Single Stage vs Two Stage Trigger – What You Need to Know

single stage vs two stage trigger
Alfred Mendoza

Whether you’re building for the first time or simply in the process of upgrading, you need to have sufficient knowledge on single-stage vs two-stage triggers. 

Most people prefer to just go with whatever works for them without knowing that the type of trigger they have has a huge impact on the accuracy and the efficiency of the guns and rifles that they use.

The main difference between the two is that single-stage triggers are best used for service arms and rifles, while two-stage triggers are best used for smaller guns. However, there is more to these triggers than meets the eye. 

Single-stage triggers are commonly used for AR platforms. They have a distinct feel of a continuous pull weight from when you start pulling it until the break.

A good single-stage should be smooth and be consistent regardless of the weight or creep amount.


On the other hand, two-stage triggers have two trigger pull levels. The first stage, or slack (others call it take-up), will give you the momentum to set your aim. Before going into the second stage, you’ll feel a kind of wall that you need to break. When going for the second stage, you’ll “break wall” and notice the weight would seem heavier than the first stage.

Single-Stage Triggers



Two-Stage Triggers



A Closer Look At The Differences


As to Purpose

This comes down to the preference of the user. Some may find one better than the other. However, other factors are also in play when talking about these two triggers:

  • The ability to maintain them well.
  • The age of the user.
  • The pull weight that you can handle.

It may be ideal to stick to a single-stage for stationary shooting, and for active shooting, a two-stage would be a bit better. Also, when you’re in a  life or death situation, a two-stage trigger might be the best to use as it can help prevent making a shot error. Find out what’s the best trigger for your Ruger 10/22 here

As to Operating Process

When you fire a weapon, you release the hammer that hit the punch, and then all the other components will trigger the bullet to escape the barrel. Note that the process starts at the trigger. 

A single-stage trigger is the best to learn for beginners as it’s simpler to operate. For competitive shooting, the millisecond difference of using a single-stage compared to two-stage matters a lot. Most guns use this as well for stock rifle triggers, especially for bolt-action rifles.

When it comes to double-stage triggers, you’ll pull on the first trigger level before you fire and hit a wall that’ll give a clicking sound. Keep in mind that poor trigger creep can make the second stage a problem that can affect your aim.

As to Pull Consistency

When it comes to consistency, a good single-stage trigger is surely a lot better. Since no wall divides the trigger pull, you’d only have single smooth pulls every time. However, maintaining the triggers also plays a big factor here. A well-maintained two-stage would certainly have better pull consistency than a single-stage not being cared for properly.

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As to Long Range Shooting

For long-range shooting, it depends on personal preference. Today’s two-stage triggers may be beneficial for high-stress situations and people who often let off accidentally. However, it is still ideal to get high-quality single-stage rifle triggers, especially when you’re looking for AR triggers.

As to Comfort & Safety

Two-stage ones are undoubtedly more comfortable and safe. The gun industry has evolved and is now offering triggers of different weights. People who have weaker finger and wrist strengths can opt for ones with light pull weights.

As to Split Times

If you’re used to using single-stage, then you’d probably need to take time to get used to it as two-stage has split times that can affect the bullet’s speed. This may affect precise shooting as well, but the split time from the first stage to the second stage will be great for other purposes.

As to Trigger Control

It’ll be easier to control with two-stage triggers. The two pull stages will give you time to aim for your target. After the take-up, you can build your composure before you take the second pull. You also need to take into consideration the reset of the gun after firing. Having lighter pull weights may also mean a shorter reset.

Read: What’s the Best Trigger Pull Gauge?


A two-stage trigger is the best for home defense. When you’re under pressure and intense scenarios, you wouldn’t want to misfire a gun, and this is why this is the best option for us. It prevents errors and accidents when shooting while defending yourself and other people.

When looking for hunting rifles, it is best to go with two-stage triggers. Single ones may have a light pull, but a slight squeeze often fires the gun instantly. If you have trigger splits, you may be able to better aim at your target. This is also the standard trigger in most factory hunting rifles.

Single Stage Trigger or Double-Stage Trigger – Which is Better?

When it comes to triggers, nothing is better than the other. The right trigger for you may not be the ideal one for another shooter but at a certain point, choosing a good trigger depending on its purpose is still something you should consider. 

A light trigger increases anyone’s chances to use a gun effectively. When you decide on buying a trigger, make sure to test it out and fire it at a range, be active in groups, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from other enthusiasts.



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