Fair warning: We’re predisposed to like the ladies and gents at Rise Armament. Not only do they have a good track record in our experience, but also they’re genuinely pleasant folks—always a welcome combination. So, when an RA-140 “Super Sporting” cassette (or cartridge) AR/Stoner pattern trigger showed up, we were rubbing our mitts in anticipation. When we saw the MSRP—$129—a profoundly unsuccessful back handspring ensued. Chiropractor and shooting pal Rick says we’ll be fine. Eventually.
For most readers, we expect our enthusiasm is entirely comprehensible. A drop-in, 3.5-pound fix for generally mediocre mil-spec that is in the 6- to 7-pound range and is under $150 isn’t exactly common. Sign us and pretty much everybody else up—as long as it works.
And work, it does. Our first drop-in was a .308/AR-10 that still had its (truly heinous) factory set-up. All went as planned and hoped for, and we wallowed shamelessly in the huge improvement—about $50 of ammo worth. Our trigger scale showed precisely the promised 3.5 pounds, and better still, sans the gritty creep. Test one: 100 percent.
Next came an AR-15. This is an interesting lower that we keep around to test AR components at the fringes. It’s “spec,” we think, but juuuuuust barely in terms of dimensions. We’ve had it to the range enough, and components on and off it enough, to think the metal itself is fine.
Anyway, our Rise went in about 85 percent and came to a halt. Long story short, our concerns about the interior dimensions of the lower were confirmed. Double-checking in a second lower, the RA-140 was gobbled up without complaint (and snugly, which we like), and passed all function checks with ease. Suspicions confirmed, we went back in our first lower, and a few thousandths of relief later had the collision points identified and cured. We shot this rifle and had the same 100 percent results.
There are three considerations here. Rise recommends gunsmith installation, and our experience with the initial AR lower shows why. Every AR lower manufacturer naturally, honestly believes theirs are perfect dimensional receptors for every upper and other part, but it just isn’t so. If man makes a thing, he can make it not-quite-perfect, and tiny differences matter (like with the safety/selector, for instance). Second, our fit was so snug that we saw no need, at least yet, for the KNS captive pins that Rise recommends. We recommend them, too (here), and for the same reason. They provide cheap insurance and security, and you can get them right on the Rise website.
Lastly, remember the safety aspects of any trigger work. Unloaded firearm—duh—but if you have any doubt at all, get your gunsmith in the game. Any charges are likely to be modest. If you do it yourself, be sure you know the checks to run, and always, always, always limit magazine capacity to two rounds until you know all is well.
Noveske is another of those AR/MSR companies that essentially needs no introduction. The company has been at it a good while, has a well-deserved (and fabulous) reputation, and if they make something, pay attention—it’ll be for a good reason.
Such is the case with their STS 60 degree selector. If the “STS” isn’t transparent, look at the 60-degree business—it’s a hint.
Hands of many sizes struggle with the safety/selector on Stoner-pattern rifles: Either “on” or “off” will be a reach or other contortion, and lefties, of course, grumble with practiced skill and ample justification. Our own freakishly short thumbs give us a wrangle on either motion. Grrrrrrr.
The cure, or at least a cure, is Noveske’s “short throw selector.” A stainless, nitrided Noveske internal shaves 30 degrees off the overall rotation of the selector, and provides both a short and a long Magpul lever to mix/match to your preference. In the righty-only version, choose the length you prefer; in the ambi, short on one side, long on the other.
We haven’t found a single interaction problem. The detent plunger and spring are standard, and the selector works just fine with Jard, Geissele, Rise, CMC and mil spec trigger components—and those are just the ones we’ve actually tested on our own hook. Even our slightly hinky test lower (see Rise, above) runs just fine with the Noveske installed.
So, er, get one. (Or several. At $39, it’s a—pardon the pun—no-miss proposition.)