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I guess I need an education on the LEM variant before I purchase another HK.

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by hntn&fshn, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    I want to purchase another HK. It will most likely be a P30 9mm. I have been reading lots of info on various forums and I am at a loss as to why so many folks like the LEM style of trigger mechanism? Maybe I am misunderstanding the data that I see on HK’s charts showing the difference in trigger weight between the various variants.

    Here are the arguments that I see supporting the LEM:
    1. The trigger is consistent from the first shot.
    2. The trigger pull is lighter
    3. The reset is shorter
    4. Faster shooting

    None of these arguments seem accurate to me IF I understand how the mechanism works.
    Issue 1: My understanding is that there is really no difference here between an LEM and a DA/SA when the DA/SA is fired in SA. A DA/SA fired with hammer manually cocked back on the first shot is the same (trigger resistance) on the first shot as it on and any subsequent shots. I shoot my DA/SA HK45 99% of the time in this manner because it is faster, more accurate and I don’t notice any difference in trigger pull from shot one or two.

    Issue 2: According to the chart that I saw, trigger pull weight on DA/SA shot in SA is actually lighter (easier pull) than the LEM and less trigger take-up. LEM is right around 5lbs whereas the DA/SA is 4.4lbs in SA.

    Issue 3: Reset info seems to be somewhat inconsistent but from what I gather, the reset on the LEM is slight longer than the SA reset.

    Issue 4: I don't understand this one at all. How is it possible to shoot a pistol with a harder trigger pull and longer reset faster than a pistol firing in SA which has a lighter and shorter trigger pull?

    So, it seems to me that many folks state “LEM vs DA/SA” when they do videos or write-ups but do they mean LEM vs DAO? How many people shoot DAO HK’s – I’ve never seen any…?

    The only real difference that I can see is that a guy can loose the extra lever (safety/decocking) by doing the LEM conversion. Personally I don’t think I would want to lose the decocking lever because it is so handy to use.

    So, what am I missing? Why do so many folks like LEM HK’s when it seems to me that they end up with a pistol with a harder trigger pull, more trigger take-up, and they are carrying around a firearm with a preloaded spring – kind of like a half-breed Glock/HK? Again, I am close to purchasing a P30 (let me know if you want to sell yours :thumbup:) and at this point I am only looking at variant 3’s but I will consider an LEM variant if someone can explain how it is “better” than the DA/SA.
     
  2. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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  3. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    I have seen that video a couple of times and it only explains how an LEM functions but it does not compare the differences between an LEM and a DA/SA. He does state the differences between a LEM and a DAO. Again, how many HK DAO shooters do you know? I don't know any. I have never even seen one. So, I would completely understand the purpose of the LEM IF the only other option was a DAO but that is not the case. Most HK's, that I have seen, are DA/SA variants or LEM. Now just because I have not seen any does not mean they are not out there because I am relatively new to handgun shooting and that is why I am trying to understand this seeming obsession for LEM variants and if there is a good reason for it, I don't want to discount it.
     
  4. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    Sounds like you need to try out a LEM pistol to answer your questions.

    I have a P2000 and a P30, both LEM. The P2000 is my EDC because it conceals better. The LEM system does require practice to get used to, but IMHO it is much better than a DA/SA if you're going to transition from DA to SA between the first and second shot. If you're going to cock the hammer for your first shot (not likely in a self-defense scenario), it doesn't matter.

    I prefer LEM over striker-fired pistols for carry because I like the safety aspect of being able to thumb the hammer when re-holstering...just a personal preference on my part. "Second-strike" capability is also a preference I prefer over striker-fired pistols.
     
  5. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    Thanks for the response SubSailer. I would like to try an LEM before my next purchase so that I can possibly "feel" something that will help me wrap my mind around an idea that doesn't seem to make sense to me.

    Regarding your comment about "transition from DA to SA" - I don't really understand? There are really two scenarios for me. One is practice at the range. When I practice I almost always cock the hammer just like i do on a single action revolver. As I pull the gun up to get a sight picture, the hammer is cocked. It is second nature, and it takes no more time than doing nothing as I position for the aim. So when I am ready to shoot, my already cocked (now SA) pistol has a light trigger pull on the first shot and then every other shot is the same as the first - lightest and quickest reset of any option available.

    The second scenario is self defense. First of all, I guarantee you that if my life is in danger and I feel that I need to protect myself with deadly force, there is no double action pistol made that will keep me from pulling the trigger. My go to carry gun is the Ruger LCP because I can always carry in my pocket even when it is not appropriate to carry any other weapon. That little gun has the worst trigger I have ever used. It takes two days from the time I start to pull till the hammer falls and it is uncomfortable to shoot. But, in a pinch, I think it is the best tool made.

    But back to shooting nicer hand guns, people always revert back to training in fight or flight situations. We don't have time to think so we use our trained muscle memory. For me that is cocking a hammer first thing just like some folks are trained to flip the safety first.

    So I am still wondering, since we need training to shoot any variant, would it not be better to train yourself to shoot the variant that has the best trigger action which is a SA gun? In my mind, the DA/SA is the same thing but it gives me a last ditch chance if for some reason I can not manually cock the hammer, I can still protect myself by adding a little extra pressure to the trigger.

    From the research that I have done, I seem to recall that there were some police forces that were required to use double action only semi handguns because of safety concerns. In this unusual circumstance, I certainly understand the need for a better handling pistol and I if I worked for one of the PD's that required DAO guns I would diffidently prefer the LEM. However, it a guy is not "forced" to carry a DAO, I still can not see why folks would deliberately buy one.
     
  6. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I have a V5 DAO and V1 DA/SA USP Compact 40. The DAO has a 9.5 lb trigger pull (9 lb from half cock) and the DA/SA has a 10.5 lb DA trigger pull (10 lb from half cock - 4.5 lb in SA). This pull difference is likely contributable to age and use or just manufacturing differences in the springs used in the year between the manufacturing of the two. USP trigger pulls do get better with time.

    The DAO has a half cock notch even though it doesn't have the decocker function. The LEMs do not have the half cock at all. That is one of the reasons they say "consistent" trigger pull. You can feel the different positions of the trigger in pulling the DAO or DA/SA trigger. DA/SA also has trigger take-up when cocked in SA mode.

    You may think you are fast cocking the hammer back, and perhaps you are, but any step removed from a sequence for training is better. This is doubly so for stressful situations. Also, the compacts have bobbed hammers (USP anyway. I haven't bothered paying attention to the newer models yet).
     
    XSubSailor and (deleted member) like this.
  7. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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    XSubSailor and JAFO mentioned some of good points and made the sage advice to try a LEM to really understand it.

    It basically comes down to method of carry and training.

    If this is for CC, then by eliminating the control lever, it increases the comfort marginally (if you use a IWB holster).

    If a HK DA/SA pistol is carried cocked and locked, there is a risk of decocking the pistol when presenting under stress, again coming down to training. Otherwise, the first trigger pull will be the heavier DA. Unless one trains to cock the hammer when presenting.

    So, in usage, the Light LEM "drawbacks" would be the long take up with a slightly longer reset than a DA/SA and a 0.5lb difference in trigger pull weight from SA mode. The gain is simplifying the presentation process: once the pistol is drawn, there is no safety to deactivate, no hammer to cock.

    With HKs it is easy enough to convert between the different triggers: just be sure to train with what you decide upon.
     
  8. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    Like I said, you really need to try one out to see if it's for you.

    It really comes down to consistent training with the weapon you use. I currently have 15 pistols in the stable in every trigger system imaginable. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. In all honesty, I have a hard time believing that one could reliably and consistently cock a pistol on the draw in a self-defense situation...in those situation where you are forced to fire in DA mode, the statistics (mostly from the LE community) overwhelmingly show an unacceptable percentage (>50%) misses on the first shot. My advice would be if you are going to carry a DA/SA pistol, you should train by firing DA on the first shot, and SA on the second (controlled pairs).

    IMO, today's striker-fired pistols offer the best triggers and are easily customizable to the shooter's preferences. They also have the advantage of the same trigger pull on every shot. LEM is a slight compromise over a striker-fired design, with a long trigger pull on the first shot to take out the slack, but it's easily overcome by proper training. As I said in a previous post, I prefer the hammer-fired design over striker-fired for safety and reliability reasons (some may disagree with me on those points however.)
     
  9. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    OK, I am starting to understand that there are advantages to this system. Thanks fellas for taking the time to explain.

    I think these are two good points also. Personally, I don’t like shooting DA and I doubt anyone does. Maybe that is why it is difficult to grasp the idea of a “special” DAO gun.

    Regarding striker fired guns; this is another one of those “issues” that I have difficulty accepting. Most likely because I am getting to be an old fart at 53yo and I like SA revolvers where everything is static until I am ready to go but I just don’t like the idea of carrying around a firearm with a spring under tension. I know some of these models have great reputations (like the Walther PPQ) but it seems like it would be safer to handle a snake that is not already coiled up and ready to strike.
     
  10. hatchj

    hatchj Milwaukie, OR Member

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    The simplest way to describe it I guess would be like a lightweight double action pull with a short reset. The reset is going to be closer to the reset on a single action pistol, short and crisp.

    So you could say it's a double action trigger with almost that lighter single action feel to it, just longer. correct me if i'm wrong.
     
  11. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Buckley Active Member

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    I had a P2000 .40 SA/DA that fit me great. However I could never get over the horrible trigger in it. When trying to shoot for accuracy in SA it was OK at best for me. But when trying to put a mag quickly on target from the holster I had a terrible time trying to get the DA shot on paper. Always pulled low left. I definitely see the argument of consistency in switching from DA to SA during a string of fire. Now I drank the glock koolaid and life is happy
     
  12. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    I understand what you are saying here and it is most likely true but that is because most of these instructors have not spent time in Alaska fishing remote rivers where the threat is much faster, more powerful, and deadly than what they train for with low power guns. I changed my double action high power revolver for a single action high power revolver once I had some experience. A single action revolver is a much better tool for this type of threat in my opinion but it does take practice. I changed because I learned that I could shoot a single action revolver faster and more accurate than a DA revolver.

    So again, most of us will revert back to training when the $#@! hits the fan so I certainly understand what you fellas are saying about the positive aspect of the "light" DA hand guns. I may just buy a LEM and practice with it. If it turns out not to be of my liking it sounds like it would be an easy resell. Anyone have an HK P30 for sale.. let me know.
     
  13. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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    Just changed a V1 to a Light LEM...and for my intents and purposes it is the way to go. The difference in trigger pull weight between both is negligible, and actually feels lighter than SA mode (without using a trigger pull scale to measure): maybe a cleaner break?

    If the OP ends up not liking the LEM, changing it to a V1 isn't hard to do.
     
  14. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    If by V1 you mean sa/da with safe and decock I'm pretty sure it's impossible on a P30. :p

    They come in LEM (which seems to be V1 now on them) or sa/da with a decocker (V3).
     
  15. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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    Totally forgot the OP's proposed P30...I stand corrected, thank's JAFO: mostly USP/HK45 experience here.

    Hope to hear back form the OP after they try a Light LEM and what their impression was.
     
  16. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    And now I stand corrected. It seems to say the V3 can come with a safety lever. I don't see them offered for sale at HK Parts though.

    I don't know anything about the decocking "button." I'm only familiar with USPs personally.
     
  17. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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    The conversion from V3 to V1 on the P series pistols is entirely possible and the parts are available.

    The basic parts required are the LEM Hammer, cocking piece, Cocking piece spring, LEM Sear, and control latch. For a P30L, a heavy hammer spring is required. Depending on the desired trigger weight, a firing pin block spring is needed for the Light LEM. Otherwise for the heavy LEM, a heavy TRS is needed.

    This change will leave a gap where the decocking button used to be between the frame and hammer. Or one can reuse the original V3 sear with decocker to retain the decocking button.