There is no greater Ford vs Chevy argument in the gun world than LaRue vs Geissele 2 stage triggers. Its full of fanboys, drama, and even the owners of both companies don’t seem to be on good terms… So we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. No drama. Which is the better trigger?
Having owned both triggers I want to present a simple, logical crux to the discussion outright. Both the MBT and G2S / SSA are huge upgrades from a box stock mil-spec trigger… and in fact, both are so good that it will boil down to shooter preference over trigger performance. For all practical purposes, even if one trigger is slightly crisper (and I mean slightly) there are simply too many other variables that will impact your shot MORE than the 10% difference (maybe) in trigger crispness.
Let’s take a look at the specifications:
- S7 tool steel
- Two trigger springs to tune pull weight
- Flat trigger face
- 2.5# 1st stage – 2# 2nd stage
- Heavy spring to brings weight to 6# total.
- Cast tool steel
- The traditional rounded trigger face
- 2.7-3# 1st stage – 1.5-1.75 # 2nd stage
- Features as above
- An SSA with fewer QC processes attached and no external markings. A budget SSA.
- Retail $140
As an owner of both the SSA and MBT, it’s really obvious that they are both excellent triggers but there are differences present. The biggest point of contention between the two triggers appears to the trigger face. Geissele is more like the trigger that shipped with your AR15, whereas Larue is more like a hybrid between a flat face and a curved trigger. The flat feeling is often debated, but it’s down to shooter preference. The flat face will have no bearing on your shot to shot performance, likewise for the more traditional feel the Geissele trigger. Personal Preference. One consequence of having the wide trigger face is that you have to remove the safety to install the Larue whereas this step can be skipped for the SSA.
The second point of contention is the break. Reading accounts of users who have both triggers on hand, I get the feeling that they experienced a crisper second stage with the MBT vs the SSA. I can mirror that point, as my MBT has a crisper break then my SSA. The SSA has a very slight roll at the wall, so a hint of creep is present but nothing spectacular. The MBT has a sharp drop off after the wall breaks. When taking a shot, with triggers this good… neither will cause you to drop score. It’s just an observation.
The third point is that some shooters note the first stage of the SSA appears to be free of grit and rolls perfectly until the second stage. I can also state this was true in my triggers case. The MBT has a hint of grit on the first stage, but with the second stage being nothing but a wall and a sharp break. Ultimately the 1st stage isn’t what breaks the shot, so having a bit of grit here is nothing more than a bit of a nuisance without impact on trigger performance.
Finally the bread and butter. Price. It’s not a contest here, you can see the price difference weighs heavily on the popularity of these two triggers. I wrote an article on the MBT a few years ago referencing the intro price of the MBT at 249 dollars. Since that point, Larue has consistently dropped the product price further and further… to where it now retails 80 dollars.
I see this topic pop up frequently online, and I wanted to paint a picture. Both triggers are premium products with slight differences in feel… none of which will impact your shot unless you are at the highest levels of competition. My own experience with the MBT vs the SSA is that it is a wash in overall performance. They are both great products. I like the crisp break of the MBT, I like the Geissele standard trigger shoe, I like the grit-free 1st stage of the G, I like the cost of the MBT. Is the SSA worth more than double the price of an MBT? No. Absolutely not. With the performance of both a wash and the minuscule personal preferences taking the center stage between each trigger… there is no contest, the MBT is a better purchase. If you need something better than an MBT you might find that the SSA-E has a slightly crisper break according to users who have handled all three, but even then it won’t be enough to justify the cost over an MBT.
If you can’t get over the MBT’s wide trigger shoe, then its a no brainer go with the G2S and save some coin over the SSA.
If you need a trigger that is balls to the wall the best of the best, you are likely shooting long range and or in a competition setting. In that case, the only triggers you should be looking at are the HSNM from Geissele, the MKIII from Wisconsin Trigger co., or any other high-end tuneable two-stage. When you need something with elite performance, you are going to need the ability to tune the pull to your benefit. As far as the two-stage trigger offerings from Larue VS Geissele, well… the tables have turned. If they were the same price, then I would say flip a coin. Without a lower price, it’s hard to recommend the SSA but the G2S might be closer to the MBT’s value.
Check out the MBT at Larue Here.
Check out the SSA at Geissele Here.
You hit the nail on the head stating “shooter preference”.
It really isn’t about “best” anything. It is about options, choice, price and other assorted factors, the buyer determines to suit his needs and/or wants. What pleases one person may not please another. One’s “best” is another man’s “piece of junk”. Can shooters ever rid themselves of the “.45 ACP vs 9mm Luger” syndrome ?
I own and use several Geissele Tricon, 2-stage triggers. They are excellent for my purposes. BUT…they cost 3x the price of the comparative Larue MBT.
After sampling another shooter’s Larue MBT I purchased three of them to install in different ARmalite platforms. In MY opinion they are quality triggers equivalent to the Tricon….for 1/3rd the price !
For me neither trigger is best. They are both excellent. It just boils down to Larue providing the “mostest for the leastest”.
Thank you for the work and time you invested to provide this detailed trigger review.
Finally a non-Kool-Aid influenced review. Also, this is a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam with some of my friends and brothers, so this is going to be a long comment. I have been conducting similar tests with my personally owned LaRue and Geissele triggers, as well as Geissele triggers loaned to me for the specific purpose of comparative testing. Currently, I’m testing a Geissele Tricon a friend from M4Carbine sent me. I, in turn sent him a new in box MBT-2S trigger for him to check out. This isn’t the first time I’ve compared LaRue with Geissele triggers. When the LaRue triggers were first available online, (Notice I did not say when they first came out.) I compared them to an SSA-E that was in my SPR and a SD-C another buddy of mine loaned me. I had the same result then. The Geissele did not make my groups any tighter than the LaRue and vice versa. The bottom line for me was that it made ZERO sense to spend 3 times the coin on a trigger that brought no more value than the $87 (at that time) MBT’s did. Well flash forward to the Tricon, I thought well, if there’s a trigger that’s going to convince me otherwise, it will be the Tricon. But I was wrong. In spite of some of my bros who think I am a stone cold LaRue Fanboy, I still let my finger, my bang-bang speed, and my shot groups speak for themselves. Unfortunately, shortly after I got the Tricon, COVID-19 showed up and turned the ammo/gun/range world into a FUBAR soup sandwich. Due to ammo availability and pricing, I went into ammo conservation mode But still getting out and doing some training/testing although my 600-800 round training days have been reduced considerably. That said, just before COVID-19 aka “Operation Retardation” put a kibosh on things, I managed to get some solid range time behind the Tricon installed in different AR’s ranging from a couple of my SBR’s (different purposes) to a 14.5 Noveske Afghan, and now it’s in my AR 308, with a Rainier Arms Ultramatch Mod 2 16″ barrel. I do both static bench shooting where I am one with the trigger and the trigger is one with me. Trigger? I meant the Force! After bench shooting, I’ll take my guns out and run some hard drills with them. Here I’m testing my bang speed. Can I hammer down with one trigger faster than the other? (Yes, I have used my shot timer with this shooting.) My thought process was since I know for a fact, that I do not shoot better groups with the Geissele, I am trusting that I’ll get the same kinds of hits on steel with both – or on paper. That assumption held true.
After all that, my own conclusion is this: If you aren’t a fan of a wide trigger face, then the LaRue probably isn’t for you. If you tell me that it’s because you shoot tighter groups with a either, I’ll probably tell you that I think you’re full of crap. I’ll admit that I am a fan of LaRue products. I do run their rails on the majority of my rifles, all except my 308 and as mentioned I prefer to use LaRue mounts. But honestly, I’d like to say I am a fan of common sense. It does not make sense to me to use a trigger that cost $20 more bucks than an MBT. I know a guy who swears by G2S triggers. I believe that’s primarily because he’s a fan of Geissele triggers, but I do not believe it’s because he’s shot both enough to know one is better than the other. Then there are the LaRue Haters. I have a couple of friends like that. I love my bros but they are retards in that department, but God bless ’em.
Your review reaches the same exact conclusion that I arrived at – both a couple of years ago, and now recently in testing the Tricon. Aside from the wider trigger face, which I like, the Geissele is a hair cleaner in stage 1. There is a minutiae amount of grit on the LaRue, but the ONLY time I feel that is when I am sitting on the bench and taking what seems like 5 minutes to ease the trigger back, with more focus on my finger than anything else. At that point I can feel it, but barely. When I’m running drills or even precision shooting, it really isn’t noticeable to me because I am focusing on a variety of things. I won’t mention some of the more shady and nefarious goings on with Geissele and their rails, if you aren’t then read more of The New Rifleman blogs, he does a good job of touching on that issue. Primarily, I use LaRue because I trust them downrange. Secondly they are from my beloved Republic of Texas and are located down the road about 1/2 an hour. So it feels like I’m just buying stuff from my neighbor. I have recently picked up a few MBT-1S triggers and am replacing the 2S triggers in my fighting guns as that’s what I prefer. I don’t mind a 2 stage trigger in my precision guns, but overall I like single stage triggers. I know that Geissele also came out with a single stage, and I hoping a buddy will send me one so I can do more comparative testing. I don’t see myself spending the money to buy one when I’m happy with the MBT-1S.
One last comment. A buddy recently sent me his build sheet for a 10.3 he’s wanting to build. In that build sheet he had a Geissele MLOK rail and an SSA trigger. Those two parts alone were over $560 bucks! After looking at his spreadsheet I asked him, why don’t you use a 9″ LaRue MLOK rail for $90 bucks and the MBT for $80 bucks? You’re going from over $560 dollars to $170. Spend that on a better barrel or buy more ammo. It’s just common sense. On top of that, in my opinion, the barrel nut/rail lock up on LaRue rails are one of the best in terms of alignment with the upper, without having to use an optic mount to align, and it’s pretty easy to install, if you follow the instructions. He waffled for a while for no other reason than he wanted Geissele brand products on his gun. I’m hoping that common sense will prevail. I know he’s going with the MBT, but not sure of the rail. In the end it’s his money and he will spend it how he chooses. That’s the BLUF I suppose.
I’m really glad you did a comparison and review and I’m glad the guy in the previous comment came to the same logical conclusion. It makes no sense to spend the extra coins on a trigger that does not deliver any more performance or capability- in accuracy or in speed.
Thanks guys some really great input for readers debating their first “high end” trigger.
Well, I’m old and set in my ways so I’ll stick with the SSA or SSA-E when I want a 2 stage trigger. Nothing against LaRue – I love their LT104 QD scope mount. Like you said, “user preference” (or stuborness… lol). On my last build I couldn’t afford an SSA so I went with an ALG-ACT. For a single stage, not too bad. In fact I kind of like it. A friend has a BCM PMT in his gun and it feels pretty similar to the ACT. All 3 are better than any of the “mil spec” triggers I’ve tried.
I might try an MBT in my next build, but it doesn’t (yet) have the long, proven track record of the Geiselle triggers. Like I said, old, stubborn, and set in my ways… Good review though, you did convince me to consider trying the MBT.
I just got a MBT trigger and while I don’t want to dissuade you from buying geissele triggers or talk bad about it, I think you would be doing a disservice by not trying one. I just got an MBT trigger in the mail yesterday (May 9th) and I love it. My dad has a geissele trigger in his AR, and it’s amazing. But I can’t afford to put a geissele trigger in my ARs. I do have an ALG ACT and while it’s a great trigger as well, for the price, I do not think you can beat the MBT. It’s definitely going to be the best value trigger you can get in my opinion. Geissele triggers are great though! Just expensive