Best AR-15 Single Stage Triggers – 2019 Complete Review

A trigger is like a power switch to a gun. You can set up an entire house with lights and appliances, but nothing will work until the power switch is turned on.

The trigger has the same role in a gun. Like every other component of guns, triggers have also undergone some upgrades with growing technology. 

Here we’ll be talking about the most basic types of triggers (single stage) used in your AR-15, as well as outline some of the best replacements and upgrades on the market for your stock trigger.

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Single-Stage Triggers

PRODUCT DETAILS
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CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group

  • Drop-in trigger design.
  • Designed for many AR-15 applications.
  • Housing made from high-quality materials.
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Timney AR-15 Drop-in Trigger Module

  • Drop-in design.
  • Light trigger pull weight.
  • Housing made from high-quality aluminum.
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CMMG AR-15 Lower Parts Kit

  • Fits most lower receivers (full or 80 percent).
  • All parts are made from high-quality materials.
  • Includes the most vital parts you need for your AR-15 lower receiver.
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ALG Defense AR-15 Enhanced Military Style Trigger

  • Ergonomic design.
  • Designed to fit most AR-15 rifles.
  • Trigger made from nickel Teflon materials.
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Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch 24

  • Drop-in design.
  • Available in six different models.
  • Pull weight between 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
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What is a Single Stage Trigger?

A single-stage trigger is the most basic and primitive trigger used in guns. As the name suggests, a single stage trigger simply pulls off the lock when you push it and releases the spring of the charging handle. This causes the firing pin to hit the cartridge. The trigger bow is directly connected to the sear.

Single stage triggers have been used since the invention of guns. They are easier to adjust and crisper than their counterparts.

Single-stage triggers are very predictable because you know the amount of force you need to fire a shot. These triggers have a heavy pull weight, making them great for accurate shooting. The pull weight varies from a half-pound to seven pounds. Pull weight refers to the amount of pressure with which you need to pull a trigger to make it function.

Single-stage triggers are very common among AR-15 rifles. As a matter of fact, almost all military rifles are equipped with single-stage triggers. This makes it obvious that these type of triggers can be used in life-or-death situations.

What Are The Best Uses For a Single Stage Trigger?

There are quite a few uses of your AR-15, such as home defense, hunting, shooting competitions and practice. Single stage triggers have their own effectiveness and importance in different situations. So, let’s take a look at them one by one.

Single-stage triggers with light pull weights (less than 4 lbs) are good for hunting and 3-gun shooting competitions. That’s because light pull triggers have a minimal amount of travel before they break as well as minimum over travel. This leads to faster follow-ups, which means quick and precise shooting. Single-stage triggers have a simple design with quick operation.

Home Defense

Single-stage triggers have been used by the military for decades. The reason is its simple and quick operation. These triggers offer a constant resistance. Pulling them once means a shot is fired.

Additionally, this type of trigger has no over travel. This allows for faster follow-up. That means you can shoot rounds quickly. Additionally, single-stage triggers won’t confuse you while you are in a stressful self-defense situation. Just pulling the trigger makes the break, letting the bullet fire off. You don’t have to worry about the change in resistance that comes with dual-stage versions.

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Hunting

The type of trigger you use for hunting totally depends upon individual preference. Some people like to have triggers with constant resistance while they aim and shoot. For short-range hunting, single-stage triggers are generally the best.

​You might want to think again if you are aiming for long-range targets. You don’t want to pull the trigger accidentally while you’re hiding in the bushes and stalking your target. That’s where a single stage trigger with moderate pull weight is helpful.

Shooting Competitions

Single-stage triggers are the best for 3-gun shooting competitions. For others where more precision is required, you might want to have a different type (two-stage of course). You’ll have to engage different targets at different distances and shoot in various positions. For situations like this, you’ll need a trigger that is constant and shoots quickly. That’s where these single-stage triggers come into play.

Target Practice

The most important factor to note here is the range you are shooting at. For short range practice, single-stage triggers offer a constant resistance to help you take repetitive clear shots. For long-distance shooting, where a feather-light pull weight is required, you might want to customize your single-stage triggers or go with dual-stage triggers.

The following is a list of AR-15 single-stage triggers that are currently on the market. As you go through each one on the list, it might be worth the effort to note any features and characteristics. This way, you may be able to find a trigger that might match your ideal description. If you find one that is close enough, then it’s considered a winner for sure.

Quick Take - Best AR-15 Single Stage Triggers

These are our recommendations for the best single stage triggers for the AR-15:

  1. CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group
  2. Timney AR-15 Drop-in Trigger Module
  3. CMMG AR-15 Lower Parts Kit

Review of the Best AR-15 Single Stage Triggers

Choosing a single-stage trigger for your AR-15 depends entirely upon your requirements, intended use of the rifle, and your shooting skills. Single-stage triggers are quick and have short travel and zero over travel. Let’s take a look at some of the best AR-15 single-stage triggers.

Pros

  • Pull weight is exceptionally light
  • Super sturdy and durable construction
  • Fits on most AR-15 lower assemblies
  • It doesn’t jam or travel after 500 to 1000 rounds
  • Easy to install, takes close to 30 minutes or less

Cons

  • Some creep has been reported by some users
  • Warranty may void if you disassemble the trigger
  • Some installation pins may be missing upon shipment

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers found this trigger to be quite useful. Especially when they’ve installed this on their AR-15 rifles. One user said that the trigger pull was ridiculously light. On top of that, he was able to make quick shots and even quicker follow-up shots as a result. Most of the users were hunters and target shooters (casual and competitive).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This trigger is made with a solid housing made from high-quality steel. So it protects the inner workings of the trigger from any shock that may reverberate from the rifle’s recoil. Also, it has a light, straightforward trigger pull that will make your AR-15 a fast shooter. In short, it’s a little unit that can get the job done no matter how many rounds you go through.

The CMC AR-15 tactical group is an all-American product, invented and produced in the US. Designed by the famous competition shooter Chip McCormick himself, the CMC single-stage trigger is aesthetically pleasing and easy to install.

The trigger has a light 3.5lbs pull weight, making it apt for competitive shooting. It is a very safe and positive trigger with zero takeup and overtravel. Slightly oversized hammer pins replace the OEM ones, helping to reduce friction and prevent wear and trigger wobbling.

It’s available with a traditional curved shoe as well as skeletonized flat-shoe variants.

Who Will Use This Most

This trigger will be used by those who value speed. If you want to shoot fast consistently, you’d be hard-pressed to find a trigger like this anywhere else. It might suit you as a hunter or competitive shooter since timing (and accuracy) is everything when it comes to your shots. Aside from your ability for quick shooting, it’s a durable trigger that might last you a long time.

Bottom Line

The CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger is built tough and has a quick pull weight for those applications where you have to get a shot off and fast. By the time you install this, you’ll know right away that you made the right decision in upgrading or replacing your trigger. 

Pros

  • No creep to report
  • Easy to install, takes minutes to install
  • Trigger design is ergonomically friendly
  • No malfunctions through hundreds of rounds
  • Trigger pull weight is easy to adjust but still light

Cons

  • Some side play has been reported
  • Some of the pins have been reported to fall out at times
  • Some Loctite may be needed to keep some of the inner screws tight

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were satisfied were able to install this on their rifles in as little as 15 minutes. After installation, they were able to easily pull the trigger and get off quick shots at the range. Even one user said that he was able to hit consistently accurate shots fairly quickly compared to a factory default trigger that was slowing him down.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The trigger has an ergonomically friendly design that is used to cut down trigger finger fatigue. That’s good news for those who want a trigger that will allow them to have extended sessions at the range if they so choose. Aside from that, the trigger’s durable housing is super strong and for the most part, protects the inner workings of the trigger from shock.​

Timney is a renowned brand when it comes to triggers. Their drop-in trigger breaks clear and crisp with zero creep.

As the name suggests, the trigger requires no gunsmithing or machining for installation. Simply drop-in the assembly into the receiver and you’re ready to go. The components of the assembly have been EDM machined from A2 stainless steel and packed in an aluminum housing.

The trigger is available in three different variants with 3, 3.5 and 4 lbs pull weight with a standard solid trigger straight shoe.

Who Will Use This Most

This might be a trigger that will have its uses across many applications. It will mostly be used by target shooters or big game hunters alike. The latter would need to get a quick shot off to turn a potential “one that got away” story to hunting success. If you want to be fast and hit your targets effectively at the snap of a finger, this trigger could be what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger is probably your best possible option if you want something that will take minutes to install and give you an instant speed boost in your AR-15 rifle’s shooting ability. Even better, it’s the trigger you’ll want to have if you want to make some pull weight adjustments look effortless.

Pros

  • Easy and light pull weight
  • The trigger has no creep or travel at all
  • Easy to install, takes minutes and the right kind of tools
  • Excellent for either a custom build or replacement lower receiver
  • Super durable parts, it will last a long time if taken care of and maintained correctly

Cons

  • Some pins may not stay in place easily
  • Some springs might be a little shorter than others
  • Some tools should be included for quicker installation

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of users were able to use this to put together an entire lower receiver for either a custom-built or upgraded AR-15. One user had purchased this kit as part of his building project of an AR-15 that he was planning on using for hunting applications. He said that the parts were mostly drop-ins and took him a few minutes to install each part.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Why need only a trigger when you want the parts you need for an entire lower receiver? Here, you have all the parts you need to put everything together for a fully functional lower. Everything you see here includes the all-important firing group and trigger assembly. Without them, the rifle itself is rendered useless.

The AR-15 lower parts kit from CMMG is a complete package to let you change your trigger assembly and grip. The package includes trigger components and a molded polymer A2 pistol grip.

The trigger assembly components come marked properly (color coded) to let you assemble it with ease. The conventional mil-spec curved trigger offers a 6-6.5lbs pull weight to let you shoot accurately at short and medium distances, and the best part of getting this assembly is its inexpensive price.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a kit that will be purchased by a lot of budget shoppers. If you’re looking for a trigger or even a lower parts kit and money is tight, you may want to consider getting a kit so you have everything you need and then some for your AR-15 rifle. Even if you don’t end up using all the parts, at least you’ll have some spares just in case you need to replace something.

Bottom Line

The CMMG AR-15 Lower Parts Kit is something that you should have if you want more than just a trigger. This is the kind of kit that you’ll have handy even if you only need one part of the entire kit at your disposal. It may also serve as an excellent kit to have if you’re building out a new AR-15 rifle.

Pros

  • Pull weight is quite decent
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Fits in almost any AR-15 rifle
  • Excellent for many applications
  • Easy to install, takes a few minutes

Cons

  • The Reset might be a little mushy
  • Pins or springs may loosen up at times
  • Pull might not be as smooth as expected

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new buyers were happy with the trigger. One of the reasons was the ergonomic friendly design. They were able to extend their time at the shooting range without dealing with any trigger finger fatigue. On top of that, they also were able to shoot off their shots with quickness and precision from various distances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This trigger is perhaps one of the more reliable triggers for any AR-15 rifle out there. Whether it’s for an upgrade or something to add on to your recent build project, this trigger is designed to be top-notch ergonomically and won’t jam on you at all even through so many rounds. If you’re looking for something smooth, reliable, and allows for quick shooting then this could be the trigger for you.

The ALG defense triggers boast quality construction and offer the best value for the money. The rugged military-type components are reliable and precise.

This trigger assembly is available in two different variants, namely QMS (Quality Mil-spec) and ACT (ALG Combat Trigger). The ACT features nickel-boron coating on the trigger, and nickel-Teflon coating on the hammer, connector and pins to offer hardness and reducing friction.

The average pull weight of these curved triggers is around 6 lbs. The quality construction, easy installation and great value for money make these triggers more desirable.

Who Will Use This Most

If you’re a hunter or a target shooter, this trigger might be right up your alley. This will be great for those who hate dealing with jamming, travel and creep, and a whole host of problems that an under-performing AR trigger is susceptible to. If reliability is a high priority on your list, get this trigger when you get the opportunity.

Bottom Line

The ALG Defense AR-15 Enhanced Military Style Trigger might be your favorite trigger on this list if you want something tough, easy to install, and will be useful in the applications that matter the most. Don’t be shocked if you go through many rounds without a single jam.

Pros

  • Fits most AR-15 rifles
  • Super durable construction
  • Great for many applications
  • Easy to install, takes a few minutes
  • Light trigger pull, makes for faster shooting

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were looking for a trigger that had a light trigger pull. They found one in the Hipertouch. One user said that it was easy to adjust between weights, but he preferred the 3.5 pound pull weight best. Most of the users were hunters and competitive shooters that were looking for a speed boost in their AR-15 rifles.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Hipertouch lives up to its name as being one of the lighter triggers on the market. For an AR-15 that needs quick-firing ability, it takes a certain kind of trigger to get the job done. This one is a prime example of how you can go from a poorly timed follow-up shot to something that will allow you to shoot at lightning-quick speed.

The Hipertouch 24 single- stage trigger for the AR-15 platform features a curved trigger bow and at-the-wall break with zero creep. The trigger assembly offers versatility to users by providing three different types of springs. The assembly includes springs in light, medium-light and medium weights to offer variable pull weights for different uses.

This trigger assembly has a sturdy construction and offers an innovative concept at an apt price.

Who Will Use This Most

Expect this to be used by shooters who are hunters or competitive shooters. This is a trigger that was made for speed. Especially when you want to get quick shots off in a hurry. Whether it’s the height of competition or when you must shoot that big trophy target, this trigger will kick in the clutch at a time when it's most needed.

Bottom Line

The Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Trigger might be second to none when it comes to the trigger pull weight, but it will give way to some of the quickest shooting ability out of any other AR-15 trigger in the business. Don’t be surprised if this performs miles better than your previous factory default trigger.

Pros and Cons of Single Stage Triggers

Before you purchase a single-stage trigger, you need to know what you’ll be expecting. Even if it includes the pros and cons themselves. Knowing the upsides and downsides of a trigger will make you aware of what might work and where a trigger falls short.

Pros

Let's take a look at the top reasons people prefer single stage triggers on their AR-15:

Quick Shooting

A single-stage trigger is proven to provide quicker shooting because it’s only a one-stage pull. Compared to the two-stage triggers where it will stop after the first stage before you have to pull even farther to get the shot off. A single-stage trigger is straightforward.

Pull Weight is Usually Lighter

Most single-stage pull triggers will typically be a lot lighter than standard factory default triggers. On average, you’ll notice that the pull weights will be no heavier than 6 pounds and possibly no lighter than 2 pounds. Either way, it’s enough to get a shot off quickly regardless of the application you use your AR-15 rifle.

Excellent for Most Applications

Some of the applications where a single-stage trigger will excel include but are not limited to target shooting, hunting, self-defense, and even competitive shooting. These applications share a commonality: speed. Speed matters when it comes to how quickly you need to get a shot off. It might be high up on the list of musts along with other attributes like accuracy.

Cons

These are the few downsides to a single stage trigger:

Accidental Discharges Are Likely

With single-stage triggers, the likelihood of accidental discharges increase, and it could result in serious injury or death (depending on the rifle’s muzzle position). To prevent these from happening, the best possible method is to invest in a trigger guard. They are designed to protect your fingers from slipping and accidentally pulling the trigger while handling the rifle itself. 

May be More Expensive Than Dual-Stage Triggers

If you’re looking for a trigger, there’s a good chance that you’ll see the price tag comparison between single-stage and dual-stage triggers. While there are single-stage triggers that will fit most budgets, they will still carry a higher price tag than that of their dual-stage counterparts.

Conclusion

Single-stage triggers have been used with guns for a long time. They are tried and tested under every situation. But as always, individual needs and preferences may differ.

A single-stage trigger is perfect for self-defense, short-range hunting and 3-gun shooting competitions. It is also a good choice to teach amateurs the concepts of shooting. There are quite a few good trigger assemblies available on the market, where you’ll be able to find one to suit your specific needs.

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