The less trigger weight required by the shooter, the less trigger travel, the smaller the chance of a bad trigger pull will ruin the shot. A one-pound trigger is perfect for precision shooting. When I first heard of the DigiTrigger I was excited. A one-pound trigger pull with little mechanical input. What’s not to love?
DigiTrigger requires a battery. Batteries and electronic components are never a good mix with guns and recoil. Further research revealed that the DigiTrigger is in “mechanical mode” when the selector’s set to the normal fire position. So the rifle will still shoot if the DigiTrigger’s battery or electronics fail. Whew!
The Digitriggers’ safe position and fire position work as a normal, mechanical trigger. To turn the digital system on, you rotate the selector to the traditional, full-auto location. This does NOT make it full-auto; it simply activates the digital trigger.
DigiTrigger comes in two flavors. The 1.1 runs $499 and you can have the 1.2 for $599. The number after the decimal point reflects the number of buttons on the backstrap of the grip. Both triggers work the same way. The upgraded model offers a binary fire mode: one shot when you pull the trigger, one shot when you release the trigger.
Both version include a grip safety. Grip safety “on” and “off” options are available on both version of the triggers. The 1.2 version offers a “Pull and Release” option which turns the DigiTrigger to a binary trigger.
In binary mode, if you don’t want to shoot the second round, you have three options to abort. After the first shot, hold the trigger back for at least six seconds. Alternatively, remove your hand from the grip safety, then release the trigger. Or press the PR button.
This is the most awkward of the three; the company recommends the first two methods as primary. Regardless of which process you use, it is VITAL to keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction during the entire process.
The bottom button on the pistol grip’s backstrap — marked “PR” — activates/deactivates the “Pull and Release” mode. The first push turns on the function. The red LED blinks three times. Push it a second time and it turns “Push and Release” off. The green LED flashes to indicate it’s off. [ED: red – green color blind shooters be damned.]
The top button on the backstrap of the pistol grip — marked “SR” — turns the grip safety on or off. The first press deactivates the grip safety. The red indicator flashes three times. Press the SR button again and the green LED flashes three times, telling you grip safety is on. (I would have labeled this button “GS” for grip safety, but that’s just me.)
The LEDs don’t stay lit; there is no indication of the system’s status as to the status. There’s only way to know if the grip safety is deactivated or if the trigger system is in single or binary mode: pull the trigger. “Yikes!” you say? All is not lost. The electronic trigger actuates regardless of the hammer position.
If the hammer is forward on an empty chamber, there’s no problem pulling the trigger to test status. Don’t forget the keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, even on an “empty” chamber. Otherwise, simply rotate the system off and on again with the selector. It will reset both settings to their primary function of a single trigger with the grip safety on.
The system runs on a single, nine-volt battery. DigiTrigger recommends Duracell, and nothing but. It installs easily in the base of the grip. A rotating plate holds the battery cover securely in place.
DigiTrigger says the battery lasts 1000 rounds. Yes, well, that’s only true if you remove the battery after shooting. I played with my DigitTrigger-equipped AR for about 30 dry fires, picked it up three days later and found that the hammer wouldn’t release. The battery had enough juice to actuate the electronics, but not enough to release the hammer. (The company says an updated board will enable long-term battery storage.)
DigiTrigger sent me a complete lower assembly for testing. The grip’s large. Larger than milspec, but no so large as to be uncomfortable. The trigger was easily reachable. The grip’s finish is matte, but very smooth. Too slippery for my tastes, but nothing some grip spray or grip tape won’t solve.
Pulling the DigiTrigger gently and smoothly, it feels like a very short, two-stage trigger. There is about 1/8-inch take up and about the same in trigger travel. There’s no mechanical friction; it feels like pulling against a light spring.
In the traditional fire mode, the milspec trigger felt like, well, a milspec trigger. The company promises that future versions will offer a plated trigger system to make the mechanical pull smoother than standard milspec.
While the electronic trigger pull is just one pound, the force required to release the hammer remains at milsepec weight of five to seven pounds. This makes the rifle drop safe. It’s a big advantage over lightweight mechanical triggers.
The 1.2 DigiTrigger offers binary trigger capability for rapid fire fun. But my primary interest is precision shooting. So I grabbed my most accurate upper, a LaRue Tactical Stealth, and headed for the range. As expected, the one pound pull enabled a clean trigger pull due to its very low weight.
If you shoot the DigiTrigger as a two-stage trigger, you have to go very slowly. It’s easy to travel through the take up and fire the round. It’s also important to hold the trigger back after each shot, as you would normally do in precision shooting. Otherwise the recoil makes it easy to double tap. Or more. Bump fire is only fun when you plan on bump-firing!
I didn’t like using the DigiTrigger for running close quarters shooting-while-moving drills. A slight bump of your finger will set it off — one of the reasons that combat triggers are not one pound. Additional practice would help ameliorate the problem, but not to the point of safety.
The binary trigger is a blast. This was my first experience shooting binary; having a shot fire when you release the trigger is a little disconcerting a first. Once I got used to it, rapid fire was easy. And fun. Yes, lots of fun. And expensive. Very expensive.
[It’s worth noting that the binary trigger is not CA-legal but it is ATF approved. DigiTrugger’s website has a determination letter stating that binary triggers are legal. They also have a determination letter stating that fly by wire (electronic) triggers are legal.]
Bad news: DigiTriggers are not user installable. “To ensure reliable and safe function” you have to ship a complete lower to the factory or one of their dealers. At the time of writing, there are 15 dealers (and counting) that will install the device. The factory can accept SBRs and the dealers may be able to, as well, depending on their licenses.
The lower must be milspec and have a removable trigger guard; the DigiTrigger utilizes a proprietary trigger guard as part of their system. AR10-pattern lowers will work as well. The factory or dealer replaces the customer’s trigger, hammer, disconnector, selector, selector detent, trigger guard and grip with the DigiTrigger’s parts.
The LEO and military-only DigiTrigger 1.6 will have both semi- and full-auto mechanical modes. The digital mode will offer two-shot burst, three-shot burst, full auto. Users will be able to adjust the rate of fire as well to 5, 10 and 20 shots per second.
DigiTrigger also offers lower assemblies and complete rifles. The lower assembly consist of a Rock River Arms LAR-15 lower and basic collapsible stock. It comes equipped with either the 1.1 trigger ($799) or the 1.2 trigger ($899). You can also buy a complete Ruger AR-556 for $1199 (with the 1.1 trigger) or $1299 (with the 1.2.)
The DigiTrigger is a genuine advance in firearms technology. It’s fun and, crucially, increases precision shooting accuracy. With the forthcoming improvement in battery life, the DigiTrigger will be a perfect addition to any shooter’s arsenal.
Trigger pull * * * *
One a scale of one to five, I rate the digital trigger a 10. The mechanical trigger rates an “meh.” That’s milspec for ya. So call it four stars.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The grip was bigger and feels different than a milspec grip, but that’s to be expected since the DigiTrigger grip is filled with a battery and lots of electrons scattering about. Still feels fine in the hand and the trigger is easily reachable, even for small hands.
Utility * * * * *
A pound trigger is ideal for precision shooting and the binary mode is a lot of fun.
The Digitrigger is useful for long-range shooters, and a whole lot of fun besides. When the battery drainage issue is solved, it will be damn near irresistible.