The right trigger can make all the difference in building an accurate AR-15. Here are 12 of the best AR-15 triggers that are certain to help you squeeze the most out of your gun.
Why does a quality trigger improve shooting accuracy?
It’s actually quite simple. A consistent, clean, predictable break allows you to time the movement of the crosshairs on the center of the target to coincide as closely as possible. Next, involuntary muscle movements can be better controlled throughout the duration of a short trigger pull and a fast lock time.
Is adding a quality after-market trigger worth the expense?
I look at it this way: If I’ve spent $1,500 on an AR and $400 to $1,000 on an optic, is spending another $150 to $300 worth cutting group size by 15 to 50 percent? Every time. Here are 12 aftermarket AR-15 triggers that are certain to help you tighten up your groups.
This trigger is basically a single-stage unit with a bushing-mounted disconnector, which is adjustable for engagement and over travel. The pull weight and disconnector engagement are fixed to ensure durability during hard use and inclement environments. The pull weight allows manipulation of the trigger with gloves while minimizing the possibility of discharging a round unexpectedly in the manner of a target trigger. ($160; alexanderarms.com)
American Trigger AR-15 Gold
The AR-15 Gold fire control group is a two-stage unit that has two important features: First, when the safety selector is put in the “safe” position, it retracts the hammer to the disconnect. Second, a very light, short first stage followed by an approximate 3-pound second stage. The trigger cassette comes assembled and ready to install in any mil-spec AR receiver with .154-inch holes and no Colt sear block. ($280; americantrigger.com)
Jard AR Adjustable Single-Stage
The Jard two-stage AR fire control unit offers a wide range of trigger pull weights. The lightest, at 1.5 pounds, may be a tad lighter than most want for their rifles. Other weight spring kits allow the pull weight to be set at 2, 3, 4, 4.5 or 5 pounds. This unit differs from other manufacturers’ by the sear engagement adjustment screw. It uses the AR lower receiver’s grip screw hole to thread an Allen screw in place to adjust sear engagement. ($165; jardinc.com)
Jard AR Trigger Module System
The trigger I installed was preset from the factory at 2.5 pounds, and installed in less than five minutes. A neat feature of this unit is rubberized tension balls that are located in the bottom of the trigger assembly. They help reduce play between the upper and lower receiver when installed. ($230; jardinc.com)
Geissele Hi-Speed National Match Rifle Trigger
This fire control unit features a Hi-Speed hammer with 50 percent lock time reduction over standard hammers, and the two-stage trigger is adjustable for overtravel and sear engagement. First stage pull weights range from 1.3-3 pounds, and second stage pull weights range from .5-1.5 pounds ($279; geissele.com)
Geissele Super Semi-Automatic (SSA) Trigger
The Geissele SSA trigger assembly exhibits highly precise craftsmanship, precision and finish. Two examples of this fire control unit with different spring tensions were tested. The installation instructions are concise and clear. Lubrication is vital to keeping a trigger functioning properly and this one is no different. ($170; geissele.com)
The Timney fire control group that was tested was factory preset at 3 pounds. This is a single-stage trigger with almost no creep. Contrary to my previous statement on adequate lubrication, I had heard that this trigger was sensitive to lubrication, so I installed it dry and tested the feel. It was crisp with about 1/8-inch overtravel. Then I lubricated the sear surfaces with Mobil 28 grease and replaced it for a quick trial. The difference was minimal with a slightly better feel dry ($195; timneytriggers.com)
Timney AR Skeleton
This trigger is similar in feel to the previously covered Timney AR fire control unit. I liked the feel of this design, and from a personal standpoint, prefer it to the less expensive Timney AR unit if only for its cool looks and ever-so-slightly crisper feel. ($266; timneytriggers.com)
JP Enterprises EZ Trigger
The JP unit tested included the .156 small pin drop-in fire control unit, a speed hammer, oversize antiwalk pins and an adjustable, reversible safety selector. The final pull weight of the JP EZ Trigger is determined primarily by the spring setup and will range from 3 to 5 pounds. Installation instructions, in both written form and via a supplied DVD, are clear and thorough. ($260; jprifles.com)
Chip McCormick Tactical Trigger
The Tactical Trigger Group is a completely self-contained, 100-percent drop-in fire control group upgrade for both AR-15 and AR-10 rifles. Building on the original Super Match design, the Tactical Trigger pull is factory preset between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds, and is not user adjustable. It fits all standard mil-spec lower receivers with .154-inch trigger and hammer pin holes. ($240; cmctriggers.com)
Chip McCormick Flat Tactical
When a consistent trigger finger position is desired, this unit’s design allows you to index you finger at the bottom of the spur where it turns at 90 degrees. I have a tendency to ride the bottom of an AR trigger to create a consistent hold and squeeze. This trigger’s design makes it easy to feel that your finger is in the correct position every time. ($200; cmctriggers.com)
Wilson Tactical Single-Stage
Since my shooting with an AR leans heavily toward hunting I like a single-stage trigger. Wilson Combat’s single-stage Tactical Trigger Unit (TTU) rates high on the list, owing to its ultra-crisp 4-pound let-off. Another positive attribute is that the TTU takes less than two minutes to install, and there’s no user adjustment needed. Just drop it in, set the pins and go shooting. ($270; wilsoncombat.com)
This article originally appeared in the July 15, 2013 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.