Of all the rule-bending gun products on the market, Franklin Armory’s binary trigger might be the most famous—and the most successful. The genius design fires a round on the trigger pull and on the release, allowing users to increase their rate of fire without running afoul of those pesky federal machine gun regulations.
Not all gun owners appreciate Franklin Armory’s puckish attitude towards the feds. Catching the attention of the ATF never turns out well for gun owners, and the binary trigger appears tailor-made to give federal agents a conniption.
And yet, the design has withstood the slings and arrows of the ATF, and Franklin Armory has doubled down. Since the release of their first binary trigger several years ago, they’ve released versions for AK-47’s, H&K MP5’s, and seven additional rifle platforms.
I was more excited about the 22-C1 trigger for the 10/22 (and compatibles) than any other. Why? Because ammo is freaking expensive. Slinging lead is fun, but those 30-round .223 Rem. magazines add up quickly. With the 22-C1, you can have the fun of super-fast semi-automatic fire without setting fire to your wallet.
You may not win any wars with a 10/22, but it’s one of the best range toys I’ve ever had.
Click here to check out the Franklin Armory 22-C1 trigger.
Click here to check out the Franklin Armory 22-C1 trigger housing.
Franklin Armory announced the release of the 22-C1 at SHOT Show 2020. Since then, they’ve also released an aluminum trigger housing for an additional $99.99. I got the chance to test both.
Installing the 22-C1 is sort of a pain, but it’s well within reach of most reasonably handy gun owners. Franklin Armory has published a complete set of instructions here, and I’ve embedded the complete installation video below.
If you purchase the Franklin Armory Trigger housing (which I recommend), you’ll need to keep a few parts from your original fire control group: trigger spring plunger, two trigger housing pins, trigger pin, hammer pin, magazine latch pivot, and ejector pin, bolt catch spring, and ejector.
These parts, combined with what you receive in the 22-C1 package and the aluminum Franklin Armory housing, are what you need to install the trigger.
If this process looks daunting, you may be in luck (someday). I spoke with Franklin Armory marketing director Brandon Dunham, who told me they hope to release a drop-in version of the 22-C1. This offering would come with everything already installed in the FA housing, which would significantly reduce installation time/headache.
No word yet on when that will be available.
Unlike the trigger housing that came with my 10/22, the 22-C1 is all-metal—as is the trigger itself and the magazine release lever. This gives the unit a solid, durable feel that helps to justify the $399 price tag for the trigger and housing.
The selector has three positions: safe, semi-auto, and binary fire (or, “full semi-automatic”). The lever snaps into place on each position, though I would have liked a more positive engagement. It doesn’t produce the firm *click* that you might feel like an AR-15 selector.
The trigger is also a little heavier than I was expecting. This is my squirrel gun, so I’d prefer the trigger to be in the 3-4-pound range. The 22-C1 weighed in at 6.5 pounds, which is more akin to a mil-spec AR-15 trigger.
It’s not overly heavy by any means, and I found it to be remarkably consistent. I also understand why Franklin Armory would err on the side of a heavy trigger—when each pull represents two rounds, negligent discharges are even more hazardous.
I’ve had a bucket of .22 LR lying around for a while now, and I figured I should use it up before its expiration date. (That’s what I tell my wife to justify buying more ammo.) Armed with about 1,000 rounds of .22, I put the 22-C1 through its paces.
If you’ve ever fired a binary trigger before, you know that it requires a little practice to get the cadence that maximizes the rate of fire. It’s possible to pull the trigger so fast that the hammer follows the bolt home and you’re left with a downed hammer and an unfired round in the chamber.
This happened to me more than once, but I soon got the hang of it.
Looks fun, right? Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. I burned through more .22 LR that day than I have in a long time. Plus, since there’s so little recoil, it wasn’t hard to land every shot on a 6-inch steel target at 50 yards.
Dunham also told me that the rate of fire can be improved with high-quality .22 LR ammunition.
“Rimfire ammunition is tremendously dirty. It can gum things up pretty quickly,” he said. “The better ammo that you feed it, the better it’s going to function. If you throw CCI Stingers in that thing, it’s going to rip.”
If you’ve read many binary trigger reviews, you’ve probably come across this kind of thinly veiled disappointment: “Yeah, they’re fun,” these reviews opine, “but they aren’t really practical. Binary triggers don’t give you any real advantage in a competition or SHTF scenario, so they’re more of a range toy than anything else.”
You won’t hear me making those arguments about the 22-C1. Not because I disagree, but because who cares if a .22 LR rifle isn’t a great apocalypse gun? You’re not picking up your squirrel rifle to fend off the zombie hordes; you take it to the range for some good, clean, unadulterated fun.
In other words, you won’t be disappointed with Franklin Armory’s new binary trigger. It may not be perfect, but it delivers exactly where it counts, and I had a blast putting it through its paces.
Note: The 22-C1 is illegal to own in CA, CT, DC, FL, HI, IA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, and WA. If you live in any of these states, you’re out of luck.