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I am looking at building and AR-15. I am weighing the pros and cons of a drop in trigger assembly vs using a kit (you know with all the fiddly parts that have to be put together). Any opinions/insights from AR owners/builders would be appreciated.
 

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I'm gathering though that you're looking a match triggers which is a whole different game. Most of the different match triggers that aren't drop install differently and have different spring setups. So it'll be trigger dependent.

Some of the members may be able to help you if they know what brands and models you're looking at.
 

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What is the purpose of the build? Is this your SHTF go to rifle or a target range competition piece? If the former I say go with the "kit" triggers and learn how to fine tune them. This way if something breaks you can replace a single piece using the spares you will have on hand.

If we are talking target or comp gun drop in is fine however different makes require adjustments to get them setup. I can dang near install a kit trigger in the time it takes some of the drop ins to be dialed in. For my rifle with a drop in I keep a spare "kit" trigger assembly in its case.
 

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Pot-stirring nest-poker!
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Non-drop-in triggers are easy to install. Just have a decent punch and small hammer for the roll pins. A small (magnetic) flathead screwdriver comes in handy as well, and perhaps a pair of very narrow needle-nose pliers or locking forceps. I use this hammer, since it has interchangeable strike faces.

Drop-ins are nice, too. Either way you're going to have to deal with the pins.
 

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Rock River makes a nice trigger that although it isn't as great as a match trigger, it's a lot better than the standard kit trigger. The price isn't as great either.

Here's tip for easing your trigger swap. Make a short "slave pin" out of a finishing nail. The length of your pin should be just a few thousand's less then the width of the trigger components. You use the slave pin to assemble all the triger components while still outside the reciever. Once you have all the springs positioned correctly, you insert the completed trigger into your lower. Now you just slip in the regular pin, which displaces the slave pin out the other side.

This is a far, far easier way to put in a trigger rather than trying to hold all the little peices in place till you shove in the pin.
 

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The 5 Will Survive
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Non-drop-in triggers are easy to install. Just have a decent punch and small hammer for the roll pins. A small (magnetic) flathead screwdriver comes in handy as well, and perhaps a pair of very narrow needle-nose pliers or locking forceps. I use this hammer, since it has interchangeable strike faces.

Drop-ins are nice, too. Either way you're going to have to deal with the pins.
Don't over complicate things. All you need is a proper size Allen wrench to use as a slave pin and possibly a mallet to tap the pins in.

If this a defensive rifle, then go for the regular trigger. It will have a heavier pull, making it harder for you to get trigger happy in a self defense situation. IMO
 

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I have one AR with a Timney drop-in and another with a NM 2-stage. For what its worth, I will stick with the NM on future builds due to the price vs. Real value. I'm not a pro, but I send 400-600 rnds down the pipe each month and I can't honestly say that the timney is a better trigger. I guess if you want something that you can fine tune, then it might have some value, but I just want it to go BANG every time I pull it and for it to have a constant break.
On a side note: If you haven't bought a barrel yet, check out Black Hole Weaponry. You will not be disappointed. That has been the one upgrade investment (optics excluded) that I have seen real down range results from.
 

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a kit (you know with all the fiddly parts that have to be put together). Any opinions/insights from AR owners/builders would be appreciated.
Sounds like you're like me--I don't like fiddling w/little parts in small spaces, though I've done it. If I had the money when I did it, I'd have gone w/the drop in ones. With the stock kits, they can vary w/in the same mfgr purchased at the same time.

I don't think that most people need a match/light trigger though. Would be nice though to have the same trigger w/the same feel across a bunch of different weapons though.
 

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Semper Vigilans
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Honestly I think it's really come down to which Trigger you prefer since they are not that difficult to install either way.

I tried maybe a dozen before I decided on what my personal preferences were.

Stock trigger groups typically are gritty long take ups with string cheese break and slow reset, I've always hated the stock Mil-Spec triggers and apparently they were designed to be bad.

Not pushing Geissele triggers but Bill does a pretty good job of explaining things to think about.


Be Prepared,
OBW
.
 

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Swirl Herder
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I recently installed a Geissele SSA-E. It wasn't cheap but I have no regrets.
+1 on the Geissele SSA-E.

Just about every rifle I know of (fitted with one) produced smaller groups with the SSA-E than the factory trigger. Expensive but worth every cent. Easy install.


The full auto SSF is really highly regarded by SF military shooters too.....
 

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Western NC Mtns.
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It is better than issue but with a 4.5 or 5.5 pound pull in semi, not really as good as Geissele's others.
 

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NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT
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I would Most definitely "second" the GEISSELE SSA-E trigger for accuracy. I put one on my varmint build and can not say enough good about it. Spikes makes a Nickel Boron coated battle trigger I installed on my Colt M4 that is Heads and Shoulders better than the one that it came with. Right to Bear Arms and Supply has 'em for $55 :thumb:
About installing triggers on the AR, super simple. If you happen to buy one that does not come with instructions, you have the Internets endless resources of people wanting to show ya how it's done. GEISSELE triggers come with good instructions And a slave pin. And yes, a slave pin helps installation no matter what it is made from, nail, Allen wrench, or which ever.
 

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Ditto.
I'm not an experienced builder but have installed a Geissele two or three times. It takes me more than three minutes but not more than 15 or 20. It's really very straightforward with a little youtube help (the Geissele videos are particularly helpful of course) and they (Geissele) provides some extra pins (or you could use finishing nails or most anything else once familiar with the process) that eases the install.
I would not be put off by it at all. If you can do an AR build, you certainly can do the trigger.
B

I recently installed a Geissele SSA-E. It wasn't cheap but I have no regrets.
 

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IMHO in a SHTF rifle durability and reliability is a major concern. In my last two builds I started using the ALG triggers. ALG is a sister company to Geissele and I really like their product. They run about $65.00 a standard trigger group and are a direct 3 - 4 minute change-out. They are not a match trigger, they are reworked, enhanced and hard coated standard triggers. The long gritty drag of a standard trigger is gone. Personally on a SHTF/self defense rifle I do not want a 3 to 4 lbs. match weight trigger.
 

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Semper Vigilans
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IMHO in a SHTF rifle durability and reliability is a major concern. In my last two builds I started using the ALG triggers. ALG is a sister company to Geissele and I really like their product. They run about $65.00 a standard trigger group and are a direct 3 - 4 minute change-out. They are not a match trigger, they are reworked, enhanced and hard coated standard triggers. The long gritty drag of a standard trigger is gone. Personally on a SHTF/self defense rifle I do not want a 3 to 4 lbs. match weight trigger.
Therein lies the rub in why we shouldn't decide for someone else what trigger they should get.

For you the ALG's sound like the perfect fit, they get rid of some of the gritty pull, crappiness and inconsistency of Mil-Spec triggers yet still have a more forgiving heavier pull.

Personally I like a shorter take up with 3.5-4.5 and no more than 5 lb pull.

Anything more and it annoys me when I feel like I have to pull the trigger into the next room. I feel much more control with a shorter lighter trigger.

But that's not for everyone, nice thing is that now days people can find the perfect trigger for how they shoot.

Be Prepared,
OBW
.
 
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