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.

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.

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


CMC Triggers


Spike’s Tactical

JP Enterprises

Trident Trigger

Timney Triggers

Wilson Combat

This article was originally published in ‘AR Rifleman’ #189. For information on how to subscribe, please email [email protected] or call 1-800-284-5668.

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