Full Review: World’s First AR-15 Set Trigger from JARD

The AR Set Trigger is a cartridge-style trigger that can be “set” for a lighter pull.

All good shooters know that the best trigger would be the one you could pull without ever touching it. Disturbing the sights while pulling the trigger is the number one reason people miss shots, so, since mind control still doesn’t exist outside the CIA, many bench rest shooters and varmint hunters have adopted the “set trigger.”

Set triggers allow the shooter to “set” the firing mechanism by pushing the trigger blade forward and reducing the subsequent pull weight to something freakishly light, usually measured in ounces rather than pounds. This is preferable to a standard super-light trigger because shooters don’t always want a trigger to be that light, and set triggers can also be used normally at more reasonable pull weights.

Before now, set triggers had only been produced for bolt action rifles. But AR-15s are rivalling the accuracy of their bolt action cousins, and competitive shooters are increasingly using the platform.

It’s easy to install and a pleasure to use.

That’s why trigger maker JARD Inc. decided to develop and manufacture the world’s first set trigger for the AR-15. The JARD AR Set Trigger can be used as a normal AR trigger with a four-pound pull weight, and it can be “set” for a pull weight of only 13 ounces.

I’ve had the chance to use the JARD trigger for a few months now, and I’m loving it.

Click here to check it out.

JARD Inc?

Dean Van Marel founded JARD Inc in the early 2000’s because he couldn’t find a trigger he liked.

“I liked shooting prairie dogs, and I saw a need for an aftermarket trigger because I wasn’t happy with the one I had. So, I made my own. It was out of necessity,” he told me.

Dean Van Marel (owner) and his family.

That first JARD trigger was for an AR-15, and since then the company has produced dozens of triggers for dozens of firearms, including a set trigger for the Remington 700.

They cater largely to the varmint hunting crowd, a group that values long-range accuracy as part of the moral imperative for a clean kill.

The AR Set Trigger was a team effort and is designed for varmint hunters, long-range shooters, and anyone who cares about extreme accuracy.  

“We’ve got great employees here, and we’re always bouncing ideas off each other. We talked about a set trigger, had a couple different ideas, and I think it turned out great,” Van Marel said.

JARD Inc is based in Iowa, and all their products are manufactured at their machine shop.

All JARD products are made in their shop in Iowa.

Benefits JARD’s Set Trigger

JARD’s set trigger comes with a number of benefits, especially in an AR platform.

In any semi-automatic firearm, a super-light trigger opens the door for accidental double-taps. Before now, this safety limitation meant that trigger companies were hesitant to produce triggers much lighter than 1.5 pounds. JARD’s set trigger overcomes this limitation by requiring the trigger to be “set” (pushed forward) each time the shooter wants to use the 13oz pull weight. Once pulled, the trigger returns to the standard four-pound weight for the next shot.

Before now, the lightest AR triggers were about 1.5 pounds.

This dual functionality allows shooters to use the trigger normally and, when the situation requires, take advantage of the 13oz pull weight for precision shooting. This improves accuracy for a variety of reasons. Shooters will obviously move the rifle less when pulling the trigger, but the 13oz pull weight also allows users to focus on other shooting fundamentals – like breathing and positioning – without worrying quite so much about trigger control.

Plus, if the shooter decides against the ultra-light pull, he or she can abort mission by switching the rifle to “safe” and pulling the trigger. Rather than dropping the hammer, the mechanism simply returns the trigger to normal operation, and the trigger can be switch to “fire” and fired.

Target shooters will value this trigger, but so will reloaders. In order to fairly evaluate a load recipe, reloaders must do everything possible to take themselves out of the equation. Developing an accurate cartridge requires juggling enough variables without introducing the knucklehead behind the trigger (speaking for myself). JARD’s trigger helps ensure that, even in a sled or from bags, you’re testing the cartridge/rifle’s accuracy – not your own.

Hunters will also appreciate the JARD AR Set Trigger, as Van Marel pointed out.

“In the hunting world, it’s the first shot that really counts,” he said. “The set trigger gives you the opportunity to place that first shot really well.”

What’s It Like?

Installation of the JARD AR Set Trigger is a piece of cake. The cartridge design requires nothing more than popping out the trigger pins, inserting the cartridge, returning the pins, and tightening the retaining screws.

JARD’s product works well even as a traditional aftermarket trigger (as you’d expect from a $220 upgrade). Mine clocked in around 4.5 pounds, and I noticed the slightest bit of mushiness before a clean break. But I received an early model, and Van Marel said they’ve since nickel-plated the bushings, which should clean up that mushiness.

As a set trigger, it’s excellent. The trigger blade features cuts on either side to make it easy to push the trigger forward to its set position. The movement requires a little wrist-contortion, but I soon got used to it and didn’t experience any discomfort. The 13oz advertised pull weight is spot-on, and the break is crisp.

If you’re accustomed to holding at the “wall” for a few seconds before breaking the shot, there might be a slight learning curve if you’ve never used such a light trigger. With this trigger, the “wall” basically means “putting your finger on the trigger.” But the learning curve isn’t too steep, and the rewards are well worth the effort. And, as always, remember to follow the four rules of gun safety, especially the ones about muzzle control and trigger finger discipline.  

JARD’s newest product might be a tough sell as a traditional trigger, but its ability to be “set” puts it head-and-shoulders above its competitors. If you’re after an edge in the field or in competition, give the JARD AR Set Trigger a look.

Click here to check it out.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Don from CT August 19, 2020, 1:38 pm

    I just reread this article. It appears that the author hasn’t even actually touched the thing, much less shot it. There is no what I’d describe as first hand experience descriptions.

    With that said. This is probably a great product as everything Jard makes tends to be great.

  • Brian.wallace August 4, 2020, 6:42 pm

    Cost of ar drop in set trigger?

  • Tom Cain August 3, 2020, 9:25 am

    When my Dad was still alive, he made the BEST set triggers for muzzleloaders. They are a joy to shoot!

  • Zupglick August 3, 2020, 9:22 am

    Interesting. I wonder if it will work in my BA-36.

  • Raymond May August 3, 2020, 8:24 am

    This may be the first commercially available set trigger, but Olympic Arms produced their Ultra Match rifle with a set trigger over 25 years ago.

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