Originally Posted by Mr. Bluesky
As usual, Cane doesn't disappoint. Is there any significant advantage in feel/pull to the series 70 over the 80? I suppose a more relevant question is, do they even make series 70 any more?
The reason for the series 80 "improvements" was the rash of lawsuits and laws in states such as CA where manufacturers were being held liable for poor handling of firearms by consumers, namely that if dropped by on the muzzle the inertia of the firing pin could overcome the spring with sufficient energy left over to fire a chambered round sending the bullet through the floor.
While Colt put in the trigger activated pin block, some other companies such as Kimber chose a similar system activated by the grip safety which seems to make much better sense to me, who's going to notice a rough spot in the travel of that big button. Still others used lightweight firing pins and/or beefier pin springs to pass the muzzle drop test. This last solution however had the possibility
of inducing a failure to fire when a gun tuned for soft primers was used with ammo loaded with hard primers.
In my personal experience, I have an M-1991A1, series 80 Pistol. I removed the firing pin plunger and linkages while I was polishing the sear and hammer. I got that thing down to an extremely crisp, glass like break at just under five pounds. When I reinstalled the series 80 parts suddenly the short take-up became creep with a step that broke half a pound heavier. One of these days I'm going to polish all of the series 80 parts and see if I can improve the trigger with them installed but haven't put in the effort because it doesn't bother me much. Although I can feel the linkages when dry firing and at the target range, when I'm at the combat course I don't even notice the two stage trigger. If I ever have to use my pistol in a real life situation I probably wouldn't notice if the sear and hammer were stippled.
In sum, a series 70 is better for competitive shooting (carried unloaded in a box and shot a lot) while the series 80 is a better duty pistol (carried loaded and shot infrequently) and decreases your liability somewhat. Just make sure you never drop a series 80 with the FP block removed or you will likely be found criminally negligent if a discharged round ends up where it does damage.