Top 8 Best AR-15 Triggers (Kits and Drop-ins) in 2020

Feature image Best AR-15 Triggers

The trigger of your AR-15 is one of the most important components that can affect your performance. It is also a personal preference for the type of triggers that you like and can help to improve your performance. AR-15 is commonly used for many purposes such as target shooting, duty uses and hunting. For each of these functions, there is a trigger that will bring out the best performance of your AR-15. 

Usually, the stock trigger of your AR-15 will do just fine but if you are looking to improve your performance, you should look for an upgrade for your AR-15 trigger. Once you have upgraded your stock AR-15 trigger to an aftermarket trigger, you will definitely feel a difference in terms of shooting performance and feel. 

With so many choices of triggers available in the market, you should at least have a simple understanding of what are the types of AR-15 triggers and what is it usually used for. With that, you will be able to filter out the best AR-15 trigger that suits your preference. 

Types of AR-15 Triggers 

There are many types of AR-15 triggers and all of them with its intended functions. The types of AR-15 triggers that we will be looking at are the most common triggers and the triggers that we will be reviewing. 

Drop-In Triggers 

Drop-in triggers are triggers that are preassembled with all of the internal components stored in a cassette or housing. This type of trigger does not require you to fit loose parts together as it has been done for you already. Making the installation process of your AR-15 quicker. It is very convenient if you have purchased a drop-in trigger from a trusted brand as it is very likely that it will be reliable and save you the trouble of putting the parts together. 

The good thing about a drop-in trigger is that you do not need to have a specific skill set in order to install the trigger to your AR-15. Many drop-in triggers in the market have also made to be able to adjust the trigger pull. This allows you to customize your trigger and your desired trigger pull weight.

Single-Stage Triggers

A single-stage trigger is commonly used in a stock rifle or pistol, so if you have fired one before, it is very likely that the trigger is a single-stage trigger. A single-stage trigger is made to have no slack, means engagement with the rifle’s mechanism starts as soon as you pulled the trigger. 

Shooters usually prefer to use a lighter pull weight for a single-stage trigger when using for competition purposes. For home defenses, a heavier trigger pull is recommended because you do not want to fire your AR-15 on accident. 

Two-Stage Triggers

A two-stage trigger has two stages before the rifle fires. Instead of an immediate reaction with a single-stage trigger, a two-stage trigger will hit a stopping point known as a “break wall” and you will need to pull the trigger harder in order to fire. 

A two-stage trigger gives you more time to think before firing and can really help to improve your accuracy in target or precision shooting. The trigger pull also varies between the two stages and a common range of trigger pull for the first stage is 50 to 75% of the total trigger pull. 

Top 8 AR-15 Triggers You Need to Know – Reviewed

With a clearer understanding of the common types of AR-15 triggers, now let’s have a look at some of the best AR-15 triggers in the market.

1. Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe

Features

The Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe sets a standard for what a good drop-in trigger looks like. Each shooter’s preference for a trigger varies and it all depends on what you want to feel when you pull the trigger. This AR-15 trigger is offered in multiple pull weight, you can choose between 3, 4 and 4.5 pounds pull weight.

Many negative impressions have been associated with aftermarket triggers, however, it is different for the Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe. This AR-15 trigger does not have any of those negative traits of an aftermarket trigger. Its aluminium body has been designed to handle the stress of a gunshot. Thus, making sure that the trigger will not fail easily.

When using this AR-15 trigger, you will be able to maintain some originality of your AR-15. The Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe allows you to retain the use of the AR-15’s original hammer and trigger pins. It may be a small thing but it does retain a certain extent of originality. 

When it comes to the functionality and quality of this AR-15 trigger, it is definitely at the top end in the market. You should expect a remarkably smooth and crisp single-stage trigger pull. The parts of this trigger have been treated to withstand harsh conditions and to last for a long time. 

Timney has taken an extra step to guarantee the quality of its product before it is sold to the customers. Each trigger produced by Timney is tested and calibrated by hand to make sure that it does what it is designed to do. The Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe is no exception. 

Pros

  • Good quality – The trigger is made of high-quality materials and made by a company known for its good quality products.
  • Durable – Parts in the trigger has been treated for heavy use and to last long.
  • Smooth and crisp trigger pull – No trigger creep.
  • Versatile – Choices of 3, 4 and 4.5 pounds trigger pull weight.
  • Easy to install
  • Maintains originality – This trigger uses the AR-15’s original hammer and trigger pins keeping it original to an extent.

Cons

  • Small curve – Might not get enough grip on the trigger. 
  • Requires original parts – The trigger will require the AR-15’s original hammer and trigger pins.
  • Inconvenient to change pull weight – The trigger will have to be removed to change to different pull weight.

2. Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger

Features

Just like the Timney trigger that was mentioned, the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger also sets a standard for aftermarket triggers. Unlike the previous trigger where you can select the pull weight that you want from the trigger, the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger is tuned for an extraordinarily low pull weight of 1.5 pounds only. 

Apart from the low trigger pull weight of the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger, the trigger pull also has no creep and crisp break. On top of that, it has a quick reset allowing for faster follow up shots. The light trigger pull makes this AR-15 trigger a great choice for precision shooters but not so much for defensive or duty usage. 

The biggest selling point of this AR-15 trigger is the trigger adjustment options. The Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger comes with four different trigger shoes which are curved, flat, heeled and knurled. The choices of trigger shoes allow you to have a trigger that fits your hand perfectly. Besides that, the trigger shoes’ length of pull, cast and height are adjustable for maximum comfort. 

Timney has been known for its quality products and the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger is definitely one of it. This AR-15 trigger has a reliable 5-pound hammer spring so you do not have to worry about this trigger failing on you. 

The Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger is definitely one of the best AR-15 triggers if you are looking to for an easy to use and customizable trigger. It can even be a trigger that you own for a very long time. However, because of its light trigger pull some shooters may not find it enjoyable. Another minor downside of this trigger is that the adjustments are done with screws which means it will eventually become loose. 

Pros

  • Light trigger pulls – The trigger has a pull weight of only 1.5 pounds, it is definitely one of the lightest trigger pull for an AR-15.
  • Adjustable – There are four different choices of trigger shoes that comes with the trigger and can be adjusted for its length of pull, cast and height.
  • Durable – The trigger has a reliable 5-pound hammer and built with high-quality and long-lasting materials.
  • Easy to install
  • No creep

Cons

  • Not good for defensive and duty AR-15 – The light trigger pull is only suitable for precision shooting or competition uses.
  • Adjustment screws become loose over time – Requires the use of a thread locker on the adjustment screws.

3. CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group

Features

The CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group is one of the most common tactical triggers for an AR-15. This AR-15 trigger is made by CMC Triggers, a group of people to build the best possible trigger by using advanced methods to give the highest quality possible. Which is why this CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group will not disappoint you. 

This model of the trigger has many variants. It is available in single-stage or two-stage and the choices of pull weight are 2.5, 3.5, 4, 5 and 6 pounds. In addition, it is also available with a curved or a flat trigger shoe. The choices that are available for the CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group allows you to find the perfect trigger for your AR-15 at a reasonable price. 

The CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group has been carefully designed to deliver a crisp and consistent trigger pull and for you to feel no creep at all. It is also made to deliver a positive trigger reset so that you can have a quick follow-up shot. The triggers are all hand-assembled and tested in the factory to make sure it performs as it should before it is sold to anyone. 

This AR-15 trigger is made to be a drop-in trigger which makes the installation a lot easier. Besides that, there are also install instructions available to help you install this AR-15 trigger. It is also made to fit any Mil-Spec AR-15 rifles which is why it is such a common trigger and will fit your AR-15 perfectly. 

On top of all the spectacular features, the CMC AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group is also meant to last for a long time. The internal parts of this AR-15 trigger are made of steel alloys which is why it will be durable. Another small detail that you will realise about this AR-15 trigger is the use of a few oversized pins. These help to reduce friction and can prevent it from shaking. 

Pros

  • Durable – Internal parts of the trigger are made of steel alloys, able to last for a long time.
  • Light and smooth trigger pull – Crisp trigger pull 
  • Easy to install – Drop-in trigger with instruction for installation making it easy to install.
  • No creep
  • Choice of trigger pull weight – Trigger pull weight cannot be adjusted but can be chosen from 2.5, 3.5, 4, 5 and 6 pounds.

Cons

  • Slipping – Surface of the trigger is not grooved or textured, chances of your finger slipping are increased. 
  • Non-adjustable trigger pull – Fixed trigger pull, cannot be adjusted.

4. Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series

Features

The Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series is a Mil-Spec trigger but better. It has been redesigned to give a lighter trigger pull than normal Mil-Spec triggers. There are six models in this Hipertouch Series and also available in two different pull weights of 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. 

Besides reduced trigger pull weight, there are few other things that can be considered as an upgrade from a typical Mil-Spec trigger. Firstly, the Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series uses dual coil springs at the top of the AR-15 trigger. This helps to reduce friction on the sear and resulting in the next upgrade, increased hammer striking power. As a result of the reduced friction on the sear, the hammer has a 35% increased in striking power compared to a Mil-Spec trigger.

The Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series is able to give you a result of a smooth and consistent trigger pull. However, there is still a little creep and over-travel but it is definitely lesser than a standard Mil-Spec trigger. Despite that, it can still give a quick reset and allow you to take your next shot quicker. 

The back of this AR-15 trigger has a very interesting design. It gives a very sharp and aggressive look and can really stand out. This makes it a very nice trigger to use on your AR-15 for tactical purposes. Besides using it as a tactical rifle, this trigger is also one of the lightest triggers that you can use for any events. 

Even though the  Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series can be a good trigger to use in most events, it is still recommended for competition purposes or if you plan to shoot over a long time. This is because the light trigger can be beneficial and you do not need to stress your finger to keep the trigger active and thus reducing fatigue. 

Pros

  • Great for target shooting – The light trigger allows you to fire many rounds without stressing your finger too much.
  • Smooth break – Smoother break compared to a typical Mil-Spec trigger, only has slight trigger creep and over-travel.
  • Light trigger pull – A maximum pull weight choice of 3.5 pounds only making it much lighter than a normal Mil-Spec trigger.
  • Ergonomically friendly – Smooth curve of the trigger and little to no stress for your fingers, reducing fatigue. 
  • Tactical appearance – The trigger has a sharp and aggressive looking “backbone”, really stands out.

Cons

  • Challenging installation – Comes with a few extra parts and can be challenging for some people to install it.
  • Mild trigger creep and over-travel – Has very mild trigger creep and over-travel, some people may not like it.

5. ATC – Adjustable Drop-In AR-15 Gold Trigger

Features

The perfect triggers are usually very dependent on the shooters’ taste which is why it is very hard to find the trigger that is perfect for you. However, that is not the case for the ATC – Adjustable Drop-In AR-15 Gold Trigger, it has been a remarkable trigger for many people. This AR-15 trigger is one of the most comfortable triggers to use and definitely one of the best ones that you will need. 

This AR-15 trigger is a two-stage trigger that is able to give you a light and smooth trigger pull. It allows you to get to your next shot quickly and if you ever missed the first shot, the follow-up shots are definitely fast enough for you to get a better chance at hitting your target. Since this trigger has such a light trigger pull, it can be very beneficial for target shooters and in any case where quick shooting is required. 

The ATC – Adjustable Drop-In AR-15 Gold Trigger only has a trigger pull weight of 3.5 pounds and to top it off, it can be adjusted to your desired pull weight. Besides that this AR-15 trigger can also be installed easily with just a few simple steps. You only need to remove your old AR-15 trigger and safety selector, drop in this new trigger, reinstall some of the parts and you will be good to go.

Another reason why many people find this to be the perfect trigger for them is the fact that the ATC – Adjustable Drop-In AR-15 Gold Trigger is a safe, fast and reliable trigger. The trigger is fabricated with S7 alloy, a material that is good for durability. It is able to deliver the performance that you need for a long time. 

Pros

  • Easy to install – The trigger can be easily installed to your AR-15 in just a few steps.
  • Light and adjustable trigger pull – Only a 3.5 pounds trigger pull weight and can be adjusted to the desired trigger pull.
  • Quick reset – Reset travel time of .030” only which is a lot quicker than normal triggers used in competitions. 
  • No creep
  • Durable – Made with S7 alloy allowing to last for a long time. 
  • Aesthetic – Gold finishing of the trigger gives it a very “expensive” look and will definitely stand out compared to many other triggers. 

Cons

  • Expensive – Cost a lot more than a standard AR-15 trigger.

6. Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sporting Trigger

Features

The Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sporting Trigger is one of the most worth it AR-15 trigger that is available in the market. It does not cost much but it can really perform exceptionally well. It is also a drop-in trigger which means it can be installed easily. 

The Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sporting Trigger features a Quik-Klik reset with a smooth and crisp break. You can definitely feel that the reset is very tactile and audible after the hammer has snapped. This AR-15 trigger is also set at a trigger pull weight of 3.5 pounds only, giving you a very light trigger pull. 

When it comes to the trigger creep of this AR-15 trigger, you can feel that it is almost non-existent and there is only a very mild over-travel. The Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sporting Trigger also has a trigger blade that is further back that will allow you to gain more control. 

Most of the triggers that are in the market have some space to allow for movements before engaging the sear. However, that is not the case for this AR-15 trigger. The Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sporting Trigger does not have any take-up before engaging the sear giving you the smoothest shooting experience possible. 

The materials that are used for the interior parts can really show that this AR-15 is built to last for a very long time. The parts are made from S7 tool steel and finished with a black nitride coating. With the black nitride finishing, corrosion resistance is improved as well. In addition, these interior parts are secured in an anodized 6061 aluminium housing. You can really tell that this AR-15 trigger is built to withstand harsh conditions. 

Pros

  • All rounded AR-15 trigger – Performs very well for a trigger that is priced at an average price only. 
  • No trigger creep, mild over-travel – Little to no trigger creep and acceptable over-travel. 
  • Easy to install – Drop-in trigger, can be installed easily. 
  • Light trigger pull – Trigger pull weight of 3.5 pounds only. 
  • Durable – The trigger is finished with black nitride and housed in anodized 6061 aluminium housing, will last for a very long time. 
  • Quik-Klik reset – Smooth and fast reset for a better shooting experience. 

Cons

  • Non-adjustable – Only available in 3.5 pounds of trigger pull weight.

7. TriggerTech AR-15 TT Adjustable Triggers 

Features

TriggerTech has taken an unconventional way of making this TriggerTech AR-15 TT Adjustable Triggers. It uses a patented system by TriggerTech known as the Frictionless Release Technology system that allows you to get a clean break on the trigger. This system allows the performance to be optimized without compromising safety. 

This AR-15 trigger is a two-stage trigger and the trigger pull weight can be adjusted between 2.5 to 5 pounds. Besides the adjustable trigger pull, the Frictionless Release Technology provides the trigger with a zero creep release. The reset of this trigger is also very quick with the Enhanced Reset Control. Since this is a two-stage trigger, it is very suitable for long-range shooting as it gives a steady trigger press. 

The TriggerTech AR-15 TT Adjustable Triggers is also a durable AR-15 trigger. Parts of the trigger like the hammer, seal and trigger are made with stainless steel. Other components of the trigger are also corrosion-resistant. 

Another interesting feature of the TriggerTech AR-15 TT Adjustable Triggers is its roller bearing system. This system gives the performance that you experience and also reduce wear and tear that is likely to happen. It has been proven that even after 50000 shots, the engagement surfaces have shown minimal wear and tear. 

Pros

  • Durable – Components of the trigger are constructed with stainless steel and corrosion-resistant.
  • Adjustable trigger pull – Trigger pull weight can be adjusted between 2.5 to 5 pounds, allows your AR-15 to be used for different purposes. 
  • Frictionless Release Technology – Very low friction required to activate the trigger and gives a clean break. 
  • Enhanced Reset Control – Gives the trigger a quick reset for faster follow-up shots. 

Cons

  • Harder to install – Might take some time to install this trigger for your AR-15.
  • Not good for fast-shooting – Two-stage triggers are not highly recommended for fast shooting.

8. Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers

Features

Geissele Automatic is well-known for the production of top-notch triggers like the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers. This AR-15 trigger is made with three options, each with its intended purposes. Each of the variants also has a different trigger pull weight but all of them also have an effective performance. 

The first option is the Super Dynamic 3 Gun (SD-3G) trigger, it is a hybrid rolling break trigger with a pull weight ranging from 3 pounds to 5.5 pounds depending on the spring you use. It has a very short pull length and a rapid reset making it ideal for shooting in a competition where you need to get to the target quick and deliver quick follow-up shots as well.

The second option is the Super Dynamic-Enhanced (SD-E) trigger. This is a two-stage trigger with the first stage pull weight ranging from 2 to 2.5 pounds and a second stage pull weight of 0.9 to 1.3 pounds. Since this is a two-stage trigger, it can really improve the accuracy of your AR-15 when using it for target shooting or even hunting.

The final option is the Super Dynamic-Combat (SD-C) trigger. This is also a two-stage trigger with the first stage pull weight of 2.75 to 3 pounds and a second stage pull weight of 4.25 to 4.75 pounds. This variant of the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers has the heaviest trigger pull which gives a good safety when from accidentally firing your AR-15. This makes it a good choice for using it for duty or home defense. 

No matter what the trigger variants are, they all perform phenomenally for its intended purposes. You will be able to purchase the right trigger for your AR-15 from the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers. The durability of these AR-15 triggers will not be an issue as well as the are all constructed with steel. 

Pros

  • Good performance – Performs well for each of its intended purposes.
  • Durable – Triggers are all steel-construction making it last longer.
  • Multi-purpose – Three choices of triggers for your AR-15 and all meant for different usage. 
  • Light trigger pull – Despite the heaviest trigger pull by the Super Dynamic-Combat (SD-C) trigger, it still has a fairly light trigger pull compared to other triggers in the market. 

Cons

  • Pricey – Price of each of the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers are above average AR-15 trigger price.
  • Flat trigger only – Only flat triggers are available. Some people may not like flat triggers. 

Our Thoughts

Amongst the eight AR-15 triggers that are mentioned in this review, the best AR-15 trigger overall will be the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers. Geissele Automatic is a reputable company which means its products can be trusted. Besides that, it also offers three different choices of triggers each with an intended function. Despite the high price these AR-15 triggers are sold at, the quality and performance that you are getting out of it will be worth it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the fastest AR-15 trigger?

A: One of the fastest triggers has to be the Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic 3 Gun (SD-3G) trigger. The average of 10 rounds using this trigger is 1.5 seconds. 

Q: What is the standard trigger pull on an AR-15?

A: The standard trigger pull weight of an AR-15 should be within the range of 5.5 to 8.5 pounds.

The trigger pull of an AR-15 is determined by how hard it is to pull the trigger. It is usually measured by the trigger pull weight to determine how hard or easy to pull the trigger. The heavier the trigger pull weight, the harder it is to pull the trigger and often leading to less accurate shots. 

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