Automatic weapons are unicorns in the gun world. Every gun owner wants one. But thanks to the circus known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, most automatic weapons and machineguns are prohibitively expensive. And with the recent ban on the bumpstock (even though the bumpstock doesn’t even meet the ATF’s definition of a machinegun) what is a freedom-loving gun owner to do? When you tire of laboriously emptying magazines with one trigger squeeze, when the Mad Minutes get boring, where do you go next? The Gat Crank might be the answer.
The beauty of the Gat Crank is its simplicity: Stealing pages off the O.G. gatling gun’s playbook, this trigger crank uses a rotating paddle system to rapidly squeeze the trigger. The crank “pulls” the trigger three times per revolution, affording what amounts to semiautomatic rapid-fire that’s nearly as fast as a proper auto sear-equipped AR. The assembly is manufactured from a combination of aluminum, hex bolts and metal pins, and a plastic housing with plastic paddles that actuate the trigger.
Using the Gat Crank is pretty straightforward (install instructions are provided with pictures): Assemble a few pins to secure the crank trigger’s housing to your trigger guard. Line up two of the three “paddles” so they rest against the trigger, and tighten the assembly down. With your weapon empty, test-fire the crank by rotating the handle to ensure it rotates against the trigger without binding. Load up a magazine at your favorite range or public land, and start racking up that ammo bill.
But does it work well? Thankfully, none other than fast-shooting legend Jerry Mucilek gave his two cents:
DISCLAIMER: Jerry’s Gat Crank appears to be the prototype originally provided before a newer, lighter, and smaller design was introduced by the maker. Even with the new design appearing a tad less “robust” than the large, heavy-plated version Jerry used, this crank trigger works wonderfully well.
We started out small and ran the Gat Crank on a Ruger 10/22. With a bipod, flushing out some .22 LR with the Gat Crank on the Ruger feels like operating a miniature crew-served weapon. It’s wicked fun and rimfire casings spit out like a swarm of bees. After one hundred rounds and no issues with the trigger, we loaded up an AR and unloaded some 5.56. Even with higher recoil, the crank trigger ran smoothly. No problems with binding or getting loose here, either. We didn’t have the opportunity to test the assembly out on an AK-pattern rifle, so we couldn’t truly abuse the crank with some heavier 7.62x39mm. But given the trigger’s commendable performance to dump a combined 250 rounds of .22 LR and 5.56 NATO, we’re confident it could handle some rapid-fire Rusky rounds.
What surprised us was how “slowly” one must actuate the rotating lever to get a good rate of fire. The three trigger paddles work in rapid succession, and turning the crank more slowly than expected makes for a smooth ride and high rate of fire. Of course, you can “crank” on the trigger as fast as possible and really heat up your barrel, but any sense of sight picture or real weapon control goes out the window.
Overall, the Gat Crank gets a solid 5/5 on fun and function, and two solid middle fingers to the ATF.
Is the Gat Crank legal?
Yes. When the bumpstock ban went into effect, the language stated that bumpstocks were classified as machineguns because (technically) the shooter was only pulling the trigger once. By keeping one’s finger in a fixed position and allowing the use of recoil energy to cycle the weapon rapidly, the ATF argued this constituted a substantially similar type of function to an automatic rifle, which also requires just a single trigger pull to achieve rapid fire.
But the Gat Crank doesn’t meet this definition. You still need to pull the trigger with individual movements, and the rate of fire is entirely dependent on how quickly you can “pull the trigger”, or rotate the firing lever for the trigger paddles.
What about [X] state? Isn’t this type of trigger banned in some places?
Yes. Unfortunately, zealous liberal states tend to take an even stricter stance against firearms once the federal government lays the groundwork. Currently, California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey have bans explicitly preventing the sale and ownership of “trigger actuators”, as the Gat Crank is defined in their state laws.
Does the Gat Crank fit [X] weapon?
The Gat Crank is technically universal. As long as you can tighten the trigger’s set screws on your receiver or trigger guard and get two of the three trigger paddles to rest against the trigger, you can rock rapid-fire on the weapon in question. It’s always best to test-fire and make sure the trigger travels far enough back when squeezed to allow the next paddle to strike the trigger when it resets.
Why should I buy one?
Buying a Gat Crank supports Virginia gun rights. If you’ve followed our stories or gun news in recent months, you’re probably aware of the current tyranny threatening Second Amendment rights in the Old Dominion. When you buy a Gat Crank, 10% goes to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, an organization fighting back against the state’s anti-gun legislature.