AR-15 Trigger Selection For Your Custom AR-15

Apr 13, 2022

Buying the Right AR-15 Trigger For Your Custom Build

AR-15 Trigger Selection: The Basics

The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the United States. A driving force for its popularity is the availability of a variety of upgrades to customize the rifle to the specific needs of the shooter. One of the easiest and most significant of these upgrades to make is the fire control group, commonly known as the trigger. An upgraded trigger can greatly increase accuracy and the overall shooting experience for the gun owner. Here are the fundamentals of AR-15 trigger selection.

Two Primary Types of AR-15 Triggers

Single-Stage Triggers: Single-stage triggers provide consistent resistance from the time the shooter applies pressure to the point the sear activates the hammer and fires the rifle. A majority of AR-15s have a single-stage trigger. Single-stage triggers can lead to less than desirable shooting mechanics resulting in diminished accuracy. A seasoned gunsmith can smooth out the trigger component surfaces to improve functionality. We have found that this customization can decrease the lifespan of the trigger since the hardening coatings are removed or thinned. Single-stage triggers are common for those using their weapon in tactical situations due to the split-second faster response time.

Two-Stage Triggers: Two-stage triggers have two independent movements. The first stage is a spring-loaded, light pressure that provides resistance against the shooter until it stops at the second stage. As the shooter continues to apply pressure beyond this point, the trigger operates like a single-stage trigger. Many competitive shooters prefer two-stage trigger systems due to the feedback provided in the first stage of the firing process.

AR-15 Trigger Selection Tips

Trigger selection is truly a personal preference based on your use and shooting style. There are numerous triggers on the market made specifically for your intended use. There are also trigger systems to fit any budget, so the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Important Note: It is true that you get what you pay for. Adopt the philosophy of buy nice or buy twice! If you need help, check out our Build Your Own Rifle page, and we can walk you through the trigger selection process. This is especially true if you are on a budget. Safety is highly important, and the last thing you want is a rifle firing inadvertently if dropped or bumped due to a poorly designed, light trigger assembly.

Our AR-15 Trigger Selection Conclusion

A mil-spec, single-stage trigger is perfect for the majority of AR-15 gun owners. Just like all component upgrades and accessory additions, your use and needs should guide you in the decision-making process. If possible, before making an AR-15 trigger selection, test different options. Some gun ranges have different configurations that can be tested to see which you prefer.

Once you decide, be sure that you buy quality. Buying two that wear out after a few thousand rounds for the cost of one quality trigger that would last the lifetime of the firearm is a bad habit.

Need help selecting your AR-15 Trigger?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds with protective coatings. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.


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