The first thing you may be asking yourself is, “What exactly is Taran Tactical Innovations?” This is Taran Butler’s gun company. Taran made a name for himself as a world-class competitive shooter. He then leveraged that fame and proven success into becoming the “Hollywood” gun trainer.
You may have seen some of his videos training Keanu Reeves and other action movie stars. Many of the guns from TTI were used in the “John Wick” movies. This is why I say the TR-9 may be the next “John Wick” gun, because it has the look and performance of what might be another star in one of those films.
Features & Specs
The rifle comes with a one-piece 13-inch monolithic barrel (QPQ Nitride). The compensator is counterbored into the barrel. They are the only PCC manufacturer doing this, and it allows for tighter tolerances on the muzzle brake, which translates to better performance and accuracy. The total package is thus 16 inches, making it legal without a stamp. One interesting note is that the brake has external 13/16-16 TPI threads to still accept compatible muzzle devices.
The 12-inch handguard is free floating and made of featherweight carbon fiber. M-LOK cutouts dot the forend and make it even lighter. The front of the handguard is scalloped to dig into barricades. My test gun came with the factory-optional “Grand Master Grip Job” on the handguard that feels like skateboard texture for a sure hold.
The receiver is billet aluminum and breaks open like any other AR platform. All the controls are ambidextrous, except for the magazine release. The rifle takes the ubiquitous Glock magazine, and it locks open on the last shot (not true of all 9mm PCCs).
The action starts with a proprietary short-stroke bolt paired with the Kynshot hydraulic buffer that softens the recoil beyond traditional blowback guns while also including a last-round bolt lock.
There are normally two main drawbacks to the blowback design. First, it tends to have higher felt recoil because of the heavy bolt and buffer moving back and forth during the operation. Second, soft loads might not have enough power to cycle the mechanism.
TTI solved the first problem by adding a proprietary short-stroke bolt and Kynshot hydraulic buffer to soften the recoil. I’m sure the 3-inch compensator also helps. The second solution was to offer a factory option for a “Low Power Factor” buffer system for users that shoot softer-recoiling ammunition. TTI states that both systems run most ammo 100 percent, but if you tend to shoot more competition loads, the LPF buffer should be chosen.
Two more reliability features that TTI added are a feed ramp to the barrel and a change to the magazine geometry. The magazine was placed closer to the chamber to create a more ideal feeding angle.
The trigger is a Hiperfire "Hipertouch" Eclipse. This is a single-stage trigger with a very crisp break and super-short reset. It’s advertised as a 2.5-pound pull, but the trigger I got measured in at just 2 pounds.
The safety is a Battle Arms Development ambidextrous short-throw safety. There is an ambi Radian Raptor charging handle and a flared magazine well for fast reloads. A Magpul K2+ grip and a BCM Mod 0 stock round out the furniture.
This is truly a great race gun. The lightweight front end allows for very fast transitioning speeds. That, coupled with the superb trigger, makes this gun a speed demon. The Hyperfire is probably one of the best AR triggers I’ve used not only because of the solid breaking feel but also because of the incredibly short reset.
I also liked the short bolt throw, which makes charging the gun super fast, and the thin, grippy forend gave great control over the rifle. I’m a big fan of ambi bolt controls as well.
The accuracy of the rifle did not disappoint. At 20 yards, I got all the bullet holes to touch with factory Remington range ammo. This is more than enough for its intended use.
As soon as I saw this gun, I knew I had to compare it to my custom Sig MPX rifle, which I built specifically as a PCC competition gun. I assembled it off a Gen 2 MPX with a 13-inch barrel and a 3-inch muzzle device. I then added a carbon-fiber handguard to lighten the weight, a TriggerTech trigger, and a folding Sig stock.
These guns had a lot of similarities. They have identical barrel lengths. They both weigh the same, at around 6.625 pounds with a Holosun red dot attached. Both advertise as ambidextrous rifles, but the Sig actually has no right-side bolt lock, and my MPX TTI has no left-side mag release.
So, the big question is how soft shooting was the TR-9. It is certainly softer shooting than any other blowback design I’ve tried. Shots are easy to track, and it’s quick to come back to target. However, the Sig is just a little softer.
Beyond that, the only other place I think the MPX beat the TR-9 was that it had a folding stock. Because of the Sig action, there is no need for a buffer tube, so a folder can be installed, and the overall package can be shortened.
In every other measure, I think the TR-9 takes the cake. I was surprised that I liked the Hyperfire trigger better than my beloved TriggerTech. I also preferred the thinner handguard, 45-degree safety, ambi bolt lock, and short charging-handle throw better than my MPX.
The TR-9 just handles better because of that light front end. Even though both test guns weigh the same, the weight of the Sig is more out in front because of the gas system. This makes it slower to swing from target to target. In skilled hands, I believe the TR-9 can be run just as fast as the MPX. In addition, theoretically and anecdotally, it’s more reliable.
All in all, I think Taran hit it out of the park on this rifle. It’s expensive, but it’s really worth every penny.