TriStar Cobra Tactical Shotgun

TriStar Cobra Tactical Shotgun

Recently I wrote about Weatherby’s PA-459, a very nice mid-price range tactical shotgun.  For this article I’ve decided to do a quick review on another interesting piece, Tristar’s budget-priced Cobra Tactical.

Though not as full-featured as other tactical models, what the Cobra lacks in bells and whistles it more than makes up for value for dollar.  Like the Weatherby, it’s manufactured in Turkey, a country renowned for quality shotguns at very affordable prices.  In the last decade alone, a number of major companies like Mossberg, Remington, Weatherby and even Stoeger have produced some of their shotguns in Turkey, so this is by no means a turnoff for me as a consumer.

Construction

The Cobra is a fairly large gun at 40.25″ overall, owing to a combination of the 20″ barrel and fixed synthetic stock.  Despite this, it’s still considerably lighter than you’d expect at 6.3lbs, making it easy to shoulder and point.  Chambered for 3″ or smaller 12G shells, the Cobra has a pretty standard capacity of 5+1 rounds.

The fit on this shotgun is excellent overall; the parts all come together nicely and operate smoothly.  The action release is particularly simple to operate, which is a pleasant change from some other budget shotguns that feature stiff, or oddly located releases.  The crossbolt safety is likewise firm enough to stay in place, but easily operable.

Features

In terms of features, this gun is certainly more basic than other models, but still covers the essentials with a front blade sight, sturdy synthetic stock, and sling rings for easy carrying.  Although it doesn’t have a picatinny rail, nor is it drilled and tapped for one, the top of the receiver has an 11mm dovetail groove milled to allow for the mounting of compatible optics. Previously I’ve used a Sightmark Ultrashot with excellent results.  Probably the most interesting feature of this gun is the spring-assisted action.  If you’ve never used a Tristar before, this is kind of their claim to fame; ostensibly making the pump action quicker, and easier to operate.  It’s kind of a neat idea, particularly if you’re into rapid-fire competition shooting.

Pro’s

Most of these have already been covered, but to recap, the Cobra Tactical’s beauty is in it’s simplicity.  Lightweight, easy to handle and priced at a point anyone can afford, this is a basic 12 gauge shotty that delivers the basics in spades, while foregoing any fancy extras.  A solid choice for beginners or those looking for basic functionality that doesn’t require a second mortgage.

Con’s

While there’s a lot to like about the simplicity of this gun, there are some cons I’d like to highlight as well.  First among them is the finish.  Although the matte black coating appears thick and consistent, I’ve noticed a few areas where tool marks can be seen, particularly around the dovetail.  Likewise the cast front blade sight doesn’t appear to have filled out completely. With that said, this obviously isn’t a presentation gun, and these are essentially just cosmetic issues that shouldn’t affect operation or accuracy.

In a similar vein is the so-called recoil pad.  While technically present, it’s very small, not fully covering the back of the butt-stock.  It’s also quite shallow with very little give.  If I were to take this hunting with 3″ slugs I’d definitely want to add a third party pad.

Summary

At roughly half the price of a Remington 870, the Tristar Cobra Tactical makes a competent shotgun for any budget-conscious shooter just looking for a plain-jane shottie.  It’s 40+” size probably makes it less than ideal as a home defense firearm, however the extra length would help a great deal with stability when game hunting; although it’s worth noting the cylinder bore barrel will not accept chokes, making it less than ideal for fowl or clays.

Specs

ManufacturerTristar
ModelCobra Tactical
Gauge12G
Capacity5+1
ActionPump
RiflingSmoothbore
Barrel Length20″
Overall Length40.25″
Weight6.3lbs
FinishMatte Black
ClassificationNon-Restricted
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