MEAN Arms Hybrid AR-15 Trigger: A Worthy Upgrade?

Are you trigger-happy? Not everyone is happy with the trigger in their AR-style rifle. It could be too heavy, have too much slack in it, or maybe it’s just a standard mil-spec trigger and you want something new. The Hybrid Fire Control Group from MEAN Arms is a unique trigger that allows you to change the trigger pad from a curved trigger to a straight trigger whenever you want. Once you install the fire control group you can choose between the two included trigger pads and swap them out as you please. Additional trigger pads are available from MEAN Arms too.

MEAN Arms hybrid trigger and hammer
MEAN Arms has produced a custom steel/polymer hybrid trigger for AR-15-style rifles. It is definitely worth checking out.

Most people who own a run-of-the-mill AR-15 rifle will eventually want to start upgrading it with new parts and accessories. You might start with the charging handle before swapping out the pistol grip, and the next thing you know, you’re itching for a new trigger. No matter how much stuff you upgrade, a rifle doesn’t really feel like it’s upgraded until a new trigger has been installed. The MEAN Arms Hybrid Trigger Group is a little different than your standard triggers and I like trying new things. I installed the MEAN trigger on my .300 Blackout AR-15 rifle to see what the fuss was all about. It’s an easy install and takes just a few minutes. Let’s walk through the process of installing it and then get it out to the range for a test drive.

What’s different about this trigger?

There are two big differences between this trigger system and what you normally see on an AR-15-style rifle. The first is the construction of the trigger and hammer. They are made from a combination of polymer and steel instead of a solid steel construction like we are used to seeing, which maximizes durability while minimizing weight. The trigger has a steel lower piece (the part your finger actually pulls) and a section that catches the hammer and acts as the disconnect. The polymer holds it all together giving it a somewhat oversized, bulky look. The hammer is crafted of polymer as well but has a steel insert that strikes the firing pin for improved service life and reliable service. During installation, they felt somewhat light compared to a standard all-steel set but also felt durable.

MEAN Arms AR-15 hammer with metal insert.
The center of the hammer is made from Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN) coated steel embedded in a high-strength polymer.

The second big difference is the trigger spring. Normally a trigger will have a double-sided spring with the ends of the spring protruding out past the front of the trigger. This gives the trigger plenty of pressure for resistance when pulling the trigger. The MEAN Arms’ trigger, though, does away with this and uses one small spring that resembles the disconnect spring. It sits under the front of the trigger, which also puts pressure on the trigger to cause resistance. The disconnect is built into the trigger so there are only two parts to install.

Removing the current fire control group (trigger)

The installation of the trigger and hammer was very simple. If you have installed a trigger in an AR-15 before, this one was about as easy as they come. The first process is to remove the old trigger, hammer, and disconnect which is done by first separating the upper and lower. This is done by pushing out the front and rear take-down pins. Once the lower has been removed, there are two pins that will need to be taken out, one for the trigger and one for the hammer.

First, remove the hammer by removing the pin that sits on the left (see photo below). You will need a 1/8″ punch to remove the pins. Start by holding your thumb over the hammer as the spring pressure will try to push it up when the pin is removed. Use the punch to push the pin out and then pull the punch out of the hole while pressing down just a little with your thumb. Repeat this process with the trigger pin, again using your thumb to hold down the trigger while you push the trigger pin out and then remove the punch.

Removing fire control group from AR-15
Removing the hammer and trigger pins can be done by pushing the pins out with a 1/8-inch punch. The punch can be pushed all the way through until the pin falls out. Then pull the punch out while keeping your thumb over the hammer.

The disconnect and trigger will come out after the pin has been removed. Depending on the type of trigger and lower receiver you have, you may need to remove the selector switch (safety). This is only if there is no room for the trigger to come all the way out. To remove it, take off the grip using a 3/16″ t-handle Allen wrench.

Installing the new fire control group

With the old trigger and hammer removed, the new MEAN Hybrid trigger is ready to install. If you needed to remove the safety selector, just leave it off until the new trigger has been installed. Install the new trigger in the same way you removed it. Set the trigger down into the receiver and line up the holes in the frame before installing the trigger pin. Make sure you place the trigger spring on the bottom of the trigger frame before installing it (see photo below).

MEAN Arms Hybrid Trigger Set
When installing the trigger, make sure the trigger spring is placed on the front lower portion of the trigger. This spring replaces the mil-spec double spring in traditional fire control groups.

Now the hammer can be installed. This requires pushing it into place before the holes will line up. Set the hammer into the lower receiver with the two prongs facing toward the back of the receiver. The flat part of the hammer will face the front of the receiver and as you push it down into the gun, the holes will line up. Once the hammer pin is in place, the selector switch and grip can be replaced.

It is important to perform a function check of the trigger before you shoot it on the range. Make sure the rifle is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction before you check the trigger and safety selector. Installing the fire control group is not rocket science but if you are new to this and have any doubts, I would recommend an armorer or gunsmith inspect it before the rifle is fired.

MEAN Arms AR-15 trigger
The MEAN Arms trigger has replaceable trigger pads that can change it from curved to straight.

Final thoughts on the MEAN Arms Hybrid Trigger

As I mentioned above, the hybrid trigger comes with two different trigger pads that can be changed on the trigger to give it a straight profile or the traditional curved profile many are used to. The installation was simple, and the trigger has a smooth pull to it. The trigger had an average of 4.86 lbs. over a series of 10 pulls with the Wheeler trigger gauge. It was a noticeably shorter pull than a mil-spec trigger and had a short reset as well.

The steel used in the trigger and hammer are Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN)-coated, making it highly durable and wear resistant. The new trigger was great on the range, and I didn’t have any issues with it at all. If you are on the prowl for a new custom trigger, I would give MEAN Arms a look. With this fire control group, you get the feel of a high-end custom trigger at a much lower price.


Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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