ICONIC: RISE Armament’s Two-Stage Trigger

    ICONIC: RISE Armament's Two-Stage Trigger

    I’ve never really been one to go for gimmicky triggers, and I always thought a two-stage trigger was just that – a gimmick. I had played around with a few at SHOT years ago and was basically pretty “meh” about the whole idea. RISE offered to send me their new two-stage, the ICONIC, for a test run.

    AR Triggers @ TFB:

    ICONIC: RISE Armament's Two-Stage Trigger

    Nothing to see here…

    I’m not super nuanced about my triggers other than I want a crisp, clean, consistent break, especially in my precision rifles. The previous two-stage triggers were nothing special and, in fact, felt rather mushy to me unless they had an unholy trigger pull weight. The TLDR is that the ICONIC was nothing like a two-stage I had experienced before.

    What is a two-stage trigger?

    The below video explains it very well (we published this back in 2016):

    How is the ICONIC different from other two-stage triggers?

    The ICONIC is a fully independent two-stage design. It utilizes separate components for each of its two stages which (as far as I am aware) is not done by any of the other two-stage triggers. As seen in the above video, other triggers have hammer and trigger sears that interact in both stages, while the disconnector takes control of the second stage – this ultimately compromises performance. With an ICONIC trigger, this isn’t an issue, as there are no overlapping components to cause any potential issues.

    With a standard two-stage trigger, the stages are always linked together. Adjusting one affects the other, so you must choose between a heavy pull weight and a crisp break or a light pull weight and a mushier trigger. There’s normally no way to get both in one package.

    Drop-in triggers are just the way it should be done…

    Due to the design of the ICONIC, you can have both a lighter pull weight and a crisp-breaking trigger - in other words, the best of both worlds. The ICONIC is free of the mushiness caused by compressing the disconnector spring, like with typical captive two-stage triggers.

    Another difference is two separate blades. Unlike other two-stage triggers with a single blade, you can see (and distinctly feel) when the two blades meet at the start of the second stage. This also allows you to learn the trigger break without having to spend tons of rounds on the range. It also lets you easily back out of a shot (like during a hunt).

    Note the two distinct triggers. Each has separate mechanics which allow for the best of both worlds – light AND crisp.

    The ICONIC Trigger includes something they are calling the “Safety-First Hammer Hold” feature, which will catch the hammer if you drop your rifle, preventing it from hitting the firing pin. Activating the second stage and firing the rifle requires pulling through the first stage, an additional safety measure designed to supplement – not replace – responsible gun practices.


    This is also very simple. RISE produces drop-in triggers that are easy to install and include a set of anti-walk pins.

    The included anti-walk pins.

    The ICONIC Two-Stage Trigger is held together securely with a machined aluminum cassette-style housing, which features retention pin holes in the same spots as the trigger and hammer retention pinholes on all AR patterned lower receivers.

    I’m sorry, RA535… It’s not you; it’s me. We can still be friends. Maybe I can hook you up with another rifle…

    With this setup, it’s easy to drop the whole trigger assembly into the lower receiver and then keep everything secure with anti-walk pins. This eliminates any additional labor that may be necessary with other trigger designs. There is no tedious work, such as balancing springs or setting screws. Simply drop the entire unit into the lower receiver of your firearm and secure it with the included anti-walk pins. Everything else – from adjusting to fine-tuning – is already taken care of.

    Technical Specifications

    The ICONIC Trigger features two blades that slide and nest together rather than clash. The first curved blade controls the first stage of the trigger pull with a smooth and comfortable 1-pound force. Nesting into this blade is a second skeletonized blade that handles the second stage of the trigger pull with an additional 2 pounds of force.

    • Platform: AR-15 or AR-10
    • No. of Stages: Two
    • Pull Weight: 1st Stage: 1 lb., 2nd Stage: 2 lb. (3 total)
    • Trigger Blade: Curved
    • Material: S7 tool steel interior parts; 6061 aluminum housing
    • Finish: Black Nitride
    • Colors: ICONIC Green, Graphite, or FDE
    • Includes: Anti-walk pins
    • Guarantee: Best-of-Both-Worlds Performance Guarantee
    • Warranty: RISE Lifetime Warranty
    • MSRP: $299

    Final Thoughts…

    The ICONIC is a very well-designed trigger. I run RISE triggers in most of my rifles because I like the consistency and how they feel. Installation is simple, and the machining is impeccable.

    I was pretty ambivalent going into the review but came out the other side a believer. It really is a clean, well-developed trigger.

    Couple the above with their performance guarantee: “If your ICONIC Independent Two-Stage Trigger does not perform as promised, with the control of a two-stage trigger and the crisp, clean break and fast reset of a single-stage trigger, we’ll buy it back. No questions asked.” and you really have nothing to lose.

    My only complaint is now I want to add the ICONIC to some of my other rifles, and they are not the most inexpensive trigger…  If you are looking for (or are interested in) a two-stage trigger, I’d definitely recommend you give the ICONIC a try!

    This trigger stands on its own…

    If you have installed and/or run a RISE ICONIC trigger, please comment below. My opinion is just that, mine. It would be great to hear what other people think.

    You can learn more about the Iconic on their website: https://risearmament.com/product/iconic-independent-two-stage-trigger/.

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    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT thefirearmblog.com or at https://thomasrader.com