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Best M&P Drop-In Triggers: 1.0, 2.0, & Shield

Looking to upgrade your M&P series with a better trigger? We cover the best models from Apex and Agency for all flavors...including the new 2.0 versions.

You ever take a gun straight out of the box and think to yourself, “this gun doesn’t need any modifications?”

Yeah, me neither…not even with an all-around classic like Smith & Wesson’s M&P.

M&P Fullsize
M&P Fullsize

Now don’t get me wrong, the M&P is an accurate and reliable handgun series that just happens to be really sweet to shoot.

With that said, there are some aspects of the M&P that can be improved…like the infamous dead trigger.

Handgun Women SW Shield 9
Handgun Women SW Shield 9

This defect causes the gun to randomly malfunction after firing a shot, preventing the trigger from resetting. While this can be fixed with some tap, rack, bang action, having a dead trigger can be a serious problem for anyone using the M&P for self-defense.

As you can imagine, this malfunction created a market for M&P fans looking for viable trigger replacements.

Handgun Women SW Shield 9
Shield

And even though Smith & Wesson fixed this problem with their M&P 2.0 line, a number of enthusiasts still prefer aftermarket triggers to their OEM counterparts.

And that’s why we’re going to look at some drop-in triggers that’ll have your M&P firing just the way you want it. So keep reading as we walk you through our recommendations for M&P triggers.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best for 9mm & .40 S&W Shield

    Apex Tactical - S&W Shield Action Enhancement Trigger & Duty/Carry Kit

    Compatible with 9mm & .40 S&W Shield, durable.

  2. Best Flat Faced for Shield

    Apex Flat-Faced Action Enhancement Trigger & Duty/Carry Kit

    Compatible with 9mm & .40 S&W Shield models, flat faced trigger design

  3. Best M&P Trigger

    Apex M&P Aluminum AEK Trigger

    Does NOT work with Shield models, popular option

  4. Best Flat-Faced for M&P

    M2.0 Flat-Faced Forward Set Kit

    Compatible with second-generation 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP M&Ps, flat-faced design

  5. Best First Gen M&P Trigger

    Agency Arms M&P 1.0 Drop-In Trigger Kit

    Compatible with first generation M&P pistols, reliable.

Best Drop-In Triggers for Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols

1. Apex Tactical Action Enhancement Trigger and Duty/Carry Kit

This drop-in trigger system is not compatible with the Shield 2.0 models and is designed for your 9mm and .40 S&W Shield handgun.

It opts for a solid aluminum body that is smoother and easier to operate than your factory trigger, while also reducing overtravel and trigger recent.

Best for 9mm & .40 S&W Shield
156
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best for 9mm & .40 S&W Shield

2. Apex Tactical Apex Flat-Faced Action Enhancement Trigger 

Exactly the same as the non-anodized trigger, but designed for people who prefer a flat trigger shoe as opposed to a curved one.  

It also works with 9mm and .40 S&W versions and is incompatible with 2.0 Shield models.

Best Flat Faced for Shield
160
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Flat Faced for Shield

3. Apex Tactical Action Enhancement (AEK) M&P Trigger Kit

The AEK trigger system is a drop-in trigger that works with all M&P calibers for the M&P Compact and the M&P Pistol.

But it doesn’t support Shield models.  

This trigger package is one of Apex’s more popular triggers.  

Best M&P Trigger
73
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best M&P Trigger
Apex M&P Aluminum AEK Trigger
$73 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

It’s designed to cut back on trigger travel while increasing accuracy and control. Because of its ability to increase the shootability of the M&P, this trigger configuration has been favored for competitive shooting and for self-defense.  

Additionally, the trigger is made from a solid aluminum billet and given an anodized coat. This makes it durable enough for heavy use and extended wear and tear.   

4. Apex Tactical M2.0 Flat-Faced Forward Set Kit

If you’re a 2.0 owner who’s been experiencing FOMO because of all these first-generation triggers, this drop-in trigger kit is just for you.

The M2.0 trigger kit works with second-generation 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP M&P pistols – including the M&P compacts.  

And it’s important to note that this trigger kit only works with 2.0 pistols, so if you’re in the market for a new trigger for your first-gen M&P then keep scrolling.   

Best Flat-Faced for M&P
161
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Flat-Faced for M&P
M2.0 Flat-Faced Forward Set Kit
$161 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

The M2.0 trigger kit gives you the same advantages as the other Apex drop-in triggers.  

You get a durable aluminum body, a system designed to prevent overtravel, and a shortened trigger reset for when you need to make those follow-up shots.  

Adding the M2.0 trigger to your second-generation M&P will successfully give you a clean, crisper trigger break while also reducing the pull weight by 2 pounds.  

5. Apex Tactical M&P Shield and Shield 2.0

Looking for an upgrade on your Shield?

Apex has got you covered there too.

The M&P Shield and Shield 2.0 triggers come in different colors, flat-faced triggers, and options for both the original and 2.0 flavors.

73
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Apex Shield Triggers
$73 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on Apex triggers for the M&P series?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (718)

Your Rating?

Ultimate Striker Block

In addition to the trigger kit, Apex’s package also comes with an Ultimate Striker Block (USB).  

While these trigger systems are drop-in, which means they don’t require any gunsmithing to install, the USB feature isn’t drop-and-go.  

34
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Apex Tactical Ultimate Striker Block
$34 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

For that, you’re going to need to take off the rear site and do some very basic gunsmithing. To learn more about how to install the USB, check out this helpful video:

6. Agency Arms M&P Trigger Kit 

Agency Arms has earned the reputation of producing some top-quality aftermarket trigger kits. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the M&P drop-in trigger can turn your first-generation M&P into a shooting masterpiece.  

It’s not compatible with the M&P 2.0, Shield, Bodyguard, or rimfire variants.

But if you’re using a first-generation M&P model of any centerfire caliber, you’ll be able to swap out your factory trigger for a new-and-improved model.  

Best First Gen M&P Trigger
169
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best First Gen M&P Trigger
Agency Arms M&P 1.0 Drop-In Trigger Kit
$169 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

The benefits you get from using this kit rather than your factory version include:

  • A 50% reduction in trigger travel
  • A smoother trigger pull and cleaner break
  • Less trigger reset

The trigger kit also comes with the same center-mounted pivoting safety standard as the original M&P, as well as two spring kits — one with a pull weight of 4 pounds and the other with a pull weight of 5 pounds.

If you do plan on installing this trigger system, keep in mind that you’re going to need to adjust the trigger bar loop in order for it to function properly.  

It’s a relatively simple process that you can do while you watch this 10-minute video.

Final Thoughts

Drop-in triggers are great because they require minimal effort to install and help make shooting a more comfortable experience.

Apex or Agency…both companies provide triggers worth your time and attention.

M&P 2.0 Compact
M&P 2.0 Compact

What’s your go-to drop-in trigger? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you tweak your guns often, check out our list of essential gunsmithing tools.

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4 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Eric

    I pulled my Kimber Custom LW 9mm out of the case and shot it for the first time and thought “wow, this gun is perfect” …. But I can see why folks shooting striker fired guns feel like they do.

    I have a Sig P320, and it is a nice gun. But the trigger isn’t as good as a milspec 1911. And the trigger overcomes all the other issues.

    This leads me to believe that all the “I can’t stand X gun” or “Y gun would be better if blah blah” is based on trigger issues more than anything else.

    April 19, 2022 9:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mo Newman

    Hello, has anyone done a comparison of the Shield Performance Center triggers versus Apex? I have the Shield PC 1.0 and the new Shield Plus PC 4". Was wondering if an Apex trigger would be worth it since the factory triggers and actions are already supposed to be enhanced out the gate.

    December 23, 2021 2:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eric Bowling

    You are trigger system? Oh, am I?

    July 21, 2020 3:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chris Sullivan

    So I just wanted to let you know that I was on the phone with apex tactical the other day and spoke to them directly and asked if they had anything for the shield 2.0 in 45 acp and they do not carry or have anything for triggers or a complete trigger kit

    March 9, 2019 8:01 pm
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