AR 15 Trigger Not Resetting: Troubleshooting

If you are new to the AR 15 world, you might find your trigger not resetting a major problem. The proper use of gas weapons like AR-15 can be a bit tricky especially with its trigger issues.

Is your AR 15 shooting but not resetting after a few shots? How to solve Ar 15 trigger not resetting at all?

Well, your AR-15 might not be resetting for various reasons. It can be solved by reassembling, smoothening, and cleaning the parts. Now, you must be wondering how to understand these problems? Don’t worry we have your back. We have categorized all the problems as per their difficulty level. Not just that, we have also given the step-wise solution.

To know more, let’s not wait any further and jump into the next section.

Things to Know Before Jumping in

First of all, before we start digging in the original AR 15, you must know its parts. These parts are the trigger, sear, disconnector, and hammer. Now, before you start the steps, you need to be careful of a few things.

Word of Caution

To start with, you know that a rifle is a very sensitive weapon. One wrong step can cost someone his life. So,  follow the steps below before starting with the process.

Your weapon must always be empty. Now, if you are a newbie you must be wondering how to empty a loaded gun?

Well, to empty a loaded gun, first cock the hammer by pulling the charging handle. Set the safety selector lever on “Fire”. After pulling the trigger to the rear, hold the trigger in the rear position. You will see the hammer fall off. 

Now, holding the trigger in the same position, pull the charging handle to the rear. Slowly you can release the trigger now until you feel a pop along with a “click”. The sound is of the disconnector releasing from the hammer hook. When you pull the trigger to the rear, the hammer will fall off.

If your hammer didn’t “click” or the hammer wasn’t displaced, you know there’s a problem to be reset. Want to know how? For that let’s jump to the next section.

AR 15 Trigger Troubleshooting

Trigger Resetting is an important thing in this gun world. There can be several issues causing your trigger not to reset. We have divided the problems into easy fixes and main reasons. So make sure to go through them along with the steps mentioned. For troubleshooting your AR 15 trigger, let’s get into the next section.

The Easy Fixes

We’ve sorted out the most easy foxes for you first. Let’s have a look.

FixesEaseNeed for additional materials
Clean Trigger and LubricationModerateModerate
Smoothen Disconnector and HookVery easyMinimal
Smoothen Sear EngagementVery easyMinimal

Fix 1: Clean Trigger and Lubrication

For easy steps, cleaning comes first. Has your AR 15 not been cleaned for days? Then chances are high that the trigger problem is due to rusting. Excess dirt and old lube can jam your trigger. This causes difficulty in resetting the trigger. The steps to clean and lubricate your trigger is given below:

Things You Will Need
Step 1 of 4 Disassembling The Gun

After making sure the gun is unloaded, you have to keep the AR 15 down. After that, push the main takedown pins out. The pins are located one on the rear and the other on the lower receiver. 

You can push the pins with a punch and the pins will come out. This will expose the upper and lower receiver out of the gun. 

Step 2 of 4 Removing The Bolt

Pull the receiver outward to release the bolt carrier group and the charging handle. Now you need to release the firing pin from the bolt just like before. Rotate the bolt 90 degrees. This will release the campaign, due to gravity. The ejector pin is then pushed out of the ejector by a stick to disassemble the gun for cleaning.

Step 3 of 4 Cleaning The Trigger

Now you have to start cleaning each part with the Impro 7. You can use a thin brush to go inside the bolt. The bolt face always has some hard rust that needs to be scraped off with a sharp object. 

If your barrel is very dirty, you can first use a brush to clean it up and then a bore snake. This will clear out the inner dirt. You can also choose to either free float or glass bed your barrel for better accuracy.

Step 4 of 4 Lubrication

You have to lubricate the inner parts, especially those with high friction. For example, the shiny flange of the bolt. Also cover the bolt care, upper and lower receivers, and the gas key.

Use less lube if you are using your gun in sandy areas. As it might jam the gun and make it difficult to chamber. Finally, you just need to reassemble the parts by following the exact steps you have taken.

Fix 2: Smoothen Disconnector and Hook

Have you checked if it is wrong with your spring? If you are sure that it’s okay then it can be something with your disconnector and hook. Some microscopic burrs can be there in the disconnector and hammer. This happens especially if the hammer hooks and disconnectors are fully new. These burrs make them hold each other, hindering smooth operation.

To smoothen the disconnector and hook, the process further is described below.

Be Careful

Smoothening too much can make the edges of your disconnector and hammer blunt. This will cause your trigger to fail fully. So you must take enough time through the process. You can test-fire a few times to be sure of the polish.

Things you will need:
Step 1 of 2  Disassemble The Gun

Disassemble the gun with the steps mentioned in Fix2. After that, take out the disconnector and hook. Start smoothing the edge using sandpaper. Make sure to remove the burr but avoid over rubbing. 

In this case, we recommend using good quality sandpaper. If you’re wondering which one you should go for, check our recommendations-

Image Product Price
3M Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper 3M Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper Check Price
120 To 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper 120 To 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper Check Price

These are some of the best sandpaper out there. Especially for working with weapons. Check out their reviews for more!

Step 2 of 2 Smoothening

Stop sanding when you see the disconnector and hammer to be clean and smooth. You can now reassemble the parts following the steps you did earlier. A test shot might help you check if the trigger is resetting now.

Fix 3: Smoothen Sear Engagement

The sear engagement controls your trigger pull. This sear smoothness plays a key role in the trigger pull mechanism. For normally manufactured ammo, the spring bend mentioned is needed. So, let’s move into the process.

Be careful:

If you use ammo with military primers, you need to skip the hammer spring bend mentioned. Using sandpaper you might over polish. So ceramic stone is better to be used here. Also, it’s important to vacuum seal ammunition to store your ammo properly.

Things You Will Need
Step 1 of 2 Disassembling The Sear

Take out the hammer pins using a 5/53” punch. Now, pull out the trigger pins. You will see the sear engagement surface.

Step 2 of 2 Smoothening the Sear Engagement

Keep the sear flatly on the stone and move back and forth. There is also a sear notch on the back of the hammer. This also needs to be polished in a similar way. You can bend a leg of the hammer spring a little. This will lighten the pull.

Main Culprits

Now, let’s see some the main culprits behind AR 15 not resting.

There are some common issues most shooters run into. Now, you must be wondering how to know if your AR 15 is having the same issues.

Don’t worry. We have listed out the main 3 reasons that are causing your AR 15 trigger to not resettle. The fixes are also given.

Reason 1: Springs in the Hammer and Trigger

The hammer and trigger’s springs have a certain direction. It may happen that they are installed upside down. So you should check both the spring coils. The coil of the spring should be on the opposite side of the leg. The legs should be on the floor of the lower receiver. To control the trigger and hammer tension, the coils need to be preloaded.

Reason 2: Disconnector Spring

As you know, the disconnector spring has a base to it with a narrow edge. Often this spring is installed wrongly as it is very small and neglected.

In that case, double-check if the large end of the spring is placed inside the trigger. The narrow edge should be installed under the notch of the disconnector.

Reason 3: Check Burr Hammer and Trigger pin

We have already talked about how burr can damage your trigger and make it not resettle. Burr can also be present in the hammer and trigger in. These burrs stop the pins from rotating the hammer, trigger, and disconnector. For this reason, the trigger does not reset.

To fix this, you have to follow the process mentioned in Fix 3. Firstly, you need to remove the pins. After that just smoothen the pins using the same 1000-800 grit sandpaper. Apply a good amount of lube and you are good to go.

Still not Resetting? Here’s What to Do

An AR 15 has different kinds of triggers with separate parts. These parts can malfunction anytime having multiple issues. For instance, your AR 15 may not cycle to next round. 

But for the resetting part, your trigger should be reset by now if you followed the above steps. . If not, here’s one last thing you need to do. Check if the hammer and disconnector are in place. Ideally, the gap between the hammer and disconnect hooks should be 0.003 inches.

Fix: Check Hammer and Disconnector Relationship

The trigger should be at rest along with the sear holding the hammer. Now follow the steps given below to check the relationship between the two.

Step 1 of 3 Trigger Engagement

After you disassemble the gun, you will be able to see the hammer and disconnector connection. Using your thumb to hold against the trigger back, press the hammer back into the catch position.. This will engage the disconnector to catch the hammer

Step 2 of 3 Checking The Hammer Movement

Try to observe what happens when the hammer moves back in place. Now, leave the trigger and the disconnector will release the hammer. This makes the hammer move slightly forward and catches the sear. The hammer shouldn’t be moving all the way forward.

Step 3 of 3 Smoothening of The Disconnector

Repeat the process several times. If the hammer is still not catching the disconnector when you push it back, there is a problem. It is with your disconnector. Polish the disconnector again as per Fix 2 and polish it following Reason 2 steps. 

Pro Tips for Your AR 15 maintenance:

For keeping your AR 15 in proper form, maintenance is very important. Some tips to maintain your AR 15 are given below:

  • Do not place a lamp or a heater in your gun safe. Your stock will dry up, warm-up, and crack as a result of this.
  • Dry out your gun after every use. Moisture can create rusting.
  • Do not use a gun slip. Your gun needs air circulation.
  • Do functional checks every month. You can use the Pro Case Maintenance Kit. This will prevent any accidents for dysfunctional parts of the gun. To

So, all in all, this is all you can need to do to maintain your AR 15. Keep these in mind to avoid any issues with your gun.


Question: Why does AR 15 get jammed?

The main reason can be stuck moisture and rust inside the gun. It can also happen due to the misalignment of ammunition in the magazine.

Question: How many rounds do AR 15 last?

AR-15 handbook claims a maximum effective rate of 45 rounds per minute. Shooters in competition can fire up to three shots per second.

Question: How often should I lubricate my gun?

It’s a good idea to lubricate your pistol at least once every 1–2 weeks. This is if you conduct more strenuous range sessions on a regular basis. It’s especially vital to do this during the hotter and more humid months of the year.

Bottom Line

That is all from us. As you have come this far, we have an added tip just for you. If you want a better pull weight for your trigger, you can upgrade the trigger. That is all from us on AR trigger not resetting.

Do you have any quarries? Let us know in the comment section below. Till then, have a good day!