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If you’re looking for the best AR-15 trigger, then take comfort in the certainty that you are not the only one. Finding the ideal trigger for your AR-15 rifle (or pistol, if you have one) might be for the purpose of upgrading from your current one or simply finding one as part of an addition to your most recent building project. Either way, you need a trigger that will be reliable, smooth in operation, and won’t give you any grief.

Best AR-15 Triggers [Kits and Drop-ins]: The Complete 2020 Guide

Best AR-15 Triggers [Kits and Drop-ins]: The Complete 2020 GuideIf you’re looking for the best AR-15 trigger, then take comfort in the certainty that you are not the only one. Finding the ideal trigger for your AR-15 rifle (or pistol, if you have one) might be for the purpose of upgrading from your current one or simply finding one as part of an addition to your most recent building project. Either way, you need a trigger that will be reliable, smooth in operation, and won’t give you any grief. In order to help you find the best option for your needs, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of the nine best AR-15 triggers that are currently on the market. Before we get to the list itself, we’ll talk about some considerations to keep in mind and what characteristics make the best stand out among the rest. Despite its futuristic look and “space age” technology for the time, the Black Rifle’s trigger/hammer group almost certainly draws its origin from John Garand’s battle-proven M1 rifle. It may go even further back to the early 1900s, utilizing the Browning design of the famous Auto-5 semi-automatic shotgun. Along with the stock and sights, a trigger, as the key interface between the shooter and the gun, is vital for the accuracy of a firearm. And it can take much credit—or blame—for the old adage, “Only hits count.” At a Glance: Our Top Picks for AR-15 Triggers OUR TOP PICK: Geissele Super Semi-automatic Enhanced (SSA-E) Trigger- 05-160 CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group Hiperfire Hipertouch Eclipse AR-15 Trigger Assembly Bravo Company - AR-15 BCM Gunfighter™ PNT Trigger Velocity Triggers - AR-15 Velocity Trigger Curved Comparison of the Best AR-15 Trigger IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick "Geissele Super Semi" -automatic Enhanced (SSA-E) Trigger- 05-160 Best overall AR-15 trigger kit. Curved design for better ergonomics. Two-stage trigger with separate pull weights. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews CMC Triggers - AR-15 "Tactical Trigger Group" Best overall drop-in trigger. Fully-assembled drop-in design. Housing made from high-quality material. "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Hiperfire Hipertouch eclipse AR-15 Trigger Assembly Curved design for better ergonomics. Runner-up for the best overall trigger. Includes a trigger pull weight ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 pounds. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Bravo Company - AR-15 BCM Gunfighter™ PNT Trigger Made from high-quality materials. Drop-in design for easy installation. Runner-up for best AR-15 trigger kit. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Velocity Triggers - AR-15 "Velocity Trigger Curved" Best AR-15 trigger for the money. Curved design for better ergonomics. Available in three different pull weights. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews American Trigger Corporation - AR-15 Gold Trigger Curved Two-stage trigger. Drop-in design for easier installation. Runner-up for best AR-15 drop-in trigger. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews J P Enterprises - AR-15/308 AR Adjustable Trigger System Adjustable trigger. Made from high-quality material. Best AR-15 trigger kit for the money. View Latest Price Read Customer Reviews Timney - AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger Adjustable Trigger Includes 4 different trigger shoes. Best AR-15 drop-in trigger for the money. Adjustable trigger for various applications. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Geissele Automatic AR-15 Super Dynamic Triggers Dual-stage trigger. Drop-in design for easy installation. Pull weights range from 2.5-3.5 pounds (depending on which model you choose). View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews PSA AR15/PA10 EPT - Enhanced Polished Fire Control Group Springs and pins included. Best overall AR-15 trigger. Includes a polished trigger for AR-15 rifles and pistols. Check Latest Price→ Read Customer Should I Upgrade or Not? US military rifles based on the AR-15 platform feature proven and non-adjustable single-stage triggers known for their rock-solid reliability, robustness, and low price. As you probably already know, most service rifles and issued carbines come with a trigger pull of between 5.5 and 9.5 pounds. That’s good enough for tactical or military shooting with lives at stake. Unfortunately, the trigger on the M-16A2 or M-4 is stiff and gritty. It doesn’t have great trigger pull, making it less than ideal for shooting at targets a few hundred yards away. We believe in the axiom that the trigger is the heart of the shooter's interaction with his rifle. And while trigger control is everything, the marksman with more control and confidence in a trigger is more likely to get accurate hits. Controlling the trigger is a mental process but pulling the trigger is a mechanical process. Every serious shooter knows that a good shot starts with the trigger, and that any trigger upgrades can drastically improve accuracy. With that in mind, they will look for the best trigger option adequate to their ambitions. Much of this depends on whether their gun will be used predominantly for hunting, target shooting, or defensive purposes. The AR-15 owner then has to decide if they will take their tool to a gunsmith and get a trigger job or if they will install a new drop-in trigger. The first option of trigger modification occurs on existing triggers and consists of polishing and honing the sear surfaces to remove trigger creep. That gunsmith’s treatment results in the trigger pull being about 3-6 lbs. The alterations are relatively affordable at a cost of $50-100. Cautious Considerations When Buying a New Trigger There are some considerations that you need to mull over before you even make a decision as to which trigger you want to purchase for your AR-15. It’s important to not ignore any of these as they may have some serious implications. One of them is that without a trigger, the rifle or pistol itself will be rendered useless. Please pay close attention to the following considerations: Assembled or Disassembled? There are some trigger assemblies that come assembled and some that don’t. Either way, it is important to have all the components that comprise the trigger assembly all put together. This includes your trigger, the pins, the springs, and everything in between. Without one of these small parts, it might be a challenge to find a replacement part. Plus, it may render the trigger either hard to use or useless altogether. CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group Is it For an AR-15 Rifle or AR-15 Pistol? While this consideration may not make much of a difference, it’s important to know that there are a handful of components that will not only work with regular AR-15 rifles, but they will also be compatible with AR-15 pistol builds as well. That said, do not assume this for every component. There are some parts that can be used for rifles but will not be suitable for AR-15 pistols. Trigger Pull Weight (Cautious Consideration Edition) One of the main reasons why an AR-15 user would want to upgrade to a new trigger is to make the pull weight itself a little lighter than normal. However, you need to be aware that a lighter trigger pull poses a potential risk. A little bit of pressure may cause the AR-15 itself to go off accidentally. Regardless of the pull weight, it is always important to practice gun safety when handling an AR-15 (or any firearm). Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded. What Makes a Great Trigger? There are a few excellent characteristics that will make a truly great AR-15 trigger stand head and shoulders above triggers that might be considered ineffective and crappy in quality. Here are the following characteristics to look out for: Price Here’s the thing: the price tag is not really a characteristic. But finding a trigger that is high in quality but affordable for most budgets seems to be the goal for most people. Especially when they don’t want to spend on anything that is considered to be both high-end and high in price. With that in mind, it’s important to find the best quality that you can afford. Will you spend a little higher on your budget scale? Yes, it’s likely. But will it save you the headaches and frustration that stems from dealing with a trigger that might be the worst in quality and functionality? Yes. "Trigger Pull Weight" (The Characteristics Edition) A light pull weight will definitely work to your advantage. Especially if you’re looking for something that will give you quick shots and even quicker follow up shots. No matter what the application, quick shots are always an added benefit for every firearm that you use. If that’s an advantage that has long eluded you, then a great trigger will be exactly what you’re looking for. Installation One major characteristic we always look out for is the ease of installation, keeping in mind that many AR-15 users may not be expert level gunsmiths. So, we find the best triggers that are considered “drop-ins”. This makes it easy to install in a matter of minutes. With the right tools and some patience, these triggers will be ready to rock and roll in no time. Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Triggers These are our recommendations for the best AR-15 triggers: Geissele Super Semi-automatic Enhanced (SSA-E) Trigger- 05-160 CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group "Hiperfire Hipertouch Eclipse" AR-15 Trigger Assembly Review of the Best AR-15 Triggers Below are the eight best AR-15 triggers currently on the market as of this writing. The list might be subject to change at some point, but for now, this will give you an opportunity to take a look at some triggers that are the most popular among AR-15 users. As you examine each one, it’s important to take note of each product's primary characteristics and features. If it seems to fit the idea in your head of what you want in a trigger, you might find have found the trigger you've been searching for. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our top choice for “best overall” AR-15 trigger: Best Trigger Kit Overall: Geissele Super Semi-automatic Enhanced (SSA-E) Trigger- 05-160 CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Smooth operation for both stages. Excellent for most AR-15 rifles and pistols. No grittiness or traveling among most users. Quick shooting along with quick follow-up shots. Easy trigger installation; takes about five minutes. Cons First stage might have a little travel. Pull weight might be a little heavier than expected. What Recent Buyers Report Most recent buyers were looking for a two-stage trigger for better shooting. They were satisfied with how smooth and light the trigger pulls were for each stage. One recent buyer said that this was a lot better to operate than his last trigger, a single-stage trigger. It gives him enough time to determine whether or not it would be a good time to shoot. As a result, he barely misses his targets. Why it Stands Out to Us One of the major reasons why a two-stage trigger is better than a single-stage is that it won't completely fire with just a little bit of pressure. That will make it slightly safer to an extent and prevent accidental discharge. However, when you reach "Stage 1", that's when you take a moment to find the right time to shoot. At that point, it's all about choosing your time wisely before you miss the target altogether. Who Will Use This Most This trigger will be mostly used by hunters. Since they’re dealing with moving targets, this trigger will be perfect. You see a deer, pull it back past the first stage, and you wait. Once you got it right where you want it, then you can easily pull the trigger for a quick kill shot. It doesn’t get any easier than that. What Could Be Improved and Why A possible suggestion for improvement would be to slightly lighten the trigger pull at the first stage just a bit. Some have complained about the first stage pull weight being a little heavier than expected. This might also give you a bit of a time advantage so you can quickly fire off each and every shot. Bottom Line The Geissele Super Semi-Automatic trigger is probably one of the best two-stage triggers currently on the market. If you fancy yourself to be a fan of this trigger type, this might be one you’ll want to consider upgrading to from your current single-stage trigger. This will give you a bit of extra time to determine whether or not you really want to follow through with your shots or if you want to wait for a better opportunity. Best Drop-in Trigger Overall: CMC Triggers - AR-15 Tactical Trigger Group CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Design is ergonomically friendly. Easy to install; takes a few minutes. Reliable after more than 1000+ rounds fired. Pull weight is light and allows for smooth pulling. Housing is super durable; will handle shock from recoil. Cons Some have reported trigger creep. Some say take up is a bit noticeable. To overcome the problems of both the old heavy trigger and the new, super-light ones, somebody came up with a compromise: the set trigger. A set trigger allows a user to have a substantially reduced trigger pull while maintaining a degree of safety in the field. There are two sorts: single set and double set. The Double-Set Trigger - DS - initially got its initial from Deutscher Stecher, a German set trigger which is widely used by Central European hunters as the standard precision shooting trigger. However, hunters and marksmen in the US were not satisfied with that compromise. Their answer was to give the trigger the safety of a heavier pull with the accuracy of a lighter break.  Two-stage triggers usually have a longer and heavier portion of the pull in the first stage, followed by a moderate area of travel with little resistance followed by trigger break. While the overall force required to release the firing mechanism is the same in both, dual-stage triggers work and feel smoother and lighter than single stage because the final amount of pressure needed is much less than with the single-stage trigger. "What Recent Buyers" Report A lot of recent buyers were happy with this trigger, and not for its affordability alone. It was easy to install; for most, it took them about five to ten minutes. Once installed, they were able to try it out at the range. They were quick to report that there was no creep for the most part and shooting was quick and smooth. Why it Stands Out to Us This trigger is more than just a budget trigger. It performs like a factory replacement trigger that will put all the stock triggers to shame. The design is ergonomically friendly, which makes it a plus for those who want to spend additional time at the range. Finger fatigue, in our point of view will become a thing of the past thanks to a trigger like this. Who Will "Use This Most" This will be used mostly by hunters, target shooters, and even competitive shooters as well. It will be a trigger that will be mostly used by those who use AR-15 rifles and not so much the AR-15 pistol users. This trigger will be for those who are looking for something that is the closest to the perfect factory replacement trigger. What Could Be Improved and Why An improvement that should be worth considering is investigating why there is still some creep and take up that some users claim of having. Could it be that the pull weight may not be good enough? If so, then lightening it might be a good possibility. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger that will be easy to install, great for your AR-15 rifle, and won’t suck the life out of your bank account, the CMC trigger might be right up your alley. While it’s probably the most affordable trigger on the market, it definitely performs like it should be sold at twice the price. For smooth shooting and better ergonomics, you cannot go wrong with a trigger like this. Best AR-15 Trigger Runner-up: Hiperfire Hipertouch Eclipse AR-15 Trigger Assembly CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Helpful customer support for installation Great for competition and target shooting Very smooth break Trigger pull is light to allow for quick follow-up shots. Ergonomically friendly trigger contact Cons Installation might be a challenge for some users (help is a call away) It might be a bit pricey for some budget shoppers What Recent Buyers Report This Hipertouch line has been winning over many recent shoppers - even Geissele fanboys. Most recent praise has been given to the Eclipse's exceptionally light pull, crisp break, and harder hammerdrop. This has led to less reports of light primer strikes on budget ammo. Users have also reported appreciating the ability to swap springs out for competition vs range shooting. Why it Stands Out to Us Hiperfire has been HARD at work analyzing the physics behind trigger action during the take-up, creep, and break stages individually. They've even been developing their own parameters to define what makes a trigger 'feel good'. The Hipertouch Eclipse has excelled in all of these examinations - the trigger has been exceptionally well engineered. Who Will Use This Most Shooters who want a competitive edge in their matches will have the most to gain here. That being said, anyone used to the Mil-Spec trigger who takes the Eclipse to the range will swear they have a whole new rifle after the upgrade. What Could Be Improved and Why Let us be clear - there's hardly anything to harp on about this trigger, it's got raving reviews everywhere. If we had to say though, one of the things that Hiperfire could consider in their analysis is what happens during "break-in" and try to manufacture them as such from the get-go. Bottom Line The Hiperfire Eclipse will definitely come in handy when you're competing and need to fire off as many rounds as possible in the quickest amount of time. It's a trigger you can depend on to give you the best advantage over the competition. Every millisecond counts! Best AR-15 Trigger Kit Runner-up: Bravo Company - AR-15 BCM Gunfighter™ PNT Trigger CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Best for AR-15 rifles. Affordable for most budgets. Nickel-finished for extra durability. No creep or grittiness for most users. Easy to install; most say it takes a few minutes. Cons Break-in might take a little longer than usual. Trigger pull might be a little heavy for some applications (i.e.--Tactical, self-defense). What Recent Buyers Report This is one of those triggers that can be easily assembled and dropped-in all in the same day; that was according to one recent buyer. Once everything was installed, most of the other recent buyers took it for a test drive at the range. The pull weight was quite decent for most users and some of them were confident that it was good enough for most hunting applications. Why it Stands Out to Us The trigger is made from a high-quality nickel and is proven to be a really durable unit. The trigger quality is quite solid and doesn’t have a flimsy feeling to it. Aside from that, it doesn’t add on unnecessary weight that would make the rifle feel a little heavier. Other than that, it stands out to use as a trigger that is so easy to assemble a newbie can do it. Who Will Use This Most This trigger kit will be used by those who have little to no gunsmithing skills. It will also be used by those who want to spend less time dealing with frustrating and complex trigger installations and more time giving this puppy a spin at the range. As for applications, casual target shooters and hunters might benefit from this the most. What Could Be Improved and Why A possible improvement that might be considered might be including housing that will protect the inner workings of the trigger. The housing can be wide enough to fit all kinds of AR-15 rifles and pistols, and must be durable and strong enough to handle impact that might stem from recoil or significant amounts of gunfire. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger kit that will give you all the parts you need to put together a reliable trigger, this Bravo Company AR-15 trigger kit might be your cup of coffee. The assembly and installation will be easy enough to make this all possible, so if you’re up for the challenge then a kit like this will be an excellent choice for you. Best AR-15 Trigger for the Money: ​ Velocity Triggers - AR-15 Velocity Trigger Curved CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Solid construction. Excellent for many applications. Curved design makes it ergonomically friendly. Pull weights on each trigger are light and smooth. Very easy installation; takes a few minutes and the right tools. Cons Some say the pull weight may not be accurate. Some pins may need to be replaced, since they might be the wrong size. What Recent Buyers Report Most recent buyers were satisfied with this trigger. Not only was it affordable for them, it actually worked a lot better than they had expected. Most of them said the trigger weight for each one they chose was either the exact weight or slightly above it. One even said that this made his extended range sessions even more enjoyable. Why it Stands Out to Us The biggest reason why this trigger stands out is the overall design. The curved design, in our opinion, means that it will not only be easy to use but ergonomics-wise it will be best used by those who hate the idea of dealing with trigger finger fatigue after a long session. An ergonomic design plus a light pull weight will definitely make such afflictions a thing of the past. Who Will Use This Most This might be one of the handfuls of triggers that come closest to serving as an all-purpose trigger. So whether you’re a hunter, competitive shooter, or someone using a rifle for tactical purposes, this trigger has just enough of a tolerable pull weight to get the job done for most users. What Could Be Improved and Why An improvement that is worth considering would be testing the pull weight on each trigger before they are shipped out. This way, the pull weight will be accurate and not a subject of guesswork among its users. Another thing that should be improved is making some adjustments to the pin sizes. This way, it will make fitting a lot better rather than having to use a bunch of tools to get it right. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger that is comfortable, easy to use and easy on the bank account, the Velocity Triggers AR-15 trigger will probably be the one trigger that will be perfect for your AR-15 rifle or pistol. Either way, it will excel at whatever application you use it for. Best AR-15 Trigger Kit for the Money: J P Enterprises - AR-15/308 AR "Adjustable Trigger System" CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to assemble. Installs as quickly as a few minutes. Easily adjustable for most applications. Fits perfectly with most AR-style lower receivers. Trigger pull weight is light, allowing for quicker shooting and follow-up shots. Cons Grinding and additional fitting may be required. Loctite might be needed to keep some of the small parts intact. What Recent Buyers Report According to recent buyers, a lot of them didn’t seem to have a hard time with the assembly and installation process. Once they were able to assemble the trigger, they easily dropped it into their AR-15 rifle or pistol and had no trouble breaking it in. One user said he was purchasing it as an add-on to an AR-15 rifle he was currently building. Why it Stands Out to Us This trigger assembly is one of those starter trigger kits that can be put together in a matter of minutes by anyone who might lack basic gunsmithing skills. Aside from that, it’s also a drop-in model with a decent enough pull weight that can be used for multiple applications. The break-in won’t be as long and can take up to about 200 rounds. Who Will Use This Most This will likely be used by those who want to easily assemble and install at a trigger on their AR-15 rifle or pistol. Since it will take only minutes to do both, it might be the trigger that you’ll be able to test out the same day you install it. Application-wise, it might be beneficial for AR hunters and competitive shooters, to name a few. What Could Be Improved and Why One of the things that might be improved is making some adjustments to the small parts. In other words, make them so they can fit properly. This way there won’t be a need for any Loctite or any tools that might be required for making the pins and small parts fit perfectly. Bottom Line The JP Enterprises AR-15/308 trigger might be the closest thing to an easy to assemble and easy to install trigger for AR rifles and pistols. No matter which one you use, you can set it and forget it while enjoying the added benefit of a lighter trigger pull and faster shooting for all your usual applications. Best AR-15 Drop-In Trigger for the Money: ​ Timney - AR-15 "Calvin Elite Trigger" Adjustable Trigger CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very light trigger pull. Follow-up shots are fast and precise. Easy to install; takes no more than 10 minutes. No creep or travel was reported by many users. Straight trigger design makes it easy for most users. Cons May not be ergonomically friendly for most users. Some might complain about the trigger pull being a little too touchy due to the weight. What Recent Buyers Report As expected, a lot of recent buyers were satisfied with how light the trigger pull was. Some have even said that their follow-up shots were much faster and more accurate compared to previous triggers they had used in the past. They were even satisfied with the trigger shoe options that were made available to them. Why it Stands Out to Us This trigger stands out to us in a few ways. One of them is the different trigger shoes that you can use. They are designed to provide more comfort and make the trigger itself easy to use. So if one shoe might be a little too discomforting for you during a long shooting session, one of the others might do you some good. All it takes is a simple switch to solve the issue. Who Will Use This Most This will be another trigger that will be used by first-time AR-15 users. Because of the adjustments and the ability to switch to different trigger shoes, it will make the rifle a lot more user-friendly. This will fit well for those who are currently training to handle an AR-15 rifle properly. What Could Be Improved and Why While 1.5 pounds is an impressive but light trigger weight to use, it might be a good idea to include one other option: make the pull weight adjustable. Start from 1.5 being the lightest, to the heaviest pull weight being about 3.5 pounds. This way, if the trigger weight seems a little too light and touchy, users can add a little bit more weight and still be able to get quick follow-up shots. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger that definitely makes it easy to use and customize, the Timney AR-15 Calvin Elite Trigger could be the one you’ll have for the long-term. Especially if you’re looking to make your AR-15 rifle or pistol easier for those who are just beginning to get to know it. Smooth, reliable, and customizable? Is there anything else you can ask for in a trigger? 8. Geissele Automatic AR-15 "Super Dynamic Triggers" CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Affordable for most budgets. The pull is super crisp; no grittiness at all. Excellent as a starter trigger for new AR-15 users. Easy to install; it takes a few minutes and the right tools. Super light pull weight. Makes follow-up shooting a lot easier. Cons Some say the pull weight is a little too light. Some say the trigger pull might be a little fragile like glass. A commonly accepted view is that two-stage triggers are a better choice for long-range accuracy. In other words,  it is better for slow, medium-precision shooting. The flip side is that many people believe that the single stage is better for fighting rifles used in close quarters or rapid firing in 3 Gun competition since it resets more quickly. What Recent Buyers Report A lot of new AR-15 users were looking for a trigger that wasn’t too heavy for their first time using a rifle. They were able to find a trigger that was easy to install and a lot easier to use compared to other triggers. One shooter said he expected it to be a little heavy at the beginning, but was surprised that it was light, even for a trigger that has yet to be broken in. Why it Stands Out to Us This trigger might be one of the lightest triggers on the market. Given its light weight, it's actually really sturdy in construction. Not to be outdone, when secured properly it stays in place and doesn't get loose no matter how many rounds you go through. Some triggers might come loose due to recoil. Not this trigger, though. Who Will Use it This Most This trigger will be beneficial for most competitive shooters, considering how light and easy the pull is. So, they’ll be able to quickly get shots off and have an edge over their opponents. Fortunately, hunters will also benefit from this when they don’t want to miss a big target opportunity. What Could Improve and Why ​ One thing that can be addressed is the possibility of finding tougher springs. They should be tough but won’t be able to compromise the light pull weight or make it heavier. You’d be surprised how some smaller springs can handle some repeated heavy-duty activity. Bottom Line If a light trigger pull is what you’ll want, you’ll get it with the Geissele Automatics AR-15 trigger. You can say that this might be a hunter or competitive shooter’s dream come true, especially when they’re looking for a trigger that will give them the speed factor in their AR-15 rifle. 9. "American Trigger Corporation" - AR-15 "Gold Trigger Curved" CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Rapid resetting. Easy to install for most users. Excellent for almost any application. Flawless operation; doesn’t creep or travel. Trigger pull is light in weight; it allows for quicker shooting. Cons Some fitting might be required. May not fit on some lower receivers. It might be a bit hard to toggle for some users. What Recent Buyers Report According to some users, this trigger was one of the easiest they have used out of many rifles and pistols they have fired in the past. One user said that he liked the pull weight being a little light for his rifle. In fact, he said that he was considering getting a second trigger for his AR-15 pistol. Other than that, they were satisfied to not feel any creep or traveling at all. Why it Stands Out to Us The ATC Trigger is a two-stage trigger that definitely gives you much lighter pull weight, making it an ideal trigger for you to use if you want to quickly get a shot or two off. If you miss your big target and need to take another shot, the follow-up shots are quicker and will definitely give you a better chance at hitting your target on subsequent attempts. Make no mistake, while it’s a two-stage trigger, it functions well enough for you to get a shot off quickly. Who Will Use This Most Hunters will likely benefit from this trigger the most. Other users will probably be casual target shooters that are using it for the fun of it (or just tuning up). Either way, it’s a trigger that will be useful for some applications where quick shooting is required (i.e. competitive shooting, hunting, self-defense, etc.) What Could Be Improved and Why One of the things that could warrant a possible improvement would be to do away with some things so it will make the trigger a little easier to operate. Some have complained about some of the binding of the material within the trigger group itself, thus making it a little hard to operate for some. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger that will be easy for you to install and use, the ATC AR-15 trigger will probably be worth the investment. Reliable, light in the pull, and best for target shooting and hunting, this will make a great upgrade for your current rifle or pistol or as an excellent addition for a rifle or pistol you’re currently building. 10. PSA AR15/PA10 EPT - Enhanced Polished "Fire Control Group" CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very smooth trigger pull. Easy to assemble and install. No grittiness or creep to report. Finish is nice and aesthetically sharp. Works better than most mil-spec triggers. Cons Some say the quality is inconsistent. Some say the trigger break-in might take a little longer than usual. One user complained that the firing group might be a little sub-par. "Recent Buyers Report" Report A lot of recent buyers were overall satisfied with this trigger. The pull weight is excellent for most shooters. They didn’t experience any traveling or creep throughout their shooting sessions. The finish and construction are quite solid and has the ability to last you a long time provided that you take good care of it. Why it Stands Out to Us Considering that this is the best overall trigger for AR-15’s, this stands out in a few ways. One of the main characteristics that impressed us is the smoothness of the trigger pull. This gives you a better chance of quickly firing off your first round. Of course, your follow-up shots will be a lot quicker. This trigger stands out to us as something that will ensure that time will be on your side when it comes to getting a shot off. Who Will Use This Most This will be best used by those who want nothing more than a smooth, quick shot every time. Hunters and target shooters come to mind. The latter will usually benefit from this when they’re gearing up for an upcoming competition. However, hunters can benefit from the quick follow-up shots just in case they miss their targets the first time. What Could Be Improved and Why One of the things that might warrant a possible improvement might be replacing the pins. Some of the users have complained that they are quite small and wouldn't fit properly. So fitting them with mil-spec pins or the like might be something worth considering. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a trigger for your AR-15 that might be considered the best in the business, then you’ll definitely want to give the PSA AR-15/PA 10 EPT trigger a closer look. This will definitely blow away the mil-spec competition and deliver a smooth performance like no other. Should I Tinker? We don't recommend that anyone other than an experienced gunsmith does trigger improvements There's always the possibility that a perfectly-adjusted trigger somehow slips out of adjustment. This can lead to a nonfunctioning trigger, or even worse, a dangerous one that can accidentally fire. Another alternative is installing a new single or two-stage trigger. This is also a great way to upgrade the accuracy of an AR-15. However, aftermarket triggers can range from dismal to game-changing. You don’t want to look for the cheapest thing out there. It’s possible to end up with a big black stick instead of a reliable battle-tested rifle. Check out our suggested budget triggers here . Most people are well-served by a quality mil-spec trigger. But there are a lot of AR owners who want to get a smoother and more accurate trigger with a minimum pull weight. But trying to undertake a trigger job alone may lead to problems. It’s essential to remember how triggers work on firearms, and how everything in the rifle interacts with something else. For instance, filing through the standard AR-15 trigger's hardened surface will accelerate the wear of the parts, making that perfect trigger one day become a really scary trigger. In a situation of a non-intended discharge, you put others and yourself at risk. That’s not only a legal issue but an ethical one. On a less grave note, replacing the fire control group usually will void the warranty on your parts. How to Install an AR-15 Trigger Installing an AR-15 trigger might be a challenge. That is, if you don’t know what you’re doing. But thankfully, we’ll make it easier for you by simply including a quick guide on how you can install a trigger for your AR-15. Here are the following steps: First and foremost, always check to see if your AR-15 is clear. This means the mag well should be empty. Your chamber should be empty as well. Once you get the all-clear, move to the next step. Check to see if you have the following tools: A long screwdriver that will have the appropriate tip used to unscrew your pistol grip screws, 5/32 punch, a nylon hammer, a vise with vise block, and safety glasses. Start by closing the bolt and removing the takedown and pivot pins. Set the upper receiver aside. Remove the pistol grip and also the safety selector (this includes the pin and detents). Take your screwdriver and slide it inside the pistol grip. Then unscrew the screw. Slowly relieve the spring tension and remove the pistol grip. Set it aside. Turn the receiver and catch the pin as it falls out. Insert the vise block into the mag well and tighten it in the vise. Once secure in the vise, remove the hammer by pulling the trigger to remove the tension. Then, using your 5/32 punch and nylon brass hammer, gently tap out the hammer pins. Set them aside. Repeat the previous step again, but this time with the trigger pin. Before installing the fire control group, confirm the correct orientation of the trigger spring. The solid end should be underneath the trigger while the wings should be extended forward. If you’re installing a USGI trigger, insert the spring with the larger part of it facing downward. Then place the disconnector with the hook facing forward. Place the trigger into the receiver. Make sure it is lined with the pinholes. Apply pressure on the trigger and using a 5/32 punch, replace the trigger pins. Install the hammer by sliding it into place with the tails of the hammer spring resting on top of the trigger pin. Make sure they are aligned properly. Cock the hammer back and test the trigger so it's working properly. Re-install the selector in the safe position. Then switch the trigger into the “FIRE” position to test the trigger again. Replace the detent and spring into the receiver. Do the same with the pistol grip. Secure the screw inside the pistol grip. Repeat the function tests. Make sure the gun does not fire while the selector is in the safe position. If it does, remove the trigger immediately. You can take it to a qualified gunsmith or get it replaced. Re-attach the upper receiver and do one last test. Test shoot it using two rounds in the magazine. Types of AR-15 Triggers Single Stage or Dual Stage Triggers As you know the majority of the factory lever guns, bolt-action rifles and service arms come off the production lines equipped with a single-stage trigger. The AR-15 is no exception. Not so long ago, the adjustable trigger was an expensive custom operation, but that has fortunately changed. Modern technological processes and firearms manufacturers’ timely response to consumer preferences have led to better triggers. The aftermarket is overflowing with excellent single and dual-stage trigger options . A shooter’s choice really comes down to personal preference. Both types have their merits and drawbacks. Regardless of which kind you use, be sure to practice with it to grow accustomed to the difference. When we are looking at the timeline, the single-stage trigger comes first. With early firearms, the only thing expected of the trigger was to trip the mechanism and made the gun go bang. But with the development of precision shooting, an obvious solution was to lighten the existing single-stage trigger. This modernized single-stage trigger is a vast improvement over the original design, and it works very well for accuracy-driven work. But it’s less suited for high-stress situations where a feather-light pull weight can get you into trouble. Flat or Curved Web forums are full of discussions regarding the relative strengths of straight versus curved AR-15 triggers. But we would lean more on the shooting type you intend to use your Black Rifle for. This is what can help dictate what will work best. According to some claims, a traditional curved trigger provides an ergonomic advantage. This makes it better for tactical use. But it can be a drawback for precise shooting. The bent bow offers greater surface area for the trigger finger. It also provides better "purchase" for a shooter’s finger in combat or slippery conditions. As a drawback, some people say that a curved trigger gives a shooter less finger sensitivity, which means you may not always get the same placement on the trigger. The other type has a flat, wide shoe. The flat trigger offers less surface area to the trigger finger. It provides a different feel. However, the overall effectiveness seems to have much more to do with feelings than physics. Since the trigger in both cases has to travel in an arc, there’s a tiny and nearly imperceptible difference between the two styles. Try both, and stick what you like best. There’s no clear winner here. When you feel more comfortable, you’ve got a far greater chance of making a great shot. Also, for anyone who wants to compromise, there is a hybrid trigger. This has the best of both worlds. The hybrid trigger features the curved top part while the bottom is flat. The face of the trigger is serrated. Flat or curved triggers are a hugely personal preference and leaning to the aesthetics than the performance side of both types. What is a Drop-In Trigger? A drop-in trigger is a trigger assembly that is easy to install. Typically, they are already fully assembled and will be ready for operation. These will take about a few minutes to install and the right kind of tools (as listed in the instructions above). Advantages Some of the advantages of a drop-in trigger include but are not limited to lighter pull weight, easy installation, and a solid durable housing (if included). Of course, the biggest advantage of them all is being able to install it without the aid of a blacksmith. Disadvantages One major disadvantage of a drop-in is that while it might be fully assembled, it might not have a pull weight that you might be satisfied with. At the same time, some of the inner components may already be bunched in making the trigger itself potentially difficult to use. Another disadvantage is that they may not fit perfectly with some lower receivers, which might mean making adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. Conclusion Finding the best AR-15 trigger might be a challenge. But if you know exactly what to look for, the search process probably won’t be so difficult. Look for a trigger that will best fit your AR-15 rifle or pistol and make sure that it is reliable and will allow you to fire each shot with the greatest of ease. Be sure to choose wisely, since this will be a trigger that will be used for the long-term. The invention and development of different trigger groups for the AR platform rifles were focused on two needs: accuracy and rapid fire. These kinds of improvements led to the newest trend for gun enthusiasts that want selectable firing from their AR-15. The best AR-15 triggers rarely come on stock Black Rifles. Swapping a standard trigger for an aftermarket one often facilitates better accuracy. However, you need to choose wisely based on your requirements and your wallet.

Reasons Guns Fail

Reasons Guns Fail

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s Ah…the plight of the forgotten guns. Maybe you’ve spent a day at the range firing dirty ammo, then forgot to clean up your firearm until your next range session.  Then…you discover that your gun just won’t shoot. And maybe you’ve recognized that a gun needs a good cleaning, but your busy schedule causes you to keep putting it off until “later”…which ends up coming far later than you’d have liked. Brand new Marlin 336 that rusted on the store shelf! More guns are broken or made inoperable because of laziness and dumb mistakes than are put out of service by normal wear and tear. The answer is to know the most common problems and the corresponding best solutions. Protect your guns by knowing what is best for them so they’ll work when you need them to, withstand the elements, and be worth something should you want to sell them in the future. So now, without further ado, let’s talk about how firearms become damaged. Wear & Tear Just like anything else, guns wear out…although they are getting increasingly durable and resistant to wear. Springs are the parts most vulnerable to wear.  To a certain degree, you just have to accept that you’ll have to replace a spring here or there every so often. On the other hand, guns also have lots and lots of moving parts that need to be cleaned and lubricated. Normal Wear and Tear on the Author’s Turkey Gun Improper Storage Most of the time guns rust out it’s because people have failed to store them in an environment that will protect them from the elements. If there’s a particularly humid day, or worse, you use a humidifier in the room where you store your guns, your firearms will come in contact with the moisture in the air and need drying out! Otherwise you’re liable to see surface pitting and corrosion in a matter of a few days. This gun was submerged in a safe for three days during Hurricane Katrina. You have no such excuse. Careless Transportation Few people get to walk out of their back door and start pulling the trigger.  That means you need to transport your guns to and from the shooting range. S afely transporting firearms means loading them into a padded case that holds them securely and prevents them from rubbing together. Pelican 1200 Case 50 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 50 at Brownells Compare prices (3 found) Brownells (See Price) OpticsPlanet (See Price) Amazon (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing *Remember in some states you must lock the gun case while transporting to and from the range, contact your state officials when in doubt!  If you need some suggestions, check out our Best Gun Cases . Over Tightening When you screw down a bolt or any retainer…don’t over tighten it.  This includes the levers that secure quick detach mounts on Picatinny rails.  Hand tight, then a quarter turn!  Or even better…look at what the manufacturer suggests. You don’t get brownie points for cranking down the bolt and tripping out the screws. Aftermarket Parts Anything you install on your gun needs to be thoroughly vetted and have an established track record before you can trust it.  That means…especially internal parts that make up critical parts of your gun.  Springs, trigger packs, bolt carriers, magazine catches…it all need to be tested. It looks cool, but you need to make sure your aftermarket parts won’t damage your gun. Looking to upgrade your gun?  Check out our Reviews section for specific suggestions. Improper Installation Don’t just let any monkey wrench on your guns. That includes you! If you swap a part or spring on your gun, make sure you know exactly what you’re doing and how it’ll affect your firearm.  Otherwise you may be sorry when you see the effects down the line. Internal Rusting Most guns will start to show rust on the outside far before you notice the inside.  But it’s often too late by the time you notice. Internal pitting on rifling, or chambers is a death knell for guns. Keep the Inner Parts Nice and Clean Flooding with Oil Oil it’s self isn’t a problem. Flooding with oil that attracts lint and other debris is certainly a problem. Oil makes a good glue for unburned powder, carbon fouling, and general lint and sand to get gummed up into the action of your gun.  Over lubrication of a gun is just as big a problem as no lubrication. Not Cleaning Out Solvents Go easy on the solvents you use on your gun. Chances are you only need a patch or two, and normally only on the barrel.  If you get solvent in a hard to reach place like the gas key on an AR-15, then you might start to get corrosion there.  The purpose of solvent is to break things down, so don’t be surprised when that solvent eats your gun. Flaking Finishes Most guns come with a finish. Stainless steel and rust bluing are the best because they don’t come off.  The newer colored coatings like Duracoat and Cerakote can be problematic if you have the coating flake off in critical areas and gun the gun up. For example, if you Duracoat the frame of a 1911 or other pistol, make sure you keep the Duracoat off the slide rails.  It won’t hurt clearances while it’s in good shape but it will eventually wear off and cause problems. Flaking On a Winchester Rifle Don’t Be That Guy If you haven’t noticed ,the key to not being the guy who abuses his equipment generals falls into three categories: Know how to clean, use, and maintain each firearm your own Use the correct equipment to clean and maintain your firearms Have the equipment and know-how to properly store your firearms The first step is to know what you’re doing.  Just like breaking your gun while taking it apart and putting it back together, you can ruin a gun by not using the proper cleaning solvents and lubrication. All you have to do is to read the manual. Google and YouTube are also your friends.  Just about any gun in existence has advice on taking it apart and putting it  back together. The next step is to make sure you have the correct equipment. A stainless-steel wire brush is going to ruin the rifling of your barrel.  If you leave a heavy copper solvent on the finish of your pistol, it is going to pit and corrode it. If you over lubricate a striker fired pistol with a thick grease, it is going to have light primer strikes and misfires.  Have the correct cleaning and lubricating equipment and know how to use it. Otis Tactical Cleaning System 65 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 65 at Brownells Compare prices (3 found) Brownells (See Price) Cabela's (See Price) OpticsPlanet (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Finally, and arguable the most important part, is to store your firearms correctly. I live in Florida, and it is so humid here that guns literally rust while on store shelves.  If you have a gun safe or vault and don’t take steps to control the climate inside, you can ruin the function and value of a gun.  Look for ways to help mitigate these problems and create permanent storage solutions for your guns so you don’t have to be worried weather or no they’re rusting out. Finally, for the crowd who shouts “My guns are tools I don’t care how they look!” I have two answers to this: reliability and tradition.  There’s no argument that a properly maintained gun will function better.  As said above, even the most durable firearm needs proper care and maintenance to meet its full potential.  Every single firearms manufacturer publishes information on the best way to clean, lubricate, and properly store their guns.  Follow their advice and the guns just work better. The Author’s Father’s Concealed Carry Pistol My other answer for the “No clean” crowd is tradition. One of my most prized possessions is a .357 magnum two shot derringer style pistol my father carried for over 30 years.  It has its dings, its scratches, and a little surface pitting.  And to be honest… it isn’t a very effective firearm.  Still, it means the world to me that I have it now that he’s passed on. Firearms are intensely personal items and your children, or grandchildren will appreciate having such a personal piece of your history that you’ll leave behind.  Of course, you can only leave it behind if it is still in one piece. What’s the worst case of gun neglect have you seen?  Are you guilty of weapon’s abuse yourself?  Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

Book Review: When All Hell Breaks Loose

Book Review: When All Hell Breaks Loose

In the words of BackHome magazine, “ When All Hell Breaks Loose - Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes is aimed toward educating and preparing you and your family for change and the unknown. Despite the serious nature of the subject, Cody Lundin approaches it in a matter of fact, frequently entertaining manner, without the doomsday approach of typical “survivalist” tomes.” That statement pretty much sums up the whole book. It is one of those non-fiction books that you can read like a novel. Quick Navigation Basics About the Author Survival Applications Favorite Part Dislikes Overall Basics The first addition was published in 2007. It has 450 pages crammed full of info. The book is divided into two major parts. Part One: Head Candy provides you with the common sense foundation upon which to base your survival plan. Part Two: Hand Candy is all about physical preps and gear. The book is written in an easy to comprehend, elementary monologue. It is full of pictures, illustrations and point making, yet still funny cartons. About the Author Cody Lundin is the author of this and one other title ( 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! ). He and his Aboriginal Living Skills School have made numerous appearances in the media, including The Today Show, Dateline NBC, CBS News, Fox News, USA Today, CNN, The Discovery Channel Field and Stream magazine, and on the cover of Backpacker magazine. His expertise in practical self-reliant skills comes from a lifetime of personal experience, including designing his own off the grid, passive solar earth home in which he has an ingenious rain catchment system. Survival Applications I really got a lot out of the chapter on sanitation. The author goes into great detail on how to improvise and build stand-in toilets and outhouses. He also teachers you how to effectively compost and dispose of human waste. In other chapters there is in-depth info on how to dispose of dead bodies, and the author actually includes a couple of recipes for cooking and eating rats and mice. The entire book is filled with many more such practical survival tips. Favorite Part My favorite part of the book is probably the chapter on water. Lundin provides you with lots of cool facts and gives you some neat unconventional ideas for purifying water. He gives a really cool recipe for a homemade rehydration solution, a lot of good info on various types of storage containers, and how to keep your water fresh. Dislikes It is very hard to find something wrong with this book. The author is not trying to preach any thing radical or unsoundly, he is just getting the word out there. I really enjoyed this book, it may very well be the best book I have read on the topic. Overall It is a very enjoyable read. I would recommend it for the new survivalist, but I am sure that even the most experienced prepper can find something new in its pages. I would say it is a valuable addition to any survival library. When "All Hell Breaks" Loose - Stuff You Need to "Survive When Disaster" Strikes -by Cody Lundin Other interesting articles: Book Review: Preppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon Book Review: Adrift, Seventy Six Days Lost at Sea Book Review: Lights Out Book Review: Zero Footprint

Simpler is Better: The AKs Design

Simpler is Better: The AKs Design

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d3c5cdf6_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d3c5cdf6_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } The design of an AK is pretty simple and does not represent a huge technological breakthrough in firearm technology. But how they work together to produce the desired result is what really mattered in the creation of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s masterpiece. Design This inherent reliability was achieved by the spacing of the components, with a receiver allowing the contaminants to “fall” though the gun or accumulate for some time before they started to impede the normal operation of the gun. Utter simplicity of operation was also a main goal, and it was achieved by mimicking a conventional rifle configuration, which made it easy to re-train existing soldiers and train new recruits on a rifle that can be mastered within days. Operating System The AK operating system is based on a long-stroke gas piston driven back by the powder gases compressing the main recoil spring that in turn feeds the round out of a box-type magazine, chambering it and locking a two-lug bolt. The AK bolt locking is achieved by rotation, unlike in the Stg .44, which used tilting. The guide rails on the inside of the receiver enable the rotation of the bolt within a bolt carrier. Related GunDigest Articles New Guns: New AR Rifles Available in 2017 SHOT Show: Great New Rifles for 2017 Barrel The hammer-forged barrel with four right-hand grooves at a 240mm or 1-in-9.45 inch rifling twist rate and chrome-lined bore is pressed into the front trunnion block. Most of the commercial models that are imported into the US from Russia have chrome-lined military-spec barrels. The same could be said for European models, depending on the country of origin. Most of the US-made AK barrels are not chrome-lined; however, other forms of corrosion prevention are employed. The barrel has a gas port drilled in the top to align with a gas block that is pressed on and pinned in place. The original design had a 45-degrees port to vent powder gases to cycle the rifle. Sights Originally, on the first model of the AK-47 the hood had a tube shape to enclose the sight post entirely, with an opening on top to allow for elevation adjustment. Later models up to this day have a “U” shaped hood that was first employed by the Soviets in the '50s as part of modernizing the AK rifle. This move made casting simpler and eliminated two milling steps to make the process cheaper. The sighting system for the AK was borrowed from the standard military two-sight alignment system where the elevation-adjustable “U” shaped rear sight is aligned around the “fixed” front sight. The leaf spring-tensioned rear sight is hinged on the top of the “rear sight” block, and it has graduations from 1-10 in single-digit increments representing 100 meters. i.e. 1-100 meters and 10-1000 meters. Most of the major systems of the AK rifle had been invented and tried before. It is a simple long-stroke gas-operated system. Furniture When the AK-47 was first adapted for service with the Soviet Armed Forces it had furniture made of hardwood, but cost-cutting measures switched that to birch laminate. This move achieved a double benefit: It was much cheaper because the material was plentiful, and it was much more rigid and could withstand more abuse. Advances in plywood production allowed for an infinite supply of components, as it did not require a careful selection for the wood used. Later attempts were made to replace all of the rifle’s wood furniture with composite parts. Early Bakelite technology was widely employed throughout the firearms industry, and the Soviets jumped on the Bakelite bandwagon as well. However, Bakelite proved to be an excellent heat conductor and was abandoned in favor of laminate wood, with the exception of the pistol grip and bayonet handles and scabbard.

Best Handguns Under $500 2020 Complete Round-up

If you are looking for a handgun for under $500, then you are not alone. You can find an excellent handgun that is affordable for most budgets (and has a price tag south of $500). But the key here is to find a handgun that is excellent in quality and performance. The last thing you want is a handgun that is cheap and flimsy. While there are a good number of handguns available on the market below $500 in price, we’ve managed to put together a list of ten handguns that are considered the best of the best. Before we get to the list itself, we’ll talk about whether or not you can really find a quality handgun that is actually affordable and what you need to look for in a handgun below such a price point. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Handguns Under 500 OUR TOP PICK: Smith & Wesson Bodyguard Glock 48 9MM Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact Auto Ordnance 1911A1 Ruger LCP II 380 ACP BEST BUDGET OPTION: Taurus G2C 9MM Comparison Chart of the Best Handguns Under $500 IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick Smith & Wesson Bodyguard Includes a laser sight Capacity of 6 + 1 rounds Best handgun under $500 for the money View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Glock 48 9MM Best 9mm pistol under $500 Chambered to fire 9mm shots Includes 2 10-round capacity magazines "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact Capacity of 8 rounds Best 45 ACP under $500 Weighs in at 1.56 pounds View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Auto Ordnance 1911A1 5-inch barrel 7-round capacity Best 1911 pistol under $500 View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Ruger LCP II 380 ACP 7-round magazine Barrel length of 2.75 inches Best 380 pistol for under $500 View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Sig Sauer P365 9MM Chambered to fire 9mm shots Barrel measured at 3.1 inches Best concealed carry pistol under $500 View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Best Budget Option Taurus G2C 9MM Best handgun under $500 Chambered to fire 9mm Capacity of 12 + 1 rounds View Latest Price Read Customer Reviews Sig Sauer SP2022 Handgun Contains up to 12 rounds Single Action/Double Action Type Runner-up for best handgun under $500 View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Taurus Model 66 4in .357 Magnum Takes 7 rounds Adjustable rear sight included Best 357 revolver for under $500 View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews Can You Really Find a Quality Handgun That’s Affordable? The short answer: yes. You can find a handgun that is excellent in quality and performance while not costing you an arm and a leg. The important thing to note is that none of the handguns you’ll find on our list are cheap by any stretch of the imagination. These handguns are reliable, fully functional, and a lot of fun to shoot. What to Look For When Buying a Handgun Under $500 Knowing what to look for in a handgun costing south of $500 is key. These factors will help you make the determination of which handgun will work best for you. They will also give you the ability to distinguish a great handgun from one that isn’t so great. Here are the things you need to look for: Find the Price That is Affordable For You While there are handguns available at certain price points, it’s best to find one that will fit your budget. However, you may or may not wind up purchasing a handgun that is priced a little higher than what you were expecting. That’s because you place high value in some of the additional aspects over price. Source Excellent Quality If you want excellent quality, then find a handgun made from materials like stainless steel or other synthetic materials like polymer. The better the quality of the materials, the better the chance you will be able to use this handgun for the long term as far as longevity goes. Secondly, better quality will equal excellent reliability. Speaking of which, that will be the focus of our next thing factor. Consistent Reliability The last thing you want is a handgun that is prone to jamming and malfunctioning. That will also spell trouble if you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself or in a competition. It’s important to find a handgun that will allow you to go through 100 or more rounds without a single jam or malfunction. Don’t be shocked if you purchase a handgun that is under $500 and it winds up maintaining its reliability for the long term. Quick Take - The Best Handguns Under $500 These are our recommendations for the best handguns under $500: Taurus G2C 9MM Sig Sauer SP2022 Handgun Smith & Wesson Bodyguard Review of the "Best Handguns Under" $500 The following is a list of some of the best handguns priced under $500. As you go through each one, take a moment to note the features and characteristics that stand out. This way, you’ll be able to find your “ideal handgun”. You may have a winner if you see a handgun that checks off a lot of boxes on our list of “What to Look For” in a handgun. Let’s start off by unveiling the best overall choice: Best Overall: Taurus G2C 9MM CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Outstanding accuracy Easy to load, takes a few minutes Lightweight, even when fully loaded Excellent for concealed carry and home defense Excellent reliability, won’t jam or malfunction through 200 yards Cons Trigger quality could be better The trigger is a little gritty to pull Snagging on soft material holsters has occurred What Recent Buyers Report This handgun was a hit with most new users. They said they were able to shoot accurate and effective shots at close-quarter distances of 10 to 15 yards. However, they managed to get a shot as far out as 25 yards. Overall, the handgun quality was excellent and built for long-term use. One user said it was the perfect size to conceal carry without any bulging. Why it Stands Out to Us This handgun has the right kind of measurables in terms of concealability. It’s the right size to conceal carry in a holster for compact-sized handguns. This means you won’t have to deal with any bulging that often leads to people giving you strange looks for obviously carrying. And if you do carry a handgun, it probably will make some people feel uncomfortable. But don’t be ashamed of it. It’s a lot better to conceal carry under the radar and do so safely. If you want a handgun that will provide you with maximum concealability so you and those around you are protected from dangerous attacks, this may be one you want to consider. Who Will Use This Most This handgun will come quite in handy for concealed carry users who intend to carry on an everyday basis (EDC carry). It’s the right size for stealthy concealed carry and will often provide an element of surprise for any unsuspecting attacker that might be dumb enough to try to harm you. If you want a simple self-defense handgun , this one is a textbook example of how one should function. Bottom Line The Taurus G2C 9mm is well-deserving of the best overall spot and for good reason. Reliable, excellent in quality, and concealability is what you get, all in one affordable package. And that ain’t a bad thing at all. This is a self-defense or concealed carry handgun that will not disappoint as far as performance and quality are concerned. This handgun was a hit with most new users. They especially appreciated the accurate and effective shots at close-quarter distances at as far out as 25 yards. Overall, the handgun quality was excellent and built for long-term use. Users also praised it for its ability to be concealed in EDC situations. Runner-up: Sig Sauer SP2022 Handgun CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Superior reliability Excellent durability Little recoil right out of the box Provides maximum concealability Firing power packs a pretty good punch Cons Trigger quality could be improved Trigger pull is heavy in double action Hammer may be a bit difficult to pull pack What "Recent Buyers Report" A lot of new users say right off the bat this handgun was super reliable. Not to mention, they had excellent control over the handgun since the recoil was light right from the first shot. As for its size, it was small enough for users to conceal carry in an IWB holster, thus making it super easy to conceal. One user said he was able to carry this every day and was more confident in putting it to good use in public settings if he got caught in a dangerous situation. Why it Stands Out to Us The SIG Sauer brand is known for being one of the more popular choices for concealed carry users and for a few good reasons. For one, they are known for being reliable. When it comes to reliability, they are one of the names that often pops up in conversation (Glock and Smith and Wesson are a couple others). This handgun is both a single and double-action type. So you can simply pull the trigger to get a shot off or pull the hammer back before taking a shot if you have enough time to do so. Simply put, this handgun is excellent for concealed carry and will give you options on how to fire it. In a survival situation, it’s a no-brainer on which mode to use. Who Will "Use This Most" If you want a handgun guaranteed to be reliable through so many rounds (100 or more), then you may want to consider purchasing this handgun for all of your concealed carry needs. And yes, you can get a reliable handgun for an affordable price. So you can say goodbye to all the jams and malfunctions that usually occur with cheap, flimsy handguns. Bottom Line The SIG Sauer SP2022 Handgun may be the runner-up choice. But it is without question one of the best handguns in terms of reliability. You deserve something with a good amount of firing power, along with the ability to make sure every shot counts. With one pull of the trigger, we know you won’t be able to get enough of shooting this bad boy. Best for the Money: Smith & Wesson Bodyguard CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy-to-pull trigger Maximum concealability Excellent in self-defense situations Perfect for beginners learning to conceal carry Red laser allows for excellent precision and accuracy Cons Trigger quality could be better May not be suitable for larger hands The laser may not be visible on brighter days What Recent Buyers Report Most users were newbies just starting out with concealed carry. About half of them said they intended to go through their CCW training course using a handgun like this. Overall, they were quite happy with the firing ability and the handgun’s tight and consistent shooting groups. On top of that, they were really happy with the pistol’s overall concealability. Many of the users were able to store this inside IWB holsters without any discomfort or bulging. Why it Stands Out to Us We now turn out attention to the Smith and Wesson, another brand often included in the conversation when it comes to reliability. And yes, this pistol is pretty dang reliable. It will go through hundreds of rounds without a single malfunction. So it would make sense if you are looking at this as a potential self-defense handgun. If you want a pistol that will save your life, it better work when it matters most. With the inclusion of the laser, it allows you to take your shots and make sure they land exactly where you want them to go. Who Will Use This Most This will be best used by beginners. Starting out with concealed carry might be a daunting task. Even putting this to good use without firing a warning shot is daunting enough. But if you are comfortable with the idea of using a handgun for the intent of surviving a dangerous situation, you may want to consider purchasing this one if it fits your needs and preferences. Bottom Line If you want a handgun that is the most affordable of the affordable, the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard is the clear choice. It’s the kind of handgun that lives up to its name. It will stick alongside you and will come to your aid if and when danger threatens you or your family. With reliability and pinpoint accuracy, this pistol will be hard to beat in various aspects. Best 9mm Pistol Under $500: Glock 48 9MM CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Excellent reliability Unmatchable firing power Provides accurate, precise shooting Ideal for concealed carry and target shooting Easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance Cons None What Recent Buyers Report As expected, a lot of new users raved about the reliability. Through well over 100 shots, they experienced no jamming or malfunctioning. What they were also impressed with was the firing power. With one pull of the trigger, each shot was hard-hitting and robust. Shooting groups were pretty tight as well, with targets ranging from 15 to 25 yards out. One user said accuracy and reliability were the main reasons he was sold on the handgun. Why it Stands Out to Us Once more, we circle back to the reliability topic. And yes, Glock is worth mentioning in that regard. For a brand that is trusted in well over 50 countries (namely for law enforcement and military personnel), it’s the kind of handgun that will feel pretty good in your hands. And you will feel the power with the pull of the trigger. Since it shoots 9mm shots, you will get a good deal of stopping power out of the whole thing. This means if an assailant is stupid enough to attack you, you have enough shooting power to stop them in their tracks. Who Will Use This Most If you are searching for a 9mm that is a step up from your current pistol or are looking for something to start with in terms of concealed carrying, you may want to give the Glock 48 9mm a chance. It has the accuracy, speed, and overall reliability that makes this a force to be reckoned with. It might be a dark horse candidate in taking over the best overall spot in the future. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised. Bottom Line If reliability, accuracy, and superior firepower are what you want in a handgun, the Glock 48 9MM is undeniably the odds-on favorite. You get a handy dandy unit you can keep at home or at your side with the right kind of holster. Your life and the lives of your family members are important. So you want to protect them with a pistol that will make sure you are not one to mess with. Best .45 ACP Under $500: Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Outstanding reliability Allows for excellent concealability Maintains a light weight, even when fully loaded Easy to pull trigger with no grittiness or creep to report The magazine is easy to remove and allows for quick reloading Cons None What Recent Buyers Report A lot of new users were quick to point out the ease of concealability with this pistol. They said they were able to conceal this inside their waistband with the right kind of holster, resulting in bulge-free carrying that made their pistol invisible to the naked eye. One user said he was intending to use this for EDC purposes to ensure he is prepared for any danger when SHTF. Why it Stands Out to Us This pistol is a subcompact pistol, making it smaller than a compact. If you want something that will really stand out in terms of concealability, there’s a good chance this will be a handy pistol to get you out of a life-threatening situation. Don’t let the size fool you, it can do some damage at close-quarters distances. The firing power is pretty potent as well (even with little recoil to work with). If you want a subcompact pistol that is the total package, this could be exactly what you are looking for. Concealability, reliability, and accuracy? Yes, yes, and yes. Who Will Use This Most This is a pretty good pistol for anyone in search of ultimate concealability. If you have a compact holster that can handle a subcompact, you are in luck. It’s a pistol that will allow for quick shooting with a quick pull of the trigger. If you value your life, defend it at all costs, even if it means relying on a subcompact pistol. Bottom Line If you are looking for something that will be concealable but will definitely make sure every shot you take will count, the Smith and Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is a great choice. It’s the pistol that both new and seasoned concealed carry users can easily use and perfect for any life and death situation where defending yourself is warranted. Best 1911 Pistol Under $500: ​ Auto Ordnance 1911A1 CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Trigger pull is decent Fits in holsters quite nicely Great for home defense and target shooting Easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance Reliable through 100 rounds or more. No jamming or malfunctions Cons Loading may be a bit difficult at first Some oiling may be needed before use The magazine may be difficult to remove sometimes What Recent Buyers Report New users were able to get a great deal of control out of this pistol with the small amount of recoil they got. On top of that, the shooting groups were accurate with targets between 15 to 20 yards. Overall, the pistol was pretty reliable and users were able to shoot quicker follow-up shots compared to some of the cheaper pistols with poor trigger quality. Why it Stands Out to Us The 1911 has been around for well over a century. Made popular by the Colt, it was once a sidearm favored by military personnel, government agents, and even law enforcement. One of the reasons it was used for such a long time was reliability. This pistol allows for quick and accurate shooting in a tactical or self-defense situation when it matters most. While the government has since moved on from the 1911 in favor of a SIG Sauer, the former remains one of the best, most reliable pistols for concealed carry users. With excellent firing power and sharp, pinpoint accuracy, this pistol is hard to beat. Who Will Use This Most This will, in all likelihood, be a favorite choice among concealed carry users looking for a primary or secondary pistol. If reliability and firing power are two of the things you look for in a pistol, we know you won’t be disappointed in the Auto Ordnance 1911. It will feel great in your hands and you’ll be tempted to pull the trigger to get a shot or two off. And when you do, there might be a moment when you realize that purchasing this was the smartest thing you’ve ever done. Bottom Line The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 might be one of the more affordable 1911 pistols on the market. But it certainly will stand out as a force to be reckoned with, whether at the range or in a self-defense situation. Just because it’s under $500, doesn’t mean it should be underestimated. With one pull of the trigger, you’ll swear it should be above $500 in price. Best .380 Pistol Under $500: ​ Ruger LCP II 380 ACP CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Excellent durability Maximum concealability Fits in most compact holsters Shoots accurate, precise shots Trigger pull is smooth and light Cons None What Recent Buyers Report New buyers were able to use this to their advantage as a concealed carry pistol that flew under the radar on a daily basis. One user said he was looking for a pistol that was the perfect size while being able to shoot accurately at close range. He said that after much deliberation, this pistol was far and away his best option. The pistol’s performance itself further justified his decision, he added. He tested it out at a range where he did a run and gun session and managed to keep control of the pistol while in motion. Why it Stands Out to Us The 380 pistol is perhaps one of the most popular calibers among those who conceal carry. And the reason is that the size of a .380 pistol is among the smallest of the bunch. That’s usually a good thing for those looking for a pistol that allows for maximum concealability. It’s no secret that you and many concealed-carry practitioners want a pistol that is out of plain sight but at your side just in case you need it in a dangerous situation. To add the cherry on top of the “pew-pew” sundae, it has some pretty serious firing power to boot. Who Will Use This Most If you want a pistol which exceeds the standards when it comes to concealability, then you’re probably going to want to end your search for a handgun. Because this will give you a no-bulge, everyday carry every single day of the week. Furthermore, you have a pistol that will be effective at close range and still shoot sharp even at 25 yards out. Bottom Line If you want the best in concealability, at a price that you can definitely swing, the Ruger LCP II 380 ACP will be the no-brainer option. Think about it, a pistol with smooth, reliable shooting and at the perfect size for stealthy concealed carry? It’s a pistol you will be salivating over. And for the price it’s going for, that’s a hard offer to pass up. In fact, you’d be nuts to say no to it. Best Concealed Carry Pistol Under $500: "Sig Sauer P365" 9MM CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros No misfires to report Easy to handle and control Very accurate for a pistol of its size Reliable and malfunction-free through 500 rounds May be smaller than expected, but will give way to superior concealability Cons The slide may fail to lock at times Sights may not be adjusted correctly Primer drag has been reported by a few users What Recent Buyers Report According to most buyers, this pistol was a cinch to fire off round after round. But it definitely put the bullet to paper in a range setting. The shooting groups were noticeably tighter compared to some 9mm rounds when firing targets at various distances. One user said he was able to hit the bullseye or near it at ranges between 10 to 25 yards without seeing any groups spacing themselves out. He also added that he went through about 100 rounds without a single misfire or malfunction. Why it Stands Out to Us If you are looking for a pistol that will absolutely excel in a concealed carry application, then you best believe this is the pistol to consider. This pistol has the measurables to ensure maximum concealability. So you get no bulges (and the glares and undue attention that go along with it). If you want to carry without anyone even knowing (until an assailant decides to be stupid and threaten the lives of others), this pistol will certainly be a qualifying candidate for your coveted decision. When you do purchase this pistol, you’ll have a beast in your hands. It has excellent firing power, superior accuracy, and less recoil for better control. Add the fact that it’s south of $500, and you have the steal of a lifetime. Who Will Use This Most If you are considering the idea of concealed carry or need an upgrade from a pistol that isn’t doing the job, this might be the pistol you are looking for. We’ve already covered our bases on why it’s so great. But the question is: can you say no to extra concealability? Malfunction-free reliability? Or even pinpoint accuracy? If that’s all you need, consider this pistol a done deal. Bottom Line The SIG Sauer P365 9MM comes as no surprise when it comes to excelling in a concealed carry application. You have the quick shots, the power behind it, and the reliability that will help in clutch moments. You want a reliable pistol for life or death situations. And this could be the one you wind up using if you want an easy-to-pull trigger and better control. Best .357 Revolver For Under $500: Taurus Model 66 4in .357 Magnum CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to load Perfect for home defense Easy to clean and maintain Durable construction and quality Reliable. No misfirings or malfunctions to report Cons May be a little too loud for some Hammer may be hard to pull back sometimes Trigger pull is heavy when in double-action mode What Recent Buyers Report New buyers were seriously impressed with the impact and damage that each round left behind when testing this out at the range. One user said the shooting groups were tight, but they left some pretty good-sized tears in the process. He added that it had a good amount of oomph to the firepower. Nonetheless, most new users were able to maintain excellent control despite the presence of some recoil. Why it Stands Out to Us The .357 caliber is a force to be reckoned with and the ballistics prove why. A .357 is known for turning soft targets inside out. In other words, you just might turn apples into applesauce with a well-placed shot. No assailant will go any further to attack you once they find out you are armed with a .357. Vital organs won’t stand a chance when coming into contact with a .357 round. If you want a pistol that can do some real damage, this is one that will stand up and take the challenge. Who Will Use This Most This pistol will be useful to those who have experience with concealed carry. It’s a pistol that can be a real heavy-hitter. Even if you don’t end up using it for self-defense purposes, you can still utilize it as a pistol that will be a heck of a lot of fun to fire during a day at the range. Better yet, you can even use it for varmint hunting if that’s your thing. People have had a lot of success using this as a property management tool, believe it or not. Bottom Line The Taurus Model 66 .357 Magnum is a beast when it comes to firepower. And it will do some serious damage with whatever target you hit. No matter what the application is, all the power rests in your hands. It’s high in quality, reliable, and pretty fun to shoot once you go through a few rounds. 10. Ruger Pistol LCR 9MM CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to clean and maintain Allows for max concealability Trigger pull is nice and smooth Reliable and accurate shooting Easy to load, takes a couple of minutes Cons None What "What Recent Buyers" One user said he preferred revolvers to regular pistols for the purpose of making it easier on himself to load the cylinder rather than the magazine. He also added that he was able to use it as his new primary concealed carry pistol since he wanted something smaller in size. Other users reported accurate and precise shooting with targets as far out as 20 yards. They were using this for the purpose of close-quarters self-defense, thus making it really effective to shoot in such an application. Why it Stands Out to Us We now turn our attention to a revolver that is able to shoot 9mm bullets . When you think revolvers , it’s .22 caliber, .38 caliber , or even .357. But yes, they can fire off 9mm shots, as well. You can load this in the cylinder and be able to fire off every shot with no jamming or malfunctioning at all. Not to mention, it’s at the right size for taking concealed carry to another level. When some pistols fail at concealing themselves because of their size, it’s revolvers like this that will make carrying a lot more comfortable and discreet. Who Will What Recent Buyers If you are looking for a pistol that is easy to load and has an easy-to-pull trigger, you may want to use this for all your self-defense applications when needed. Even if you don’t use all five rounds, it will allow for smooth, reliable shooting rather quickly. It’s the pistol you’ll use in a close-range distance to stop an attacker in their tracks. Bottom Line If concealability and ease of use are what you look for in a pistol, don’t be surprised if you decide on the Ruger LCR 9mm as the go-to option for a pistol. You can carry this on an everyday basis with the discreet, stealth-like ability and shoot really precise, accurate shots when you use it. Preparedness is key when it comes to concealed carry. But are you ready for the danger that may threaten you or your family? Cautious Considerations to Keep In Mind Before choosing a handgun of your own, it’s important to know of a couple of things about them. And it will also make you a more well-informed shopper to be able to choose the handgun you desire to use most. Here are some things you’ll want to consider: Some of These Have Sensitive Triggers While having a light pull weight is a good thing, some may be too light. In that case, you’ll need to be able to properly handle your handguns and carry it in a position that will allow the nozzle to be safely away from you. For example, appendix carry will not be suitable for pistols with a trigger that is light in weight because it further increases the risk of injury due to accidental discharge. Not All Handguns Are Suitable for Concealed Carry Some handguns will be great for concealed carry. Some of them won’t be. Keep this in mind when searching for one. If you plan on keeping it at home rather than carrying it with you wherever you go, that’s OK. Some may be a bit too big for concealed carry and are better off being kept safe and secure at home. Conclusion It is possible to find the best handgun for under $500. Thankfully, there are plenty available on the market for anyone on a budget who wants nothing more than a good deal of firing power, quality, and reliability (among every other attribute under the sun). Yes, they are under a certain price point but don’t dismiss them as some cheap or flimsy handguns by any stretch.

Ranking The 10 Best Trekking Poles of 2020

Many hikers seem to fall on either end of the spectrum when asked about trekking poles. Some have never touched a pair and others swear by them. Those that swear by them, however, point out some important tangible benefits. Most notably, trekking poles significantly reduce wear and tear on your knees and ankles, especially on long, sustained downhill sections. Most experienced long-distance hikers don’t leave home without trekking poles. If you’re on the hunt for a new pair, it starts with sorting through all the options available. Our list of the 10 Best Trekking Poles is designed to help you find the right pair for your needs. Also, be sure to read through our comprehensive Buyer’s Guide, which lays out the most important factors to consider when selecting trekking poles. 1. Kelty Range 2.0 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The Kelty Range 2.0 trekking poles feature anti-shock spring technology and non-slip carbide tips that ensure secure pole plants on a variety of surfaces. The poles boast all-weather grips, made from textured cork and EVA ( 1 ) foam, which help you adapt to changing topography with ease and comfort. These poles also come with a padded wrist strap for added comfort, as well as rubber tips, trekking baskets on each pole, and protective caps. The poles use a reliable twist-lock mechanism to collapse or extend to your desired length. 2. Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Click here for the lowest price on Amazon These 100% carbon fiber trekking poles are some of the strongest and lightest on the market. Each pole weighs just 7.6 ounces, which means they both weigh less than 1 pound combined. The carbon fiber they are constructed from is also a natural anti-shock material. The "Hiker Hunger Carbon" Fiber trekking poles featured quick flip locks that allow you to collapse them in an instant. They can extend from 24 inches to 54 inches in a matter of seconds, which makes them easy to secure to your backpack when not in use. They also featured ergonomic, moisture-wicking cork grips that conform to the shape of your hand for comfort and improved usability. 3. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Click here for the lowest price on Amazon Black Diamond’s "Alpine Carbon Cork" trekking poles are four-season poles crafted with premium materials and an ergonomically angled grip. These alpine trekking poles are specifically designed for backpacking, winter ski touring, and long hikes. The poles feature a dual-density top and natural cork grip that wicks away sweat and moisture. They are built with carbon fiber mid and lower shafts and an aluminum upper shaft. They also boast a 360-degree padded webbing strap, dual FlickLock Pro adjustability, and a 15-degree corrective angle for optimal grip position. 4. LEKI Micro Vario Click here for the lowest price on Amazon These trekking poles are made of five separate aluminum shafts and use a push-button release mechanism for quick and easy assembly. They collapse down to just 15.5 inches for a small package that’s easy to secure to the exterior of your pack when you’re not using them. The LEKI Micro Vario trekking poles have also recently been upgraded to include LEKI’s best-selling COR-TEC grips for the first time. The interior of these poles contains a PE-coated ( 2 ) reinforced tension cord for long-term reliability. Finally, these trekking poles feature air-textured security straps, carbide flex tips, and compact performance baskets. 5. Chinook Cane Walker Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The "Chinook Cane Walker" 3 is a single, anti-shock hiking pole. It is made of lightweight, anodized aluminum and boasts a strong carbide tip for better performance on rocky or icy surfaces. It’s designed to make hiking easier for both novice and experienced hikers. This trekking pole contains three sections and its length is adjustable from 26 to 53 inches. It contains an anti-shock spring system and comfortable PU ( 3 ) cork handle with web strap for comfort. Lastly, this trekking pole comes with a rubber tip and two baskets, one for hiking and the other for use in snow. 6. Montem Ultra Strong Click here for the lowest price on Amazon Montem’s Ultra Strong trekking poles, made to support up to 350 pounds, are ideal for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, snowshoeing, and a variety of other applications. These telescoping poles collapse down to just 24 inches to easily secure to your pack when you don’t need them. The shafts of these poles are made of aluminum 7075, which is the same material used to build airplanes. This is why Montem backs these poles with their Lifetime Replacement Promise ( 4 ). These trekking poles also feature easily storable rubber tips, pole connections, and mud baskets. Finally, they weigh a total of just 19.2 ounces together and feature EVA foam grips. 7. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Click here for the lowest price on Amazon These trekking poles are some of the lightest on the market, but they’re also extremely sturdy and reliable. They offer four distinct fixed length options: 100cm, 110cm, 120cm, and 130cm. When collapsed, these trekking poles range from 13 inches (100cm) to 17 inches (130cm) in length, which makes them easy to secure to your pack’s exterior when you need free hands. The "Black Diamond Distance" Carbon Z trekking poles are crafted entirely of carbon. This makes them light, strong, and ideal for extended backpacking or mountaineering expeditions. Their carbon fiber construction contributes greatly to support and vibration reduction on even the harshest terrain. These poles also feature a padded safety strap and EVA foam grips. 8. LEKI Corklite DSS Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The LEKI Corklite DSS trekking poles are specifically designed for long days on the trail. Their Aergon COR-TEC grips are made of 80% natural ground cork. They offer an extremely comfortable grip that only improves as you stack on more and more miles. These trekking poles boast the ultra-lightweight, highly breathable LEKI Skin strap, which provides maximum comfort and minimum weight. The poles come with three aluminum shaft segments with a Speed Lock 2 locking system. Lastly, LEKI’s Dynamic Suspension System (DSS) provides anti-shock support that can reduce peak impacts by as much as 40 percent. 9. Mountainsmith Halite Click here for the lowest price on Amazon These trekking poles are manufactured with aluminum 7075 ( 5 ) and collapse down to 16 inches for storage and portability. They’re an excellent choice for backpacking, snowshoeing, hiking, and mountaineering, and they boast adjustable neoprene wrist straps so that you don’t lose them during a brief slip and fall. The Mountainsmith Halite 7075 trekking poles are made with four collapsible sections held together with vinyl-coated cable connectors. The poles contain outer lock height adjustment mechanisms for quick adjustment to your desired length. They also feature cork/EVA handles and come with both hiking baskets and baskets suited for snow. 10. Black Diamond Trail Ergo Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The "Black Diamond Trail" Ergo Cork trekking poles are ideally suited to year-round use, whether that’s in the form of hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, ski touring, or your other preferred activities. They are made of light aluminum with handles of soft, natural cork. These trekking poles boast adjustable flick locks that connect all three pole segments for easy adjustment to your preferred height. They are adjustable from 74 to 140 centimeters and come with interchangeable carbide tech tips, low-profile trekking baskets, and powder baskets. Finally, these trekking poles offer natural cork grips to wick away sweat. These grips are angled at 15-degrees for optimal grip position. — Buyer’s Guide According to the Mayo Clinic ( 6 ), “Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.” The health benefits of trekking poles also extend to other areas of your body, as the Mayo Clinic indicates. They “take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.” Anyone who plans to be hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering throughout their lifetime will eventually find themselves in need of a quality set of trekking poles. They’ll keep you healthy and improve your longevity. So, if you’re in the market for a new pair of trekking poles, our Buyer’s Guide will focus on the major factors that will help you narrow down your decision. Single or Double? The first consideration is whether you want two poles or one. Many of us grew up finding and fashioning walking sticks for ourselves in the early days of our hiking careers. Whether you choose two poles or one is largely a personal preference. One pole can be great for shorter hikes or the final summit push, while two poles greatly assist in balancing weight over longer mileages. Twist Lock or Flick Lock? Most poles offer one of two varieties of locking mechanisms: the ‘twist’ or the ‘flick.’ The type that will work best for you largely depends on the primary activity you’ll be using them for. In the winter, your poles will actually contract in cold temperatures, which can render twist locks ineffective. Furthermore, it’s much easier to operate flick locks when wearing gloves or mittens. If you’ll use your poles exclusively during the summer months, however, twist locks are the preferred mechanism. They are much easier to adjust on the fly when tension is off. This is because they can be deconstructed and adjusted without the need to carry any additional tools. Most flick lock mechanisms, on the other hand, typically require a screwdriver to make larger adjustments. Do You Need ‘Shock-Absorbing’ Poles? Shock-absorbing poles are best suited for individuals with chronically achy joints or those who experience knee discomfort on long downhill trail segments. As their name suggests, these poles soak up more impact when descending so that knees, ankles, and joints suffer less wear and tear. However, poles equipped with shock-absorbing technology generally don’t perform as well on an ascent. They result in a slight loss of power and, they can also mean compromising on stability when descending. Some manufacturers have actually started making poles with shock absorbers that can be turned on or off. Be careful though: this feature will typically add quite a bit of weight to you pole setup. Folding or Telescoping? Trekking poles can largely be broken into these two categories: folding or telescoping. Most of the original trekking poles were telescoping. They typically come with two or three sections, which can each be adjusted to your preferred length. Two-section telescoping poles are generally better for individuals who are tough on their gear. They have less “moving parts” and are great for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and other heavy use applications. The downside of these poles is that they are usually the tallest and, therefore, heaviest option. Three-section telescoping poles are more common, and they tend to outperform their two-section counterparts when it comes to strapping them to your pack when you want your hands free. They compromise a bit when it comes to durability, in comparison to two-section poles, but they make up for it by offering a much lower base weight without giving up anything in terms of durability. Folding trekking poles are a bit of a newer style with a similar design to that of most tent poles. They are made of multiple lightweight shafts and held together by some sort of shock cord. These poles will fold up even smaller than most three-section telescoping poles and usually weigh less as well. Folding trekking poles come with either a set length or flick lock adjustment mechanisms. They tend to be great all-around trekking poles, although they aren’t typically as durable as telescoping poles. However, they offer an excellent choice for thru-hikers, splitboarders, and uphill skiers. They only additional caveat is that folding poles usually don’t offer enough adjustability to make them useful as a support for a tent or shelter. Carbon or Aluminum? The best trekking poles on the market today are either constructed of carbon or aluminum. While carbon poles can be considerably lighter, they’re typically also more expensive and can be more likely to break or crack. If you’ve already invested a considerable sum into your backcountry setup, you won’t be disappointed with aluminum trekking poles. Although they’re a bit heavier, aluminum trekking poles are much more durable, not to mention the more economical option. Grips: Foam, Cork, or Rubber? When considering the grips of trekking poles, you’ll most likely be choosing between foam, cork, and rubber, so here’s a quick breakdown: Foam is the softest of these three materials. Because of this, many hikers also find it to be the most comfortable. However, foam absorbs water and tends to break down faster, which means it might not be the best option for those hiking in wet climates or heavily using their poles. Cork is moisture-resistant and, while it might not be the most comfortable at first, typically becomes easier to use because it will mold to your hand over time. Cork is also anti-microbial, so it will hold less scent, but it can be heavier than foam, which tends to make poles with cork grips a bit more expensive. Rubber is probably the least comfortable of these three options, but it’s also the most water-resistant, which makes it the best choice for winter activities like snowshoeing. In hotter weather, however, rubber can quickly lead to chafing when the user sweats more profusely. When it comes to grips, it can also be beneficial to find poles with grip extensions. These are sections of foam or cork that ‘extend’ four or five inches down the shaft. Grip extensions will give you the option of repositioning your hands when moving over varying terrain, essentially eliminating the need to stop and readjust pole length every few minutes. Tips: Rubber or Carbide? Carbide steel tips are the most common on quality trekking poles. They are great for wet surfaces, loose dirt, and in the snow. However, carbide tips are noisier and also tend to skid out dangerously on hard surfaces. Many also claim that carbide tips inflict more damage to trails than necessary. Rubber tips, on the other hand, are quieter and tend to be a great option for hard surfaces such as pavement or slick rock. They tend to lag behind carbide tips in performance, however, on wet surfaces and loose rock or dirt. Baskets: Options? Trekking pole baskets largely boil down to a summer and winter option. Most summer baskets and small so that they aren’t easily snagged in brush or undergrowth. Not all poles give you the option to switch baskets out, but if you want to use them throughout all four seasons, the ability to swap summer baskets out for winter (or “powder”) baskets is essential. Frequently Asked Questions While humans have undoubtedly been employing walking sticks for centuries, Exerstrider produced the first poles specially designed and marketed to “fitness walkers” back in 1988 ( 7 ). Before that, skiers deprived of snow, as well as all manners of hikers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts, were largely using one-piece ski poles for additional support on the trail. If you’re not yet convinced about the need for trekking poles, consider that some studies have shown as much as a 46% increase in energy consumption in individuals walking with poles when compared to those walking without. Keeping that in mind, our "Frequently Asked Questions" section aims to answer any lingering questions about how to choose the right trekking poles for you. How do I know what length of pole I need? It’s hard to give an exact scientific process for determining ideal pole length. This is because the length will vary depending on terrain. On flat and gradual terrain, poles should be adjusted to that your elbow is bent at 90 degrees when you’re standing upright. Then, poles should generally be shortened on uphill sections, lengthened when trekking downhill, and can be adjusted to different heights (downhill longer) when traversing a mountainside. For starters, however, measure from the tops of your hands to the ground when standing on flat ground with your elbows at your sides and bent at 90 degrees. This will give you a great starting point. The chart below may also be of some use, but keep in mind this chart is for fixed-length poles only. How do I extend the life of my trekking poles? Caring for all of your outdoor equipment is key to their longevity. When it comes to trekking poles, the best thing you can do is to take them apart to let them dry after every use (whether it was a dry or rainy day). If you have telescoping poles, extend them all the way and make sure they are dried thoroughly before collapsing them again. What’s the right way to use the wrist straps? This is one of the most common ways people misuse trekking poles. The proper way is to put your hand up through the bottom of the strap and then pull down to grab the pole grip. This will result in the wrist and heel of your hand being supported by the strap, which allows you to relax your grip and still maintain the effectiveness of the pole over many miles. Where should I plant the tip of my poles when walking? This is another common mistake we see new pole users make often. In attempts to “pull” themselves up a steep incline, people will plant the tips of their poles way out in front of them, bend at the waist, and try to pull themselves up using little more than their triceps. When walking with trekking poles, you should maintain a natural gait and arm swing. This will result in poles being planted right next to (or slightly behind) your hip. In this way, you’ll instead be “pushing” yourself up that hill using not just your triceps, but also your biceps and all those larger muscles in your shoulders and abdomen. Summary In addition to keeping your body healthy on longer expeditions, some have suggested that trekking poles are essential survival tools, with applications like emergency splint construction, tarp support, and fending off snakes or other animals in the wild ( 8 ). Whatever your intended uses, we hope that you’ve found the information in this article thorough and useful. We wish you the best of luck selecting your next pair of trekking poles and, once you do, we wish you happy hiking!

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