Those of us who keep a carbine in the trunk (or an AR pistol in the front seat) probably do so in case a need arises that demands more firepower than our carry pistol. While scary black plastic certainly sets a tone, nothing is more authoritative than precisely placed rounds in rapid succession. Getting brass in the air takes more than just a skilled operator; it takes a good trigger too. Yes, there is a massive market for aftermarket AR triggers but as far as function, they’re all the same. The Rare Breed FRT-15 trigger is different and not in an “infomercial” kinda way. This system is built to forcefully reset your trigger, staging it for subsequent shots that require just a hair’s worth of rearward travel. I do mean a hair too; a skilled operator won’t even feel the press for shots number two, three, four…you get the picture.
After seeing some of the videos I had two questions:
- Where do I get one?
- Is it legal?
Well, the answer to both questions was on their website (rarebreedtriggers.com). To get one, Rare Breed sells them directly to consumers, just click “buy.” As for legality, they have some terrific media showing the operation (as well as a legal explanation from their attorney, who has lived in this realm for decades and clearly did his homework).
The operation is pretty straightforward. When the bolt comes back, it pops the trigger forward. Then after the bolt closes, it unlocks the trigger, allowing it to be depressed again. One pull equals one round…but the gun “helps” you with the reset…and only allows subsequent pulls when the gun is ready. According to Rare Breed, this trigger is nothing more than a semi-automatic AR-15 trigger. So all that was left was to get one in my hands and install it into a few different guns.
The FRT-15 drops in like any other self-contained AR-15 trigger. If you are familiar with this process, it only takes about five minutes to install with everyday hand tools. My first test gun was a 20” rifle with a standard rifle gas system, buffer, and spring. Rare Breed warns you that it isn’t built for rifle setups, but nonetheless, I had to see. After putting everything back together, I tried some steel-cased Barnaul and Wolf ammunition. Of these, the Barnaul ran the best with the Wolf not producing enough gas to completely cycle the bolt. (Hey, I was warned but I wanted to see for myself).
After scrapping the idea I followed the instructions and put the trigger into an M4-style carbine AR-15 and touched a few off. With the standard spring and the light-weight buffer, nothing was happening, which sent me back to the website. After reviewing the tuning section I learned that the FRT-15 needs an H3 (heavy) buffer to run best. After reading this I ordered one from Magpul as well as one of the companies’ stainless steel springs, and in a few short days was back at the range.
This time things were starting to jive, as I had cases in the air yet again. With just the H3 buffer I had a success rate of around 90% with the Barnaul ammunition. Upgrading the spring got me up to something like 95%, and finally swapping in Black Hills 77 Grain MK 262 mod 1-c had it running like a Millennial from responsibility and accountability. The Black Hills ammo hits the gas port harder than even XM193 and creates the required amount of gas to cycle the required buffer over the FRT-15. Note: As this trigger creates a little more drag than a traditional AR trigger, it’s important to stick with hotter factory ammo or beefy handloads.
After putting about another five magazines through this I quickly realized that this is 2021, and 5.56 is harder to find than a pulse on Bill Clinton. I left the range with a better understanding of how the device worked as well as AR-15s as a whole. Properly tuned, the Rare Breed FRT-15 is a blast to shoot and a great way to get subsequent rounds in the air. As there are a bazillion different combinations of AR-15s and 5.56 ammo types, one should expect there to be a bit of customization involved to get it to work with your unique setup. Aside from just being fun to play with, the FRT-15 trigger can be extraordinarily handy if you need to move to cover or handle multiple threats, such as in a riot scenario. Just be sure to stock up on ammo, and maybe even a few extra barrels.