Geissele SSA – Trigger Review
The best I could get out of my 2008 manufactured Colt 6920 at 100-meters was a 3-inch plus group. I knew it wasn’t the rifle but sadly me. What was I doing wrong as all of my hunting rifles are 1 1/2-inch or less groups at 100-meters? Then one day I was up at my buddy’s shop who is a class III, FFL dealer and I brought up the question to him. He pulled open one of his safes, grabbed an SBR AR-15 and said, “try that trigger.” The trigger was a sweet two-stage trigger that broke around 4-pounds to my minds eye. I asked him what it was, and he told me a Geissele SSA (small pin). I followed up with, “how much?” He told me $250- or so and I promptly grabbed my chest and said, “I can’t afford that.” He laughed and said, “you get what you pay for.”
Jump ahead a couple of months and I found myself at NC Scout’s RTO Advanced class in stormy & cold North Carolina. He had his everyday AR-15 out showing off his ACOG sight (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) and I asked if I could dry fire his rifle. He said, “sure.” I squeezed the trigger and I was met with a nice trigger squeezing experience. I naturally asked him, “what is the make of your trigger?” He replied, “Geissele.” Damn I thought. This is the second time I have had an opportunity to try out an other than OEM trigger and both times it was a Geissele.
Just recently I was reading a long-range shooting review on my site Unchainedpreppers.com from a member and good friend who trains with many notable gunslingers around the country. I asked him what trigger he was using in the rifle he used in his last class. He posted, ” a Geissele SSA-E.” Damn Geissele again! He went on to explain he uses that trigger for his long-range rifles but for his CQB SBR rifle he uses the Geissele SSA trigger “In a CQB situation it is a little more forgiving when putting pressure on the trigger.” he wrote. Last, he then warned me that my earlier manufactured Colt took larger pins Vs. your typical AR of today.
There you go, I now have heard Geissele triggers from three different folks – all I have a great deal of respect for – over about a ten-month period. Was the good Lord directing me or was it coincidence? Well I do believe in our Lord & Savior and I do not believe in coincidence, so it was time to get more information on a Geissele trigger.
At the end of March of this year, I sent an email to Geissele Automatics asking what trigger they recommend for my Colt 6920. I included with the email what I planned on doing with the rifle and to my surprise, I received a reply the same day. This is not the usual in the firearm industry as many of you know. The customer service representative recommended the SSA-E or SSA with a large pin for my rifle. At about this time Mrs.Mac and I inked our income tax statements and pleasantly realized that we were getting a few bucks back from Uncle Sam. Then out of the blue came an ad from Geissele announcing a 20% off sale on ALL of their triggers. Things were just falling into place and I could not ignore the divine direction I was receiving from above and I ordered the SSA trigger, large pin.
The trigger arrived eight-days after I ordered it. In the envelope with the trigger assembly was a whole bunch of swag (See in the articles Feature Picture). Now almost all firearm related companies send you a window sticker or key chain. Not Greisselel, they send a fist full of cool swag. Barely able to control my excitement I ran up to my radio shack (AKA The Loft) and then to my computer. I went to YouTube© and looked up Installing Geissele SSA trigger ; low and behold there was a video addressing this task. I watched the video and planned my trigger swap out. More on that later.
I love my Colt 6920. That girl has seen a lot since I purchased her in 2008. It has seen dust, mud, and the bottom of several streams. I have put thousands of rounds down that barrel and it has never failed me. I have put cool tools on that rifle too with no objection from her. All in all it is a true workhorse of an AR. I knew I could shoot better than 3-inch plus groups with her; hopefully, a new trigger would help. My OEM single-stage trigger pull on the Colt rifle with an average of five pulls, measured using a Lyman electronic trigger gauge, was 6-pounds 12-ounces.
Using PMC X-Tac 62-grain M855 ammo and my new DeadAir Sandman-S (Review coming shortly), I shot three groups of three rounds for grouping purposes, at 100-meters. Along with the suppressor, I was using a Burris AR-536 optic and was shooting from a nice heavy wooden bench located at my buddy’s property. As you can see by this following picture, my grouping was good but lacking something.
Once I shot that first grouping, I went into my truck with the AR’s lower, a 3/16th punch, and the new Greissele SSA trigger. As I saw in the aforementioned video, I took the old trigger out cleaned out the empty AR lower with some Hoppes-9 and installed the new trigger. The whole process took me 20-minutes. It would have been quicker but at first, I was installing the hammer wrong. Figured out the error of my installation and got that hammer installed correctly. Added a drop or two of EWL Slip-2000 oil where the directions recommended I do so, and the job was done. Easy-peasy-japanesey. The breaking weight of the two-stage SSA trigger using the average of five trigger pulls, measured with my Lyman electronic trigger gauge, was 3-pounds 8-ounces.
Back out to the range with a new target placed, I shot again, three sets of 3 rounds. As you can see by the following picture of the target the grouping was better but was it $240- better?
At about this point my buddy showed up from work. He walked over to find out what kind of mischief I was up to. I explained to him that I was not really getting better groups with my new Geissele trigger. He chuckled and said, “ya’ got to get use to that two-stage trigger with a lighter trigger break. You have gotten use to that old OEM trigger you have been using for years and have to retrain your muscle memory.” He left to change and while gone I put up a new target. He reappeared with a new home brew SBR he had built, and we played with that for a while.
Finally, we got back to my rifle and started shooting 3-round sets at a 6-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch steel gongs about 125-meters away. Between his SBR and my Colt we were making those gongs sing not unlike a balcksmith forming a horse shoe. At this point my buddy asked me if I was getting more use to the two-stage trigger and in fact I was. As ammo was getting low and I had promised MrsMac I would be home an hour earlier than the current time, he suggested I take my last set on the target I had put up earlier.
Although I was not shooting sub 1 1/2-inch groups I typically do with my hunting rifles, I defiantly saw an improvement and I surmise the more I shoot with the new trigger the better my groupings would become. With that statement set aside where the Geissele SSA trigger really shined was the speed I could sling lead down range accurately compared to my older single-stage OEM trigger. I encountered this when shooting at the gongs. As fast as I could pull that trigger, I was slinging lead down and I cannot remember once that I missed a gong. While with the original trigger I was a heartbeat slower and missed on occasion.
In conclusion, is the trigger worth the $240- ($300- for a large pin model less 20% off sale) price tag you may ask? Before I answer that question, I would like to try out a few other brands. The challenge is finding one with a large pin. I have a few more AR’s to convert from the original OEM trigger to a new one – I do see the benefit in doing this though. Suggestions and comments from American Partisan readers are encouraged and appreciated.
Freedom Through Self-Reliance