Best AR-15 Triggers [Kits and Drop-ins]: The Complete 2019 Guide

If you’re looking for the best AR-15 trigger, then take comfort in the certainty that you are not the only one. Finding the ideal trigger for your AR-15 rifle (or pistol, if you have one) might be for the purpose of upgrading from your current one or simply finding one as part of an addition to your most recent building project. Either way, you need a trigger that will be reliable, smooth in operation, and won’t give you any grief.

In order to help you find the best option for your needs, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of the nine best AR-15 triggers that are currently on the market. Before we get to the list itself, we’ll talk about some considerations to keep in mind and what characteristics make the best stand out among the rest.

Despite its futuristic look and “space age” technology for the time, the Black Rifle’s trigger/hammer group almost certainly draws its origin from John Garand’s battle-proven M1 rifle. It may go even further back to the early 1900s, utilizing the Browning design of the famous Auto-5 semi-automatic shotgun.

Along with the stock and sights, a trigger, as the key interface between the shooter and the gun, is vital for the accuracy of a firearm. And it can take much credit—or blame—for the old adage, “Only hits count.”

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Trigger

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Geissele Super Semi-automatic Enhanced (SSA-E) Trigger- 05-160

  • Best overall AR-15 trigger kit.
  • Curved design for better ergonomics.
  • Two-stage trigger with separate pull weights.
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CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group

  • Best overall drop-in trigger.
  • Fully-assembled drop-in design.
  • Housing made from high-quality material.
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Hiperfire Hipertouch Genesis AR-15 Trigger Assembly

  • Curved design for better ergonomics.
  • Runner-up for the best overall trigger.
  • Includes a trigger pull weight ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
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Bravo Company - AR-15 BCM Gunfighter™ PNT Trigger

  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Drop-in design for easy installation.
  • Runner-up for best AR-15 trigger kit.
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Velocity Triggers - AR-15 Velocity Trigger Curved

  • Best AR-15 trigger for the money.
  • Curved design for better ergonomics.
  • Available in three different pull weights.
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J P Enterprises - AR-15/308 AR Adjustable Trigger System

  • Adjustable trigger.
  • Made from high-quality material.
  • Best AR-15 trigger kit for the money.
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Timney - AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger

  • Includes 4 different trigger shoes.
  • Best AR-15 drop-in trigger for the money.
  • Adjustable trigger for various applications.
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Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers

  • Dual-stage trigger.
  • Drop-in design for easy installation.
  • Pull weights range from 2.5-3.5 pounds (depending on which model you choose).
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Should I Upgrade or Not?

US military rifles based on the AR-15 platform feature proven and non-adjustable single-stage triggers known for their rock-solid reliability, robustness, and low price. As you probably already know, most service rifles and issued carbines come with a trigger pull of between 5.5 and 9.5 pounds.

That’s good enough for tactical or military shooting with lives at stake. Unfortunately, the trigger on the M-16A2 or M-4 is stiff and gritty. It doesn’t have great trigger pull, making it less than ideal for shooting at targets a few hundred yards away.

We believe in the axiom that the trigger is the heart of the shooter's interaction with his rifle. And while trigger control is everything, the marksman with more control and confidence in a trigger is more likely to get accurate hits. Controlling the trigger is a mental process but pulling the trigger is a mechanical process.

AR15_A3_Tactical_Carbine_pic1

Every serious shooter knows that a good shot starts with the trigger, and that any trigger upgrades can drastically improve accuracy. With that in mind, they will look for the best trigger option adequate to their ambitions.

Much of this depends on whether their gun will be used predominantly for hunting, target shooting, or defensive purposes. The AR-15 owner then has to decide if they will take their tool to a gunsmith and get a trigger job or if they will install a new drop-in trigger.

The first option of trigger modification occurs on existing triggers and consists of polishing and honing the sear surfaces to remove trigger creep. That gunsmith’s treatment results in the trigger pull being about 3-6 lbs. The alterations are relatively affordable at a cost of $50-100.

Cautious Considerations When Buying a New Trigger

There are some considerations that you need to mull over before you even make a decision as to which trigger you want to purchase for your AR-15. It’s important to not ignore any of these as they may have some serious implications. One of them is that without a trigger, the rifle or pistol itself will be rendered useless. Please pay close attention to the following considerations:

Assembled or Disassembled?

There are some trigger assemblies that come assembled and some that don’t. Either way, it is important to have all the components that comprise the trigger assembly all put together. This includes your trigger, the pins, the springs, and everything in between. Without one of these small parts, it might be a challenge to find a replacement part. Plus, it may render the trigger either hard to use or useless altogether.

CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group

Is it For an AR-15 Rifle or AR-15 Pistol? 

While this consideration may not make much of a difference, it’s important to know that there are a handful of components that will not only work with regular AR-15 rifles, but they will also be compatible with AR-15 pistol builds as well. That said, do not assume this for every component. There are some parts that can be used for rifles but will not be suitable for AR-15 pistols. 

Trigger Pull Weight (Cautious Consideration Edition)

One of the main reasons why an AR-15 user would want to upgrade to a new trigger is to make the pull weight itself a little lighter than normal. However, you need to be aware that a lighter trigger pull poses a potential risk. A little bit of pressure may cause the AR-15 itself to go off accidentally. Regardless of the pull weight, it is always important to practice gun safety when handling an AR-15 (or any firearm). Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded. 

What Makes a Great Trigger?

There are a few excellent characteristics that will make a truly great AR-15 trigger stand head and shoulders above triggers that might be considered ineffective and crappy in quality. Here are the following characteristics to look out for:

Price

Here’s the thing: the price tag is not really a characteristic. But finding a trigger that is high in quality but affordable for most budgets seems to be the goal for most people. Especially when they don’t want to spend on anything that is considered to be both high-end and high in price.

With that in mind, it’s important to find the best quality that you can afford. Will you spend a little higher on your budget scale? Yes, it’s likely. But will it save you the headaches and frustration that stems from dealing with a trigger that might be the worst in quality and functionality? Yes. 

Trigger Pull Weight (The Characteristics Edition)

A light pull weight will definitely work to your advantage. Especially if you’re looking for something that will give you quick shots and even quicker follow up shots. No matter what the application, quick shots are always an added benefit for every firearm that you use. If that’s an advantage that has long eluded you, then a great trigger will be exactly what you’re looking for.

Installation

One major characteristic we always look out for is the ease of installation, keeping in mind that many AR-15 users may not be expert level gunsmiths. So, we find the best triggers that are considered “drop-ins”. This makes it easy to install in a matter of minutes. With the right tools and some patience, these triggers will be ready to rock and roll in no time. 

Review of the Best AR-15 Triggers

Below are the eight best AR-15 triggers currently on the market as of this writing. The list might be subject to change at some point, but for now, this will give you an opportunity to take a look at some triggers that are the most popular among AR-15 users.

As you examine each one, it’s important to take note of each product's primary characteristics and features. If it seems to fit the idea in your head of what you want in a trigger, you might find have found the trigger you've been searching for. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our top choice for “best overall” AR-15 trigger:

Pros

  • Smooth operation for both stages.
  • Excellent for most AR-15 rifles and pistols.
  • No grittiness or traveling among most users.
  • Quick shooting along with quick follow-up shots.
  • Easy trigger installation; takes about five minutes.

Cons

  • First stage might have a little travel.
  • Pull weight might be a little heavier than expected.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were looking for a two-stage trigger for better shooting. They were satisfied with how smooth and light the trigger pulls were for each stage. One recent buyer said that this was a lot better to operate than his last trigger, a single-stage trigger. It gives him enough time to determine whether or not it would be a good time to shoot. As a result, he barely misses his targets.

Why it Stands Out to Us  

One of the major reasons why a two-stage trigger is better than a single-stage is that it won't completely fire with just a little bit of pressure. That will make it slightly safer to an extent and prevent accidental discharge. However, when you reach "Stage 1", that's when you take a moment to find the right time to shoot. At that point, it's all about choosing your time wisely before you miss the target altogether.

Who Will Use This Most 

This trigger will be mostly used by hunters. Since they’re dealing with moving targets, this trigger will be perfect. You see a deer, pull it back past the first stage, and you wait. Once you got it right where you want it, then you can easily pull the trigger for a quick kill shot. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

A possible suggestion for improvement would be to slightly lighten the trigger pull at the first stage just a bit. Some have complained about the first stage pull weight being a little heavier than expected. This might also give you a bit of a time advantage so you can quickly fire off each and every shot.

Bottom Line

The Geissele Super Semi-Automatic trigger is probably one of the best two-stage triggers currently on the market. If you fancy yourself to be a fan of this trigger type, this might be one you’ll want to consider upgrading to from your current single-stage trigger. This will give you a bit of extra time to determine whether or not you really want to follow through with your shots or if you want to wait for a better opportunity. 

Best Drop-in Trigger Overall:
 CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group

Pros

  • Design is ergonomically friendly.
  • Easy to install; takes a few minutes.
  • Reliable after more than 1000+ rounds fired.
  • Pull weight is light and allows for smooth pulling.
  • Housing is super durable; will handle shock from recoil.

Cons

  • Some have reported trigger creep.
  • Some say take up is a bit noticeable.

To overcome the problems of both the old heavy trigger and the new, super-light ones, somebody came up with a compromise: the set trigger. A set trigger allows a user to have a substantially reduced trigger pull while maintaining a degree of safety in the field.

There are two sorts: single set and double set. The Double-Set Trigger - DS - initially got its initial from Deutscher Stecher, a German set trigger which is widely used by Central European hunters as the standard precision shooting trigger.

However, hunters and marksmen in the US were not satisfied with that compromise. Their answer was to give the trigger the safety of a heavier pull with the accuracy of a lighter break.  Two-stage triggers usually have a longer and heavier portion of the pull in the first stage, followed by a moderate area of travel with little resistance followed by trigger break.

While the overall force required to release the firing mechanism is the same in both, dual-stage triggers work and feel smoother and lighter than single stage because the final amount of pressure needed is much less than with the single-stage trigger.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were happy with this trigger, and not for its affordability alone. It was easy to install; for most, it took them about five to ten minutes. Once installed, they were able to try it out at the range. They were quick to report that there was no creep for the most part and shooting was quick and smooth. 

Why it Stands Out to Us  

This trigger is more than just a budget trigger. It performs like a factory replacement trigger that will put all the stock triggers to shame. The design is ergonomically friendly, which makes it a plus for those who want to spend additional time at the range. Finger fatigue, in our point of view will become a thing of the past thanks to a trigger like this.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be used mostly by hunters, target shooters, and even competitive shooters as well. It will be a trigger that will be mostly used by those who use AR-15 rifles and not so much the AR-15 pistol users. This trigger will be for those who are looking for something that is the closest to the perfect factory replacement trigger.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

An improvement that should be worth considering is investigating why there is still some creep and take up that some users claim of having. Could it be that the pull weight may not be good enough? If so, then lightening it might be a good possibility. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trigger that will be easy to install, great for your AR-15 rifle, and won’t suck the life out of your bank account, the CMC trigger might be right up your alley. While it’s probably the most affordable trigger on the market, it definitely performs like it should be sold at twice the price. For smooth shooting and better ergonomics, you cannot go wrong with a trigger like this.

Pros

  • Easy to install; takes a few minutes.
  • Great for hunting and target shooting purposes.
  • Very smooth break. No creep or travel to report.
  • Trigger pull is light enough to allow for quick follow-up shots.
  • Ergonomically friendly. Reduces a great deal of finger fatigue.

Cons

  • Trigger spring might be a little stiff at first.
  • Installation might be a challenge for some users.
  • It might be a bit pricey for some budget shoppers.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers said that the trigger was great for quick shots and makes the range shooting a lot more enjoyable. One user said that he loved this trigger so much that he looked forward to more extended sessions at the range. That’s because the finger fatigue becomes less of an issue since he installed the trigger for his target practicing AR-15 rifle.

Why it Stands Out to Us  

The trigger’s “backbone” design is what really makes this interesting for us. It makes it aesthetically sharp and makes your rifle stand out like some kind of beast. It would definitely make a great trigger if you plan on using your AR-15 rifle for tactical purposes. Other than that, it stands out to us as one of the lightest triggers you can use for almost any application.

Who Will Use This Most 

Most users will probably be your casual target shooters and competitive shooters, primarily because most of their time they will do nothing but fire off round after round. So, they need a trigger that will not give their fingers any grief. If you want to do away with finger fatigue after a long shooting session, this trigger might do you some good.

Who Will Use This Most 

One of the things that might make this trigger a little better is to lessen its spring’s tension. This way, it will make the initial use a little smoother; it can also make break-in a little easier, rather than make it a guessing game of when it will feel like it’s totally “broken in.”

Bottom Line

The Hiperfire Hipertouch might be one of the best overall triggers, but its light pull weight is where it really shines the brightest. It will definitely come in handy when you want to fire off as many rounds as possible in the quickest amount of time. Not to mention, it’s the one trigger that will give you the best advantage over the competition.

Best AR-15 Trigger Kit Runner-up:
Bravo Company - AR-15 BCM Gunfighter™ PNT Trigger

Pros

  • Best for AR-15 rifles.
  • Affordable for most budgets.
  • Nickel-finished for extra durability.
  • No creep or grittiness for most users.
  • Easy to install; most say it takes a few minutes.

Cons

  • Break-in might take a little longer than usual.
  • Trigger pull might be a little heavy for some applications (i.e.--Tactical, self-defense).

What Recent Buyers Report

This is one of those triggers that can be easily assembled and dropped-in all in the same day; that was according to one recent buyer. Once everything was installed, most of the other recent buyers took it for a test drive at the range. The pull weight was quite decent for most users and some of them were confident that it was good enough for most hunting applications. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The trigger is made from a high-quality nickel and is proven to be a really durable unit. The trigger quality is quite solid and doesn’t have a flimsy feeling to it. Aside from that, it doesn’t add on unnecessary weight that would make the rifle feel a little heavier. Other than that, it stands out to use as a trigger that is so easy to assemble a newbie can do it.

Who Will Use This Most 

This trigger kit will be used by those who have little to no gunsmithing skills. It will also be used by those who want to spend less time dealing with frustrating and complex trigger installations and more time giving this puppy a spin at the range. As for applications, casual target shooters and hunters might benefit from this the most.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

A possible improvement that might be considered might be including housing that will protect the inner workings of the trigger. The housing can be wide enough to fit all kinds of AR-15 rifles and pistols, and must be durable and strong enough to handle impact that might stem from recoil or significant amounts of gunfire.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trigger kit that will give you all the parts you need to put together a reliable trigger, this Bravo Company AR-15 trigger kit might be your cup of coffee. The assembly and installation will be easy enough to make this all possible, so if you’re up for the challenge then a kit like this will be an excellent choice for you.

Best AR-15 Trigger for the Money:
Velocity Triggers - AR-15 Velocity Trigger Curved

Pros

  • Solid construction.
  • Excellent for many applications.
  • Curved design makes it ergonomically friendly.
  • Pull weights on each trigger are light and smooth.
  • Very easy installation; takes a few minutes and the right tools.

Cons

  • Some say the pull weight may not be accurate.
  • Some pins may need to be replaced, since they might be the wrong size.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were satisfied with this trigger. Not only was it affordable for them, it actually worked a lot better than they had expected. Most of them said the trigger weight for each one they chose was either the exact weight or slightly above it. One even said that this made his extended range sessions even more enjoyable. 

Why it Stands Out to Us  

The biggest reason why this trigger stands out is the overall design. The curved design, in our opinion, means that it will not only be easy to use but ergonomics-wise it will be best used by those who hate the idea of dealing with trigger finger fatigue after a long session. An ergonomic design plus a light pull weight will definitely make such afflictions a thing of the past.

Who Will Use This Most 

This might be one of the handfuls of triggers that come closest to serving as an all-purpose trigger. So whether you’re a hunter, competitive shooter, or someone using a rifle for tactical purposes, this trigger has just enough of a tolerable pull weight to get the job done for most users.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

An improvement that is worth considering would be testing the pull weight on each trigger before they are shipped out. This way, the pull weight will be accurate and not a subject of guesswork among its users. Another thing that should be improved is making some adjustments to the pin sizes. This way, it will make fitting a lot better rather than having to use a bunch of tools to get it right. 

Bottom Line 

If you’re looking for a trigger that is comfortable, easy to use and easy on the bank account, the Velocity Triggers AR-15 trigger will probably be the one trigger that will be perfect for your AR-15 rifle or pistol. Either way, it will excel at whatever application you use it for. 

Best AR-15 Trigger Kit for the Money: 
J P Enterprises - AR-15/308 AR Adjustable Trigger System

Pros

  • Easy to assemble.
  • Installs as quickly as a few minutes.
  • Easily adjustable for most applications.
  • Fits perfectly with most AR-style lower receivers.
  • Trigger pull weight is light, allowing for quicker shooting and follow-up shots.

Cons

  • Grinding and additional fitting may be required.
  • Loctite might be needed to keep some of the small parts intact.

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, a lot of them didn’t seem to have a hard time with the assembly and installation process. Once they were able to assemble the trigger, they easily dropped it into their AR-15 rifle or pistol and had no trouble breaking it in. One user said he was purchasing it as an add-on to an AR-15 rifle he was currently building. 

Why it Stands Out to Us  

This trigger assembly is one of those starter trigger kits that can be put together in a matter of minutes by anyone who might lack basic gunsmithing skills. Aside from that, it’s also a drop-in model with a decent enough pull weight that can be used for multiple applications. The break-in won’t be as long and can take up to about 200 rounds.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will likely be used by those who want to easily assemble and install at a trigger on their AR-15 rifle or pistol. Since it will take only minutes to do both, it might be the trigger that you’ll be able to test out the same day you install it. Application-wise, it might be beneficial for AR hunters and competitive shooters, to name a few.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

One of the things that might be improved is making some adjustments to the small parts. In other words, make them so they can fit properly. This way there won’t be a need for any Loctite or any tools that might be required for making the pins and small parts fit perfectly.

Bottom Line

The JP Enterprises AR-15/308 trigger might be the closest thing to an easy to assemble and easy to install trigger for AR rifles and pistols. No matter which one you use, you can set it and forget it while enjoying the added benefit of a lighter trigger pull and faster shooting for all your usual applications.

Best AR-15 Drop-In Trigger for the Money:
Timney - AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger

Pros

  • Very light trigger pull.
  • Follow-up shots are fast and precise.
  • Easy to install; takes no more than 10 minutes.
  • No creep or travel was reported by many users.
  • Straight trigger design makes it easy for most users.

Cons

  • May not be ergonomically friendly for most users.
  • Some might complain about the trigger pull being a little too touchy due to the weight.

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of recent buyers were satisfied with how light the trigger pull was. Some have even said that their follow-up shots were much faster and more accurate compared to previous triggers they had used in the past. They were even satisfied with the trigger shoe options that were made available to them.

Why it Stands Out to Us  

This trigger stands out to us in a few ways. One of them is the different trigger shoes that you can use. They are designed to provide more comfort and make the trigger itself easy to use. So if one shoe might be a little too discomforting for you during a long shooting session, one of the others might do you some good. All it takes is a simple switch to solve the issue.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be another trigger that will be used by first-time AR-15 users. Because of the adjustments and the ability to switch to different trigger shoes, it will make the rifle a lot more user-friendly. This will fit well for those who are currently training to handle an AR-15 rifle properly. 

What Could Be Improved and Why 

While 1.5 pounds is an impressive but light trigger weight to use, it might be a good idea to include one other option: make the pull weight adjustable. Start from 1.5 being the lightest, to the heaviest pull weight being about 3.5 pounds. This way, if the trigger weight seems a little too light and touchy, users can add a little bit more weight and still be able to get quick follow-up shots.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trigger that definitely makes it easy to use and customize, the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger could be the one you’ll have for the long-term. Especially if you’re looking to make your AR-15 rifle or pistol easier for those who are just beginning to get to know it. Smooth, reliable, and customizable? Is there anything else you can ask for in a trigger?

geissele dual stage

Pros

  • Affordable for most budgets.
  • The pull is super crisp; no grittiness at all.
  • Excellent as a starter trigger for new AR-15 users.
  • Easy to install; it takes a few minutes and the right tools.
  • Super light pull weight. Makes follow-up shooting a lot easier.

Cons

  • Some say the pull weight is a little too light.
  • Some say the trigger pull might be a little fragile like glass.

A commonly accepted view is that two-stage triggers are a better choice for long-range accuracy. In other words,  it is better for slow, medium-precision shooting. The flip side is that many people believe that the single stage is better for fighting rifles used in close quarters or rapid firing in 3 Gun competition since it resets more quickly.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new AR-15 users were looking for a trigger that wasn’t too heavy for their first time using a rifle. They were able to find a trigger that was easy to install and a lot easier to use compared to other triggers. One shooter said he expected it to be a little heavy at the beginning, but was surprised that it was light, even for a trigger that has yet to be broken in.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This trigger might be one of the lightest triggers on the market. Given its light weight, it's actually really sturdy in construction. Not to be outdone, when secured properly it stays in place and doesn't get loose no matter how many rounds you go through. Some triggers might come loose due to recoil. Not this trigger, though.

Who Will Use it This Most

This trigger will be beneficial for most competitive shooters, considering how light and easy the pull is. So, they’ll be able to quickly get shots off and have an edge over their opponents. Fortunately, hunters will also benefit from this when they don’t want to miss a big target opportunity.

What Could Improve and Why

One thing that can be addressed is the possibility of finding tougher springs. They should be tough but won’t be able to compromise the light pull weight or make it heavier. You’d be surprised how some smaller springs can handle some repeated heavy-duty activity.

Bottom Line

If a light trigger pull is what you’ll want, you’ll get it with the Geissele Automatics AR-15 trigger. You can say that this might be a hunter or competitive shooter’s dream come true, especially when they’re looking for a trigger that will give them the speed factor in their AR-15 rifle.

Pros

  • Very smooth trigger pull.
  • Easy to assemble and install.
  • No grittiness or creep to report.
  • Finish is nice and aesthetically sharp. 
  • Works better than most mil-spec triggers.

Cons

  • Some say the quality is inconsistent.
  • Some say the trigger break-in might take a little longer than usual.
  • One user complained that the firing group might be a little sub-par.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were overall satisfied with this trigger. The pull weight is excellent for most shooters. They didn’t experience any traveling or creep throughout their shooting sessions. The finish and construction are quite solid and has the ability to last you a long time provided that you take good care of it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us  

Considering that this is the best overall trigger for AR-15’s, this stands out in a few ways. One of the main characteristics that impressed us is the smoothness of the trigger pull. This gives you a better chance of quickly firing off your first round. Of course, your follow-up shots will be a lot quicker. This trigger stands out to us as something that will ensure that time will be on your side when it comes to getting a shot off.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be best used by those who want nothing more than a smooth, quick shot every time. Hunters and target shooters come to mind. The latter will usually benefit from this when they’re gearing up for an upcoming competition. However, hunters can benefit from the quick follow-up shots just in case they miss their targets the first time. 

What Could Be Improved and Why 

One of the things that might warrant a possible improvement might be replacing the pins. Some of the users have complained that they are quite small and wouldn't fit properly. So fitting them with mil-spec pins or the like might be something worth considering.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trigger for your AR-15 that might be considered the best in the business, then you’ll definitely want to give the PSA AR-15/PA 10 EPT trigger a closer look. This will definitely blow away the mil-spec competition and deliver a smooth performance like no other. 

Pros

  • Rapid resetting.
  • Easy to install for most users.
  • Excellent for almost any application.
  • Flawless operation; doesn’t creep or travel.
  • Trigger pull is light in weight; it allows for quicker shooting.

Cons

  • Some fitting might be required.
  • May not fit on some lower receivers.
  • It might be a bit hard to toggle for some users.

What Recent Buyers Report

According to some users, this trigger was one of the easiest they have used out of many rifles and pistols they have fired in the past. One user said that he liked the pull weight being a little light for his rifle. In fact, he said that he was considering getting a second trigger for his AR-15 pistol. Other than that, they were satisfied to not feel any creep or traveling at all.

Why it Stands Out to Us  

The ATC Trigger is a two-stage trigger that definitely gives you much lighter pull weight, making it an ideal trigger for you to use if you want to quickly get a shot or two off. If you miss your big target and need to take another shot, the follow-up shots are quicker and will definitely give you a better chance at hitting your target on subsequent attempts. Make no mistake, while it’s a two-stage trigger, it functions well enough for you to get a shot off quickly.

Who Will Use This Most 

Hunters will likely benefit from this trigger the most. Other users will probably be casual target shooters that are using it for the fun of it (or just tuning up). Either way, it’s a trigger that will be useful for some applications where quick shooting is required (i.e. competitive shooting, hunting, self-defense, etc.)

What Could Be Improved and Why 

One of the things that could warrant a possible improvement would be to do away with some things so it will make the trigger a little easier to operate. Some have complained about some of the binding of the material within the trigger group itself, thus making it a little hard to operate for some. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trigger that will be easy for you to install and use, the ATC AR-15 trigger will probably be worth the investment. Reliable, light in the pull, and best for target shooting and hunting, this will make a great upgrade for your current rifle or pistol or as an excellent addition for a rifle or pistol you’re currently building.

Should I Tinker?

We don't recommend that anyone other than an experienced gunsmith does trigger improvements There's always the possibility that a perfectly-adjusted trigger somehow slips out of adjustment. This can lead to a nonfunctioning trigger, or even worse, a dangerous one that can accidentally fire.

Another alternative is installing a new single or two-stage trigger. This is also a great way to upgrade the accuracy of an AR-15. However, aftermarket triggers can range from dismal to game-changing. You don’t want to look for the cheapest thing out there. It’s possible to end up with a big black stick instead of a reliable battle-tested rifle. Check out our suggested budget triggers here.

Most people are well-served by a quality mil-spec trigger. But there are a lot of AR owners who want to get a smoother and more accurate trigger with a minimum pull weight. But trying to undertake a trigger job alone may lead to problems. It’s essential to remember how triggers work on firearms, and how everything in the rifle interacts with something else. For instance, filing through the standard AR-15 trigger's hardened surface will accelerate the wear of the parts, making that perfect trigger one day become a really scary trigger.

In a situation of a non-intended discharge, you put others and yourself at risk. That’s not only a legal issue but an ethical one. On a less grave note, replacing the fire control group usually will void the warranty on your parts.

How to Install an AR-15 Trigger

Installing an AR-15 trigger might be a challenge. That is, if you don’t know what you’re doing. But thankfully, we’ll make it easier for you by simply including a quick guide on how you can install a trigger for your AR-15. Here are the following steps:

  1. First and foremost, always check to see if your AR-15 is clear. This means the mag well should be empty. Your chamber should be empty as well. Once you get the all-clear, move to the next step.
  2. Check to see if you have the following tools: A long screwdriver that will have the appropriate tip used to unscrew your pistol grip screws, 5/32 punch, a nylon hammer, a vise with vise block, and safety glasses.
  3. Start by closing the bolt and removing the takedown and pivot pins. Set the upper receiver aside.
  4. Remove the pistol grip and also the safety selector (this includes the pin and detents). Take your screwdriver and slide it inside the pistol grip. Then unscrew the screw. Slowly relieve the spring tension and remove the pistol grip. Set it aside. Turn the receiver and catch the pin as it falls out. 
  5. Insert the vise block into the mag well and tighten it in the vise.
  6. Once secure in the vise, remove the hammer by pulling the trigger to remove the tension. Then, using your 5/32 punch and nylon brass hammer, gently tap out the hammer pins. Set them aside.
  7. Repeat the previous step again, but this time with the trigger pin.
  8. Before installing the fire control group, confirm the correct orientation of the trigger spring. The solid end should be underneath the trigger while the wings should be extended forward.
  9. If you’re installing a USGI trigger, insert the spring with the larger part of it facing downward. Then place the disconnector with the hook facing forward.
  10. Place the trigger into the receiver. Make sure it is lined with the pinholes.
  11. Apply pressure on the trigger and using a 5/32 punch, replace the trigger pins.
  12. Install the hammer by sliding it into place with the tails of the hammer spring resting on top of the trigger pin. Make sure they are aligned properly.
  13. Cock the hammer back and test the trigger so it's working properly.
  14. Re-install the selector in the safe position. Then switch the trigger into the “FIRE” position to test the trigger again.
  15. Replace the detent and spring into the receiver. Do the same with the pistol grip.
  16. Secure the screw inside the pistol grip.
  17. Repeat the function tests. Make sure the gun does not fire while the selector is in the safe position. If it does, remove the trigger immediately. You can take it to a qualified gunsmith or get it replaced.
  18. Re-attach the upper receiver and do one last test. Test shoot it using two rounds in the magazine. 

Types of AR-15 Triggers

Single Stage or Dual Stage Triggers

As you know the majority of the factory lever guns, bolt-action rifles and service arms come off the production lines equipped with a single-stage trigger. The AR-15 is no exception.

Not so long ago, the adjustable trigger was an expensive custom operation, but that has fortunately changed. Modern technological processes and firearms manufacturers’ timely response to consumer preferences have led to better triggers. The aftermarket is overflowing with excellent single and dual-stage trigger options.

A shooter’s choice really comes down to personal preference. Both types have their merits and drawbacks. Regardless of which kind you use, be sure to practice with it to grow accustomed to the difference.

When we are looking at the timeline, the single-stage trigger comes first. With early firearms, the only thing expected of the trigger was to trip the mechanism and made the gun go bang. But with the development of precision shooting, an obvious solution was to lighten the existing single-stage trigger.

This modernized single-stage trigger is a vast improvement over the original design, and it works very well for accuracy-driven work. But it’s less suited for high-stress situations where a feather-light pull weight can get you into trouble.

Flat or Curved

Web forums are full of discussions regarding the relative strengths of straight versus curved AR-15 triggers. But we would lean more on the shooting type you intend to use your Black Rifle for. This is what can help dictate what will work best.

According to some claims, a traditional curved trigger provides an ergonomic advantage. This makes it better for tactical use. But it can be a drawback for precise shooting. The bent bow offers greater surface area for the trigger finger. It also provides better "purchase" for a shooter’s finger in combat or slippery conditions. As a drawback, some people say that a curved trigger gives a shooter less finger sensitivity, which means you may not always get the same placement on the trigger.

The other type has a flat, wide shoe. The flat trigger offers less surface area to the trigger finger. It provides a different feel. However, the overall effectiveness seems to have much more to do with feelings than physics. Since the trigger in both cases has to travel in an arc, there’s a tiny and nearly imperceptible difference between the two styles.

Try both, and stick what you like best. There’s no clear winner here. When you feel more comfortable, you’ve got a far greater chance of making a great shot.

Also, for anyone who wants to compromise, there is a hybrid trigger. This has the best of both worlds. The hybrid trigger features the curved top part while the bottom is flat. The face of the trigger is serrated.

Flat or curved triggers are a hugely personal preference and leaning to the aesthetics than the performance side of both types.

What is a Drop-In Trigger? 

A drop-in trigger is a trigger assembly that is easy to install. Typically, they are already fully assembled and will be ready for operation. These will take about a few minutes to install and the right kind of tools (as listed in the instructions above). 

Advantages

Some of the advantages of a drop-in trigger include but are not limited to lighter pull weight, easy installation, and a solid durable housing (if included). Of course, the biggest advantage of them all is being able to install it without the aid of a blacksmith.

Disadvantages

One major disadvantage of a drop-in is that while it might be fully assembled, it might not have a pull weight that you might be satisfied with. At the same time, some of the inner components may already be bunched in making the trigger itself potentially difficult to use. Another disadvantage is that they may not fit perfectly with some lower receivers, which might mean making adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. 

Conclusion

Finding the best AR-15 trigger might be a challenge. But if you know exactly what to look for, the search process probably won’t be so difficult. Look for a trigger that will best fit your AR-15 rifle or pistol and make sure that it is reliable and will allow you to fire each shot with the greatest of ease. Be sure to choose wisely, since this will be a trigger that will be used for the long-term.

The invention and development of different trigger groups for the AR platform rifles were focused on two needs: accuracy and rapid fire. These kinds of improvements led to the newest trend for gun enthusiasts that want selectable firing from their AR-15.

The best AR-15 triggers rarely come on stock Black Rifles. Swapping a standard trigger for an aftermarket one often facilitates better accuracy. However, you need to choose wisely based on your requirements and your wallet.

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