Picture this: you’re holding your trusty AR15 or AR10, aiming at the target with unwavering focus. But wait! What if we told you that the key to unlocking unparalleled accuracy lies in a single, often underestimated component? Yes, dear friends, we’re talking about none other than your AR trigger. It holds the power to transform your shooting experience into a symphony of reliability and consistency. Discover why upgrading your trigger is the ultimate secret weapon for enhancing your rifle’s accuracy, and get ready to hit the bullseye with style!

Note: Typically AR15 triggers are compatible with AR10s. The problem is that AR10 platforms are not mil-spec so the manufacturers may have some proprietary intricacies that may affect your particular firearm’s ability to accept AR15 parts.

What Makes a Good AR Trigger?

The best triggers will “break” without any warning – this increases accuracy because you cannot flinch to anticipate the recoil of the shot. Also, if you are not thinking about the trigger break, it means you have a greater focus on the task at hand which makes you a better operator.

A good trigger doesn’t have to be pulled back a long way before it “breaks” and fires a shot. This very short travel prevents the application of excessive force which can lead to inaccurate shots fired. The short travel also means that resetting for the next shot is quicker so you can put more accurate rounds downrange.

Trigger Pull Weight

The desired trigger pull weight truly depends on the application. For competitive shooting, you may want to go with a “match grade” trigger that has very light trigger pull, but for uses like close-quarters combat it’s better to go with an all-around trigger with a little more pull weight. Why is this? Because a lighter trigger is easier to accidentally fire, especially in stressful situations or while moving.

  • Trigger Pull measures how many pounds of force have to be applied to pull the trigger. The higher the number, the harder it is to pull the trigger.
  • Lighter trigger pull can result in more accuracy (you don’t have to try as hard to pull the trigger), but it can also result in accidental discharges if you aren’t careful. Light triggers are often referred to as “match triggers” because they are typically used for competitive shooting matches, or long distance shooting.
  • Typical trigger pull is between 3 to 6 pounds. Around 4 pounds is the best choice for a multi-purpose rifle setup, or you can go lighter for a match-grade trigger.

Curved vs flat triggers

Most triggers have a curved area that fits your finger, but on some triggers the face is flat. This is personal preference – some people swear by flat triggers, and some like curved ones. Flat triggers are nice because it encourages you to rest the pad of the tip of your finger on the face of the trigger rather than potentially wrap your finger around a curved one.

Ease of install

While changing to a new trigger is beneficial, not all triggers are made the same and the kits they come in can be simple or complicated. When you get a trigger upgrade, try to find a “drop-in” kit – they can be installed in minutes. You don’t want a kit with loose parts working with the tiny trigger springs will drive you nuts.

Lower Receiver Type – Small pin vs Large pin Lowers

The type of receiver will dictate the trigger type. The VAST majority of AR-15 receivers are “small pin” receivers (this is mil-spec), but some older Colt ARs are “large pin” receivers. This refers to the size of the FRONT takedown pinhole.

If you have any questions, just measure the front takedown pinhole. If it’s .25″, then you have a small pin receiver. .315″ is the large pin. (Note: AT3 Tactical only carries small-pin triggers because the large-pin receivers are so rare these days). The full rundown on triggers is on our YouTube Channel!

Note: If you have trouble installing your trigger please check out this FREE Army Service Manual for the AR15!

Single Stage vs. Dual Stage Triggers

Dual-stage triggers have 2 different stages when pulling the trigger – usually, the first stage has a stronger trigger pull, followed by an intermediate area of travel with slight resistance (stage 2), followed by a trigger break. Basically, the trigger has a section of gentle resistance before it “breaks”.

Single stage triggers have no intermediate area – you just pull until the trigger “breaks”

This choice really comes down to personal preference, but many people believe that dual stage is better for long-range accuracy, and the single stage is better for close-quarters or fast firing because it resets more quickly

Best Combat Trigger for All-Around Use 

AT3 Tactical 2-Stage

We recommend AT3 Tactical 2-Stage for all-around use on an AR, as well as combat applications. It is a 2-stage trigger with a 4.5 lb pull weight, which means that it is light enough to shoot accurately but heavy enough to prevent accidental discharge.

Best Overall Value in a Trigger 

AT3™ Enhanced Nickel Teflon AR-15 Trigger Assembly

The AT3 Enhanced Nickel Teflon AR-15 Trigger Assembly is one of the best bargains you will find (about 1/4 the price of a Geissele SSA). The Enhanced Nickel Teflon trigger assembly features smooth, precision-machined engagement surfaces and Nickel Teflon coating that removes the grittiness found in mil-spec triggers and provides a cleaner “break”.

The trigger is made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty.

One other thing to note – you can also get this trigger as part of a lower receiver parts kit – perfect for a new AR-15 build.

Best Dual Stage Match Trigger

Elftmann Tactical Match AR 15 Trigger (Curved or Flat Faced)

The Elftmann Tactical Match AR-15 Trigger is a high-quality trigger system designed for AR-15 rifles. It features a crisp and light trigger pull that can be easily adjusted between 2.75 to 4 pounds. The trigger shoe has a wide, flat surface for improved finger contact. It is a drop-in trigger, meaning it can be easily installed without extensive time-consuming troubleshooting.

Best Drop-In Trigger

Rise Armament Rave 140 Super Sporting AR 15 Trigger

The Rise Armament Rave 140 Super Sporting AR 15 Trigger is a high-quality trigger system designed specifically for AR-15 rifles. It features a single-stage design with a crisp and clean break, allowing for precise and consistent trigger pulls. The Rave 140 has a pull weight of approximately 3.5 pounds, providing a light and responsive trigger pull that is ideal for both competition shooting and recreational use.

The trigger is constructed with premium materials, ensuring durability and reliability. It incorporates aerospace-grade aluminum housing with precision-machined components, resulting in a sturdy and robust trigger system. The Rave 140 also utilizes a drop-in installation process, making it easy to install and compatible with most AR-15 platforms.

One notable feature of the Rave 140 is its short reset and positive reset characteristic, which enhances follow-up shot accuracy and speed. The trigger reset is quick and audible, allowing for faster target acquisition and engagement.

Is It Worth Upgrading Your AR Trigger?

Remember that the secret to superior accuracy lies within the humble AR15 trigger. Upgrading your trigger unlocks a world of precision shooting that will leave you hitting bullseyes with style. So, aim high, shoot straight, and make every shot count. Happy range days!


Do AR-10 and AR-15 use the same trigger?

They can…mostly. Typically AR15 triggers are compatible with AR10s. The problem is that AR10 platforms are not mil-spec so the manufacturers may have some proprietary intricacies that may affect your particular firearm’s ability to accept AR15 parts.

Are AR-15 and AR-10 lower parts the same?

Not all AR-15 lower parts are compatible with the AR-10 platform. Some are and some are not.

What is the pull weight of a mil-spec trigger?

Most mil-spec triggers will come out to around 4 pounds of pull weight. If anything they will dip heavier to 4.5 pounds.

What is the best trigger pull for an AR-15?

It depends on the application. Most triggers range from 3 to 6 pounds of pull weight. A 4 pound pull weight is the average for an all around trigger. Lighter triggers will be used for long distance or match shooting. Heavier pull weights will usually be “combat triggers” so accidental shots are kept to a minimum.

Is it worth upgrading AR-15 trigger?

In most cases, yes it is worthwhile to upgrade your AR15s trigger. Stock mil-spec triggers are often a part that gets skimped on in quality and performance. Spice up your build with something you know you can depend on.

One Last Tip

If there’s anyone that knows the AR-15 platform, it’s the US military. As a special offer for our readers, you can get the Official US Army Manual for AR-15/M4/M16 right now – for free. Click here to snag a copy.

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21 thoughts on “AR15 & AR10 Triggers Explained – Is It Worth Upgrading Your Trigger? (2024 Update)

  1. I have several AT3 2 stage, and I will get more. Every bit as good as the Rock River 2 stage and cheaper. One of the best under $100.00 upgrades you can make.

  2. I have used drop in triggers on my weapons. They are a fantastic upgrade for the AR platform shooting systems. No two shooters will decide that one trigger is better then another, as it is the shooter’s skill that the trigger augments. While I may love the pull weight and flat blade of my RISE Armament Special Edition Sportsman, someone else may love a CMC drop in flat blade better. It is up to you to find one that works best for you. Most of the triggers are not going to break your bank, so for me I purchased a few of them and installed then go to the range and see how they function. Drop in triggers are fairly easy to swap out.

    One thing about triggers, they can help you shoot more accurate, as how they can help you perform your “shot motions” can do a great deal of helping your shots be pulled into a tighter group making your shot skills be much more effective.

  3. If you’re on a fixed-income budget as I am, I think you’ll be wise to look into the Schmid 2-stage trigger. I got it on sale for 60 bux and it’s a definite upgrade from the stock trigger. The first stage is smooth and grit-free. The “wall” after the first stage is definite and strong. The second stage breaks cleanly at just a touch over 4.5# and is grit and creep-free and most importantly, consistent. I measured it in my trigger pull scale and it breaks at exactly the same point each and every time.
    As I said, if you’re on a fixed-income budget, get the Schmid and don’t look back.

    1. I’ve read a lot of these reviews and have to give a shout out to La Rue. I’ve never shot any of the triggers that are reviewed here but I can’t believe that they preform any better than the La Rue MBT single stage flat trigger that I put in mine. Very happy with price, performance and quality. I got an over sized charging handle from them too. Check them out and shoot one if you get the chance. I believe you will like it.


  5. Re: Trigger upgrades on AR

    I did some research and consulted some savvy sources (including my credit card balance) and bought a RISE 140 Rave trigger on sale at Brownell’s for $110 for my other AR. I decided to build one to shoot up dome of my less than a dime Norinco 7.62×39 non- corrosive steel case stuff I stockpiled for an SKS bought some 30 years ago for $90. The SKS is a 2 MOA gun but feeds well (slightly modified for AK 30 round mags). I may put it on the block if my AR project in 7.62 works out. Yes, I get that I’ll be breaking it in with brass cased quality ammo. But, after that, with proper cleaning, the ateel cased stuff will work OK and there’s almost 4k rounds of that stuff left vs. the 50 cents/round brass cased fodder. The RISE 140 Rave trigger is really good. My shooting buddy with a Timney agrees. Plus, wallet gets a $140 repreive. Good stuff on your site!

  6. I think every comment has good info, but I can’t help but add my opinion on AR trigger upgrades. 1st, I have to point out that upgrading ur AR’s trigger doesn’t make ur rifle more accurate. It helps magnify ur basic Shooting fundamentals, which should be ur 1st priority before upgrading ur tigger. U def don’t want to get a new trigger to help fix problems like shot anticipation or improper finger placement. Fundamentals need to be priority. Only when uv gotten to the pont where ur able to shoot well with a milspec trigger, will u see the true benefits of an upgraded trigger group. Choosing which type of trigger u think u would need also becomes a much easier task as well.

  7. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate your experience.

  8. I have several standard mil-spec type trigger, all single stage, one geisele single stage, and one nickel teflon enhanced, also single stage. The mil-spec triggers cost less than 25 dollars, the geisele was about 125 dollars, and the nickle teflon enhanced trigger was about fourty dollars. The geisele is the best for sure, but if you go dollar for dollar, then the nickle teflon enhanced trigger is a great value, I’d say it’s 95% as good as the geisele. That’s my opinion. By the way, the mil-spec type triggers I have are also very good actually.

  9. I like how you point out that a trigger upgrade can improve the accuracy of your rifle. I am trying to improve my accuracy for hunting season, and I’m planning to put a new trigger on my hunting rifle. I am going to look for a high-quality trigger upgrade to use.

  10. I became a believer in drop-ins. The best one I bought was a Timney 2-stage. I put it in my DPMS Oracle LR308. First off, it beat the factory trigger…about 8 pounds of gritty pull. Second was, it is about 2 pounds to stage and 2 more after the wall was hit… making it more accurate for me. Not a lot of “guess work” knowing when the round would be sent downrange. I know some like the single so I guess it is all preference.

    Just a word of advice… (because I made the mistake) … Amongst the 4 AR platforms I have is a Colt. make sure you get the correct pin size LOL. Stag, Delton and the DPMS have the same size…my Colt… Red Haired Step Child. Be safe.

  11. wilson combat 3 gun makes one of finest triggers on market today….fast,smooth. and.on target…everytime…

  12. Has anyone considered the hiperfire 24c. Installed on my m400, she feels like a different rifle. Best trigger I’ve tried.

  13. The flat CMG trigger is hands down the most efficient and controllable trigger for the money. The flat face provides more leverage than the curved face, which actually makes the pull weight feel a bit lighter than the curved face trigger which uses the same internal parts.I have a couple of each and this is the only trigger that I will use on my builds now. Clean, crisp break, with no pre travel. I use the three and a half pound pull weight and have yet to get a premature or accidental discharge out of a CMG trigger, over a year and a half after purchasing my first. Superb product at an excellent value. CMG functionality dominates triggers doubling it’s price.

    1. Here’s the biggest and most important thing about all this that some people seem to forget. What may certainly be the best for one individual is not necessarily the best for all. Yes, some triggers are way better than others, that is for darn sure, but at the same time everyone has somewhat of a different technique, muscle memory and sense of touch. So, no matter how much one can say “THIS IS THE BEST TRIGGER OUT THERE” that is true for the one making that statement. Possibly for me as well but necessarily not. I am not you; I don’t have the same arms, fingers, hands or even neck length as you. My hands and fingers may be softer or rougher than yours due to my line of work. So, I will very possibly think that my trigger is the best out there. That is, the best for ME, not necessarily you. So, with all that being said, the truly best trigger for you is the one that works best for YOU. So, go out and talk with other shooters and don’t be afraid to ask if you can pop off a few rounds with their AR’s to see how other equipment feels to you. A best trigger out there is very important, but it takes more than that to hit the target consistently. It takes the best trigger for YOU. By all means get advice and try as many different triggers as you can before you make that purchase, and try them in the field if possible and not in a store in some trigger jig. No matter what anyone tells you, it is not the same. Happy Trigger hunt.
      Just my two cents worth.

    2. I believe you mean the trigger by CMC, and normally i would agree with you.
      I can’t say what their products were like in 2014 when you posted this, however, I can tell you of my experience with their products today.
      I have three CMC drop in triggers, not flat but curved, however, that’s not at issue, what is at issue is this…. 3 identical single stage triggers… one is as fine a trigger as I’ve pulled… the other two have a full 1/4 take up under approximately 1.5 lbs pull then rest and break at that point under the designed 3.5lbs.
      I’m kind in calling it “take up” because it’s really just “slop” making these nothing more than expensive “junk” triggers!!!
      Unfortunately, the web is littered with complaints about this very problem with their triggers!!!
      Hopefully, they’ll resolve the problem, but they’ve lost me as a customer!!!
      2/3 of the products you buy from a “supposed” high quality company shouldn’t be junk outta the box!!!!

  14. I purchased a Geissele G2S trigger. I’m a novice shooter and was told by my rangemaster that upgrading my trigger would tighten my groups. He was right, I noticed a difference the first time I used it. Instead of antisapating my trigger break while aiming, my trigger breaks so smooth and crisp that I can’t tell when it’s going to break which allows me to concentrate on keeping my scope on target. I also purchased an ALG trigger for another build that cost less than $50 and is probably all I needed to begin with for what I do. Live and learn…

  15. No way

  16. Kenny – the Timney is a great trigger – some the Tact-con is has more settings you can change but the Timney is one of the best trigger brands out there, and it’s definitely a better price!

    1. Agree. I built a 22/250 in 1958 and used a Timney trigger. It shoots a 0.23 inch group at 100 yards.

  17. Sounds like your timney 661
    is just as good as the tac-con but cheaper, do they work about the same??

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