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3D printed micro switch brackets for light guns

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Often home console light guns have a trigger that feels very distinct from the trigger of their arcade counter parts. The reason for this is that many arcade guns use miniature snap-action switches often referred to as micro switches, whereas many home console light guns use push button switches. Depending on how these push button switches are actuated, the trigger feeling isn't bad at all. Nevertheless people who are very fond of the trigger feeling micro switches are causing swapped the switches in light guns for decades. Some people glue the new switches in place whereas I used to make a bed out of curing putty into which I screwed the micro switch. Changing the built in push button switch for a micro switch allows the player to select a very specific click resistance and tactility from a slew of possibilities.

Recently light gun enthusiast André Berube started selling 3D printed brackets which fit snugly into many common light gun models. This now changed the cumbersome irreversible modification it was previously into a quick, clean and reversible solution. Another advantage is the perfect reproducibility. If someone wanted to modify multiple guns similarly it was very difficult to do so, but with these brackets it is a breeze. Furthermore the solution is sustainable as it uses poly lactic acid which is an environmental friendly plastic. The brackets are sold in kits, together with screws. If needed, André can provide you with micro switches of the Zippy brand, which I think are great modern switches. Personally I stayed with switches made by Cherry, because this is a personal favorite. Illustrated step by step instructions show people how to use the brackets.

In this review I want to show you all the micro switch brackets I have tested. The bracket for the Guncon consists of a single part and two screws. Installation is fairly simple. Removing the old push button is very easy because it sits on a discrete PCB.

The Guncon 2 bracket comes with a trigger shoe which is the actual part pressing the micro switch. The G-con 2 is amongst my all time favorite light guns and I was super excited to make it even more appealing to me.

The Guncon 3 kit also comes in two parts. This time two kinds of shoes are available which allow the player to adjust the necessary trigger travel distance to press the switch. I tried the normal shoe and the shoe which allows for additional 2 mm travel and I settled with the latter.

Another kit which provides a choice of multiple trigger travel distances is provided for the Konami Justifier. I tried the normal version and versions with 1 mm and 2 mm more travel. Again I settled with the variant which provided me with the most travel. The stock Justifier uses compared to other light guns a more sophisticated push button switch, which in my opinion feels already very good. However I am glad swapped it for André's micro switch bracket.

The kit for the Sega Stunner consists of a single piece which holds the switch with two screws. In this design the micro switch is directly actuated by the trigger. Usually it is necessary to remove a little injection molding peg from the trigger in order to make it run smoothly over the micro switch. In my opinion the Sega Virtua Gun is a great choice to be equipped with an arcade like micro switch, as multiple arcade games used a very similar design as shown is this photo made in the Dutch "Nationaal Videogame Museum" with the help of long time supporter Dbn Poldermans.

Finally I want to show you a Nintendo Zapper modification André sells. Personally I am not a big fan of the Zapper's trigger feeling and of the noise an original Zapper makes upon firing.In episode 17 I suggested a fix for this problem, showed the custom actuator I made and showed how to make an adapter which allows usage of the Sega light phaser on the NES. André sells an actuator which is very similar to the one I have shown together with a spacer for the micro switch. This modification removes the noise the old actuator caused and changes the trigger behavior of the Zapper to the trigger behavior of the Bandai Hypershot which shoots upon releasing, rather than pressing the switch.

You can order the brackets over email to exanador@hotmail.com or via ebay where André goes by the username "magictrashman". I recommend his brackets without any constraints and I am happy I have bought them.

I was able to do a brief interview with André which I would like to present in the coresponding video. André told me that this project is closely related to his appreciation for CRT TVs. After a while he bought again a Sega Virtua Gun and was underwhelmed by the trigger feeling. He recalled that people were modifying light guns with micro switches and came up with the 3D printed brackets.