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LaRue Tactical MBT: The Meticulously Built Trigger Review

I am far from a trigger snob, but I appreciate a nice one when I feel it. There really is something nice about a crisp and clean trigger. You feel like you’re in better control of the rifle and when it fires. 

Whether these things are true or not isn’t the point, it’s the feeling of control that you like. If you’ve read my thoughts on trigger selection already, you might recall that I think most people over think this. We try to hunt for the “perfect” AR-15 trigger and cycle through many excellent options, any of which would have been amazing twenty years ago. We’re so conditioned to think that a great trigger costs a lot of money that something like the LaRue MBT just couldn’t be that good at its price point.

Well, that would be wrong.

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To date, I’ve handled a lot of very nice combat-quality triggers. I’m not shy about saying that I’ve got a preference for Geissele models. That isn’t because I think they can’t be beat, though. Rather, I just trust the name and am happy with what I get.

To date, I have rifles equipped with the following:

Of course, I also have a drawer full of standard mil-spec triggers from various lower parts kits over time. It’s always good to have spares.

Bottom Line Up Front

When the LaRue MBT first came out, it was at the lofty price point of $250. At the time, that exceeded the price of the excellent Geissele SSA and the market was skeptical. Mark LaRue is a fairly aggressive businessman, though. As Geissele has gone up in price, the MBT has come down. First, it was $199, then $120, and now as low as $87.

To be frank, that’s a steal. If you can get it for less than $100, then I really don’t see a reason to look at the $150-$300 options outside of brand loyalty.

However, I also don’t think the MBT is for everyone, either. I wouldn’t be comfortable handing a rifle equipped the the light spring over to a new shooter lacking in proper trigger discipline.

Ok, let’s get on with the meat.

larue mbt trigger
LaRue Tactical MBT-2S with a little bit of dust from my last match

LaRue MBT Walkthrough

I’m going to hit the highlights on the spec sheet. Not everything is all that important from a technical standpoint, so I’ll talk about what you really care for.

Fit and Finish

Mark LaRue doesn’t make junk. You couldn’t call something the Meticulously Built Trigger and not give it a high level of fit and finish. The trigger comes in a nice little circular tin with a window on top. All of the parts are nestled into designated holes for easy retrieval.

The machining and finish on the trigger is very good. I appreciate the little visual flares like the triangular shape on the inside of the trigger shoe, though it’s certainly not required on a defensive rifle.

Trigger Pull and Weight

Let’s start with the basics. The LaRue MBT is a two-stage trigger. That means there is a light, but smooth, uptake prior to coming up against a “wall.” Once you reach enough pressure, the wall “breaks” and releases the hammer.

The MBT comes with two different springs. A lighter one and a heavier “duty” spring. I use the lighter one in more of an SPR project, and the take up is 2.5 lbs and the wall is an additional 2 lbs. That puts the total trigger weight at 4.5 lbs. That’s about the same as a Geissele SSA, but one pound heavier than an SSA-E at 3.5 lbs.

In all of these triggers, a consistent pull weight of 4.5 lbs or less is fantastic. You really don’t want to go much lower than 3.5 lbs, especially on a defensive weapon. Precision shooters might do it on bench rifles, where the only negative effect of a negligent discharge downrange is getting kicked off the range, but a super light trigger on a rifle you might point at someone while you’re under stress can be…problematic.

LaRue Tactical includes a heavier trigger spring in the package in case you wanted to increase the pull weight back up to 6 lbs. You might do this for legal reasons, or policy reasons if you work for a department that requires a certain pull weight. Some matches exclude rifles with pull weights below 4.5 lbs, so the heavier spring ensures you remain within the rules.

Aside from that, though, I don’t put much thought into the minute differences between a 3.5 and 4.5 lb trigger. You see, a lot of how a trigger feels is the geometry of the trigger shoe itself.

LaRue MBT Geometry

When Geissele came out with the Super Dynamic series, which has a flat trigger bow instead of the traditional curved style, they claimed it helps make the trigger “feel” lighter. Flat trigger bows tend to increase the length of pull, so you have to extend your trigger finger just a little bit further to reach it. In turn, when you pull it, you have a little more mechanical advantage.

It’s very subtle and totally comes down to personal preference. I have both the Geissele SSA-E and the flat-bowed SD-E triggers in different rifles. They honestly feel about the same to me.

Comparing the trigger bow curve of a Geissele SSA-E (front) and Larue Tactical MBT (rear)
Comparing the trigger bow curve of a Geissele SSA-E (front) and Larue Tactical MBT (rear)

That said, the LaRue MBT employs a trigger bow somewhere in the middle between a traditional curved trigger and a full-flat style. They do make a full flat-bow version, though.

More noticeable, to me at least, is that the trigger feels wider than average, with sharply-angled corners on the shoe rather than rounded. It seems like it wants you to use the pad of your finger to squeeze it rather than the crook of the knuckle.

I can’t really tell you why, but the LaRue MBT feels slightly lighter on the pull than my SSA-E, and definitely lighter than the SSA despite them having the same pull rating.

I can’t say how it happens geometry-wise, but the secondary wall of the LaRue MBT feels like it doesn’t take as much effort to get over. Of course, mine could be an exception since there have been examples of the MBT coming in at 3.3 to 3.5 lbs of total pull, which skips right over the geometry question.

Installation Notes

Like most triggers, The LaRue MBT comes in two main pieces: the hammer and trigger housing. Something I appreciated was that they pinned the disconnector (pictured) in place before shipping, so you don’t have to worry about it at all. Just focus on getting the pins installed and away you go.

It’s been a while at this point, but I don’t recall any difficulty with getting things assembled. In several thousands rounds at this point, I have seen no pin walking or other issues present themselves.

For the record, I used Geissele trigger grease for lubrication.

Larue MBT In Real World Use

Just some notes on how I’m using the MBT. I installed it into my M16A5-ish rifle with the 20″ BCM upper and UBR2 stock. The usual optic is a Trijicon TA-110 LED ACOG. This rifle is somewhere between a designated marksman precision rifle and a field rifle. This is my go-to rifle for most range days and the one I took to the April 2019 NRA ARC match.

I’ve also used it for a few runs down the jungle walks in MVT’s tactical ranges.

I can’t really say how many thousands of rounds have gone through this rifle so far, but it’s never malfunctioned a single time.

When I first tried out the Larue MBT in it, I was concerned that it would almost be too light for safety reasons. To be fair, I thought the same thing of my SSA-E, and in fact had a negligent trigger pull. Thankfully it was on an empty chamber and pointed in a safe direction, but it still wasn’t a good feeling.

The bottom line is that with triggers in this class, you really need to be mindful of your trigger discipline. Keeping your finger off of the trigger should be automatic.

That said, the trigger has performed very well for me in all of these situations. I never felt like it was a limiting factor in the moments I’ve needed it for precision work, nor have I thought it was a liability in the “tactical” work.

It’s just a good all-around two-stage trigger.

The Final Word: Should You Buy It

To be honest, I’m conflicted on this point.

On one hand, my own advice is not to worry about aftermarket triggers until you reach a level of proficiency where you can actually take advantage of it. One the other hand, getting a LaRue MBT for a mere $87 is ridiculous. That puts it at only $20 more than a quality polished mil-spec trigger trigger like the BCM PNT or ALG ACT.

At that price, it’s kind of a no-brainer, especially if you’re working up a precision rifle.

However, and this is important, I do not think is is a trigger I would recommend for rifles you regularly hand to people who lack trigger discipline (specifically with the light spring). There are plenty of people I’ve taken to the range for the first time, and despite how many times I say otherwise, their instinct is to immediately put their finger in the guard and rest it on the trigger.

Thankfully, I’ve always caught it before the rifle is loaded and the safety is off, but I still shudder to think about what might happen with someone who is less…careful.

Am I going to run out and replace my Geissele triggers with LaRue MBT’s? No, not at all. I really like the MBT, and I’m still blown away by its price, but I also really enjoy my G triggers and what they bring to the table.

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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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Oldest First
Newest First

I may have to look into this trigger for my next rifle. I was planning on using another Rock River National Match 2-stage (because it’s what I know and like) but but $87 I could be persuaded…

Andrew E
Andrew E

Coming from 2-stages like my M1, which I think formed my expectations of a 2-stage trigger in a rifle, I tend to wish my MBT’s stage weights were reversed. I.e. a 2-pound first stage and 2.5-pound second stage. Even adding the heavy spring seems to put most of the extra pull weight into the first stage; I’ve been told that to alter the basic pull weight ratio would take some slight changes to the sear and disconnector angles.

But for under $100 shipped, hard to argue. I think I like my SSA (and G2S) a bit better when it comes to how the pull weights are arranged, but the MBT will be going onto a “precision” (ish) rifle because of that lovely light break.


I just run into your article. It’s great and very helpful.
I’ve read in many forums, and heard numerous times that AR10 platforms use specific trigger-hammer and you can’t just install any AR15 trigger in them. However, the LaRue MBT is used in both platforms indistinctly. Their website doesn’t specifically mention anything regarding the compatibility with either of them, so I supposed is fine with both. What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you for all the insights.

Replying to  Matt

Say no more. Just ordered one.

Thomas Jackson
Thomas Jackson

He literally didn’t address a single issue, a potential buyer would be asking when considering to purchase. This is definitely a DMR trigger. Sure it’s a massive upgrade over a milspec, but it’s not the greatest for speed shooters or tacticool run & gun. Geissele is comically overrated. The Timney, ARGold, & Wilson Combat absolutely poop on the SSA, E, B, C ect… Geissele has really gone down hill, and many manufacturers have started to stepped their game up. Buy the trigger, it’s easily top 5 on the market. If you want to shoot fast practice, or purchase a Timney/Ar Gold. If you’re a service rifle guy, go with the Geissele. Otherwise Wilson Combat or MBT.

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