Review: Power Custom FCG vs. K-VAR
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Thread: Review: Power Custom FCG vs. K-VAR

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    Roswell UFO survivor ZOID ZODIAN's Avatar
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    Default Review: Power Custom FCG vs. K-VAR

    (This qualifies as a "golden oldie" since it was originally posted on "that other board" in 2003, but since many probably missed it, here it is resurrected.)

    I tested the Power Custom adjustable FCG and the K-VAR FCG in two identical Romanian SAR-1's. Testing was conducted with Wolf ammo for 2,000 rounds per rifle. Here are my observations:

    POWER CUSTOM:

    1. The set installs with a drop-in fit; no hand fitting was necessary.
    2. Factory trigger pull was very crisp and light. I checked the sear (trigger to hammer) engagement. There was less engagement than that of a regular trigger, but that is what gives you your light single-stage trigger pull. The rear of the trigger "legs" are machined a little taller than most triggers, resulting in a very tight safety lockup. On most triggers, you can pull the trigger with the safety on and it will move slightly before hitting the safety tab. Not so the Power Custom trigger; there was little to no movement before being blocked by the safety. This is good: with the small amount of sear engagement they give you, a tight safety lockup is almost essential. Disconnector engagement was enough for safety also (around 1/16 inch).
    3. In the field, the trigger was a crisp, light, single stage, not unlike that of a well-tuned trigger on an AR-15. No adjustment was made to the trigger for the initial testing.

    After 2,000 rounds, I attempted to adjust only the trigger screw that would have resulted in a HEAVIER trigger pull, or one closer to a regular AK trigger. This is where the trouble started.

    1. With only a little adjustment, the top "spike" of the trigger hook began to interfere with the rearward movement of the bolt carrier. No further adjustments were attempted as the gun now would not function. I readjusted the trigger as close as possible to the original position, and the trigger returned to normal. The gun functioned again.
    2. The instructions say that the setscrews are installed with Loctite; however, almost no breaking strength was required to move them. Since I had decided at this point to remove the Power Custom set, I turned all the adjustment screws; all were easy to move, although not actually loose.
    3. After 2,000 rounds, the rear of the bolt carrier tang and the rear of the firing pin were noticably mushroomed. Although this will occur to a certain extent in all AK's, the mushrooming of the rear bolt carrier tang was so pronounced as to have bent the tang into a bizarre "J" shape. Although the gun continued to function after 2,000 rounds, I suspect that either an extra-soft bolt carrier or extra hard hammer is the culprit.
    4. I never experienced any "trigger slap" with the Power Custom set.

    K-VAR:

    1. The set installs with no hand-fitting; it is a drop in fit, and yields a trigger pull not unlike a normal AK trigger, but slightly smoother and lighter. It is interesting to note that the parts are stamped "KV". The parts installed in Arsenal SA M7's are also stamped "KV".
    2. Since the K-VAR kit cannot be adjusted, there will be no comparison here.
    3. Safety lockup was about as expected. There was a little "play" in the trigger, but the safety lockup was sure, and the amount of trigger to hammer engagement was more than enough for a good safety margin. Disconnector engagement was also more than enough.
    4. Trigger slap was mild, and seemed to go away after 2 or 3 hundred rounds, but also would return for single shots every once in a while: very baffling! In all cases, however, the trigger slap was barely noticable: certainly not as bad as the original Century FCG.

    At the end of 2,000 rounds, there was very slight mushrooming of the rear of the bolt carrier tang, and almost none on the firing pin. The appearance of these two components after 2,000 rounds was more in line with other AK's I have observed.

    My pick: the K-VAR set.

    The fact that the Power Custom set started to malfunction after only a slight adjustment suggests to me that if you purchase this kit you should leave it on the factory settings. The trigger will be light enough for most people that no adjustment will be needed. I truthfully cannot say if the reason for the excessive mushrooming of the bolt carrier is the fault of the hammer being too hard or the bolt carrier being too soft; however, since this test I have installed the K-VAR set on other rifles, and I have not noticed any indication that the bolt carriers might be soft on the other rifles.

    I consider the K-VAR the best all-around FCG for most rifles. The trigger pull is smooth as silk, and "feels" more like a regular AK trigger. The Power Custom set is a little more sophisticated, and as stated above, can malfunction with only minor adjustments. I am not recommending against purchasing the Power Custom set, but I am recommending it only for advanced firearms enthusiasts, and that great care be taken in making any adjustments.

    Although the K-VAR set had a little trigger slap, it was not at all painful, and in fact, was just barely noticable. I mention it only for the sake of objectivity, since there was never any trigger slap with the Power Custom set.

  2. #2
    GuncoHolic Dzerzhinsky's Avatar
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    Dunno if the K-Var set is the same as the Gordon Tech set. I believe the Tapco and the Gordon Tech set are the same. Anyway, I've tried both the GT set and the RSA set, and prefer the latter.

    I don't know if it's true of all Gordon Tech's, but with mine the trigger pull was very long and very very smooth - with the result that I never knew just when the trigger was going to let off.

    My approach to the RSA was completely different from yours: I installed it and then fooled around with the adjusting screws to see how it worked and to get an idea of how the adjustments worked. I adjusted it to a two-stage trigger with medium pull and crisp let off, very much like the trigger pull on a Mauser. I used blue loc-tite (i.e. the kind you use for scope mounts and other non-permanent installations) on the adjusting screws and they've stayed put for a couple of thousand rounds. RSA I believe recommends that you peen the setscrews in place to completely eliminate any chance of them loosening up - seems like un-necessary overkill to me.

    An added bonus for the RSA is that they're the only folks who make a properly-configured US-made SAR-3 hammer.

    I'd recommend the RSA for gadget-freaks and accuracy nuts with money to burn.

    I'd recommend the GT for traditionalists with better economic sense than I have.
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    Roswell UFO survivor ZOID ZODIAN's Avatar
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    I agree with most of your post; there is nothing really "wrong" with the RSA set. I just feel it is better that it be installed by gun enthusiasts experienced enough to adjust it safely. I also wonder if it's hardened a little too much for the bolt carrier....

    When I originally wrote this thread, the G2 set did not yet exist, but there are plenty of rave reviews of it around the internet. I personally have not installed one deliberately myself, although supposedly that is what was installed on the 2004 batch of SA M7 Carbines, and all appears well. The trigger pull is buttery smooth with a long pull and no "crunchiness." The letoff can be a surprise with every round if you let it.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dzerzhinsky
    Dunno if the K-Var set is the same as the Gordon Tech set. I believe the Tapco and the Gordon Tech set are the same.
    Correct, Tapco either bought the rights from G-Tech or partnered to be the exclusive distributor. FWIW, the G-Techs are built to be "identical" to the original FCG. They look identical to my Chinese FCG.

  6. #5
    GuncoHolic Dzerzhinsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZOID ZODIAN
    ...The trigger pull is buttery smooth with a long pull and no "crunchiness." The letoff can be a surprise with every round if you let it.
    Yeah, that's exactly what I didn't like about it. Still overall top-quality, though, and a tremendous improvement over the Circle-C crap that Century installed in my SAR. Installed incorrectly, BTW, with a very creative and maddening way of installing the shepherd's hook.
    Extraordinary Commission for the Struggle Against Counterrevolution, Espionage, Speculation, and Sabotage


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    Loaner magnus392's Avatar
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    I would prefer to see Ms RSA vs Ms PowerCustom
    "It's all over but the cryin'!"Moonshiner


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    BANNED mbadboyz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnus392
    I would prefer to see Ms RSA vs Ms PowerCustom
    We should ask Red Star for the comparison!

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