Interview with Bill Geissele of Geissele Automatics
Q: First off you have a unique last name. Can you tell our readers how to correctly pronounce it? I have heard it pronounced so many different ways including: ‘Jee-sell’, ‘Guy-sel’, ‘Guy-sell-ee’ and ‘Guys-Lee’. So who’s right?
Its pronounced ‘Guys-Lee’. It is a German name that in Germany is pronounced “Guy-sa-la” The ‘e’s are said like ‘a’s. Sort of like Porch-a. But since my family has been here 190 years it has been totally Americanized. If I go to Germany people immediately think I am German and start talking to me in German and when I tell them I am an American they say “Oh your name is SO German…..your family is from Southern Germany”.
Q: Prior to getting into the trigger business, what did you do?
When I was 15 years old I started working in a machine shop in southern New Jersey, right down the road where I lived. The fellow I worked for, Mike DeNardo (still the smartest man I have ever known) taught me how to precisely work with metal.
Out of High School I lived a carefree young man’s life, working on motorcycles and in machine shops. I worked at one of the oldest chopper shops in the U.S., Nick’s Custom in Williamstown, NJ doing machine work on Harley Davidson motorcycles. Realizing I was never going to support a family with my part time gigs I started going to the local Community College while I started working at a large industrial machine shop across the river in Pennsylvania. I worked in their Gear Dept for awhile until I got my 2 year degree then went to work for an outfit in the mining industry.
There I traveled all over the world working on ore milling mills (Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Australia, China, Russia, Vietnam, etc). I made good money doing this and after a particularly high overtime job in Russia I had saved enough to go back to school and finish my Engineering Degree at Rutgers in New Jersey.
After 2 and a half years of college I went back to the company I had left and ran their Field Service Dept. A couple of years went by and they wanted to make me country manager of Chile. I didn’t want to live full time in South America so I took a job in the Railway industry working on designing components for track. I ran their Design Dept and while I was doing this I designed the Hi-Speed National Match trigger in 2004.
Q: How did you get started in the trigger business? Why? What was your first product?
I shoot High Power Rifle competitively. Service Rifle specifically. There just was not a really good trigger out there. In some way every trigger that I tried let me down. I decided to make my own trigger just for myself, even if I made only one real good one that would be enough. This was in Oct 2003 I think. By the end of January 2004 I had the Hi-Speed trigger designed except for the hammer. It took me almost the entire month of February to get the hammer just so and by June I had the first triggers ready to shoot.
Q: How have your triggers evolved over the years? Have the designs changed, or have you just added more variations?
We were always focused on the Highpower community until 2006 when USSOCOM asked us to work on a project for them. The result of the project was our Super Select-Fire trigger and its semi auto only brother the Super Semi-Automatic (SSA). Once the SF community adopted our triggers, Geissele Automatics changed gears into becoming a defense contractor and having the military and tactical markets make up more of our business. Over the years we have come out with new triggers and from those new triggers there branches off several variations like our Super 3 Gun trigger.
Q: Aftermarket AR triggers are numerous in the marketplace, what sets Geissele Automatics’ triggers aside from the competition?
They are the most reliable and best feeling triggers out on the market today. We have an actual combat track record to our triggers and the feedback from the operators helps us make our triggers better and better every day.
Q: Over the years your product line has evolved into many options for the end user. How would you break it down for someone that was looking to purchase their first Geissele trigger for a general purpose carbine?
A rule of thumb I use is to look at the optic a shooter is using. Greater than 4x the Hi-Speed is the way to go or one of the Enhanced triggers if non adjustability is desired. Less than 4x The SSA or SD-C. For under 200 yd rapid target engagement then the S3G is a good choice but not for a weapon that will be shot for groups.
Q: For someone that has never had a custom trigger on their AR-15 how would you describe the difference between a stock trigger and a Geissele trigger?
What should a new user expect? There is an order of magnitude difference between a Geissele Trigger and a stock trigger in regards to smoothness and keeping the weapon from moving when taking the shot. A new user will notice an immediate improvement in accuracy as he will not be fighting the gritty stock trigger.
Q: What are some of the benefits of a custom trigger vs a trigger job?
Any time a custom trigger job is done on an AR invariably the gunsmith lightens the hammer spring. The hammer spring legs on an AR spring need to be straight with the bow. If they are at an angle the spring has been lightened. A lighter than stock hammer spring will decrease the energy input into the firing pin and cause inconsistent ignition and a subsequent loss of accuracy. Not to mention the longer lock time which effects accuracy.
Q: 2 stage triggers have gotten a bad rap from some AR-15 owners. Can you explain why this is and what the benefits of a quality 2 stage trigger are?
There are bad two stage triggers out there, flat out. They lose the second stage, develop roughness and the hammer breaks. I have two general Trigger Rules. The first is: There is an increasing exponential relationship between the reliability and tactile feel of a trigger and the engineering and manufacturing effort required to make the trigger. In other works, to make a good trigger requires a lot of effort, more than most companies are willing to do.
Q: You carry a line of triggers targeted at the 3-Gun competitors; how are their needs different from other shooters?
3 Gun Shooters are not shooting groups, much of the shooting is close range and quick. Our Super 3 Gun trigger quickly gets rounds downrange on the targets typically used in 3 Gun Competition with a very short, smooth pull and a lightning fast reset for the next shot.
Q: How do the demands placed on your designs differ between those of of 3-gun and sport shooters and those of military and LEO?
Military and LEO typically need triggers heavier than what competition and sport shooters want. Fine motor skills degrade under stress so a trigger for the military/LEO must be heavy enough to be controlled in a stressful situation.
Q: For some of our troops deploying abroad, are they allowed to use your products in their weapon (officially or unofficially)?
All the ‘Tier 1’ SOF units use our triggers. Our SSF and SSA were safety certified by Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center which helps those in big SOCOM who shoot the Mk11 and Mk12 weapons. Regular units find ways to get our triggers in their weapons even though they are not approved just yet by big Army and of course the triggers only take a minute or two to install so individual soldiers invariably use them even though they shouldn’t.
Q: Talk about the features in the modified S3G triggers you did for the AR15.com lowers. What can users expect from it vs what they might be used to?
The 4 lb pull weight on the AR15.com trigger is just slightly higher than normal triggers. The additional .8lb will actually make the trigger pull feel more like a single stage trigger rather than the hybrid pull of a 3.2lb S3G. Once the 4lb is exceeded by the trigger finger the sears will slip by faster than with a lighter pull weight.
Q: Owning a manufacturing company is like having 2 full time jobs but when you do get free time to go to the range what are some of your favorite guns to shoot?
My shop is located in an urban area so going to the range is pretty rare. I like to shoot a couple of guns I have that have SPR uppers built by Bigbore. They are really nice uppers with a WOA fluted barrel and OpsInc flash hider.
Q: What can we look forward to from Geissele Automatics in the near future?
We have a bunch of new projects moving along right now. We are always creating something new and exciting for the SF guys and from these projects come a lot of things for the civilian shooters.
Q: Do you plan to ever make triggers for shotguns? What other firearms?
Q: We are proud to have your company be a part of the AR15.com family. What can Arfcommers look forward to from Geissele Automatics on the AR15.com website?
We hope our forum will be a place where everyone can ask questions and we can answer them in a way for others to see the answers.
Q: When you visit AR15.com what forums do you like to frequent?
General Discussion. I lurk there before bed as it helps to relax me.
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