What Is a Good Trigger Pull Weight for an AR-15?

Posted by Karen Hung on 6th Apr 2022

Trigger pull weight measures how many pounds of force you must apply to your trigger. The higher the pull weight, the more force you must apply, and the harder it is to pull the trigger.

There's no one best pull weight, as the "right" weight depends on how you use your rifle. For example, if you're using an AR-15 for home defense, you may want a heavier pull weight to compensate for adrenaline in a firing situation. Conversely, you may choose a lighter trigger pull for competition shooting. 

Trigger Pull-Weight Considerations

As you consider what pull weight is best for your AR-15, keep these important factors in mind:
 

  • Accuracy: Generally speaking, lighter pull weights can help improve your accuracy, as you don't have to work as hard to release the hammer. 
  • Speed: Lighter pull weights allow you to fire faster, decreasing the time between rounds.
  • Discharge: Lighter pull weights can result in accidental discharges if you aren't careful. They may be more susceptible to "doubles," which happens when the rifle recoils and bumps your finger, causing you to fire an unintentional follow-up shot. 
  • Compatibility: Some light triggers have smaller springs, which can be problematic with ammunition that uses hard primers, like most steel-cased ammunition. 

Recommended Pull Weight Ranges for Common Applications

Ultimately, your rifle's ideal pull weight depends on how you're using it and what you're most comfortable with. Our recommended pull weight ranges for common applications include:

Hunting Pull Weight: 2 to 4 pounds

Shot placement is essential to making an ethical kill when hunting game. The increased potential for accuracy provided by a lightweight trigger can help you make a precise shot, which is especially critical when hunting at longer ranges.

Home Defense Pull Weight: 5 to 7 pounds

When it comes to home defense, you want to be certain with your shots. Choosing a gun with a heavier trigger weight requires a more deliberate pull, lessening the chances of an accidental discharge. What's more, medium-weight triggers won't hinder your accuracy when firing quickly at a self-defense range.

Competition Shooting Pull Weight: 3 to 5 pounds

In a competition, you need to hit your targets and complete your course in the least amount of time possible. Most competition shooters prefer a light pull weight to help them fire quick, accurate shots.

How Trigger Type Affects Ideal Pull Weight

The type of trigger you're using may also affect your choice of pull weight. 

Pull Weight for Single-Stage Triggers

Single-stage triggers release the hammer as soon as the shooter applies enough pressure to the trigger, offering no slack. Many shooters who use a single-stage match trigger choose the lightest pull weight possible. Slightly heavier pull weights of between 2 and 4 pounds are ideal for using single-stage triggers in hunting situations, while triggers in home defense firearms typically weigh in between 5 and 7 pounds.

Pull Weight for Two-Stage Triggers

As the name implies, a two-stage trigger operates in two stages. Rather than the rifle firing as soon as you pull the trigger, a two-stage trigger hits a "break wall" — a stopping point between the first and second stages. This buffer gives you the chance to line up your shot and prepare yourself before firing.

A custom two-stage trigger allows you to set a different pull weight for each stage. For example, you could set a 3-pound trigger pull to 2 pounds in the first stage and 1 pound in the second stage, giving you maximum control over your shot.

Trust Wing Tactical for All Your AR-15 Trigger Needs

At Wing Tactical, we're proud to offer top-quality rifle triggers at affordable prices. Whether you're a civilian, military member or law enforcement officer, we have the parts and accessories to meet your unique needs.

Explore our inventory or contact us to learn more. Our expert team will be happy to guide you to an ideal trigger for your application.