One of highlights of the gun business is going to the SHOT Show each year and looking at new products. The gun industry is awash each year in new products for the simple reason that gun makers have to find ways to sell more guns to the same consumers, even if these same consumers already own more guns than they really need to own. Actually, the last time the gun industry changed the basic design of any product was when Gaston Glock substituted a striker for a hammer and stuck it inside a polymer frame. Otherwise, all the various doo-dads that you find on guns may change the look, the finish or the feel, but a gun is still a gun.
This may not be the case with a new product from an AR custom shop out of Nevada, Franklin Armory, that specializes cobbling together various components to create various different styles of black guns. And while a gun is a gun is a gun, this time around the folks at Franklin Armory appear to have come up with not just a new type of AR rifle, but a new technology design which differs very significantly from the traditional way in which assault rifles actually work.
It’s called a binary-trigger system, which means that you don’t just get off a shot every time you pull the trigger, you also get off a shot by letting the trigger snap back to its standard firing position rather than waiting for the trigger to snap back to the firing position while the bolt slams shut and then pulling it again. In other words, because the firing mechanism is activated by the trigger moving in either direction, you are getting 2 shots even though you are only pulling the trigger once.
The company has sent relevant engineering and design documentation to the ATF, and while they haven’t gotten an official ‘yes’ as regards this new design, they also haven’t received a ‘no.’ The ATF test lab is the last word on whether any gun can be sold in the United States, which means that right now there’s a teeny chance that all guns sold with this firing system will have to be recalled, but I wouldn’t bet the barn that this would happen anytime soon.
You can catch a discussion about this new firing technology on a video posted on the Guns America website following SHOT. You can also see the BFS system in actual use by going to the recoil.com website linked above. In the interests of full disclosure, I have not personally tested the Binary Firing System myself. But if it performs the way it appears in the videos I have watched, there may be a real change in assault-rifle technology looming ahead.
The AR-style platform is popular because of its modular design, which means you can pull out just about any part of the gun and replace it with another, similar part of your own choice. It’s the ability of gun owners, particularly younger owners, to customize virtually every piece of the AR which makes the gun so popular because you don’t have to buy a new gun to get a new product, all you have to do is buy a new part. And if or when Franklin Armory gets the official go-ahead from the ATF, I’ll guarantee they will start selling this BFS module to any AR owner who wants to use it with their own gun.
Now here’s the problem for my friends in GVP. Because of the way the binary trigger works, a gun with this system delivers shots faster than the standard AR. It’s not a full-auto gun, but you are basically shooting semi-auto mode twice as quickly as when the trigger has to be pulled for every shot. If I need to spell out the implications of this technology to anyone who is concerned about the lethality of an AR, I suggest you go back and read this column again.