Kalashnikov Tr3 Rifle Side View 1

Saiga TR3 Rifle review

The Saiga TR3 is a semi-auto only version of the AK12/AK15 assault rifles used by Russian military and law enforcement. It shares most features with the AK12 but has some differences to comply with civilian firearm laws. The Saiga TR3 is currently available in 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm calibers.

Kalashnikov Tr3 Rifle Side View 1

Receiver and Barrel

The receiver is made from 1.5mm stamped sheet steel assembled with rivets and spot welds. The bolt rails are riveted steel parts inside the receiver. The barrel extension and rear trunnion are machined steel pinned to the receiver.

Kalashnikov Tr3 Rifle Barrel

The receiver cover is stamped steel, similar to other AKs. However, it mounts differently with a machined eyelet fitting over the gas tube base and a cross pin locking it in place. The cover fit is much tighter than usual AKs due to the optic mount.

The chrome-lined barrel has a 16.38 inch length. It is threaded and fits the barrel extension by thread. The 5.45x39mm twist rate is the usual 1:8 inch. Although the handguard mounts to the receiver, the gas tube contacts the barrel so it is not truly free-floating.

Breechblock and Trigger

The bolt carrier, bolt, and long-stroke gas piston are standard AK-type parts. The piston is chrome-plated without circular grooves. The bolt has a floating firing pin.

The trigger is a two-stage semi-auto type with a 4.2 pound pull. The ambidextrous safety lever has a shelf for easier manipulation with gloves. It locks the trigger and bolt when folding the stock.

Kalashnikov Tr3 Rifle Side View

Furniture

The adjustable, folding buttstock has four length positions from 10.7 to 13.2 inches. It has an AR-15 style tube but is not interchangeable. The buttplate covers a storage compartment and has a recoil pad.

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The pistol grip is plastic with ergonomic finger grooves and ambidextrous thumb rest. It has removable core for storing tools.

The plastic handguard has upper and lower halves, the lower mounted to the receiver and upper snapped into place. There are Picatinny rails on top and bottom.

Sights and Magazine

The front sight mounts to the gas block and has protective ears and tool-adjustable post. The rear sight is an aperture type adjustable from 100 to 600 meters with a 400 meter battle sight. It adjusts for windage as well.

There is a fixed Picatinny rail on top of the receiver cover for optics. The 10-round magazine looks like a standard AK 30-rounder but has a limiter.

Kalashnikov Tr3 Rifle Magzine

Test Firing and Handling

Firing Barnaul 60-grain 5.45x39mm ammunition, the Saiga TR3 produced average AK accuracy around 3.6 MOA. It performed well in rapid fire with easy handling and control. The small rear aperture is suited for precision fire at longer ranges.

The 5.45mm magazine fit tightly and requires care to properly insert. The safety lever was stiff when new but should loosen up over time.

Disassembly

Disassembly follows the standard AK process but the gas tube and receiver cover mount differently. The tube is fixed and cannot be removed, only accessed via an end cap for cleaning. With no muzzle threads, suppressors can mount to the muzzle brake Quick Detach lug.

Accessories and Cost

The Saiga TR3 includes a cleaning kit, sight tool, oil bottle and one 10-round magazine. Priced around $2,100 USD, it is a premium AK but offers excellent fit, finish, features and performance to match.

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Conclusion

With a high level of refinement that keeps the rugged reliability of the AK platform, the Saiga TR3 is arguably one of the best AK-style rifles available today. It’s a fully-featured firearm suited for sporting use, personal defense, or collecting. If you seek a modernized AK and don’t mind paying a premium price, the Saiga TR3 delivers excellent quality and capabilities.

FAQs

What calibers is the Saiga TR3 available in?

The Saiga TR3 comes in 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm, and smoothbore 9.55x39mm for the Russian markets.

Does the Saiga TR3 take standard AK magazines?

Yes, the Saiga TR3 uses standard AK magazines. However, civilian models come with a 10-round limited magazine to comply with laws.

Is the Saiga TR3 a civilian AK-12?

Not exactly – it is a semi-auto civilian version sharing many features with the AK-12/AK-15 but not identical.

What optics mount options does the Saiga TR3 have?

A Picatinny rail on the receiver cover allows mounting optic sights. The adjustable iron sights can be used as backups.

Can a suppressor be mounted on the Saiga TR3?

While there is no muzzle threading, suppressors designed to fit the muzzle brake’s Quick Detach system can be installed.

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