TriStar Cobra Force Shotgun Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
July 10, 2011

I recently completed a review of the TriStar Viper G2 Shotgun and was very impressed with value (quality, operation and price) of that shotgun.  TriStar also makes a tactical / home defense pump shotgun called the TriStar Cobra Force Pump Shotgun.  With the tactical / home defense shotgun market booming these days, I thought it would be nice to see if the same value exists in their Cobra Force Pump Shotgun.  At a glance, you see the Cobra Force is packed with features like a flash hider, bridge front sight, receiver mounted Picatinny Rail, forearm rail and pistol grip fixed stock.  After doing a quick search on the internet, CheaperThanDirt.com has this shotgun at a price of $306.46 plus S&H and an FFL transfer fee (at the time of this review).  Considering all the features and this price, if this shotgun checks out, it would be a great value.  Since TriStar's slogan is "The Value Experts™", it should not be surprising the value they are trying to put into their Cobra Force Pump Shotgun.

 

The following text in colored italics was taken directly from the TriStar website on 6/20/11 and gives an Overview, Features and Specifications for the TriStar Cobra Force Pump Shotgun.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview

  • TriStar's Cobra Force Pump Model offers the most features of any home defense shotgun on the market for a fraction of the price.
  • The Cobra Force was designed for close quarters with a 20" barrel.
  • Add the fixed pistol grip stock, Picatinny rails on both the top of the receiver and the forearm, bridge front sight, and you get the ultimate in home defense.

Features

  • Spring-Loaded Forearm
  • Fiber Optic Bridge Front Sight
  • Fixed Pistol Grip Stock w/ Soft Rubber Grip
  • Picatinny Rails on Top of Receiver and Bottom of Forearm
  • 20" Barrel Cylinder Choke
  • Removable Muzzle-Break Choke I would be more tempted to call this a Flash Hider Choke due to the limited surface area to support muzzle-breaking.
  • Faux Extended Mag Tube (5+1) with 2¾" shells and 4+1 with 3" shells
  • Swivel Studs

Specifications

  • Item No.: 23112
  • Gauge: 12 ga.
  • Chamber: 3"
  • Barrel Length: 20"
  • Stock Dimensions: Fixed Pistol Grip
  • Average Weight: 6.6 lbs. The shotgun weighed in at 7.18 pounds empty.
  • Overall Length: 43.38" with Muzzle-Break Choke, 41.38" with Standard Choke

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page and feel free to add a comment on the "Reader's Comments" page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping into the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • The location of the action bar (bolt) release lever on the right forward side of the trigger guard allows for keeping your hand in place on the pistol grip while pressing up on the lever with the tip of your trigger finger to release the action.
  • You can configure the shotgun to either utilize the spring loaded forward assist on the forend or you can remove the spring and use the shotgun just like any other pump shotgun.
  • Although the Instruction Manual that came with the shotgun indicates a 1 year warranty, TriStar provides a 5 year warranty on their shotguns.  See this link for details at the TriStar website.
  • Disassembly of this shotgun has to be one of the simplest on the market.  By removing the magazine cap, you can slide the barrel, forend and bolt assembly off with one easy motion.
  • Out of the box, it includes the capability to mount a flashlight (or other rail mounted accessory) on the bottom of the forend.

Pro/Con? or Comments:

  • Make sure your upper rail and forward sight screws are tight, but be careful not to strip the threads in the aluminum holes.  I have found that there is a tendency for many manufacturers to under tighten these components and this was the case with this shotgun.
  • I would not consider the action on this shotgun to be one that can handle extremely fast shooting.  With the spring assist removed and cycling the action extremely fast in the normal pump mode, I did encounter two failure to chamber rounds.  When pumping the shotgun at a normal rate, it had no issues.

Cons:

  • The rear sight is too high.  If you're planning to put some type of optic on this shotgun, this will not be a problem. If you are planning to use the sights that come with the shotgun, I recommend removing the rear sight and learning a sight picture using the rail and front sight only.

 

Bottom Line:

There is no doubt that the TriStar Cobra Force Shotgun is packed with value (drilled and tapped receiver, receiver mounted rail, removable  flash hider choke and standard choke, pistol grip fixed stock, and rail on forend).  If you are considering purchasing this shotgun, I would not let the adjustable rear sight be the final decision point because you will probably not use it due to it's high height.  For me the final decision point would be the location of the action bar release lever on the forward right side of trigger guard.  Ergonomically, the location of this lever and safety makes this shotgun one of my favorites.  I did have a couple of failure to chamber rounds when I was fast pumping the shotgun, but honestly I can't imagine any person working the action that fast under normal conditions.  Also, you should consider TriStar's 5 year warranty which helps to alleviate concerns about the operation of their shotguns.  The next time you are at the gun store take a moment to checkout the TriStar Cobra Force Shotgun and I think you will like what you see.  As always, read this review and others to research your next investment so you are happy with your next purchase.


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