Breaking Down Single & Two-Stage Triggers

I love YouTube. Yes, one can get distracted by a wide variety of cat videos, but for the firearms enthusiast, its a veritable cornucopia of information. Videos exist for “Forgotten Weapons” (a channel that I strongly recommend that one subscribes to), and full overviews like we did a few days ago with the PSG-1, which our Alex Capps is lucky to have one of less than 500 in the USA.

But, my favorite usage of the online video sharing service is technical and how-to videos. Where information was limited to the gunsmiths and those spending their lives with firearms, now videos allow one to become their own gunsmith (at their own risk).

Modern Pawn took the time to showcase the operation of the two most common types of AR-15 triggers, single stage mil-spec, and two-stage triggers.

The single-stage trigger is a common mil-spec trigger, which in the video Modern Pawn shows the longer pull and source of the feelings that typify a mil-spec booger – switch. They are dead-simple operation.

The two-stage trigger is courtesy of Geissele, showing the full use of the dual paws to capture and release the hammer. Slightly more complex and requiring tighter tolerances for effective employment, two-stage triggers are beloved by many shooters.

Kudos to Modern Pawn for the easy break-down. Check out their other videos on their channel here. 

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Matt Grimes

    Very cool video and very informative.

  • noob

    Neat! what is the piece of metal that is installed on the side of the receiver to hold the trigger group components for the purposes of demonstration? it looks professionally made.

    • Not exactly the same, but Brownells sells basically the same thing. It is called the AR-15 Hammer Trigger Jig with Dry Fire Block.

      • noob

        Thanks! that’s pretty nifty. I guess a qualified gunsmith could file and polish the engagement surfaces and then test the trigger pull with such a jig without damaging the hammer from repeated dry firing.

        Or a noob like me could make a total mess of it.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    I learned something!

  • Rnasser Rnasser


  • Thanks, replying with a link almost always sends my post into moderation so I rarely do it.