The developer of a controversial Remington trigger device has died at age 101. The man had patented the Remington trigger mechanism in 1950. The majority of the triggers were used in a controversial weapon, the Remington 700 series, commonly known as the world’s most popular bolt-action style rifle. This product is used by recreational enthusiasts throughout Montana. Product liability claims have plagued the gun manufacturer since the trigger mechanism was introduced, though Remington claims that most injuries and deaths are caused by user error.
The firearms engineer responsible for the trigger development was living in a North Carolina hospice facility. He died because of complications related to hip surgery, according to his family members.
Media reports show that the man touted the trigger mechanism as an ideal product, largely because of its smoothness, accuracy and ease of use. In fact, the Remington 700 is often prized by shooters because of its reliable operation. Still, research shows that the man had misgivings as early as 1946, when the trigger was still in its initial testing phase; some “theoretical” conditions could have caused dangerous misfires, according to the engineer’s documentation. The trigger creator had proposed a fix for this particular problem, but the gun manufacturer failed to approve the change, citing cost as a limiting factor.
Experts say that a part known as the “trigger connector,” which smooths the trigger’s operation, can become misaligned. That malfunction can cause the gun to fire without warning, even when the safety is engaged.
Remington representatives maintain that they have never been able to recreate this malfunction, despite a series of intensive laboratory tests. Still, the trigger’s creator had pleaded with the manufacturer to update his trigger design to improve safety.
People who have been harmed or killed because of faulty firing mechanisms may be entitled to financial compensation from Remington or the individual who accidentally caused the injury. Even though these lawsuits have largely been unsuccessful, the mounting body of evidence against the trigger mechanism could eventually yield redress from the embattled company.
Source: CNBC, “Developer of controversial Remington trigger dead at 101,” Scott Cohn, March 25, 2013