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Armalite 2-stage "tactical trigger" for AR15 - who has used one?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Z-Michigan, Oct 6, 2010.

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  1. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I'm thinking about installing a nicer trigger in an AR15 I'm putting together, and I'm looking seriously at Armalite's since I can get it with a complete parts kit for $120, less than most other options for the trigger alone. I've done tons of google searching and came up with very little in the way of reviews or experience with it. Does anyone here have one, either from the factory (standard on their rifles for a couple years now) or installed yourself?

    FWIW, I'm aware of all the suggestions of a Bill Springfield trigger job and will keep that in mind. I'm also aware of the Geissele SSA which would be my price-no-object choice, but I can get a LPK including the Armalite trigger for $50 less than the SSA by itself, which I would then need to add another $50-60 to for the balance of the LPK.

    I'm particularly interested in any issues with breakage or wear. I keep reading about how the very popular RRA trigger wears down to a light single stage, apparently within a couple thousand rounds, and I would like to avoid that type of issue. If the Armalite isn't reasonably reliable I'll either stick with GI-style or get the pricey Geissele SSA.

    Also - Zak Smith - you gave a short but positive assessment of the Armalite trigger in your review (on your website) of the Armalite 20" "infantryman's rifle." Do you have anything to add? Would you use the Armalite trigger in a competition gun, if price were a consideration?

    Finally, I'd also be interested in any experience with the CMMG 2-stage trigger, although it looks suspiciously similar to the RRA.
     
  2. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi,

    I had that ArmaLite A2 rifle a couple years ago, but I had no objections to the trigger. It was a pretty decent 2-stage trigger.

    However, I do not prefer 2-stage triggers for action shooting competition (3-Gun). I want a trigger with very short throw, limited "roll", very short reset, and a pull weight between 3.5 and 4.5#. This is for action shooting specifically, including long-range carbine stages-- not High Power. So my preferred trigger is the original JP single stage trigger.

    I did have a RRA 2-stage that I shot many years ago and I never had a problem with it.
     
  3. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Thanks Zak, very helpful info.
     
  4. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    ArmaLite offers a lifetime warranty to the original owner so wear should not be an issue. I have a tac two stage in my AR10 and I'm very pleased with it.
     
  5. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    FYI, I ended up buying an Armalite LPK with the "2-stage tactical trigger" and have installed it in a lower. I haven't shot it yet but I have dry fired it some and tried out the trigger pull. For anyone else's benefit, here are some comments:

    -It is a pretty decent two-stage trigger as Zak said. The first stage is light and smooth, the second stage is reasonably crisp for the price point.

    -The second stage break is fairly heavy. This can be adjusted slightly, but this is definitely not a match trigger. I think it would be good for hunting or as an entry-level CMP competition type trigger.

    -Due to the fairly long trigger pull, I would not recommend this trigger for action shooting matches (3-gun, ACTS, etc.) or for most of what I think of as true tactical use.

    -When cocked, the trigger is fairly far forward, and that makes the total pull too long if you have a grip that puts your hand farther back, like an MOE grip. It works fine with a Hogue grip (which doesn't put your hand farther back).

    -This trigger was somewhat more difficult to install than a GI type trigger, a combination of geometry, spring pressure, and most of all the small pointy parts of the hammer being exactly where your fingers need to push while installing it. It's do-able, but not as easy as a GI type trigger group.

    After the moderate expense and hassle of this trigger, I have a trigger that breaks marginally better than one of my better GI type triggers, at about the same weight. Meh. In the future I'll be sticking with GI triggers, unless I feel motivated to get a Geissele at some point.
     
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have a Armalite M15A2 NM with the Armalite two stage trigger. I shot one barrel out with that trigger shooting it in High Power matches.

    The trigger is an excellent trigger. It closely follows the Garand sear and hammer configuration.

    I bought one out of a rifle and it needed fitting. I took it to the Marine Armorers at Perry and they filed the sear surfaces to an excellent creep free second stage.

    I used that trigger to replace a Bushmaster NM trigger and it is also working fine.
     
  7. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Slamfire - good info on durability. A comment and a question though.

    The comment: Armalite indicates that their "national match" triggers are the same basic design but worked on at the factory for a smoother and lighter pull, so the NM trigger isn't identical to what I have.

    The question: do the Marine armorers work on anyone's rifle for free (at Camp Perry), or are you in the USMC or somehow connected to them?
     
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Come during CMP week or NRA Highpower. Look for the Marine Van. If there are guys inside they will work on your trigger for free.

    If you feel grateful enough to smuggle beer to thirsty Marine Armorers, it has to be done incommunicado.


    Molson was good. :evil:
     
  9. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    If the trigger has set-screws for adjustment, you may need to put some Loctite on the screws to keep the settings from unscrewing.
     
  10. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Thanks, but half the point of the Armalite trigger is that it doesn't have any screws or other adjustments that could come loose. The only possible adjustment, other than with a file, is moving the spot that the trigger spring mounts on the disconnector, which is done using one of three notches that are a permanent, fixed part of the disconnector.

    The more I play with it, the more I'm appreciating the light 1st stage and fairly crisp (though heavy) 2nd stage. If I had put it in a lower with CMP in mind, I would be very happy. But the trigger pull is long for any fast competition (or tactical) use, I think even a little longer than some other 2-stage triggers such as the one on my SA M1A.
     
  11. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    An update: I got to shoot with this trigger today, about 60 rounds, and it's growing on me. In dry firing the second stage break has felt like it varies between maybe 5 and 8lbs, but as it gets more use it seems to be wearing in to a more consistent and very crisp break, with hardly any overtravel, at maybe 6lbs or so. Still not quite a match trigger (nor had I expected it to be), but a lot nicer than standard AR15 triggers.

    The reset is somewhat longer than a standard trigger, but with practice I think I'll be able to "work the reset" (if I want to) somewhat like a Glock or a typical DA/SA handgun trigger. It will never be as short a reset as a GI style trigger, but it's a lot crisper break too. I will probably run this lower at an upcoming 2-gun match to see how the different trigger works in competition for me - realizing of course that this type of trigger is not targeted at or generally considered the best option for such competition.

    The actual trigger blade is somewhat wider and more rounded than that on a typical AR trigger, which makes it a bit more comfortable in use.

    Last week I emailed Armalite for more information, out of curiousity, and got a very quick reply from someone who sounded knowledgeable. The short version is this:
    -the 2-stage trigger and hammer are made with the metal injection molding (MIM) process
    -their single stage trigger and hammer are cast parts (a bit of a surprise)
    -they have not done any specific durability testing on either trigger and have no viewpoint on which one would be more durable

    I would like to note that I've emailed Armalite for technical info a couple times over the last 5 years and have always received a prompt, courteous, on-point response. I'm not sure how many companies I could say that about, and there are other AR manufacturers that don't seem to answer email or their phone at all.

    I should note that I haven't read a single issue anywhere about durability problems with their 2-stage, but it is about the one thing I still wonder about, since the GI style trigger is so well proven and since there have been claimed durability problems with some other companies' 2-stage triggers.
     
  12. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    I can't speak for the two-stage trigger but since we're talking ArmaLite LPKs, earlier this month I installed an ArmaLite LPK with a single-stage trigger in a stripped ArmaLite lower. I must say the LPK is impressive and worth the $80 from DSG Arms. It's definitely a cut above DPMS and Del-ton LPKs I've used in the past and seems to be at least as good as a Stag I got a while back. The trigger is heavy but breaks clean, a good milspec trigger. This kit and lower went together easier than any other I've tried, everything fit perfectly.

    The main reason I went with this LPK is ArmaLite has a uniquely shaped bolt hold open latch and I wanted the lower to have that. Very glad I bought this kit.
     
  13. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I've used both the RRA and Armalite NM triggers. I've had zero reliability issues with either of them. The RRA is mounted in my work/training rifle, and the Armalite is in my HP service rifle. The RRA has had at least 10K rounds through it in the last two years, and it's still the same pull weight, and still has two stages. The Armalite has a lot less rounds, but it's also unchanged.

    Both are good triggers, the Armalite is a hair crisper and smoother however. I find the RRA works just fine for tactical shooting. To be honest I haven't ran the timer on myself to check my splits between shooting it an a single stage trigger, but I feel that it's probably pretty close to the same.

    -Jenrick
     
  14. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I ran the lower with the Armalite 2-stage trigger in a 2-gun match last weekend, about 70 rounds total (low round count). I had no problems, and frankly I didn't really notice much difference vs. using a standard GI trigger. I should note that I didn't run this lower in the only distance/precision stage because of an unusual stage design that resulted in people sharing a few of the nicest precision rifles that two shooters had brought.

    And on a related note, I got to briefly try out rifles that used the Geissele DMR and SSA triggers. The DMR is a pretty amazing trigger - too light for some uses, but the break is really light and really crisp. It's a very clear 2-stage trigger. The SSA was also great, but quite noticeably different. It actually felt more like a single stage than a 2-stage, and I'm wondering if that's the result of someone's tuning or modification. But its break was also very crisp and noticeably lighter than a GI or Armalite "tactical" trigger, although definitely heavier than the DMR. I may wind up getting an SSA for another build at some point anyway.
     
  15. G27RR

    G27RR Member

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    The SSA is a fairly subtle two stage trigger. My LaRue OBR came with one and it's quite good. My AR-10 came with the match trigger, and it does feel lighter than a standard trigger but isn't up to the feel of the SSA. The SSA is a good combination of being heavy enough for field use but ligh enough for precision shooting.
     
  16. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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