Gear Review: Timney AR-15 Triggers

I was walking down the aisles at the NRA Convention when the Timney Triggers booth caught my eye. A gigantic banner above their booth proclaimed that they produced “The World’s Finest Triggers.” I couldn’t resist. “You make the best triggers, eh?” I asked. “Yes, we do!” the representative behind the table responded. “Prove it!” I retorted. “No problem! Give me your address” he replied. Two weeks later a package arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of Timney Triggers.

Timney Triggers produces hand-assembled, hand-tested and hand-calibrated precision triggers for all sorts of guns, from the modern AR-15 to the Mosin Nagant m1891 and m1891/30 rifles. Most of their triggers drop easily into the gun, with very little “gunsmithing” required. According to the sales rep I talked to, Timney only makes single stage triggers, no two stage or national match triggers.

Included in the package: the trigger, the standard NRA propaganda pamphlet, and a sucker. I was momentarily torn between interpereting the lollipop as a bribe or as a comment on the person opening the package. But I think it’s probably a sign that the people at Timney are just very nice and friendly people. Plus it was cherry, my favorite flavor.

The trigger group itself comes in a pre-assembled housing that drops straight into the receiver and keeps all the little bits and pieces together. Which is fantastic. I still have memories fresh in my mind of trying to manuver all of the different bits of the trigger assembly into place with the stock parts kit I ordered from DPMS, eventually having to resort to sticking the lower receiver in a plastic bag to contain the springs that kept flying everywhere.

Installing the trigger is a breeze; the hardest part is getting the old trigger group out of the gun. To install the trigger, simply remove the grip, the safety, and the old trigger. Then slot in the Timney trigger and re-install the grip and safety.

The housing was designed to be inserted into a standard AR-15 lower receiver, so those with larger trigger group pins or other oddities might have some issues. The safety is also a bit tough to re-insert once the Timney trigger is installed, as the safety catch on the trigger rests right against the safety itself. I had to gently push down on the safety catch to get it to let me put the safety back in the gun.

The true test of the trigger isn’t how easy it is to install; the true test is how it feels. And for that, we need a point of comparison.

When I first built my rifle I used a standard DPMS parts kit for the lower. Standard trigger, standard safety, even a standard grip. One by one these parts have been replaced, mainly because I couldn’t stand how crappy they felt. The standard A2 grip was first to go (replaced by a Magpul MIAD), followed shortly by the safety (RRA Ambi Safety).

The only part left from the original build (as of yesterday) was the trigger. Which was awful. The pull was like a long, winding mountain path in West Virginia. As you gently apply pressure the trigger creeps backwards for AGES before hitting a bit of resistance. You think to yourself “Oh! It’s a two stage! Sweet!” But no. It’s a red herring.

The break is actually just a little bit further. But because of the pressure required to get over that rough patch on the trigger it’s damned difficult to stop before hitting the break. This leads to some jerking of the trigger in high stress situations (competitions) and some pretty poor shots when they’re least welcome.

The Timney trigger, in comparison, is like jumping off a cliff. There’s a little bit of resistance, and then it goes. Nice, crisp, clean. There’s no guesswork involved about how much pressure to apply before the break because the break is RIGHT THERE. With the safety engaged the trigger goes absolutely nowhere, compared to the slight movement permitted by my old standard trigger.

The best comparison I can give you is if you were to use an icicle as a trigger. After applying the right amount of pressure, the thing just breaks without any bending beforehand.

There’s one other feature that makes this trigger live up to the claim of being better than anything else out there: the shape of the trigger itself.

Go check out my review of the Armalite National Match M-15 A2 rifle, and pay special attention to the shape of the trigger. See how its curved like a piece of aluminum that a chunky guy sat on? Now look at the trigger installed in my lower above. Timney designs their triggers with less of a curve and a flatter face, which they claim promotes a good trigger pull (straight back instead of slightly side to side). A straighter pull means less torque on the gun and straighter shooting.

The flatter trigger face takes a little getting used to. Fifty rounds later I can’t imagine how I got along without it. This trigger is a work of art, a vast improvement on the stock AR triggers, and easy as pie to install. If you’re planning on making your AR more accurate, start with one of these. The improvement in the feel of the gun is well worth the price tag.

Specifications: Timney AR-15 Trigger

Pull Weight: 4 lbs
MSRP: $209.95

Ratings (out of five)

Ease of Use * * * *
Drop this puppy straight into your receiver and you’re good to go. No mucking about with springs and Allen wrenches. Just drop it in and it works like a charm. One complaint: the trigger pins tend to walk a bit and might fall out of the gun — use anti-walk pins. Dropped one star for that reason.

Feel & Function * * * * *
The trigger pull is crisp and clean, and the reset is short and sweet. The flattened face makes for a better trigger pull and gives a little more surface to place your fingertip on. This trigger “feels” better than any other single stage trigger I’ve tried on an AR platform.

Overall Rating * * * * *
They made the claim of being the world’s finest triggers. We called them on it, and it turns out that everything they claim is true. The finest single stage triggers that money can buy.

comments

  1. avatar Brett Solomon says:

    Darn nice review. My AR uses the Rock River parts kit as I believe the trigger feels much nicer than the DPMS one. But this seems to be the way to fly. The only question is can we get our hands on one of those trigger kits that feature the same color as the Timney top for a comparo (aka, the Gold Trigger)… Is is possible to get even better?

  2. avatar Ken says:

    From your picture and the ones on their website, it looks like there is a lock nut on the small screw for adjusting the disconnect. Is that what it is? If so, they appear to have made an effort to correct an issue that I and several others had with earlier versions, which is why I took mine out of my serious AR.
    After firing a number of rounds with the new trigger just to get used to it, I attended a carbine class. During the first sight-in firing session, the trigger failed to reset after firing. At first, it was just once every few rounds or so. After another five minutes, it was refusing to reset at all. Fifteen minutes into the class live-fire and I’m already “that guy”. I had to finish the day with my back-up. Anyway, further examination that evening revealed that the set-screw for the disconnector had backed out, causing the failure to reset. This, after less than 100 rounds fired. I appears there was some type of thread lock material on the screw but it obviously hadn’t done its job. I re-adjusted the disconnector and that fixed the problem but I removed the trigger and put the mil-spec back in to finish the course with that gun. After that experience, I’ve been leary about putting it back in anything I would consider a go-to gun for serious use. I’ve got it in a plinker but it was still a little disappointing.
    If they’ve fixed that potential problem by putting a lock nut on the set-screw, good for them. It is a great feeling trigger.

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Yes indeed, you can adjust the disconnecter on this one. There’s a nice manual page on it included with the trigger, as well as an Alan wrench for adjusting it.

    2. avatar JEff says:

      Send in your old Timney AR and we will replace it….

      Jeff
      Timney Triggers.

      1. avatar Clayton says:

        Jeff,
        The problem described by Ken sounds exactly like the problem I’m having with mine. It is the Small Pin .154 3 lb Single Stage Solid. It simply fails to reset.

        Do I need to send it back?

        If so, can you provide instructions for sending it back?

  3. avatar Nate says:

    Just a note for you Nick, you can do that whole operation without removing the pistol grip. move the safety to about halfway between safe and fire, then (after you’ve removed the other side of it, in your case) hit it with a punch. The detent trench on the safety is shallow enough between the 2 positions that it should come right out. Then drive the hammer and trigger pins out. Installation of the safety is just as easy, insert the safety till it hits the detent, depress the detent with a punch or something, then press the safety in.

  4. avatar TTACer says:

    I know someone who has a Timney trigger that came with his Les Baer Patrolman’s Carbine. It is an extremely nice trigger. However, this is “The Truth About Guns” so I am compelled to point out that the Patrolman’s Carbine is their least expensive AR and the only one with a Timney instead of an LBC trigger.

  5. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Does it come in full auto for my Ruger SR556? I’ll let ya see my scars if you tell me!

  6. avatar I_Like_pie says:

    So I am guessing they were right? Right?

    Was it the “World’s Finest Trigger?” Seems like they followed up on their end quite well.

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      The finest I’ve used so far, at least. Which is why I’m permanently replacing the trigger on my personal AR with one.

  7. avatar Freeport56 says:

    I use Timney triggers in both my carbine and rifle ARs. Love how crisp they pull.

  8. avatar jim brisco says:

    I have an AR 10 DOES TIMNY MAKE A TRIGGER WITH A 2.5 PULL FOR MY AR ?

  9. avatar don says:

    Just installed a Timney on my Bushmaster varminter…everything was fine during install except bushmaster put a allen screw in the saftey. Two gun shops latter we found a VERY small allen making it possible to use the same saftey. The pull is now 3.1 to 3.4 …easy install after the spring is drifted to the other side for the second allen screw install(see youtube for install for a better visual) …We will be testing it at the range.

  10. avatar Willie Franklin Runnels says:

    Just put a 3 lb. in my new rock river a4 varmit , I am very pleased!

  11. avatar Brett says:

    Great article/review. I am sold! I notice though that there is an option for a small or large pin. What’s this about? Which would I want for a Bushmaster M4 6.8 spc?
    Brett

  12. avatar Dennis Kline says:

    I’ve been looking at a Timney for my M&P 15-22 and just thought I’d share where I was able to find the best price with free shipping. I just ordered the 3lb pull trigger from Botach Tactical for 184.98 which was the lowest price I could find . Here is their site if anyone wants it.
    http://www.botachtactical.com/tiarcotr.html

  13. avatar George Ingram says:

    I put a Timney trigger p/n 667S in my S&W M&P15 AR15 rifle. The trigger work fine with a nice 3lb pull but the safet now doesn’t work. It will fire with the safety on or off. Any ideas?

    George

    1. avatar Cindy says:

      Make sure you have the plunger pin installed properly and no kink in your plunger spring.

  14. avatar Henry J says:

    Nick Leghorn said: “No mucking about with springs and Allen wrenches. Just drop it in and it works like a charm.”

    Not quite…there are four Allen screws that have to be adjusted..two already partly installed…and two that go over those, which need to be installed and tightened down to lock in the originals. The Timney AR trigger is not exactly a drop-in system but it is very easy to install. Mine breaks exactly at 3 pounds with no noticeable creep!!!
    I have five rifles with Timney triggers installed..wouldn’t trade them for all the tea in China!
    Mine didn’t come with a lollipop…I feel cheated!!!

  15. avatar Raney17 says:

    Just purchased the Timney AR 3 lb for my five five six…I guess we’ll see!

  16. avatar Pascal says:

    Henry J is correct. Once the 2 Allen screws (one in the threaded hole on the right of the trigger and one in the threaded hole on the left of trigger – as visible on the picture at the top of the review) are tightened, the trigger group is bearing against the two pins and the two pins are locked solidly in place and will not move, even if tapped with a hammer and pin punch. That fourth star removed in the “Ease to Use” category is actually unfairly removed due to tester error. Sorry Nick, but it is the truth (about guns 🙂

  17. avatar Ted says:

    Timney triggers are the standard for all others. I have two installed, one a REM R25 and the other on my SIG 716. Crispy and true. Thumbs up ∆∆∆

  18. avatar Clay Routh says:

    I want to know if it’s true I don’t get a cherry sucker if I buy one like the guys in the article. That could be a deal breaker for me.

  19. avatar Joey Dunton says:

    Jeremy, I love your reviews on the differing triggers. Purchased the Velocity trigger. With that said, I just came across the Trigger Tech Trigger from Canada. They have 3 versions, with one being adjustable to approx. 2.2 lbs. Was wondering if you have any experience with this trigger and possibly how it compares to the triggers you already reviewed. Truly appreciate your time and patience. Joey

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