There is clearly a lot of controversy surrounding systems like binary fire. What Franklin Armory is know for doing is pushing the limits of what is allowed and not allowed. They find the specific wording of a law or policy and exploit the weaknesses. While some would argue what Franklin Armory is going is unethical in the firearms industry it’s preserving what is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. They are still working within the confines of the recent laws made by those who generally don’t understand firearms.
I am under no circumstances saying that laws don’t demonstrate validity, some do. I am saying that Franklin Armory has been pushing to preserve the rights of law-abiding Americans the best way they know how. Their motivation and designs have been instrumental in preserving the rights that are being eroded by lawmakers who do not understand terminology or the Constitution.
In come one of Franklin Armory’s most influential products. The Binary Trigger System. Binary is simple enough. This type of trigger system allows for a user to discharge one bullet for every pull of the trigger. It also allows a user to fire a bullet with every release of the trigger. Essentially, this is a perfect training tool for proficiency and accuracy when dealing with movement and recoil.
This is no means an ‘automatic’ function. Nor, as many put it, “fully semi-automatic.” The binary system needs to be used by someone who maintains control of the rifle in a safe and effective manner, otherwise the system doesn’t work at all. But, you already comprehend this. You’re reading this because you’re a gun person and express an interest in improving your own accuracy and control. For that, we applaud you.
We received one of the binary systems designed for the AR platform. We chose to work on the AR platform because of the modular capabilities and test the binary trigger system on a range of calibers. This would ensure that our test would not only guarantee a proper installation and function, but ensure that the felt recoil wouldn’t produce an accidental discharge ‘echoing’ the past issues of other firearm manufacturers.
We chose to install the system in an Anderson AR15 receiver. Out of the box the directions were clear with a plethora of additional springs for more options. What struck us was how the hammer itself is a Mil Spec hammer, nothing unique or different than any other LPK. We weren’t going to test the system on a lightweight hammer, but that might be something we could try in the future.
The trigger itself come partially assembled, different than its’ predecessors and different than what the directions showed. This isn’t a negative, but took some time to find the proper placement on the directions. Laying the trigger in and pushing the pin through was simple, easy, and did take a bit of adjusting of minute pieces to make it line up properly. The retaining pin holding the pieces of the trigger assembly together pushed out easily.
We placed the hammer in with the standard attached spring, which was already put on the hammer at Franklin’s factory. There are more options but we felt that the standard spring included would be adequate for the test. Setting the hammer in place and cocking it back allowed us to push the pin through with relative ease.
Testing the function of the trigger is simple. We pulled the trigger and allowed the hammer forward slightly while maintaining pressure on with our thumb. It began to stray forward but abruptly stopped because it began to rub against the receiver wall between the fire control pocket and the magwell. Moving the hammer back and forth didn’t seem to make any difference on how far the hammer moved. We decided to put the system in another lower as the Anderson may be marginally out of spec.
Next up was a simple Aero precision AR15 lower. We began assembly immediately but had a sinking suspicion that Aero may not work for the BFS due to some proprietary measurements that Aero is known for. However, AR15 lowers are all Mil and Commercial spec so there shouldn’t be any worry.
As the trigger itself was assembled, it ‘echoed’ the ease from before. The pin easily pushed through and dislodged the retainer with a little jiggling. Again, we set the hammer down, cocked it back and set to put in the pin. Setting the pin in halfway it was obvious that the Aero lower also would not allow the hammer to progress all the way forward. There was only ½ mm clearance between the hammer and the fire control pocket wall. So, we disassembled and set to our third option.
We should state that with a bit of work we could have made it fit without a hitch. It was just our opinion that there shouldn’t need to be any modification of the lower.
By now we were getting used to how to install the system. Midwest Industries was next with their lower.
Setting the trigger into the fire control pocked was easy enough and it sat well and solid with the pin seated it in place. The hammer came next and to our amazement it slid right in, the pin following rapidly. We tested the action by pulling the trigger and allowing the hammer to slowly fall forward. IT moved without obstruction and set exactly where it needed to. With our finger still on the trigger we reset the hammer and released the trigger to test the binary system. To our amazement, it worked without a hitch.
One of my favorite parts of the system is the ambi-safety It was a tight fit but installed without hiccups and a few choice words. The safety levers are attached with an extremely small Allen Key Screw. If you are reading this and planning on installing your own BFS we would recommend a little loctite, as the screws tend to come loose easily. Slipping the grip and stock on everything fit up perfectly. Switching into binary mode was simple but it took a bit of muscle to flip it back into semi mode, which attributes to the selector lever coming loose.
We attached our 16” Midwest Industries .223 Wylde but put in a CMMG .22 conversion kit. The average person isn’t going to want to use binary to release 30 rounds of .223 or 5.56 brass often, so the CMMG would be a great testing point. It was oiled up, inserted into the upper receiver and loaded up.
Semi functioned flawlessly. There were no misfires or light strikes. Moving forward to binary we quickly released a plethora or .22 lr down range as quickly as we could. We observed something worth mentioning with the binary system:
While using the binary function the trigger needed to be pulled and held quite tight to function properly. Those who are light on the trigger will have issues with getting binary to perform as intended. It will still fire semi but focusing on perfect placement without pulling the trigger hard will only make it fire in semi mode, even when switched into binary.
Any why is that? It’s simple. The binary system is a 2 stage trigger system. The hammer needs to catch two separate sections in the binary mode. If the trigger is not set just right it will fail to catch onto the Set stage of the trigger. This could be part of the design or because we were using the system inside of an 80% receiver. Either way, it’s worth noting.
Moving forward to .223 we experienced the same excitement and performance as we did previously. While shooting slow the trigger had a habit of only firing in semi mode even when set to binary. Quick shooting meant flawless binary. Hard trigger pulling also meant flawless binary. All things considered, the experience was what we expected from the .22lr test.
Next, we attached a .458 SOCOM to the lower receiver and loaded it up. Sending 10 rounds rapidly was not a problem with the .458 matched with the binary. It ran without a hitch. Again, slow rates of fire meant the binary system would only work as a semi function, unless the trigger was held back with a considerable amount of force.
At the end of this range day we tore down the receiver and took a look at the binary parts. Everything was still in prime order. The selector switch had come loose on both sides and needed to be tightened but no worse for the wear. Sure, the system was dirty, especially after .22lr but nothing was amiss, worn, or broken.
Binary is an amazing product from Franklin. The price is enough to make someone think twice. However, if your focus is on quick, repetitive fire while maintaining proper control of the firearm the binary system is a great training tool. Using the trigger as a Set trigger is easy enough. You heard me right, a Set trigger. It is not technically a single stage trigger due to the adjustable nature with the included springs, but that’s just semantics.
Truly, the BFSIII is revolutionary, and expensive. Currently $390 (on sale from $430) is a lot of money to put down on a trigger. Granted, there are other triggers for the AR platform that will rival the BFS in price and not have as many functions or as much adjustability as the BFSIII. For the average shooter the purpose and need for the BFSIII is beyond their needs. For those who want to maintain proper control and tight groupings with a higher rate of fire the BFSIII hits the nail on the head. It’s also a great way to protect Second Amendment rights.
Keep it up Franklin Armory.
Link to Franklin Armory’s BSFIII Trigger