Armalite Tactical Two-Stage Trigger Set: The Armalite Tactical Two-Stage Trigger features a 3-pound first stage and a 5-pound second stage. Plus, the trigger is totally adjustable by relocating the disconnector spring on one of three tabs. Shift it up to decrease the pull weight or down to increase it. This trigger offers increased accuracy and repeatability.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3 pounds/5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.3 inches MSRP: $97
BCM PNT Trigger: Forget mil-spec. The PNT (Polished Nickel Teflon) trigger from Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) surpasses mil-spec standards. All of this trigger’s components are hand polished and given an electroless nickel finish to eradicate creep. Finally, the parts are imbedded with Teflon particles to reduce friction and resist corrosion.</br></br> Pull Weight: 4.5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.29 inches MSRP: $60
Black Rain Ordnance DIT 3.5-Pound Trigger: This dependable, easy-to-install DIT (Drop-In Trigger) from Black Rain Ordnance offers a sweet single-stage 3.5-pound pull. It comes with KNS anti-rotation pins so extensive range time won’t rattle the pins loose.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3.5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.25 inches MSRP: $199
BlackHawk AR Blaze SSD Trigger: The AR Blaze SSD (Single-Stage Duty) trigger bonds nickel-boron to the steel parts to create a smooth and crisp break that lasts and will not wear. Plus, the trigger does not require lubrication. This trigger comes with a full-power spring set for duty and defense work and a reduced-power, red-colored spring set for target shooting.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3.5 or 5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.3 inches MSRP: $100
CMC 2-Stage Curved: My drop-in CMC 2-Stage Curved trigger has a 2-pound first stage and a 3-pound second stage. It comes in other pull weights—2/2, 1/3, 2/4 and 2/5 pounds—and each is creep-free and offers a crisp break. Models are available for small or large pin sizes. </br></br> Pull Weight: 2/2, 1/3, 2/3, 2/4, 2/5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.31 inches MSRP: $240
Hiperfire Hipertouch EDT3: The trigger shape of the Hipertouch EDT3 single-stage trigger allows the shooter to place their trigger finger high or low on the trigger surface. The kit comes with two hammer springs so you can adjust the pull weight; the red hammer spring offers a 5-pound pull while the green hammer spring has a 4-pound pull. The idea is that you run the trigger high in tactical situations and low for times when you need more precision. </br></br> Pull Weight: 4 or 5 pounds Trigger Style: Duplex Trigger Bow Width: 0.3 inches MSRP: $99
Spike’s Tactical Battle Trigger: This mil-spec, single-stage trigger uses a nickel-boron coating to reduce friction between parts and eliminate that gritty feeling common with standard mil-spec triggers. The Battle Trigger is factory set for a 5- to 6-pound pull weight. Plus, it gets smoother as you keep shooting it.</br></br> Pull Weight: 5-6 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.29 inches MSRP: $60
CMC Standard Trigger Pull – Flat: The CMC Standard Trigger Pull – Flat trigger is totally self-contained and easy to install. It’s the original drop-in trigger. You can order models with 3.5-, 4.5-, 5.5- and 6.5-pound pull weights. The trigger is ultra-crisp and glass smooth. The unit also comes with a retention pin kit that ensures the trigger and hammer pins won’t walk out.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3.5, 4.5, 5.5 or 6.5 pounds Trigger Style: Flat Trigger Bow Width: 0.31 inches MSRP: $196
JP Enterprises EZ Trigger System: The EZ Trigger System includes the trigger, a speed hammer, oversized anti-walk pins, an adjustable and reversible selector lever and two sets of fire control springs. The yellow springs are suitable for competition while the red springs are designed for tactical uses. The springs can also be combined depending on the release weight desired. The kit comes with tools, Loctite and an instructional installation DVD.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3-3.5 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.3 inches MSRP: $200
Trident 4-Pound Tactical: The single-stage Trident 4-Pound Tactical is a step above the typical mil-spec trigger. Each trigger is hand-tuned and tested. It has a clean 4-pound pull with minimal creep and a crisp break. It’s also made for lower receivers that use small 0.154-inch-diameter pins.</br></br> Pull Weight: 4 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.27 inches MSRP: $75
Timney AR Targa 2-Stage Short: You can consider Timney the benchmark in aftermarket triggers, and the AR Targa 2-Stage Short trigger unit has a short first stage set at 2 pounds and a 2-pound second stage. This drop-in unit is self-contained within a housing manufactured from 6061-T6 aluminum.</br></br> Pull Weight: 2 pounds/2 pounds Trigger Style: Curved or straight Trigger Bow Width: 0.25 inches MSRP: $229
Wilson Combat TTU-3G: This version of Wilson Combat’s Tactical Trigger Unit (TTU) is specifically design for 3-Gun competition. A true drop-in design, this two-stage trigger offers no creep and a crisp, consistent break. I borrowed one of these a few years ago, and I’m still not quite finished evaluating it. This set has a uniquely shaped hammer to enhance reliability with all types of ammunition.</br></br> Pull Weight: 3.5-4 pounds Trigger Style: Curved Trigger Bow Width: 0.27 inches MSRP: $270
If there is one enhancement you can install in your AR that will have an immediate and positive result on its accuracy, it is a replacement trigger. AR triggers were originally designed for military weapons with the primary concern being safety. While safety is a good thing, mil-spec triggers can be heavy and mushy, which isn’t conducive to accurate shooting. A crisp trigger that breaks cleanly will benefit every shooter—those shooting out to long distances as well as those running and gunning during a competition’s challenging course of fire. The more consistent the trigger, the better you will be at manipulating it.
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So let’s define a few keywords when it comes to triggers. “Creep” is the distance the trigger travels before it “breaks,” or trips the sear and fires the gun. “Pull weight” is the amount of pressure needed to break the trigger. Every trigger will exhibit slight variations in pull weight from shot to shot—some will vary by 8 ounces or more while others won’t vary more than an ounce. Reliability is the final factor. A small hammer will reduce the trigger’s pull weight, but it can also cause light primer strikes, meaning it won’t ignite some types of ammunition with military-grade primers.
And don’t think you can use a Dremel on your existing trigger to fine-tune it. Sure, you might think you are honing the right surfaces, but you will more than likely create an unsafe trigger. Replacing an AR trigger is really pretty simple—even a ham-handed gunsmith like me can swap out a trigger quickly.
There are basically two types of aftermarket triggers: mil-spec and drop-in. Mil-spec triggers are made up of six parts (not including the hammer and trigger pins): the trigger, trigger spring, hammer, hammer spring, disconnector and disconnector spring. Some mil-spec-style aftermarket triggers may have retainer pins. These triggers take a bit more gun gunsmithing skill to install, especially when it comes to getting the springs properly oriented. The simplest and easiest route is a one-piece drop-in trigger unit. Drop-in triggers package the trigger group in one cassette-style piece so there is no fussing with springs. Just place the unit in the lower and replace the hammer and trigger pins. It’s that fast.
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Whatever type of trigger you decide on, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear eye protection. You will also need two 1/8-inch punches and a nylon/brass hammer. A bench vise and a lower receiver vise block will make it much easier to work on the lower and keeps it oriented in the correct position for the installation. The punches remove the hammer and trigger pins and are used as slave pins when installing a mil-spec-style aftermarket trigger. You only need one punch for a drop-in trigger.
With all of that in mind, here are a dozen examples of aftermarket triggers to up your AR’s game.
For more information on the aftermarket AR triggers featured in the gallery above, visit the following websites.
Bravo Company USA
Black Rain Ordnance
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