CMC Triggers 2-Stage Trigger Review

Like many new to the firearms world, I never knew or understood the differences between a Single Stage trigger and a Two Stage trigger. Honestly, with all we have done and reviewed... I was in the dark. I only really knew what "felt good" and what didn’t.

I am not afraid to admit my faults and this was one of them. Over the past year I have tried many triggers and have really become smitten with the CMC. With the amount of parts and time spent to swap things over at times, the CMC Drop In Trigger saves me a lot of time without sacrificing quality of a good feeling, responsive trigger system. The two stage CMC has made is no exception., In fact, in my opinion it is THE example of “best of both worlds.”

There are a lot of triggers in the market these days, all promising different feature benefits, some infringing on others patents with different packaging or marketing, others just rebranding mil-spec junk with a new coating or “polishing” (read: dremel). The reasons why I like the CMC trigger and company are numerous as with anyone who is a died in the wool fan of any company. I have seen behind the curtain of the great Oz, seen the process, met the people behind it and stand by with them on making a fantastic product. You find any other great trigger company and those who vehemently support them and I guarantee they will have the same opinions about their favorite brand/engineer, etc. Over the years I have found triggers to be like Cola companies. People are die-hards and will be in one camp or the other. I am not saying that CMC is the be all and end all in triggers, but I am saying that I like and enjoy the product and the people that make it a lot.

Best of both worlds, what does that mean? Well, many trigger systems out there fall into 2 basic categories (in my opinion). It is a classic, multi part system that you assemble with the springs, hammer, disconnector etc., or it is a “drop in” type system that holds all the parts together for ease of install. I tried several of each kind and they all have great systems and brands. The reason I say best of both worlds is because the time it takes me to install one versus the other with zero hiccups is a difference. Sometimes lining up pins, getting a spring to stay in place, or even the perception of doing so is lost on many. I can do it no problem (now I can at least) but I almost always encounter difficulty somewhere. The CMC drop-In system has been by far the best on cost, ease of install, speed of install and lastly the quality of the trigger itself. We covered all this already in the 3.5lb Single stage review, so let’s focus more on the real question. Which one is better and what is the difference?

The number one benefit to the two stage trigger from CMC I found was consistency of pull and accuracy. With the two stage trigger you get a lighter pull from the “first stage” where you would normally feel the trigger “hit the wall”. The point at which the trigger breaks however is your second stage, and that has it’s own pull weight that is either the same or less than the initial pull. This allowed me to have a very smooth pull from the beginning of the pull all the way through to the hammer dropping. You know when you are pulling the trigger, and you can feel the stages in your trigger finger, but the trigger breaks so smoothly that you almost never even notice it. The trigger “surprises” you in the manner most people were taught to strive for when first learning how to shoot. Not in the way where you jump back and freak out or god forbid flinch, but more of a manner where you are expecting it to happen but you had no time to pay it any mind. Clean and smooth, trigger pulls roll off your fingertips like lapping waves.

How does this affect accuracy? With a single stage trigger there is a set number of pounds to pull, like the CMC 3.5lb for comparison. You have slack on the take up, you feel the sweet spot where the trigger is going to break and those pre decided pounds are required to make the hammer fall. That’s it. You pull at 3.5 pounds and if there is anything that gives, it translates through the rifle all the way to the muzzle where even 1/8th of an inch translates to inches or more as the target distance reaches further out. With the 2-stage and the smoother pull, there is less drag on the pull, less to flinch or move about which helps keep the rifle and the muzzle more stable. That means that 1/8th flinch or more turns more into a 1/16th, or 1/32nd flinch resulting in tighter groups downrange. To some, those measurements seem inconsequential at the muzzle, but try it and see the difference in your groupings. 100m is a hell of a tell tale between the two, thats for sure.

The speed is also dramatically increased. With the second stage being equivalent or lighter you can really get a rifle cooking by finding that “sweet spot” where the first stage engages and the gun goes bang on the second and just keep on riding it. It aids in trigger slap too because you feel the reset before you even get out of the first stage after the trigger snaps. As you become more proficient in your trigger pulling, you feel things a bit differently, and as with most things repetition builds speed. Therefore, you become faster and more proficient. Now be careful, I am not saying that by purchasing a CMC two-stage trigger you will instantaneously become an AR ninja with blistering speed and accuracy the moment you drop it in and screw it down. But I am saying that with practice and fundamentals in place, you will get better than a single stage, and infinitely better than with a Mil-Spec trigger.

Is it worth the money? Absolutely. If I was a wealthy man I would probably switch out some more of my single stage triggers for two-stage triggers without any regrets. It is the refined and polished CMC trigger. When shot side by side I instantly noticed how much more I mash the single stage and “bounce” the muzzle significantly more than the two-stage. If you have a very soft or flat shooting rifle as is… this will take it to the next level of shooting lazer beams. Check out our video review to see what I mean.