AR Trigger Guards
Dr. John Woods 03.02.17
AR trigger guards might appear to be a rather innocuous part of an AR rifle. Actually though a small component of the entire build, the trigger guard plays a vital role in the operation and safety of this rifle platform design.
Of course the main purpose of the AR’s trigger guard is to protect or guard the trigger. Mainly this piece pinned below the trigger is intended to prevent damage or inadvertent engagement of the trigger mechanism. Sure a user could still wedge a stick or other object inside the trigger area and cause an accidental discharge if the safety is off, but the guard prevents much of this.
The trigger guard also provides the user with a tactile point of contact or feel in the dark as to where the trigger is located. I know, who could miss that, but under many adverse conditions including, return fire, rain, snow, underwater, or whatever, the finger can more easily locate things in reference when a trigger guard is in place.
AR trigger guards are a simple affair and on most standard factory models is a stamped piece of flat aluminum with a mounting hole on each end. The pins have to be carefully peened out with a proper fitting punch and light hammer. Care must be used to protect the end with the cover “wings” with a support to keep from breaking that piece off, which is part of the lower unit frame.
There are gunsmithing blocks made for such work. I use a brass brush that has just the right sized handle and a hang up loop on the end. I put the brush end under the pin and wing to drive out that pin. Use care in this.
Trigger guards are often replaced in ARs that are designed with guards that are pinned in place. The usual swap is for a trigger guard that has more of a lower loop configuration to allow for the use of gloves or just more space in the trigger area. Magpul makes an excellent polymer trigger guard for this customization.
Today I notice several new AR designs on the market with fixed trigger guards forged into the lower unit at the factory. These are not replaceable. The guards have the lower extended loop allowing for a gloved finger. AR trigger guards may seem like a minor thing, but their role is essential to the rifle.