By Chris A. Choat
The quest for finding a quicker method of putting bullets on target has long been a goal of weapons designers, military planners and even competition shooters. The goal has always been to accurately put a large amount of projectiles downrange in the shortest amount of time. Solutions to this problem have been attempted in a myriad of ways including single rounds with multiple projectiles, ultra fast firing guns like select-fire variants or accessories that make existing weapon designs run faster. Some of these accessories worked up to a point while others were just laughable in their attempts. While some do fire a lot of bullets fairly fast, accuracy suffers immensely and others are made from cheap materials that are not made for long term use and tend to work for awhile then self-destruct. Now there is a new accessory that solves these problems. It’s called the Tac-Con 3MR Trigger.
The Tac-Con 3MR trigger is actually a complete module or chassis that fits any Mil-Spec AR-15 rifle variant. The module contains all the fire control parts and offers a drop-in no gunsmithing installation. It is EDM and CNC machined and is built like a Swiss watch. All of the parts are NP3 (Nickel Teflon) coated to make it work as smoothly as possible. The trigger unit comes with a new set of hammer and trigger pins as well as a new selector.
To install the new unit the user simply removes the existing hammer and trigger pins that allows the removal of the standard hammer, trigger, disconnector and associated springs. You will also need to remove the rifle’s pistol grip to allow the standard selector to be removed. To anyone who has worked on their AR style rifle this is no challenge and even if you haven’t there are hundreds of videos online describing how to do it. Once all of the standard parts are removed the new Tac-Con 3MR trigger can be installed. The trigger unit drops into place and is pushed down slightly (to compress small rubber pads on the bottom of the chassis) and the new trigger and hammer pins are pushed into place. The pins are held in place by small built-in springs that are part of the chassis itself. With that done, the new selector is installed along with its detent and spring. The pistol grip is then reinstalled and the process is complete and the unit is ready to be fired.
The Tac-Con trigger and selector gives the user a new 3rd mode of fire. The new selector has three positions just like an M16 style rifle. It can be rotated so that it points to the rear which would be the full-auto position on a select-fire gun but with the Tac-Con trigger this 3rd position gives the host gun a very quick and positive reset that dramatically reduces the time between shots. This positive reset characteristic is achieved by transferring energy from the bolt carrier back through the trigger assembly to assist the trigger back onto the sear. Doing this gives the host gun the fastest reset time possible. In both the semi and the 3rd mode position, the trigger pull is a very consistent and crisp 4.5 pounds. The trigger is factory set and is non-adjustable. You may be wondering why Tac-Con decided to set their trigger at 4.5 pounds instead of 3 or 3.5 pounds as other precision trigger manufacturers do. The reason is that this unit is also marketed to LE agencies for their tactical rifles and most agencies have a limit of 4.5 pounds on any firearm used for duty. Even though the trigger is set at 4.5 pounds the trigger pull feels much lighter. In fact, the test trigger broke at an average 3.4 pounds according to the author’s Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge.
Testing of the trigger was done with the unit installed in a S&W M&P15 .223 carbine. The gun was shot with open sights as well as a mounted EOTech optic. Targets included both steel and paper and testing was done at CQB as well as 3-gun type distances and format. In other words firing as rapidly as possible from a standing, kneeling and prone positions both stationary or while on the move. The trigger proved to be very quick on follow-up second and third shots. The trigger takes a little practice to use it to its full potential. Shooters that are used to the standard “black rifle” triggers find that the trigger will “outrun” their trigger finger by a substantial margin. What is meant by this is that the trigger is reset and ready to fire before your mind and trigger finger can pull the trigger the next time. There is absolutely zero take up and no overtravel with this trigger and it moves only a few millimeters to the rear to fire and then only a few millimeters forward to reset it. Instead of the mushy, litigation proof, heavy triggers normally found on these types of rifles the Tac-Con trigger gives the Modern Sporting Rifle shooter a trigger equal to a precision bolt action with the rapid fire capabilities almost equal to that of a select-fire weapon. The trigger takes a little practice to master it. First time users couldn’t quite seem to get the hang of it. This author noticed that you need to use a very light press of the trigger instead of the “mash it down” as you usually do with this style of rifle. Using a very light trigger pressure we were able to get substantially faster shot to shot times as the trigger was resetting as it was designed to. We wanted to see just how fast the new trigger system was so we timed it against a select-fire M16 rifle. We used a Pact Timer with Rate of Fire option installed to measure the cyclic rates of both guns. Using the same ammunition and magazines the M16 had a cyclic rate of 750 rounds per minute. Although it seemed like we were burning through the .223 ammunition the fastest rate of fire we could get with the Tac-Con equipped carbine was about 500 rounds per minute. That being said, the targets shot with the Tac-Con Trigger equipped gun showed dramatically smaller groups. All shooters fired more accurately with the Tac-Con setup and in the end that’s what it’s all about. Putting more rounds down range doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t on target.
In conclusion this author feels that if you are a 3-gun competitor or a tactical officer looking to improve the trigger on your AR style rifle you need look no further than The Tac-Con 3MR trigger. The Tac-Con Trigger is not a bump-fire unit and has been approved by the BATFE and comes with a copy of the approval letter. The trigger is at this time probably the most expensive one out there carrying a retail price of $495. Once you see one of these triggers you can understand why they cost more. This is a very high quality product and it is the only one that can provide the user with almost select-fire cyclic rates without the $200 transfer tax.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V18N4 (August 2014)|