The AR-15 is certainly the most popular rifle available in America, nearly everyone seems to own one. And while the design is excellent, there’s certainly places where it can be improved.
Being a 60 year old design, the gun has aged very well, but there’s one small improvement that can make the average AR-15 pattern more useful and accurate for sometimes as little as $50.
That upgrade is the trigger.
There’s an unfortunate trend amongst AR-15 builds where manufacturers use top-tier components for most of the gun, but then put a lame cheap “mil-spec” trigger in it. Just about every AR-15 I’ve come across recently suffers from this problem.
With modern sporting rifles, there are certainly some parts that you can save cash on and get away with it. For instance, a fancy bolt carrier is a nice upgrade, but doesn’t really impact performance. A sweet looking stock may improve the aesthetics, but a normal “mil-spec” mass production stock does the job just fine.
But when it comes to the trigger, cheap parts really hurt performance. A sub-par bolt carrier or stock is not likely to have any affect on accuracy, but a better trigger can allow a shooter to half their group size.
Trigger control is one of the most difficult things for shooters to learn, and critical for accuracy. A trigger which is inconsistent will produce inconsistent shot placement. But quality consistent triggers allow shooters to make well-aimed shots much easier.
While a new trigger isn’t sufficient to make every shooter into a Matthew Quigley, the difference between a stock trigger and a quality match trigger will make a difference for shooters at any skill level.
So what is the best drop-in trigger for ARs? There’s no single answer to that. Excellent triggers run the gamut, from the ALG Defense QMS Trigger which retails for around $50, to the famous Geissele’s and Timney’s which can exceed $300, though most models are less than that.
While there’s a type of curmudgeon who thinks that upgrading a rifle is a waste of cash that would be better spent on more ammo — something which is true to a certain extent — there’s no point in practicing with a garbage inconsistent trigger.
It’s just not possible to do a good job with equipment that’s working against you and it makes the training process incredibly more difficult. For as little as $50, shooters can improve their triggers from mediocre to amazing and greatly improve their rifles shootability.
Author: Jonathan Yates