Review: Timney Calvin Elite AR Trigger

Triggers matter. The quality of the trigger in your rifle has a significant impact on the results on target which is one reason aftermarket triggers are so popular. It’s simple: If you don’t like the trigger currently in your gun, replace it. Of course, not all triggers are created to the same high standards, so it’s a good idea to know what your options are before settling on a model. If you have an AR platform rifle and want to upgrade it to a seriously awesome trigger, you should seriously consider the Calvin Elite Timney trigger. Here’s why.

parts of the trigger
The trigger comes with interchangeable shoes and the tools needed to install and adjust it. (Photo credit: Wing Tactical)

What is the Calvin Elite AR trigger?

The Timney Triggers Calvin Elite AR trigger is an aftermarket trigger designed for the AR/M4 platform. It’s compatible with both the AR-15 and AR-10, so whichever you have, it’ll fit. This is a cassette-style, drop-in trigger, meaning installation is simpler because it’s simply dropped into the lower receiver and installed. No messing with springs or fighting parts into submission. Of course, because it’s a cassette-style, that also means Timney has the ability to fine-tune it to perform at levels other types of triggers can’t.

An assortment of shoes is included with the trigger. That makes it possible to select the specific shoe shape and style that fits you the best so you get the best possible results down-range. And if you decide you’d like to use a different shoe later, it’s easy to swap them out. This trigger is fully adjustable for length of pull, cast, and height. You can literally put the trigger at the level and angle that precisely fits your trigger finger, which is one of the reasons it’s such a fantastic option.

Timney uses a five-pound hammer spring in this trigger and sets the trigger pull weight at 1.5 to 2.0 pounds. They market the Calvin Elite AR as having zero creep, and it’s true. Every detail of the trigger is made according to the company’s exacting specifications, something that’s quite clear in the results.

The Calvin Elite AR comes with the aforementioned shoes and the tools necessary for installation and adjustments.

timney calvin elite ar trigger
The trigger has interchangeable shoes, so you can decide which one fits your finger best. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

How To Install the Calvin Elite AR trigger

Even if you’ve never done it before, you can easily install this trigger on your own. There’s no need for fancy tools or an extensive gun bench setup, and you don’t need a gunsmith. To install it, you must first remove your old trigger. Once that’s done, you can move on to dropping the Calvin Elite AR in place.

Installation is easy: Drop the trigger cassette into your lower receiver, secure it by replacing the trigger pins, and make any necessary adjustments to further tighten the cassette within the receiver. Once it’s secure you can add the trigger shoe of your choice, adjust it as desired, and tighten it into position.

Depending on the shape of your trigger guard you may need to put the shoe on the trigger post prior to putting the trigger pins back in. Some trigger guards are small enough that it’s difficult to put a shoe on after the pins are placed.

Instructional videos are available online.

How does the trigger perform at the range?

group with timney trigger
Triggers matter and the Timney Calvin Elite AR played a major role in making this group happen. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

For this review, I installed the trigger in two different rifles: an Axelson Tactical AR-10 in 308 Winchester and an AR-15 in 223 Wylde that I built using Aero Precision parts. The different sizes and shapes of the two rifles meant I had to do some fine-tuning to get the shoe precisely where I wanted it, but it was a quick, painless process each time. I sometimes made additional adjustments after some live fire, which I found did affect my on-target results.

Using my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge I found the Calvin Elite AR trigger had an average pull weight of 1.49 pounds. The trigger has an extremely brief, smooth pull and a glass-rod crisp break with the re-set being so slight you hardly notice it. This is the kind of trigger you want for precision shooting or making any exact shot that requires minimal movement. It’s worth mentioning that you could easily nudge the trigger and fire the gun early if you’re not used to the light pull weight. Spend some time getting used to it. It performs beautifully and consistently.

The results on paper with this trigger speak for themselves. Two dozen shots have no problem making one happy-looking hole at 100 yards. In my AR-10 it made an enormous difference, turning the gun into a reliable sub-MOA (and better) rifle. It was even an improvement in the other rifle, which had another well-made aftermarket trigger in it before. I’d had no complaints about the prior trigger, but the Calvin Elite AR has it beat. Yes, this is the kind of trigger you end up wanting in all your rifles.

This was designed for competition use, and it’s clear why that’s the most likely use for it. But even if you aren’t a competitor and aren’t chasing precision matches, you’ll love this trigger. Mine has seen more extensive use on hunts than it has from the bench at this point. It’s been bumped, jostled, and run at length with no problems whatsoever. So while it is, indeed, a competition-style trigger, it can do so much more.

triggers in rifles
There are a lot of triggers on the market, and they’re not all created equally. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

Should you get a Timney Calvin Elite AR trigger?

This trigger has spent time giving me an edge for precision shooting from the bench and it’s also delivered on hunts. Not everyone is a huge fan of using a super-lightweight trigger for hunts, but in some cases, it works well. It really comes down to being a matter of personal preference.

One of the nice things about using this trigger while hunting feral hogs is the ability to drop several pigs from a single sounder. Sure, you could do that with just about any gun and trigger combo, but not as smoothly and cleanly as with this particular trigger. The Calvin Elite AR makes follow-up shots a dream, and that’s not an exaggeration.

If you want a trigger with a light pull, crisp break, and brief re-set, this is the trigger for you. All of Timney’s models perform to high standards, and the Calvin Elite AR is no different. In fact, it’s basically the gold standard for AR triggers. Whether you’re replacing an existing factory trigger, working on a build, or considering swapping out another aftermarket trigger for something new, this Timney trigger is well worth a closer look. It’s a fantastic investment and one that can truly take your shooting to the next level.

Whether you’re a competitor, hunter, or spend time fine-tuning handloads from the bench, the Calvin Elite AR trigger could be a stellar fit for you. Who doesn’t want a beautifully made, top-performing trigger?

MSRP for the Timney Triggers Calvin Elite AR trigger is set at $299.99.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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