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Shooting PFT rifle with Echo II trigger from SOTG Technical

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Go Fast Guns: Echo II Trigger

8/25/17 Receive inquiries from SOTG viewers, asking our thoughts about the Echo II trigger from Fostech Outdoors

8/26/17      Order Echo II Trigger to test and evaluate

8/29/17 Receive box from Fostech Outdoors with new trigger assembly, installed same day, ready for testing

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Echo II Trigger from Fostech Outdoors turns your rifle into a Go Fast Gun


The development of the Patriot Fire Team concept came from ideas around the organization of the United States Marine Corps Fire Team. A four man Fire Team is the core unit of the Marine Infantry. Each team has a Leader, Automatic Rifleman, Asst. Automatic Rifleman, and a Rifleman.  The Automatic Rifleman should be equipped with some type of Go Fast Gun.

Traditionally, the Marine Corps Automatic Rifleman has carried the belt-fed M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). In 2009 Heckler&Koch won a USMC contract to provide a new Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) to the Corps. The IAR is a M-16/Stoner-based design and feeds from traditional AR magazines. This rifle is a select-fire gun with Safe, Semi, Auto selection.  

When assembling, a Patriot Fire Team arsenal, we built it around the USMC concept, our IAR is a heavy-barreled AR with aluminum accessory rail, bipod, Trijicon ACOG, and back-up sights. Due to restrictions on the purchase of new machineguns by American citizens, we could not make it a select-fire gun.  Well, that is until now.

The Echo II trigger system from Fostech Outdoors is a select-fire unit that has “safe”, “semi”, and “echo” settings. By “echo” we mean that when pressing the trigger reward in one motion, the sear releases and the hammer falls. When the trigger returns forward in what would normally be the mechanical reset, the hammer falls again, ergo the “echo”.

From a pure mechanical or engineering standpoint you can only fire one shot, while in echo mode, from each movement of the trigger. The BATFE has approved the unit as a non-class III item, it is not a machinegun from a technological standpoint.  A machinegun fires more than one shot with a single press of the trigger. Before you ask, there is no requirement for wires or batteries.

Following the provided directions exactly, I was able to install the Echo II trigger in our PFT IAR in about ten to fifteen minutes. Yes, I took my time and followed directions. Even if you have installed a hundred AR triggers, you need to stop and read the directions Fostech provides.

Also, and this is a big also, for the Echo II trigger to work, your gun must have a M-16 / Mil Spec bolt carrier. Not every AR manufacturer uses these, many shave weight off of the belly of the carrier. But, the Echo II will work with any AR rifle / carbine that has an M-16 style bolt carrier, not just .223 Remington, but others, even pistol caliber carbines. Direct impingement or Gas Piston makes no difference either.

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Not all Bolt Carriers are the same, you will need an M-16 style (far right) for the Echo II Trigger

Initial Conclusion:

Okay, let’s get down to the fun stuff. With the Echo II trigger installed, I grabbed a whole bunch of magazines; 30 round aluminum Mil Spec, MagPul 40 rounders, MagPul 60 round drum, and SureFire 60 round magazines.

We actually took the PFT rifle out on two occasions. The first evening, Zachary and I ran out to one of our ranges before dinner. We put four 30 round magazines (120 rds) through the gun before heading to the dinner bell. No malfunctions or problems with the gun, semi-auto or echo mode. The firing of all rounds happened while standing.

The next afternoon, Jarrad and I set up the SOTG Technical (trailer hitch gun mount). We drove out to our favorite place to shoot noisy, go fast guns and got to work. From the truck mount we emptied a MagPul 60 and a SureFire 60, and then another two 40 round MagPuls (200 rds).    

There is a Grip-Pod on the front of the rifle so we deployed it and both Jarrad and I went prone for some supported shooting. Again, we each emptied a 40 round mag each.  We scrounged the ammo can and stuffed about 30 to 35 more rounds into a magazine and shot it. If you have not been keeping score, in two days that was 400 plus rounds of .223 down range.  Not a torture test by any stretch, but a fair opportunity to get a feel for the new trigger. *Full disclosure: less than 20 rounds were fired on “semi”.  All the remaining were fired in echo mode.

Out of the package, the trigger system appears to be an very well built, a solid piece of equipment. Ample instructions are provided by Fostech allowing you to make the switch at your workbench or kitchen table.

If you would like to turn your standard rifle into a Go Fast Gun, you can learn more about the Echo II Trigger from Fostech Outdoors. As an added benefit to all those who took the time to read this entire piece, the guys at Fostech are offering a $50 discount code to all Students of the Gun, just enter the word “student” when you check out and apply the discount. You are welcome.

P.S. The code will be good until October 15, 2017 so get cracking.

P.P.S. There are videos of the gun in action on the official Student of the Gun Facebook and Instagram

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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