. Two hours after dropping the sear block I found that damned plunger.

I took the time to polish the new sear’s bearing surface that mates to the trigger bar and also the top of the trigger bar that operates the striker plunger. Nice and shiny. I then reassembled the sear block and set it aside. You do actually need tweezers to put the new sear spring and plunger in place.

I then removed the trigger assembly. I replaced the trigger return spring and used the included aluminum slave pin to hold everything together while reinserting the trigger, trigger bar, return spring and ambi slide lock levers back in place. The task was much harder than Randy made it look in the videos. The biggest challenge was that when drifting in the trigger pin the return spring had a tendency to slip between the slave pin and the actual drift pin. The solution was to take all tension off the spring so that the drift pin could follow the slave pin out while keeping the return spring in place. There was one tiny problem: while holding the trigger and slide lock in place I needed to reinsert the locking block over them and the tiny retaining clip that ultimately holds the take-down lever decided to jump right out onto the floor. Sound familiar?

The worst part was, just like the sear spring, Randy warned me in the video. Rats! So, back to the floor. It was much cleaner this time but even with a high-intensity light and the rare earth magnet I found, I could not find it! Eventually I repeated the successful technique from earlier: I swept the entire area, gently, toward the same spot I had used earlier. Sure enough, after sifting through the (much smaller) dust pile, I found the retaining clip.

OK, with the trigger back in place I then reinstalled the sear block with the trigger bar bringing it all together. Hallelujah!

Moving on to the slide, I replaced the stock striker spring with the one from the kit. This took about 10 minutes. The only thing I had left was to replace the striker plunger and its spring. I took the set screw out of the rear sight and drifted the sight out to reveal the cap, spring and striker plunger. I replaced them with the kit parts and proceeded to reassemble. One catch: the striker plunger spring is much higher than the stock one and it wants to come out. You guessed it…

Back to the floor! At least by now the routine took only about 15 minutes. With the rear sight reinstalled I had completed the Action Enhancement Kit installation. It was about time.

I have not mentioned that I was testing the trigger each step of the way. This was fascinating because some of these parts actually made the trigger pull a bit harder. This is necessary if you want the trigger to actually reset when you release it and you want the striker to actually hit the primer hard enough to fire the round. The bottom line is that at the end of the day the trigger is amazing. There’s a long take-up that gets me 85% of the way to the travel stop. When the trigger is ready to break, there is a distinct wall. From there it is a very small effort to break the shot. The claimed 2.75 lbs. sounds right. There is almost no over-travel and the reset is very short. Is this like a single-action trigger? Not really but it is incredibly smooth, light and short. I suspect that once I acclimate to the reset I will be able get my split times much lower.

Next up in Part V: installing the Dawson sights!

4 Replies to “S&W M&P 9: Part IV – A Comedy of Errors”

  1. I’m glad to see it went well for you. I hope you enjoy your gun with the parts.

    I hope you don’t mind, I’m posting the link to your blog to the Apex Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Scott @ Apex


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