I’m sorry. Truly, I am. TriStar will forever and always remind me of the branded opening for the movie production company by the same name. You know, the one with the white Pegasus? Nothing I can do about that now, people. Some things run deeper than firearms, you know? Movies will always remain a part of me, even when all the firearms in the world have been banned, or taken by extraterrestrials, or sold to a slippery CEO for a few stock options and a block of brie cheese on some outrageous post-apocalyptic Japanese game show. But I digress…
This article is not about the Sony-owned TriStar Pictures production company, but rather about TriStar Sporting Goods, Ltd. – more commonly known by the name TriStar Arms. Founded in 1996 by Gus and Ryan Bader – who are still the president and vice-president, respectively – it has been providing the shooting public with fine firearms for over 20 years. This post is going to take a closer look at the TriStar Arms Raptor shotgun collection.
The company’s overall list of products is not huge, but it doesn’t have to be in order to make a long-lasting impression on a customer. You don’t need to buy a company’s entire catalog in order to make a call or appreciate their products.
The quality and price of their weapons speaks for itself. Sometimes, it may be best to lessen your spread and work on deeper penetration, and this is what the company did. You need to remember that in most cases, their firearms are considered entry-level weapons, and this has meaning.
There are those who balk at the idea of purchasing a firearm of Turkish origin. Personally, I don’t understand that. What difference does it make where it came from? Can it shoot or not? Is it dependable or not? I try not to be biased myself, though I probably have a soft spot for Italian and Israeli weapons. Even so, I feel I can recognize and discern when a firearm has more to it than clever marketing. If it’s a piece of junk, it becomes self-evident in time.
So far, from what I have heard and experienced, TriStar’s products are more than satisfactory. Are they as prestigious and exclusive as perhaps a Benelli shotgun or Christensen hunting rifle? No. And all you need to do is take a look at the MSRP and materials to understand that it is not meant to compete with those high-end brands. It is on a different kind of tier, so drawing any comparisons (and oh my, do people love doing that…) is fairly useless, in my opinion.
Of course, the more expensive firearms will have a different process and origin. Pretty obvious, isn’t it? But if you are starting out in the world of shotguns, or if you are looking for an affordable firearm to give as a gift or add to your personal collection, TriStar is a good way to go. There is a reason why their chosen slogan is “The Value Experts”, after all. You get more quality for less money, and that has its own unique appeal.
And now we come to the company’s Raptor Shotgun, which is one of their best-selling firearms. The Raptor comes in 12- and 20-gauge, and the firearms in the series share a number of features across gauges:
Chamber and barrel are lined with chrome
Removable choke system (the shotgun comes with 3 choke tubes by Beretta)
Fiber optic sight
Rubber recoil pad
5-round magazine included, as well as a removable shot plug
Limited 5-year warranty
Tristar Raptor 12 Gauge
The 12-gauge edition of this shotgun sports a 28”-long barrel, a weight of 7.1 lbs., and is available in a number of finishes. MSRP ranges from $409 to $489
Tristar Raptor 20 Gauge
The 20-gauge Raptor has a 26”-long barrel, weighs 7.1 lbs. (or slightly less), and is also available in several finishes. MSRP ranges from $409 to $489
Tristar Raptor ATAC
A more advanced-looking model. The ATAC is a 43.5”-long, 12-gauge shotgun with a 3” chamber, 20” barrel, 7 lbs. of weight, and room for 5 rounds in its magazine. It comes with a ghost ring sight and fiber optic front sight, along with a Picatinny rail. The chamber and barrel are chrome-lined, and there is an extended choke supplied with the shotgun. Like its Raptor siblings, it is also backed by a limited 5-year warranty on the mechanism. MSRP $429
Tristar Raptor Youth
Educating and instructing the next generation of shooters is top priority for any sensible firearms owner. Providing parents and guardians with age-appropriate weapons is the responsibility of any sensible firearms manufacturer. It’s not just about creating a larger pool of future customers and fans. It’s about exercising our right to bear arms as free individuals, plain and simple, and passing on that right to those in our care or charge.
The TriStar Raptor Youth shotgun is also chambered in 3”, and it comes in a 20-gauge bore with a 24” barrel and a number of finishes to choose from. 3 choke tubes are included with the firearm, as well as a 5-round mag. The front sight is fiber optic, and the barrel and chamber are lined with chrome. The overall length is 43.5” and the shotgun weighs about 6.7 lbs., on average.
I feel the need to make mention of the finishes now, because they are spot on. If I would get one of these in my youth, it would definitely have gotten me more enthusiastic about operating and maintaining the firearm. Appearance goes a long way, especially for younger shooters. The three available finishes are synthetic, camo, and – my personal favorite – muddy girl camo. That last one just seems to say “badass”. Not sure why. MSRP $409 to $489
The Raptor comes with a synthetic injection-molded stock, but there are a number of aftermarket products which you may want to pay attention to. The T3 Shotgun stock, by ATI Outdoors, is one of the more popular options. This is a TactLite adjustable stock, and it fits the 12- and 20-gauge models of the TriStar Raptor, as well as other brands and models.
The T3’s pistol grip and 1¼” butt-pad are all about reducing recoil and improving accuracy. The stock itself is made of DuPont high-strength polymer, has 6 positions to choose from, features 2 QD points on the left and right, and offers about half-an-inch of wiggle room with the (removable) cheek riser.
Your chosen stock can help to reduce the overall weight of the firearm, and to facilitate better shooting and handling in the process. The factory TriStar stock is all well and good, and it fits the Raptor series just fine – but if you want to invest in an aftermarket product for your Raptor, this is one addition which I would recommend. Not a must, but certainly an upgrade from the factory stock. MSRP $119.99
TriStar’s Raptor series is probably one of the most accessible and affordable line of semi-automatic shotguns available today. Whether as an entry point to this world, or a welcomed addition to your expanding arsenal, the Raptor is up to the task. As long as you keep it well-maintained and treat it right, there is no reason why this shotgun won’t be able to provide you with years of faithful service, in the field and at the range.
Whether you go for the more modern-looking, Picatinny-railed ATAC, or the traditional Raptor in your chosen gauge, what you are getting is a firearm deserving of attention and appreciation. With a limited 5-year warranty on the mechanism, and a host of positive reviews to back it up, there is no reason not to get your hands on this weapon and give it a shot. Or two!
Thanks for reading with us here at Gunivore!