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Single Stage Trigger Vs Two Stage Triggers – What's the Difference?

Single Stage Trigger Vs Two Stage Triggers – What's the Difference?

The stock trigger in your AR type rifle probably requires between 5.5-8.5 pounds of force. Upgrading to a much lighter trigger can improve accuracy for new and experienced shooters alike. Aftermarket triggers are becoming more and more popular. but it can sometimes be hard to choose between them. There are many choices available for around $200, but considerations such as flat vs curved, single vs two stage, and trigger pull weight are all important when selecting the perfect upgrade for your rifle. So what type of trigger is best for you? Here are four available options from Classic Firearms you can select to upgrade your mil-spec trigger in your AR-15/10 type rifle and immediately feel a huge difference.

Check out Clint's video on this very topic!


Single Stage Triggers

Single stage triggers essentially have one break point, the point at which the trigger is depressed enough to allow the spring loaded hammer to overcome the friction from the sear, allowing the hammer to strike the firing pin, discharging the round, then catching on the disconnector at the end of the cycle. Your stock rifle probably already has a single stage trigger, but it’s not as optimized as it can be. A 7-pound trigger pull weight and noticeable take-up leaves plenty to be desired in both feel and performance. Here are a few options that can improve your rifle and your shooting:

CMC Triggers 90503 Single-Stage Flat Trigger AR-15 Steel 2.5 lb

An aftermarket single stage trigger such as the CMC shown here features a crisp break with a clean, short reset and little to no take-up with only a 2.5 pound trigger weight. These changes will cause a drastic difference in the feel of your firearm. These are especially good for speed shooting, and can make a huge difference in your performance compared to your stock trigger.

CMC Triggers 90503 Single-Stage Flat Trigger AR-15 Steel 2.5 lb

Patriot Ordnance Factory 00457 Trigger System Drop-In AR-15/AR-10 Single Stage Steel w/Aluminum Housing Standard 4.5 lb

This Patriot Ordnance Factory trigger is essentially the same as the previous CMC, but with a 4.5 pound trigger weight instead of 2.5 pound. It also features a bit of a hybrid trigger face, basically flat but with a slight curve at the contact point for your finger. In theory, this will require less force to operate than a curved trigger (assuming your finger is contacting the center of the curve) because mechanical advantage is being applied by the force being further from the fulcrum or pivot point of the trigger. This will result in such a minimal difference, your personal preference on feel should be the determining factor. Although both of these are single stage just like your stock trigger, either one will make a huge and positive difference in your shooting.

Patriot Ordnance Factory 00457 Trigger System Drop-In AR-15_AR-10 Single Stage Steel w/ Aluminum Housing Standard 4.5 LB

Two Stage Triggers

Two stage triggers utilize two catch points on the hammer instead of one to provide two stage feels and to provide more feedback to the shooter. These generally feature a long take-up (1st stage) and then a clean break (2nd stage). Some consider these better for precision shooting because they provide more feedback. This is more of a personal preference but many people enjoy the feedback of knowing exactly when the break will take place. These generally require slightly more practice to build confidence, because you have to learn the force required for both stages.

CMC Triggers 91502 2-Stage Trigger Curved AR-15 1-3 lb 

This CMC trigger is a nice choice if you are looking for a curved trigger similar to stock, but with a much lower pull weight. This CMC trigger features a 1 pound first stage and a 3 pound release.

CMC Triggers 91502 2-Stage Trigger Curved AR-15 1-3 lb


CMC Triggers AR 2-Stage Match Grade Flat Trigger 1lb Set 3lb Release - Flat - 91504

This CMC trigger is the same as the one previously mentioned, but with a flat face instead.

CMC Triggers AR 2-Stage Match Grade Flat Trigger 1lb Set 3lb Release


The best trigger for you is the one you are most comfortable with and have practiced with enough to build confidence and muscle memory. A single stage trigger will take almost no effort to get accustomed to, while a two stage will take more practice to get comfortable. Like a lot of gun topics, personal preference plays a huge role. Although convention dictates single stage triggers are for speed shooting and two stage triggers are for precision shooting, many shooters do the opposite with great results. Whatever you decide is best for you, whether you go for a single or two stage trigger upgrade, you will see a big improvement and be happier with your firearm.

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