Trigger Happy: Gamer Adds Cherry Switches to Xbox Controller to Reduce Lag

Image of Xbox One controller and lots of Cherry MX switches
(Image credit: oshua R. A. Horstmann / Instagram: nepomuk_ra)

That Xbox Elite controller you paid $180 for has a rival. It comes from Joshua R. A. Horstmann, who was recently highlighted by Cherry for utilizing its MX Blue switches as triggers on an Xbox One controller. Cherry highlighted the project on Twitter.

Horstmann, who goes by nepomuk_ra on Instagram (the account is currently set to private), replaced the controller's triggers for faster feedback in shooting games. He also has switched out the control sticks, opting for a lengthier right stick for more control in aiming.

Horstmann told Tom's Hardware that he finds gaming with a controller far more comfortable than sitting at a mouse and keyboard. He started gaming on consoles before moving to PC to play Fortnite. But when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone came out, he felt he wasn't competitive.

"I saw how often I died only because of pure input delay differences," he said. The Xbox One controller triggers only fired when he pressed them all the way down, so he tried remapping firing to bumpers, which he also found uncomfortable, so he took to a video on YouTube explaining how the triggers on the controller work.

"I took out the trigger of my controller and designed something that fit int he same mounts," Horstmann said. A friend of his father's printed the mounts for the Cherry MX Blue switch. You can even take the Cherry switches out and hotswap with the original trigger, though that does involve some soldering.

The other beauty of the design is that you can change the keycaps to choose what's most comfortable for you. Hopefully Horstmann works on caps that look and feel more like traditional controller triggers.

Many of us on the Tom's Hardware staff love Cherry Blues for typing, but we do wonder if linear switches like Cherry Reds may have been better for this project. But like many things, that comes down to personal preferences.

If you use a mouse and keyboard, sure, you can have a whole mechanical keyboard. But sometimes controllers are great for sitting back on the couch, and this definitely makes it a bit more of a PC experience.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon

  • grimfox
    You can even take the Cherry switches out and hotswap with the original trigger, though that does involve some soldering.

    Soldering leads does not meet the typical definition of "hotswap." This line is confusing and should probably be broken into two sentences to make it clearer what exactly you are saying is hotswapable.

    It's an interesting project. I think on the PC this would be an easy software fix to change those analog input to be far more sensitive effectively making them hair triggers. If you could access the controllers firmware you could fix it there too.

    I do like the idea of being able to swap about the feel of the actuation. For games that use the triggers as a button you'd have something like a blue or brown, for games that use the trigger as a 1D stick you could use a red. I could see a whole market for swappable triggers or even face buttons. But that would add some bulk to the controller. Maybe something for a Duke clone.