Early August we posted about the new KRX Tactical shotgun, the new box fed 12-gauge by TriStar. The KRX Tactical blends familiar features and controls with a more traditional semi-auto shotgun while remaining at a reasonable price point. Shortly after the press release was posted, we were contacted by the people over at TriStar to set up a review of the AR style shotgun.
The TriStar KRX Tactical showed up at my FFL inside of a rather plain cardboard box with the shotgun, two 5 round magazines, a removable front sight, and a removable carry handle that houses multiple rear sight options.
The KRX Tactical features familiar AR-15 based controls complete with bolt release. At the range I found switching to the KRX was rather easy since everything seemed to fall into place where you might expect it to be. The only exception to that rule is the charging handle is located in the same place as a standard semi-auto shotgun.
The sights provided with the shotgun are pretty solid given their polymer construction. I probably wouldn’t go around banging them on everything, but for range use they should be just fine. The front bead is a fiber optic number with 3 other front sight options that range from simple black post to a peep front sight. I found myself gravitating to the fiber optic option and used it like a standard bead.
The removable carry handle also features four sighting options that are elevation and windage adjustable. By rotating the rear sight into the handle it reveals two peep sight options, a simple post, and a u notch type sight.
If I were to rely on the KRX for any type of serious use like self-defense or a truck gun I would ditch the factory sights, while they are functional I am unsure that I could trust them to take a beating when things mattered.
Fitted to the end of the 20″ barrel is what TriStar calls a “Door Buster” choke. I couldn’t find any indication as to what pattern choke the KRX Tactical takes in the manual, but if I had to guess I would say it is a Beretta/Benelli Mobil style choke.
When I was looking over the shotgun initially I thought to myself “Cool, they included a way to attach a flashlight on the side.” Wrong. The rail sections on the right and left side of the shotgun are purely cosmetic and aren’t even close to the right dimensions. I found this styling feature a bit strange, I guess it isn’t that big of a deal since there is a 8 slot rail on the bottom of the handguard as well as a full length rail along the top.
After my range day, I took the shotgun apart to give it a quick wipedown and found stripping it for cleaning to be rather easy. Just like you would expect with a shotgun, what would be the magazine cap screws off to release the handguard. There is a second nut that keeps the barrel in place that you need to remove as well to free the barrel and gas system.
Once the magazine cap and barrel nut have been removed you simply pull the shotgun apatr just like any other gas operated semi auto. I did find removing the barrel to be a biy of a bear, but it gave way eventually.
Since I had the trigger gauge out, why not see what the KRX’s trigger pull comes at? I knew it was going to be rather heavy, as my range day went on the trigger went from around 6.5 – 7 pounds up to 10 pounds 6 ounces. Far more stiff than I prefer, it still worked even though it was on the heavy side.
On the range, the KRX Tactical seemed to work as advertised, unloading five 12-gauge shells as fast as my finger could work the weighty trigger. Once the magazine is empty the bolt locks to the rear then you need to manupulate the magazine release while pulling the mag free since they don’t drop free. Inserting a new magazine was also challangining due to the tight fitment of the magazines to the mag well.
The recoil from the 12-gauge birdshot was a bit more stiff than I am used to in a semi-auto shotgun, I believe due to the straight line stock and hard rubber recoil pad. I also noticed that the shotgun seemed to torque in a counter-clockwise direction everytime I pulled the trigger, probably due to how i was holdint the shotgun.
After about 450 rounds of birdshot I experienced minimal failures, likely due to the shotgun needing to be broken in more. As the range day progressed I found that the shotgun seemed to run smoother while the trigger got heavier.
So what do I think about the KRX Tactical? It isn’t bad if you are looking for a magazine fed shotgun that won’t break the bank. The KRX Tactical carries an MSRP of only $595, I expect us to see street prices to hover around the low to mid $400 range. So for a budget semi-auto that also happens to take magazines it does its job pretty well.