By: Kevin John "JohnBoy"
If you're like me, you're skeptical when claims are made about turning
your semi-automatic AR-15 into a BATF legal full-auto M-16 for only
$39.95. A poor man's dream? Sound too good to be true? We have all seen
ads for these trigger devices that simulate full auto fire, Hellfire,
Tac Trigger and Tri-Burst, to name a few. All these devices make big
claims, but I have rarely heard an actual user who is satisfied with
these trigger devices performance. I myself bought one of these trigger
systems several years ago and after hearing poor user reviews on the
AR-15 digest and reading the operating instructions with the device,
decided it was more hassle than it was worth to even attempt to use that
trigger system. Most of these systems rely on a spring lever mounted
behind the trigger to get the rifle rocking back and forth to achieve
the full auto affect from the operator's side, which is a tough
balancing act to perform. Any attempt at any form of aimed fire from the
shoulder is out of the question.
After all this, I was intrigued a short time ago when a fellow AR-15
lister posted favorable results with a new system I had never heard of
before, the GAT Trigger System. I did a quick Web search and came up
with the following two web sites selling this new GAT Trigger:
I decided to order from Flashdistributor, 970-249-0302 $39.95 + $3
shipping, as it is located closer to my home and I figured the shipping
time would be shorter. Three days later the unit arrived at my house and
I eagerly opened the package to get this installed on my Ar-15. The GAT
seems to be well designed and thought out and has Germany stamped on its
side. The GAT Trigger System attaches in front of the rifle trigger and
has a lever with a thimble shaped cup on its end. As you rotate this
lever a activator bar pushes against the trigger to fire the weapon. One
full rotation of the lever will cause the trigger to fire 4 times and it
can be fired from the shoulder in a normal shooting position.
For installation, all safety rules apply, check to see the rifle is
safe and UNLOADED. Double check this again, then pull back the charging
handle to cock the trigger. A side cover needs to be removed to attach
the GAT to the rifle. Both a long and short activator are provided to
fit to different rifles such as SKS, AK, and 10/22. The instructions say
the short activator is used on most rifles, so that is the one I used.
This activator slides in the unit and some care must be taken not to
lose or drop it as you attach the system to your rifle as it can fall
out. Two screws under the unit are tightened to the trigger guard when
you determine (trial and error) the correct operating distance to the
rifle's trigger. I wasn't reading the instructions too closely and over
tightened these screws and the unit cracked and fell off my Pre-ban
Colt. "Dang!" (Not the actual word uttered) I re read the instructions
and it states to only hand tighten these bottom screws then reinstall
the side plate for its added strength and support. In my defense, the
screws are real tight and can't be hand tightened, only tightened with
the enclosed allen wrench.
I called Flashdistributor and said I cracked the GAT unit. The guy
on the phone told me he needs to make the instructions clearer on
putting the side plate on first before final tightening of the bottom
screws and said he'd get another GAT trigger in the mail to me that
day. It was more my fault for the break than the instructions so it was
nice of him to send me a replacement at no cost. Three days later the
new unit arrived. This time I reinstalled the side plate before final
tightening of the bottom screws as instructed, with no problems this
time with installation.
My Son was home from College for Christmas break so we headed for the
hills to try out this new GAT trigger. For the trip to the range, with
the unit on my AR, it was hard to close my hard plastic protective case
where the GAT lever sticks out. I worried about bending the lever from
the pressure of the case, but the lever did not bend. I didn't want to
assembly the GAT in the field on my truck's tailgate or cut out some of
the foam padding on my case so I left the one slide latch closest to the
GAT lever unlocked, and that worked fine.
To operate the trigger you can either use two fingers to rotate the
lever or one finger in the thimble end of the lever and keep the rest of
your hand on the pistol grip. To my surprise, the unit functioned
flawlessly. It takes some practice to rotate the lever smoothly but it
really fires off the rounds quickly. I hadn't tightened the GAT enough
and it slid back some after about 30 rounds fired and couldn't activate
the AR trigger. I unloaded the rifle, slid the GAT forward and re
tightened and it again fired great. I was probably worried about over
tightening or breaking the unit again and hadn't tightened it enough to
stay in place during firing. We shot about another 3 or 4 magazines and
had a blast! With the GAT installed, you can also get your finger on the
AR trigger and shoot normally if so desired.
As with all these trigger devices they takes a few minutes to install
and are a slight hassle to set up correctly. With some practice you can
probably fire your AR at the 600 to 1200 rounds per minute rate
mentioned in the instructions. The instructions also emphasize "to
watch out where you shoot as the sound of machine gun fire can cause
problems". To that end, they include a "Certificate of Legality" from
the BATF which should be carried with your gun when using the GAT
trigger. I wonder if indeed these units are truly 100% legal to use as
stated on these small enclosed cards? Buyer beware?
The GAT Trigger worked well in my AR-15 and I am happy with it.
Next trip out I want to try the GAT trigger with the .22 conversion in
my AR, should be fun and a lot cheaper to shoot. Shooting fast is great,
but you really eat up the ammo, not to mention heating up your barrel.
Is the GAT trigger really needed? Probably not. Can you hit anything
while firing that rapidly? Maybe with some practice. Will I keep it
permanently attached to my AR? I doubt it. Is it fun to shoot? You bet!
The big grin on my son's face was well worth its price.