Gear Review: TAC-CON 3MR Trigger

TacCon-3MR-Trigger

So its not a secret, after SHOT this year I was a real skeptic in terms of the 3MR trigger.  I thought it to be nothing more than a gimmick to sell to the tacticool guys that want to be that guy at the range that has a 3rd position on their safety and shoot at insanely high rate while still in semi-auto.  I will fully admit how I felt about the trigger after SHOT, you can even go see my comments here: http://disq.us/8iai16

I was able to get the hang of it today. I was able to shoot it as designed, and I will tell you that you can do exactly the same thing with a high end, single stage trigger. Sure, with a little more time I am sure I could get very fast with it, but I wouldn’t put one in my rifle. Its a counter-intuitive pull, breaks a lot of the “rules” of shooting fundamentals and while your rate of fire is higher, it is far less accurate. Personally, I would consign it to the scrap heap and save $200 and get something better. But this is my opinion on it.

I will qualify my comments, and first impressions with the following in mind though,  I was able to shoot two magazines at SHOT, which is not nearly enough to be able to get an idea of how to shoot the trigger system or how you can best make it work for you.  Thinking back, I am not even sure I was able to fully grasp the concept, or how it actually functioned in the few minutes that I got to spend talking to the guys at TAC-CON and then shooting two magazines.

Back in the end of March I was able to fly down to Arizona and get some hands on range time with the 3MR trigger.  I actually took my own AR because I wanted to eliminate any variables, and have something that I was used to shooting. You have more than likely seen my rifle in the videos that I have posted.  But here are my specs:

  • Aero Precision Lower
  • Aero Precision Upper
  • Adams Arms carbine length gas piston conversion kit
  • 16″ M4 Profile Barrel, 1:7 twist
  • Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 5M1 Brake
  • Magpul ACS Stock
  • Magpul MIAD Grip
  • Magpul BAD Lever
  • Rainier Arms Raptor Charging Handle
  • Aimpoint PRO in Aimpoint QRP2 Mount
  • Ergo Z-Float Rail
  • Surefire M620 Scout Lite
  • CAA MVG vertical foregrip
  • Crimson Trace Rail Master CMR-203
  • Full frog lube treatment

On the morning of the first day there was some time for a factory tour, and time to formally speak to Mike Stakes, the president of TAC-CON about the reasoning behind the creation of the trigger and it’s ultimate goal.  I know, I was actually kind of shocked to hear that the design was to help save lives, and give officers and operators the ability to stay in the fight, even though they may have developed a death grip (or fear lock) on their rifle.  It has been noted that at times when involved with a high stress shooting, officers will only shoot one round, and never actually let the trigger reset to continue shooting.

The 3MR is designed to combat that fear lock response, forcing a partial reset of the trigger and making the remaining travel to full reset very short.  It also is much more controllable then using full auto or even burst mode in terms of accuracy, and the number of rounds you want to fire.  Having come from an LE/MIL background, I can understand this design and what it would be useful for.  Being cool at the range with a 3rd mode safety or being able to dump entire magazines in 4.5sec was just a side effect of what they have created.  It is also called good marketing to be able to market to several different demographics and give a wider range of people a product that they want.  LE/MIL gets a trigger that helps them do their job better and go home to their family, while the average AR15 user gets a 3rd position trigger system that speeds up their shooting to near full auto speeds without the pesky NFA paperwork.

Learning to shoot the trigger system their way was also very helpful.  The trigger works best for rapid double and triple taps, and was designed with that in mind.  Starting with some of the V-TAC drills such as the 2x2x2 and 1-2-3-4-5, you really get an idea of how the trigger works, how it feels to shoot it and how you can make it shoot faster for you.  Going out to the range with 15 magazines and attempting to dump them all as fast as you can will not actually get you anywhere in terms of making you faster.  It will however waste your time, money and ammo and leave you disliking the trigger system.  I have seen a lot of anecdotal reviews on various forums, and even some professional reviews on YouTube that do just this.  Sure, in the end you can learn to shoot the system like that but at a greater cost to yourself.

The key that I and the TAC-CON staff have found to shooting the system correctly, fast and accurately is to stop trying to shoot fast.  The less you think about shooting as fast as you can, and focus more on accurately putting rounds on target, the faster you will be.  In double and triple taps, I do not need to move my hand position.  For a full 30rd mag dump, I was actually kicking my hand out to the side, as you can see in this video.  There were several others that were also doing this very thing, which is where I made the comment before that it breaks the fundamentals of shooting.  I did however have to ask myself, based on the use of the trigger just how many mag dumps I would be doing.  I train with my carbine shooting controlled bursts, often times no more then 5rds in quick succession.

There is also a lot of misinformation out there as to what the 3MR trigger system is and is not.  First, this is not a bump fire trigger.  It does not compete with something like a Slidefire stock or traditional bump fire methods.  Some of us actually tried to bump fire the trigger, just to see what would happen.  Ultimately it does not work to bump fire the trigger.  The trigger is also not full auto, it requires a trigger pull for each round to be fired, the only difference in the 3rd mode is that there is an assisted reset, that helps to reset the trigger when the BCG resets the trigger.  This makes the reset and next pull very short, allowing for very rapid shooting.

Several times in the last few months I was able to put my rifle in someones hand, and not tell them that it was a TAC-CON trigger system.  Then I ask them what they think of the trigger.  Each time they were impressed by the trigger pull and feel of the trigger.  One person even wanted to know what it was so he could buy one.  The 4.5lb pull is crisp, and feels very much like a match grade trigger.  But for some reason when telling people what it was, many handed my rifle back with the comment of “oh, that gimmick…” After asking what they mean, or why the felt that way, many were not able to actually articulate why.  I noted this several times, over several different range sessions with several friends and even a few strangers that happened to be at the range and curious.  There seems to be a predisposed feeling about the trigger, but for some reason I have yet to find anyone able to actually articulate why other then the price tag.  Many times people just tell me its too expensive and stop there.

The other question I have found floating around is what other rifles will it work on?  Well, it will work on anything that takes a MIL-SPEC trigger group, and will work as designed.  I was able to shoot a .308 with the trigger system.  While it does work, and functioned as designed, the .308 is a lot of rifle to try and shoot that fast.  Where this trigger would shine with a larger caliber system would be something like a .300BLK, or even a 6.8SPC in a PDW configuration, more so with a suppressor .  I was also able to use my lower with  the 3MR in a .22LR upper.  All of which functioned as designed, and flawlessly.  Here is a short clip of a .22LR upper being shot by a friend and shooting buddy of mine.  This was hit first time shooting the 3MR trigger, so his speed is actually quite good.

I will fully admit that I was a skeptic. But in taking the time to learn about the system, the design and marketing I was able to look beyond the hype that was out there and see the system for what it was truly designed for.  While I understand that trigger system will not be for everyone, there are those out there that will be able to use it as designed.  There are people out there that will buy this trigger with fun at the range in mind while some will be thinking of home defense, or even as a trigger for a patrol rifle.  No matter how you intend to use the 3MR trigger, as long as you keep in mind the intended design and limitations, you will be happy with the trigger system   If you intend to use the 3MR for a home defense gun, either a carbine, pistol or PDW I would urge you to get a lot of rounds over the trigger and learn to use it properly before you need to possibly deploy the rifle in a high stress situation.  Doing so will only help to serve you better when it counts.

If you want more information on the 3MR trigger, you can check out TAC-CON at http://tacconusa.com/




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  • J.T.

    Instead of the overly dramatic music in the videos, it would be nice if you just let us actually hear the shots so we can get a better feel of how quickly you were able to shoot.

    • Keith

      I thought the same thing and you posted this comment as I was watching, heh.

      • Jordan Varmette

        I totally agree. The vids don’t convince me of anything. Where is the obligatory tannerite explosion? 🙁

        • herb

          also, before I’d consider buying, I’d need to know how it works on watermelons or hot dogs with googly-eyes glued to them.

    • Bill

      Concur

  • Phil Hsueh

    A couple of grammatical errors that I feel need pointing out. First, wrong its, it’s is the contraction for it’s while its is the possessive form of it. So “. . . trigger and it’s ultimate goal.” should read “. . . trigger and its ultimate goal.”.

    Second error was using then instead of than, then is used for time than is used for comparative purposes. So instead of “. . . no more then 5rds . . .” it should be “. . . no more than 5rds . . . ”

    Other than that, good article and interesting read.

  • Phillip Cooper

    What’s the point of letting go of the grip in the second video?

  • Bill

    There should be a law – no posting videos of what a gun looks like while being shot, without posting a video/still at the end of the target that was shot. I realize shooter skill is an uncontrolled variable, but are all those rounds in a 3 -inch group, or all over the berm? As they say, speed is fine, accuracy is final.

    • I found one for you that shows the target. Short video.

      • Bill

        Cool – mine was more of a general observation – it may be dramatic and everybody loves a brass rainbow – but only hits count, and when you get into those higher rates of fire people can loose it. I’v seen mag dups where there are maybe 1/4 the rounds on target, and others where all 30 rounds formed one fist-sized hole. I don’t really care what a gun looks like, all I’m going to see is the front sight.

        • Oh yea we do love those photos of brass flying. I do wish companies would stop using music to enhance the video experience. All it does is irritate me:-)

  • Phillip Cooper

    How interesting. USG is blocking Tac-Con’s website as a “dead site”.

    How long before the BATFE goes back on whatever acceptance paperwork they issued, and starts raiding houses of folks that have purchased this?

    • Jeff S

      USG? US Government? Site works just fine for me: http://tacconusa.com/ .

    • Cymond

      USG? Pardon me if I misunderstood, but the US Gov’t isn’t blocking the site. I’m in California and I can still see it!

    • Bill Proctor

      I believe he means ‘blocked on a US Govt. computer’. You’d be surprised…

      • Jeff S

        Like I said, works just fine for me. 😉

        • Phillip Cooper

          I’m a network Admin for an Army Battalion. It’s blocked by Stratcom.

  • Phillip Cooper

    “I would confine it to the scrap heap and save $200”

    Uh, better check again. This trigger goes for $495.

    • Jeff S

      Yep… and what kind of Geissele trigger can you get for $495-$200=____ ? 😉 Hint: A nice one.

      • Geissele triggers don’t cost that much:-)

        • Jeff S

          You’d better let them know… they seem to have a problem with pricing on their website: http://geissele.com/triggers.html?dir=desc&order=price&weapon_platform=36 You’ll see that the various AR-15 triggers range from $165 to $330. So, if you don’t buy the TAC-CON, it’s quite possible to spend $295 on a Geissele trigger. 😉

          • Jeff they do have triggers up to that $300 mark and a bit over. I just meant they don’t get up to the $500 price Tac Con charges.

          • BoHeck

            There is absolutely no reason this trigger should cost $500, and we all know that. This knowledge adds to the hype, nobody is being fooled and that’s why there’s resentment towards the company as well as the product. If it was priced competitively, there wouldn’t be so much backlash. Their marketing strategy was pretty transparent from the beginning and the hands-on reviews reinforced everyone’s first impression that this was an overpriced gimmick.

          • mig1nc

            Agreed. I actually kind of want to buy one… But I don’t want it $500 bad. I’d buy another used Walther PPQ for less and just have another gun. Or a case of ammo. Or take another class.

          • Jeff S

            Right… I’m not sure where you’re going with this. I was merely backing up your writer’s original comments. Don’t spend $495 on this trigger, save yourself $200 and get something better. By my math he was saying spend $295. Another reader attempted to call your writer out – on semantics really – and I clarified what he was saying originally.

    • I would save about $200 over getting a Timney trigger was what the comment was taking about.

  • JEric

    I wonder if it could be made to work in an acr

  • AK™

    The way they did the shooting scenes in the movie “Heat” with De Niro,Pacino and Kilmer,is how a lot more shooting videos on YouTube should be done.

    These aren’t Jerry Bruckheimer productions..they’re end users and company promotions.

  • Cymond

    All this talk about preventing “death grip” or “fear lock” sounds great, but the fact remains that when the 3MR trigger debuted, the marketing was all about simulating full-auto and high fire rates. All the comparisons to slidefire stocks and the “misinformation out there as to what the 3MR trigger system is and is not” stems from their original marketing and the initial lack of information on how it worked, which lead to a lot speculation.
    .
    The simple fact is that they created too much hype and now they’re struggling to recover. If they had marketed it differently last November, it would be perceived very differently today.

    • BillC

      That was my thought too. The remark about the “death grip” and how it was originally made with the intention to “save lives” caused me to shout out “baloney”. They never said any of that. It is still clearly, an overly price gimmick trigger.

      • That was the decision of their marketing company. The trigger was designed with the LE/MIL market in mind.

        Shooting fast and marketing to AR shooters was really an afterthought, albeit a good one in terms of marketing.

        • Zachary marrs

          Why market a non full auto, full auto trigger to the type that has the real deal?

  • Steve Truffer

    If you’re trying to demonstrate the speed, then don’t post videos of slow-mo. hard to get perspective when everything is moving slower by an unknown factor.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    So basically it sucked until the company flew you out there to test it and now you’re “able to look beyond the hype”? (I’m half serious)

    Also, I think the reason there is a “predisposed” feeling about it is because it really IS a gimmick. There is no $300 way to get around $20,000 and a tax stamp. You’re basically compromising your reliability with the weapon just to have a “cool” (i.e. not really cool) range toy. Maybe here in NY (where having a pistol permit makes you a gun nut) this would be popular but I can’t imagine anyone giving a crap in Arizona or Florida where half the people at the range half registered auto sears, SBRs and silencers.

    • No, it sucked when I didn’t have a full picture of the product and the time to get used to using it. Speaking to them was really what changed my mind. Knowing that it was created to save lives and not just be a fun toy was what ultimately changed my thought process and how I approached shooting it.

      Yes, it is not a full auto. But I have 5000rds over it without a failure. I would say there is no real compromise in reliability, so I’m not sure what you are referring to here.

      • I got a chance to play with it at SHOT show in January. I wasn’t sold, but I only had 1 magazine to fondle it. What I did like was, as you mentioned, the guys behind the trigger.

        If it were a tad (like 50%) cheaper, then I would have one i my AR.

    • Steve

      I live in Az, and bought one. I have 3 sbrs and 14+ suppressors. I can’t find a registered DIAS for sale. I saw this as a way for me to get close to select fire on my 9mm Double Diamond sbr while I try to find a transferable sear. I had problems shooting the trigger at first in the 3rd postition. It was fun, but not functioning perfectly, I thought I was doing something wrong. I called them, they listened to what problems I had, offered to have me send the trigger in to them, found out I was local, asked me when I could meet them at the range, checked out my rifle/trigger, identified the problem with my trigger and rifle and then before I left, let me shoot one of their guns and coached me on the form. Gave me cold water and a gatoraid (it was 107 out) to drink. So the problem was a combo of- user error, problems with my sbr and a flaw in their trigger. In any production, there are going to be some that have issues. How the company deals with those issues is most important to me. I am not a 3 gun or a competitive shooter. I am a hunter/have fun in the desert shooter, I don’t “drive the gun” or even pretend to be a tactical shooter. I was in the Air Force, we shot simulated range, for hells sake. I do like it, and am more then happy with the customer service. So for full disclosure, they did buy me off, 60 rounds of 556 and 1 water and 1 gatoraid. I feel like such a whore, but I’m happy with my purchase.

  • Heroes Tactical

    I’ve been tracking these things for a few months now. Have they even hit the market yet? I wonder if the pricing will come down once the initial hype is over with. I can see them being a little bit more expensive than the Geissele, but not $200-$300 more expensive.

    http://www.heroestactical.com

  • BOB

    So you really think this trigger is worth the money?
    How is it better than a lower priced Geiselle?
    I just don’t see how you can come to that conclusion.
    Looks like a waste of money too me.
    Lately I just don’t care.

    • gunslinger

      this
      what justifies the extra 200 bucks on this trigger?

  • Andrew Tuohy

    It is stupid.

  • Stephen

    Yea it doesn’t make sense to ME to make a non full-auto trigger for the LE/MIL
    market when they have the equipment to go full auto, 3 round burst, etc. I
    think the 3mr trigger is looking for problems to solve and they are spending LOT of money on advertising and trying to convince people of the so called problems it solves.

    Consider the following…

    The talk about preventing “death grip/fear lock” problem. Seriously?

    I spent a career in the military in grunt units,
    a firearms instructor that was contracted to teach military police sidearm
    manipulation and currently in law enforcement; with that said the ‘death
    grip/fear lock’ has never been a problem that it was even addressed in any
    training; maybe because it is so rare. The only way to overcome ‘fear lock’ is
    to train hard, over and over again (even then one still might lock up during a
    use of force – fact remains most do not). IOW the ‘fear lock’ is not fixed by a
    mechanical device, where is the proof? You have to fix what is inside your brain-pan. For those that lock up during lethal force engagements and cannot perform to standard, they should find another job if it continues to be a problem; no
    trigger will fix that problem.

    When we were contracted to teach the military the problem was not being unable
    to put rounds down range fast due to long trigger reset (red flag) but
    marksmanship fundamentals and basic manipulation (reloads, malfunctions, etc)
    along with shooting, moving while incorporating everything together. The
    biggest problem was most ‘Joe’s’ did not have a set standard in how to do
    things across the board. IMO this trigger is WAY over priced and it doesn’t
    give a vast improvement over stock triggers. Again it tries to convince people
    its a solution for non-existent problems. I would like to see the reports from
    the FBI, LE and military on how much of a problem ‘fear lock’ and ‘long trigger
    reset’ is. Of course I bet those reports are buried with Jimmie Hoffa so it
    might take a while.

    So as you can tell I’m not sold on the trigger – if I want to put rounds down
    range quick, I’ll use a slidefire stock (or the departments full auto rigs).
    Even then its not needed for 100% of those Mil/LEOs or civilians out there.
    Most don’t understand the use of full auto/burst/suppressive fire or posturing
    anyway, they just want to do a mag dump and waste ammo (BTDT and it is fun – my daughter loves it and so does the wife – once the fun is over they understand
    the importance is on fundamentals).

    With that said and the amount of PR and marketing $$$ 3mr is spending on
    bringing lots of folks to get schooled, made me question it from the git go.
    Now do I dislike short trigger resets? No they are great but the price of this
    trigger is so overpriced its not even funny. I just feel sorry for the guys who
    get sucked into buying one and later find out that they could saved that money
    and advanced their skills with some dedicated perfect, practice and get similar
    results. You can have all the best gear but if you don’t practice you only go
    so far.

    Ok, I ranted and feel much better – thanks.

  • Hank Seiter

    Dudes, ditch the music and let us hear the muzzle reports IN REAL TIME.

    On several of my AR-15 and AR-10 (RR LAR-8) I’ve installed one 3.5 trigger and several 4.5 pound Timney triggers and I do get “recoil fire” from time to time if I get lazy. I’m not one to Appleseed my trigger, by that I mean you hold the trigger back after it’s full travel and then slowly release the trigger to reset it, so I’m on and off the trigger really fast getting ready for an immediate back up shot. I’ve never had a “recoil fire” when I’ve done that.

    I’ve never known this fast reset technique to affect my accuracy, particularly since I can routinely get my Rock River LAR-8 with match ammo to print 1.75″ groups at 300 meters. This “technique” also helps in practicing my trigger finger for double taps on the order of Jerry Michulek speed. I can double tap an AR-15 out to 100 meters and keep all shots in center-of-mass. From a rest I can double-tap to 200 meters and be center-of-mass, too. It comes from tens of thousands of rounds of practice with the 5.56. Heck, I enjoy double-tapping my M-1 Garand but I keep that beast at 50 meters.

    I see where this trigger might have some application, particularly since you have to put it in a third position to activate the rebound-tap feature. If the second position offers a cleaner, crisper, creep-free trigger than the stock fire control parts of the AR platform, then it might be a useful upgrade to have particularly if the SHTF.