What is better to use on the AR-15 than an AR-15 trigger? I guarantee you that you will totally feel the difference between using a factory, stock trigger or the best AR-15 trigger. If you’re wondering, the AR-15 (check out the AR-15 cleaning kit!) is a semi-automatic rifle that is widely used for versatile applications ranging from shooting, hunting and tactical military work.
It is essential to get a good, smooth working trigger (with the right pull weight and clean break) because this particular part of the firearm is the key interface between the weapon and the user. Upon purchase, you’ll get the trigger part itself, then you need to assemble them in the lower receiver of the firearm.
That being said, you get to customize your weapon according to your preference. The commonly used triggers are the drop-in triggers. They are rather easy to assemble as you just have to drop it in the lower receiver, secure them with the trigger pins and you’re good to go. However, there might be some issues such as the trigger won’t fit into the lower receiver.
Check out the best scope for AR-15 as well.
Hence, you need to do some modifications, by drilling, cutting and gunsmithing them for the perfect fit. The perfect fit is important to ensure proper alignment and accurate shot, with great and tight groupings. All in all, getting a separate trigger or using the ready-made one all depends on your personal preference. But in my experience, I bought it separately and assembled them myself, therefore improving my control and confidence when utilizing them.
Top 7 Rated AR-15 Trigger Comparison Table
|Name of Product||Adjustable?||Pull Weight||Durability||Stage||Price|
|CMC Tactical Trigger Group||No||3.5 lb||High||Single||$$$|
|Timney AR-15 Module Solid Shoe||No||Can choose between 3 lb, 4 lb or 5 lb||High||Single||$$$|
|Geissele Automatic Super Dynamic||No||4.5 lb||High||Double||$$$|
|ALG Defense Military-Style Trigger (ACT)||No||6 lb||Moderate||Single||$$|
|Triggertech Adjustable AR-15||Yes||2.5 -5 lb (adjustable)||High||Double||$$$|
|Velocity Triggers Curved for Steel Cased||No||4 lb||High||Single||$$$|
|Patriot Ordinance E.F.P||No||4 lb||High||Single||$$$|
The pull weight refers to the strength level needed to pull the trigger or in other words, how hard it is to pull it, in order to fire your AR-15 rifle. There is no ideal pull weight as most of them varies between 3.5 pounds to 6 pounds. Personally, I feel that the pull weight comes down to your preference, whether you are able to handle pulling them.
Apart from that, there are non-adjustable as well as adjustable triggers. For the adjustable ones, you are able to adjust the pull weight according to your preference and comfort level. For example, the only adjustable product in this review, the Triggertech, has adjustable pull weights ranging from 2.5 to 5 pounds.
That being said, the pull weight also depends on the size and type of weapon. Getting the right weight improves the precision of your shot because you would have no problem in pulling the trigger when about to fire the shot. My preferred weight is 3.5 to 4.5 pounds.
Since they are mostly made out of metal construction, it is important to ensure that your product has an excellent resistance to corrosion, hence contributing to its durability in the long run. In addition to that, the trigger itself and the other components (housing, hammer, pins) should be solid to withstand the impact from the rifle.
Not only that, they should be rust-resistant because you would most probably take your firearm outside for shooting or hunting, hence there is a chance of it getting exposed to moisture or the rain. That being said, some of the products are EDM machined as well as heat treated to ensure long service life. Their alloy metal construction as well as anodized coating further ensure that they’re corrosion resistant.
Ease of Use/Assembly
This factor basically refers to how easy it is to assemble the product, which is basically placing the trigger housing into the AR-15 lower receiver. It is placed into the lower receiver using solid trigger pins. The best recommended pins are the KNS precision anti-walk pins (by Patriot Ordinance) that has an anti-rotate feature as well as securely holds the trigger in place.
Most AR-15 trigger utilizes the drop-in style which the generally the simplest assembly method. You need not make any adjustments or modifications, instead just drop it in, secure them with the pins and voila, you’re done. The most work required is removing the lower assembly and the safety lever. Coming to my point, the best thing is that there is no gunsmithing required.
In addition to that, they are divided into the single stage and double stage triggers. The single stage is basically the most common and simplest method. The double stage differs in terms of having two stages (first and second) with varying pull weight. That being said, the advantage of the two-stage is that you get to know when it is about to break and cause the rifle to fire.
It is essential to invest in a good trigger unit that is built to last, in the long run. A good trigger is important because it is the key interface between the shooter and the AR-15 rifle, so you should make the best out of your rifle, by getting a great trigger unit.
In other words, it should be solid and durable, which is very well-worth your investment. The price varies depending on the additional features and construction materials of the product itself. Generally, the expensive ones has stronger construction and a lot of high-tech additional features. For example, the good ones are EDM machined, precision cut, heat-treated and anodized for a longer shelf life.
However, don’t let the price fool you! There are affordable ones that are equally good in terms of performance. Therefore, it is important for you to do some research to get better insight of the product you plan to buy. You can do so by referring to customer reviews as well as going through product reviews, like this one!
CMC Tactical Trigger Group
As mentioned above, the drop-in trigger style is widely popular, in this product’s case as well. That being said, the heavy factory triggers are replaced by the efficient CMC self-contained, drop-in trigger module.
Back to its history, it is developed by Chip McCormick, a competition shooter, which functions to provide a match grade and single stage trigger without having to fit and make adjustments to multiple components, for the user’s added convenience. This product is either available with the skeletonized flat shoe or the traditional curved trigger shoe, which you can choose according to your preference.
I personally prefer the traditional curved shoe, however I’m sure both of them are great. The versatile design (shoe type) provides a different feel shooters prefer as well as gives the AR a distinctive look. Not only that, the housing is of steel construction and it has an overall blued finish.
Moreover, the rigid, steel housing holds the internal and factory-tuned components in proper alignment which contributes to easy and fast installation. Speaking about the installation, it is not too complicated but not straightforward as well. In other words, you need to take down the lower assembly and remove the safety to install the drop-in trigger.
If you’re a gun rookie and it is your first time dealing with these type of stuff, you should either use the instructions provided as guidance or watch Youtube videos on how to fix/assemble them, because personally I feel that watching videos provides you with a visual guidance that helps you better, in identifying the parts of the firearm and fixing them in a jiffy.
Apart from that, this product comes with a generous, precision-ground sear and hammer engagement which further contributes to a crisp and clean release. In addition to that, the trigger assembly is tweaked at the factory to ensure minimal take-up and overtravel, hence ensuring that your trigger travels in a straight line, at your aiming point.
The pull weight on the other hand delivers a crisp, preset 3.5 pounds, which is the right pull weight in my opinion because it is not too light or too heavy. You are able to fire tight groups at 100 yards, which increases the accuracy of your shot. Also, it is equipped with Chicago set style screws to prevent pin wash, therefore holding the trigger securely in place.
Moving on, the sleeves are threaded that ensures a ultra-smooth pivot surface for the hammer and trigger whereas 2 slightly oversized center pins replace the standard pins which comes in handy to reduce friction, save wear and prevent the trigger from wobbling, thereby providing you with a great shooting experience.
Suitable for :
- Rigid, steel housing
- Threaded sleeves
- Generous and precise sear/hammer engagement
- Includes Chicago set style screws
- Crisp 3.5 lb trigger pull
Patriot Ordinance E.F.P
First and foremost, this product comes with a hardcoat anodized aluminium housing, therefore contributing to its durability. Another plus point is that, it comes complete with the rubber urethane feet to guarantee you the best shooting experience, right out of the box.
In addition to that, this product is carved from the America A2 steel meanwhile the disconnect, hammer and trigger are nitride heat-treated to 70 Rockwell case hardness to ensure ultimate corrosion resistance as well as strength which will further ensure that your product is built to last in the long run.
This product is equipped with a custom-fit stainless steel KNS precision anti-walk pins. To be honest, these pins are of excellent construction and design as they keep your trigger extremely secured to the lower receiver. That being said, it has an anti-rotate feature and makes it rather easy to install the trigger, for your added convenience. Also, it is designed to accommodate receivers with .154 inch trigger/ hammer pin holes.
Moreover, it features the single-stage as well as non-adjustable drop-in trigger which comes with a clean trigger pull of 4 pounds. For your information, triggers are divided into 2 which are the single stage and two stage. For the single stage triggers (in this case), it is the most common and simple stage. In other words, you don’t have to go through the double stages that has a stop or break wall.
Instead, there is only one motion needed which is pull the trigger through in order to release the firing pin and voila, you have fired your shot. Moving on, you might have to make adjustments if the trigger doesn’t fit the receiver (since it features the drop-in style) because the proper fit is important to ensure an accurate shot with minimal overtravel or take-up.
For the installation on the other hand, you need to remove the pistol grip and safety lever. In addition to that, this product is of the of the EFP (Enhanced Finger Placement) innovative design where it comes with a forward design that functions to guide the fingertip to the same resting place which comes in handy to ensure a precise, consistent as well as smooth trigger squeeze.
Besides that, it is available in in either the standard, EFP and EFP 2 type where the standard differs in terms of pull weight (it has 4.5 lb trigger pull)). The EFP 2 on the other hand has the same features as the EFP but is moved back to provide extra space for users wearing gloves.
Suitable for :
- EFP type
- Single stage, drop-in trigger
- Hardcoat anodized aluminium housing
- Includes KNS precision anti-walk pins
- Nitride heat-treated for long service life
- Carved from American A2 steel
Timney AR-15 Module Solid Shoe
Timney is a rather popular brand when it comes to trigger. For example, the Timney brand comes up frequently when shopping online for Remington replacement triggers. First things first, it basically consists of a self-contained module that is ready to be installed in your AR lower receiver.
Once installed with proper alignment, this product delivers an exceptionally smooth, creep-free and crisp single stage trigger pull upon firing the shot. To be honest, it feels more like the traditional bolt action rather than the combat rifle trigger. Since the assembly includes the 100% drop in style, no fitting, adjustment or gunsmithing is required, for your added convenience.
Furthermore, all the components are placed in a lightweight, aluminium alloy housing. Speaking about the housing, it is rather solid because it is made from the 6061-T6 aluminium material with a gold anodized finish, therefore contributing to its durability. To be more specific, the hammer is EDM-machined from the S7 tool steel.
That being said, the hammer which is also Teflon-nickel coated, successfully resists wear with great impact resistance, to withstand heavy use without breaking or chipping. The other components on the other hand has a black oxide finish and are precision cut from the A2 tool steel, then further heat-treated to RC 56-60 to ensure long service life.
Besides that, the precision-ground engagement surfaces ensures that the trigger is fully reliable with a crisp and clean hammer release, thereby improving your shooting experience. They are available with the standard solid shoe design with the choice of either 3lb, 4lb or 5lb pull weight according to your personal preference.
For your information, the pull weight basically refers to the trigger pull; how hard it is to pull the trigger before firing a shot. A heavy pull weight will make it tedious to keep on pulling the trigger however, a trigger that is too light might also affect the accuracy of your shot. Not only that, this product fits rifles with .154 inch diameter trigger/hammer pin holes.
However, it will not accommodate the Colt-manufactured AR-15 with the sear block, hence take note of this. Moving on, you need to install this product using the rifle’s original hammer/trigger pins (can’t use your own one). Its proprietary design successfully eliminates pin walkout so the pins can hold the trigger to the AR lower receiver securely.
Suitable for :
- Standard solid trigger shoe design
- 6061-T6 aluminium housing
- Self-contained module
- Components are EDM-machined
- Crisp, clean hammer release
Best Two Stage Trigger :
Geissele Automatic Super Dynamic (SD-E)
Unlike the previous products, the Geiselle dynamic trigger features 2 stage. Two stage trigger, what’s the big deal? The advantage of utilizing the double stage ones are knowing when the trigger is going to break and results in the weapon to be fired. Varying from the single stage, instead of breaking and firing, you come to a break wall (stopping point). Once at the break wall, you put on a little pressure and voila, your rifle is fired.
This double stage type comes in handy when you’re shooting from an unstable position. All in all, it provides better shot timing when undergoing positional shooting. That being said, this product features the super dynamic (SD) trigger that has the similar body geometry as the SSA models.
In addition to that, it features the flat shoe design which comes in handy to reduce perceived pull weight, improves your control as well as provides great tactile feedback, thereby contributing to an overall amazing shooting experience. This product is able to accommodate the semi-automatic AR-15 and M16 receivers with .154 inch diameter hammer and trigger pin holes.
Nevertheless, it unfortunately doesn’t fit the HK416 weapons with the firing pin safety. The entire kit includes the trigger and hammer assemblies, together with a tube of grease, instruction manual, hammer pin and spring. In terms of construction, it is made of solid steel with a rugged black finish.
There are 3 different options available for this product which are the SD-C, SD-E and the SD-3G. The SD-C trigger comes with a 2.5 pounds first stage and a 2 pound second stage for a total 4.5 pounds pull weight with a sharp and crisp clean release.
The SD-E on the other hand is equipped with a combined 3.5 pounds pull weight, with 2.3 lb at the first stage and 1.2 lb at the second, whereas the SD-3G is a single stage trigger that has 3.5 lb pull weight, together with a short pull length and reset (great for fast-action competition). Overall, they have a clean and crisp trigger pull with minimum overtravel, creep and tight shot groups.
Suitable for :
- Super dynamic (SD) double stage style
- Great tactile feedback
- 5 lb total pull weight
- Fits AR-15/M16 receivers
- Clean and crisp pull
Best Defense (Military-Style) Trigger :
ALG Defense Military-Style Trigger (ACT)
The ALG Defense triggers are mainly used for military or tactical style applications. It features the rugged military-type components carefully prepped and assembled to provide a smoother trigger pull, while maintaining the original geometry which further contributes to excellent reliability and efficiency.
Firstly, they are divided into two types which are the QMS (Quality Mil-Spec) as well as the ACT (ALG Combat Trigger) which you can choose according to your preference. For your information, the ACT set comes with nickel-boron coating on the trigger and nickel-Teflon coating on the hammer, pins as well as disconnect to improve the hardness of the surface and reduce friction. It has an average pull weight measuring 6 pounds.
The QMS set on the other hand is equipped with sear contact surfaces that are precision-honed to ensure that the 6.5 lb pull weight is soft and light to pull for a smoother firing operation. In terms of assembly, it is rather straightforward to assemble. You can either base on the provided instructions or surf through Youtube videos for assembly tutorials, to provide you with visual guidance.
In terms of construction, the hammer is made from 8620 steel, the disconnect from 1070 high carbon steel meanwhile the hammer and trigger pins are heat treated to 4140 chrome-moly steel. These solid construction increases its strength, hence contributing to its durability in the long run. Just so you know, the complete kit comes with the trigger itself, trigger spring 2 hammer springs, hammer, disconnector spring, hammer, pins and lastly instructions.
That being said, the trigger pins are amazing as they attach the trigger to the AR-15 lower receiver securely. Proper and secure fit is highly important so it is properly aligned hence contributing to a precise shot, with tighter groups. All in all, this product is fantastic. It is very different from the stock trigger, trust me.
In other words, it breaks clean, has a short reset as well as a crisp trigger pull that is super smooth until you can’t feel the creep. For your information, having the right pull weight also contributes to a clean and crisp trigger pull. The pull weight refers to how hard/easy it is to pull the trigger back before firing the shot and solely depends on your personal preference.
Suitable for :
- Smooth pull
- Solid steel construction
- 6 lb pull weight
- Precision machined sear contact surface
- ALG Combat Trigger (ACT)
Best Adjustable Trigger :
Triggertech Adjustable AR-15
Compared to the products above, this Triggertech unit is rather unique because of its adjustable pull weight. So, you may be wondering what a pull weight is? To answer your query, the pull weight defines how hard/easy it is to pull the trigger before firing the shot. Most of the products above have a fixed pull weight, in which you are not able to adjust according to your comfort level.
However, this unit comes with a patent pending design where its pull weight is adjustable from 2.5 to 5 pounds, according to your preference. Apart from that, the Triggertech features an innovative design where you utilize a roller to make trigger adjustments. In other words, it is equipped with the patented Frictionless Release technology that contributes to a super crisp break as well as zero creep release.
Besides that, the Frictionless Release technology is designed to improve your feel and accuracy, where it utilizes the rolling friction to pull the trigger before firing the shot, leading to an unparalleled performance. It is of the drop-in style so it is rather easy to assemble without any adjustments or gunsmithing required. Also, it fits receivers with .154 inch pins hence providing a secure and perfect fit when assembled with the receiver.
This product is available either in the curved or straight shoe design, which you can choose according to your personal preference. Not only that, it includes the two-stage trigger design. The first stage is light and hard to feel with gloves however, the second stage breaks perfectly together with short reset and minimum overtravel.
Speaking about the reset, this unit is equipped with an enhanced reset control with a sub .30 inch reset feature, to improve your shooting experience. This product is rather simple to install, (since it’s a drop-in trigger after all), using the instructions provided as guidance.
Or, you can even watch tutorial videos on Youtube for better and clearer visual interpretation of the instructions. In terms of construction, it comes with a stainless steel made sear, hammer and trigger, therefore contributing to its amazing corrosion resistance.
Suitable for :
- Frictionless release technology
- Adjustable pull weight (2.5-5 lb)
- Stainless steel construction
- Two-stage design with short reset
- Drop-in design with rolling friction
Best Trigger for Steel Cased Ammo :
Velocity Triggers Curved for Steel Cased Ammo
The Velocity Triggers feature a single stage, drop-in trigger that comes with a nice, clean as well as crisp trigger pull. Speaking of the pull, it has a pull weight of 4 pounds which means you need to pull it with enough force to move 4 pounds of weight. Also, this product is almost similar to the bolt action.
From the title of the product itself, it is obvious that this unit is designed to function especially with steel cased ammunition or the 22 lr conversions. Note: Refrain from using them with the 9mm conversions. Not only that, it is of the curved shoe design.
Moreover, this product is equipped with small pin with .154 inch diameter designed to be installed into any small pin AR-15 lower receiver. In addition to that, they include set screws to put tension against the trigger and hammer pins for a secure fit. In other words, the screw pushes upwards against the pins thereby locking it securely at the inside of the receiver.
Besides that, this single stage unit comes with a stiffer hammer spring, which comes in handy to accommodate and properly ignite tougher primers on steel cased ammunition which will further result in a nice, clean and crisp trigger pull and feel. That being said, it resets quickly and is creep-free hence resulting in tighter shot groups.
In terms of construction, it features the EDM wire technology which is mainly used to precision machine the trigger, hammer as well as disconnector. These 3 parts are very essential to ensure the smooth working operation of the whole unit. After that, they are heat-treated to ensure longer service life, therefore contributing to its durability in the long run.
The housing on the other hand is machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminium material meanwhile the trigger has a black oxide finish which comes in handy to prevent corrosion as well as to ensure a smooth sear surface. Also, the hammer and disconnect are NP3 treated by Robar thereby further improving its durability.
Apart from that, this unit is of the complete drop-in style assembly. In other words, the trigger style comes as a pre-assembled housing in which you have to drop into the AR-15’s lower receiver. The assembly is rather simple without any adjustments or gunsmithing needed, for your added convenience. If you need guidance, the best way is to watch Youtube tutorial videos for a perfect visual interpretation.
Suitable for :
- Single stage, drop-in style
- Features EDM wire technology
- 4 pounds pull weight
- Crisp trigger pull
- 6061-T6 billet aluminium housing
All in all, if you prefer assembling your own customized trigger and other parts onto your AR-15, then you should totally go for the AR-15 trigger. Believe me, it does make a huge difference between using this and the stock factory-installed trigger.
Just a word of advice, trigger are generally expensive not to mention important, as they’re the interface between the shooter and the weapon. Hence why, it is very important to invest in a high quality product that will last you a lifetime, with an excellent shooting performance.