The AK family of firearms was never built for comfort or accuracy, they were always designed to put a premium on rugged reliability and ease of manufacture. That’s great for American shooters who want a gun that goes bang every time, but it also means there are some issues. One of the chief complaints about the AK is that the trigger is fairly “meh”, and a lot of people believe that with a better trigger their AK could shoot better than it does. TAPCO makes a replacement trigger, but installation can be a pain. That’s where TAC-CON’s new trigger comes in: a drop-in cassette that makes an AK trigger job easy as pie . . .
There’s a reason that there are no drop-in replacement triggers for the AK series on the market, and that reason is the rifle’s safety. The AK series of firearms were manufactured to very loose tolerances, and as a result the latch safety on the various guns isn’t exactly the same size. Heck, even between guns in the same batch and same model number the safety isn’t always exactly uniform. This can be a problem when you’re trying to design a modern trigger for the gun because if you don’t get that safety engagement just right, the gun might be able to fire even with the safety engaged. Which would be bad.
That safety issue is why Timney is still in the drafting stages on their competing drop-in replacement trigger. They haven’t figured out how to make a safety for their trigger that will work with the hit-and-miss tolerances of the actual firearms while still providing that Timney look and feel. TAC-CON, on the other hand, think they have it nailed.
TAC-CON’s solution to the safety issue is a series of shims. They provide three sizes that should fit just about any gun in the world, but even so a little gunsmithing might be required.
Installation of the trigger is a breeze. If you thought the AR-15 trigger system was simple, the AK trigger system is even better. Pop out two pins and the whole assembly flies out. From there, you simply slide the TAC-CON Raptor into the hole and slide the pins back in. The tricky part is getting that safety to work.
Even with the thinnest safety tab, the trigger still wouldn’t fit in my gun. I guess my safety was just too big. In order to get everything to work, I had to break out my trusty Dremmel and remove some of the excess material from the bottom of the safety. And I mean “my Dremmel” in the same sense that Homer Simpson owns Ned Flanders’ lawnmower. I really should give that back…
After a little living room gunsmithing, the trigger fit and worked as advertised. The trigger stays put in the gun and doesn’t wobble around, and provides a much more crisp and clean trigger pull than the original TAPCO trigger could ever hope to produce. It also looks nice and shiny, which is always a benefit.
Running the trigger it feels like a good trigger should. The break is crisp and clean, and reset is very short. That short reset is a function of the TAC-CON assisted reset system, a design feature that first appeared in their original 3MR trigger for the AR-15 series. Personally, I don’t see the benefit of the assisted reset. Its not my thing. That said, the assisted reset feature doesn’t detract from the overall experience, so I’m willing to call it a wash on that front.
The reason for the name “Raptor” name was that the lead engineer was offered a challenge when designing the thing: if he could get it cranked out in 30 days, he’d get a free Ford Raptor. He did, and he did (you can actually see it in the promotional videos). But while the production cycle may have been a little rushed, the finished product feels solid and well polished. Installation is always going to be tricky with a gun built in countless different factories by unskilled laborers, but they’ve tried to make it as painless as possible. Once in the gun, the trigger functions as advertised. I had exactly zero issues with it (provided the safety was appropriately modified).
The question remains: is it worth the money? It costs over $100 less than the AR-15 version, but even at $349 that’s still basically half the price of the gun it slides into. Normally at this point I would compare the trigger to other similar products, but there really isn’t any competition yet. No one else makes a drop-in replacement trigger for the AK series that doesn’t require a whole bunch of assembly, and none of them are quite as crisp and clean as the TAC-CON trigger. They’re the first, and they’ve set the bar pretty darn high.
TAC-CON Raptor Trigger
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of Use * *
Some minor Bubba gunsmithing required for most guns. Nothing that requires more than a Dremmel and five minutes of your time, but still a bit of a pain.
Feel & Function * * * *
It works as advertised. The break is crisp and clean, the trigger’s assisted reset works, and it functions. But your mileage may vary simply due to the inconsistent nature of the weapons platform.
Overall * * * *
It works, and it works well. My only reservations are the difficulty of getting the safety installed just right, and the price. When Timney comes out with their version, I expect it to retail right around $200 like everything else they make. But until then, TAC-CON is the only game in town.