Curved vs. Flat Trigger AR-15

11th May 2020

Examples of flat and curved AR-15 triggersAs you're building the perfect AR-15, there are a lot of decisions you'll need to make. One question seems to come up over and over: How do you decide between a flat trigger and a curved trigger?

As you probably guessed, the answer comes down to your personal preference as a shooter, as well as how you intend to use your AR-15. Understanding the general features of each trigger and the differences between them can help you make the right decision for your purposes.

Comparing the General Features of Flat and Curved Triggers

When you're choosing the ideal trigger for your AR-15, you'll want to look at a variety of features to determine which ones mean the most to you. The main features include:

  • How much engagement surface the trigger offers
  • How much pull weight you feel comfortable with
  • Your preferred finger placement in stress situations

Flat triggers offer a greater surface area for engagement as well as a longer reach. On the other hand, a curved trigger presents a more comfortable distribution of pressure, which some shooters prefer.

What Are the Significant Differences Between Curved and Flat Triggers?

Close up on AR-15 Flat Trigger

There are obvious differences between AR-15 flat and curved triggers. For the sake of comparison, you might find it helpful to think about each trigger in terms of its advantages over the other in specific situations. Keep the following features in mind:

  • Single action only (SAO) benefits: For single action, a relatively short trigger with a flat design presents an advantage over a curved trigger. Curved triggers sweep slightly forward, which can lead to unnecessary trigger motion.
  • Leverage: The desired amount of leverage is a personal choice for the shooter as an individual. Many shooters prefer a flat trigger in this regard because it offers a bit more leverage and extra room for gloved fingers in the trigger guard.
  • Mechanical interface: A curved trigger offers an advantage on this front because there is more contact between the surface of the trigger and the shooter's finger pad. The pressure distribution is more comfortable than that of a flat trigger and it may help with ensuring consistent placement.
  • Pull weight: Many shooters feel that the pull weight of a flat trigger is lower, although this may have to do with the typical placement of the fingers toward the bottom portion of the trigger.
  • Variation: A flat trigger offers slight variation when it comes to finger placement. A flat trigger allows the shooter to move their finger down to change the lever arm. On the other hand, a curved trigger creates a small space between the trigger guard and the finger.

Looking at this list, it might seem that an AR-15 flat trigger has more mechanical advantages. However, the truth is that only you can decide which features matter the most to you as you build your AR-15.

Benefits of Curved Triggers

One of the biggest curved trigger benefits is that the trigger reach — the length between the back of the grip and the trigger face — is shorter in the middle of the trigger blade than at the bottom or top. This design means you don't have to reach as far to find the trigger, which can make consistent finger placement easier.

Generally speaking, the bigger the gun, the bigger the trigger. Therefore, medium-frame or larger revolvers and compact to full-size semi-automatic rifles will be easier for most people to shoot when using a curved trigger, as the larger trigger can accommodate more hand sizes.

Some shooters also find curved triggers more comfortable, as they offer more contact between the finger pad and the trigger's surface, providing better pressure distribution. The pad of your trigger finger tends to settle more easily into the curve, helping you maintain better grip when your fingers are wet or conditions are slippery. Because they provide good finger stability, curved triggers are typically ideal for tactical situations and speed shooting competitions.

Benefits of Flat Triggers

Flat triggers offer several unique benefits. Some people prefer a flat trigger because it has more surface area and leverage than a curved trigger, making it easier to shoot more quickly. Your finger also makes uniform contact with a flat trigger, so it's less critical to get your finger on the exact spot every time.

A flat trigger also works well for various hand shapes and sizes. For example, a person with large hands using a small gun may find their hand is pushed lower on the grip, so the trigger finger sits lower on the trigger. With a flat trigger, the pull length remains the same regardless of where your trigger finger makes contact, resulting in a smoother pull.

Additionally, the resistance felt is the same no matter where your trigger finger touches, which means that a flat trigger will break and travel the same distance regardless of whether your finger makes contact a little high or a little low.

Some shooters also find that flat triggers have a better feel. While your finger could rest too much or too little on a curved trigger and still feel comfortable, it won't feel natural on a flat trigger. Because trigger finger position affects shot accuracy, flat triggers can help ensure precision.

Build Your Ideal AR-15 With Wing Tactical

Wing Tactical is a veteran-run business created by shooters, for shooters. Since 2013, we've made it our mission to serve customers throughout the United States with the finest firearm components, tools and accessories. Whether you are a survivalist, a competitive shooter or a law enforcement officer, we believe you should have access to the same high-quality products we trust enough to use ourselves.

Give yourself an edge with Wing Tactical. Explore our inventory of AR-15 parts and accessories and build a tool you know you can rely on. We offer next day shipping and hassle-free returns within 30 days if you're not entirely satisfied with the gear you purchase. If you have any questions, our customer service team is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us by sending an email so we can address any concerns and steer you in the right direction.