Modernizing the AK Part 6: Triggers

This is the 6th installment of our series on modernizing the AK. In this installment I will be discussing triggers.

I generally prefer to keep the fire control parts of any fighting rifle as original as possible. The parts that are original to these firearms have generally been engineered for durability and reliability at the expense of a light, crisp trigger pull. However, one thing that I do not permit is trigger slap (which AKs are somewhat notorious for). Trigger slap is what happens when a poorly constructed trigger resets – it literally slaps your trigger finger. After a long course of fire it can become somewhat painful, especially on a cold day.

The Tapco G2 trigger is standard on many AK builds.

There are two ways to address trigger slap: modify the existing fire control parts or purchase aftermarket parts. There are plenty of good tutorials online about modifying your existing parts to reduce or eliminate trigger slap. If you are unwilling or unable to modify these parts yourself, you are left with the aftermarket option.

I have experience with 3 different triggers that are readily available. The first is the Red Star Arms Adjustable AK Trigger System. Once it is adjusted, it offers a surprising clean, crisp, and light trigger pull. That excellent trigger pull comes with a price. It costs more than any of the following options and it has small set screws that are used to adjust it. I prefer trigger groups that don’t have screws that can back out at inopportune times, but this is a very well made option.

The second option is the Tapco G2 Trigger. Many US AK builders are including these on their builds now. In fact many people have them and don’t even know it. I have a Tapco G2 that came installed in a very nice Vector Arns Polish build. It has served well. The G2 triggers seem to have a fairly wide variance in trigger pull weight (which might have more to do with the variance in AK receivers). Some of them are extremely light which isn’t really what I prefer for a fighting rifle. They also lack any sort of trigger feel. You can’t feel the point at which the trigger will break or the reset. It is just a sort of light and long trigger pull that lacks any sort of tactile indication of when the shot will break. It can take some getting used to.

The two-stage trigger that comes standard with the Arsenal SGL-21 is very decent.

The third option is my favorite. K-Var has a 2 stage trigger that they sell that is competitively priced and offers a very decent trigger pull. It isn’t as light as the G2 or the Red Star Arms triggers but it very useable. It feels like a traditional military 2 stage trigger with a light take up in the first stage and then a fairly clean let off in the second stage. It isn’t a match trigger by any stretch of the imagination, but most AKs aren’t match rifles by any stretch of the imagination.


To sum up, I don’t modify the trigger in an AK as an accuracy aid (though it doesn’t hurt), but I do modify the trigger in order to make the rifle more shootable. I do not tolerate trigger slap and you shouldn’t either. Whether you modify your current trigger group or purchase an aftermarket trigger group is up to you. If your AK doesn’t exhibit any trigger slap, then spend the money and time on practice instead of a new trigger.

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