July 2015

Replacement AR-15 Triggers From Ruger, HiperFire, and Rise

Ruger’s Elite 452 and HiperFire’s EDT trigger are superior upgrades. We were less impressed with HiperFire’s 24E, and we encountered problems with Rise Armament’s RA-535 unit.

Replacement AR-15 Triggers From Ruger, HiperFire, and Rise

Our four replacement triggers for the AR-15 were the $159 Ruger Elite 452AR (top left), the $89 HiperFire HiperTouch EDT trigger (bottom left), HiperFire’s $215 24E (bottom right), and the $259 Rise Armament RA-535 (top right).

Improving the trigger in an AR-15 can make a big difference in performance of the rifle. Whereas handgun triggers are generally retained and modified, the AR-15 lends itself more easily to replacement of its trigger group, such as we did in this review. Our test triggers were two from HiperFire, the $89 HiperTouch EDT AR-15/AR-10 Enhanced Duty Trigger and the $215 HiperTouch 24E Elite, Ruger’s new Elite 452 AR Trigger 90461, $159, and the $259 Rise RA-535 Advanced Performance Trigger.

Our test-bed AR-15 was the Bushmaster “preban” XM-15 carbine previously tested in the August 2003 issue of Gun Tests. The XM-15 featured a 1:9 twist 16-inch-long barrel chambered for 5.56mm ammunition. While its trigger continued to be extremely consistent, the pull weight measured at a full 8.5 pounds with little or no take up and a hard break. In terms of function, there was nothing really to complain about other than it being inordinately heavy, a characteristic we were looking to change. For optics we retained the Sightron S33-4R 1X-magnification red-dot scope that had been in place since about 2005. With four different illuminated reticles to choose from, we picked the single-dot reticle with a size of 2 minutes of angle at 50 yards.

We considered both ease of installation as well as performance in our judging standards. The Rise Armament trigger was a sealed drop-in module, but the other triggers required assembly. By working with both a neophyte builder and an experienced gunsmith, we were able to gain valuable insight on the process. Matt Suddeth of Katy, Texas — a brilliant knife maker with a reputation for exacting rifle work — advised us on aspects of the installation. Once the triggers were configured properly, we measured their pull weights 10 times immediately following installation then 10 more times after our range tests with a Brownells Recording Pull Gauge (174-025-250WB, $125).

Our first test was to make sure the safety remained fully functional. All four triggers passed this test. Then we tried an impact test with the selector in the fire position. With the gun empty, safety off, this consisted of crouching down so that our head was below the line of the muzzle and slamming the buttstock against a concrete floor three times. We wanted to see if we could get the trigger to release the hammer by means other than pulling the trigger. None of the units failed this test. In addition, none of the triggers exhibited common flaws such as creep, grittiness, or dead spots.

Live-fire tests were performed in two segments, each fired offhand (standing unsupported) from the 50-yard line at American Shooting Centers in Houston, Texas. The targets we chose were proprietary to the range, displaying a white 3.9-inch 10-point center containing a 2-inch-diameter X-ring. The 9-point ring consisted of an orange circle, producing an overall diameter of 8 inches. Segment one was a practice session consisting of 50 rounds performed with budget ammunition, American Eagle 5.56x45 55-grain FMJ XM193BLC100, sold in 100-round packaging. During this period, we experimented with different ways the shooter could work the trigger. We fired using the slowest, most controlled press, we could muster. We also moved the trigger fast. We shot strings of fire holding the trigger fully rearward after ignition and then practiced a slow release until the mechanism reset and fired again. We did this as rapidly as we could as well as with measured precision.

After a timed 3-minute rest period, segment two was fired for shots of record using premium ammunition. Limited to ten shots standing unsupported, we chose Black Hills 5.56mm 69-grain OTM (open tip match, featuring the Sierra Match King BTHP bullet). Did any of these triggers make our test gun easier to shoot accurately? Here’s what we found out:

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