Everything You Need To Know About The Purdey Trigger Plate

Everything You Need To Know About The Purdey Trigger Plate

Next in our series profiling each of our exemplary guns and rifles, we take a deep look at the Purdey Trigger Plate – a dual-purpose and modern model, with a fascinatingly versatile USP.

Being one of the world’s most respected gunmakers, notions of performance, consistency and adaptability are central to the philosophy at Purdey – and naturally, they’re all tenets synonymous with one of the company’s most popular new models: the Purdey Trigger Plate, or PTP. 

An over-and-under shotgun first launched in 2018, the PTP was spurred on by an increased trend in the sporting world towards higher birds and heavier cartridges (a modified Clay version, to complement the game-specific original, followed a year later). Made entirely in-house at our West London HQ, the model is defined by one particularly alluring design detail. The clue’s in the name: the PTP’s USP is its drop trigger unit, the entire mechanism of which can be detached from the gun for extra safety, practicality and versatility. Pragmatism – a rare treat when it comes to getting at the actual mechanics of a prize gun, especially when traipsing the countryside – is all. 

At a basic level, being able to easily remove the action makes for far easier cleaning and maintenance. Given the damp, chilly weather typical to a UK shooting season, the removable unit is a true boon, explains Purdey aftersales and product line manager Jim Bryan. A clean-up and fix, he explains, can be done utterly ad hoc, as opposed to when Purdey has a suitable slot for a booked service. The visibility of the gun’s inner workings, too, allows for a more integrated and intimate relationship between Purdey and its clients. 

“If the gun ever goes wrong, the dialogue between us and the customer is better,” Bryan says. “They can understand and see exactly what’s going on. They can see if a mainspring has broken, for example. It adds detail to the conversation we’re having, and the customer has access to the internal part of the gun without affecting the gun itself.” 

Crucially, being able to switch triggers at the drop of a hat (or rather, by a catch next to the trigger guard) affords a hefty dose of variety in the field. “You can have a double trigger, a single trigger, a selective single trigger… depending on what experience you’re looking for, which is nice,” says Bryan. “It gives a lot of variation – and it’s just a nice thing to have in your pocket!”

The Clay version, meanwhile, is a little more particular than the Game model, with a fuller pistol grip and an ergonomic palm swell (to assist the shooter’s mount and reduce recoil), the option of a lowered Monte Carlo-style heel on the butt and, importantly, a raised top rib and vented side ribs – the latter necessary for the higher-volume shooting that comes with clays and subsequent need for greater heat dispersal. ”You don’t get that on Sporter and you rarely see it on the Sidelock models,” Bryan says. “Because it looks quite industrial! Quite in-your-face.” Not that it’d be the done thing to bring a clay gun to a game drive anyway, he adds.

Though the PTP is seen as being a ‘simpler’ gun in terms of its internal mechanics – closer to the marque’s entry-level Sporter than a ‘Best’ model like the Sidelock, and at a price-point pretty much bang in the middle – it has many similar attributes to a higher-end Purdey, not least in the colour-case-hardened action, complex engraving (which was paired down on the Sporter), the same beatific Turkish walnut stocks, and capacity for bespoke tweaks. The removable triggers may have been conceived for better performance in different environments, Bryan says, but “externally, it’s pretty much a blank canvas”.

Saying this, a hidden, more holistic benefit of the PTP’s simpler mechanics comes at the factory-end of its production. Purdey runs a lauded apprenticeship scheme, intermittently taking on young gunmakers and training them in the meticulous, traditional and exacting minutiae of the craft. Working on a PTP, like the Sporter, offers a fine understanding in the workings of a high-end gun and a great bedrock from which to move on to the more granular and finicky craftsmanship of the Sidelocks’ components. 

What the PTP isn’t, says the factory's assistant team leader, George Ackerman, is “a starter gun. But it’s a lot simpler than the Sidelock, and has fewer moving parts interacting with each other. It gives general knowledge to an apprentice – finding out how one part will affect another.”

“With the PTP you’re still putting the gun together and understanding the regulating points, to be able to make the gun what it is,” continues Bryan. “It’s a good foundation for people to understand the mechanics to be able to move onto different models.” 

An adaptable, beautifully-crafted piece for the modern sportsperson, and a versatile canvas for the next generation of gunmaker? That’s the Trigger Plate: yet another shining gem in the Purdey arsenal.