Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

AR Triggers

With the AR being one of the easiest weapons to work on, it makes sense that many of the AR’s we see in classes have been modified. This is good, because it allows the user to modify the weapon according to their specific needs, or make the weapon fit their body size. It can also be a bad thing, as when modifications are performed which don’t fit the intended application of the weapon.

The AR trigger is a prime example of where people usually go wrong. There are a variety of aftermarket trigger assemblies available for the AR, but if you examine the description of the trigger’s operation almost all of them are intended for match/competition use or hunting. Please listen carefully: You do not want a three-pound trigger on a fighting rifle! Personal combat is a world away from firing a high-power match, shooting a three-gun competition, or hunting groundhogs. When someone is trying to kill you and the adrenaline dumps into your body, that ultra-light trigger is going to feel like air. You’re probably going to fire a round when you shouldn’t; if it happens on the range it can happen in a fight.

These type triggers also have reliability issues. I have a limited knowledge of adjustable triggers, but I do know that they often don’t withstand the rigors of training and practice. If it’s not reliable I don’t want it in a rifle that I’m using to fight with. I’m not saying that match and competition triggers are bad, as long as they are used for their original application.

I prefer standard G.I. triggers. They may be a little crunchy at first, but after running a few thousand rounds through the rifle the trigger will smooth out. Although it is a little harder pull than a match trigger, it’s nothing you can’t get use to, and it helps prevent negligent discharges under stress. We all know you’re not supposed to have your finger on the trigger unless the sights are on the target, but we also know that this rule gets broken, especially under stress.

With standard triggers avoid the ‘do-it-yourself’ trigger job, such as honing the hammer and trigger surfaces or lightening the springs. The hammer and trigger are heat treated, but only to a limited depth. Once you hone that hardness off it leads to rapid wear of the components. Spring pressure can be reduced so much that you don’t have enough pressure to ignite the primer. In a fight both of these things can put you in the hurt locker.

Determine the intended use of your rifle, and research what you need for that application. Before making any modifications to a fighting rifle take a class or two. This way you can make educated decisions on preparing your rifle for fighting. Then take another class to make sure it’s working out how you thought it would. Remember that winning the fight begins long before the first shot is ever fired.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15

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