In the first of this series, I discussed the utility of the modern sporting rifle (specifically rifles built on the AR platform) as it relates to hunting. I also mentioned there were several areas of consideration I believed were important in ensuring the MSR we use is optimized for the task. The first of these (and perhaps the most important) is triggers.
The trigger is, to my mind, the most important component of the rifle when we are speaking of how we, as shooters, "integrate" ourselves to the weapon system. I'm not speaking strictly in terms of accuracy, though a great trigger will often enhance this metric. More so, the trigger is the vehicle by which we impart the "when" of the shot. The more repeatable the pull, both in terms of weight and consistency, the more predictable the shot. And as we know, the key to accuracy, both relating to the rifle and shooter, is the removal of variables. Or more simply, doing everything exactly the same every time.
So, how do we select a trigger for our hunting AR?
Triggers come in two primary "flavors": single-stage and two-stage. Without getting into the specifics of each, the key difference is the movement of the trigger. In a single-stage trigger, the first "movement" of the trigger initiates the release of the hammer. In a two-stage set up, you have some "take up" on the trigger before hitting what I refer to as the trigger wall. Then, additional pressure on the trigger initiates another heavier pull, resulting in the release of the hammer. I know there is a ton of technical jargon I could use to explain each system. . .but I'm a simple man and I suspect you'd rather the layman's explanation.
While there are several great companies out there making high quality single-stage triggers, I don't favor them for hunting applications. Actually, I don't favor them on any guns designed for any application NOT solely involving punching paper. I like the forgiveness of a two-stage trigger as it relates to all of the variables one might encounter during hunting, tactical operations, or competition. The first of the two stages of the trigger (the easy first pull) is a bit more forgiving if the shooter is adrenalized, wearing gloves, has a numb or stiff trigger finger (due to the cold), or any of the other myriad variables present in these types of scenarios. The weapon is less likely to surprise the shooter (in a bad way) with a shot earlier than expected. Now, I'll readily admit there are a ton of shooters out there who put in a ton of time on their single-stage weapon systems. I'm sure I'll get heated replies questioning my familial heritage, sexual orientation, and toilet paper preference. As I've said, these blogs are a collection of my opinion. So if you disagree, good. And also, tough.
Trigger pull, to me, is a less important metric of a great trigger than how "cleanly" the trigger pulls. I'm talking about creep. I'll take a heavier trigger with a Vaseline-on-glass smoothness of pull long before I'll accept one that is under two pounds but feels like I'm dragging my five year old son by his hair over gravel. By the way, I wouldn't do that. . .so please don't call Child & Protective Services. I'm waxing eloquent. Give me a break.
So, I guess the logical question is this: What trigger(s) do I recommend for hunting AR's?
Personally, I run the Geissele Super Dynamic - Enhanced (SD-E) on my personal and shop hunting AR's.
It has a first stage pull weight of 2.3 pounds and a second stage weight of 1.3 pounds. The flat bow of the trigger imparts more control (I believe). The whole set up drops directly in to any mil-spec AR rifle (both AR-15 and the larger format AR-10).
Geissele also offers the same type of trigger with a curved bow (the Super Semi-Automatic Enhanced or SSA-E) if you are hung up on running a flat trigger. Either way, Geissele has been my go-to trigger brand for years.
A high quality, reliable, repeatable trigger is my first focus when I'm building a dedicated hunting rifle.
More to follow. . .hang in there for Part #3.