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TRICON

TRICON

Photo credit: Michael Ives

We don’t figure anybody will take us seriously if we grumble about our work. Windy or snowy here, muddy there, too dang hot now and again; still, suffice it to say lots of folks would give—well, body parts—for a spell in our shoes. So when manufacturers send us some of the best equipment in the world and say, “We’d prefer you not to tear it up, but...,” we head to the range, as the command goes, “at the double.”

So how much faster do you think we moved when the personal firearm of the president of Trident Concepts was offered?

Yeah: that fast.

Dumb Luck and Good Manners

When Jeff Gonzales—former Navy SEAL and instructor to the instructors of instructors—agreed to provide us his pistol for review, we could only croak out a slightly strangled, “Why, sure; thanks!” We’d encountered Jeff’s “Evolved Glock” without looking for it, specifically while doing some research on finishes and cruising around the Robar website. We suspected anything sophisticated enough to acquire Robar collaboration was probably worth a peek. You anticipate, perhaps, the appeal: Here’s a guy who has shot it all, can pick what he likes, and modify it as he likes. The demands of commerce, however, can still bring murk.

Reality proved to be just the opposite: Jeff put his own TRICON ProCarry at our disposal and said simply: “Shoot it.” Now whether he’s just that fine a gentlemen, was merely that confident, or we asked soooo politely, we couldn’t say. We felt lucky all right, but not guilty.

Slick

Since nothing will do everything well, it pays to clearly understand the challenges any piece of equipment— particularly a firearm—is trying to meet. And you can’t start just anywhere and expect a good result.

Photo credit: Michael Ives

The TRICON IP is a good one; in fact, a favorite—Glock’s compact-framed model G19 (9 mm). It’s the biggest pistol that carries like a little one, and the littlest pistol that shoots like a big one. A fraction over 30 ounces fully loaded (15+1), it’s a duty-proven gem that requires virtually nothing in the way of accommodation when moving to it from a full-sized pistol and back. We won’t argue that it’s not on the heavy-ish side for truly discreet carry. Still, a good holster choice and the proper mindset make it eminently portable.

Even Glock detractors concede the gun’s superb reliability, and this is where the evolution begins. Robar’s famed NP3 (Teflon/nickel) corrosion-resistant, self-lubricating coating has been applied to virtually every internal bearing part (including the 4.5-pound Ghost “Ranger” connector), resulting in noticeably better-than-standard trigger press. While not competition weight, such isn’t necessarily desirable in a carry/defensive pistol. The unusually decisive 4.5-pound break is a good compromise between safety, precision and reliability.

An educated eye will find many other changes/additions as well. Most obvious is the texturing of the grip surface. Some seemingly innocuous stippling patterns actually leave the tough polymer easily capable of disastrous wear and tear on you and your clothing. But on the TRICON, we found no propensity to grab fibers or skin at all, yet it passed an aggressive “wet” test with ease, using both water and oil. We stopped short of trying the red stuff.

A subtle bull-nose on the slide made compatibility with existing holsters easy to check too: all good, especially on re-holstering IWB.

Photo credit: Michael Ives

Some purists will balk that the front strap finger grooves are left intact, but we don’t concur. The relief of the trigger guard eliminates the widely (and rightly) decried “Glock finger” that dogs the compact pistols: the serious rub on the second knuckle of the strong hand middle finger particularly after a long shooting session. We prefer the registration of grip that the grooves provide, particularly when the trigger guard relief correspondingly allows a higher grip position—always, always, always a good thing.

Training With Your Carry Pistol

A pistol of the, ahem, caliber, of a ProCarry may—even should, we’d argue—give rise to serious questions about training. Law enforcement and military shooters have established paradigms and standards for this, but outside of these confines, opportunities and facilities vary widely. Certainly bulls-eye, lane-style shooting is valuable, and a good mechanism for learning many essentials. But competitive options like USPSA and IDPA are growing steadily as skills-development venues and with good reason—few crucibles outside of combat will reveal weaknesses in safe, expeditious technique like these disciplines.

Here, however, you’ll run into issues with the Gonzales pistol: The fine sights, match-grade barrel and super-slick internals are all to the good, and perfectly permissible. The superb reliability and accuracy you’ll experience will be a decisive advantage. The fundamental soundness of the design and its splendid execution will put you well ahead of some of the “high-bred fillies” you’ll encounter. They’re cool guns perhaps, but simply not in the same class as a TRICON in terms of actual shooting—few are.

Unfortunately other features—like the trigger guard and mag catch reliefs—may move you to a different division than other striker-fired pistols. Chances are you’ll skate on the magwell smoothing and bull nose.

Photo credit: Michael Ives

Still, these competitions remain an excellent way to improve overall pistol handling. Nothing can simulate all the complexities of an actual engagement, but time pressure and ever-changing scenarios are far better than same-old, same-old.

The goal—whatever your equipment—is to learn what it truly takes to make a good shot when you must, not merely when you wish.

At The Range

We concede hat the first 200 or so rounds we put through the ProCarry were thoroughly undisciplined. We ran El Presidente a few times. We marched an MGM BC-C out to 50-plus. We stuffed every sort of 9 mm we could find in every mag we could scrounge.

Eventually, however, we settled into a real evaluation. Long story short, it was boring.

Not the shooting, you understand, but the search for problems. We had no feed or ejection malfunctions with a huge variety of ammunition in terms of power, OAL and bullet type. Gulp, gulp, gulp, bang, bang, bang, etc. Although we’ve never experienced a stock guide rod breakage (but then again, we replace them as Glock recommends), the TRICON substitutes a Wolff full-length, non-captive, steel rod and coiled wire spring at the factory rate (19 pounds) to essentially eliminate the possibility. Certainly it was flawless for us, even with the widely varying ammunition (JHPs, FPs and ball; from 88 to 162 grain). The TRICON alternative cleared spent cases with authority, yet without a hint of slamming, even on heavy defensive loads.

Jeff told us the recoil spring swap was as much about greater reliability as a by-product of proper maintenance as anything else. A spring compressed a couple coils short obviously requires replacement; the stock flatwire/captured assembly less so from the perspective of easy visual assessment. And when a stock assembly goes— unannounced, of course—it’s a disaster. It’s a difficult malfunction to clear, and a down gun unless you’re carrying a spare.

With continued shooting, we couldn’t seem to hit a snag, systematic or otherwise—every miss or poor shot was on us, mostly when we tried to go just a little faster. The classic sort of crispness so difficult to find in striker ignition systems is transparently obvious in the ProCarry: We had no sense that the 4.5-pound press weight was holding us back at all. Age and ability, maybe.

Another particular joy was the scalloped mag release area and Vickers extension. Mag swaps were a breeze. We like the Pearce and similar plugs, and “dressing” of the over-sharp magwell edge is welcome—although rare, the propensity of the lower grip edge to scrub the mag right out of your hand on an overly-aggressive reload is pretty much eliminated.

Gripes

Photo credit: Michael Ives

The TRICON-evolved G19 leaves miniscule room for issues. Performance wise, we have essentially none: Rumored issues with light bullets in the KKM barrel proved groundless in our tests. Just don’t confuse changes in impact point due to velocity or bullet mass deltas with inaccuracy. The better an action/barrel combination is, the more capable it becomes of revealing such purely ballistic variations. We produced very reliable hits out to rifle-like ranges without contorting the sight picture (see the video). Draw your own conclusions.

Final Analysis

One of the hazards of reading about a pistol like the Trident Concepts ProCarry is that a parts list emerges. This gives rise to an obvious temptation.

As inveterate tinkerers, we understand that temptation well. We’ve modified many pistols and rifles over the years, often yielding fine results (our own FFAW build, for instance, here, here and here). It’s wrong-headed, however, to assume this is always possible, and irresponsible to do it without proper supervision or even instruction. Our experiences here temper the temptations: The level of expertise and experience necessary to integrate a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts cannot be obtained with hope or luck.

But you’re really up against it when you shoot a pistol as good as the Jeff Gonzales’ TRICON ProCarry Glock. Simply, it’s a masterpiece, a pistolman’s pistol—a lifetime tool no parts-list run-up can match.

In other words, a value.

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