Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

Shooting the Breeze with Scott Folk of Apex Tactical Specialties


Shooting the Breeze

Thanks for Shooting the Breeze with Scott Folk of Apex Tactical Specialties.

Scott Folk is a pistolsmith, marketer extraordinaire and Vice President of Apex Tactical Specialties. Founded as a high-end custom Smith & Wesson revolver shop, Apex Tactical gained recognition among ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts) shooters for the quality of their double action revolvers. Then in the fall of 2009, Apex developed a sear for the Smith & Wesson M&P semi-auto pistol that became a runaway success, launching Apex Tactical Specialties as the premier M&P enhancement company. Scott took a few minutes from his busy schedule to answer customer submitted question for us.

What do you find to be the most essential upgrades to both competition and defensive firearms? And what do they share in relation with the two different intended uses?
I would have to say that the biggest deal for me is trigger smoothness and reliable feeding. A smooth trigger pull between 2 and 8 lbs is still very shootable for relative speed and accuracy. But a rough trigger, even at 5 lbs, can be miserable to shoot, creating accuracy issues. This is bad in both defensive and competitive shooting. Reliable feeding is absolutely critical for all purposes; you don’t want to have to practice malfunction clearance drills when it’s not practice. All in all, defensive and competitive shooting go hand in hand; they’re both high stress and nobody likes to hear a click when they expect to hear a bang.

I have been running a Forward Set Sear and Trigger in my FS M&P9 for a couple of thousand rounds. I am using the springs from the kit, and my trigger pull has settled in at 4 lbs on my RCBS gauge. I would like to be at 5 lbs. Which spring do I need to get to 5 lbs?
The FSS Kit comes with an expected trigger pull weight of 4.25 lbs and springs do settle in as you use them, so you’re in the range we would expect you to be in. However, you’re in luck! The new Polymer Forward Set Sear and Trigger Kits come with a heavier trigger return spring designed to set the trigger pull weight to 5 lbs. That spring will be made available soon as a replacement part through our dealers and on our web site.

Since Apex started off as primarily working with revolvers, why did Apex transition into the M&P market? Thanks.
The simple answer is that we saw a need to evolve. After looking at our business model closely, we discovered that we couldn’t keep up just working on revolvers forever; eventually we would need a break, so we started looking at other options. A friend of Randy’s asked him if it was possible to work on his M&P trigger. That was the catalyst that brought us to design the first M&P sear. Realizing that there was a demand for more than just the sear, we decided to branch out and increase our product line little by little. Now we’re on the verge of jumping into three other platforms (which I cannot presently mention) to further expand our product line.

Hello Mr. Folk. Are there durability issues regarding action work and trigger jobs with the newer S&W sintered hammers and triggers?
Any time you modify a product from its originally manufactured state there is risk of negatively altering that product’s durability. So far, the MIM hammers and sears we’ve seen from S&W have been of high enough quality to withstand reasonable modification without sacrificing durability. We’re in the process of manufacturing our own complete drop-in trigger kit for the K, L and N frame S&W revolvers which will replace most of the MIM components in the gun with top-quality billet machined steel parts.

You include springs with some of your kits. Are those springs made in-house, special ordered, or off the shelf?
The springs in our guns are manufactured for us by our spring vendor. We use special trigger-pull and spring-force measuring tools in the R&D lab to determine the exact specs for our springs. Once the specifics are documented, we send the information off to our spring manufacturer here in California for first article. Once the samples arrive, we put them on the test equipment to check that appropriate forces are met and then the real fun begins. We install some springs into our test guns for live fire and the others go into our spring cycle machines which test them for long-term durability.

How is the .22 Conversion kit for the M&P pistols coming along? Will it function in both Standard and Pro models? Great Stuff!!!
The .22 conversion is still in the design phases. We’re working on ironing out some mechanical issues before we proceed to the next step and start producing prototypes. The initial design will be for the full-size and Pro models. We are likely to make one for the 45 M&P as well, but that will be released down the road.

Is it really that easy to damage a J-frame Model 37 frame when changing a barrel? I've been told not to try it.
Any time you remove a barrel from a revolver frame, you risk tweaking the frame in an undesirable manner. The use of proper tools helps immensely. Maryland Gun Works makes the revolver frame wrench we use here in the shop. It supports the frame to prevent undesired flexing. If you’re not familiar with the removal and installation of revolver barrels, I would recommend leaving it to the professionals.

Our department is in the process of approving the .45 ACP round for duty use along with our current 9mm and .40 S&W rounds. I have a Smith & Wesson M&P .45 and was wondering if the sear and trigger kit you offer is for competition or is it applicable for law enforcement use? I love my M&P but I am not real crazy about the stock trigger and thought your product may be of help. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
We offer a Duty/Carry Action Enhancement Kit for the 45 M&P. It sets the trigger pull to 5-5.5 lbs, smooths out the pre-travel, removes the double click reset, shortens overtravel, and reduces the length of the reset. The kit is designed for installation by the end user and is approved for duty use by multiple agencies nationwide.

We installed an Apex Tactical trigger on my son's S&W M&P 9mm. It is a great trigger, but I have heard you are working on a new design which will furnish a positive trigger reset. As an old 1911 guy, I am really interested in anything that will give a positive reset. Any info will be greatly appreciated.
We’ve been producing our Reset Assist Mechanism(RAM) for nearly three years now. It improves the trigger reset by applying spring force to the trigger bar while it’s in the disconnect position to produce a more positive tactile and audible reset. The only problem is that the present RAM only works in the 9, 40 and 357 frames with the hole for the ILS. We’re working on a new RAM we’re calling the Curve RAM, which we’re hoping to have available within the next 3-4 months.

Two questions actually... When can I get my M&P armorers kit through Brownell's? (No offense Scott, but a company that has the motto "lifetime satisfaction guarantee" helps in purchases, though I hear great stories about you helping customers also!) Also, I heard a rumor a while back that you might offer MP RAM for manual safeties? Probably just a rumor but still hoping. Great products and fantastic engineering. Every person that I know with an M&P tried my trigger and jumped on board.
Brownells is now carrying our M&P/Glock Armorer’s Blocks, so you can definitely get it from them. We’re working on producing and selling our armorer’s tool kits as well, which will include the appropriate pin punches for you to work in your M&P with ease. The complete kit should make its debut in a couple of months. We are working on a new RAM for the 45 and thumb-safety-capable M&P frame. We’re calling it the Curve RAM. It’s going to be a while until we have it ready to go, but as soon as we do, you can bet we’ll tell everybody.

When will the Apex/Bar-Sto barrels for the M&P be commercially available? Could you explain the process for having the barrels fitted by Apex following purchase through Brownells? Thanks!
We don’t have a release date for the Bar-Sto barrels yet. We’re working with Bar-Sto on the final design changes now and hope to have some soon. Like the rest of our industry, Bar-Sto is slammed with orders to the point that they don’t have much machine time available for manufacturing new products. Fitting will require the barrel hood to be cut to fit the breech face first. The bottom of the locking lugs will have to be trimmed and fitted to each individual frame to allow for the correct fit.