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.
Table of contents
- What Makes a Good AR Trigger?
- Trigger Pull Weight
- Curved vs flat triggers
- Ease of install
- Lower Receiver Type – Small pin vs Large pin Lowers
- Single Stage vs. Dual Stage Triggers
- Best Combat Trigger for All-Around Use
- Best Overall Value in a Trigger
- Best Dual Stage Match Trigger
- Best Drop-In Trigger
- Is It Worth Upgrading Your AR Trigger?
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
Not all AR-15 lower parts are compatible with the AR-10 platform. Some are and some are not.
Most mil-spec triggers will come out to around 4 pounds of pull weight. If anything they will dip heavier to 4.5 pounds.
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.
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.