Choosing a Drop-in Trigger for your AR-15

04/2024

A new trigger is one of the best upgrades you can make to an AR-15. Stock triggers today are okay, but there are so many great aftermarket triggers available that replacing the stock trigger is an easy decision.

With the amount of options available to you, deciding on a trigger can be a tough decision. Let’s look at why you should consider a drop-in trigger upgrade, as well as how to decide exactly which one is for you.

What is a Drop-in Trigger?

The trigger itself is just one piece of what’s called the fire control group. The fire control group is a group of pieces in your firearm that control the firing. Replacing a fire control group piece by piece can be difficult for a beginner, and if you’re unsure of your skill, consult a trained gunsmith. A drop-in trigger allows the average gun owner to replace the trigger without the need for gunsmithing skills.

Single-Stage vs Two-Stage Triggers

You’ve probably heard of a two-stage trigger before, but what exactly does that mean?

A single-stage trigger has a consistent pull from the beginning until the “break”, meaning when the round is actually fired.

A two-stage trigger has, wait for it, two stages. As you squeeze the trigger, you will notice that you meet resistance before the round fires. This is called the “wall”. After the wall, once pressure is applied to the trigger the round will fire. The second stage has less follow through as well. The two stage trigger provides for greater accuracy and quicker follow-up shots.

Performance

Trigger performance has come a long way. Drop-in trigger kits can give you an immediate boost to accuracy by eliminating some of the guesswork in your trigger squeeze. A consistent break is the key to accuracy. A two-stage drop-in trigger will provide you with the best accuracy available today.

Drop-in triggers are considered ready to go straight out of the box. Some trigger kits, on the other hand, require a break-in period before you can expect maximum performance. This is because often the newly milled metal is rough and has sharp edges. These rough edges can snag and cause the trigger to fail. After several hundred rounds, these pieces are smoothed by repeated use and are much less prone to snags.

Price

If price is a concern, you will definitely want to shop around for the right drop-in trigger for you. You can find quality drop-in triggers beginning around $40 all the way up to several hundred dollars.

Most drop-in triggers will still be significantly cheaper than taking your AR-15 to a gunsmith to have them replace your trigger by hand.

Potential Concerns

One potential concern with drop-in triggers is that the trigger pins used to hold the fire control group in place in the lower receiver don’t fit tight enough. This can lead to pins coming loose and falling out after repeated use.

One solution to this is to use what’s called anti-walk pins. These are threaded pins that can be secured with a small nut, keeping them in place and eliminating the worry of pin movement.

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