One of the reasons why the PCC discipline is so popular is that it is much easier to find suitable shooting ranges for training than with a full-grown semi-automatic rifle in .223 Rem. or an even larger caliber.
Last but not least, shooting with such guns is simply a lot of fun and ammo is still reasonably affordable compared to rifle cartridges.
Of course, you can be quite successful in sports with the standard models from several manufacturers.
However, those who are particularly ambitious or simply want to treat themselves to something special often choose the path of further customization and optimization of these self-loaders.
Here, the possibilities are almost limitless to further improve the handling characteristics with a fine match trigger or a carbon handguard.
The appropriate answer to such needs is provided by special small series manufacturers who have made it their business to offer particularly finely tuned variants or modular systems with configurable inner workings. Often, there is also the possibility to freely assemble the gun of your choice with regard to the components used. The German tuning specialist 3G Sports already offered its PCC refined variants. In the meantime, 3G has gone one step further and now builds carbines on its own 3GR-TEC9-PRO receiver set with its own bolt assembly and cold-hammered, QPQ-nitrided barrels from German Lothar Walther production.
Completing the package tested here is a fine Brekke carbon handguard, a 4" Brekke CompXtension PCC compensator, a Kynshot hydraulic, a Hiperfire trigger and an ACE Ultralight stock.
3GR Tec9 Pro 125: the main assemblies are "Made in Germany”
The new 3GR-TEC9-PRO receivers are machined in Germany from a solid billet of 7075 aluminum and then matte black hard anodized. The skeletonized receiver set weighs about 480 grams after machining and the serrated version about 530 grams. The two magwell grips designed for GLOCK magazines have in common the widely funneled magazine well opening, which significantly facilitates quick magazine changes under stress.
The magazine release has been lengthened and enlarged for practical use and can be easily reached by shooters with small hands without having to reach around with the index finger of the shooting hand. Another feature of the lower receiver is that 3G Sports has also thought of left-handed shooters.
The magazine release lever can be easily swapped from the right to the left side. The bolt catch has also been enlarged, but it can't be operated from the right or moved to the right. Thus, the lower is not completely operable from both sides, but at least the most important control can be operated from both sides.
The new 3GR bolt made of 42CroMo4 steel is QPQ-nitrided and thus very wear-resistant, durable and easy to clean. All components of the 3GR-BT9-Q bolt assembly are manufactured in Germany. Compared to conventional versions, the bolt has been designed to be even heavier (430 grams).
Due to the higher weight, the bolt with its higher moment of inertia should remain closed for a moment longer after the cartridge is fired – as a result, the gas pressure in the chamber or in the barrel should decrease somewhat further and the recoil should be somewhat lower.
The other equipment of the 3GR Tec9-Pro 125 reads like the "Who's Who" of refined components: the trigger comes from Hiperfire – the top 24C Competition model is installed, carbon handguard and compensator come from Brekke and Smoke Composites respectively, and the proven RB5020SS hydraulic buffer from Kynshot is used in combination with a polished JP AR10 carbine spring.
The measured trigger weight was between 910 grams and 1,350 grams with the green, lightweight additional springs installed – depending on the position of the trigger shoe on the trigger blade (bottom = light/top = heavy). In any case, the trigger is a dream and split times from shot to shot in the range of 15 to 20 hundredths of a second were repeatable at all times without any problems!
How does the refined 3GR Tec9 pistol carbine perform together with the Kahles K16i / Helia RD optics and GECO ammo in live fire?
Can the overall package meet the high expectations? To anticipate the detailed answer – yes, absolutely. The shooting behavior can only be described as "spectacular". For more than 10 years, the author Sascha Back has been working with semi-automatic semi-automatic rifles in pistol caliber, and during this time he has already tried and shot quite a few guns with the most diverse spring-buffer-barrel-compensator combinations – but so far no firearm had proved so flat and quiet! On the first visit to the range with the gun, split times from shot to shot down to 11 hundredths of a second were achieved right away. At practical distances around 15 m, the fastest follow-up shots could be placed safely in the A/C zone of IPSC 2/3 targets – the red dot did not move out of the target at any time, but only twitched briefly in the window of the reflex sight.
For the accuracy check, we mounted a Kahles K16i with 3GR reticle and moved onto the 50-meter line with 10 different factory loads and two proven PCC handloads. But the highlight was undoubtedly a 10-mm group, which we managed with the GECO 124-grains Hexagon. Already in the velocity measurement, this load clearly stood out: in 5 measured shots, the deviation from the fastest to the slowest shot was only 2.4 m/s. But even with cheaper grades such as the young GECO DTX, the old familiar S&B 124-grains FMJ from the 250 bulk pack or even the two handloads with the inexpensive GECO 124-gr full metal jacket bullet, very respectable groups could be achieved! All in all, the calculated accuracy average of all tested loads was 34.4 mm.
For practical, dynamic drills we used a proven Kahles Helia RD Red Dot (2 MOA Dot) on a Uronen Precision mount. The one-piece Uronen mount is completely milled out on the inside to reduce weight and is clamped onto the Picatinny rail of the upper receiver over the entire length using two Allen screws. In addition, a tight-fitting stud on the underside clamps into the Picatinny rail. The mount brings reflex sights with C-More RTS/STS2/Kahles Helia RD/Vortex Razor footprint directly to the ergonomically correct height.
We shot the carbine over several training evenings in comparison with a 3GR TEC9 in the previous version with QC10 receivers and a 14.5" Lothar Walther barrel with JP compensator. Although the older version had the same buffer mounted with a comparable DAR-AR-10 carbine spring, the new version was noticeably flatter to shoot.
With the same ammunition, the new version was subjectively always a touch faster to shoot and the hits were somewhat closer together. The influence of the two-inch shorter barrel, the different compensator or the heavier bolt can only be speculated. However, the overall package was convincing at all times.
The accuracy, especially with the GECO Hexagon, was indeed impressive with a 10-mm group. More info about GECO ammo is available on the manufacturer's website.
3GR Tec9 Pro 125 pistol caliber carbine specs and price
Manufacturer:||3GR TEC9 Pro 125 from 3G Sports|
mm Lothar Walther match barrel with 4"/102 mm long Brekke CompXtension
buttstock, free-standing Magpul MIAD pistol grip and closed Brekke carbon
magazines with 10-round capacity|
adjustable Hiperfire 24C Competition match trigger; measured trigger weight:
two-position safety on both sides, acting on trigger|
Test conclusion: for whom is a 3GR Tec9 Pro 125 worthwhile – and why?
Our test conclusion: 2,960 euros for a PCC is certainly no mean feat. But if you add the cost of replacing all the high-end components already used here to the cost of a standard AR carbine from an established manufacturer, the price difference is no longer that great. The customer receives here a 100% finished competition gun out of the box in a complete package that leaves nothing to be desired. That the new 3GR Tec9 Pro 125 has what it takes to shoot and win has already been impressively proven on the test range and in matches! And all this "out of the box" without any tuning.
Background information on our author Sascha Back:
Born in June 1972 in Eberbach am Neckar, Germany, the management consultant is known beyond the country's borders for his shooting skills with the revolver, among other things. After all, he is now a 13-time German champion in the IPSC Revolver Division as well as European champion in 2010 and finished second in the European Championships in 2013 and 2016. In addition, he has come fourth three times in the World Championships in 2011, 2014 and 2017. He is also at the forefront of the "Steel Challenge" discipline, a lightning-fast competition shooting at steel plates in several standardized exercises, which is proven by seven European championship titles in the Revolver Open and Standard classes. But he is also an absolute pro with the rifle. The fact that he also writes well and enjoys writing the odd line for us is also fun for us.
You can find more about Sascha Back here in the GECO Ammunition blog section.