Best AR-15 Trigger for the money: 2019 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Finding the best AR 15 trigger for the money can be a challenge. That's because there is a wide array of them on the market. But how do you which one is the best one for you?

CMC Trigger

CMC trigger

In this article, we've hand-picked the best available. One of these may become your next AR-15 trigger. If you're in the market for a new trigger, pay close attention as you go through each one as one of them might match your personal needs and what you look for in terms of features or benefits.

Best AR-15 Trigger for the money reviews

CMC Triggers AR-15 Trigger

CMC Triggers AR-15 Trigger

Our first trigger to review is the CMC Triggers. This is a self-contained, drop-in trigger. This promises to deliver reliable, consistent, tactical grade performance without compromising quality. This trigger is a screwless, non-adjustable design allows you quick and easy installation on your rifle. This is equipped with full-strength rocket wire springs that ensures fast lock time and reliable discharge. Factory or military ammo? No problem.

One of the things that should be pointed out is that the trigger is not contained with a CNC machined housing. Instead, it used sheet metal that is bent into shape. But it still is considered one of the best triggers that gives you a quick, efficient shot every time you pull it. The trigger comes in two models, flat and curved.

Main Features:

  • Tolerances of +/- .001” for all engagement surfaces.
  • Hammer, trigger, pins, and disconnector made with high-grade quality materials for superior durability.
  • Housed in high-grade stainless steel.
  • Equipped with full-strength rocket wire springs for fast lock-times and reliable discharge for most factory and military ammo.

Pros:

  • Very small amount of creep was reported by some users.
  • Very light trigger pull.
  • Less tension than factory-made triggers.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers complained about the housing bowing out a bit after some use.
  • Reset tends to be a bit awkward for some users.
  • One reviewer complained about part of the trigger being loose and nothing being able to hold it in place.

The Bottom Line

If you want a trigger that doesn’t require a lot of weight and pressure, the CMC might be your best choice for a best AR 15 drop in trigger . It’s easy to install and won’t give you a single hint of creep. If creep is the last thing you want to deal with, the CMC won’t steer you wrong.

Check out Jeremy S.'s review of it too:


ALG Defense AR-15 Enhanced Military Style Triggers

ALG Defense AR-15 Enhanced Military Style Triggers

Next, we dive into the ALG Defense line of AR-15 triggers. This is a type of trigger for those that want the stock setup, but want a smoother feel to go along with. This military-style trigger is a mil-spec trigger designed for smooth operation. And to ensure that, the trigger is coated and polished in nickel boron. One of the best AR 15 trigger under 100 dollars on the market.

The polishing also reduces the pull weight to about 6.5 pounds. That is much lighter than your usual stock trigger. The key word here is smooth. And that’s what you’ll pretty much expect with a trigger like the ALG Defense.

This trigger is available in two versions: QMS (Quality Mil-Spec) and ACT (ALG Combat Trigger). One of the distinct differences is the pull weight. The ACT has a pull weight that is a half pound less than the QMS version. For this review, we’re going to stick with the QMS version. But both versions function almost the same way.

Yes, there might be no worse thing in the world than a stock AR-15 trigger that initially comes with your gun. But ALG Defense makes its money by giving you a more smoother version of a stock trigger. You’ll often say to yourself that this is the kind of trigger that your gun manufacturer should have installed in the first place.

Main Features:

  • Hammer and trigger pins made from heat-treated chrome-moly steel.
  • Coated and polished in nickel boron.
  • QMS trigger pull weight is 6.5 pounds.

Pros:

  • A considerable improvement compared to regular stock triggers.
  • Minimal to no creep was reported by some reviewers.
  • Easy to install without the use of any extra tools.

Cons:

  • Upon initial use, it may catch you off guard. So, go slow during your first use.
  • Some reviewers complained about the slightest bit of creep that came with the trigger.
  • The trigger pull weight may cause trigger finger fatigue during extended shooting sessions.

The Bottom Line

It’s no secret that no one would be satisfied with a stand-alone stock trigger. ALG Defense had these people in mind when they designed this type of trigger. Sure, people like the setup and feel of a stock trigger. But the way it functions is not the greatest. That is, if they don’t have an ALG Defense trigger equipped. If you want a smoother, easier to install stock-style trigger for your AR-15, you can never go wrong with the ALG Defense.


Rise Armament AR-15 Super Sport Trigger

RISE ARMAMENT - AR-15 SUPER SPORT TRIGGER

Next, we take a look at the Super Sport Trigger from Rise Armament. Some say that this is one of the best trigger for AR 15 on the market. But is it for all the right reasons? Let’s read on. For one, the trigger pull is a light 3.5 pounds. So, for extended shooting sessions, there a less likely chance that your trigger finger will get tired.

This trigger is crafted from heat treated tool steel and aluminum to ensure that your trigger doesn't get too hot after rapid firing. If you're looking for a trigger that has nearly no trigger creep and very little overtravel, you may be happy with the Rise Armament. Overall, the trigger performance lives up to the price you'll pay for. Because this is a drop-in trigger, the installation will be easy. This is what you consider a do it all kind of trigger. So if you have a mil-spec trigger and currently considering an upgrade, it's worth giving the Rise Armament a look.

Main Features:

  • Crafted from precision CNC machined high-quality heat-treated tool steel and aluminum.
  • Provides 3.5 pounds of trigger pull.
  • Lightweight, weighs 2.3 ounces.

Pros:

  • Less creep than most triggers.
  • Installation was a breeze for most of its users.
  • Clean, crisp break and a nice reset.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers have complained about the install process. Some have had a hard time knowing if the screws were tight enough.
  • One reviewer on the Brownells sight said that if you mess with the lower hammer and the safety at the same time, the hammer may not reset.
  • Some have reported disconnector failure.

The Bottom Line

This is a trigger that will give you more bang for your buck (no pun intended). But it will give you quite an upgrade compared to a mil-spec trigger. Name one that comes off the top of your head and there’s a good chance that the Rise Armament will win out against it. If you want a change from those types of triggers, you might like the Rise Armament.


Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series Trigger

Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series Trigger

Hiperfire has gained a reputation in making good quality AR-15 triggers. Can the same be said for their EDT series triggers? You be the judge. One thing to keep in mind is that the EDT and the EDT 2 both have trigger pull weights around 4.5 pounds. While the EDT design does not have the additional spring cam that is equipped on other Hiperfire triggers, it does retain the other features.

The Hiperfire has an improved sear alignment for that flat crisp trigger feeling. It also comes with a mass-centered hammer that ensures faster lock time and a hammer fall energy that is higher than normal. The EDT has an open disconnector channel, which will allow the disconnector to clean itself from debris. In particular, it is a part of the trigger that normally deals with “gunk” buildup. The rear of the trigger has an upsweep design to prevent potential interference from something like a primer or other debris that may somehow end up in the trigger assembly.

As far as installation goes, this and other Hiperfire triggers won’t require you to remove the safety selector. If you can get your existing trigger out without removing parts altogether, the installation of the EDT will be a breeze.

The EDT is a trigger that is best designed for those in law enforcement and the military that want a trigger that has to meet certain requirements. In fact, it is approved by NRA Match and meets law enforcement and military standards.

Main Features:

  • 4.5-pound trigger pull weight.
  • Crafted from heat-treated alloy steels.
  • Installs easily without the removal of the safety selector.

Pros:

  • No trigger creep to speak of.
  • The pull weight is excellent for defensive and duty AR-15s.
  • Reset click is audible so you know it’s reset.

Cons:

  • The reset is somewhat long.
  • One reviewer said there may have been a little creep and minimal hammer drop.
  • Some users say the installation may be a bit of a challenge.

The Bottom Line

The Hiperfire continues to manufacture good quality triggers. And if you are looking for a trigger for a law enforcement or military style AR-15, this may be the right trigger for that. One of the major standouts is how the disconnector can clean itself of the debris and gunk that can build up in the trigger assembly. So if you want a trigger where cleaning it is not so much an effort, get the Hiperfire EDT.


Elftmann AR-15 SE Trigger Curved

Elftmann AR-15 SE Trigger Curved

This is a trigger for those who are looking for the best AR-15 trigger but tend to be on a budget. This type of trigger has a competition-grade trigger pull that has a rest that's very short, tactical, and audible. Some users have said that the break is extremely crisp. The pull weight is approximately 3.5 pounds. This is the perfect pull weight if you happen to be using your AR-15 for competition purposes.

This is also an acceptable trigger for defensive and duty guns. This is also a drop-in trigger, so the installation will be easy. However, you should apply threadlocker to the two screws that remove any play. Without the threadlocker applied, the screws will easily come loose.

Elftmann has created a reputation for making quality triggers by providing the best in craftsmanship and a superb customer service team. Not bad for someone who wants to get a trigger for an AR-15 without breaking the bank.

Main Features:

  • 3.5-pound non-adjustable pull weight.
  • Absolutely Drop-Safe.
  • Double wound hammer spring.

Pros:

  • Fits any mil-spec AR-15.
  • Very short pull and reset will help you get your shot off quicker and with more accuracy.
  • Made of lightweight, aircraft aluminum. So it’s guaranteed to be very sturdy.

Cons:

  • One reviewer said there was a little bit of trigger creep.
  • Screws may come loose if not applied with a threadlocker.
  • One reviewer said that sanding may be needed for the trigger housing.

The Bottom Line

Of course, there are those reading these reviews wondering if there is an AR-15 trigger that they can get without breaking the bank. So if you’re one of those kinds of people, you’ll be happy to know that the Elftmann is one of the options available. Even if you have some breathing room in terms of money, this is a pretty good trigger if you plan on using your AR-15 for competition purposes or if you just want to get a shot off quickly.

Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series Trigger

Hiperfire AR-15 Hipertouch Series Trigger

For this review, we revisit the Hiperfire brand. This trigger offers three variations: sharpshooter, designated marksman, and heavy gunner. All three are similar and each has small variations. Of all three, the designated marksman has the most obvious difference. The trigger has a semi-flat bow, while the top of it is designed for a more stressful situation in which a "hair" trigger can be dangerous to use. The bottom trigger is used for a situation when a more precise shot is warranted.

If you want a trigger that has a light pull, but with plenty of hammer "oomph", then you might be happy with the Hipertouch. The dual coil springs across the top of the trigger reduce friction on the sear. At the same time, it increases hammer striking power that is 35% more powerful compared to most "mil-spec" triggers. It's a trigger like this that is designed to give you a considerable improvement on your shot as well as your timing, control, and even your confidence in hitting the target dead on each time.

The hammer strike has improved considerably over traditional mil-specs and is considered one of the more positive primer strikes available on the market today. However, if you want the reliability of a mil-spec and doesn’t mind a bit of mil-spec trigger movement, the Hiperfire is a good trigger to have.

Main Features:

  • Two interchangeable hammer springs.
  • 3.5-pound trigger pull weight.
  • Hard, positive hammer strike.

Pros:

  • Of all the mil-spec designs, this has the lightest trigger pull available.
  • Hammer strike is incredibly strong.
  • Reset is very short and very crisp.

Cons:

  • Some slight creep and overtravel have been reported by some users.
  • The installation may be challenging for some. So a little bit of patience is required.

The Bottom Line

Once again, Hiperfire proves itself to be one of the more reliable brands for AR-15 triggers. If you want a short reset and a trigger that is light on the pull, but strong on the hammer strike, you’ll absolutely love the Hipertouch model. This is perfect if you’re using an AR-15 for competition purposes. At this point, you’re probably thinking this: the lighter the pull weight, the better you can quickly get a shot off. If you think that, you’re absolutely right.


Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe

Timney AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Module Solid Shoe

If there is one brand that can be considered the best when it comes to drop-in triggers, then Timney may be that brand to contend with such a title. As such with other drop-in triggers, the Timney is easy to install. According to one reviewer on his blog, all you have to do is drop that puppy into your receiver and you should be good to go. Of course, there will probably be a few that might consider the installation process a challenge.

What’s even great about this trigger is that this comes in three pull weight springs: 3 pounds, 4 pounds, and 4.5 pounds. So you can choose the weight that best fits you perfectly. At this point, you can’t find any other trigger that can do that. With other triggers, the pull weight is pretty much set to what it is. Some are 3 pounds, others are 4 or more pounds.

But the Timney might just be your trigger of choice if you want something that will allow you to adjust the weight. So if you hate the 4-pound pull weight, you can always adjust it to something less. Now that's convenience.

Main Features:

  • Three adjustable pull weights: 3 pounds, 3.5 pounds, and 4 pounds.
  • Created with durable materials to make it super strong.
  • Easy to install.

Pros:

  • According to some users, the reset is excellent.
  • Changing the pull weight is a convenient feature for users.
  • Very easy to install.

Cons:

  • While the weight adjustments are great, you’ll need to remove the trigger in order to do that.
  • Not an ideal trigger for tactical weapons or AR-15s.

The Bottom Line

Timney is probably another brand that a lot of AR-15 owners will swear by. The major feature of this is the adjustable pull weight. Of course, having to take the trigger out to make the adjustments is something that just comes with the territory. All you'll need to do is set it to your desired weight and forget it. It's not like you have to adjust it ever so often. Other than that, the rest is great. And the installation process is as easy as it gets. If this is getting your wheels turning, you'll probably like this trigger.


Things To Consider Before Choosing The Best AR-15 Trigger

Of course, you can’t pick the best AR-15 trigger on a whim and call is good. You’ll need to make your decision the best one you’ve made based on some of the other factors. Here’s what some buyers look for when it comes to finding a trigger for an AR-15:

Single Stage or Two-Stage?

The first aspect to consider is which “stage” trigger is best for you. AR-15 triggers come in two of these stages: single stage or two-stage. With a single stage, you get a shorter take up and reset. This is perfect for quick snap shooting. A two-stage has longer take up. This is the perfect trigger for tense situations and is less likely to double due to inadvertent bump firing.

Material And Machining Process

The important thing to note is that these triggers are made with various materials. These are used for such elements like casings and the hammer. The blending of the metals doesn't even matter. For example, you have a casing that is made from AISI 8620 steel. The hammer is made from AISI 4620 steel. The 8620 has more manganese while the 4620 has more nickel.

If you’re looking for a mil-spec trigger, one thing to note is that they are investment cast. This is a method that creates complicated metal parts at scale. Also, keep in mind that brands like Timney use other materials. They make their triggers out of S7 tool steel. That can be a great option if you care more about the material the trigger is made out of.

There are a ton of options out there, so it’s important to do your due diligence on some of the materials that are available to manufacture these triggers.

Installation

For those who want to spend less time with the installation process, most AR-15 triggers that are available are known as “drop-ins”. One of the main advantages of a drop-in trigger is that they are easier to install. There is no need for any gunsmithing or specialized skill for installation.

One disadvantage with most drop-in triggers is that trigger pull weight is non-adjustable. The pull weight is made at the decision of the manufacturer and is typically fixed with a thread locker.


Conclusion

Finding the best AR-15 trigger doesn’t have to be a challenge. Of course, there are so many of them available on the market. Before making your choice, it comes down to some of the factors and your personal needs. If one of these seven triggers stands out as one of your favorites, you might just give it a whirl yourself. You should also remember what you intend to use your AR-15 for. Whether it’s for competition or hunting, you want your AR-15 to perform at its best. Investing in a good trigger is one of those steps to take.

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