Gun Review: TriStar Cobra Force Shotgun
This tactical 12-gauge has some good features for a home-defense gun.
TriStar’s Cobra Force shotgun is a Turkish-made 12-gauge tactical pump-action offering some very nice, even unique, features at a reasonable price.
The matte-black gun has a 20-inch cylinder-bore barrel and full stock with a pistol grip. It is chambered for 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch shotshells. Despite the appearance of a long magazine tube, as an import its magazine capacity is limited to five rounds. The magazine tube is actually blocked, preventing insertion of additional rounds.
Most noteworthy among the Cobra Force’s features is that the fore-end is mounted on a return spring. Once the gun is fired, the fore-end can be pulled rearward, compressing the spring and ejecting the hull. The fore-end is then slid forward with a considerable assist from the spring as the action chambers a fresh round. In fact, if the fore-end is released at its rearmost point, there is sufficient spring pressure to drive it forward, chambering a round and locking the action into battery.
The virtue of the system is said to be improved speed. Additionally, it is claimed that because less force is necessary to slide the fore-end forward, accuracy is enhanced. We didn’t really notice either benefit, but we believe the spring-assist might be of use to an injured operator.
The problem we found with the spring was that there was no way to lock the action open. This was particularly troublesome at the range as it was difficult to show clear to fellow shooters who wanted to go downrange.
The good news is that the spring is easily removed. Take it out and the Cobra Force functions like any other tactical pump shotgun.
Another interesting feature of the Cobra Force is the inclusion of Picatinny rails atop the receiver and on the underside of the fore-end. There are no rear sights included. This is an acknowledgment of the realities of today’s tactical shotgun market. Customers typically have their own preferred sighting devices, and the inclusion of a Picatinny rail allows their installation.
Up front is a rugged, protected post with a fiber-optic light pipe. The fiber optic captures and channels ambient light, providing a sight that’s visible in all but the darkest conditions while not relying on batteries. The high and massive sight is easy to find in a hurry. In fact, it’s virtually impossible not to find.
The Picatinny rail beneath the fore-end could accommodate a laser but is more likely to be fitted with a high-intensity light. In any event, the rail offers convenience, whether or not the user opts for a gun-mounted light or any other accessory.
There were other, less readily apparent features of the Cobra Force that we liked, too. Foremost among them was the pistol grip. The big, hand-filling grip is covered with soft rubber, providing both secure purchase and pleasant cushioning. It was one of the most comfortable factory pistol grips we’ve seen on a long gun.
Another nicety was the action release. Instead of being awkwardly located above the trigger guard, it was just ahead of the trigger guard. Pressing it back while pulling the fore-end unlocked the action, allowing the slide to rack whether or not the gun was cocked. The safety was located at the top rear of the trigger guard in a position familiar to many shotgunners. Pressing the button from right to left disengaged the safety.
One thing you rarely hear praised about a tactical shotgun is the trigger pull. This one measured 5 pounds, 7 ounces with no take-up, and it was quite smooth.
The stock was unexceptional. It was hollow, which kept weight down, and it proved durable. Its light construction did not appreciably increase felt recoil, though. The Cobra Force’s weight is forward, limiting muzzle rise. Only slug loads created discomfort, and then only during an extended shooting session.
The Cobra Force performed reliably and well at the range with both 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch 00 buck loads. It was generously proportioned, but swung easily and was not difficult to control.
A flared, cylinder-bore muzzle brake and a Beretta/Benelli-type, flush-fitting, cylinder-bore choke tube are included with the gun. Like the rails, the choke tubes allow the end user to tailor the Cobra Force to personal preference.
At 25 yards, the Cobra Force put all nine .33-cal. pellets in a 21-inch pattern or less. Since a large room is generally about 25 feet rather than 25 yards, the Cobra Force’s pattern would be considerably tighter in a home-defense situation.
As the current magazine tube is unnecessarily long, we wouldn’t mind seeing it shortened and the Cobra Force fitted with an 18-inch barrel to increase its maneuverability indoors. Beyond that, this new 12-gauge is a lot of gun for the money, and it is a solid platform on which to quickly, easily and affordably build your ideal tactical scattergun.
Manufacturer: Armsan Silah San. ve TIC. A.S.; www.armsan.com
Importer: TriStar Sporting Arms; (816) 421-1400; www.tristarsportingarms.com
Gauge: 12, 3″
Mechanism Type: slide-action shotgun
Barrel: 20″, blackened carbon steel
Chokes: interchangeable cylinder-bore muzzle brake and flush-fitting cylinder-bore choke tube
Sights: no rear sight (Picatinny rail only); red fiber-optic front sight
Capacity: 23⁄4″, five; 3″, four
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs., 7 ozs.
Stock: black synthetic pistol grip: length of pull, 141⁄4″; drop at heel, 2½”; drop at comb, 11⁄2″
Overall Length: 421⁄2″
Weight: 6 lbs., 9 ozs.
Accessories: manual, cylinder bore choke tube, threaded cylinder-bore muzzle brake
Suggested Retail Price: $449
Thanks to American Rifleman for this gun review http://www.americanrifleman.org