Best M16 Triggers of 2022 – Read Before Buying

| Last Updated:
September 21, 2023

The trigger is one of the most important components of your M16 or other modern sporting rifles for ensuring the best accuracy.

This is a critical component and there are myriad options to choose from.

Luckily, as usual, we've got you covered.

Comparison of the Best M16 Triggers

  • Two-stage trigger is perfect both for accurate shooting and CQB.
  • The simple design provides extra reliable function and longevity.
  • Easy to disassemble without removing your safety or losing parts.
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  • Comes with a crisp pull and a five-pound pull weight.
  • Trigger module is entirely contained so that no parts are lost.
  • Reduced, positive trigger reset means faster, more accurate follow-up shots.
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  • Internal surfaces precision cut to give you zero wiggle room.
  • Secondary safety sear ensures that your gun can never misfire.
  • Designed with a familiar layout for easy cleaning and maintenance.
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  • Made in the USA by one of the top manufacturers.
  • Designed for demanding law enforcement and combat tactical situations.
  • Precision engineered and manufactured to the highest military specifications.
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  • The two-stage design gives you safe operation and better control.
  • Springs are stainless steel to withstand corrosion in any environment.
  • All components are made of tough tool steel for extreme dependability.
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Perks of Upgrading Your M16 Trigger

The barrel and the trigger are probably the two components on your rifle where it is really worth spending some extra money. There are a few key options to choose from among triggers. First is a single stage versus a double stage. A double stage trigger will set after an initial click as you press before hitting the main trigger break.

This can arguably help with control, safety, and accuracy. Debate rages on which is better, the crisp, simple single stage or the controlled, military-style double-stage. Triggers come in various pull weights. A light trigger pull is usually more desirable.

Adjustable triggers let you get the pull just right for you. Spongy triggers with excess wiggle and take-up are best avoided. There can also be variations in trigger texture. This is entirely a matter of preference, so figuring out what you prefer before you buy is a good idea.

How to Spot a Quality Trigger 

The first step, as I never tire of stressing, is to find a proven, well-reviewed model from a reputable, well-established manufacturer. The quality of a trigger is mainly determined by the reliability of the design, so the only way to be sure that a trigger is good enough, is to ensure that it has been proven through plenty of use, preferably use in real combat situations. Trigger designs vary wildly, and there is no specific design feature or set of features that guarantee the quality of the trigger.

A reputable manufacturer can sometimes produce a lemon. Even if you have done your research and trust a certain brand, you have to check each model carefully to ensure that it is worth buying. This is not a place to save money, but it is never wise to spend extra for a brand name, especially when the model in question is unproven.

Review of the Best M16 Triggers

We have done the painstaking research so that you don't have to. Options abound and the selection process can be confusing, so follow our guide for the best M16 triggers.

Best Overall:
Geissele Super Semi-automatic (SSA) Trigger


  • Easy to Take Apart Without Removing Your Safety Assembly or Losing Parts
  • The Simple Design Gives You an Extra Reliable Function and a Longer Service Life
  • This Two-Stage Trigger is Ideal Both for Accurate Shooting and Close Quarter Battle


  • Not the Most Affordable Option

Geissele is a huge and highly trusted name in modern sporting rifle triggers. The company was established in 2004 in Pennsylvania by Bill Geissele, who also designed the company's first triggers. This model is a two stage trigger. It is the semi-auto version of Geissele's Super Select-Fire trigger. The first stage has a weight range between 2.75 and three pounds.

The weight range for the second stage goes from one and a half pounds to 1.75. In total, this comes to a range of 4.25 pounds to 4.75 pounds. The pull weight is not adjustable. This is a combat trigger that allows for outstanding control and accuracy. It is designed and certified for use in demanding tactical situations like law enforcement work and close quarters battle.

The design is reliable in its simplicity. All springs are captive, making them impossible to lose. Nevertheless, the whole trigger can be disassembled for cleaning. You can install this trigger without removing your safety. Geissele is a well-established, no-brainer option if you want a versatile, combat style two-stage trigger.

Bottom Line

The top features of this trigger are the two-stage design and the easy installation.

Best for the Money: 
Wilson Combat - Ar-15/M16 Tactical Trigger Unit


  • Features a Crisp Trigger Pull and a Comfortable Five-Pound Pull Weight
  • The Trigger Module is Completely Contained so that No Parts Can Be Lost
  • The Reduced, Positive Trigger Reset Gives You Faster, More Accurate Follow-Up Shots


  • Inconsistent Pull Weight
  • Hammer May Not Always Lock Into Place

Wilson Combat is practically synonymous with custom firearms. Bill Wilson started the company in the mid-70s, eventually becoming the nation's dominant custom firearms maker, specializing in 1911 handguns.

Although lesser known, their tactical long guns and related accessories are no less worthy of admiration. This tactical trigger unit from the Arkansas company has been designed from the ground up to be easy to install.

The process requires less than a minute and does not call for any tools. You don't even need to remove your safety. The trigger pull is very crisp and under five pounds in pull weight. No tuning or adjustment is necessary.

This means that there are no adjustment screws that can work their way loose and get lost. In fact, the entire trigger module is self-contained so that no part can get lost. All parts are CNC machined or EDM cut from solid bar stock. The reduced, positive trigger reset makes follow up shots easier and faster. Wilson has adopted a 1911 style half-cock notch from their 1911s to give this unit unsurpassed drop safety.

Bottom Line

This is a great option if you're on a budget. Its top features are the contained trigger unit and the crisp pull. The trigger reset is very nice too.

3. Geissele Automatics LLC - SSA-E Trigger


  • Designed With a Familiar USGI Layout for Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Includes a Secondary Safety Sear to Ensure that Your Weapon Will Never Misfire
  • All of the Internal Surfaces Have Been Precision Cut to Give You Absolutely No Wiggle Room


  • Trigger Break May be Lighter than the Specification

This is another great trigger from Geissele. Like the one above, it is a two-stage trigger designed for the best performance in both mid-range shooting and close quarters combat. It is ideal both for careful aiming and rapid snap firing. It comes in either adjustable or pre-set models.

Geissele has designed this trigger with additional safety features. These include a secondary safety sear to capture the hammer in case a sudden drop releases the primary sear. The second stage is about two pounds in trigger weight for a clean break that will keep you on target. Geissele has matched a full-power hammer spring with a lightweight hammer to ensure effective use with all available ammo types, even dodgy mil-spec.

All contact surfaces within the trigger module have been wire EDM cut. This gives precise dimensions so there will be zero play among your trigger module components. This module can be installed without removing your safety selector. The layout of the trigger assembly is similar to the USGI M16 trigger, making it familiar for easy maintenance.

Bottom Line

This is another excellent two-stage trigger from Geissele. Its top features are the secondary safety sear, the precision cut surfaces, and the predictable layout. If you like a nice light two stage trigger, this option is for you.

4. DPMS - M16/M4 Triggers


  • Made Right Here in the USA by One of the Top Manufacturers of AR-Style Rifles
  • Intended for the Roughest Law Enforcement and Combat Tactical Environments
  • Carefully Engineered and Manufactured to Meet the Highest Military Specifications


  • Not the Cheapest Option
  • Occasional but Rare Quality Control Mishaps

DPMS is based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It started out in 1985 as a small government contracting company. It won numerous contracts for supplying black rifle parts to the US Army. It has risen to become one of the top three AR-style rifle makers in the world. This unit is not a fire control group or a trigger module, it is simply the single-component trigger itself.

It does not include any pins or springs. It is designed to be the most reliable, long-lasting trigger that you can get for your modern sporting rifle. No matter whether you take it hunting or deploy it in law enforcement or combat situations, it will help you maintain your peace of mind in any situation. It has been entirely precision engineered and manufactured to exacting quality specifications.

The trigger is one component that you cannot afford to have fail in the field. This model is made of hardened steel which has been heat-treated and finished in black.

Bottom Line

This is a great option if you just need a bare trigger replacement. The top feature is the rugged design which is ideal for combat operations. If you just want a nicer feeling, more reliable trigger but not the whole module, this is a great option for you.

5. Geissele Automatics LLC - Super Tricon Trigger


  • The Two-Stage Design Provides You With Safer Operation and Better Control
  • The Springs are Made of Stainless Steel to Prevent Corrosion in Any Environment
  • All Parts are Manufactured of Extra-Strong Tool Steel for the Utmost Dependability


  • Too Much First Stage Travel, Especially if You're not Used to a Two Stage Trigger

It should come as no surprise that Geissele is featured so many times on our list given their unsurpassed reputation in the market for modern sporting rifle triggers. As with the other Geissele options on our list, this one is also a two-stage model. This gives you both safety and control. The initial stage has a pull weight between 2.75 and three pounds and the pull weight of the second stage is between 1.5 and 1.75 pounds.

This gives you a total of 4.25 to 4.75 pounds. It is not adjustable. All pin sizes are mil-spec. The hammer spring is full power and all of the components are made of rugged tool steel. This unit has design features to help it perform in harsh environments. The springs it comes with are stainless steel to resist corrosion in any environment. The trigger itself has a unique ribbed design. The trigger surface is designed to be non-slip in any environment, no matter how wet or mucky. It comes with a tube of grease and installation instructions.

Bottom Line

Geissele is always a great choice for a replacement two stage trigger. The top features of this trigger are the tool steel construction and that it is generally impervious to the elements.

How to Install M16 Triggers

First, guarantee that your gun is completely unloaded and the bolt is locked to the rear. Clear your work area of any ammo. Prepare the necessary tools, including a suitable screwdriver for your pistol grip screw, a 5/32-inch punch, a nylon/brass hammer, a vice with an AR-15 vise block and safety glasses. First, close the bolt and remove the take-down pin and pivot pin. Get the upper receiver out of the way.

Remove the pistol grip by loosening the pistol grip screw and slowly remove the pistol grip so you don't lose the detent spring and detent. Remove the detent and detent spring, which will drop out. Cock the hammer for more clearance. Then you can pull out the safety selector. Apply the vise block and place it into the vise.

Pull the trigger to move the hammer forward. Use your punch and hammer to remove the hammer pin and pull the hammer out. The same process works for the trigger. Line up your springs for proper assembly and drop in the new trigger. Use the punch to hold everything in place while you tap the trigger pin back in with the hammer. Align the hammer springs and use the punch to hold it in place while tapping the hammer pin in.

Check that everything works and drop in the fire selector. Flip the receiver and drop in the detent and detent spring. Screw your pistol grip back in and test the trigger function. Follow the video below for a visual guide.


Choosing the best trigger is one of the most crucial phases in any M16 or modern sporting rifle build. It can also be one of the most confusing. We're sure that, no matter what you are looking for, you will find the best trigger for you in our guide. Stay safe and happy shooting.

People Also Ask

Since choosing triggers is such a complex and confusing process, certain questions naturally arise. Luckily, as usual, we've got you covered with answers to some of the most common questions about M16 triggers. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the more powerful a weapon you can build.

What is the Difference Between an AR-15 and an M16?

An AR-15 is the civilian version of the military-issue M16 rifle. Both M16s and AR-15s are manufactured by a wide array of companies. The key difference between them is that an M16 has a full-auto fire setting, while an AR-15 does not. Unless you are buying for military or law enforcement use, the overwhelming likelihood is that you will only be allowed to buy an AR-15.

How the M16 Trigger Works Compared to the AR-15? 

In semi-auto mode, the M16 and AR-15 triggers work exactly the same. M16 triggers have extra features to interact with the bolt to allow for full-auto fire and burst-fire settings. These features are generally not legal for civilian use.

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