An AK trigger upgrade may be in your future. Although the standard trigger system (aka fire control group) is decent, with some modifications can be an excellent trigger. The modifications entail smoothing out a few rough edges on the hammer. If you’re interested in researching this, there are number of videos on this subject. R&R Targets has developed a good trigger based on the Tapco.
A better option is to purchase the AKT-EL trigger system from ALG, a subsidiary of Geissele, a company renowned for excellent AR 15 (and other rifle) triggers. (I own an AKT-EL system and love it). The standard version is priced under $65. You can also get the enhanced AKT-UL version which competition shooters will dig. Krebs Custom also has an excellent trigger modified from the Geissele.
Instead of taking a file or sandpaper to the trigger, another option is to swap out the fire control group. There are some good videos that will show you, step by step, how to do so. Changing out your FCG is not an inordinately difficult task for someone who has a modicum of mechanical skills and common sense.
Why would you want to replace a decent trigger in the first place?
Some folks, especially those who have owned rifles or 1911 pistols with good triggers are simply fussy. Or they may want their AK to have a quick reset for rapid fire.
There are any number of reasons but it comes down to an individual’s specific needs or desires.
Unlike some trigger sets for the AR, most AK triggers are not adjustable. One exception is the model from Red Star Arms, which can be adjusted as a one or two-stage affair.
A company called CMC Triggers has a new drop-in style model specifically for the AK. It’s the first decent modular trigger for the AK that I’ve tested.
The only word of caution, and this goes for installing any third-party part in an AK, is be certain that the trigger you acquire will work precisely with your AK.
I installed a Red Star Arms trigger on a VEPR and eventually got it working, but it was a real chore to do so, meaning we had to take dremel and do quite a bit of grinding on the safety. This is not something for the beginner.
The Joys of Trigger Slap
Another reason to install a new trigger is if after you purchase your gun you experience “trigger slap.”
Trigger slap is a common occurrence in AKs. You’ll certainly know it when you feel it.
Trigger slap is the stinging sensation of the trigger springing back or “slapping” the shooter’s trigger finger during firing.
It’s a sharp, unambiguous jolt that can occur with every shot or intermittently, sometimes favoring a particular type of ammunition. It’s often misdiagnosed as an ammo problem.
It can be mitigated by changing out the trigger, or you can have a gunsmith or someone very familiar with an AK fire-control group fix it.
It’s caused, says AK maven Rick Davis, when there’s insufficient clearance between the hammer, trigger and the disconnector. When this happens, the force of the resetting hammer is transferred into the trigger through the disconnector, causing the trigger to abruptly “slap” forward.
“If there’s too much material on the rear disconnector pad, it will lack adequate clearance between the bolt carrier, disconnector and trigger. This results in a chain collision between the bolt carrier, disconnector and the trigger. The energy is then transferred into the shooter’s finger, producing the ‘slap’ sensation.
He says this can be corrected by removing just enough material on the rear of the disconnector near the spring well. Remove only enough to allow proper clearance, no more.
Lyle Keeney, founder of UltiMAK, has a slightly different take on the matter. Says Keeney:
“The only cause I’ve seen was that the camming angles between the hammer and the disconnector were such that the disconnector was being accelerated backward so violently that no amount of clearance would solve the slap. Only by reshaping the camming angles between hammer and disconnector, providing a more gentle rearward motion of the disconnector, was the slap eliminated entirely.”
Keeney states that it’s easy to check for adequate (disconnector-to-trigger) clearance by holding the trigger all the way back as you slowly pull the carrier back to cock the piece, or simply cock the hammer by manipulating it directly with the carrier removed.
If the trigger is not forced forward at all while cocking the disconnector over the hammer, you probably have enough clearance, and should therefore look elsewhere to solve the slap issue.
As alluded to above, if you’re not experienced, correcting trigger slap may not be a task you want to attempt.
However, smoothing out a gritty trigger is do-able, if you’re not aggressive about removing too much metal.
There are a number of videos that will show you how to smooth out the action by applying a little sandpaper or emery cloth. Graham Baates does a nice job with this video.