Mythbusters: 5 Falsehoods About Binary Triggers


Binary triggers have become a topic of heated debate and widespread misinformation within the firearms community. Often misunderstood, these innovative devices are subject to various misconceptions. By providing a factual understanding of the technical details behind how Binary triggers actually work, let’s clear up a few of the most commonly heard myths.

Myth 1: Binary Triggers Increase the Rate of Fire

One of the most pervasive myths about Binary triggers is that they increase the rate of fire of a firearm. This misconception stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of how these triggers work.

Fact: Binary triggers do not alter the inherent rate of fire of a firearm. The rate of fire is mechanically determined by the firearm’s design, particularly the bolt carrier group and the recoil system. A Binary trigger simply allows the firearm to discharge one round upon pulling the trigger and another upon releasing it. This mechanism does not change the firearm’s maximum firing speed, which is governed by its physical components.

Experts like Earl Griffith, former head of the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) of the ATF, have confirmed that a Binary trigger allows for a semi-automatic firing mode that is still limited by the mechanical operations of the firearm. Therefore, while a Binary trigger offers a unique firing experience, it does not convert a semi-automatic firearm into an automatic weapon. A Binary trigger installed in a semiautomatic firearm does not fire more than one shot “by a single function of the trigger.”

Myth 2: Binary Triggers Are the Same as Machine Guns

A significant myth surrounding Binary triggers is the idea that they convert firearms into machine guns. This belief is based on a misunderstanding of both Binary triggers and the legal definitions of firearm classifications.

Fact: Binary triggers do not turn a firearm into a machine gun. The statutory definition of a machine gun hinges on multiple rounds discharging with a single continuous trigger pull. In contrast, a Binary trigger requires two distinct actions (pull and release) for each round fired. This operation clearly falls within the definition of a semi-automatic firearm, which fires one round per trigger function.

The ATF has reviewed and approved numerous Binary triggers, confirming that they comply with the legal standards for semi-automatic firearms. This compliance underscores the fact that Binary triggers, despite their innovative firing mechanism, do not violate any federal laws pertaining to machine guns. Unfortunately, a minority of restrictive states have passed misguided legislation limiting the sale or possession of Binary triggers based on an unfounded association with this highly regulated firearm class. As with every firearm accessory, you should be aware of local laws and regulations, as they can vary significantly between jurisdictions.

Griffith, who now works as an independent consultant helping manufacturers understand and comply with firearms law and regulations, has said Franklin Armory’s Binary Firing System has consistently met legal standards, and that its design and function adhere to the definitions set forth by federal regulations, ensuring they remain within the bounds of the law.

Griffith’s endorsement adds a layer of legitimacy and authority to the understanding of Binary triggers, helping to dispel myths and promote factual knowledge. The facts behind Binary triggers have helped keep them legal in the vast majority of States.

Myth 3: Binary Triggers are Just “Range Toys”

A common perception is that Binary triggers are nothing more than frivolous accessories meant solely for recreational shooting at the range. This myth diminishes the practical applications and benefits that Binary triggers can offer to firearm enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Fact: Binary triggers are far more than just “range toys.” While they undoubtedly add a fun element to shooting, their utility extends into serious, practical applications. One significant advantage is their potential use in tactical training and competitive shooting.

In tactical scenarios, the ability to fire one round on the pull and another on the release can provide a unique advantage, allowing for rapid double taps without the need for fully automatic fire. This capability can enhance target engagement speed and accuracy, crucial aspects in both defensive training and competitive environments.

Competitive shooters, in particular, may find Binary triggers beneficial for improving their shooting dynamics. The rapid succession of shots facilitated by a Binary trigger can help shooters develop better control and rhythm, translating into improved performance in timed shooting events.

Moreover, Binary triggers can serve as valuable training tools. They encourage shooters to practice and refine their trigger discipline, as the dual-action mechanism requires precise control to master. This can lead to improved overall shooting skills, benefiting users beyond just the recreational aspects.

Myth 4: Binary Triggers Are Unsafe

Safety concerns are often cited by critics of Binary triggers, who argue that these devices pose a higher risk to users and those around them.

Fact: Binary triggers are designed with safety as a paramount concern. One of the key safety features of a Binary trigger is the ability to cancel the release round. This feature allows users to cease firing immediately if necessary. For example, if a cease-fire command is issued or if a non-target entity unexpectedly enters the firing range, the user can switch the firearm back to semi-automatic mode and release the trigger without firing.

This level of control enhances the safety of Binary triggers, making them reliable for sporting, defensive and recreational use. Franklin Armory’s commitment to safety is evident in their rigorous design and testing processes, ensuring that their products meet high safety standards.

Furthermore, irrational fear of anything unfamiliar plays a big part in perpetuating this myth. Whether shooting competitively or recreationally, your firearm should be pointed in a safe direction at all times. “Flagging” is unacceptable in any situation. Additionally, at no time should your finger be on the trigger unless you are pointing at something you intend to shoot. When the “cardinal rules” of gun safety are adhered to, whether they be those of the NRA, IDPA, or USPSA, a Binary-equipped firearm is no more unsafe than any other firearm. Period.

Myth 5: All Pull and Release Triggers Are Binary Triggers

Another common myth is that all pull and release triggers are Binary triggers. This misconception overlooks the specific technologies and features that define a Binary trigger and Franklin Armory’s ownership of Binary as a firearm accessory registered trademark.

Fact: Pull and release triggers from other manufacturers and Binary triggers from Franklin Armory are not one in the same.

Franklin Armory holds numerous patents for pull and release trigger technologies, which include specific features such as a three-position selector and the ability to cancel the release round. These features distinguish true Binary triggers from other systems on the market, though some select manufacturers do license Franklin Armory’s patents in their designs.

Franklin Armory’s patented Binary Firing System provides users with more control and flexibility. For instance, if a user decides not to fire the release round, they can simply switch back to semi-automatic mode and release the trigger without discharging another round — a feature not true of other pull and release systems claiming to be Binary triggers.


Binary triggers represent a fascinating advancement in firearm technology, offering users a unique and enjoyable shooting experience. Understanding the facts behind Binary triggers not only promotes responsible ownership but also ensures that enthusiasts can enjoy their firearms to the fullest. Knowledge is power, and in the world of firearms, staying informed is crucial. Keep your trigger finger steady and your facts straight.

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