Although the AR-15 is popular among civilians, it was a military weapon first and foremost. Its creator didn’t mean it to be a precision firearm. It was the semiautomatic version of the M-16.
As such, it comes with a flaw that plagues most military-style weapons: the trigger. You can use it as it is, but you’re much better off upgrading it with an aftermarket trigger.
This is the opportunity to get one that best suits your needs. You’ll have to consider the different kinds of triggers to see which one you need. Then, keep on reading to see some AR-15 trigger reviews.
AR-15 Trigger Types
Before we go on to finding out the best AR-15 triggers, let’s take a quick look at the different types of triggers first. This will help you distinguish which from which, allowing you to choose the one that best suits you.
1. Mil-Spec Triggers
When people say mil-spec triggers, they mean the standard sort of triggers. Most AR-15s off-the-shelf come with mil-spec triggers.
The real definition of mil-spec is a far cry from standard, though. It’s an abbreviated form of “military specifications.” As such, it complies with the military unit or departmental standards.
2. Single-Stage Triggers
Single-stage triggers are the most common type; they have no slack during the take-up. The sear engages as soon as you pull the trigger.
That’s because the full weight of the trigger is on the spring and sear. When a shooter fires their gun with a single-stage trigger, they only need to pull through that weight.
It offers speed, reliability, and crispness; its ease of operation and simple design are its major advantages over other types of triggers.
3. Two-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers differ in that it has a short and light initial take-up. You reach a brief stopping point before the firearm goes off. Note that this movement isn’t the same as the creep.
Many shooters use the initial take-up as prep time. They do it before they’re ready to shoot, so when the time comes, they only need to pull past the stopping point to shoot.
It’s great for precise and long-distance shooting. It offers more control, allowing you to be as precise as possible.
The second stage is light, however, so users are prone to premature shooting if they’re not careful.
4. Drop-In Triggers
Drop-in triggers are ready to use out of the box, so no tinkering or such required. A “cassette” or housing already contains all the internal AR-15 parts, like the trigger shoe, sear, hammer, and so on.
As they’re preassembled, you don’t have to worry about variances. Drop-in triggers are consistent in areas like the creep, trigger reset, and overtravel.
You don’t need to have a special skill when converting to drop-in triggers.
5. Match Triggers
Light triggers are what we call match triggers because they’re most often used in matches and competitions, although they’re also used for long-distance shooting.
This definition is a bit broad, though, and so shooters may have different ideas of what they consider to be competition triggers.
In general, match triggers have lighter springs and smoother action. It also has faster firing pin strikes and a short reset.
Best AR-15 Trigger Reviews
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the best AR 15 trigger options in the market today. You decide which one is best for you by reading our AR-15 trigger reviews below.
1. ALG Defense Quality Mil-Spec (QMS) Trigger
This trigger is an enhanced mil-spec trigger, so it’s like your stock trigger but better. This is for those who want to stick with a stock setup for its reliability but an upgraded one.
The ALG Defense trigger has a coating of nickel boron. This, combined with polishing, makes for a smoother operation.
It also reduces the pull weight to 6.5 pounds, which is lighter than the standard mil-spec. Note, however, that there’s still some creep and pretravel as the polishing doesn’t do much in those areas.
2. Hiperfire Hipertouch Series
If you want the lightest mil-spec trigger, however, look no further than the Hiperfire Hipertouch series.
Its modified mil-spec design allowed for a low pull weight of 3.5 pounds. It improves the hammer strike, too.
It has less creep than the standard mil-spec trigger, although there’s still some overtravel. The reset is nice and crisp, but not that audible or tactile.
Keep in mind, though, that Hiperfire’s mil-spec trigger has more extra parts. Installation isn’t as easy as you would expect. Still, the design only adds a couple of steps.
3. Rise Armament Super Sporting Trigger
This one is a drop-in trigger, so installation is pretty easy. You have to keep the standard springs out of the way, though, when you screw it in.
It’s a massive upgrade over your standard mil-spec trigger. It reduces the pull weight to 3.5 pounds.
It has a small initial take-up with almost no trigger creep and little post-travel. The reset is good; it’s audible and tactile. The follow-up trigger pulls are similar to the initial pull, as well.
To top it all off, it’s affordable, too – it’s priced only slightly higher than an enhanced mil-spec trigger.
4. TriggerTech TT-AR-15 Adjustable Trigger
This TriggerTech model allows you to adjust the pull weight of the trigger from 2.5 to five pounds. This enables you to use the same trigger for any shooting context, whether for long-distance or competitive shooting. You can adjust it while it’s in the receiver.
It also features their patented Frictionless Release Technology, which makes for a smooth pull every time. It has no creep; it goes straight to the first stage.
It has a little bit of overtravel, but it has a quick and clean break. The reset is clean and short.
The TriggerTech adjustable trigger is the one to get for long-range shooting. It packs quite some high-tech features into an affordable price.
5. Timney Drop-In Competition Trigger Group
Timney has long been since a trusted brand, so you’ll never go wrong with one of their triggers. Each trigger is meticulously tested and calibrated by hand before it reaches you. Because of this, Timney can provide consistent reliability and quality.
This, in particular, is for competitions. It’s available in flat or curved, and Timney offers the Competition Trigger group in pull weights of three, four, or 4.5 pounds.
As expected of a Timney trigger group, it has a smooth and crisp operation. It has almost non-existent pre-travel with a clean break.
6. Timney Calvin Elite
The most adjustable trigger title, however, goes to the Timney Calvin Elite. It’s designed as the personal trigger of the company’s CEO, so you can ensure its quality.
Its trigger pull is at 1.5 pounds. While that’s great for competitions and precision shooting, it’s not the best choice for defensive or duty rifles.
You can adjust its trigger shoes to four different settings. You can also adjust the trigger length and length of pull, allowing you to create a perfect fit for your hands.
There’s zero pretravel or creep, but it has a little overtravel. It has a crisp break, though, and an audible and short reset.
6. Elftmann SE
Elftmann – or ELF – SE features sealed ball bearings, creating silky-smooth pulls. This drop-in trigger is the most affordable model from ELF for competitors.
There’s a tad bit of creep, although the break’s crispness is still unmatched. The reset is short, audible, and tactile.
At 3.5 pounds of pull weight, this is an excellent competition-grade trigger. However, you can also use it if you want an extra nice trigger for your duty or defensive gun.
7. Elftmann Three-Gun Trigger
For three-gun competitions, though, get the ELF trigger designed specifically for such. It’s a single-stage trigger that offers fast-action shooting.
It’s adjustable, too; you can adjust its pull weight from 2.75 to four pounds. This is a great enough range for competitive shooters.
As usual, the break is clean and crisp. There’s no pretravel or creep, and it has a short and audible reset. It’s not so tactile, however.
8. CMC Single-Stage Trigger Group
CMC triggers are some of the first drop-in triggers. Now, they’re offering single-stage drop-in triggers.
This trigger group has pull weights of 2.5, 3.5, or four pounds. It also has flat or curved trigger styles. Which one you choose depends on your needs, whether it’s for matches or long-range shooting.
It’s an economical choice for something that offers features you’ll find in high-end models. We’re talking about zero travel creep, no post-travel, clean break, and a hearty reset.
Shooters like it for its reliability and light trigger pull.
9. CMC 2-Stage Trigger Group
This one is a two-stage drop-in trigger offering by CMC with four pounds of total pull weight. Its initial pull weight is one pound, while the second pull weight is three pounds.
Like the single-stage variant, this group comes in different sets of pull weights. You can get a pull weight of one-lb/three-lb, two-lb/two-lb, two-lb/three-lb, or two-lb/four-lb. It has flat and curved triggers, as well.
Its second stage has a super smooth break; it has no overtravel and it has a positive reset.
Choose the Best AR-15 Trigger for You
Wondering which one is the best value for money? Well, that depends on you. The best one is different for each person as it depends on your preferences, budget, and needs.
Reading AR-15 trigger reviews helps you find the best fit for you. If you need more gun tips, though, feel free to read more on our blog. We offer tons of tips and tricks so don’t hesitate to go through our content right here!