Some people have criticized drop in triggers for not being as reliable as mil-spec triggers. And, there was a time when drop in triggers had a few issues.
But, things have gotten a lot better. And, there’s very little compromise—if any compromise—in using a drop in trigger.
A drop in trigger is easier to install than a mil-spec trigger and can be an incredible performance upgrade for your rifle.
SPOILER—there are a ton of drop in triggers out there. If you just want to get a solid trigger without any headache, get the Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sport Trigger. It’s an excellent trigger from every angle: it’s super affordable, the performance is solid, and it works well for any shooting context.
If evaluating all the available options doesn’t seem like a headache to you, keep reading. We’ll line up all the options, so you can pull the trigger on the best one for you.
Top AR 15 Drop In Trigger in the Market
The Best AR 15 Drop in Trigger Reviews: All the Best Breaks
1. Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sport Trigger - Overall Best AR-15 Drop in Trigger
The Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sport Trigger is easily the best deal on the AR-15 trigger market right now. There’s just nothing else that delivers this sort of performance for the money.
First, this trigger is machined from aluminum and heat treated tool steel. The housing is aluminum. All the internals are tool steel. The construction is incredibly durable. This trigger will last just as long, if not longer, than your rifle.
The operation is single stage. So, if you’re accustomed to running a single-stage mil-spec trigger, there’s nothing to get used to. Just drop this trigger in an enjoy an improved trigger press.
Speaking of trigger press, the movement on this trigger is excellent. There’s no grit and very minimal travel and overtravel. In fact, the travel and overtravel are almost imperceptible. And, the break is incredibly clean. No matter what type of shooting you do, even precision shooting, this trigger will maximize your performance.
The break is set at 3.5 pounds. And, based on the pull meter, it actually breaks at 3.5 pounds. Your mileage may vary, and it’s fairly normal for triggers to have a tad more or less than the stated pull weight. But, it seems that the pull weight is very well quality controlled. So, you get a true 3.5 pound pull.
Lastly, anti-walk pins are included with this trigger. This eliminates some of the old issues with drop in triggers, and ensures that none of your pins rattle loose while you’re shooting.
The only downside of this trigger is that it doesn’t fit perfectly in every receiver. Some lower receivers require that you file the aluminum trigger housing a bit to get the right fit. It’s minimal work. But, it’s still an extra step.
But, for the money, this trigger is nearly impossible to beat. The performance and durability are simply outstanding.
2. CMC Triggers AR-15 Trigger - Tactical AR-15 Trigger
The CMC Triggers AR-15 Trigger focuses on delivering the reliability of a mil-spec trigger in a drop in package.
This trigger features a screwless, one-piece design for maximum durability and reliability. Additionally, the outer housing is made of 410 stainless steel. There’s no weak point on this trigger. However, this trigger looks pretty utilitarian, if you care about aesthetics in a trigger.
Additionally, the construction is incredibly precise. The engagement surfaces are machined with a tolerance of plus or minus .001 inches. In short, this trigger is guaranteed to fit any mil-spec lower receiver.
The action is powered by full-length springs to ensure reliable firing, even with hard primers. The springs also give this trigger an exceptionally fast lock time, for quicker strings of fire.
Lastly, the pull weight is set at 3.5 pounds, with an incredibly smooth action and clean break. It’s an excellent all purpose trigger weight. It’s light enough for solid precision shooting performance, but heavy enough to be safe for tactical shooting.
Unfortunately, no anti-walk pins are included with this trigger. So, you’ll have to supply your own.
But, otherwise, this is an incredibly durable and high-performance trigger that’s fit for any rifle.
3. Timney AR-15 Targa 2-Stage Trigger - 2 Stage AR-15 Drop in Trigger
If you prefer a 2-stage trigger, the Timney AR-15 Targa 2-Stage Trigger is the way to go. Timney has a long reputation for producing some of the best triggers on the market. And, this one is no exception.
This trigger is constructed from S7 and A2 tool steel that’s heat treated to maximize service life and reliability. And, the outer housing is machined from 6061 T6 aluminum. In short, this trigger will give you decades of reliable performance.
The 2-stage trigger press is set up with a long first stage and a quick second stage. This is ideal for precision shooting, where you need a smooth, consistent trigger press. The long first stage makes it easier to push through the trigger press without disturbing your point of aim.
Both stages of the trigger press are 2 pounds, for a total of 4 pounds. But, again, the two stages make it easier to break your shot without moving your muzzle.
Also, the break is one of the best on the market. Very few triggers offer a better break than Timney triggers.
All in all, this trigger enables you to get all the precision you’re capable of.
This may not be the trigger for you if you prefer a lighter pull or the feel of a single stage trigger. But, if you prefer a 2-stage trigger, this is easily the best one for the money.
4. Elftmann AR-15 Match Trigger - Match AR-15 Drop in Trigger
The Elftmann AR-15 Match Trigger is built to extract maximum performance from precision rifles. It’s a great option for any precision AR-15 match shooter.
This trigger is made from hardened A2 tool steel for maximum durability and reliability. The outer housing is lightweight, aircraft grade aluminum, which helps keep the weight down, in addition to adding toughness.
This trigger is built to last. But, what’s really nice is that the trigger action is padded with needle bearings to reduce friction and make the operation as smooth as possible. So, there’s no grit in any movement in this trigger.
The trigger press is adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds. On the low end, the pull weight is ideal for precision shooter. But, if you wanted, you could easily set the pull weight higher and use this as a high-end tactical trigger.
Also, the trigger shoe has traction ridges on the front face to keep your finger in place once it’s on the trigger for a more consistent trigger press.
The only trouble with this trigger is that some have reported that the pull weight doesn’t adjust all the way to 2.75 pounds. But, most users have found that it bottoms out at about 3 pounds, which is very close to the stated pull weight.
If you’re not a stickler for .25 pounds of trigger press, this is nearly a perfect trigger for any precision—or tactical—AR-15.
5. Elftmann AR-15 3 Gun Trigger - 3 Gun AR-15 Drop in Trigger
The Elftmann AR-15 3 Gun Trigger is designed with the tactical 3 gun competitor in mind. However, it would make an excellent addition to any rifle.
This trigger is very similar to the Elftmann Match Trigger. All the parts are machined from A2 tool steel. And, the housing is lightweight, aircraft grade aluminum. The entire package weighs just 2 ounces.
The trigger press is adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds, for excellent performance in any shooting context.
And, the trigger action is smoothed out with heat treated needle bearings.
All these are excellent features that make this trigger one of the best. But, there’s one more thing: the springs are made of double-wound piano wire. Piano wire springs deliver incredibly fast lock times. So, you can shoot the fastest, most consistent strings of fire.
Overall, this is an outstanding trigger. However, the added cost to get faster lock times may not be worth it for those who don’t plan on doing a lot of fast paced shooting.
But, if you are a tactical shooter or competitor, this trigger definitely gives you an edge.
No matter what sort of shooting you do, the right trigger helps you do it better. A mediocre trigger is a net zero advantage, at best. And, skimping on your trigger can even degrade your shooting performance.
If you want the best trigger for your performance and your budget, get the Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sport Trigger. It’s reasonably priced, and the trigger press and break are really impressive.
There you have it. If you’re still gritting through some budget mil-spec trigger press, it’s time to upgrade your trigger and start shooting better.
James Miller is a defensive firearms coach, certified through the ICE Training Company. He teaches Intuitive Defensive Shooting fundamentals and tactics to shooters of all skill levels. He lives, writes, and skis in Reno, Nevada.