AR-15 Trigger Groups
Custom AR-15 Trigger Kits
When it comes to buying the right custom trigger kit or kits for your AR-15, there are some things that you need to consider. First and foremost amongst them is what kind of situation you need the trigger kit for. Are you going hunting? Shooting at the range? Taking your rifle on the competition circuit? Using it to defend your home? The fact of the matter is that different AR-15 trigger kits are going to be best suited for different situations. Consider the situation you’re going to find yourself in as you look at the different types of custom AR-15 trigger kits that are available to you.
Types of AR-15 Triggers
So what types of AR-15 triggers and trigger kits are available? Well, there are traits for triggers you can shoose between.
- Match triggers
- Single-stage triggers
- Two-stage triggers
- Curved triggers
- Straight triggers
The type of AR-15 trigger kit that you end up choosing depends on some factors. First, you need to pick the best trigger kit for the job at hand. But you also need to be comfortable with the trigger or trigger kit that you end up using. You could endanger yourself and others if you’re uncomfortable with the trigger installed on your gun.
So let’s take a look at the different types of custom triggers and custom trigger kits that are available for the AR-15.
Match Grade Triggers
Match triggers, also known as competition triggers, are a type of AR-15 trigger kit geared solely toward the sport of match or competition shooting. Unlike the other trigger types, what is and isn’t a match trigger is very broad, and it’s entirely up to shooter whether they consider their trigger or trigger group an actual “AR-15 Competition Trigger.”
The kind of match trigger a shooter prefers depends on what kind of shooter they are. When it comes to their competition triggers and competition trigger groups, some AR-15 shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because they like the feedback it provides them during the first stage of shooting. Others prefer to take single-stage competition triggers for their AR-15 because they begin to engage the sear of the rifle as soon as the shooter pulls the trigger, meaning that they end up shooting just that much faster — which can be a godsend for competition matches, which might end up measured in fractions of a second.
First Choice of Trigger Types: Single Stage vs Two-Stage
One of the first things to choose when selecting your custom AR-15 trigger, is choosing between a single stage or two-stage trigger
Single Stage Triggers
So what exactly is a single-stage trigger? Well, if you've ever fired a stock rifle or pistol, the chances are that you've fired a single-stage trigger. Essentially, a single-stage trigger is one that features no slack — it begins to engage the rifle's mechanism as soon as you pull the trigger. Some people prefer this sort of thing, and there's certainly something to be said for using a single-stage trigger as the basis for the custom trigger group you put in your AR-15.
There aren’t any gimmicks, for one. They’re the most basic approach to a functioning rifle. However, when a trigger is single-stage, it doesn’t remove the chance for customization. One of the biggest things that people customize when it comes to the custom trigger groups they put in their AR-15s is the pull of the trigger, which is how much pressure is required to get the trigger through its single stage before it engages the mechanism and fires. Pull weights can vary, are adjustable, and the amount of pull weight a shooter prefers is entirely up to them.
When it comes to single-stage match triggers, some shooters prefer to go with as light of a pull weight as they can, with some triggers going as little as 1.8 pounds. It depends in what situation you may be using your AR-15. In home defense situations, people often prefer heaver trigger pulls, around 4 to 5 pounds, while range shooters and hunters often time like a pull around 2.5 to 3. As stated before, though, the best trigger weight for a single-stage trigger is the one that a shooter is most comfortable with. If you can, give your prospective custom trigger groups a test before you decide on the one that's right for you.
As the name implies, two-stage triggers are trigger groups that have two stages. Instead of pulling the trigger and the rifle immediately firing, as with a single-stage trigger, a double-stage trigger instead hits a “break wall” — the stopping point between the first stage and the second stage. Squeezing a little harder beyond this break wall causes the trigger to fire. Single-stage triggers fire the gun as soon as the mechanism is engaged. Two-stage triggers give you the buffer of the break wall to enable you to line up your shot a little better or prepare yourself if need be.
Other advantages of a two-stage trigger are that you can time exactly when your shot’s going to go off, meaning you can better aim your shot or give yourself those precious seconds you need for your reticle to drift over the target and give you a clean shot. Using a custom AR-15 2-stage trigger allows you to go one better: With a custom 2-stage trigger, you can set the weights of the two stages to be exactly how you want them. This means you could set a 3lb trigger pull to be 1.5lb in the first stage and 1.5lb in the second stage. Or you could have it set to 2lbs in the first stage and 1lb in the second stage. Expert marksmen tend set their first stage to ne 50 to 75% of the total trigger pull.
Second Trigger Trait Choice: Curved vs Straight
After choosing between a single stage and two-stage trigger, you can choose your preference of the ergonomics of the trigger; choosing between curved and straight triggers.
A curved trigger is exactly that: A trigger with either a slight or generous curve to it, depending on style and manufacturer. Curved triggers are the ones that are seen most often on stock rifles, as they’re usually the type of trigger that every kind of rifle ships with when it comes straight from the factory. A curved trigger is a “stock” part that has unique benefits and advantages.
Curved triggers are what everyone learns on, which makes them a significant carry-over when one begins to shoot without supervision. They're also one of the more-produced styles of a custom trigger, meaning that you'll have no shortage of trigger options should you choose to go with a curved trigger. Additionally, some shooters claim that using a curved trigger "guides" the finger back to the same spot when shooting, making a string of shots at the same target that much easier. It’s one less thing to think about.
Straight triggers, on the other hand, are, in and of themselves custom triggers. As the name implies, a straight trigger is a trigger that is straight and flat rather than curved. Much like when it comes to choosing the rest of your AR-15, when it comes to selecting a straight AR-15 trigger over curved one, consider the advantages it might give you.
At their most basic, a custom straight AR-15 trigger will give you greater leverage and a lighter amount of perceived weight. A straight trigger also lets you place your finger anywhere on the trigger that you'd like, meaning that you can put your finger all the way at the bottom if you so choose, which results in that lighter amount of perceived weight. Additionally, using a straight trigger means that you can pull the trigger the whole way back in one clean motion without having to worry about jerking it or moving it because of how you pulled the trigger, as may be the case with curved triggers.
Custom AR-15 Trigger Kit
Now that we've talked about triggers a little bit, it's time to go more in-depth about trigger kits, specifically custom trigger kits and what they can do for your rifle. So what is a trigger kit? Well, to put it simply, a trigger kit is the series of parts that make up the trigger assembly on an AR-15. When it comes to a custom AR-15 trigger kit, all of the parts used in the kit are custom and intended to replace the original stock parts on your AR-15, as is the case with custom single-stage and two-stage AR-15 trigger kits. Depending on the style of trigger kit you buy, you can install your custom trigger kit yourself, as is the case with an AR-15 drop-in trigger kit: it's right there in the name. You remove a couple of pins, pop out the old assembly and drop in the new trigger kit.
However, if you intend to purchase a custom trigger kit for your AR-15 that is not a drop-in trigger kit, it’s best to leave it to your friendly local gunsmith to assemble your trigger kit and install the necessary parts and pieces.
What Parts Does a Trigger Kit Include?
Trigger kits vary in their parts. Some parts kits are just the trigger. Other, more involved assemblies are designed to replace the whole trigger assembly, so they include all the AR-15 trigger parts, like:
- The Trigger Itself
- The Trigger Spring
- The Disconnector and Disconnector Spring
- The Hammer With J hook Spring
Depending on the type of trigger or trigger kit you’re ordering, you may end up with the trigger or you may get the full assembly — which often comes already-assembled, simply waiting for you or your gunsmith to install it on your rifle.
Do You Need a Trigger or a Trigger Kit?
Deciding whether you need a trigger or trigger kit hinges largely on what you’re using the rifle for. A single-stage trigger, which usually comes as a whole kit, is ideal for those situations when you need to be able to pull the trigger and know the rifle is going to fire, such as in a home defense situation. On the other hand, if you're looking for something to give yourself a bit crisper trigger pull, then getting a curved or straight trigger would be your best bet.
Triggers for Different Uses
Just like you’d use a different type of rifle for plinking and range shooting than the one you’d use when you went out hunting or for home defense, so too does the kind of trigger you use matter and depend on the task you see yourself undertaking when you pick the rifle up.
AR-15 Triggers for Home Defense
When it comes to home defense, a single-stage trigger works best. Why? You’re working in a stressed-out, possibly claustrophobic or low light environment. You might never know if or when you’ll encounter an intruder. Thus, you need a trigger group that’s going to ensure that your rifle fires exactly when you pull the trigger, every time — you can’t wait to pull back past a “break wall” when you need to fire immediately.
AR-15 Triggers for Competition Shooting
Competition is an entirely different circumstance compared to a home defense situation. Sure, some of the same tension is there because you're trying to hit targets in a stressful environment, but that's about it. In fact, since hitting the targets and completing the course in the least amount of time possible is what's preferred, a two-stage trigger is your best bet, as counter-intuitive as it may sound.
Using a two-stage trigger, especially custom two-stage triggers that allow you to tweak the weight, means that you can pull back to the break wall and wait until you have your shot lined up. This is a simple task if you've taken the time to find a two-stage trigger that works for you and tweaked the pull weights on each stage to your preference.
AR-15 Triggers for Hunting
Unlike competition shooting and home defense, hunting trigger groups take all kinds. If you're hunting game that you need to settle in and wait for that perfect shot, like a deer, then a two-stage trigger is best because the break wall allows you the ability to hold your shot as necessary until you need to pull past the break wall. On the other hand, hunting larger game like bears may mean that you need to get multiple shots off in quick succession to put down whatever beast you're tracking. In this case, single-stage triggers that immediately engage the sear upon trigger pull are going to be your best option.
AR-15 Triggers for Recreational Shooting
Recreational shooting is similar to competition shooting. Since your goal is to take aim and hit targets, not necessarily take down wildlife or an intruder, a two-stage trigger is going to be one of your best bets for ensuring that your shots land on target every single time. However, if you're a shooter who's comfortable enough with his firearm or you’re using a trigger with a heavy enough pull weight, then a single-stage trigger is certainly usable as a recreational shooting trigger.
Trust Wing Tactical For All Your AR-15 Trigger Group Parts and Parts Kits
Since 2013, Wing Tactical has worked to provide its customers with the best inventory possible at the lowest prices available. We cater to the needs of the military and law enforcement, as well as gun enthusiasts and regular civilians. If you’re in the market for a new trigger or trigger kit for your AR-15, look no further than Wing Tactical. Take a look at our website to see a list of all the triggers and trigger kits we have available.