Modular Triggers, Simple AR Accuracy Upgrade

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Aftermarket AR triggers like those from Timney are relatively easy to install. The complete process can be finished in about 15 minutes.
Aftermarket AR triggers like those from Timney are relatively easy to install. The complete process can be finished in about 15 minutes.

By Kevin Muramatsu

Probably the easiest means of bettering your trigger pull is to install a modular trigger assembly. These have become all the rage. Kevin Muramatsu goes over the finer points of installing this quick and easy AR-15 upgrade.

There are a number of examples available and every one of them is a genuine improvement on the factory fire control. They will either be single or two stage, though mostly single stage. They install pretty much the same all over. The point is pretty much a function of your own ease.

Emplacing a modular unit is child’s play compared to installing one of the non-modular units and is quick and simple, if somewhat more expensive at times. You pull the existing safety to the side in the same procedure you followed earlier for the non-modular units. While in some cases in the non-modular units you can get by without doing this, you will pretty much always have to do so with the modular units.

Once you have the safety and pistol grip reinstalled you simply go and shoot the gun. You don’t have to set up any adjustments (while some, notably the Timney unit, have adjustments, they are treated just like on the JP trigger, as set ups only; you don’t mess with them).

One of the original ideas was that if you had only one lower and you used it for two very different things, such as self-defense and varmint hunting, you could have two modular trigger units, one with a low pull weight for vaporizing rodents, and one with a pull weight more suitable for shooting Commies. Full brutal honesty took over and you don’t see that marketing much anymore, if only because the average AR owner typically winds up buying a second rifle for the second task. There’s not much validity in that marketing point anymore, as a result of this.

There are only two minor drawbacks to the modular trigger, since the cost in my opinion greatly offsets the installation time and hassle.

The first is that only some of them have some means of immobilizing them in the lower receiver. The ones that don’t place some sort of tension from the housing to the receiver, and will exhibit play that takes away from the quality of the trigger pull feel.

Emplacing a modular unit is child’s play compared to installing one of the non-modular units and is quick and simple, if somewhat more expensive at times.
Emplacing a modular unit is child’s play compared to installing one of the non-modular units and is quick and simple, if somewhat more expensive at times.

The other is that no modular trigger currently made can get to be quite as nice as the single install non-modular units, because each module is designed as a one-size-fits-all assembly. From a gunsmith perspective this is a big deal, but from a consumer perspective it really isn’t all that bad. The modular trigger pulls, like the non-modular units, are so far above the standard factory models in performance and feel that there’s no point in even comparing them to those antiquated, inferior things.

So after free floating your barrel and handguards, the next thing I’d recommend greatly is installing a match grade trigger. Just make sure you take the time to get used to the vastly improved trigger pull.

It’s not unusual for someone who is used to the factory stuff to finger bounce a match trigger, just because it is so much more refined. This is a good time to remember to keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire, and then be in for a world of goodness when you have a crisp, light, quality trigger release.

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15.