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Old April 18, 2021, 09:42 AM   #1
TunnelRat
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Striker Fired Trigger Weights: Does This Matter Anymore?

Hi all,
I learned to shoot on double action revolvers. Then I switched to DA/SA pistols, then to striker fired pistols, then back to DA/SA, and back to striker fired pistols. I mention this because all of that meant that my opinion of what was or wasn’t “safe” when it came to trigger weight and travel has changed over the years.

In years passed we’ve had people comment or question if say a Glock trigger at 5.5 lb. was safe. Recently I traded a few pistols and bought a SIG P320 AXG and a Walther PDP Compact. The first has a trigger that measures 3 lb. 10 oz. on a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge. The second has a trigger that measures 4 lb. 0 oz. The triggers are noticeably lighter than the Glocks I have. I’ve had DA/SA pistols with heavier single actions than this (though in fairness the trigger travel on the AXG and PDP is longer than some SA triggers, though not by a ton).

As a function of this (and other factors) at least the AXG shoots very well (I haven’t been able to shoot the PDP yet). But you kind of would expect that from a trigger like that. In the past I myself have cautioned if modifying a trigger from its stock configuration to be lighter is a good idea. But these aren’t modified triggers, they came from the factory this way. I’ve never felt that my stock Glock triggers have held me back in any courses I’ve ever done or just in my own development. At the same time I can’t deny these lighter triggers are easier to shoot well.

Is there a trigger weight and length of travel at which you yourself would become concerned with regards to safety in a striker fired “safe action” type pistol? Does it matter to you whether this was from the factory or aftermarket? Edit: I know there are DA/SA striker fired pistols, I mean this more for those pistols typically regarded as DAO.

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Old April 18, 2021, 03:00 PM   #2
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No, I don't think we'll see the complaints about Glock triggers being too light either go away or start to be accompanied by a list of other guns that share the same problem. As far as I can tell, for a lot of people who complained along those lines, it was never really about that in the first place.
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Old April 18, 2021, 05:00 PM   #3
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Striker Fired Trigger Weights: Does This Matter Anymore?

While I agree that I don’t think those concerns or complaints will ever go away, I didn’t intend that as my main question.

My main question at the end is meant to be is there a trigger weight that you yourself feel is too light or too short? And does a trigger that comes that way from the factory concern you less than a trigger made that way by aftermarket parts?

On the two pistols I mention buying both of them have what I would call a defined break. At the same time if you had asked me before I bought them if a 3.5-4 lb. trigger is good for a defensive pistol I would probably have been unsure. What I’m dealing with is perhaps my own contradiction in thinking 5.5 lb. is okay but less than 4 lb. is not. Now that I own those pistols I’m not sure. I know from shooting pistols with heavier triggers that the heavier trigger doesn’t hinder my accuracy at speed at most defensive shooting distances. Even still I can’t deny it is easier to shoot these lighter triggers well. I’m left wondering if I should rethink my mentality on triggers.


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Old April 18, 2021, 05:17 PM   #4
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I’d personally like to keep striker trigger pulls at 4lbs+. My glock 34 is 4.5 pounds, and it’s strictly for the range. My P99c AS can break very light in SA mode, so its decocked while carried.
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Old April 18, 2021, 06:24 PM   #5
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Before concealed carry all of my handguns had their triggers smoothed or lightened. Then 16 to 17 years went by. All of my handguns were full size and so I began to look for something lighter for edc. All of the Glocks were out simply because I didn't care for the grip angle and having to reposition my hand. It reminded me a little of the Ruger MKII and how before I could shoot it I had to set my grip. It just was not natural for me. Then I handled the M&Ps which felt much better. I was looking at one in the lgs and took aim at something high on the ceiling to see how it pointed. That is when I discovered I had a bad habit from shooting so many bowling pin matches years ago - especially with revolvers. Half way up the wall the gun went click as I discovered I was pressing the trigger so as to have it go off when the sights were aligned on target as I did in matches years ago. That was a red flag for me and so I began looking for a double action only pistol. I know practice will break that old habit but what we don't know is how our body will react under extreme pressure when a gun may be needed. Will that crisp, light trigger pull you love allow for a shot you didn't intend? I just don't want to gamble on that possibility. Then factor in tunnel vision where you loose peripheral vision as well as the fine motor skills in your hands and fingers. That nice trigger may become a dangerous problem for some. This may be hard to imagine until you have experienced it or read up on it.

To be fair, I did handle a Sig P320 after buying the P250 dao and did notice the travel you spoke of. That may be enough of a safety margin but I think I'll stick with dao for now since I'm in my 70s and don't shoot nearly as much as I used to years ago.
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Old April 18, 2021, 06:35 PM   #6
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I took the minus (3 lb) connector out of my Glock 17L, replaced it with the stock 5.5 lb connector. Feels like 6, but I can't be sure.
Just don't like a light trigger on a Glock, I guess I view them as my more serious tools.

I shot IDPA for years with a Glock 34 with a minus connector with the NY-1 trigger spring, that was around 7 or 8 pounds but heavier all the way through the stroke. Very positive trigger reset.

I felt like I had more control with the heavier springs when shooting fast in competition.
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Old April 18, 2021, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunnelRat
Is there a trigger weight at which you yourself would become concerned with regards to safety in a striker fired “safe action” type pistol?
What aspect of safety concerns you? Is it safety in general handling of a gun or is it safety in a particular situation such as self defense?

I personally prefer an extra margin of mechanical safety in potential self defense situations.

But trigger weight is not the only factor that should be considered. Other things, such as trigger travel, are critical factors in firing a gun and the entire package of factors should be considered. A Glock with a 4.5-lb. trigger with lots of travel is substantially different -and could arguably be safer- than a 1911 with a 5-lb. trigger and substantially no trigger travel. However, a 1911's thumb safety adds another dimension. For me, the offset to using a 1911's thumb safety would be bumping the Glock's trigger back to 5.5-lbs.
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Old April 18, 2021, 11:11 PM   #8
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Striker Fired Trigger Weights: Does This Matter Anymore?

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Originally Posted by gc70 View Post
What aspect of safety concerns you? Is it safety in general handling of a gun or is it safety in a particular situation such as self defense?

I personally prefer an extra margin of mechanical safety in potential self defense situations.

But trigger weight is not the only factor that should be considered. Other things, such as trigger travel, are critical factors in firing a gun and the entire package of factors should be considered. A Glock with a 4.5-lb. trigger with lots of travel is substantially different -and could arguably be safer- than a 1911 with a 5-lb. trigger and substantially no trigger travel. However, a 1911's thumb safety adds another dimension. For me, the offset to using a 1911's thumb safety would be bumping the Glock's trigger back to 5.5-lbs.

I think my concern is primarily self defense and the possibility of inadvertently pressing the trigger. We all know the cardinal rule is keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. But even when I draw and press out with my pistol I can tell the difference when dry firing my Glock if I have run the slide to partially cock the striker. Even though I don’t provide any pressure to the trigger until I actually fire, my finger naturally finds the trigger and I can feel if the trigger is forward or not.

I’ve done force on force with SIGs converted to UTM that ran the gamut of action types. I’ve used DA/SA P226s, DAK P226s, and P320s. I never once inadvertently pressed a trigger and I also never really noticed the difference in weight of the pull when I was in a scenario. My adrenaline was up and 10 lb. or 5 lb. once I made the decision to fire my body did the rest. But it is still something I consider. On these newer pistols there is essentially less margin for being in error. Idk that the difference is enough relative to say a Glock to be significant, but I do notice it.

You’re also right that trigger travel is part of the equation. I included it in my opening paragraph and then stopped mentioning it, but I think it’s equally important (I’m going to go back and edit the question). When people before have commented that some 1911s have triggers as heavy as a Glock like you I have pointed out that there is a noticeable difference in trigger travel. On the Walther PDP that still seems true. On the P320 AXG with their custom works trigger, there is not much travel. It’s still there, but it feels more like just enough to prevent placement of the finger alone from discharging the pistol.


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Old April 19, 2021, 12:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunnelRat
I think my concern is primarily self defense and the possibility of inadvertently pressing the trigger. We all know the cardinal rule is keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. But even when I draw and press out with my pistol I can tell the difference when dry firing my Glock if I have run the slide to partially cock the strike. Even though I don’t provide any pressure to the trigger until I actually fire, my finger naturally finds the trigger and I can feel if the trigger is forward or not.
Like you, my main concern with trigger selection involves self defense use. And, as you noted, I cannot really tell that trigger weight makes much difference in an adrenaline-charged situation. I find trigger travel provides more control in such situations. Trigger travel also appears to be the best antidote for a surprise- or jerk-reflex in several studies I have read.

As to my personal preferences, my first choice is a hammer-fired Sig P250 DAO pistol with a 6-lb. trigger and very long travel. Since you specified striker-fired, I would not be concerned with a stock Glock 5.5-lb. trigger. However, my personal striker-fired choice is a Walther P99 decocked to 9-lb. DA mode with long travel.
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Old April 19, 2021, 08:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunnelRat
Is there a trigger weight and length of travel at which you yourself would become concerned with regards to safety in a striker fired “safe action” type pistol? Does it matter to you whether this was from the factory or aftermarket? Edit: I know there are DA/SA striker fired pistols, I mean this more for those pistols typically regarded as DAO.
For openers, I don't consider a "safe action" pistol to be safe. I'm an old-fashioned sort of person. We didn't have "safe action" when I learned to shoot, or for many years thereafter. In my lexicon, single action triggers are light, and double action triggers are heavy. Single action triggers have safeties.

My personal frame of reference is 1911s. Going from memory, I believe the Army spec for trigger pull was 6 to 8 pounds. And, of course, 1911s have a manual safety. Most contemporary articles I have read about what constitutes a safe trigger for carrying a 1911 recommend between 4 and 5 pounds as a minimum. I generally try to set mine for 5 pounds; if they come in between 4-1/2 and 5-1/2 pounds with little to no creep or grit, that's where I stop.

Muscle memory is an amazingly consistent and sensitive thing, which is a factor that many people overlook. Over the years, I have tested any number of 1911s. I can remember pistols with 6 pound triggers that I had difficulty shooting accurately because when my trigger finger reached the point at which it expected the gun to go bang -- it didn't. I had to make a conscious effort to increase the pressure, and that detracted from accuracy.

Conversely, I have also tested 1911s that came from the factory with 3 or 3-1/2 pound triggers. I also had trouble shooting those accurate -- because they went off before I (i.e. my trigger finger) expected them to.

Maybe, for some people, a 5-pound "safe" action pistol without a manual safety is safe -- if that's all they ever shoot. Their muscle memory will, after enough shooting, develop a sense of when the release is going to occur. For anyone who alternates between or among different firearms, with different trigger pull weights and trigger travel distances, I don't think it's safe.
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Old April 19, 2021, 08:58 AM   #11
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All I shoot now, train with and practice are all DAO or (striker fired DAO). Got away from the light striker fired triggers and do not plan to go back. Smooth, Controlled and Deliberate are the characteristics I choose EDC. And now after shooting so many thousands of rounds with these trigger, I can shoot them much better. A light striker fired trigger feel way too light for me now more than ever. Way too unsafe for myself and I also find myself shooting them too soon.
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Old April 19, 2021, 09:11 AM   #12
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I have a variety of handguns. I still have my S&W Model 19, DA/SA SIGs and Berettas, 1911s, and different striker fired pistols. I don’t personally find a lot of issue going back and forth between them, at least in terms of being able to or not being able to anticipate the trigger. I do find shooting one type more regularly improves my overall shooting with that trigger mechanism. When all I had was just DA/SA or just striker fired “safe action” then I did find trying a friend’s pistol of a different type would throw me for a loop. I try to mix it up when I go to the range and bring a different pistol to fire for at least a few rounds. I still do the great majority of my shooting with my carry pistols, but mixing it up seems to help me.


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Old April 19, 2021, 09:18 AM   #13
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Striker Fired Trigger Weights: Does This Matter Anymore?

This discussion is for carry guns I presume? Range guns and competition it doesn’t really matter IMO. Just whatever the preference.

But as to carry guns I’m guessing I’m an anomaly. I regularly carry four different guns. Each different. First is a j-frame revolver DAO. Second a commander 1911 that I carry cocked and locked. Third a striker fired pocket pistol in a pocket holster with a four pound trigger. Fourth a DA/SA CZ.

I don’t consider any of them unsafe. I train a LOT, so the changes in trigger pull and manual of arms are not an issue for me. And as long as they are carried in a good holster, none of the triggers are too light.

Obviously your first safety device is your finger. But your second and equally important safety is your holster. Very few triggers are unsafe if properly and securely holstered.


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Old April 19, 2021, 06:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Is there a trigger weight and length of travel at which you yourself would become concerned with regards to safety in a striker fired “safe action” type pistol?
It is for me. Most people I know would never dream of stuffing a loaded (including the chamber), 1911-style pistol having a 5 to 7 pound trigger-pull in their pants or in a holster cocked and unlocked (safety off), even with the grip safety yet some seem to have no problem doing so with a striker-fired pistol having the same weight of pull, albeit "safe action" type, trigger.

I don't think striker-fired pistols are inherently unsafe nor are most firearms, but some guns are less "forgiving" than others when it comes to safety. It's, thankfully, a personal choice and I'm aware I'm in the "great silent minority" () but when it comes to most striker-fired pistols (some are at least equipped with a grip safety), I insist on having a manual safety.
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Old April 21, 2021, 06:05 AM   #15
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In the last few years there has been a trend to produce single action striker fried pistols with no manual safeties. And the trigger pull gets shorter and lighter as they go.
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Old April 21, 2021, 08:36 AM   #16
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I was going to say much the same as above in regards to the race for the “BEST” striker trigger. I, myself, prefer DA/SA I have waivered between this and strikers over the years but ultimately prefer DA/SA. I generally have no problems with strikers and or shooting them or jumping back and forth. I do, however, think the trend of single action, light, short throw strikers has started to get into the dangerous area for the average shooter/new shooter. I mean in many cases you basically have the equivalent of a cocked and a unlocked 1911 and most folks would have kittens with that concept and the 1911 still has a grip safety.

I think Glock probably has the sweet spot for the best overall striker trigger mechanism when we consider safety, useability, reliability etc.

Now am I RIGHT!!!! I dunno, I am for ME PERSONALLY but probably not for you. I just know that while I have no real issues carrying a Glock I am not sure I would want to carry a PPQesqe gun. Love shooting them they just cross an imaginary line in my head as far as a defensive/carry pistol goes.

Much how I feel that the brakes are just as important on a great sports car I also feel a great combat gun should as reliably NOT FIRE when you don’t want it to as fire when you do.

Now remember I am no leoseagunfighter etc of any kind so my advice and a buck or two will get you a donut.

Take care shoot safe,
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Old April 21, 2021, 09:55 AM   #17
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With so many people who have never even held a gun before in their lives buying semi auto handguns, many with light SA triggers without manual safeties, I expect to hear of a lot of people accidentally getting shot.
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Old April 21, 2021, 11:49 AM   #18
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In the last few years there has been a trend to produce single action striker fried pistols with no manual safeties. And the trigger pull gets shorter and lighter as they go.
Yes and and a perfect example of how the internet influences gun owners. Light trigger firearms that use to be what most experienced shooters would consider a "Target Gun".And to top it off, the constant internet gab about short resets. The shortest being the best. And no not forget how the best is a reset you "Can hear". Actually that is my favorite. The gun manufacturers know how to market and when the need to develop a new gun, they have to come up with just about anything to see this "New and Improved" or the infamous "Game Changer". I also like the marketing term "Pro Model". Everyone wants to be a Pro.
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Old April 21, 2021, 12:28 PM   #19
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I learned on and fired various DA revolvers and SA 1911 model handguns for many years and I still can't come up with an answer to that question! Good luck.

Forgot to mention actual striker fired pistols. I've spent many years on them too. No answer, seems to depend on my mood!

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Old April 21, 2021, 12:39 PM   #20
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When I think “pro” I think of an old man with a .44 special snub nose or a ladysmith in .38 special.

Heavy trigger pull doesn’t matter, with minimal practice. It won’t save you from having your finger on the go-button when it ought not be there, no matter how heavy the pull.

My training is don’t point at what you don’t intend to destroy. If I intend to destroy something... I do my best to destroy it.

I don’t agree with lots of you fellas here, but most all I trust to be thoughtful, sober, responsible adults that train regularly. We all know you can’t fix panic reactions with a mechanical fix.
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Old April 21, 2021, 01:08 PM   #21
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Heavy trigger pull doesn’t matter, with minimal practice. It won’t save you from having your finger on the go-button when it ought not be there, no matter how heavy the pull.
On the first part, I think it depends on what you consider minimal practice. Now many of us here are likely practicing at a level where we can be proficient with a heavy trigger, but even during my years of shooting DA/SA I can say that in the weeks I didn't dry fire I noticed a difference at the range. The amount of practice is more than minimal, imo. That said I do agree and it's also been my personal experience that a heavy pull by itself is often not enough to stop an accident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkypete
My training is don’t point at what you don’t intend to destroy. If I intend to destroy something... I do my best to destroy it.
I think this is well and good in a world where a threat doesn't change, but threats do change. A home intruder with a weapon is something you might point a weapon at. If that intruder then sees or hears you and decides to run or surrender he or she may no longer be a threat. The typical expression these days from law enforcement and self defense instructors is shoot to "stop the threat", not shoot to kill. Even in the event you shoot someone they may stop being an imminent threat if they are disabled by the shooting. In that case destroying the threat could be murder (obviously local laws come into play as well).

Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkypete
We all know you can’t fix panic reactions with a mechanical fix.
Again I agree with this, which is why I created this thread in the first place. I neither want to require nor do I personally carry pistols with what I would call heavy triggers. There's a point though where I wonder if even finger placement itself might be enough to discharge a trigger, especially for someone in a stressful situation. Again ideally we keep our fingers off the trigger, but people still make mistakes. Does it make sense to have some kind of leeway?

Take this older joke for instance:
Quote:
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
I bring this up because if someone told me their self defense pistol had a 1 lb. trigger with no takeup, I would personally consider that unsafe. That establishes in my mind that I am the type of person that does think trigger weight and travel do matter. The question then is what is that magic weight and length of travel that I consider acceptable, and is it frankly artificial to justify what I personally like or does it have real meaning?
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Old April 21, 2021, 01:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
. I bring this up because if someone told me their self defense pistol had a 1 lb. trigger with no takeup, I would personally consider that unsafe. That establishes in my mind that I am the type of person that does think trigger weight and travel do matter. The question then is what is that magic weight and length of travel that I consider acceptable, and is it frankly artificial to justify what I personally like or does it have real meaning?
Exactly why I say PPQesqe triggers cross an “imaginary line in my head”. Not saying that line is correct or my opinion is somehow expert in any way just that I know I have that line somewhere. I prefer to err on DA/SA. but the PPQ was my sort of trigger break point on a carry/defensive weapon for me for some reason only for me.

I use the PPQ as an example only because it is fairly widely known and was one of the first “WE MADE THE STRIKER TRIGGER BETTER” pistols and from there on there have been even lighter/shorter/better etc. attempts.
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Old April 21, 2021, 01:28 PM   #23
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Just one other point. The PPQ is a WONDERFUL pistol to shoot. Is reliable, capable etc. I am not disparaging it or any number of other good pistols. Just trying to illustrate my demarcation point as far too light/too short for me for a defensive/combat type arm.
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Old April 21, 2021, 01:33 PM   #24
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As much as I don't want a police officer which we give lethal authority to have a stray shot, as an ardent PPQ lover for shooting...I agree. Normal officer probably shouldn't have a PPQ. I wouldn't want a police officer who is wrong pointing a PPQ at someone.
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