Best Overall: Geissele Automatics AR-15/M16/308 AR Trigger
The Geissele Automatics Trigger may be expensive, but you also get what you pay for. This trigger is of a two stage design with a light four and a half pound and two and a half pound weights respectively. There is also virtually no grit or creep in the trigger travel either, which helps lend to a much easier shooting experience.
Best Budget Pick: JP Enterprises AR Adjustable Trigger System
The JP Enterprises is a fully adjustable AR-10 trigger. It can be lowered to as little as 3.5 pounds, which makes it significantly lighter than most comparable AR-10 triggers on the market. And while it can be a little stiff to adjust, the fact that you can adjust it in the first place should make it a very appealing option to most shooters.
Best Value Pick: Timney 308 AR Drop-In Trigger Module
The Timney 308 AR Drop-In Trigger Module is an overall excellent value thanks to its durable S7 and A2 steel construction, drop-in design, and single stage design with a 4 pound weight that makes it very easy to shoot.
One of the best things about the AR-10, and the AR platform in general, is the endless customization options. In fact, there are so many aftermarket parts for the AR series of rifles that it’s possible to build your own rifle from the ground up just buying each of the components you need.
Regardless of whether you plan on building your rifle new from the ground up or simply customizing your existing one, one of the best upgrades that you can possibly make is the trigger. This is because a smooth and accurate trigger naturally lends itself to accurate shooting. A smooth trigger is also far more pleasurable to shoot than one that is gritty or requires a lot of pressure to pull back.
Most factory AR-10s come with decent triggers already installed in them, but there are still lots of aftermarket triggers floating around on the market that are even better. In this guide, we’ll talk about some of the merits of the AR-10 platform, how to install a new trigger in your AR-10 rifle or carbine, the top qualities to look for in a new AR-10, and then our choices for the top three best AR-10 triggers for 2020 and beyond.
Why Go With The AR-10?
First, we need to answer this question: why should you even go with the AR-10 in the first place?
The short and simple answer is because of the AR-10’s versatility. It’s a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine that fires large centerfire rifle rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor or the .308 Winchester. These larger calibers offer much greater range and firepower than the intermediate rounds of the AR-15 like the 5.56.
Not only does this mean that you can strike targets at longer distances, it also means that you can bring down larger game animals as well. An AR-15 is sufficient for game such as deer or pronghorn, but much too light to ethically use on larger game such as elk, moose, or bear. The AR-10 in its most common calibers can easily bring down game animals of these sizes. In fact, the AR-10 can adequately be used on virtually any kind of North American big game.
This is exactly why the AR-10 is so versatile: it can be used for both tactical and big game hunting purposes, and it can accomplish both of these tasks at longer ranges than an AR-15 can.
That’s also not to mention that the AR-10 is a very accurate and reliable rifle as well. The AR platform as a whole is known for its accuracy, and while early AR-10s admittedly had a reputation for spotty reliability, the reliability has also improved drastically over the last few years. In general, accuracy of the AR-10 is considered to be superior by small but notable margins over its primary competing rifles, which include the HK G3, Springfield M1A, and the FN FAL series of rifles.
None of this is to say that the AR-10 is not without its faults. It is a much larger and heavier rifle than the AR-15, and is less wieldy in tactical scenarios. For home defense, you might be better served with a more compact AR that shooters smaller ammunition. But for any kind of shooting scenarios that necessitate you using a larger bullet or shooting at longer ranges, the AR-10 is the way to go.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest benefits to the AR-10 (and the AR platform as a whole) is the fact that it is so easily customizable. In fact, there are more spare parts and accessories for the AR platform as a whole floating around on the market than almost any other firearms platform in the world. The only other firearms platform that come anywhere close are the 1911 and Glock series of pistols, and the Ruger 10/22 rifle.
One of the best upgrades that you can make as well is to swap out the trigger. But why should you focus on upgrading the trigger before the other components of the rifle? That’s what we’ll focus on next.
Why Upgrade Your AR-10 Trigger?
The simplest reason to upgrade your AR-10 trigger is because it is one of the best improvements that you can do to make your rifle easier to shoot. You will instantly feel the difference when using an upgraded trigger, because it should have less grit and creep and a shorter reset than the trigger that comes in your mil-spec AR-10.
The best AR-10 triggers that you can get will break without any warning. This should at least theoretically help to boost your accuracy, because it means that you will not be able to flinch in anticipation of the upcoming recoil. In other means, you will be more focused on actually shooting the rifle and hitting accurately rather than on the process of actually squeezing the trigger.
Superior AR-10 triggers also come with a much shorter reset, which permits faster and more accurate follow up shots. In a tactical scenario especially, this is very welcome.
In essence, while the trigger that is already installed in your mil-spec AR-10 should work, you can improve it more with the addition of a superior trigger with a cleaner break and a shorter reset. At the very least, your rifle should become much easier and more fun to shoot.
AR-10 Triggers vs. AR-15 Triggers
A common question that many people new to the AR platform have is whether the triggers between an AR-15 and an AR-10 are interchangeable. The simple answer is that most triggers are, but not all of them.
The biggest difference between an AR-10 and AR-15 trigger lies in the military primers. An AR-10 trigger will usually have a heavier hammer and hammer spring in order to strike the primers of the larger .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm rounds.
Furthermore, not all AR-15 or AR-10 triggers are designed to fit in one another, and the manufacturers of the triggers should indicate this in their product descriptions. Triggers that are sold as “AR” triggers or “AR-10/AR-15” triggers are generally compatible across both platforms. However, triggers marketed exclusively as “AR-10 triggers” or “AR 308 triggers” are likely only going to work in the AR-10 platform.
How To Install A New Trigger In Your AR-10
Here is a basic step-by-step process on how to install your AR-10:
- First, start by gathering these materials: Belt Sander, Military Push Pins, Firing Pin, Allen Screws, Plastic Mallet, Solvent, Padded Clamp, Compressed Air, Loctite
- Push out the takedown pins from your AR
- Remove the upper assembly of the AR-10 from the lower assembly
- Set the lower assembly in a padded clamp
- Set the upper assembly aside
- Degrease the lower assembly using the compressed air and the solvent
- Remove the old trigger group
- Insert the new trigger well into the lower receiver
- Insert the trigger pins and gently tap them in using the rubber mallet
- Install an Allen screw in each side of the trigger cartridge, so the trigger cartridge is pushed up
- Install one Allen screw over each of the Allen screws from the last step; this prevents the first screws from falling out
- Place the lower receiver and the upper receiver back together
- Test the trigger to make sure it functions
Buyer’s Guide For The Best AR-10 Triggers
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new trigger for your AR-10 rifle or carbine:
You want your trigger to be light so your rifle is easier to shoot, but at the same time, you also don’t want it to be too light. This is because if your trigger pull is too light, the chances of it going off via an accidental discharge will be much higher.
The ideal trigger pull weight will be for it to be as low as possible while still being relatively safe to carry around. A trigger pull weight of three and a half pounds to four pounds is ideal, as these pull weights are much lighter than most factory AR-10 triggers while still being safe to use.
You can further make your trigger even safer by going with a two stage trigger rather than a single stage trigger. However, a single stage trigger with a weight of around four pounds should still be safe to use.
The shape of your trigger may seem like a rather minor feature, but the truth is it has a big impact on whether or not you enjoy shooting it. The two most common trigger shapes are flat and curved. There isn’t anything right or wrong with either one, and it’s up to you which one you like better for yourself.
Finally, your trigger should come with a drop-in design. This means that the trigger does not require the aid or services of a gunsmith to install, and can instead be installed by yourself using the process like we just described above. ideally, your trigger should be installed in a matter of minutes with little to no fitting required.
Read also: Best AR-10 Build Kits
The 3 Best AR-10 Triggers For 2020
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade your AR-10 trigger and what to look for in one, here are our top three picks for an AR-10 trigger for 2020 and beyond:
Geissele Automatics AR-15/M16/308 AR Trigger
The first AR-10 trigger that we will take a look at today is the Geissele Automatics AR-15 /M16/308 AR trigger. This is a trigger that is compatible with most rifles and carbines in the AR platform, including the AR-10.
The Geissele Automatics is a very expensive trigger, but you also get what you pay for. In addition to being very easy to install and with no fitting likely required, it’s also incredibly smooth and light with absolutely no creep. This means that shooting your AR-10 installed with this trigger should be a much more fun experience than using the mil-spec trigger it’s already installed with.
This is a two stage trigger, which is beneficial because it means that the risk of an accidental discharge is virtually nil. It has a fixed four and a half pound weight at the first stage and a two and a half pound weight at the second stage, which are lighter than most standard factory triggers. However, it should be noted that the sear engagement is non-adjustable. The hammer is driven with the aid of a full power hammer spring.
All in all, if you are looking for a very crisp and lightweight two stage trigger that has virtually no creep or grit and is also very easy to install, the Geissele Automatics is one of the very best options. It may require a good investment, but you’re also getting what you pay for.
- Breaks very cleanly
- Does not have any grittiness in the trigger travel
- Very easy to install
- Cannot be adjusted
JP Enterprises AR Adjustable Trigger System
The JP Enterprises AR Adjustable Trigger System is another excellent trigger option for an AR-10. This is an adjustable trigger, which means that you can easily adjust it for different trigger pull weight. Making the adjustments is also very simple to do, although they can be a bit stiff. It can be dropped to go as low as 3.5 pounds, which is much lighter than most comparable AR-10 triggers installed on factory guns.
Another big benefit to the JP Enterprises trigger is the fact that it of a drop-in design, which means that it is not necessary for a gunsmith to have to install the trigger for you. The reset is incredibly short, which permits you to make fast and accurate follow up shots.
This is a trigger kit, which means that the engagement screw, over travel screw, and the disconnector spring are already installed so you don’t need to install anything else on the trigger yourself.
Overall, the JP Enterprises AR Adjustable Trigger system is an excellent choice for an adjustable AR-10 trigger. Easy to install, the JP Enterprises has a very short reset for fast follow up shots, and it can be adjusted to have as low as a three and a half pound trigger pull weight.
- Break is very crisp
- Very easy to install
- Has a very short reset for faster follow up shots
- Adjustments can be stiff
Timney 308 AR Drop-In Trigger Module
The Timney 308 AR Drop-In Trigger Module is a trigger that is designed specifically for the AR-10. This trigger is designed to be as easy to install as possible thanks to its drop-in design, and no gunsmithing work is required.
The trigger is also designed to have little to no creep or over travel, with a very lightweight 4 pound trigger pull weight. This is much lighter than most comparable AR-10 triggers that are on the market. This is also a single stage trigger to ensure that it is as lightweight as possible to shoot.
The trigger itself is built out of very durable S7 steel while all other components included as part of the trigger kit are built out of A2 steel.
All in all, if you are looking for a trigger that is very durable, easy to install, and smooth to fire, the Timney 308 AR Drop-in Trigger Module is one of the best options that the marketplace has to offer. Just take note that a small amount of fitting may be required to install it, but it’s still of a drop-in design so it should not require a gunsmith in order to install.
- Easy to install
- Has a very smooth trigger pull
- Solid construction thanks to durable S7 steel tool construction
- Not adjustable
- A moderate amount of fitting may be required
And that concludes our list of the top three best AR-10 triggers for 2020!
Any one of the three AR-10 triggers that we have covered here today will be a great choice for your AR-10 to help make it easier to shoot. Alternatively, you can follow our buyer’s guide to help you find another good AR-10 trigger as well.