The High Performance Firearms Accessories: HIPERFIRE Trigger Group
By Christopher R. Bartocci
Due to the absolute modularity and adaptability of the AR platform (AR-15 and AR-10), many manufacturers have come out with improved triggers over the Mil-Spec 5.5 to 8.5 pound trigger pull. Whether you are a competitor, hunter or a designated marksman, there is a need for an improved trigger, one that will compliment the abilities of the rifle's inherent match accuracy. To improve upon the existing trigger, changes were made such as low power springs, 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 pound fixed weight triggers, 1 and 2 stage triggers and the more popular and perhaps more dangerous polishing down sear surfaces. Polishing does not work for any number of reasons. The gritty pretravel will cause pulling of the round, which limits the accuracy potential of the rifle as well as the shooter.
In January, 2011 a new trigger was in development with a very different approach to the inherent complications of current trigger designs. Terrence Bender of Hamel, Minnesota opened the doors of his company High Performance Firearms, LLC. His desire was to bring to the AR market a new type of single stage that would exhibit low constant weight without a reduction in hammer fall energy that became the HIPERTOUCH 24 design.
Mr. Bender earned a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering (Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded experimental research into laser-based space propulsion). After graduate school, for the next 14 years he worked in R&D with a Fortune 500 company developing and testing solid state high-G accelerometers for military munitions, solid state micro-G accelerometers for self-guided munitions' avionics and jet engine control pressure transducers for military and commercial aircraft, industrial process control sensing, as well as developing corresponding novel hi-real cost-saving manufacturing paradigms. The next 14 years he owned and operated an engineering consulting business with a focus on computational analytical directed to forensics, design optimization, and remediation of failed devises and machines of micro to macro sizes serving very diverse commercial businesses.
Like many in the industry, particularly designers with the most out of the box and original thinking, Mr. Bender had no employment or formal training in firearms systems. In 2002 he began development of a large caliber semiautomatic rifle as a personal challenge. Mr. Bender saw that many products in the marketplace suffered from one ultimate high accuracy deficiency or another. He felt he could do better. Four U.S. patents later, he conceived another idea for a low-weight trigger to solve a nagging problem with the large caliber rifle's ultimate accuracy. While conducting a presentation of his design to potential equity investors in 2011, one attendee asked if his design could be adapted to the AR-15. The light went off in Mr. Bender's head and he answered yes and a week later the LLC was formed and the first patent applied for. Currently Mr. Bender's "Firearms Trigger Group" U.S. Patent No. 8,572,880 was issued November11/5/13.
At the 2012 SHOT Show, Mr. Bender introduced his trigger design concept to the industry. The first production run was released in April of 2013 with the HIPERTOUCH 24 and HIPERTOUCH family (24 Elite and 24 Competition) was released in August of 2013. HIPERTOUCH is an acronym for HIgh PERformance TOUCH and the 24 standing for 2 and 4 lbs.
The "service" trigger model 24 offers several improvements over many of the current designs. These include faster re-stroke, fast and steady reset, very clean hammer release, pre-travel is flat and smooth, user-adjustable low trigger weights without screws and a much faster than stock lock-up and heavier hammer fall. This was accomplished in two ways. The trigger weight depends on sear friction and Mr. Bender changed the mechanical advantage to reduce the trigger weight. He changed the shape and location of the hammer and trigger sears and added two over center toggle springs that further reduce friction while slightly increasing the hammer fall energy with two toggle springs increasing the hammer force energy by over 35% over the stock Mi-Spec hammer. One of the major issues with reduction of trigger weight by reducing the power of the hammer spring is the possibility of misfires due to light hammer strike on hard primers. The toggle system can prevent this insuring reliable ignition. All in all, faster, higher hammer energy, faster lock up and a smooth light weight trigger is now possible. This gives the shooter several advantages. These include an anti-flinch action, constant weight stroke, single stage trigger that the shooter can shoot slow or fast. The HIPERFIRE trigger group drops into any standard AR-15/AR-10-type rifle with no fitting necessary. They are made in standard .154 in hammer/trigger pin configurations only.
The weight of the trigger is adjustable by interchanging the toggle springs. There are three sets of toggle springs provided with each trigger. The basic service trigger, the 24, has a set of blue springs, which gives a 3.8 lb. trigger pull, a set of yellow springs providing a 3.5 lb. trigger pull and a stainless steel color set of springs providing a 2 1/2 lb. trigger pull. Depending on the toggle springs used, the stainless steel color springs provide up to 50% faster lock up and the yellow and blue toggle springs provide up to 25% faster lock up than the Mil-Spec design.
Mr. Bender has conducted research on not only Mil-Spec hammer fall energy but that of six competitor's match trigger groups. According to Mr. Bender, the trigger groups tested represented the most highly regarded ones in the industry. Based on his research, a Mil-Spec hammer falls with approximately 22 ounces of energy. Another stock hammer and spring were tested (notched semi-auto only) with approximately 17 ounces of energy. Of the six competitor trigger mechanism tested only one reached the 17 ounces of the lighter semiautomatic only hammer/hammer spring. Surprisingly, the other five ranged from 8 to 11 ounces of energy – significantly less than the Mil-Spec stock hammer and hammer springs. Now Mr. Bender tested his HIPERFIRE trigger system with all three toggle spring sets. The stainless steel color toggle springs provided approximately 27 ounces of energy. That is significantly more hammer fall energy than the Mil-Spec hammer assembly. This set of spring also provides the lightest trigger pull of approximately 2 3/4 lbs. The blue and yellow toggle springs both produced approximately 12 to 13 ounces of energy significantly more than five of the six competitors. Based on Mr. Benders research his trigger group provides a much lighter pull with significantly more hammer fall energy, which equals positive ignition of even hard military type primers.
As previously stated, the HIPERFIRE Family was released in August of 2013. The flagship is the 24. This is considered the "Service" trigger that may be put into a patrol or SWAT rifle. Trigger pull ranges from 2 1/2 to 3.8 lbs. It would be recommended to go with the highest weight for any type of entry rifle or any rifle not being used in a designated marksman or sniper role. The basic trigger group has a MSRP of $185.
The 24 Elite has many enhancements over the 24. This trigger is made more for the competition, hunting and LE/Military market. The Elite is still a single stage trigger but with a reduction of pre-travel compared to the 24 by 50%. The trigger breaks at the hint of pre-travel. Like the 24, the Elite has user adjustable trigger weight by interchanging of the toggle springs. The toggle springs are offered in light, medium light and medium. This change from the 24 is due to the modifications made to improve the trigger sear performance and safety with the reduced pre-travel. The Elite has an MSRP of $215.
The 24 Competition is designed for the 3 Gun match shooters or a designated marksman. The trigger itself is flat rather than curved and is fitted with an adjustable HIPERSHOE. This trigger permits faster splits and more controllable repeat fire compared to the 24 and 24 Elite. The toggle springs are offered in light, medium-light and medium. This further change from the 24 Elite is due to the modifications made further to improve the trigger performance for match consistency. The MSRP of the 24 Competition is $235.
One of each trigger group was received for test and evaluation. The 24 and 24 Elite trigger groups were tested. The 24 was installed in an American Tactical Imports AR rifle. The trigger group dropped right in and was simple to install. The stainless steel toggle springs were installed on the trigger system. The hammer fell at 2.25 lbs. on a removable trigger weight system. This system is not exact so the trigger pull could have been just a hair above 2 1/2 lbs. The 24 Elite was placed in a AXTS A-DAC lower receiver with the yellow toggle springs. That hammer fell at approximately 4 lbs. The trigger was compared to four different competitor triggers for feel. The results were quite surprising. The HIPERFIRE was the lightest and smoothest of all the triggers looked at. The difference in trigger feel was quite noticeable between the 24 and the 24 Elite. The most noticeable difference was the lack of creep as well as the difference in trigger weight by just changing out springs. The simple change is as advertised by HIPERFIRE.
The HIPERFIRE Trigger group is still very new at the time of this writing. This author is quite confident in time it will catch on and be up there with the current list of high end match trigger manufacturers. Of the variety of .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition fired with the trigger group, there were no misfires of any time. There was plenty of hammer force and the product performed as advertised.
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