We’re at SHOT Show this week, in balmy Las Vegas, Nevada. On the range today, we met up with the Tac-Con folks again. Their Raptor AK trigger is smoking fast, and it has improved safety features that were still in development the last time I saw it.
Here’s some new footage I shot today. My original review of the trigger is below for those of you just catching up. Speaking of catching up…. Don’t expect anything else from Tac-Con at SHOT show–they’re headed home tomorrow to get back to work. They’ve got orders to fill.
And now, on with the original.
I first ran across Tac-Con at the SHOT show last year. And back in March I spent two days in Phoenix with them, blowing through .223 with Tac-Con’s 3MR. The trigger is incredibly fast, and surprisingly agile, too, which is the true appeal of it. Zipping through mag after mag in around 4 seconds can make you giddy. But mags dumps are just a novelty. Fun, yes, but if that’s all there was to Tac-Con, I’d still be giddy, but I wouldn’t be writing this.
It isn’t all there is. The Tac-Con trigger, as I hear it called, has much more going for it. The 4.5 pound AR drop in trigger feels more like a 3 pound pull. It is clean, consistent, and allows for really responsive double taps. You can put multiple rounds on target in the same time it would have previously taken you to get one round on target. And that’s the tactical advantage of the 3MR. You don’t need full auto, or even a burst mode when you can accomplish the same thing, accurately, with your finger.
The Two New Triggers
The Raptor. And now they’re releasing an AK trigger, the Raptor, which I’ve just gotten to shoot in its late R&D phase. The trigger has a 4.5 pound pull, and an assisted reset, just like the 3MR. It fits in AK pattern rifles, and in Saiga shotguns.
How does it run? Fast. As this is the AK, it is completely different from the AR trigger, both in feel and speed. The AK rates of fire aren’t as fast. As responsive, but not as fast. This comes from the increased recoil energy in the AK platform and the speed of the bolt. It isn’t the trigger, but the gun. Yet it is still much faster than a typical AK trigger. You can actually run the Raptor faster than the bolt on a Century AK. It is odd, after shooting the 3MR in ARs, to have to mentally slow down to keep pace with the gun.
After two long days of shooting, I was increasing my hit rate and speed with the Raptor. A lot of the media guys I was shooting with are die-hard AR guys, and they bitched endlessly about the AK platform. Understood. I’m a bit nostalgic for my Cold War childhood, and I prefer the AK to the AR. I’m not going to claim it offers tactical superiority, or better performance, but the Raptor may change some of that.
The 3MR requires trigger control. I find that speed increases with a light, precise touch. The Raptor is different. Getting most of my finger inside the guard allowed for faster follow-up shots, as I was gripping the hell out of the entire gun. A good choke hold helps keep the gun down and the rounds heading in the right direction.
The 241. Fans of the 3MR have even more to celebrate. The 241 is essentially a 3MR with a two-stage trigger in the third position. Instead of the the safe-single-assisted reset pattern of the 3MR, the 241 has safe-assisted reset-two stage. This is, frankly, brilliant. I never use the middle position on my 3MR. I’m either safe or on assisted reset, but that requires a 180 degree flip of the AR’s selector. Now that 180 flip gets you a two stage trigger that breaks at one pound.
The 241 is so versatile. We ran drills that combined close range targets, followed by 100 yard hostage targets. The same carbines could go from 25 yard targets in rapid fire mode, to long range shots on a 6″ flipper with the simple movement of the selector. While I recognize that this is possible with any decent carbine, it is much faster with the precision of the 241’s two stage trigger. So fast in fact that it is almost easy.
I ran this same drill with the AK trigger, and with iron sights. It was harder. It took me six shots to flip the plate at 100 yards. But that’s the way it goes. AK bias? I think so. The 241 triggers were in rifles that cost more than the truck I drive, most equipped with cans and excellent optics. The AKs–well, lets just say that the AKs were a bit more pedestrian. Even so, the Raptor was a noticeable improvement.
The other news is that the 3MR and the 241 will both be more competitively priced. They should come in at $395. The Raptor will be slightly less, at $349.
The price reduction takes out a significant amount of the criticism aimed at Tac-Con. Is the trigger worth the price? I think it is. It is versatile and fast. Even the 3MR, with just the semi-auto and the assisted-reset semi-auto modes is worth it. Add in the extra two stage trigger, and there’s no more complete AR trigger on the market. There may be better single stage triggers (if you judge “better” by lighter breaks), but I haven’t seen anything that comes close to this level of versatility.
Tac-Con’s trigger hasn’t been out for a full year, yet, and I’ve had a lot of questions about how well it runs, and how hard it is to learn. There is a learning curve. I burned up a lot of ammo getting it down. I’ve seen other shooters pick it up and go. The shooters who I’ve seen who can’t master it typically have other problems working against them, like poor trigger control or a tendency to slap. I’d say it is a bit like learning to ride a bike–rough at first, then completely liberating.
The question remains: will AK shooters get behind the Raptor the way AR shooters have lined up for the 3MR? AKs, as a general rule, don’t lend themselves to customization and modification the way the AR does. And $349 may be more than half the cost of some AKs.
We pushed the limits of the test guns we had on the range. We had two Century AKs, one milled and one stamped. We shot the stocks loose, repeatedly. We burned out the inside of the handguards. I’m not talking open flames, but steady charring. Lots of good smoke. Even with steady maintenance and Lock-Tight, we were pushing the guns’ limits. The trigger, though–never faltered.
Tac-Con. These guys had a stunning debut last year. I can’t think of another company that makes guns this much fun, while also making them tactically more efficient. Once you are past the initial novelty of the speed, you open up a new set of possibilities.