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AR-15 TRIGGER BUYER’S GUIDE

A Veritable Buffet of Replacement Triggers for Your AR-15

  • Tactical Blade-Style Trigger Kit
    Alexander Arms
    Tactical Blade-Style Trigger Kit Single-Stage Pull Weight: 4lb Bow Width: 0.14″ $185 ShopAlexanderArms

    First Impressions: Made of chrome-plated tool steel, this is a nice single-stage trigger that can be adjusted to minimize sear engagement and eliminate over-travel. Set at the minimum, there is still some trigger movement before the clean break. Reset is positive and moderately short. The trigger bow is quite narrow with distinct edges – this may or may not be to your liking, but it was by design to assist in accurate referencing of the trigger finger with gloves or in cold/wet conditions. Some scratchiness where the wide base of the trigger bow rubbed the side of the opening in our test lower. Comes with replacement pins.

  • ALG Combat Trigger
    ALG Defense
    ALG Combat Trigger Single-Stage Pull Weight: 5.3lb Bow Width: 0.29″ $65 ALGDefense.com

    First Impressions: If you’re seeking the ultimate Mil-spec trigger, check this out. Components are coated differently with nickel, boron, and Teflon to reduce friction between parts and improve the trigger feel and wear resistance. Sear geometry is unchanged from stock triggers. Heavier than the match triggers in this guide with more trigger travel, but provided a clean, consistent break with minimal over-travel. Reset was long but distinct. Trigger pull is rated at 5.5 pounds or higher, but ours broke slightly under that. Comes with replacement pins.

  • Quality Mil-Spec Trigger
    ALG Defense
    Quality Mil-Spec Trigger Single-Stage Pull Weight: 6.2lb Bow Width: 0.29″ $45 ALGDefense.com

    First Impressions: Essentially the same as the ACT trigger, but without the slick coatings. It was not quite as refined with a bit of creep, but it broke cleanly with minimal over-travel. Reset was also long but distinct. Sear geometry is unchanged from stock triggers. Trigger pull is rated at 5.5 pounds or higher, with most expected to be around 6.5 pounds – ours was just under that. The QMS is no match trigger, but it’s a marked improvement over a stock trigger for just $45. Comes with replacement pins.

  • AR Gold
    American Trigger
    AR Gold Two-Stage Pull Weight: 2.38lb Bow Width: 0.19″ $300 AmericanTrigger.com

    First Impressions: Not cheap but revered by many three-gunners. It is reminiscent of a tuned 1911 or 2011, with short and extremely light take-up followed by a crisp and light break. Trigger bow is narrow. Reset was absurdly short, but rather subtle. Unlike the other two-stage triggers in this guide, the reset returns to the second stage rather than a full stroke through the first. Mechanically, the trigger system is safe with an additional interceptor, but you better do your part because our sample tested lower than rated at 2.4 pounds.

  • Trigger Group
    Black Rain Ordnance
    Trigger Group Single-Stage Pull Weight: 3.75lb Bow Width: 0.25″ $200 BlackRainOrdnance

    First Impressions: This drop-in trigger is easy to install. It had some over-travel in our test lower, with a bit of bounce after the trigger breaks. For some shooters, this detracted a bit from an otherwise nice trigger that broke cleanly. Reset was distinct and moderate in length.

  • Bushmaster Two-Stage Competition Trigger
    Bushmaster
    Bushmaster Two-Stage Competition Trigger Two-Stage Pull Weight: 5.25lb Bow Width: 0.29″ $132 Bushmaster.com

    First Impressions: This two-stage trigger has set screws to eliminate over-travel and adjust the sear engagement. The first stage on our sample was a bit rough, which Bushmaster advises will smooth out once broken in. The second stage broke cleanly with a positive reset. Our trigger was heavier than the rated 4.5 pounds, and likely needs more use to settle in. Comes with a modified safety selector that houses the adjustable set screws.

  • CMC Tactical Curved Trigger (3.5-Pound)
    CMC Triggers
    CMC Tactical Curved Trigger (3.5-Pound) Single-Stage Pull Weight: 3.5lb Bow Width: 0.31″ $210 CMCTriggers.com

    First Impressions: This self-contained, drop-in trigger had a light, crisp break with no creep. Afterwards, if you release the trigger very slowly it can sometimes feel a bit rough before it resets. C-clips secure the included hammer and trigger pins. The clips are tiny and we promptly lost one; fortunately, CMC provides extras in the package.

  • Geissele 2 Stage Trigger
    Geissele Automatics
    Geissele 2 Stage Trigger Two-Stage Pull Weight: 3.9lb Bow Width: 0.29″ $165 Geissele.com

    First Impressions: A cheaper version of Geissele’s popular SSA trigger – it uses clips to secure the hammer pin, comes with different pins, is only spot MP checked, and lacks laser markings. But otherwise, it’s an SSA and from behind the gun, it was nearly indistinguishable. It had a smooth first stage followed by a crisp second stage break and minimal over-travel. The reset was on the long side but positive. Comes with replacement pins.

  • Hi-Speed National Match Trigger - Designated Marksman Rifle Trigger
    Geissele Automatics
    Hi-Speed National Match Trigger – Designated Marksman Rifle Trigger Two-Stage Pull Weight: 2.6lb to 5.4lb Bow Width: 0.3″ $279 Geissele.com

    First Impressions: Designed for precision shooting, the DMR is a fully adjustable two-stage trigger. Adjusting the trigger spring dials in the first stage, and several set screws allow you to set second stage pull weight, sear engagement and over-travel (the latter adjustment is underneath the hammer making it a pain to adjust). The trigger has Geissele’s trademark two-stage feel, with a light, smooth first stage followed by a noticeable second stage. You can dial the second stage weight up or down to your preference, and the break is sublime. Geissele calls it “icicle-like.” Reset is positive. Hammer is lightened for a faster lock time, and the trigger bow is a bit wider than other Geissele triggers. Comes with replacement pins and fitting tools.

  • Hi-Speed National Match Trigger - Match Rifle Trigger
    Geissele Automatics
    Hi-Speed National Match Trigger – Match Rifle Trigger Two-Stage Pull Weight: 1.8lb to 4.6lb Bow Width: 0.3″ $279 Geissele.com

    First Impressions: Also designed for precision shooting, this is a lighter version of the DMR fully adjustable two-stage trigger. Adjustments are made in the same way, and you can dial this sucker all the way down to 1.8 pounds. The first stage is very light and smooth, leading to the noticeable second stage wall. The second stage can be set to almost hair trigger levels (around half a pound). Geissele calls it “icicle-like,” and that’s one thin icicle. Reset is positive but not short. Hammer is lightened for a faster lock time, and the trigger bow is a bit wider than other Geissele triggers. Comes with replacement pins and fitting tools.

  • Super 3 Gun Trigger
    Geissele Automatics
    Super 3 Gun Trigger Hybrid Single-Stage Pull Weight: 3.1lb Bow Width: 0.29″ $250 Geissele.com

    First Impressions: Designed for fast and furious 3-gun matches, this hybrid trigger rolls smoothly and just breaks, followed by some overtravel. It has a short and positive reset, for quick follow up shots. Our sample was a bit lighter than the rated 3.5 pounds and was super smooth — it felt like it was rolling on ball bearings. Includes replacement pins.

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