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No matter what context you use your AR-15 for, the trigger is arguably the most important part of the firearm.
When it comes to accuracy, the trigger press has the most potential to cause muzzle movement.
Now, a trigger won’t fix bad fundamentals. But it will enhance the effect of good fundamentals and improve consistency. A good trigger can also help you perform better for long shooting sessions by reducing trigger finger fatigue.
The good news is that there are tons of options when it comes to AR-15 triggers. The bad news is that it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Our Favorite Choice
Spoiler alert: if you don’t want to spend too much time reading about tons of triggers, just get the Rise Armament AR-15 Super Sport Trigger. It’s a huge upgrade over a mil-spec trigger and is very reasonably priced.
With that, let’s kick off our rapid-fire reviews of the best AR-15 triggers.
Top-Rated AR-15 Triggers of 2020
Top 10 Best AR-15 Triggers [Updated 2020]
Rise Armament RA-140 Super Sport - Best Overall AR-15 Trigger
- ALG Defense Military-Style - Enhanced Mil-Spec AR Trigger
Hiperfire EDT Series - Top for Defensive Use
- Elftmann SE - Best Value Competition Trigger
- CMC Triggers Tactical Trigger Group - Top Budget Competition Trigger
- Hiperfire Hipertouch Series - Lightest Mil-Spec Trigger
- Timney Drop-In Module - Top Drop-In AR Trigger
- Triggertech TT-AR-15 Adjustable - Top for Long Range Use
- Elftmann 3 Gun - Best 3-Gun AR-15 Trigger
- Timney Calvin Elite - Most Adjustable AR-15 Trigger
1. Rise Armament AR-15 RA-140 Super Sport Trigger: Best Value
The Rise Armament AR-15 Super Sport trigger is the most bang for your buck in this article.
The Super Sport is only a little more expensive than an enhanced mil-spec trigger but reduces the trigger pull to a more friendly 3.5 pounds.
It has almost no trigger creep and very little overtravel. Once the hammer has snapped, the reset is tactile and audible.
Since it’s a drop-in trigger, installation is easy. The only trouble is that it uses standard springs which you’ll need to keep out of the way when you put the screws in.
The Super Sport is easily the best option for anyone who wants a do-it-all trigger that’s a massive upgrade over their mil-spec trigger and won’t break the bank.
2. ALG Defense Enhanced Military-Style Trigger: Enhanced Mil-Spec
The ALG Defense Enhanced Military-Style Trigger is for those that want to stick with a stock setup, but with a smoother feel.
The Military-Style Trigger is essentially a mil-spec trigger that’s been coated in nickel boron and polished for smoother operation.
The polishing reduces the pull weight to a more manageable 6.5 pounds. That’s lighter than a stock trigger. But it could cause trigger finger fatigue on a long day.
Unfortunately, the coating and the polishing doesn’t remove much of the trigger creep or pretravel. The movement is smoother, but still there. The reset provides good tactile and audible indicators.
The Military-Style Trigger is an affordable choice for those who prioritize reliability, and would be a good option for a purely defensive AR-15.
3. Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series: Defensive Trigger
Rather than just coat and polish a mil-spec trigger, the Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series features redesigned internal geometries to improve the movement and pull weight.
The improvements Hiperfire made removed all the trigger creep and deliver a very strong primer strike. The reset gives a nice audible click. However, the reset length is a tad long.
Hiperfire includes a 4.5 pound spring and a 5.5 pound spring in the package. Both weights are much lighter than standard mil-spec and are excellent options for defensive and duty guns.
Overall, the EDT Series is the best mil-spec option for those who want mil-spec reliability with a significantly reduce pull weight.
4. Elftmann AR-15 SE Trigger: Value Competition Trigger
The Elftmann AR-15 SE Trigger is Elftmann’s offering to the budget conscious competition shooter.
The SE provides a competition-grade trigger pull and a very short, tactile and audible reset. There’s a very tiny bit of trigger creep. However, the break is extremely crisp.
The pull weight is set at 3.5 pounds, which is an excellent all-around competition weight. It’s also acceptable for defensive and duty guns, if you’re the type who likes a really nice trigger on their work gun.
It’s a drop-in trigger, so installation is easy. However, there are two set screws that remove any play. It’s best to apply threadlocker to these screws once you’re set with this trigger. Otherwise, they come loose easily.
That’s a small gripe. This is easily the best competition trigger for the competition shooter on a budget or those who want a really nice trigger for their defensive or duty gun.
5. CMC Triggers AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group: Budget Competition Trigger
The CMC Triggers AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group provides the lightest trigger pull in this price range.
The pull weight is 2.5 pounds. There’s no trigger creep, and the reset is short and audible.
The drop-in trigger group is protected with a sturdy steel shroud. However, there is a tad bit of play in the entire trigger group when installed in the lower receiver. Some people have put a slice of foam under the trigger to eliminate the play.
This trigger is available with a curved shoe and with a flat shoe, to suit everyone’s tastes.
Even with the little bit of play, this is still the best option for those looking for the lightest possible trigger pull at the best price.
6. Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series: Lightest Mil-Spec Trigger
The Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series is a redesigned mil-spec trigger that achieves a much lighter trigger pull than traditional mil-spec triggers.
Hiperfire managed to get the trigger pull down to 3.5 pounds with their modified mil-spec design. However, the trigger still has a little of the trigger creep and overtravel of a mil-spec trigger. But it’s significantly less trigger creep than a standard mil-spec unit.
The reset is crisp, but not tremendously loud or tactile.
But the hammer strike is greatly improved over traditional mil-spec triggers. It’s one of the most positive primer strikes available.
The installation is a bit trickier than a standard-mil spec trigger, since HIperfire’s design has a couple extra parts. However, it’s just an additional couple of steps.
Those who want mil-spec reliability, a light trigger pull, and don’t mind a slight bit of mil-spec trigger movement will love this piece.
7. Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module: Best Drop-In Trigger
Timney does drop-in triggers better than just about anyone else. The Timney Drop-In Trigger Module boasts the best performance for the price of any drop-in module in this article.
This trigger comes with three pull weight springs: 3 pounds, 4 pounds, and 4.5 pounds. So you can choose the pull weight that’s best for your context. The only downside is that you have to take the unit out if you want to change the pull weight.
There’s no trigger creep and the reset is short, loud, and tactile.
Installation is easy. The springs can get in the way. However, Timney includes their own proprietary tool in the package that helps alleviate this issue.
Given the cost and quality, this is definitely the go-to trigger for those that want a one-size-fits-all drop-in trigger.
8. Triggertech TT-AR-15 Adjustable Trigger: Long Range Trigger
The Triggertech TT-AR-15 is a two-stage trigger. Two stage triggers are usually used for long range shooting. The two-stage design provides a steady trigger press, but takes some getting used to for rapid fire.
The trigger pull is adjustable from 2.5 pounds to 5 pounds, which makes this trigger viable for any shooting context, as long as you’ve got good two-stage trigger control.
But the trigger is adjustable while it’s in the receiver, which is convenient.
There’s no pretravel. The trigger goes straight into the first stage. However, there’s a tad bit of overtravel.
The reset is short and clean all the way back to the first stage, which is nice for slow fire.
This is definitely the trigger for shooters who want to push their accuracy at max range, but occasionally need to do some short range shooting with the same rifle.
9. Elftmann AR-15 3 Gun Trigger: 3-Gun Trigger
For 3 gun shooters, it doesn’t get much better than a trigger designed for 3 gun competition. The Elftmann AR-15 3 Gun Trigger is an adjustable, single-stage trigger designed for fast action shooting.
The trigger pull weight adjusts from 2.75 to 4 pounds. This is an excellent range for competition shooters. But some may find it a bit on the low side for defensive and duty guns.
There’s zero pretravel or trigger creep, and the break is incredibly crisp. The reset is very short and audible, but not so tactile.
This is a single-stage trigger, so it’s already good for rapid fire.
However, Elftmann uses double wound piano wire springs for extra low lockback times and even faster follow up shots.
The only trouble with this trigger is that the spring needs to break in a little bit to take advantage of the full pull weight adjustment range. New 3 Gun Triggers often only adjust down to 3 pounds or so.
But, with a little use, this can easily be the best trigger for 3 gun competitors who want the absolute fastest strings of fire.
10. Timney Calvin Elite: Most Adjustable Trigger
The Timney Calvin Elite was designed as the CEO’s personal trigger. Very few triggers offer more customization.
The trigger pull is set at 1.5 pounds. This is a true hair trigger, which is excellent for precision shooters and serious tactical competitors. But it’s too light for a defensive or duty rifle.
Where the Calvin Elite really shines is in the trigger adjustment options. It comes with four different trigger shoes, enough for any finger shape or preference. The length of pull and trigger length are both adjustable. So you can adjust this trigger to perfectly fit your hands.
As far as the pull goes, there’s zero trigger creep or pretravel and the break is amazingly crisp. There’s the tiniest bit of overtravel, but nearly unnoticeable. The reset is short and audible, though not tactile.
The only trouble is that all the adjustments are done with screws, which can easily loosen if you don’t use threadlocker on them.
Overall, this is the best trigger for high level precision shooters and tactical competitors who want a trigger that’s tailored to their hands.
A trigger is one of the best upgrades you can put on your rifle. The right trigger will make your rifle more comfortable and help you shoot better.
If you’re looking for a trigger that will enhance nearly any rifle at a super reasonable price, the Rise Armament AR-15 Super Sport is the way to go.
Competition and defensive shooters will find that this trigger makes their rifle a better platform for them.
Now that you’ve got a list of the best options for one of the best upgrades you can make to your rifle, get yourself a new trigger and step up your game.
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.