Guns

AR-15 Trigger Jobs: What Are They & How To Do Them

The trigger is one of the most essential components of any firearm, and the AR-15 is no exception. A trigger job is a process of improving the pull of a firearm, often leading to better accuracy and faster follow-up shots. It’s fairly easy to tell when you need a trigger job, as a gritty or creeping trigger is tell-tale signs thereof. 

Performing a trigger job consists primarily of two steps: polishing the trigger parts and lightening the trigger pull. In this guide, we’ll show you how to perform a trigger job. We also explain what equipment you’ll need for the job. Finally, we discuss the two main types of triggers, the differences between mil-spec and binary triggers, and analyze the parts of the lower receiver.

AR-15 Trigger Job


What Is An AR-15 Trigger Job?

An AR 15 trigger job is a process of improving your rifle’s trigger pull. You can do this through a polish job on the trigger, hammer, and disconnector. Alternatively, you can lighten the trigger pull weight.

While a trigger job isn’t a necessity, it can become one when the trigger pull becomes heavy or gritty. Ultimately, a trigger job can lead to a smoother trigger pull, a shorter reset, and a more consistent trigger pull.


How Can You Tell You Need A Trigger Job?

As mentioned, if you experience trigger creep, a gritty or heavy trigger pull, or even if you are having trouble with follow-up shots, it might be worthwhile to consider a trigger job. Additionally, trigger jobs can be done to improve the accuracy of your shooting – I routinely perform trigger jobs on my competition AR-15s.


How To Perform An AR-15 Trigger Job

Performing a trigger job is fairly straightforward. Below are the necessary steps to perform an AR-15 trigger job.

  1. Polish The Trigger
  2. Polish The Hammer
  3. Polish The Disconnector
  4. Lighten The Trigger Pull Weight

AR15 Trigger Job


1) Polish The Trigger

You want to start by removing the trigger from the lower receiver. I like to use fine-grit sandpaper or even a polishing compound to smooth out any rough edges originating from wear and tear. It is important that you be meticulous, as this step greatly affects the trigger’s feel.


2) Polish The Hammer

Next, it’s the hammer’s turn. Remove the hammer and polish its surfaces to reduce friction and ensure a cleaner break. Make sure you reach every nook and cranny – debris has a tendency to accumulate on the hammer.


3) Polish The Disconnector

Follow the same procedure for the disconnector. Polish it carefully to improve its function and minimize friction.


4) Lighten The Trigger Pull Weight

After you’ve finished the polishing steps, you can adjust the trigger to a lighter pull. This can be done by replacing or modifying the hammer and trigger springs, sear engagement surfaces, and trigger components. This shouldn’t be taken lightly; consult with your local gunsmith for advice on your specific AR trigger and how to adjust the trigger spring using the proper equipment before performing this step.


What Equipment Do You Need To Perform An AR-15 Trigger Job?

If you’re confident that you can perform an AR-15 trigger job, you’ll need a couple of tools. For starters, you will need gunsmithing screwdrivers, fine-grit sandpaper, polishing compounds, a trigger pull gauge, and trigger replacement parts. Even the best AR15 rifles can benefit from a proper trigger job.

You must have the right equipment for your specific trigger type, ensuring a safe and effective trigger job.


What Are The Main Types Of AR-15 Triggers?

There are two main types of AR-15 triggers – a single-stage and a two-stage trigger. Single-stage triggers have a consistent trigger pull weight throughout the entire pull. In comparison, two-stage triggers have a lighter first stage and a heavier second stage.

In addition to these two types of AR triggers, you also get variants of them, such as MIL Spec triggers and Binary Triggers.


How To Choose Between MIL-Spec vs Binary Triggers?

A Mil-Spec trigger is the standard trigger that comes with most AR-15 rifles. It is a pretty decent trigger with reasonable durability and reliability. Still, I prefer a custom trigger with a reduced power trigger spring, offering lighter strikes than the standard mil-spec trigger.

Binary triggers are something completely different. This type of trigger almost makes your AR feel like an automatic rifle by allowing for a second shot to be fired when the trigger is released and when it is pulled. They are faster than MIL-Spec triggers, but they tend to be more expensive.


What Parts Are Included In AR Lower Receiver Group?

The AR lower receiver group is an intricate part of the AR. The AR-15 parts included in the lower receiver group include the following:

  • Lower receiver – The physical base for all your lower receiver additions.
  • Trigger – The lever you use to fire a round.
  • Hammer – The part that strikes the firing pin. Includes the hammer spring.
  • Disconnector – Ensures semi-automatic firing
  • Trigger spring – Control the trigger’s resistance (we replace this to adjust the trigger pull.
  • Buffer tube – Ensures smooth cycling of the bolt carrier group.
  • Buttstock – It is the part you place against your shoulder.
  • Magazines – Holds the ammo that feeds into the chamber of the AR-15.

Is The AR-Trigger A Part Of The Lower Receiver Group?

Yes, the AR trigger is part of the lower receiver group. Therefore, it is heavily regulated, and proper licensing and legislation are required before purchasing any trigger or modification.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a trigger job improve the performance of an AR-15's trigger mechanism?

Absolutely! A trigger job can make the AR-15 trigger mechanism run smoother, consequently improving the performance of the trigger mechanism.

Are trigger jobs common for AR-15s?

Yes, while trigger jobs are not common for general AR-15s, such as those used for self-defense, most competitive shooters and hunters perform trigger jobs to optimize their trigger mechanism to increase its performance.

The Bottom Line

An AR-15 trigger job can be a great way to improve your rifle’s performance. It can ensure a smoother trigger pull, a shorter reset, and a more consistent trigger pull weight. I would first advise you to polish the trigger, hammer, and disconnector before opting for lightening the trigger pull weight, as the latter requires specialized equipment and expertise. Ultimately, with the right equipment and a little bit of know-how, you can perform an AR-15 trigger job yourself and take your shooting to the next level.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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