Armalite’s Tactical Two-Stage Trigger Set is a mil-spec-style replacement that breaks at around 8 pounds, with the first stage taking up 3 pounds of pressure and the second stage taking up the balance of around 5 pounds of pressure. Armalite’s service department can install the components for you if you ship them your receiver, but installing the trigger kit is straightforward enough for those who follow the included instructions. An added feature of the two-stage trigger is an adjustable pull that can be tuned by the user without the need for gunsmithing tools. This, combined with little or no creep and positive stage break points, make the Armalite a boon for hunters or LEOs who appreciate a two-stage trigger.
Designed to be 100-percent compatible with mil-spec AR lowers, the new BCM PNT trigger assembly is ready for action. Precision machined from AISI8620 investment casting, the PNT trigger and hammer is heat treated in a three-step process and hardened for durability. It features hand-polished sear engagement to reduce friction and enhance smoothness, and an electroless nickel finish further reduces friction in the trigger pull. The result is an American-made trigger assembly that is ready to serve in your preferred AR-platform firearm.
Elftmann Tactical ELF X-2: This radical trigger is a cassette-style affair that drops into mil-spec lower receivers and utilizes aircraft-grade “needle bearings” around the trigger and hammer pins to provide extremely smooth, low-drag operation. Most notably, it represents the rare double-finger trigger design and comes with a new triggerguard that accommodates its extra length (so, your receiver must have a removable triggerguard). The longer blade allows greater control over the adjustable trigger, as the same 2.75 to 4 pounds of pressure are applied via a longer lever with a greater length of pull at the bottom than at the top for taking precise shots—and clever shooters can “walk” two fingers on the trigger to achieve a rate of fire faster than yanking with just one finger on a traditional trigger.
Elftmann Tactical ELF 3-Gun: This trigger is designed to offer high-end competitors a particularly smooth trigger that is adjustable without removing the trigger unit from the rifle. The hammer and trigger pivot around their retaining pins on aircraft-grade, fully enclosed “sealed bearings”—like a ball bearing bushing—rather than simply rotating around the fixed pin. This greatly decreases drag, and the sealed bearings decrease the chance of dirt, oil or other materials fouling the bearing surface and slowing down or adding drag to the components’ functions. The skeletonized triggers are available in traditional curved or straight blade styles. The unit is a “cassette style” trigger group, meaning that it drops in and comes out as a unit with no fitting required. The housing is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, with hardened steel components inside.
The Enhanced Duty Trigger 2 (EDT2) is a refinement of HIPERFIRE’s previous EDT design, and allows users to swap between 4.5- and 5.5-pound springs. The hammer is bulkier than the previous hammer, so the added mass ensures reliable ignition of large .308/7.62mm rifle primers. Its engineering also gives additional mechanical advantage to the hammer, aiding in trigger performance.
JARD AR MST: The engineering on the AR MST does away with the traditional trigger disconnect, which also does away with the trigger reset “slap” feeling in combat triggers. A single-stage affair, the AR MST features a gracefully curved combat-style trigger and overall unit geometry that promotes an extremely short trigger pull that offers virtually no overtravel—just safe amounts of travel resistance, adjustable with variable weights of trigger springs.
JARD AR Top Adjustable: This unit is designed to offer sear engagement and overtravel adjustments that you can access from above, so that you don’t have to remove any component to adjust the trigger—just disengage the rear receiver pin and pivot the upper receiver out of the way. Then you can easily access the adjustment bolt. You can order the AR Top Adjustable Trigger with a spring in your choice of six weights between 1.5 pounds and 5 pounds of resistance, and swap between them to adapt the trigger resistance to varying purposes—hunting, target shooting, law enforcement duty, etc.
The JP EZ Fire Control With Roller Trigger features a rolling surface on the trigger shoe that helps eliminate pulled shots. Essentially, the roller eliminates lateral force from the shooter’s finger onto the trigger, which helps improve trigger control and accuracy downrange. The components include a reversible, customizable safety selector, and color-coded springs help you select between competition weights (below 4.5 pounds) and duty/National Match weights of 4.5 pounds and slightly above. Many springs are available separately from JP Enterprises, allowing you to customize your trigger and rifle as needed.
The two-stage MBT-2S trigger from LaRue was purposefully designed and manufactured for reliability and durability, with all of the major components precision-machined from S7 tool steel. The result of this extra effort is a consistent, glass-smooth trigger that will satisfy even the most scrupulous competition shooter, while being overly rugged for the battlefield. Made in Texas, the MBT-2S can replace the stock trigger on any mil-spec AR lower receiver. It breaks crisply with a 2.5-pound first stage and a 2-pound second stage.
Patriot Ordnance Factory EFP 2: The EFP stands for “Enhanced Finger Placement,” and the “2” designation sets this model apart by having the trigger located more rearward to accommodate a gloved finger. The trigger’s unique shape encourages the trigger finger to find a low, repeatable position for maximum leverage and control, which also promotes a smoother feel for the pull. The components are hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 70, and the unit comes with KNS Precision anti-walk pins.
POF-USA’s version of the combat trigger, these drop-in triggers are fixed (no adjustments required) to prevent creep or other problems. The Combat trigger is set to 5.5 pounds, the minimum mil-spec pull weight, suggesting its utility for police and military use where adherence to mil-spec is required while the benefits of aftermarket design are preferred. The major components are made of A2 steel that has been heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of 70 for corrosion resistance and strength. Each unit ships with KNS Precision anti-walk pins for installation.
The Two-Stage Match Trigger Kit from Rock River Arms (RRA) offers a budget-friendly price for those who want to put a two-stage trigger on their duty, hobby or competition ARs. The light first stage of a two-stage trigger makes the heavier second stage not feel as heavy—if you take up the first 2 pounds during the first stage, adding the last 3 pounds only feel like having a 3-pound trigger pull. This unit accomplishes that with this solid, no-frills kit.
Ruger Elite 452 MSR Trigger: This two-stage trigger requires roughly 1.5 pounds of pressure through the first stage, with the balance of 4.5 pounds applied in the second stage with a full-power hammer spring, for a total that is below the mil-spec threshold. This recommends it for a competition or target rifle, or for hunting at long distances or for small animals. The loose components come pre-installed on a polymer grip that replicates the ergonomics of Ruger’s AR-pattern rifle. This self-contained module is designed for safe dry firing, allowing you to get used to the two-stage feel of the new trigger through practice. You can even see exactly how the components are properly oriented to make reassembly a breeze.
A staple aftermarket trigger with competitive rifle shooters, the Timney AR-15 Competition is a drop-in trigger system that utilizes an aircraft-grade aluminum block (anodized gold, no less) to hold the trigger, disconnect and hammer in alignment, and it utilizes the hammer and trigger pins to hold the cassette in your receiver. Several hex-head screws allow you to adjust the overtravel, though the trigger pull weight is fixed per model.
The 4-Pound Tactical Trigger Parts Kit from Trident Trigger is a single-stage design with a curved blade and a non-adjustable pull weight of 4 pounds. It’s designed to look like a mil-spec unit but with a cleaner pull and a positive reset. The full-power springs and hammer ensure optimum reliability. Every trigger is measured, hand-tuned and tested using Trident’s stringent quality control process before being shipped.
Wilson Combat likes to keep its fine-tuned, match-grade products hearty enough for defensive use, walking that line between fine-tuning for precision and engineering tolerances to accommodate debris and abuse. Wilson Combat’s approach to creating a cassette-style drop-in unit with the Tactical Trigger Unit (TTU) is to use heat-treated H13 steel for corrosion and wear resistance, and to eliminate any setscrews or adjustment screws so there’s nothing to shoot loose over time or fall out of adjustment. It’s a robust system that trades a bit of user adjustment for a lot of durability.
You probably don’t appreciate your AR’s trigger the way you should, and certainly not the way you will after seeing the purpose-designed options out there. I didn’t either until I really dug into this research. It’s no secret that dozens of companies make countless versions of the exact same components of AR-pattern rifles, or that among those confusing options are many different flavors of basically the same thing. But in the world of triggers, there is a range of truly different designs unlike anything that exists for other basic components of the rifle.
- RELATED STORY: Trident Trigger: An Improvement Over Your Mil-Spec Trigger
Let’s get familiar with a few trigger options to sample the range of designs and maybe find a model that will transform your experience with your rifle. That’s a big goal, but replacing your trigger can actually make an astounding difference.
- RELATED STORY: HIPERFIRE Releases EDT2 Enhanced Duty Trigger
It’s a confusing world, but we spent considerable time making a functional sort of sense of it for you, and we hope these samples — of the hundreds available — contain some things you didn’t know about AR-pattern trigger design — and maybe an option that’ll help with your style of shooting.
Scroll through the gallery above for a list of options.
For more information on the triggers mentioned in the gallery above, please visit the following websites:
- Armalite Tactical Two-Stage: armalite.com; 800-336-0184
- Bravo Company PNT: bravocompanyusa.com; 877-272-8626
- Elftmann Tactical ELF X-2: elftmanntactical.com; 602-773-9159
- Elftmann Tactical ELF 3-Gun: elftmanntactical.com; 602-773-9159
- HIPERFIRE HIPERTOUCH EDT2: hiperfire.com; 651-762-2800
- JARD AR MST: jardinc.com; 712-324-7409
- JARD AR Top Adjustable: jardinc.com; 712-324-7409
- JP EZ Fire Control With Roller Trigger: jprifles.com; 651-426-9196
- LaRue Tactical MBT-2S: laruetactical.com; 512-259-1585
- Patriot Ordnance Factory EFP 2: pof-usa.com; 623-561-9572
- Patriot Ordnance Factory Combat: pof-usa.com; 877-561-9572
- Rock River Arms Two-Stage Match Trigger Kit: rockriverarms.com; 866-980-7625
- Ruger Elite 452 MSR Trigger: ruger.com
- Timney AR-15 Competition: timneytriggers.com; 866-484-6639
- Trident 4-Pound Tactical Trigger: tridenttrigger.com; 530-558-8010
- Wilson Combat TTU: wilsoncombat.com; 870-545-3618
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