Big comparison of triggers for the AR platform: Geissele, Hiperfire, JP Enterprise, MAK, Timney and Triggertec – How do they perform?

Example: this is how far the lower receiver has to be disassembled to replace the trigger. The trigger in the picture is the MAKtrigger DRS.

Nowadays, the range of AR match triggers on offer is almost overwhelming. The market is broadly set up on single- and double-stage triggers or special trigger groups for the increasingly popular AR-based 9mm PCCs (pistol caliber carbines) in a wide variety of designs. Many manufacturers such as JP Enterprises, MAK, Timney or Triggertech offer particularly easy-to-install "drop-in" triggers, i.e. trigger groups encased in a housing, some of which can also be adjusted from the outside when the AR is opened. Other tuning triggers, such as those from Geissele or Hiperfire, are supplied as individual components – installation requires more skill. All match triggers significantly reduce the trigger pull weight, and the much better trigger characteristics make it easier to achieve tight target groupings. Match triggers usually have a lower hammer strike power, which can sometimes lead to functional problems, especially in rimfire actions. We have tested this for you.

Tuning the trigger on the AR: trigger pull weight and characteristics

On the left, the Geissele trigger with the interchangeable spring kits, on the right the Hiperfire trigger and on the bottom right a standard trigger. In the center, "anti-walk pins" from J.P. and Strike Industries and a J.P Reduced Power spring kit. The Hiperfire and Geissele triggers are not "drop-in" versions, i.e. they consist of individual parts. The use of locked pins is particularly recommended for drop-in triggers.

Probably the cheapest way to get started with trigger tuning is to purchase and install an "AR-15 Reduced Power Spring Kit" for €25.90 from US specialist JP Enterprises, which also manufactures excellent complete guns and many other tuning parts. The kit significantly reduces the pull weight of a standard trigger to around 1,600 grams. In addition, the sears can be polished a little to improve the characteristics. However, we have found that this measure does not have the required durability because the trigger parts are not hard enough. A proper tuning trigger may tear a comparatively large hole in your wallet, but it is money well spent.

The installation of so-called "anti-walk" pins is also recommended, especially for "drop-in" triggers. The original fixing pins of the trigger group, which are not additionally locked, can "walk" out during continuous use, which can lead to malfunctions. According to Murphy's law, this naturally happens in competition. The "anti walk" pins from companies such as J.P. Enterprises or CMC are usually screwed in and retain their position permanently. The manufacturer Strike Industries offers a variant in which the pins are secured with retaining clips (price: around 24 euros). However, we found the clip play to be too great, so that the entire trigger group had a minimal, yet noticeable play when the trigger was pulled. That didn't convince us.

Single-stage trigger versus double-stage trigger: these are the differences in triggers for the AR-15

The single-stage (or direct) trigger is crisp with the entire weight in front of it. In our opinion, this type of trigger is the first choice for dynamic disciplines where fast, precise shot strings are required. Those who practice static precision target disciplines can also take a look at double-stage triggers. With this type of trigger, part of the slack is already taken up in the first stage, a few millimetres in advance, in order to then overcome the rest of the pull resistance in the second stage until the shot is released. In the end, it is a question of use and personal preference.

A range of AR drop-in triggers from U.S. pioneer Timney. The PCC trigger group for 9mm pistol caliber carbines (below) is supplied with a steel clip that is mounted under the trigger and prevents the screw heads inside the receiver from being pushed off.

Timney Competition, Impact & PCC Triggers (Distributor: Ferkinghoff International)

The U.S. pioneer in the field of match triggers for different gun platforms has ten different models for AR-10s/AR-15s in its catalog. If all variants are taken into account, there are even fifteen triggers. All of them are drop-in single- or double-stage designs and, with the exception of the DH3 model, they are not adjustable. The trigger blades are available in either curved or straight form and the Calvin Elite model has a fully adjustable trigger shoe. We took a close look at three AR-15 direct triggers, Curved, Impact and 681, the latter being designed for PCCs. Apart from the Impact trigger, which did not work in the rimfire gun, there were no other functional problems in any of the test guns. The relatively narrow, angular trigger blade on the inexpensive Timney Impact Trigger was noticeable because it is not so pleasant to the touch during continuous use on the shooting range. You can find out more about Timney triggers from the manufacturer or from the German importer and dealer, Ferkinghoff International.

Geissele Hi-Speed National Match triggers for AR-10 / AR-15

The U.S. manufacturer has no fewer than 21 AR-10/AR-15 triggers in its catalog. They are all made up of individual components and cover a wide range from single- and double-stage triggers to the fully adjustable Hi-Speed National Match model. It was precisely the latter trigger that we scrutinised. The trigger pull weight can be adjusted from 826 to 2,951 grams with two additional spring kits included in the scope of delivery. With this trigger, it is also possible to fine-tune the trigger overtravel after release using an adjustment screw when installed. The trigger is preset at the factory and changes to this setting should only be made if you have the necessary knowledge. The trigger also had problems with the rimfire rifle in the test: not all cartridges fired reliably. More information is available from the manufacturer Geissele.

Made in Germany: the young MAKtrigger DRS drop-in trigger comes in a solid plastic box with a polished pin and operating instructions.

MAKtrigger DRS – fully adjustable and rugged

The German company MAK surprised us this year with an AR drop-in trigger that can be adjusted as a double-stage and direct trigger when installed. All relevant components are manufactured in-house, only the standard parts (screws, springs) are bought in, which speaks in favour of MAK's very high level of vertical integration. The trigger in the hard-anodised 7075-T6 aluminium housing for the AR-10/AR-15 platform is also suitable for PCCs and rimfire rifles. It is available with a straight, smooth or curved, serrated trigger blade and is adjustable in a pull weight range of 1,100 to 3,000 grams. The trigger pull weight, travel and reset can be adjusted from the outside when installed using adjustment screws. In addition, the MAKtrigger DRS can also be switched from single  to double stage when installed. A small window in the housing makes the minimal blade overlap visible. According to the manufacturer, the trigger has withstood an endurance test with 20,000 releases without any significant wear, as well as drop and climate tests (down to -50°C). The new MAK trigger worked flawlessly in all test guns. This trigger can also be improved by polishing the sears. You can buy the MAKtrigger online directly from MAK or from well-stocked specialist retailers.

The fire control center of the new MAKtrigger DRS with the four externally accessible adjusting screws.

AR triggers from Timney, Geissele and MAK: here you can find all specs and prices

Manufacturer:Timney CompetitionTimney ImpactTimney PCCGeisseleMAK
Manufacturer's description:#667 (ST)Impact AR (ST)#681 (ST)Hi-Speed National MatchTrigger DRS
Type:Drop-InDrop-InDrop-InIndividual partsDrop-In
Trigger System:Single StageSingle StageSingle Stage2-StageSingle/2-Stage
Trigger Pull Weight:


1,362 g


1,589 g


1,362 g

3 spring kits

which are additionally adjustable

1,362-2,315 g

862-1,543 g

Minimum: 2,043 g

Externally adjustable
pull weight from

1,100-3,000 g

Measured Trigger Pull Weight (Average of 5 Measurements):1,320 g1,570 g1,504 g1,359 g1,362 g
Reset (mm):Not specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedAdjustableAdjustable
Overtravel (mm):Not specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedAdjustableAdjustable
Trigger Blade:Curved/straightCurved/straightCurved/straightCurvedCurved/straight
Rifle Type:AR-15/10AR-159mm/.40/.45 AR PCC AR-15/10AR-15/10/Rimfire/.338
Works in 9mm and
Rimfire Rifles:
YesDid not work in the rimfire actionYes

No safe ignition in the

rimfire action, strike power too low

Remarks:Proven fixed single-stage trigger in 2 further versions (1,816 and 2,043 g) availableFavourable Timney trigger; unfortunately did not work in the rimfire action, trigger blade narrow and sharp-edgedSpecial Timney PCC versionAdjustable 2-stage trigger, unfortunately no safe ignition in the rimfire actionNew, fully adjustable trigger "Made in Germany", reset, overtravel are adjustable. Can be set as single or 2-stage
Price: 290 euro approx.200 euro approx.329 euro approx.384 euro approx.380 euro approx.

Triggertech Diamond Single & Two Stage triggers

We selected a "Single Stage" and a "Two Stage" trigger for testing purposes from the Canadian manufacturer's comparatively manageable range, which offers six drop-in triggers in direct or double-stage configuration for AR rifles. They are available either with a fixed factory setting or as externally adjustable designs (681 to 2,497 grams) with curved or straight trigger blades. The adjustment is made via a set screw with detents in the rear area of the housing. The detent mechanism has two main advantages: you get direct feedback on how much you are adjusting and the self-locking mechanism minimises the risk of unintentional adjustment. A special feature of all Triggertech triggers is the so-called "Zero Creep Technology". The triggers are not operated by the friction of two surfaces sliding against each other, as the designers have inserted a steel roller between the sliding surfaces. This should almost completely eliminate creep. We opted for the Diamond Trigger with short double-stage characteristics, which should behave similarly to a 1911 pistol trigger. The trigger with a short pre-travel has an adjustable pull weight of 681 to 1,816 grams. We also ordered one of the brand new Zero Creep direct triggers from the Diamond series, which can be adjusted from 681 to 1,681 grams. Both triggers have a very short reset and overtravel. Both triggers performed convincingly in all test guns with 100% reliability; even in the rimfire action with a set trigger pull weight of 700 grams there were no problems whatsoever. Additional information on Triggertech triggers is available on the manufacturer's website.

Hiperfire Hipertouch Eclipse triggers

The Hipertouch Hiperfire Eclipse trigger with the second spring kit allows for different trigger pull weights.

The U.S. manufacturer has quickly gained popularity compared to companies that have been on the market for longer. It has 18 different AR triggers in its catalog, with drop-in triggers in the PDI series, while the rest of the product portfolio consists of trigger units as individual components. We chose the Hipertouch Eclipse model for testing. This is a first-class crisp, single-stage trigger with a straight blade and height-adjustable plastic trigger shoe. It is adjustable from 1,135 to 1,589 grams with a second set of springs. Thanks to its two hammer springs, it has enough power to always guarantee a safe shot release. The trigger worked 100% reliably in all our test guns. To find out more about the trigger, visit the Hiperfire website.

JP Fire Control Module Curved Trigger

In addition to the U.S. manufacturer's high-quality complete guns, company founder and pioneer John Paul is also known worldwide for his high-quality tuning components, such as the weight-reduced "Low Mass" Operating System or the round aluminum or carbon fiber handguards. We have selected the fine drop-in direct trigger with safety selector, oversized anti-walk pins and two spring kits (1,500 and 2,000 grams). The housing is made of stainless steel and the interchangeable trigger blade is available in straight, curved and roller form. Color can also be added, as the straight and curved trigger shoes are also available in silver, red or blue. In combination with the "Reduced Power Spring Kit", the trigger breaks crystal clear at around 1,300 grams with a short reset. The trigger pull weight can be further optimised by polishing the sears. Unfortunately, the trigger did not always fire reliably in the rimfire rifle. Additional information on the JP Fire Control Trigger is available on the tmanufacturer's website.

All technical specs and prices: AR triggers from Triggertech, Hiperfire and JP Fire

TriggertechTriggertechHiperfireJP Fire Control Module
Manufacturer's description:
Drop-InDrop-InIndividual partsDrop-In
Trigger System:
2-StageSingle StageSingle StageSingle Stage
Trigger Pull Weight:

Adjustable from the outside;  681-1,816 g

Adjustable from the outside; 681-1,816 g

2 spring kits; 1,135 and 1,600 g

2 spring kits; 1,500 and 2,000 grams

Measured Trigger Pull Weight (Average of 5 Measurements):
1,053 g1,068 g1,076 g1,294 g
Reset (mm):
0.7620.762Not specifiedNot specified
Overtravel (mm):
0.3810.381Not specifiedNot specified
Trigger blade:
Curved/straightCurved/straightStraight with shoeCurved/straight
Rifle Type:
Works in 9mm and Rimfire Rifles:Yes, even at 700 g in the rimfire rifleYes, even at 700 g in the rimfire rifleYes

No safe ignition in the

imfire rifle, strike power too low

2-stage trigger with short 1st stage and the characteristics of a 1911 pistol trigger, very finely adjustable with extremely short reset and overtravelNew single-stage trigger very finely adjustable with extremely short reset and overtravelProven match trigger with double spring, reliable function especially in the rimfire rifle
Crisp single-stage trigger. Supplied as a module with safety and anti-walk pins
400 euro approx. 400 euro approx. 385 euro approx. 425 euro approx.

How we tested the AR-15 triggers

All triggers were tested by us in AR-15 platforms/interchangeable actions in .223 Remington, 9mm Luger and .22 Long Rifle calibers. The adjustable triggers were set to a pull weight of 1,000 to 1,300 grams. The triggers with optional spring sets were always fitted with the lowest power spring set for the test. The triggers were then installed in the various actions one after the other and tested in live fire. The measured trigger values and trigger specs can be found in the tables.

For continuous use in rimfire AR rifles, we can only recommend triggers with a non-beveled hammer due to the firing pin being offset from center. Here is a comparison of the MAK trigger without bevel.

Be careful with tuning triggers in rimfire rifles: only Timney (Competition and PCC), MAK, Triggertech and Hiperfire worked

As can already be seen from the tables, users planning to install a new trigger in their .22 LR AR should exercise caution. Due to the technical differences, not every trigger works in rimfire self-loaders. In our test, the triggers from Timney (Competition and PCC), MAK, Triggertech and Hiperfire worked reliably. The Timney Impact and the triggers from Geissele and JP Fire Control Module did not function reliably.

Alternative triggers for the AR platform: our test conclusion

Before making a purchase, you should decide for yourself whether you prefer a single- or double-stage trigger, although nowadays there are also hybrid models (e.g. from MAK) that can do both. Then you need to decide whether you want a fixed or user-adjustable trigger group. In practice, the models with a short reset and overtravel clearly have their advantages, especially in dynamic disciplines with fast firing strings. Special triggers are available for the 9mm AR pistol caliber carbines (mainly blowback actions). For continuous use in rimfire rifles, we can only recommend triggers without a beveled hammer, as is the case with the new MAKtrigger DRS, for example, due to the firing pin being offset from center.

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