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AR-15 SPECIAL ISSUE BACK BY DEMAND

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30 BLACK RAIN’S URBAN RIFLE

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Inforce WML-HSP $119.00

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Arson Machine Company KeyMod Light Mounts Scout M600 Mount $48.00 1” Ring Mount $44.00

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Hartland, WI U.S.A. / Toll Free: 1-877-BRAVO CO (1-877-272-8626) / Fax: 262-367-0989 / BravoCompanyMFG.com


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14

102

CONTENTS COVER STORY

14 Silent & Accurate

Black Rain Ordnance’s Urban Rifle is something truly different. By Stan Skinner

FEATURES

10 High-Mounted Optics

A science-based approach to fast, accurate shooting. By Jason Falla

24 Rock & Roll

For your best performance, select the best gear. By Thomas Carlson

4

46 Eight Under 1,000 For less than a grand, you can score a reliable and accurate AR. By Brad Fitzpatrick

52 Catch the WAVE

Daniel Defense’s new WAVE suppressor is turning the tide; plus, a look at its new DDM4V7S SBR. By Sean P. Egen

62 Custom Rig

For all budgets, make your AR super sweet with this ultimate add-on guide. By Brad Fitzpatrick

70 Pimp Your Custom Build

With an MOA bite, build your own performance AR on a blue-collar budget. By Kevin Reese

78 Ammunition 101

The facts and fiction of what to feed your AR. By Steven Lieberman

86 Put the Sport in MSR

Challenge yourself in competition ... and improve your skills in the process. By Brad Fitzpatrick

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94 Cutting Edge Scope

EOTech’s Vudu 1-6x precision rifle optic is solid, robust and intuitive. By Drew Pruhs

102 The Revolution Rifle

Patriot Ordnance Factory’s game-changing .308 AR. By Fred Mastison

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70

94

46

122 A Not So PC, PCC

Good for competition or home defense, JP Enterprises’ GMR-15 is a category-defining 9mm carbine. By Gordon Meehl

COLUMNS

08 First Shot 130 Journeys ON THE COVER Photo by Rick Peterson Gun: Black Rain’s Urban Rifle Designer: Eric Knagg

BUYER’S GUIDE

30 Rifle-Mounted Thermal Imaging Scopes

114 Full Exposure

Thermal versus night vision: dark side differences. By Kevin Reese

130 AR-15

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PAGES OF WISDOM

FIRST SHOT

The AR platform makes a very fine varmint gun, especially when you accessorize it to your own requirements. It is said buying an AR-15 (much like buying a 1911) is simply payment toward your license to spend more money. Be it thermal optics, night vision, stocks, aftermarket triggers, reflex-type systems, you name it … there is a demand. Because of the sheer quantity of options, many shooters have even taken up the hobby of building their own. Look for Kevin Reese’s take on that on page 70. Personally, I have two AR-15 platforms, and they are both “work” guns. One is a build with a 16.1-inch barrel, and the other is a Daniel Defense SBR, which has an 11.5-inch barrel. Each

8

EDITORIAL Doug Jeffrey Editorial Directorr Scott Wolff Editor Wendy Wilson Managing Editor DESIGN Eric Knagg Design Director

CONTRIBUTORS Larry Atil, Thomas Carlson, Sean P. Egen, Jason Falla, Brad Fitzpatrick, Carlos Galinato, Corbin Hubbard, Steven Lieberman, Fred Mastison, Gordon Meehl, Rick Peterson, Ryan Price, Drew Pruhs, Kevin Reese, Stan Skinner, Straight 8

PHOTO: LARRY ATIL

W

elcome to the world of the black rifle. Love them or hate them, the AR-15 is everywhere. As a modern sporting rifle, all the top competitive shooters in the world run one of them in some flavor or other. Some fantastic manufacturers of competition-ready rifles are out there—Cobalt Kinetics, Anderson, Christensen—and you’ll read more about that in a great piece by Brad Fitzpatrick.

AR-15

is for a specific arena of engagement and equipped accordingly. Though maligned by some, and even referred to as the Evil Black Rifle, the combination of reliability, accuracy, versatility and overall ease of operation is difficult to beat. If you look at units responsible for handling some of the toughest arenas of combat—be it military or law enforcement—you’ll see the AR-15 (or some variant thereof). We’re not here to politicize the rifle. Though some may jump to conclusions about the “real” purpose for the AR-15 or even about the type of people who own them, we are here to educate and provide wisdom on how you may maximize your rifle’s performance, as well as enhance your experience as a shooter. That’s all. We encourage you to seek training from vetted professionals. We encourage you to accessorize your gun with products made by reputable manufacturers. We encourage you to buy quality ammunition—more on that in this volume—so you can truly realize your potential, and that of your platform. Educate yourself. Have fun. Most importantly, stay safe. Scott Wolff, Editor AR-15

ADVERTISING Gabe Frimmel Ad Sales Director (714) 200-1930 gfrimmel@engagedmediainc.com Casey Clifford Senior Account Executive (714) 200-1982 Mark Pack Senior Account Executive (714) 200-1939 Charles Dorr Account Executive (714) 200-1931 John Bartulin Account Executive (866) 866-5146 ext. 2746 John Cabral Advertising Design Gennifer Merriday Advertising Traffic Coordinator Eric Gomez Advertising Traffic Coordinator MARKETING Elise Portale Content Marketing Manager Michael Chadwick Digital Marketing & Media Coordinator Brooke Sanders Content Marketing Specialist Eric Surber Content Marketing Specialist Andrew Dunbar Videographer OPERATIONS Robert Short IT Manager Parveen Kumar Newsstand and Circulation Analyst Shailesh Khandelwal Subscriptions Manager Alex Mendoza Administrative Assistant Victoria Van Vlear Intern Program Manager EDITORIAL, PRODUCTION & SALES OFFICE 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92614 (714) 939-9991 • Fax: (800) 249-7761 www.gunworld.com www.facebook.com/eembybeckett AR-15 is published by Engaged Media Inc., LLC, 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92614. © 2017 by Engaged Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. CUSTOMER SERVICE Engaged Media, Inc. 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250 Irvine, CA 92614 Subscriptions, Address Changes, Renewals, Missing or Damaged Copies (800) 764-6278 (239) 653-0225 Foreign Inquiries subscriptions@engagedmediainc.com customerservice@engagedmediainc.com Back Issues: www.engagedmediamags.com Books, Merchandise, Reprints (800) 764-6278 • Foreign (239) 653-0225 Letters to Editor, New Products, or to Contribute a Story or Photo djeffrey@engagedmediainc.com

ENGAGED MEDIA INC. Mike Savino CEO Nathaniel Phillips HR and Office Management Philip Trinkle Newsstand Sales Director Jason Mulroney Director of Content Sabra Morris Director of Marketing Pinaki Bhattacharya Vertical Manager Bob Husly Director of Business Development This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by Engaged Media Inc., as to the legality, completeness or technical accuracy.

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HIGH-MOUN T THE

I

have been using a high-mounted optic set on a riser plate for a long time—over the past 20 years, in fact. I was initially exposed to some of the benefits of a high-mounted optic while serving in the Australian Army, specifically within the Special Operations Command. We were using then-venerable HK MP5s at the time for the domestic counter-terrorism role, and we had to qualify using iron sights before being able to progress to an optic. Once we qualified successfully with the irons, we then switched to Aimpoint CompM2 red-dot sights, utilizing HK’s own riser mount.

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N TED OPTIC

A SCIENCE-BASED APPROACH TO FAST, ACCURATE SHOOTING By Jason Falla Photos by Carlos Galinato/Boombot Media

Jason Falla is a former member of Australian Special Operations Command and is now director of Training at Redback One, which trains U.S Military, U.S Special Operations, state and federal law enforcement tactical teams in counter terrorism training and tactics.

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“MOUNTING THE SIGHT AS FAR TO THE REAR AS POSSIBLE ALLOWS THE SHOOTER TO MAXIMIZE THE FIELD OF VIEW PROVIDED BY THE COMBAT OPTIC.” When my unit phased out the MP5 and moved to the M4 as the preferred weapons platform for special operations, including counter-terrorism, we mounted our Aimpoints on top of the carry handle. It allowed a natural presentation of the weapon, particularly when working for long durations while wearing a gas mask. But why does it make sense to mount your optic that way? Because science!

Mitigating Muscular Fatigue: The Neck Having a low-mounted optic on the rifle forces the shooter to extend the head forward and down to acquire the sight picture. This places excessive stress on the trapezius and sternoclidomastoid muscles as they run through the upper part of the neck. Mounting the sight on a high riser block alleviates this stress by keeping the head in a more neutral position and allows the shooter to conduct long evolutions more comfortably.

Mitigating Muscular Fatigue: The Eye By placing the optic low on the rifle and angling the head forward places a high amount of stress on the superior rectus muscle of the eye. This is an

extraocular muscle that is innovated by the oculomotor nerve. The superior rectus’ primary function is elevation and is in its primary position while looking straight ahead. By mounting the combat optic on a high riser block, the shooter can maintain the superior rectus in as close to its neutral position as possible. This not only minimizes stress and fatigue of the eye but also allows the eye to maintain a greater range of motion, which is vital to proper scanning procedures during room combat.

Rearward Mounting and Butt Stock Position Mounting the sight as far to the rear as possible allows the shooter to maximize the field of view provided by the combat optic. As the Aimpoint Micro is a technically more difficult sight to use due to the restricted field of view compared to other sights on the market, it requires the shooter to be more consistent with rifle presentations and mounting procedures. To achieve a more “head up” shooting position the butt stock must be shortened to ensure that eye relief can be maintained and mounting speed can be maximized.

Faster Sight Acquisition and Shots on Target Placing the combat optic on a high

riser block means that the shooter has a shorter distance to move the weapon and achieve the mounted shooting position than when setting the sight on a lower mount. Traveling a shorter distance during presentation translates into faster sight acquisition, and also means faster rounds on target.

Night Vision Operations When employing night vision goggles, there will likely be times when the shooter will need to use either the day combat optic with the naked eye or passively sight the rifle by using the NVG behind the combat optic. Two occasions that might occur are when or if the aiming laser fails, or when operating in an environment where there is a belief that the enemy possesses a night fighting capability. To achieve either method of targeting while wearing NVGs, the shooter’s head must remain in a neutral and upright position.

Gas Mask Operations To be able to quickly mount and target the rifle while using the protective gas mask, the combat optic must be raised to ensure that the weapon is presented naturally and not canted to one side. Having the combat optic mounted low on the rail makes it extremely difficult to sight the weapon, making target engagements slower and potentially less accurate. This also places the head in an unnatural position while shooting, which is, again, counterproductive to this technique.

No Turning Back In closing, there are many advantages to mounting the combat optic on a high riser block that clearly outweigh the perceived disadvantages as I have outlined above. If you haven’t tried it out, give it a go and see what you think. It may require you to retrain some preexisting neural pathways from legacy techniques, but once you overcome them you likely won’t go back. .AR-15

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SILENT& ACCURATE BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE’S URBAN RIFLE IS SOMETHING TRULY DIFFERENT By Stan Skinner | Photos by Rick Peterson AR-15

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I

suspected something was different when I opened the shipping box that contained the new rifle. Instead of being wrapped in a protective plastic sleeve, it was nestled in a very well made, padded, soft case. I unzipped it found the rifle secured in place by a pair of wide Velcro straps. I paused for a moment, just

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“I WAS A BIT SURPRISED TO FIND, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS AN AUDIBLE SONIC CRACK, IT WAS ALMOST LOST TO THE EAR AMONG NORMAL BACKGROUND NOISES.”

to look at what lay there. It was a Black Rain Ordnance (BRO) Urban rifle, chambered for .300 AAC Blackout. The billet upper and lower receiver had a light-colored Norguard finish, highlighting the rifle’s crisp, milled contours. My earlier suspicion was correct: This was something truly different. My thoughts turned to a line from

George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” and paraphrasing it seems appropriate here: Some AR-15s are more equal than others.

The Hardware Most AR-15s have a mil-spec forged receiver that serves as a fine basis for what has been called the “Modern Sporting Rifle.” This includes a wide variety of configurations. There’s everything from M4-style “duty” rifles

The rifle features a 12-inch M-LOK hybrid handguard.

to long, heavy-barreled varmint and competition rifles. All of that said, the precision-milled, billet “Fallout 15” upper and lower receivers of the Black Rain Ordnance RECON-series elevate them to a higher level of craftsmanship, something instantly seen in this rifle. The BRO Urban rifle’s upper receiver houses a nickel boron-coated bolt

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carrier group. It has an 18-inch, fluted, stainless steel barrel with a one-in-7inch twist, tipped with an aggressive muzzle brake that resembles a miniature medieval battle mace.

The rifle features precision-milled, billet “Fallout 15” upper and lower receivers. The craftsmanship, the author said, is impressive.

The 12-inch M-LOK hybrid fore end has a several-inch-long relieved area to allow extra clearance for a riflescope with a large diameter objective bell. A Magpul MOE grip and MOE-SL six-position, collapsible-style butt stock provide stable support for accurate shooting. The .300 BLK chambering is intended for use with Black Rain’s M30-A .308/7.62mm suppressor. This cartridge, which bears uncanny resemblance to the .300 Whisper cartridge developed in 1992, is based on the .221 Fireball cartridge, necked up to .30 caliber. It is designed to launch a heavy, .308-caliber bullet at subsonic velocity for use with a suppressor. Remaining below the speed of sound prevents a loud, sonic crack for additional signature reduction.

18

xxx The author colorfully described the muzzle brake like a miniature medieval battle mace.

The .221 cartridge has the same head diameter as the 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington. This and the short overall length (slightly more than 2 inches) of the .300 BLK allow it to fit and feed flawlessly from an unmodified AR-15 magazine. The stainless steel M30-A suppressor is 8.5 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter, and weighs 28 ounces. It screws directly onto the barrel

once the muzzle brake is removed. Black Rain says the M30-A provides substantial sound reduction (between 25 and 29 decibels) without adversely affecting accuracy or point of impact.

Subsonic Testing So, I took the entire package to the range to see whether this Urban rifle lives up to BRO’s claims. With three brands of subsonic ammo on hand, I also wanted to see how effective the

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suppressor was, and just how their muzzle velocity compared to the actual speed of sound on that day.

For testing, the author mounted a 6.5-20X, Leupold Vari-X 3 scope.

To minimize sighting error for accuracy testing, I mounted a 6.5-20X, Leupold Vari-X 3 scope on the rifle. For most applications, a Trijicon, ACOG, EoTech Holosight, or some variety of night vision optic would be more appropriate. Speed of sound at 68 degrees F and at this elevation is 1,126 fps, but it will increase slightly as air temperature rises. Temperature at the range was in the mid to high-90s, so the speed of sound on the range that day hovered around 1,155 fps. My trusty Oehler M35P chronograph with proof channel skyscreens was used to measure muzzle velocity, and the Gorilla load tipped with 220-grain Sierra MatchKings averaged slightly over supersonic velocity at 1,168 fps. Despite this, no sonic “crack” was evident, and this load with the M30-A

suppressor produced about the same level of noise as a pellet gun. Hornady Black .300 BLK ammo with 208-grain AMAX bullets was comfortably below supersonic velocity at an average of 1,093 fps. CorBon ammo was head-stamped .300 Whisper and was tipped with 220-grain Sierra MatchKings. This load was slightly slower at 1,076 fps. Both loads were also very quiet with no sonic crack. Just for fun, I tried Hornady’s supersonic 110-grain VMAX loads. Hornady data shows this load’s muzzle velocity at 2,350 fps. However, it launched at 2,475 fps through the Black Rain rifle’s 18-inch barrel. The additional velocity was probably because of the high air temperature. I was a bit surprised to find, although there was an audible sonic crack, it was almost lost to the ear among normal background noises.

LEARN MORE

BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE www.blackrainordnance.com 1- 888-836-2620

The Black Rain rifle liked the Hornady subsonic load best in the shimmering heat and moderate wind at the range. It produced a .75-MOA three-shot group with a 13 fps standard deviation at 100 yards. Gorilla ammo yielded an even lower standard deviation at 10 fps. However, accuracy was about 1 MOA for a three-shot group on this day. CorBon ammo turned in a higher, but still respectable 21 fps standard deviation and 1.5 MOA for three shots. Point of impact was close for all three ammo brands with the suppressor in place. With the suppressor removed and muzzle brake in place, POI did not seem to shift noticeably.

“REMAINING BELOW THE SPEED OF SOUND PREVENTS A LOUD, SONIC CRACK FOR ADDITIONAL SIGNATURE REDUCTION.” 20

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“SOME AR-15s ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.” A Lot for the Money Higher manufacturing cost for the milled billet receiver and additional internal refinements on the BRO Urban rifle result in a high, but not unreasonable, MSRP of $1,849. The M30-A suppressor will add another thousand bucks (MSRP $999). Of course, you must factor in a federal background check, $200 tax stamp and a nine- to 12-month wait before the feds will allow you to take possession of your suppressor. If you prefer the lower cost of a forged mil-spec receiver, Black Rain Ordnance offers its SPEC15 series with an MSRP as low as $899. Although some versions are significantly higher, they are not as costly as the RECON series with the milled billet receiver.

The BRO Urban rifle (top image) features a billet receiver machined from a solid aluminum block or “billet,” unlike the mil-spec AR-15 (lower image), which is forged and finish-machined.

5.56 NATO and even 7.62mm/.308 Winchester. This small Neosho, Mo.based company offers a lot of rifle

for the money, easily among the best choices in the family of AR-15 platforms. AR-15

BRO URBAN SPECS RECEIVER: Fallout 15 Billet 7075 T6 aluminum upper/lower receiver set BARREL: 16-inch or 18-inch fluted 416R stainless steel (5.56: 1X8-inch twist; 300Blackout: 1X7-inch twist; .308 Win: 1X11-inch twist) BCG: Nickel boron coated BCG GAS SYSTEM: Direct impingement; low profile adjustable gas block; mid-length TRIGGER: BRO 3.5-pound DIT MUZZLE DEVICE: Milled flash suppressor FURNITURE: MAGPUL MOE grip and MOE SL butt stock HANDGUARD: 12-inch M-LOK hybrid handguard CALIBERS: 5.56 NATO; .300 AAC Blackout; .308 Winchester COLORS: Norguard; black LENGTH/WT: 5.56: 33.5 inches/6 pounds, 14 ounces MSRP: $1,849 for the .223/5.56 and .300 BLK; $2,349 for the .308

BRO URBAN RIFLE PERFORMANCE Load

Black Rain also offers a titanium 5.56mm NATO rifle somewhat higher in cost than basic SPEC15 models featuring the aluminum-forged receiver. A good bit pricier are Black Rain’s hunting and competition models in

22

Velocity

Gorilla load with 220-gr Sierra MatchKings

1,168 fps

MOA/ Group Avg. 1.0

Hornady Black .300 BLK with 208-gr AMAX

1,093 fps

0.75

CorBon w.300 Whisper with 220-gr Sierra MatchKings

1,076 fps

1.5

Hornady 110-gr VMAX

2,475 fps

N/A

Velocity is in feet per second as recorded by a Oehler M35P chronograph. Groups are in inches and consist of three shots fired from a rest at 100 yards.

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ROCK &

ROLL FOR YOUR BEST PERFORMANCE, SELECT THE BEST GEAR

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Photos by Thomas Carlson

ear. It’s a hot topic. And it should be. After all, it plays a key role in your preparation and performance, two of the biggest components in your life. In the following story, our expert reveals all the key products he uses to rock and roll so he can be at his best, regardless of the circumstances. To see how you can enhance your game, explore your world. It’s time to rock.

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01 Mystery Ranch

02 Nine-Line Apparel

Product: ASAP Lightweight Assault Pack Web: www.MysteryRanch.com MSRP: $245

Product: Daniel Defense Hat Web: www.NineLineapparel. com MSRP: $37

Quick Specs Volume: 900 cubic inches

Quick Specs Features: Breathable, “comfortable” mesh panel for moisture wicking

Weight: 3 pounds Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 6 inches Frame System: Futura Frame Fabric: 500D Cordura Zippers: YKK Adjustment: Futura Yoke provides rapid adjustment for different torso lengths MOLLE: On interior body panel for attaching accessories

Fit: Adjustable hook-andloop back strap Patches: Three hook-andloop panel for patches Styles: Numerous patches available

03 Velsyst & S&S Precision Product: Mayflower Modified Gen IV Placard & Pull Tabs Web: www.Velsyst.com & www.SandPrecision.com MSRP: $195 (Placard) & $7 (Pull Tabs) Quick Specs Gen IV Placard Function: Carries 4 5.56mm mags, two pistols mags and two small radios Features: Two GP pockets and built-in map pocket with Velcro closure Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 8 inches Quick Specs Pull Tabs Dimensions: 1 x 0.92 x 0.4 inches Material: Rubber Packaging: Six per pack

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04 Ferro Concepts

06 Trijicon

Product: The Slickster Plate Carrier

Product: Trijicon MRO Reflex Sight with Scalarworks Low Drag Mount

Web: www.FerroConcepts.com

Web: www.Trijicon.com and www.ScalarWorks.com

MSRP: $154 Quick Specs Purpose: Multi-mission plate carrier for LEOs and military professionals

MSRP: $579 (optic); $149 (mount) Quick Specs MRO Sight

Base Platform: For the ADAPT Carrier System/scaleable and customizable

Magnification: 1x

Features: Carry Elastic Cummerbund (CED) accommodates 5.56 and 7.62 magazines, smoke, flashbang, radio, tourniquet, etc.

Objective Size: 25mm

Adjustable: Hook-and-loop front and rear; as well as laminated shoulder straps

08 SureFire

Quick Specs Low Drag Mount Materials: 7075-T6 aluminum alloy (Mil-A-8625 Type III, hard-coat anodizing/4140H steel alloy (black nitride)

MSRP: $240 Quick Specs Overall Length: 8.4 inches

Weight: 40 grams (1.41 ounces)

Blade Length: 3.5 inches

Height Over Rail: 36m

Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch

Compatibility: AR-15, AR-10

Bearings: GTC Stainless

Material: 50% goatskin, 26% Spandex, 24% polyester Colors: Black, coyote and worn olive

Eye Relief: Infinite

Web: www.EmersonKnives.com

Mobile Phone Usage: Touch-screen compatibility designed for “easy� mobile phone use

Weight: 4.1 ounces (with battery installed, without mount) Reticle Pattern: Dot

Product: Sheepdog

Fit: TPR wrist closure designed for a secure fit

Length: 2.6 inches

Illumination Source: Battery

05 Emerson Knives

Quick Specs Comfort: Airprene and lightweight ribspan paneling, combined with suede and knuckle provide protection and comfort

Hardness: RC 57-59

07 Oakley

Handle: G-10

Product: Transition Tactical Gloves

Blade: 154 CM

Web: www.OakleySI.com

Finish: Stone washed or black coating

MSRP: $70

Product: E1D LED Defender Flashlight Web: www.SureFire.com MSRP: $240 Quick Specs Output/Runtime: High: 300 lumens for 1.30 hours; Low: 5.0 for 47 hours Length: 4.25 inches Bezel Diameter: 1.125 inches Weight with Batteries: 3.1 ounces Batteries: 1 123A Durability: Coated, tempered window resists impact, maximizes light output Weatherproof: O-ring and gasket sealing

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06 05

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09 Suunto Product: Essential Ceramic All-Black Watch Web: www.Suunto.com MSRP: $870 Quick Specs Bezel Material: Ceramic Glass Material: Sapphire crystal Case Material: Stainless steel Strap Material: Leather Weight: 4.23 ounces Water Resistance: 30m

04

Display Type: Matrix Other Features: Compass, altimeter, seal level pressure

10 Daniel Defense Product: DDM4V7S Web: www.DanielDefense.com MSRP: $1,679 Quick Specs Caliber: 5/56mm NATO Barrel Length: 11.5 inches Weight: 5.8 pounds Gas System: Carbine

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11 Modernicon

midsole to the lacing system, providing a “secure, snug and virtually customized” fit

Product: 2-Point Defender Sling Web: www.Modernicon.us

Quicklace: Minimalistic and strong lace for one-pull tightening

MSRP: $50-$110

Protection: Molded EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning and stability

Quick Specs Minimum Length: 33 inches; maximum: 60 inches Materials: 30 feet of mil-spec seven-strand paracord, rated at 550 pounds Webbing Strength: 1-inch mil-spec rated to 4,000 pounds D-Rings: 1-inch heavy gauge

OrthoLite Sockliner: Combines a specific Ortholite foam and an EVA heel cup that “that creates a cooler, drier, healthier and better-cushioned environment under the foot” Mud Guard: Protective material all around the base of the shoe Other Feature: Water-resistant textile

Colors: Black, coyote, green Attachment Points: J.K. Hook

13 Solutions Group International

Quick Release: No Orientation: Right hand

Product: Vehicle Trauma Kit

12 Salomon

Web: www.SolutionsGroupInternational.com

Product: SpeedCross 4

MSRP: $140

Web: www.Salomon.com MSRP: $130 Quick Specs Fit: Sensifit cradles the foot from the

Quick Specs Location: This is designed to be mounted to the headrest of any vehicle. Tension System: Features Velcro strap tension system for quick access

and release in an emergency. Material: Constructed of 500D Cordura with dust-proof zippers Dimensions: 8x6x3.5 inches Weight: 1.15 pounds Quick Retrieval: Has external elastic straps at the bottom to hold your C-A-T tourniquet

14 Honeywell Howard Leight Product: Impact Sport OD Electric Earmuffs Web: www.HowardLeight.com MSRP: $75 Quick Specs Features: Built-in directional microphones that amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to 82db and automatically compress amplification when ambient impact sound reaches 82db, passively blocks out noise at 22db and amplifies low-level sound up to four times Storage: Folds for convenient storage Accessories: Connects to iPod, MP3 and other devices Cover: By U.S. Tactical Sewin AR-15

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HEAT SEEKERS

THERMAL IMAGING SCOPES CAN SEE WHAT’S HOT THROUGH DARKNESS, SMOKE, FOG AND FOLIAGE By Ryan Lee Price | Lead photo by Larry Atil Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

B

y detecting subtle temperature differences between any objects in view, thermal imaging scopes can provide a clear view of things that would normally be invisible to the naked eye. Everything— natural or man-made—emits infrared energy as heat, either created internally (such as with mammals) or externally (such as warm handprint on a wall). Thermal imaging has been used successfully by the military, law enforcement and other organizations with need for that sort of capability; however, it is also a valuable tool for civilian home defense, as well as hunting applications. With thermal imaging, an intruder can be clearly seen down a pitch-black hallway, and a deer or other game animal can be seen through the trees. In the following guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the hottest rifle-mounted thermal imaging scopes on the market today.

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01ARMASIGHT PREDATOR 336 The Predator thermal imaging scope is based on the FLIR Tau 2 VOx microbolometer core. It is a solid state, uncooled, long-wave infrared, magnified dedicated weapon scope intended for day and night uses, but without the need to remove the sight from the rifle. The Predator can record video with optional digital video recorder and is also equipped with a video-out capability. The electronic zoom (e-zoom) function can be progressively increased from 1x to 2x and 4x, without changing the point-of-aim to point-ofimpact relationship of the targeting reticle.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 2 x 8 Objective Focal Length: 25 mm Pixel Display: 640 x 480 Battery Life at 20 degrees C (68 F): Up to 4 hours (optional up to 12 hours) Digital Zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x Exit Pupil Diameter: 10 mm Eye Relief: 45 mm Field of View (ang.): 13°/10° Overall Dimensions: 194 x 68 x 78 mm (7.6 x 2.7 x 3.1 inches)

02Pulsar Trail XP50 The Pulsar Trail XP50 delivers vivid thermal imaging from a world-class 640x480px sensor core, offering human-sized heat detection up to 2,000 yards. The XP50’s popular “white hot” and “black hot” modes, 13 digital reticle options, variable 1.6-12.8x magnification and 50Hz refresh rate provide users with fluid imaging, customized thermal mapping and a richly contrasted field of view. Eliminating the need to carry additional batteries, all Pulsar Trail’s come standard with a rechargeable eight-hour battery pack. The Trail XP50 boasts a world-class AMOLED display and onboard video recording with 8-gigabyte internal storage and Wi-Fi for wireless video monitoring, streaming and transfers.

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Weapon Mount: Picatinny, MIL STD 1913 and Weaver rails Weight (without batteries): 0.63 kg (1.4 pounds) Source: Armasight-International.com MSRP: $2,795

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: F50/1.2 Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x, 8x Eye Relief: 50 mm Field of View: 12.4° x 9.3° Overall Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.8 x 3 inches Weapon Mount: Weaver, Weaver Quick-release, CZ Quick-release Weight (without batteries): 21.87 ounces Source: Pulsar-NV.com MSRP: $4,180

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03

Trijicon Reap-IR

The Trijicon REAP-IR mini thermal riflescope is a small, light, powerful thermal riflescope that lets you engage targets in any light. It optimizes the S.W.A.P. mindset (size, weight and power) with its small packaging combined with lightweight, rugged features. When you need a thermal weapon sight that lets you move from rifle to rifle with ease, look no further than the REAP-IR. Conventional buttons have been replaced with a large, easy-to-find thumb stick controller with multidirectional functionality to navigate one of the most user-friendly menus on the market.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Focal Length: 35 mm Objective Lens: F 1.14 Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Battery Life: 3.5 hours @ 60 Hz; 5 hours @ 30 Hz Eye Relief: 27 mm Field of View: 12°

LN-TRS35 04 Luna 3.5-14x LN-TRS35-LRF thermal imaging device is intended to be used for observation, search, detection and shooting in a great variety of ambient conditions (daylight, twilight, nighttime) as well as limited visibility (fog, snow, rain, etc.). It allows detection of moving and still objects that have temperature contrasting with environment, such as people, animals, buildings and vehicles. Another unique feature of these sights is the ability to adjust the sensor gain quickly, allowing you to see more clearly behind the target in a variety of atmospheric conditions, like high humidity. It also includes the most user friendly controls, which rely on combination of classical mechanical switches and turrets and just a few push buttons. This allows for very quick learning process and easy and comfortable field use, even with gloves.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Focal Length: F50 (F75) Battery Life: 3 hours (6V/2xCR123A) Detection Range (object 0.5x1.8m): Min 1,200 m (1,700 m) Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x Eye Relief Distance: 55 mm Field of View: 9.3° x 7°

Overall Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.0 x 2.95 inches Weapon Mount: Picatinny Weight: 20.8 ounces Source: Trijiconeo.com MSRP: $7,999

(7.1° x 5.3°) Weight: 1.87 pounds Built-in Night Rangefinder: Up to 600/±1 (measurement range/ accuracy, m) Magnification: 3.5x (5.5x) Source: LunaOptics.com MSRP: $5,299

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05Pulsar Core RXQ30V The resourceful Core RXQ30V delivers exceptional thermal imaging in a compact no-frills package. The Core’s 640x480 AMOLED screen displays heat signatures up to 985 yards away in a green sapphire tint that prevents eye fatigue. A 384x288 sensor with 17µm pixel pitch create a vivid thermal image at 1.6-6.4x magnification. The RXQ30V features four hours of battery life from two CR123A batteries and is easily attached/detached via a QD Weaver/picatinny mount. The Core boasts Pulsar’s popular Picture-in-Picture (PiP) function, allowing precise shot placement while maintaining a wide field-of-view.

THOR HD 384 4.5-18X 06ATN The ATN Thor family of thermal scopes features a host of amenities to make the experience easier and quicker. A ballistics calculator allows you to range in with your smart range finder, enter your wind readings and let the obsidian core processor do the rest. Turn through the wind, change your incline angle, adjust distance and instantaneously your point of impact will shift to have the perfect shot every time. It features recording options, smooth zoom lenses, profile manager and image stabilization.

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SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 50 mm Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Battery Life: 4 hours (Li-ion) Digital Zoom: 2x, 3x, 4x Eye Relief: 50mm Overall Dimensions: 9.4 x 2.6 x 2.4 inches Weapon Mount: Picatinny quick release mount Weight: 17.6 ounces Source: PulsarNV.com MSRP: $2,090

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 50 mm Display Resolution: 1,280 x 960 pixels Battery Life: 8 hours (Li-Ion) Eye Relief: 65 mm Angle of View: 6x4.7 Overall Dimensions: 8.81 x 3.16 x 3.14 inches Weapon Mount: Picatinny quick release mount, interchangeable Weight: 1.85 pounds Source: ATNCorp.com MSRP: $3,499

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TIM-14DX-384 07 GSCI Manufactured in Canada by GSCI, the TIM-14DX-384 Multi-Purpose Thermal Imaging Scope, weighing less than 13 ounces, generates incredibly smooth imaging that’s delivered seamlessly by the unit’s ultra-high resolution 800x600 pixel Micro-OLED viewing screen. As a multi-purpose scope, the TIM-14DX-384 thermal scope can be easily converted to a hands-free unit by attaching it either to an available universal head mount or to a helmet. Weapon mountable, a dual throw lever weapon mount is also available. And should you wish to amp up the scope’s already impressive 1,300yard effective range, simply add the available 3x50 quick-change lens set to your kit.

08Trijicon IR-Hunter MK2 20 mm The user friendly ergonomics and advanced infrared technology of the Trijicon IR-Hunter thermal imaging system is Trijicon’s most advanced. With a 22-degree field of vision and a single lever mount, it is easy to use and accurate. To ensure that your imagery isn’t washed out against the sky or horizon, IR-Hunter focuses its processing power onto your target for precisely detailed images. The digital focus control (DFC) allows you to not only focus your picture to your optimum setting, but it also allows you to sharpen your overall picture for extreme detail. A digital electronic zooming system comes standard on the IR-Hunter series. This lets you achieve various magnifications quickly. And with the advanced, built-in sighting system, the reticle will maintain boresight and even increase its MOA accuracy.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 1x25, F1.0 Display Resolution: 800 x 600 pixels Battery Life: 7 hours Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x Eye Relief: 20 mm Overall Dimensions: 5.3 x 2.0 x 1.8 inches Weight: 12.7 ounces Source: NightVisionExperts.com MSRP: $6,996

SPECIFICATIONS Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Battery Life: 3.5 hours @ 60 Hz; 5 hours @ 30 Hz Eye Relief: 27 mm Overall Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.9 x 3.1 (1.5x); 7.4 x 2.9 x 3.1 (2.5x); 7.6 x 3.1 x 3.3 (4.5x) inches Other Features: DCE—Digital Contrast Enhancement and ETR—Enhanced Target Recognition Weight: 29.1 ounces Source: Trijiconeo.com MSRP: $5,999 AR-15

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09 Armasight Zeus Pro 336 The Zeus Pro Thermal Weapon Sight is characterized by its simple and intuitive controls, functions and features that are layered among direct button adjustments, direct combination button functions and electronic menu selections. The Zeus Pro epitomizes Armasight’s 20/50 design gold standard, which is defined from product inception as being capable of withstanding 20 meters of immersion for two hours and engineered for routine use with 0.50 BMG weapon shock and recoil. Armasight has introduced a unique dual battery option for the Zeus Pro Thermal Weapon Sight consisting either of four 3.0VDC CR123A batteries all oriented in the same direction to prevent confusion in replacement, or four 1.5VDC AA batteries pre-loaded in a cartridge. In a pinch, a single CR123A 3.0VDC battery can power the Zeus Pro for just over one hour.

10Flir Thermosight Pro 1.5 The FLIR Thermosight Pro 1.5-6x19 30Hz thermal weapon sight with Boson 320x256 is intended for use on a variety of hunting and sporting weapons equipped with a Picatinny/Weaver rail. Displaying the thermal differences in the scene, the high performance thermal imaging system of the Thermosight Pro provides round-the-clock, all-weather detection and discrimination of heat-generating objects (such as animals), including those that are hidden. The Thermosight Pro is effective at close and long ranges regardless of light and weather conditions, such as in total darkness or through smoke, haze, fog and light rain.

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SPECIFICATIONS Objective Focal Length: 50 mm Pixel Display Format: 800 x 600 Battery Life at 20 C (68 F): Up to 7 hours (optional up to 14 hours) Digital Zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x Eye Relief: 45 mm Field of View (ang.): 6.5° x 5° Overall Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.0 x 3.0 inches Weapon Mount: Picatinny, MIL-STD-1913 and Weaver rails Weight (w/o Batteries): 1.5 pounds Source: Armasight-International.com MSRP: $6,695

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 19 mm; F/1.0 Optical Magnification: 1.5x Battery Life: Up to 4 hours Digital Zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x Eye Relief: 45 mm Field of View (H x V): 12° x 9.5° Overall Dimensions: 8.7 x 2.7 x 3.3 inches Weapon Mount Type: Picatinny, MIL-STD 1913 and Weaver rails Weight: 0.65 kg (1.44 pounds) Source: ArmasightStore.com MSRP: $2,199

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11NewCon-Optik TVS 13M (640_9HZ) The TVS 13M (640_9Hz) thermal riflescope series is designed to act as a force multiplier in the most demanding situations faced by homeland security, law enforcement, tactical units and military special operations forces. Advanced built-in ballistics software allow for accurate firing on virtually any weapon. The device comes standard with an M-1913 quick-release mount and can also be used as a handheld observation tool. The 640_9Hz operates without any degradation in performance regardless of being used in smoke, fog, or broad daylight. It can also penetrate camouflage. Plus, the advanced built-in ballistics software allows for accurate firing on virtually any weapon platform. Finally, a video output port and internal storage capability enable you to capture video and still images.

12N-Vision TC50A The newly developed TC50A offers increased performance, enhanced modular design, and a considerable decrease in weight. Constructed with extremely durable composite molded plastic, the TC50A provides operators with an exemplary modular and incredibly lightweight thermal clip-on sight, while maintaining the first-rate, rugged construction that is essential to mission success. The TC50A attaches in front of the day scope on a MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny rail), allowing the flexibility to use the sight on multiple weapons. The TC50A is fully collimated to maintain boresight with the day optic, eliminating the need to re-zero, when attached or detached from the weapon. The TC50A can also be used as a stand-alone weapon scope, with four reticle patterns custom tailored for individual weapons with corresponding zero, color, brightness and contrast.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Focal Length: 54 mm Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Battery Life: 8 hours (6x AA) Eye Relief: 30 mm Field of View: 12 x 9° Overall Dimensions: 282 x 112 x 90 mm Operating Temperature: –40 - +60 C Weight without Batteries: 33.5 ounces Source: Newcon-optik.com MSRP: $20,248

SPECIFICATIONS Reticles: Four reticles selectable and adjustable to boresight Display Resolution: 640 x 512 pixels Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x Overall Dimensions: 231 x 82 x 80 mm Weapon Mount: MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny or Weaver Weight: 29.21 ounces Source: NVisionOptics.com MSRP: $10,485

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13Trijicon IR-Patrol The Trijicon IR-Patrol Thermal Monocular is a versatile multipurpose, high-performance monocular that provides a clear, sharp image in total darkness. Unlike the more common image intensification systems that collect light, Trijicon’s Electro Optics utilize thermal technology that captures the heat emitted from objects and persons and produces superior clarity and detection. The IR-Patrol provides a best-in-class thermal image with a full 640x480, 12-micron thermal image sensor and fully digital, 60 Hz image processing. Digital focus and contrast controls allow the user to adjust the system for maximum clarity and sharpness.

Optik 14NewCon TVS 13M (640-75_9HZ) The TVS 13M (640-75_9Hz) thermal riflescope series is designed to act as a force multiplier in the most demanding situations faced by homeland security, law enforcement, tactical units and military special operations forces. Advanced, built-in ballistics software allow for accurate firing on virtually any platform. It comes standard with an M-1913 quick-release mount and can also be used as a handheld observation tool. It can be used at any time, without any degradation in performance when used in daylight, smoke or fog. It can also penetrate camouflage.

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SPECIFICATIONS Image Processing: 60 Hz Diopter: -6 / +2 Operating Temperature: -40 C to +55 C Display Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels Battery Life: 3.5 hours @ 60 Hz; 5 hours @ 30 Hz Eye Relief: 27 mm Overall Dimensions: 5.95 x 2.0 x 2.95 inches Weight: 16 ounces Source: Trijiconeo.com MSRP: $6,999

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Focal Length: 75 mm Operating Temperature: -40 to +60 C Display Resolution: 640 x 512 pixels Battery Life: 8 hours (6x AA) Eye Relief: 30 mm Field of View: 8 x 7° Overall Dimensions:

282 x 112 x 90 mm Weight without Batteries: 46.91 ounces Source: Newcon-optik.com MSRP: $23,623

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15 ATN Thor-HD 384 1.25 x 5x The Thor-HD family of scopes offers a wide variety of sizes and price points, as well as enumerable features, such as profile manager, which allows the user to save all the ballistic and zeroing-in data in the profile manager for every weapon that you plan to use the Thor-HD on. The Thor also includes a digital barometer, gyroscope and compass, and is Bluetooth accessible via Wi-Fi so that you can control the scope wirelessly from a phone or tablet and view everything simultaneously.

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 19 mm Battery Life (Li-Ion): 8 hours Eye Relief: 65 mm Overall Dimensions: 6.85 x 3.16 x 3.14 inches Weapon Mount: Compatible Mounts: A.R.M.S. #17 (single lever), A.R.M.S. #35 (double lever), LaRue LT270, American Defense (AD-170) Weight: 1.7 pounds Source: ATNCorp.com MSRP: $1,999

Pines 16Torrey T15 With features commonly found on more expensive thermal imagers, the T15 mini-thermal imager, which includes a rail mount, offers unique optical zoom from 3 to 8x in a tiny package. As well, it can record, features a shutter with automatic NUC capabilities and has multiple display views, from white hot and black hot to NV green and full color. The 9Hz unit is ideal for surveillance and is export-ready, able to mount to a variety of systems. In addition to video and photo on-board recording, the T15 has a USB port with power input and software updates, as well as multiple display views, including white hot, black hot, NV green and color.

SPECIFICATIONS Focus: Focus free Resolution: 160 x 120 pixels FLIR Lepton 3 Operating Temperature: -10 C to +45 C Battery Life: 8 hours (CR123, 3V) Overall Dimensions: 4.33 x 2.48 x 2.80 inches Weight w/o Batteries: 10.93 ounces Human Recognition Range: 81 m @ 3x-218 m @ 8x Source: TPLogic.com MSRP: Contact manufacturer AR-15

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17

N-Vision TWS13A

N-Vision Optics’ thermal weapon sight TWS13A provides users with a significant advantage in detecting, observing and engaging targets in all conditions, day or night. Combining a rugged and lightweight housing made from high-tech plastic composite material with advanced thermal imaging technology, the TWS13A is easy to operate with ergonomic and clearly marked digital controls. The TWS13A includes four reticle patterns custom tailored for individual weapons with corresponding zero, color, brightness and contrast. Polarity is displayed in either white hot or black hot options to best suit the tactical scenario. Standard 2x and 4x digital zoom enables clear identification of targets before engaging them.

18 ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x At a billion cycles per second, the ATN obsidian core is a highly specialized computer that is designed to run a suite of sensors and crunch huge files. It offers lots of customization to make the ATN X-Sight II fit your needs. For example, the recoil activated video (RAV) feature: When you set your video record to RAV, the system buffers everything your scope sees. As the trigger is pulled, a full video is recorded of what you saw before the shot was taken, the moment of and as much video after as you want. Once connected to the app via Wi-Fi, open the gallery and play back your latest adventures. All your photos and videos are right at your fingertips.

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SPECIFICATIONS Detector Resolution: 336 x 256, 640 x 512 Detection Range (man-sized target): 820 m Refresh Rate: 30/60 Hz Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x Overall Dimensions: 185 x 82 x 80 mm Weapon Mount: MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny or Weaver Weight: 662.5 grams Source: NVisionOptics.com MSRP: $6,323

SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 85 mm Battery Life: 8 hours (Li-Ion) Eye Relief: 65 mm Magnification: 5-20x Field of View at 1,000 Yards: 240 feet Overall Dimensions: 11.36 x 3.5 x 3.45 inches Weapon Mount: Picatinny quick release mount (interchangeable) Weight: 2.55 pounds Source: ATNCorp.com MSRP: $699

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Optics 19 Night Panther C Clip-On Sight Forget the days of having to keep a dedicated night hunting rifle or struggling to re-zero your scope every time you want to carry your afternoon hunt into the depths of night. Keep using reticles and drop points you are already familiar with by attaching the Panther C Clip-On Sight to the front of your 42mm to 80mm day optic objective lens. Aside from granting you convince, the Panther C can detect human activity at over 1,000 meters away through high-grade germanium optics with a 60 Hz refresh rate. The Panther C features a precise optical focus adjustment, long battery life, dual mode operation, video-out and germanium optics that produce high-quality, pristine images.

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SPECIFICATIONS Objective Lens: 50 mm Battery Life: 4 plus hours (Two 3v CR123) Digital Zoom: Not available in clip-on mode Eyepiece Adjustment: Manual focus Environmental: Water resistant Overall Dimensions: 250 x 70 x 75 mm Weight (with mount & batteries): 600 grams Source: NightOptics.com MSRP: $6,299

Torrey Pines T12-W

With a variety of subtle model designs, the T12 family (T12-W shown) of mini-thermal imager models offers a robust set of features, including optional mounting options (Picatinny rail, user handle, etc.). The field of view for the T12-W is 12.5 degrees, while the minimum focus distance is a scant 2 feet at 1 meter. The frame rate for the T12-W and T12-M are 30. In addition to on-board image processing enhancement modes, the W has manual and automatic NUC capability, temperature read-out, battery read-out and protection, auto power-save, multiple display views (white hot, color, black hot and NV green) and flexible mounting options, including tripod, Picatinny rail, user-handle mount and more.

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SPECIFICATIONS Field-of-View: 12.5° Resolution: 80 x 60 pixels FLIR Leptons/Instanton Battery Life: 8+ hours (CR123, 3V) Display: 1 inch OLEO Focus: Focus free Minimum Focus Distance: 2 feet (1 m) Overall Dimensions: 2 x 1.8 x 1.5 inches Weight without Battery: 64 grams Source: TPLogic.com MSRP: $900 AR-15

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UNDER

1,000 FOR LESS THAN A GRAND, YOU CAN SCORE A RELIABLE AND ACCURATE AR

By Brad Fitzpatrick | Courtesy of the manufacturers

T

he recent surge in popularity for AR-type rifles has introduced a lot of new competitors to action shooting sports—and convinced seasoned shooters the hype about “black rifles” is justified. ARs are robust, reliable, accurate and infinitely customizable for just about any application. They’re ideal for recreational shooting, competition, personal defense and hunting. With so many manufacturers offering quality ARs, there is no shortage of options available. I count myself among the group of experienced shooters who have become huge fans of AR rifles over the course of the last decade. The more I shot AR rifles, the more I came to appreciate just how well designed and functional these guns really are. With so many new models and so many different calibers, the versatile black rifle really is a firearm that can be used for multiple disciplines. The best part? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to own a solidly built platform. If you have $1,000 to spend, excellent options are available. These more-affordable versions operate very well and have excellent accuracy right out of their shipping containers. Following are eight of the best-bang-for-your-buck ARs on the market today. AR-15

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01 | DPMS Oracle The DPMS Oracle is an option-loaded AR that is light, well built and costs less than $750. It features a forged 7075 T6 A3 flattop upper, which offers ample room for mounting a variety of optics. The 16-inch 4140 chrome-moly barrel is topped with an A2 birdcage flash hider, and the entire rifle weighs less than 6½ pounds. The Pardus adjustable stock seats the rifle naturally against the shoulder, and this gun is chambered in 5.56 NATO. The Glacier Guard handguard is sleek, light and comfortable, and this is a great choice for home defense, recreational shooting and a variety of other applications. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: DPMS Oracle

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Pardus

Weight: 6.4 pounds

MSRP: $739

Website: www.dpmsinc.com

02 | CMMG Mk4 LE OR The Mk4 LE OR from CMMG is another affordable AR that offers great accuracy and years of reliable service. The carbine-length gas system operates smoothly, and the flattop design means that you can mount just about any optic you’d like on it. The trim M4 profile chrome-moly barrel is 16 inches and comes complete with an A2 flash hider. The ½-28 threads allow you to swap out the muzzle device easily and quickly if you wish. The M4 Type 2 handguard is compact and offers a comfortable grip surface. The triggers on these rifles are also excellent. A six-position stock allows the shooter to choose the perfect length of pull, and this gun is very compact and lightweight, measuring just 32 inches (collapsed) and weighing in at 6.3 pounds. Plus, it’s available in .300 Blackout. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: CMMG Mk4LE OR

Caliber: 5.56 NATO & .300 Blackout

Stock: Six-position available

Weight: 6.3 pounds

MSRP: $949.95

Website: www.cmmginc.com

03 | Mossberg MMR The Mossberg name is synonymous with producing durable, affordable shotguns that can survive years of hard use, and those same attributes carry over to the brand’s AR rifle. These gas-operated 5.56 guns utilize a 16.25-inch A2 barrel with compensator and come standard with a lightweight aluminum handguard and iron sights mounted on the top rail. That means the MMR comes out of the box ready to use, but there’s lots of space on the rail for mounting your favorite optics. The six-position collapsible stock offers 4 inches of length-of-pull variation, so shooters of all sizes and statures can shoot this rifle comfortably. In addition, the Mossberg’s versatile 1:8-twist rate barrel is well suited to a variety of different 5.56 loads. Even with sights, this gun weighs in at less than 7 pounds. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Mossberg MMR Carbine

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Six-position adjustable

Weight: 6.75 pounds

MSRP: $938

Website: www.Mossberg.com

04 | Ruger AR-556 The AR-556’s 7075-T6 forged upper has a flattop design and comes with Ruger’s Rapid Deploy folding rear sight. The rear sight is windage adjustable, and the front sight is adjustable for elevation, so it’s easy to dial in and get on target. If you want to mount an optic on the top rail, that’s no problem: simply drop the rear sight, and you have plenty of room for a reflex optic or variable-power scope. The handguard is made of heat-resistant, glass-filled nylon. The 16.1-inch 4140 chrome moly steel barrel has a 1:8 twist rate to stabilize a wide range of 5.56 ammo. The Ruger’s barrel nut and Delta Ring allow for one-person removal of the handguard, and this rifle will accept most carbine-length handguard replacements. The chrome-plated bolt carrier and gas key can stand up to years of hard use. These rifles are an affordable and reliable option. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Ruger AR 556

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Six-position adjustable

Weight: 6.5 pounds

MSRP: $799

Website: www.Ruger.com

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05 | Bushmaster XM-15 QRC Bushmaster offers a wide range of different AR rifles that are suitable for just about anything from serious competition to long-range varmint hunting. The XM-15 line offers a bunch of guns that are great values, but the QRC model might offer the most for your money. Why? The QRC (or Quick Response Carbine) comes with a quick-detach mini red-dot optic already in place. Other key features include a Super Light Contour 16-inch chrome-moly barrel with Melonite finish and an A2 flash hider. This 6-pound AR is one of the trimmest, lightest rifles you can find. With the pre-mounted optic, it’s an even better value at $769. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Bushmaster XM-15 QRC

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Six-position adjustable

Weight: 6 pounds

MSRP: $769

Website: www.Bushmaster.com

06 | Springfield Saint Springfield recently joined the AR market with its introduction of the feature-loaded Saint. Even in its most basic form, there’s not much “basic” about this rifle. It comes with a lengthy list of standard features, including Bravo Company pistol grip, trigger guard and stocks; Springfield’s own nickel boron-coated GI trigger; an exclusive Bravo Company KeyMod handguard; and a 16-inch chrome-moly vanadium barrel. The latter is rifled with a 1:8-inch right-hand twist and Melonite finish. In addition to all that, the Saint comes with Springfield’s flip-up dual aperture rear sight and a fixed A2 front sight. A mid-length gas system and a heavy tungsten buffer translate to years and years of hard use, and this is one rifle that you can count on for flawless function. At $899, it isn’t the cheapest AR on the list, but it certainly comes with a lot of great features, making it an exceptional value. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Springfield Saint

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Bravo six-position adjustable

Weight: 6.9 pounds

MSRP: $899

Website: www.SpringfieldArmory.com

07 | Savage MSR 15 Patrol Savage came to the AR game a little later than other brands, but the MSR 15 Patrol is clear evidence that a lot of planning went into the development of this gun. Savage has built its reputation on providing great products at a value price, and for $868, this rifle offers such accoutrements as a .223 Wylde target chamber, a Melonite QPQ finish to shrug off elements, a mid-length gas system and a mil-spec Enhanced trigger. It also features BLACKHAWK! furniture: a flip-up rear sight, adjustable AXIOM carbine stock, handguard and a KNOXX AR pistol grip. The gas block front sight offers a unique A-frame design that is stylish and functional, and the whole gun weighs right at 6 1/2 pounds. Savage has also built its reputation on accuracy, so the inclusion of 5R rifling in the 16 1/8-inch barrel ensures this rifle to be a tack-driver. AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Savage MSR 15 Patrol

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: BLACKHAWK! Axiom adjustable

Weight: 6.5 pounds

MSRP: $868

Website: www.Savagearms.com

08 | Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II The features on this versatile Smith & Wesson are impressive: a Magpul MBUS folding rear sight and adjustable A2 post front sight; a forged, integral trigger guard; a chromed firing pin for longevity; Armorite barrel finish to protect against wear; a six-position, adjustable carbine stock; and much more. With its 16-inch barrel, this DGI-operated AR weighs in at just 6.5 pounds, so it’s versatile enough for home defense and competition. The ample space on the top rail offers room to add the optic of your choice. The A2-style handguard is comfortable and resists heating, and the barrel has a 1:9-inch twist rate. So, what’s this rifle good for? In a word, everything. AR-15 AT A GLANCE

Rifle: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II

Caliber: 5.56 NATO

Stock: Six-position adjustable

Weight: 6.5 pounds

MSRP: $739

Website: www.Smith-Wesson.com

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CATCH THE

WAVE

DANIEL DEFENSEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NEW WAVE SUPPRESSOR IS TURNING THE TIDE; PLUS, A LOOK AT ITS NEW DDM4V7S SBR By Sean P. Egen | Photos by Thomas Carlson

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W

hen Daniel Defense invited me out to Georgia to test fire its new DD WAVE suppressor, my first thought was, “Yes! A chance to escape this oppressive 115 degree Las Vegas June heat!” So I hopped on a redeye and arrived in Savannah the next morning. But any thoughts of things being cooler in the “Peach State” quickly evaporated with the 70 percent humidity of the 97-degree day when I got out to the range. Oh well, I thought. It may not be much cooler, but at least I get to shoot the world’s first 3-D-printed suppressor.

3-D Explained Yep, you read that right: “3-D-printed.” And, yes, it is, in fact, the world’s first and only suppressor made that way. And just what, you may ask, is the point of 3-D printing a sound suppressor?

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With its unique manufacturing process and 300 Db reduction in sound, the WAVE is sure to get a lot of attention.

“WELDS ARE TYPICALLY THE WEAKEST PART OF ANY SUPPRESSOR. OUR WAVE DOESN’T HAVE ANY.” — THOMAS CARLSON, DANIEL DEFENSE “It eliminates the welds,” said Thomas Carlson, Daniel Defense’s director of marketing communications and my host for the weekend. “Welds are typically the weakest part of any suppressor. Our WAVE doesn’t have any.”

After that, they’re inspected, cleaned up and machined, have their bores drilled by EDMs, and then they are QC’d by Daniel Defense before being test fired, each and every suppressor. But the space-agey 3-D printing is what really makes these suppressors so unique.

There are other advantages to 3-D printing a suppressor as well, but I quickly learned from Carlson that speed was not one of them.

Making a Splash

“It takes seven days to 3-D print 30 suppressors,” Carlson explained. “We take a big piece of metal and then start printing 30 suppressors until they’re finished. Then they’re laser cut off the plate.”

The 3-D printer uses Inconel powder and a laser that melts the powder layer by layer until a fully formed suppressor results a week later. What’s more, because the suppressors are created one layer at a time, they are able to incorpo-

AR-15

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rate a unique baffle design, what Daniel Defense calls “cascading baffle geometry.” This overlapping baffle pattern resembles the waves of a conch shell, which is where the suppressor gets its WAVE moniker. DD claims its wavy baffles are more effective at attenuating sound than traditional ones.

a way that’s not achievable with any other current machining methods.” This manufacturing process also allows inline changes to be made easily and quickly, should there be any alterations to the suppressor’s design in the future. It’s simply a matter of reprogramming the printer instead of having to retool machines.

“A conch-shell pattern cannot be made with any type of conventional machining,” Carlson explained. “We’re able to overlap the baffles in

But enough about how these suppressors are manufactured. I was anxious to actually put some rounds through one. But first, I asked Thom-

The WAVE, fitted to a Daniel Defense DDM4V7s, has clean lines and promises superb reliability and durability.

as why Daniel Defense, most famous for its high-quality ARs, got into the suppressor biz in the first place. “It all started with our ISR (integrally suppressed rifle that shoots .300 Blackout),” said Carlson. “This is sort of an evolution from that. We learned a lot about baffle design limitations with that rifle. Being able to 3-D print, we were able to do more things we wanted to.” Getting into suppressors was also a logical next step for Daniel Defense, based on CEO/founder Marty Daniel’s plans for the company. “Marty eventually wants to become a full systems provider: handguns, rifles, suppressors, shotguns, etc. This is just expanding the lineup with suppressors, heading down the road he’s already on,” Carlson elaborated.

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A Hot Range The first thing I did at the range, after drinking a bottle of water and spraying myself with bug spray (we don’t have biting gnats in Nevada!), was install the WAVE onto the Daniel Defense V7S rifle we were using to test the “can.” This new 5.56mm short-barreled AR—highlighted in the sidebar titled “A Longer Short-Barreled Rifle”—was released by DD back in May of this year and is on its way to becoming one of its best-selling SBRs.

The WAVE provides its functionality in a managaeable size, sure not to hinder employment in a close-quarters environment.

“It’s rated from 5.56 all the way up to .300 WinMag,” Carlson explained. “So, you can pretty much run it on most guns.” He did acknowledge that matching the suppressor’s caliber with the rifle’s was best for maximum sound suppression, but that it shouldn’t af-

fect the rifle’s accuracy or repeatable shift from unsuppressed to suppressed fire. Having been SureFire’s marketing writer for a while a few years back, I am very familiar with how important repeatable, consistent shift in pointof-impact is for suppressor users, par-

Although the rifle we were using was a 5.56mm, the WAVE suppressor was chambered for 7.62mm. It’s the only caliber Daniel Defense currently offers, but it has plans to release a 5.56mm model later this year. I asked Carlson if using a 7.62mm suppressor on a 5.56mm rifle would be an issue.

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ticularly military operators. They don’t have time to re-zero a rifle when attaching a suppressor, so knowing just how much POI shift there will be (if any) when going with suppressed fire is critical.

WAVE. Simply drop the suppressor over the muzzle brake, screw it on until hand tight, and then screw the collar at the bottom in the opposite direction to lock the suppressor in place.

My time at SureFire also familiarized me with the concept of utilizing a muzzle brake or flash hider as a mounting platform for a suppressor. The DD WAVE does the same thing, but where it differs from a SureFire can is it does not use a levered “fast-attach” mechanism. Instead, it uses Daniel Defense’s own proprietary QD attachment collar, what it calls its ACME Thread Quick-Clamping System, which it claims will not carbon lock like other suppressors.

“There’s a spring-loaded collar in there with teeth, and the teeth expand over the metal flanges on the muzzle device to get an even more secure lock,” Carlson explained. “With that, we’re able to have a redundancy way to secure the can. It also helps with carbon buildup coming back out of the collar.”

No tools are required to attach the

Firing Time We placed the V7S rifle, outfitted with the WAVE suppressor, a Daniel Defense MFR XS 10-inch M-LOK rail and a Trijicon MRO ½ MOA red-dot

Thanks to innovations in both materials and manufacturing, Daniel Defense has produced a revolutionary new suppressor, the WAVE.

sight into a Caldwell rest on a shooting table, and Carlson sighted the rifle in at 50 yards using Atlanta Arms 77-grain HBTP match-grade ammo. Then we placed two stacked “25-yard Repair Center” paper targets at the same distance. The bottom target was Carlson’s; the top one, mine. I fired first. All three of my shots were left and low by 3 inches, but all were in the black and within 1.25 inches of each other. In my defense, I was starting to feel the effects of no sleep and the oppressive heat and humidity. Plus, a red dot on a black circle at 50 yards covers most of that circle, so it’s hard to know if you’re directly on the bull’s-eye. And, if I’m being totally honest, I just don’t’ shoot enough to be considered anything but an adequate shot.

“THE DD WAVE IS CERTAINLY ACCURATE AT 50 YARDS IN THE HANDS OF A SKILLED SHOOTER.” A Longer Short-Barreled Rifle The new DDM4V7S is Daniel Defense’s latest short-barreled rifle. With a barrel length of 11.5 inches, the V7S offers 1.2 inches more barrel than their Mk18, as well as M-LOK attachment technology on a ten-inch MFR XS 10.0 rail. “Law enforcement was asking for that barrel length,” said Daniel Defense Director of Marketing Communications Thomas Carlson. What’s more, because of its carbine-length gas system, the V7S is a lot less finicky about the types of ammo it will handle than other shorter-barreled rifles. “It’ll definitely tolerate a wider range of ammunition due to the longer gas system,” Carlson elaborated.

The V7S’s carbine-length gas system worked flawlessly the day I shot it, without a single malfunction on a hot and humid Georgia summer day. Its 11.5-inch barrel was easy to control and keep on target and, in my opinion, the rifle was every bit as maneuverable as the Daniel Defense Mk18, which I had the pleasure of spending some time behind last fall during some tactical training in Florida. The gun performed flawlessly, and any rounds that didn’t make it on target were a result of my fading energy and concentration, not the gun’s performance. The DDM4V7S has an MSRP of $1,679 and is available from Daniel Defense or its authorized dealers. Because it’s considered an SBR, it is regulated by the National Firearms Act.

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Carlson fired off his three rounds next, and they were stacked dead center, one through the bull’s-eye, the next also a bull’s-eye and just below it, the third just below it in the #10 circle. “The DD WAVE is certainly accurate at 50 yards in the hands of a skilled shooter,” I jotted into my notebook. It was remarkably quiet as well. Although I was wearing hearing protection (SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders), I did remove my earplugs for Carlson’s three rounds to get a better feel for just how quiet the WAVE made things. I know “remarkably quiet” is hardly a quantifiable scientific measurement,

TheTrijicon MRO, seen here with Daniel Defense's signature back-up iron sight (BUIS).

but we didn’t have a laboratory setup or sophisticated sound-measuring equipment to obtain decibel levels. I also know—again from my days at SureFire—that sound attenuation can vary greatly depending on myriad factors, including but not limited to topography, altitude, barometric pressure, and the make and model of the gun and ammo used. Even humidity can play a role, and I can’t emphasize enough how much of that there was in the air!

We put up fresh targets and prepared for another three-round test. This time I concentrated my best, fighting through my fatigue and rapidly depleting electrolytes from all of my sweating in the hot Georgia sun. I was still left and low by 2 inches, but my group was even tighter: 1 inch. Carlson’s next three rounds made an isosceles triangle, with its apex

“It reduces the sound signature by roughly 30 decibels,” Carlson added. “Down from around 160 to 130 dB, depending on environmental conditions.”

Go Site Seeing Daniel Defense DanielDefense.com Atlanta Arms AtlantaArms.com Trijicon Trijicon.com Caldwell BTIBrands.com

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“ITS 11.5INCH BARREL WAS EASY TO CONTROL AND KEEP ON TARGET ...” in the bull’s-eye and the other two vertices 1½ inches away in the #10 circle. My group was a bit tighter, but he was, once again, the better shot. When it came time to remove the WAVE and shoot unsuppressed, Carlson suggested we let the suppressor cool down before removing it. “How many rounds can you fire before it gets too hot?” I asked. “Ninety rounds and then letting a cool-off schedule happen is what the USSOCOM test their suppressors to for durability standards,” he answered. “Can the suppressor handle more? Probably. You can probably get it glowing red, but if you do that, over time the material will eventually start to degrade.” The WAVE suppressor came off, just as advertised, very easily and with no tools required. You will, however, need a good pair of gloves, unless you’re willing to wait long enough for it to cool down enough to be touchable with your bare hand. For the unsuppressed test round, I again fired first. I was surprised by how much louder the gun was—I would guess at least twice as loud— and how much more kick it had unsuppressed. Shooting suppressed had conditioned me to anticipate virtually no noise or recoil. Despite a bigger bang and more recoil, all three of my shots were in a ¾-inch group that was

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still low and left but had crept an inch to the right closer to the bull’s-eye than my previous suppressed group. When Carlson shot his three shots, I stood back and took in just how much louder the gun was and how much more recoil was going into his shoulder. Still, all three of his shots went directly through the bull’s-eye, each stacked on top of the other, forming a half-inch “I” in the middle of the target. It seemed the V7S was—in the hands of skilled shooter—deadly accurate, with or without a suppressor.

Perfect Performance For the rest of the afternoon, we blasted away at paper and steel until eventually, overcome by sleep deprivation and heat exhaustion, I could no longer keep the red dot on target, and my “adequate” shooting slipped into the “mediocre” range. I was just wasting time and ammo at that point. But during that entire afternoon, after burning through a maybe a dozen

By the Numbers

30

The WAVE reduces the sound signature by roughly this number of decibels.

1,157

In dollars, what the WAVE will run you

1,679

In dollars, the DDM4V7S’ MSRP

boxes of ammo, neither one of us experienced a single malfunction. Is the DD WAVE more durable than any other suppressor out there because of its no-weld construction? That was clearly beyond my scope of testing over a four-hour shooting session. It will remain to be seen as the WAVE makes its way onto the muzzles of more and more rifles over the next few years. But as far as a nice-shooting suppressor that attenuates noise and puts rounds on target, it certainly fit the bill. If you think it fits yours, and live in a state where you can actually own a suppressor, you can pick one up for $1,157. AR-15

DD WAVE SPECS Caliber: 7.62 x 51mm

Compatible Calibers: 5.56mm - .300 Win Mag8 Muzzle Threads: 5/8 x 24 TPI Mounting Platform: 17-4PH muzzle brake Ammo Tested: Atlanta Arms 77-grain HBTP Manufacturing # / SKU: 02-128-07344-047 Restricted Shipping: Yes Caliber: 5.56mm NATO Muzzle Thread: 1⁄2×28 TPI (threads per inch) Gas System: Carbine Barrel Length: 11.5 inches Profile: Government Product Weight: 5.8 pounds Length: 27 7/8 inches to 31 1/4 inches Magazine: DD magazine Case: Daniel Defense Full-Latch Impact plastic case Manufacturer: Daniel Defense

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FOR ALL BUDGETS, MAKE YOUR AR SUPER SWEET WITH THIS ULTIMATE ADD-ON GUIDE By Brad Fitzpatrick | Lead photo by Larry Atil Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

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handful of AR-15 owners leave their rifle in a stock or as-is configuration, but most people consistently look to add something new to their gun—and why not? The AR platform is mind-bogglingly customizable, and thousands of products on the market allow you to tailor your rifle to your own specifications. Here is a list of some of the new products that will help you upgrade your rifle quickly and easily. There is everything from a mag well grip adapter to state-of-the-art thermal optics. If you own an AR, there’s something on this list for you, regardless of your budget.

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01 SIG SRD556 Suppressor

02 CMMG Bravo AR Conversion Kit

03 Trijicon Accupower 1-8x28

www.sigsauer.com

www.cmmginc.com

www.trijicon.com

To become a “complete systems provider,” SIG has added several new divisions to its brand, including its electrooptic and ammunition lines. The company has also joined in the growing tide of those offering suppressors, and the new SRD556 is a fine example. It’s a 1/2x28-threaded suppressor with an Inconel 718 interior for maximum dependability, even in short barrel rifles. Wrench flats are on the rear of the can, and they can be drilled and pinned to your barrel as well. The lightweight SRD556 has a 1.625-inch diameter, which provides about 20 percent for internal volume that helps reduce noise and promote cooling. MSRP: $545

One of the keys to proficiency with an AR (all firearms, for that matter) is practice. The more you shoot, the better you’ll shoot. As we all know, live-fire practice costs money, and you may not be willing to spend the cash required to put a thousand rounds downrange each week. Enter CMMG’s slick Bravo AR conversion kit, which quickly and conveniently converts your AR-15 to shoot inexpensive .22 long rifle ammo. The process of converting your rifle is simple: All you need to do is swap out the existing 5.56mm/.223 Remington bolt carrier group for the drop-in CMMG bolt carrier and change out magazines. Each of these kits comes with a 25-round .22 magazine as well. Specific instructions on installation and load recommendations can be found on the CMMG website. This is a great way to get in some low-cost, reduced-noise, reduced-recoil practice, and it is also an excellent tool for teaching beginning shooters how to handle an AR. MSRP: $230

Versatility is key when selecting an AR optic, and the Trijicon Accupower 1-8x28 rifle scope allows you to engage targets at a wide variety of distances. The 34mm main body tube offers a wide field of view and allows for plenty of light transmission. The segmented circle/ MOA reticle (available in red or green) makes it easy to get on target quickly, even at long range. The true 1x magnification is perfect for close quarters, too. Because this is a first focal plane scope, the sub tensions remain constant throughout the magnification range. In other words, range estimations remain consistent regardless of the magnification of the scope. The Accupower’s illuminated reticle runs on one CR 2032 battery. If you’re looking for a do-all optic for your AR, this might just be the best option. MSRP: $1,699

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04 BLACKHAWK! AR-15 No-Latch Ambi Charging Handle

05 SIG ECHO1 Thermal Sight

06 FOXPRO Foxgrip

www.sigsauer.com

www.gofoxpro.com

www.blackhawk.com

Thermal imaging is quickly changing the way we hunt and shoot in reduced-lighting conditions. Once a technology primarily focused on the military and law enforcement market, thermal imaging has now become popular with civilian shooters. The design is like a traditional reflex sight because of the rapid and intuitive aiming, all while offering excellent situational awareness— something unable to be said of most traditional night vision equipment. The ECHO1 comes with five reticles and—get this—you can create your own reticle or upload ones that you want directly to the unit. The waterproof unit offers 1-2x magnification, and it will even take photos. Talk about high-tech! MSRP: $2,399

The team at FOXPRO calls has developed an ingenious method to turn the pistol grip of your AR rifle into a remote for your calling device. Known as the Foxgrip, it allows you to instantly operate your electric call. The Foxgrip will execute any of four commands in the field: preset 1, preset 2, toggle mute on/off and toggle auxiliary on/ off. The real advantage as a hunter is never having to take your eyes off the surrounding habitat—or your rifle—to make call changes. The unit runs on one 2032 lithium battery that the company says is good for more than 3,000 button presses. The durable grip is weatherproof and comfortable, perfect for long hunts. MSRP: $90

This innovative charging handle is held to the receiver via a leaf spring, eliminating the need to squeeze a latch to operate the handle. That’s great news, especially for left-handed shooters. Best of all, the durable 7075-construction and overmolded design adds very little weight, and the No-Latch Ambi Charging Handle is a “drop-in” accessory. The oversized handle makes it easy to operate without bashing your knuckles or navigating around large optics, too. Four overmolding color options are available (black, flat dark earth, gray and olive drab) to match the furniture on your rifle. MSRP: $40

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“ … ONE OF THE SIMPLEST WAYS TO IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR BLACK GUN SO IT RUNS FASTER, SMOOTHER AND WITH LESS FELT RECOIL.”

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07 BLACKHAWK! Knoxx Axiom A-Frame Carbine Stock

08 Cobalt Kinetics Pro Buffer System

09 Diamondhead Integrated Sighting System

www.blackhawk.com

www.cobaltkinetics.com

www.diamondhead-usa.com

Having the right stock makes your AR a more versatile firearm. If you can instinctively find the right length of pull for your own body type and have a consistent cheek weld shot to shot, you’ll improve both your accuracy and speed. The Knoxx Axiom A-Frame Carbine Stock features a forward length-of-pull adjustment cam that allows for a custom fit. The integrated fit adjustment screw allows the shooter to select the amount of play between the stock and receiver extension. The proprietary butt pad has a unique honeycomb design that swallows up felt recoil and allows you to recover and get back on target with very little muzzle movement. There are multiple QD (quick-detach) attachments, and these stocks are available in flat dark earth, gray, black and OD green to fit either commercial or mil-spec buffer tubes. MSRP: $60

The Pro Buffer System is one of the simplest ways to improve the performance of your black gun so it runs faster, smoother and with less felt recoil. The kit contains four weights that allow the end user to create a 2.6-, 3.6- or 4.6-ounce buffer. With Cobalt Kinetics’ four spring options, it means you have a total of 12 combinations available to fine tune your rifle and make it run better than ever before. It’s a simple and effective way to make your AR run more smoothly, regardless of its design. MSRP: $195

Having a high-quality set of iron sights—whether they are your back-up iron sights (BUIS) for an optic or your primary sighting system—are non-negotiable on an AR. One of the absolute best iron-sight systems available today is the Diamondhead Integrated Sighting System, which features a rear sight with a diamond-shaped housing and two diamond-shaped apertures, one fine and one coarse. The rear sight offers secure .5 MOA adjustments for dialing in and they are the same height as the A2-style front sight, also contained in a diamond housing. These sights fold down and can be deployed instantly when needed. When it comes a to BUIS setup for the AR, the easy-to-mount Diamondhead sights are truly in a class by themselves. They are perfect for close-quarters defensive shooting and equally well-suited for taking mid-range shots with the fine aperture. These versatile sights are available in flat dark earth and black. MSRP: $238

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“… THOUSANDS OF PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET ALLOW YOU TO TAILOR YOUR RIFLE TO YOUR OWN SPECIFICATIONS.”

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10 Mossberg JM Pro Drop-In Match Trigger

11 Safariland B-Square Mag Well Grip Adapter

www.mossberg.com

www.safariland.com

Mossberg launched its new MMR Pro AR rifle this year with a drop-in trigger system known as the JM Pro. In case you didn’t know, the “JM” stands for Jerry Miculek—the world-beating competition shooter who helped Mossberg design this trigger. With a virtually creep-free design and user adjustable 3- to 6-pound pull weight, the JM Pro is the ideal trigger for just about any application, whether competition, recreational shooting or hunting. You don’t have to own a Mossberg rifle to use these products, though; they are available as an accessory and will drop in to any AR with .154-inch and hammer holes. One of the fastest ways to improve your shooting and shrink your groups is to upgrade your rifle’s trigger, and this is an excellent option. MSRP: $161

Sometimes the best accessories aren’t fancy, expensive or hard to install. Case in point: the B-Square Mag Well Adapter. Thousands of AR shooters position their non-shooting hand on the front of the magazine well, both for comfort and to keep the rifle squarely locked against the shoulder. The lightweight polymer B-Square Grip Adapter fits easily in place on the front of the mag well, adds virtually no weight to the gun and provides a good anchor point for the hand. Contouring on the adapter adds comfort and keeps the hand locked firmly on the rifle, making it easy to swing the muzzle quickly and shoot accurately. After testing, I bought one of these for each of my rifles, and I imagine some of you will do the same. MSRP: $20

Federal Fusion’s New AR Ammo

Fusion has developed a line of ammunition specially designed to operate in AR rifles. All of the components of these loads—primer, propellant, bullet and case— are optimized for 16-inch barrel AR-15s and 20-inch AR-10s. This promotes reliable functioning and helps improve accuracy. The skived tip of the Fusion bullet provides proper expansion, even at long range, and the combination of a molecularly fused jacket and pressure-formed core provides consistent results every time—an important consideration for those who choose to hunt with the AR rifle. Besides the .223 and .308 offerings, these loads are also available for the 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout and .338 Lapua, so no matter the game or the rifle, there’s something in the new Fusion lineup to feed your AR. AR-15

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PIMP YOUR CUSTOM BUILD WITH AN MOA BITE, BUILD YOUR OWN PERFORMANCE AR ON A BLUE-COLLAR BUDGET Story and photos by Kevin Reese

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s a young Marine, to say I was familiar with my M-16A2 would have been an understatement. Depending on where we were and what we were up to, it stayed with me 24-7, even taking up room in my hooch and worse, in my sleeping bag. I knew all its strengths… and weaknesses. As called upon in our Marine Rifleman’s creed, I knew my rifle like a brother. The resulting familiarity created a bit of a problem for me the first time I laid eyes on a Colt AR-15A2 in the PX. I wanted one bad! My only nagging problem was a salary of just $620 per month. Fortunately, dog days don’t last forever. Years later, as a civilian, I stepped up to my first AR-15 and caught the fever. While various ARs came and went over the years, none of them were chambered in 6.8 SPC II. So, what’s a crusty ol’ Jarhead with an affinity for AR rifles to do? Build one.

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If you’ve never built your own AR-15, now is your chance. Check out this list of tools, parts and step-by-step instructions to build your AR-15 and save money doing it. (See image 01) Total price of this 6.8 SPC II AR-15 build project is $804. An adjustable A4 stock ($40) can be substituted to lower the cost to $704 while changing the caliber 5.56, and choosing a Radical Firearms M4 profile round rail complete upper ($374) would lower the build cost to just $494. To be clear, I chose Radical Firearms’ upper because of complete AR performance I’ve experienced in the past, fair pricing and, most importantly, a lifetime warranty. To me, peace of mind means a lot. Considering pricing and the market, this 6.8 SPC II build easily saves me $200.

Stay with me here …

02. Push in on the magazine catch and begin screwing the magazine catch button onto the threaded post protruding through the side of the receiver. (See image 03) Then, push on the magazine catch button (the eraser end of a pencil works well here) while rotating the magazine catch, like a lever, until end of the post is flush with the face of the magazine catch button.

01. Place the magazine catch spring

03. Using a vise block or magazine

THE BUILD

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over the post on the magazine catch and insert the threaded post through the opening on the lower receiver with milling in the shape of the magazine catch. (See image 02)

inserted in the magazine well, secure the block, thus the lower receiver, in a vise then insert the bolt catch buffer into the bolt catch spring and place it into the milled well located inside the bolt catch channel. (See image 04) 04. Insert the bolt catch and use an Allen wrench or small-diameter punch to align the holes for the bolt catch roll pin.(See image 05) 05. Stop now and cover the receiver in tape. I used packing tape, but masking tape works well. Use enough tape to cover the side of the receiver up to the first bolt catch roll pin insertion hole.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;AS CALLED UPON IN OUR MARINE RIFLEMANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CREED, I KNEW MY RIFLE LIKE A BROTHER.â&#x20AC;? 06

of the upper forward edge of the trigger and the legs extending lower on the trigger, facing forward. 10. With the larger diameter end of the disconnector spring facing down, insert it into the top of the trigger.

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11. Place the disconnector on top of the trigger with the inside well of the disconnector over the top of the disconnector spring. (See image 07) 12. Carefully lower the trigger assembly down into the well of the lower receiver. The trigger will protrude from the bottom of the lower, within the opening of the trigger guard.

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06. Use needle-nose pliers to hold the bolt catch roll pin in place while lightly tapping it into the hole. The Allen wrench or punch will be forced out as you drive the bolt catch roll pin in. This helps maintain alignment until the pin enters the final hole. Continue to tap the end of the pin until it the hammered edge is flush with the opening. Remove the tape.

08. Using a razor blade or small pocketknife, carefully compress the takedown detent and detent spring and insert the front pivot pin, starting on the side of the lower receiver with the dust cover, with the detent groove facing down, in the direction of the takedown detent. Once in place, slide it in and out a few times to ensure the spring-loaded takedown detent is keeping the front pivot pin from falling out.

07. Turn the lower receiver vertically in the block with the forward edge of the receiver facing up. Insert a detent spring and takedown detent in the small, vertical hole next to the larger, horizontal takedown pinhole.

(See image 06)

09. Secure the lower receiver in the vise with the magazine well facing down again. Install the trigger spring on the trigger with the stirrup in front

13. Using a small-diameter Allen wrench or punch again, align the holes of the lower receiver, trigger and disconnector. (See image 08) Using your fingers or needle-nose pliers to hold a trigger pin in place, carefully drive it in by tapping lightly with the mallet or hammer. The pin should insert easily; if not, improve the hole alignment. Do not force the pin. 14. Install the hammer spring on the hammer with the stirrup located just below the opening of the hook and long spring legs protruding low and toward the back of the hammer. 15. While leaning the hammer back, with the hook oriented to face the stock area of the lower receiver, place the hammer down onto the trigger assembly. The lower legs of the hammer spring should lie over the top of the trigger pin you inserted earlier;

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the pistol grip. Operate the selector switch. The switch should click distinctly into each position.

this creates required spring tension. (See image 09)

16. While pushing the hammer forward (there will be tension – do not let go), use a small-diameter Allen wrench or punch pin to hold pinhole alignment.

21. Insert the buffer retainer spring in the round opening that will soon accept the stock tube. Insert the buffer retainer pin on top of the buffer retainer spring. (See image 11)

17. Using your fingers or needle-nose pliers to hold a trigger pin in place, carefully drive it in by tapping lightly with the mallet or hammer. The pin should insert easily; if not, improve the hole alignment. Do not force the pin. This completes installation of your trigger and hammer. (See image

22. Install the stock tube. Thread the stock tube on until its edge covers the back edge of the buffer retainer pin. (See image 12) If you choose to use an A4-style stock, you must use a castle nut (not supplied with the DPMS lower receiver parts kit). Use an AR armorer’s wrench to tighten

10)

down the castle nut to 40 in.-lbs. If you are using a stock like the Luth-AR MBA-1, a castle nut is not necessary. The stock tube should bottom out in perfect position. (See image 13) 23. Insert the buffer into the buffer spring. Orienting the buffer assembly spring first, push the assembly into the stock tube until the face of the buffer locks behind the buffer retainer pin. 24. Starting on the side of the lower receiver with the dust cover, install the takedown pin with the detent groove facing the stock tube, in the direction of the takedown detent.

18. Push the selector switch into the round opening so the lever faces the stock area and the indicator faces the “safe” marking. 19. Remove the lower receiver from the vise and invert it on your workbench. Insert the selector detent and selector spring in the small opening next to the large threaded opening reserved for the pistol grip. 20. Slowly lower the pistol grip onto the lower receiver. Make sure you do not pinch or kink the selector spring. Hold the pistol grip in place. Install the pistol grip lock washer on the pistol grip screw, and then thread the pistol grip screw into place to secure

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UPGRADE with

Fill in the Blank

-BAMF Linear Comp 7.62

-BAMF Linear Comp 5.56

-Universal Billet Stock -Pro Muzzle Brake -Billet Grip -Edge Muzzle Brake -Pro Buffer System -Adjustable Billet Stock -Team Handguard -Edge Handguard

Cobalt Kinetics accessories now available. https://cobaltkinetics.com/upgrade-your-ar-15/


“ … BUILD YOUR AR-15 AND SAVE MONEY DOING IT!” 25. Install a detent spring, followed a takedown detent at the back of the lower receiver where the stock will be installed. The small opening for the detent spring and takedown detent is just below and to the right of the large stock-tube threads. 26. Slide the stock forward over the stock tube until it is flush, being careful not to pinch or kink the detent spring. The stock will be under mild tension because of the detent spring. Hold it in place and turn the lower receiver and stock assembly vertically so the end of the stock is facing up. 27. Remove the butt plate and find the stock tube screw. Insert the stock tube screw into the back of the stock

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and stock tube and tighten. I tightened this screw to 40 in.-lbs. with a Wheeler torque driver from Brownells. Reattach the butt plate. Once the stock is installed, operate the takedown pin. It should open and close without falling out. 28. Ensure takedown/pivot pins are in open positions. Slide the upper receiver onto the pivot point so the holes of the upper receiver and lower receiver are aligned. Close the pivot pin. (See image 14) 29. Swing the upper receiver down onto the lower receiver. Ensure the takedown holes are aligned and close the takedown pin. Your AR build is complete! (See image 15)

RANGE TIME Once my 6.8 SPC II AR-15 was complete, I accessorized with a Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 riflescope, ZRO Delta DLOC-M4 optic mount and Firefield Stronghold bipod. (See image below) My first trip to the range with this rifle resulted in consistent 1-MOA perfor-

mance using Hornady 6.8 SPC 120gr SST ammunition. Of course, when you save money, even with MOA performance and great accessories, there’s another itch to scratch … upgrades.

PIMPING MY RIG Taking your AR-15 to the next level is one of perks of any money-saving project. A handful of critical upgrade areas, for both performance and aesthetics, are in the handguard, trigger, muzzle brake and pistol grip. Because I saved just about $200 on this build project, I’ve already started pimping this rig out. I just received a Timney Calvin Elite AR trigger from Brownells and a larger-diameter quadraid handguard from Radical Firearms. I also ordered a ZRO Delta Cowl induction muzzle brake and a few Hexmag products, including a tactical rubber grip, magazines and grip tape. If you happen to see some AR fanatic waiting by their mailbox, it’s definitely me. What began as a budget build is quickly turning into one heck of an AR-15 beast! AR-15

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AR15-2017-Adaptive Tactical 7/12/17 10:10 AM Page 1

THE TOOLS Following are the items needed: Hammer (preferably ball-peen or a hard-plastic mallet); armorer’s AR wrench (for the castle nut on an A4 stock, if preferred); pocket knife or razorblade; needle-nose pliers; tape; small diameter Allen wrench or punch; Torque driver (in.-lbs.); lower receiver vise block (or a magazine you don’t mind making ugly) and a vise.

THE PARTS & COST Radical Firearms complete 6.8 SPC II upper with skeletonized M-Lok Handrail Price: ($584) Noreen Firearms Billet Lower Receiver Price: ($40) Luth-AR MBA-1 Stock Price: ($140) MS Lower Receiver Build Kit Price: ($40) Total Price: The bottom line for this 6.8 SPC II AR-15 build project is $804. Note: An adjustable A4 stock ($40) can be substituted to lower the cost to $704 while changing the caliber 5.56 and choosing a Radical Firearms M4 Profile Round Rail Complete Upper ($374) would lower the build cost to just $494!

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HEAVY DUTY. EX Performance Stock for AR15 /AR10 Recoil Reduction – non-slip, 1.25" Thick rubber recoil pad Integrated QD swivel attachment adjustable length-of-pull oversized adjustment pin For Mil-Spec extension tubes WWW.ADAPTIVETACTICAL.COM

Performance Shooting Gear CC-FALL16-Elite Suvival Systems 7/18/16 11:12 AM Page 1 208-442-8000

7/27/17 2:13 AM


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AMMUNITION

THE FACTS AND FICTION OF WHAT TO FEED YOUR AR

By Steven Lieberman | Photos by Larry Atil

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W

hen I was 16, a friend of mine was gifted a Corvette Stingray. She was gorgeous. I am referring to the car, mind you—my friend was a 135-pound slug with a bowl haircut. The closest thing he would have for the next few years that could approximate female companionship was the looks he would get cruising in that car. But I digress… With only $20 to $30 in our possession at any given time, discretionary expenditures were minimized. One area my friend skimped on was quality

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Whether you're hunting, competing or on duty, choosing the right ammunition allows you to really maximize the performance of your rifle.

gasoline. I remember one weekend in Huntington Beach, Calif., with us pulling into an off-brand gas station and filling the tank with the cheapest gas available. Even to a guy who drove a powder-blue Ford Tempo, something about putting cheap gas into a Stingray just seemed—I don’t know—sacrilegious. It also had practical repercussions. Cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, heading toward Newport Beach, his gorgeous, four-wheeled she-devil abandoned him and gave up the ghost at a red light. Sputtering and convulsing, she protested her noxious food one last time, and then left us stalled as women in skimpy bathing

suits walked by and giggled. Fast-forward several years to my first high-end hunting rifle. Having shot in long distance competitions, I knew the necessity of customized ammunition for optimal downrange performance. Now, rather than simply trying to hit a steel target at distance, I had to consider terminal ballistics to quickly and ethically take an animal. My rifle may have cost a few thousand dollars, but the ammo feeding it needed to match the performance level of my firearm. Sure, there was cheap bulk ammunition available both online as well as my local gun store;

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groups, but the shooter needs to be operating at peak performance as well for the test to have any dispositive meaning. I was not operating at maximum performance that day. Each three-shot group had two subminute-of-angle hits, and one flyer. I knew it could not be the ammo that was causing the errant round; it had to be me. A father and son came wandering by and he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was working up a hunting round. He looked through my spotting scope and saw my impacts. “Looks pretty good!” “Nah… I think I’m screwing up the test. I want to figure out which load gives me the tightest group, and I think I’m throwing constantly the third shot.” He looked again. “Hmm… well… if you’re not happy with that, you must be going after game that is pretty damn small.” He had a point.

“IT IS MORE APPROPRIATE TO SAY THERE ARE MORE THINGS THAT COULD POTENTIALLY GO WRONG THAT COULD AFFECT ACCURACY.” however, I wanted to make sure, after such a sizeable investment in both rifle and optics, I was matching them in quality when it came to ammunition. To that end, I employed the services of one of my favorite hand-loaders, who had made competition-quality, matchgrade ammo for some of my other long-distance rifles. He gave me several combinations and a multi-bull’s-eye target, which I set out at 100 yards.

My mission was to fire three shot groups into each of the bull’s-eyes. The ammo had been presorted so that each target would show the performance of three similar loads. If everything worked the way it was supposed to, I would be left with a singular bull’s-eye target with the tightest minute-of-angle group possible. At least this was the theory. Ammunition can do a lot to tighten

The best load is one that allows you to max perform your rifle, regardless of the environment or shooting conditions.

I was looking for extreme precision in a shooting application that honestly required the ability to hit a pie pan. I still wanted the confidence of knowing that I had the best load possible, but I had to take a step back and really ask myself what I was doing. What was truly “good enough?” If you have been shooting for some time, you have probably noticed the massive variety of loads available for just about any caliber you want. Understanding how ammunition works, the vagaries of factory versus custom loads and the purpose behind the rounds are crucial to making sure you have the right ammunition available for the application at hand.

Factory vs. Custom This is one of the more delicate of questions. Like the story I told above,

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what is the purpose of eschewing factory ammunition for more expensive (and make no mistake: It is more expensive) custom loads? One, of course, is precision. The other, I am very convinced, is superstition. Every time I go afield, I carry a very special knife on my hip. I do use it from time to time to skin an animal, or pry open the lid of a can, but I have other specialized knives just as capable—if not better. Why then do I carry that stupid thing? Because every hunt, every mission, every encounter I have been on where that particular knife was present ended successfully. Success, in this case, I define as, “I came home.” The overall objective might not have been met; there are too many variables to always be 100 percent successful, but my broken body was not left on the field. So, like a totem, I carry it. Regardless if I have intent or opportunity to use it. Custom ammunition can lend itself to the same superstitious mindset. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that. If it gives you confidence, you are ahead of the game. You do what you need to do to win. I don’t care if it is a St. Michael key chain or a magazine full of “Perfectomundo” Custom Hand Loads. Nomenclature is also something that can come into play here as well. You may have just entered the world of tactical shooting and have been playing around with your 5.56 or your 7.62, when suddenly someone gives you a box of .223 Remington or .308 Winchester. You look at the box, over to your rifle, and back to your box. Will this stuff work in my rifle? Will my barrel explode the moment I try to shoot it? Will the accuracy of my rifle be compromised forever? You need to understand where this nomenclature comes from, and the military and civilian versions of most rifle calibers.

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“WITHOUT PROPER AMMUNITION ... IT WILL BE VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE THE PERFORMANCE THAT YOU MUST DEMAND.” A good round is one that runs consistently and without hiccups through your rifle. Every time you pull the trigger, nothing other than BANG will do.

.223 Remington vs. 5.56mm NATO

The big one is .223 and 5.56. There is a boatload of AR-15 platforms and, unfortunately, a lot of people refer to them by either their caliber or military designation. An AR-15 and an M4 are functionally the same thing (with the exception of the fully automatic capability of the M4). To be consistent, someone who is referring to an M4 would state that the weapon fires 5.56. The person referring to an AR-15 would state that they are shooting .223. Just like the AR-15 is the civilian version of an M-16, the .223 Remington

is the civilian version of a 5.56mm NATO, and just as there are subtle distinctions between the M-16 and the AR, there are subtle distinctions between .223 and 5.56. The geometric configuration of the two rounds is virtually identical; however, pressures may be slightly greater in a 5.56mm NATO cartridge. That said, the standardization practice in 5.56 does in fact vary considerably, so that may not even be the case. For the most part, this is a distinction without a difference. Many are told one caliber must not,

INCREASED MUZZLE VELOCITY, INCREASED HIT PROBABILITY Ballistics data supports the notion that, while increasing your muzzle velocity, you’re also increasing your hit probability at distance. Keep in mind that is also in direct correlation with your barrel length, so your mileage may vary—so to speak. Bottom line is higher muzzle velocity translates into higher kinetic energy transference at distance. That means a bigger thump on the target due to the physics of heavy bullet weight and higher muzzle velocity.

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under any circumstances, be used across platforms: If the weapon has 5.56mm NATO stamped on the barrel, then it must only fire 5.56! Likewise for .223 Remington. In practice though, this does not seem to have proven itself to be a legitimate concern. Shooters mix and match .223 and 5.56 regularly. While accuracy will suffer with the lack of consistency of ammunition, most AR users seem to be quite happy with the level of accuracy achieved with the use of both calibers.

7.62mm NATO vs. .308 Winchester The differences between military and civilian calibers are the same when we knock it up to the .30-caliber range. The AR-10 platform is designed to shoot a .308 or, if you happen to be doing the military thing, 7.62x51mm NATO.

Don't be afraid to shoot a variety of rounds under a variety of conditions. Find the load that works best in your particular gun, and go with it.

This round is physically larger, matched with greater velocities and operationally capable out to much greater distances. Those greater distances translate to the increase of variables that could affect external ballistics and flight paths. So, it is not so much we expect the .308 or 7.62 to be more “accurate.” It is more appropriate to say there are more things that could potentially go wrong that could affect accuracy. Chief among them is a lack of consistency. While both the 7.62 and .308 will perform adequately through the same rifle platform, the lack of consistency in pressures will—by definition—create a variable that is almost impossible to compensate for. While you technically “can” feed both types of ammunition into the platform, if accuracy at distance is the goal, then doing so could lead inevitably to missed or errant shots.

“CUSTOM AMMUNITION CAN LEND ITSELF TO THE SAME SUPERSTITIOUS MINDSET.”

Feed Wisely Regardless of the route you take, the goal in any shooting exercise is repetitive competency. Making sure your rifle is clean, oiled, and the optics secured properly are necessary elements to ensuring a functional platform. Making sure you as the shooter have developed the skill sets necessary to repetitively put lead on target requires repetitive training as well. Without the proper ammunition— the third leg of the stool—it will be virtually impossible to achieve the performance that you must demand. The purpose of a rifle is singular: a platform to consistently put a ballistic projectile into a predetermined time and place. If your rifle has been compromised by the ammo that you fed it, then it cannot reasonably live up to its purpose. AR-15

Ammunition Sources (Partial List) Armscor www.Armscor.com Barnes Bullets www.BarnesBullets.com Black Hills www.Black-Hills.com CCI www.CCI-Ammunition.com Corbon www.Corbon.com Federal Premium Ammunition www.FederalPremium Ammunition.com FN Herstal www.FNHerstal.com Gorilla www.GorillaAmmo.com Hornady www.Hornady.com Liberty Ammunition www.LibertyAmmunition.com Remington Arms www.Remington.com Sig Sauer www.SigSauer.com Winchester www.Winchester.com

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MSR PUT THE SPORT IN

CHALLENGE YOURSELF IN COMPETITION â&#x20AC;¦ AND IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS IN THE PROCESS Story and Photos by Brad Fitzpatrick | Lead Photo by Larry Atil

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P

ushing your own limits helps improve performance, and that’s particularly true in the shooting sports—whether you’re shooting a round of skeet at the local club, ringing steel at a defensive pistol course or trying to read mirage to make an accurate 1,000-yard shot. Shooting sports also help improve shooting skills (vastly, in many cases), and it’s a very enjoyable way to spend a weekend afternoon. If you’re new to the world of AR-type rifles or an old hand shooting them, there’s a place in competition for you. If you like action-shooting sports where you’re moving and shooting both static and dynamic targets, you can do that. If you prefer to shoot at really long-range targets from a static position, you can do that, too! If you want to use a completely bare-bones, stock rifle with no bells or whistles, there is a competition discipline for that as well. That’s one of the beautiful things about owning an AR

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If you’re shooting 3-gun, you’ll need a rifle that’s accurate and easy to move with as this competition mimics defensive shooting situations.

“…3-GUN IS VERY MUCH ABOUT ADAPTATION AND YOUR ABILITY TO ADJUST BOTH YOUR CADENCE AND SHOOTING FOUNDATION ON THE FLY.” rifle: There’s seemingly no end to the modifications you can apply to these firearms, and the variety of fun, safe and competitive events can employ them in. Many different AR competitions are available, but we will focus on three of the primary disciplines that are available to shooters today. These include Multi-Gun competition, NRA High Power Rifle and F-Class. All three vary in their rules and competitive set up, but all three offer shooters a perfect opportunity to advance as an AR shooter. Unlike skeet and trap shooting, where the targets are presented

in much the same way each time you compete, there are variations from course to course and range to range that will require you to adapt to various target presentations.

IMGA/USPSA 3-Gun Three-gun competition has become very popular, and with good reason. As the name implies, three firearms are utilized in the competition: an AR-type rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. The intended goal of 3-gun is to make you a very versatile shooter with all three types, learning to engage very different target presentations, and learning to shoot from both static and

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dynamic foundations as you move through the course. In addition, the courses of fire themselves vary greatly. Some 3-gun courses require very little movement, while others demand you move almost constantly. Unlike some of the other competitions that utilize AR rifles, 3-gun is very much about adaptation and your ability to adjust both your cadence and shooting foundation on the fly. In fact, part of your score is dictated by the speed with which you complete the course, not just good shot placement on the targets. The basic parameters are set up through the governing body of the competition, either the International Multi Gun Association (IMGA) or the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), but there is plenty of flexibility within the guidelines to allow clubs to create a unique layout that is both practical and challenging. The bulk of rifles used in these competitions are ARs that are light and accurate, most having 18- or 20-inch barrels. The presentations of the targets typically include engagement at both close and intermediate distances, where accuracy is important but does not demand the type of precision you’d need for a high-power or F-class course. Within the 3-gun discipline, there are many divisions such as limited, open, tactical and heavy metal, to name a few. Beginners will likely be engaging in the limited class, and the moniker denotes specific restrictions on the firearms that you use. For your AR, you can use either iron sights or a non-magnified, reflex-type optic, such as a red dot or holographic sight. Additionally, the use of bipods is prohibited. There are similar restrictions on handguns and shotguns when shooting limited, too. Stepping up to the tactical class, you may use a magnified optic. The clear majority of limited and tactical 3-gun shooters use ARs chambered for 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington. Given the relatively close engage-

A Word of CAUTION … When you start competing with your gun—and this applies to any firearm competition—don’t gauge your success or failure on how quickly you are standing on the winner’s podium or how much hardware you collect. These sports are meant to be enjoyed, but the most important element is your growth as a shooter. You’ll likely meet some very seasoned competitors who are willing to share their insight with you and help you improve your skills. You’ll also learn the proper techniques to build your shooting foundation upon. Regardless of whether you finish first or last, you need to recognize the ultimate prize in these competitions: learning and becoming more adept at handling your firearm. Don’t let early setbacks ruin your confidence. Enjoy yourself and keep improving.

LEFT: Smith & Wesson also offers their M&P15 Competition, which sports an 18-inch barrel with 5R rifling and a 1:8inch twist rate, topped off with a S&W Performance Center muzzle brake. The two-stage competition trigger makes it easy to deliver precise, accurate shots and the versatile VLTOR I-Mod stock is ideal for long days of rough competition. The MSRP on the M&P15 Competition is $1,579. RIGHT: The Savage MSR-10 Long Range is a great rifle for serious long-range shooting and it is designed specifically for this task. Accuracy is good enough that it is suitable for events like NRA High Power.

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ment distances, ammunition selection and the twist rate of your barrel are not as critical as they would be for other competition disciplines. In short, the 5.56 AR rifle you currently own, regardless of the sights or optics, will probably work fine for either of these classes. The heavy metal division requires the use of large-caliber firearms—3-inch magnum loads in your 12-gauge shotgun, and a .45-caliber handgun, for example. The ARs for this division must be 7.62/.308s, and that means you’ll need to step up to a heavier-caliber firearm if you currently own a 5.56 AR-15. The open division allows for much more customization of your guns. Three-gun competition is dynamic and fast-paced, ideal for someone who enjoys the tactical feel of scenarios that mimic aspects of “defensive” AR shooting. There will be instances of added benefit if you can shoot quickly, but your score will drop with each miss. Ultimately, this discipline will teach you not only to shoot accurately, but to shoot quickly and respond to different shots and setups.

NRA High Power Rifle These competitions are based on four primary building blocks of competition: standing slow-fire, where the shooter fires 10 rounds within 10 minutes at 200 yards; a rapid-fire sitting (or kneeling) course of fire, where the shooter fires 10 rounds at 200 yards in 60 seconds; rapid-fire prone, where 10 shots must be delivered at 300 yards in less than 70 seconds; and slow-fire prone, where the shooter fires 10 rounds at 500 or 600 yards in less than 10 minutes. Those are the basic components of the competition, but not all competitions involve all four courses of fire. Some matches are “single-stage,” and the shooter will only shoot one course of fire two times (a total of 20 rounds) to determine a score in the competition. As you can see, the NRA High Power Rifle discipline—while not as fast-

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If you love longrange shooting, then NRA High Power or F-Class may be the right competition for you. High Power may require shooting from a standing, kneeling or prone position while F-Class is all prone. Note: Targets circled above.

Great AR Competition Scope:

Trijicon 1-8x28 AccuPower Finding the right optic to mount on your AR is critical for serious competition shooting. The Trijicon AccuPower is just such an optic, thanks to its versatile 1-8x magnification range, multi-coated broadband anti-reflective glass and a massive 34 mm tube that allows plenty of light transmission. True 1x magnification makes fast, close shots possible in 3-gun, and at 8x you can make long shots as well. This optic’s illuminated reticle operates on a single CR2032 lithium battery and it can be changed quickly and easily without tools—a major consideration. Additionally, there are 11 individual brightness settings with intermediate off positions, so you can match the illumination to the shooting conditions. This first focal plane scope comes with two new reticles as well; a segmented circle in either MOA or MIL for rapid target acquisition and a proper aiming point. MSRP: $1,699 | www.trijicon.com

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“… [F-CLASS] IS SPECIFICALLY SUITED FOR THOSE AR OWNERS WHO WANT TO WRING THE ABSOLUTE BEST GROUPS FROM THEIR ULTRA-ACCURATE GUNS.”

paced as 3-gun—offers a wide range of ballistic criteria that test the skill and marksmanship of even the most seasoned rifleman. High Power combines long-range accuracy with speed, and helps you learn to use a variety of shooting positions. This type of competition is particularly valuable for hunters as it allows you to practice several different elements of practical field shooting—shooting from various positions, wind doping and holdover adjustments. High Power is a great way to improve your shooting skills regardless of whether you will ever apply these principles to the field. There are different divisions based upon your optic and firearm (“service” versus “match”) and there’s a place for you in this competition regardless of your abilities or your equipment.

F-Class This discipline is dedicated specifically to long-range shooting, with targets stretching from 300 to 1,200 yards. This is an arena that is specifically suited for those AR owners who want to wring the absolute best groups from their ultra-accurate guns. F-Class is all about precision, so if you love tinkering with loads and rifles and aren’t happy with groups larger than MOA, this might be just the thing to hold your interest. For AR-15s, most of the rifles in this specialty are equipped with optics that have up to 20x magnification. Also,

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Serious competition guns like the Mossberg MMR Pro offer an advantage, but you don’t absolutely have to have a dedicated gun to shoot any of these competitions.

bullet selection and twist rates become very critical pieces of the equation. Most shooters favor 5.56 rifles with faster twist rates because they stabilize heavy, high-BC, wind-bucking rounds, which are the bread and butter of long-range shooting competitions. Unlike the other arenas I’ve mentioned, you won’t be standing or moving when you shoot. F-Class is a series of engagements fired entirely in the prone position, which is actually beneficial for shooters who don’t like the aches and pains involved with running and gunning, or firing out of non-standard positions. There are two divisions in F-Class: F-Open allows the use of rifles less than 35 inches and weighing less than 22 pounds. Adjustable front rests may be used. In F-T/R competition, the rifle must be either .223 or .308, and weigh under 18 pounds. Another stipulation of F-T/R is the front rest must be a bipod, while the rear can be a sandbag. Competition consists of 60 rounds fired in three 20-shot strings. The shooter has 30 minutes to fire the first string of 20 rounds and 22 minutes for each successive string. Something else noteworthy is shooters are allowed to take shots prior to going “on record” for the competition. Many competitions fire all three of the strings at 1,000 yards, but some fire a string of 20 shots at 800, 900 and then 1,000 yards.

Playing the wind is as critical as having the right rifle in this game. You’ll have to know your holdover dope, but that’s relatively easy. Judging wind is tougher, especially since, at those ranges, it’s possible (even likely) that the wind at the target will be behaving differently than it is at the point from which you are shooting. In addition, the wind can change quickly and you’ll have to adjust on the fly. Whatever the range you’ll need at least a sub-MOA rifle to win most competitions, and many times you’ll have to have a half-MOA gun—and shoot it well—to win. AR-15

Competition AR Manufacturers Mossberg MMR Pro: Mossberg www.mossberg.com Smith & Wesson M&P15 www.smith-wesson.com CMMG Mk3 3GR www.cmmginc.com Savage MSR 10 Long Range www.savagearms.com Christensen Arms CA-10 G2 www.christensenarms.com

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CUTTING EDGE

SCOPE EOTECHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S VUDU 1-6X PRECISION RIFLE OPTIC IS SOLID, ROBUST AND INTUITIVE By Drew Pruhs | Photos courtesy of EOTech

Following his review, the author called the VUDU line solid, robust and intuitive.

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I

t’s about time. And I mean that in a good way.

FIRST LOOK The 1-6x has become a favorite option in the 3-gun world. As a result, there has been an increase in the popularity of variable power optics in the tactical world, as tactical trainers and combative users constantly test themselves in and draw from the competitive world. EOTech has entered the market with an understanding of what features are wanted by the end user and what features are required by the rigors of hard use. Though performance is the ultimate arbiter of a product's worth, the VUDU’s packaging enhances the buying experience. Visually, it is pretty. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum and featuring large, easy-to-use and wellmarked knobs, the VUDU will only add to the aesthetics of your rifle. Opening the box, the VUDU 1-6x comes with a detachable quick throw “cat’s tail” lever, a CR032 lithium battery and a removable lens cover that offers dual yellow lenses for increased contrast during low-light conditions. You also get a lens cloth, which is ideal to clean the anti-reflective coated (HD) glass, as well as stickers so that you can represent when you’re on the range.

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The VUDU 1-6x offers three different reticle options, and all three feature the EOTech “Speed Ring” reticle at 1x.

OPTIC DETAILS As for the optic itself, it is a first focal plane, variable power optic, with an illuminated reticle. Built off a 30mm diameter tube, it offers a generous ocular with an easy-to-use reticle focus ring. Eye relief is in the 3.5- to 4-inch range. It should be noted that the 1x setting is a true one power with minimal parallax. The objective is 24mm, which allows a lot of useable light into the tube. The field of view at 100 yards on 1x is listed at 102.4 feet and 16.7 feet at 6x. At 20.1 ounces, the VUDU 1-6x is comparable with similar optics and provides a ton of great features in a robust package.

When looking through the scope, what is immediately noticeable is the clarity of the glass. The lenses are coated with an AR (anti-reflective) coating that, in addition to reducing glare, helps to protect the surface of the glass. The VUDU 1-6x offers three different reticle options: the SR-1, SR-2 and SR3. All three feature the iconic EOTech “Speed Ring” reticle at 1x. This was a welcome sight for someone who is a fan of their very serviceable reticle. At 6x, the SR-1 has a MRAD crosshair, with five hash marks in each direction. The SR-2 and SR-3 both show a cali-

“ … THE VUDU 1-6X IS COMPARABLE WITH SIMILAR OPTICS AND PROVIDES A TON OF GREAT FEATURES IN A ROBUST PACKAGE.”

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A LEAP FORWARD IN SUPPRESSOR TECHNOLOGY.

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ber-specific, bullet-drop compensated MOA-based reticle for the 7.62 and 5.56, respectively. The reticle is illuminated, which is all but a necessity for a modern optic. The controls are as easy and intuitive as the traditional EOTech holographic sight. Placed around the battery cap, you have a rubber coated on/ off switch at the 12 o’clock position. You can alternate brightness with two additional rubber coated buttons, with bright being at the 3 o’clock position and dim at the 9 o’clock. All controls are easy to use by touch, so you can use them in any light condition and without giving up your position if locked in on a target. There are 10 different brightness options, and the optic will remember what level you were on when you last turned it off when it is activated again. To minimize draining your battery, there is also an automatic shutoff if no button has been pressed for two hours. The optic boasts a 500hour battery run time at the middle brightness setting at room temperature.

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The knobs are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and are large, easy to use and well-marked, the author reported.

MOUNTING As for mounting the VUDU, you can use your favorite or preferred mount, or use the EOTech quick-disconnect ring mount. Designed to be used with a standard Picatinny rail, the mount has a 2-inch cantilevered offset to provide a forward position to ensure that you get proper eye relief and head placement. Understanding that the lower you can mount your optic to your rifle the better to minimize any offset, the EOTech mount positions the center of the riflescope tube at just 1.46 inches above the top of the rail. The mount is high quality and based on my mounting and use of the optic, is comparable to other quality mounts.

turrets, each of which is capped with a textured ring to provide ample purchase when making adjustments. Each cap offers a helpful “1 CLICK 0.2 MRAD” printed reminder as well as the expected arrows that indicate which direction to turn for “up” and “right.”

TIME FOR ZERO Once mounted, it was time to zero the optic. Adjustments were made using the two

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“WHEN LOOKING THROUGH THE SCOPE, WHAT IS IMMEDIATELY NOTICEABLE IS THE CLARITY OF THE GLASS.” Each turn of the turret cap provides both a distinctive audible and tactile click as feedback. Once zeroed, the turret caps can be removed so that you can re-index the scale back to zero, making future adjustments more intuitive. I zeroed my VUDU on an indoor range. While there, I was able to take advantage of the variable brightness of the reticle. In short, the lowest setting was good for when I turned the lights down very low and the brightest was too bright for the indoor range. Once set up, I was excited to run the VUDU 1-6x through its paces. As the main benefits of a variable power optic are the ability to quickly switch from close-range targets to long-distance shots, I headed to an outdoor range. I set up drills so that I could shoot at close, mid-range and far targets for time.

The VUDU 1x6x is built off a 30mm diameter tube. It weighs in at 20 ounces and is a little more than 10 inches long.

around the crosshair ensured that the sight picture remained uncluttered, unlike some first focal power optics. Elevation and windage holdovers were simple work if you are familiar with the very user-friendly MRAD system.

Shooting at close range, I could easily shoot with both eyes open thanks to the true 1x setting. The large ocular lens and the familiar EOTech “Speed Ring” reticle made shooting at this range simple and quick. I set the brightness to 10 and found that if I focused on anything very bright, the red seemed to dim, but the default black reticle was always true and crisp. When focused on targets and making transitions between stations, the illuminated reticle was good to go. There was never any blurring or starbursts in the reticle.

All said, the VUDU not only performed as expected, but it did so while providing an easy to use interface with simple, quick adjustments as the shot demanded.

I then set up some midrange and far-distance stations, just to force myself to adjust the optic. The supplied quick-throw lever aided in the maneuverability and ease of use of the VUDU. The MRAD crosshairs is visible at every power setting and started to become serviceable for my eyes from 2x to 6x, where it dominates the ocular box. In the middle power options, simply having the ring

With its recent foray into the precision rifle optic market, it has learned from its predecessors and has listened to what the market wanted. The VUDU line of variable power scopes represents the cutting edge of precision optics. Solid, robust and intuitive, the VUDU line offers high quality glass in a very serviceable package that anticipates what the end user demands. AR-15

TRAIL BLAZERS Twenty years ago, EOTech blazed a trail in the red dots market by introducing holographic weapon sights. Known for its easy-to-use optics with a more than ample sight box, it eventually earned a contract with USSOCOM.

On the Web EOTechInc.com

Quick Specs | VUDU 1-6x Magnification: 1-6x Objective Lens: 24mm Focal Plane: First focal plane Eye Relief: 1x: 83-100mm; 6x: 82-100mm Exit Pupil: 1x: 11.4mm; 6x: 3.2 degrees Field of View: 1x: 19.4 degrees; 6x: 3.2 degrees Field of View at 100 Yards: 1x: 102.4 feet; 6x: 16.7 feet Exterior Finish: Flat black; Type III anodized Illumination Controls: Push buttons Exposed Optical Surface Treatment Lens Coating: Broadband anti-reflection coating Windage Elevation Increment PerClick: SR2 and SR3 models: Approximately 0.5 MOA; SR1 model: Approximately 0.2 MRAD Weight: 20.1 ounces Overall Length: 270mm or 10.63 inches Tube Diameter: 30mm MSRP: $1,399

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THE

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PATRIOT ORDNANCE FACTORYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GAME-CHANGING .308 AR By Fred Mastison Photos by Straight 8

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he firearms world is replete with a variety of rifle styles and platforms. Though the AK has maintained its persona and even gained popularity, there is still only one platform in the West to rule them all: the AR-15 platform, designed by Eugene Stoner, and all its variants.

Below: When POF merged the worlds of AR-10 and AR-15, it created a gun with 7.62 NATO performance coupled with 5.56 NATO size.

much today. It was, in fact, a .308-caliber rifle designated the AR-10. With the adoption of a 5.56 NATO version of the rifle by the military, the AR-10 took a back seat and existed in only the hands of the most dedicated aficionados. That said, the AR design

The design offers exceptional modularity and is found in the hands of everyone from local deer hunters to elite special operations units. What is a surprise to many is that the original design of this rifle presented by Armalite was not the AR-15 we see so

â&#x20AC;&#x153;THOUGH ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO SLIM THE GUN DOWN, THE RESULTING PRODUCT OFTEN RESEMBLES AN EMACIATED AR-10.â&#x20AC;? 104

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chambered in .308 Winchester has exceptional potential when done correctly. This has not been overlooked by many companies who have now begun to make their own versions of the AR-10. The challenges faced with this design have always been centered on weight and size. They can get beefy in a hurry. Though attempts have been made to slim the gun down, the resulting product often resembles an emaciated AR-10. It would take decades and much thought before a major change would take place. Enter the designers at Patriot Ordnance Factory. They looked at the AR-10 design and saw beyond what already existed. They believed there was a way to merge the two worlds of AR-10 and AR-15â&#x20AC;&#x201D;essentially, to make a gun with 7.62 NATO performance coupled with 5.56 NATO size. They decided it was time for something daring and new, an evolution of the AR-10 as we know it.

THE REVOLUTION Patriot Ordnance Factory released a unique rifle at the 2017 SHOT Show, aptly named the Revolution. The rifle is unlike any previous AR-10 because something incredibly unique was accomplished: POF shaved the rifle down to the same weight as a standard AR-15. While not noteworthy in and of itself, the other changes that came with the design are game-changing. The Revolution is not simply a stripped-down rifle to save weight. It is the same size as an AR-15. If you sit the Revolution down beside a standard AR-15, the only noticeable difference is the size of the magazine well.

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Top: After running the rifle through testing, the author said POF “hit a home run” by building a .308 rifle that is as small and light as its 5.56 relatives.

The Revolution features many 5.56 parts, such as charging handle, bolt carrier, cam pin, buffer and more. The barrel extension, bolt assembly, and upper and lower receivers are the exact same size as those on an AR-15. The rifle weighs only 7.3 pounds and, at first glance, looks like a standard AR-15. The product of this effort is a .308 rifle in .223 size.

NOT YOUR GRANDAD’S AR-10 Bottom: The rifle weighs in at 7.3 pounds and looks like a standard AR-15.

“THE REVOLUTION IS A PISTON GUN AND, AS SUCH, INCLUDES POF’S ADJUSTABLE GAS SYSTEM.”

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POF has long been known for including unique design features in its guns, and the Revolution is no different. First up is the inclusion of POF’s patented E-2 dual-extraction design. This design consists of four small channels cut into the walls of the chamber, allowing a small amount of gas pressure to push against the neck of the spent case. This pressure assists in extraction by breaking the seal between the chamber and case, as well as pushing the spent case to the rear as the extractor is pulling to the rear. This removes a tremendous amount of work that would otherwise be left up to the extractor. The result is not only super-reliable extraction, but the extension of the extractor life in your new rifle. The barrel used on the Revolution is POF’s popular 16.5-inch match-

grade chrome alloy barrel. They are nitride heat-treated for full corrosion resistance and rifled in 1:10 inches. Topping off the barrel is a triple port muzzle brake. The brake is designed to allow the shooter to have faster follow-up shots with softer-felt recoil. The Revolution is a piston gun and, as such, includes POF’s adjustable gas system. The POF gas system allows the user to restrict, and even shut off, extra back-pressure by simply rotating the gas plug. This is crucial when running suppressors, which adds back-pressure to a firearm’s operating system, thus increasing bolt speed. Finishing out barrel-centric points is an oversized heat sink barrel nut. While rarely of interest to the average shooter, the significant design of this nut is worth talking about. Containing the barrel and gas system is the company’s patented Modular Railed Receiver (M.R.R). This is a two-piece upper assembly with a free-floating, monolithic handguard that slides on and interfaces directly to the upper assembly—all thanks to the upper’s reinforced backbone. The super-rigid design provides a good grip surface while allowing the barrel to remain free of contact.

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“WHILE FIRST ASSESSMENT WITH ANY RIFLE CHAMBERED IN .308 IS TO LOOK AT ITS LONG-RANGE CAPABILITY, THIS RIFLE COULD EASILY RUN IN AN URBAN COMBAT ENVIRONMENT.”

The bolt carrier group used in the Revolution is essentially the same one used in POF’s 5.56 guns, with only slight modifications to manage the beefy .308 round. It is a one- piece, NP3-plated bolt carrier manufactured with the mechanical key built into the body and positioned behind the cam pin. The design helps reduce carrier tilt. The unit features a chrome-plated bolt extractor and firing pin, both corrosion resistant and functionally smooth. Another part of the BCG needs a closer look: the patented roller cam pin used by POF is very nice. It was designed to reduce friction and drag in the action, and the designers have succeeded in spades. POF’s NP3-coated roller head actually rotates inside the channel of the upper, thus eliminating friction and prolonging the life of the upper. One overall design feature often given just a passing thought is the buffer tube. This is not the case with the Revolution. The design includes a mil-spec aluminum, anti-tilt tube that features “carrier cradle” extensions to ensure the carrier is always supported by the buffer tube. That applies throughout the action’s range of travel, even when the bolt carrier is fully forward. This prevents carrier tilt and premature wear of the buffer tube. The buffer

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detent now doubles as a lock, which inhibits the buffer tube from rotating and becoming loose under adverse conditions. If you shoot a lot, you know the frustration of a loose buffer tube.

ADVANCED GEN 4 LOWER One of the cornerstones of the gun is POF’s use of its Gen 4 lower receiver. The lower is designed to improve ease of use and to make the gun as ambidextrous as possible. Some of the

specific features of the Gen 4 lower are: 1. Ambidextrous bolt release with enhanced bolt catch 2. Ambidextrous safety selector 3. Receiver tension screws 4. Oversized mag well flare 5. Ambidextrous recessed finger rest 6. Ambidextrous magazine release 7. Oversized integrated trigger guard with grip relief 8. Ambidextrous bolt catch 9. Available QD rear sling mount

Bottom: The Revolution features many 5.56 parts, such as a charging handle, bolt carrier, buffer and more.

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TOP: The rifle features a single-stage, drop-on trigger unit set at a 4.5-pound pull.

Finishing the gun out is the trigger. Well known for their drop-in triggers, POF has include a single stage drop-in unit set at a good 4.5-pound pull. It has a great feel and includes custom-fit stainless steel KNS precision anti-walk pins.

PROVE IT! We could discuss the engineering of the gun all day, but the proof is on the paper—the target paper, that is. While first assessment with any rifle chambered in .308 is to look at

My first impressions were favorable. The trigger broke cleanly and the rifle quickly punched nice, small groups. My expectations were high for this gun because I had run other POF rifles in the past. The data started to support my expectations; I was able to get a half-inch group in short order. Even as a lighter-weight rifle, the recoil was still mild. It did move a bit more than its beefier cousins, but produced nothing that would seriously interfere with shot-to-shot recovery. With the groups shot and accuracy established, it was time to run and gun. And run it did! In the near/far drills I utilized, as well as driving it from target to target, the rifled shined. Its light weight and small size made it fast. The gun is absolutely a fighting platform and performed well.

its long-range capability, this rifle could easily run in an urban combat environment.

Though my range time was limited, I developed some serious impressions of the rifle. I believe POF has hit a home run in building a .308 rifle that is as small and light as its 5.56

With that in mind, I made sure to include a mix of both long-range testing as well as some close-quarters shooting. Shooting groups were the first order of business. I set the gun up on a bipod, mounted good glass and nested the stock onto a sand sock. This would give me the most stable

platform available to get good groups.

BOTTOM: The rifle features a two-piece upper assembly with a free-floating, monolithic handguard.

“IT DID MOVE A BIT MORE THAN ITS BEEFIER COUSINS, BUT PRODUCED NOTHING THAT WOULD SERIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH SHOT-TO-SHOT RECOVERY.” 110

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“THE REVOLUTION IS NOT SIMPLY A STRIPPED-DOWN RIFLE TO SAVE WEIGHT. IT IS THE SAME SIZE AS AN AR-15.” relatives, and smaller still than its AR-10 predecessor. There has been a growing cry in the rifle world for an accurate, reliable fighting rifle chambered in .308-caliber. The POF Revolution is the answer to that cry. AR-15

Place the Revolution next to a standard AR-15. The only noticeable difference is the size of the magazine well.

PATRIOT ORDNANCE SPECS Caliber: 7.62 x 51mm NATO (.308 WIN)

Action: Semi-auto, short-stroke gas piston system Weight: 7.3 pounds (empty) Barrel: 16.5 inches, match-grade nitride heat-treated Rifling: 1:10, 5/8x24 barrel threads Length: 34 inches (collapsed) Finish: Black anodized Gas Block: 5-position adjustable Handguard: 14.5-inch M-LOK MRR free-floating rail Muzzle Device: Triple port muzzle brake Trigger: 4.5 pounds, POF-USA drop-in trigger system with KNS anti-walk pins Furniture: Mission First Tactical Fire Control: Gen4 billet lower receiver, Ambidextrous bolt release Ambidextrous safety selector, Ambidextrous bolt catch, Ambidextrous magazine release MSRP: $2,699

PATRIOT ORDNANCE PERFORMANCE Load Hornady 308 Win 168 gr ELD Match

Velocity 2,700

Avg Group 0.70”

Best Group 0.5”

Federal 168 gr Gold Medal

2,650

0.75”

0.70”

Black Hills 168 gr Match HPBT

2,650

0.85”

0.80”

Note: Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps and accuracy in inches for three 3-shot groups at 100 yards.

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FULL EXPOSURE THERMAL VS. NIGHT VISION: DARK SIDE DIFFERENCES Story by Kevin Reese | Photos by Corbin Hubbard

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G

ive it some thought. How many things give your adrenaline a charge like hunting hogs and other run-of-the-mill, standard-issue predators under cloak of night? Here in Texas and many other states, 16 more to be exact, some form of night hunting exists, the vast majority make nighttime pursuits even more appealing by permitting the use of thermal and night vision; the keywords being thermal and night vision, not thermal night vision. Why the emphasis? Because people often use the terms collectively and interchangeably while technology for each are as different as brisket and chicken fried steak; sure, they’re both delicious and…meat, but that’s where similarities effectively end.

Below: This provides an inside look at the Digital Night Vision scope.

Bottom: The photos illustrate the quality differences between the different generations, as well as the difference between night vision and thermal.

Gen 1: Gen 1 is a perfect introduction to night vision. While the field of view contains quite a bit of noise (not the best imaging by a long shot), Gen 1 technology does offer visibility up to 50 to 100 yards, depending on the accompanying IR illumination. Unfortunately, IR runs continuously on Gen 1 devices, leaving battery life at less than half of you expect from Gen 2. Gen 2: Gen 2 devices are far superior to their Gen 1 counterparts. These devices reach out much farther, often upwards of 200 to 250 yards, with vastly clearer, brighter imaging;

noise and distortion are significantly reduced. Gen 2 IR illumination is under the control of the user. IR functionality and more efficient technology result in exponentially longer battery life compared to Gen 1. Gen 3: Gen 3 devices are the crème de la crème, so to speak, in the traditional night vision world, although there are several levels of performance—especially in terms of image tubes. For example, autogated (ATG) image tubes not only offer premium imaging, they also allow daytime use where most night vision devices would incur irreparable damage. Of course, ATG technology bridges into Gen 3+ territory—some might even say Gen 4, but the U.S.

Get This Straight Put plainly, thermal, like night vision, makes use of infrared (IR) illumination, but thermal could care less about the time of day. Thermal is not night vision and night vision is not thermal. That said, thermal is just as well suited, perhaps more so, than night vision, and both are designed for more than just hunting. Both, especially thermal, also are essential tools for surveillance, collecting nighttime evidence, finding survivors … and fugitives, marine safety, border and perimeter control, and wildlife observation. The first steps in determining which might work best for you involve understanding the differences between night vision and thermal, and weighing whether your wallet can take the hit. I have good news on this front so keep reading!

Night Vision Exposed

Digisight N750A Digital NV Riflescope • Fine image quality and resolution • 13 reticle options • Save up to 3 zeros for different loads, ranges, or weapons • One-shot zeroing • Digital Zoom • Long eye relief • Built-in laser IR illuminator with three-step power adjustment • Resistant to bright light exposure • Built-in and external power supply • Lightweight and durable composite housing • Intuitive easy-to-use interface • Wireless remote control • Wide range of operating temperature • Internal focusing • Additional weaver rail for accessories • Video output • Built-in flip up objective lens cover

Traditional night vision includes three levels of performance known as generations. They’re referred to as Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3. Newly developed Gen 3 unfilmed technology, once characterized as Gen 4, is also in use by government agencies and military operators. Here’s how they differ.

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“… SURE, THEY’RE BOTH DELICIOUS AND … MEAT, BUT THAT’S WHERE SIMILARITIES EFFECTIVELY END.”

Thermal Imaging Sight Trail XP50 Specifications Sensor: 640x480 @ 17 micron Magnification: 1.6 ... 12.8x (smooth zoom) Detection Range: 2,000 yards Wi-Fi Module: Integrated Video/Sound Recorder: Integrated What’s In The Box • Thermal imaging sight Trail XP50 • Battery pack • Battery pack charging unit • USB cable • Charging unit 220V/USB • Remote control with encoder • Weaver rail • Hex wrench • Cleaning cloth • User manual • Warranty card • Carrying case

Army has never assigned such a distinction. Either way, Gen 3 exposes much more than Gen 1 or Gen 2. Hunters have killed scores of hogs and predators well beyond 300 yards with Gen 3 equipment. As one might guess, while distance is improved, so is imaging. Gen 3 delivers the kind of performance everybody wants but often cannot afford, especially considering the Gen 3+ some manufacturers boldly call Gen 4. Those units can cost between $8,000 and $50,000.

How Night Vision Works Though several generations of night vision exist, the way they work is sim-

Above: The image above provides an inside look at the Trail XP50 thermal sight.

ilar. In a high-tech nutshell, ambient light, any at all, consisting of photons is gathered into an image intensifier tube. Once the photons enter the tube, they strike a plate called a photocathode. The photocathode converts the photons into electrons and sends them to a microchannel plate photomultiplier. Through the photomultiplier process, each electron effectively becomes 1,000 electrons before moving to a phosphor screen where those electrons are converted back to photons. This time, the photons number exponentially more than the original photons, resulting in the much brighter image we see on a night vision optic’s display. Of course, IR technology plays an

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“HUNTERS HAVE KILLED SCORES OF HOGS AND PREDATORS WELL BEYOND 300 YARDS WITH GEN 3 EQUIPMENT.” incredibly important role. While IR illumination is not visible to the naked eye, it dramatically augments what would otherwise be ambient low light and allows for that much more to enter the image intensifier tube.

How Digital Night Vision Works Like traditional night vision, digital devices gather available light particles, again called photons, through the objective lens; however, this is where similarities cease. Instead of photons entering an image intensifi-

er tube for conversion to electrons and then later converting back to tens of thousands more photons to create an image, these photons are converted into an electrical signal and sent through a charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide semiconductor CMOS image sensor to your display. Worthy of note here is that while CCD sensors have ruled the performance roost, CMOS now offer comparable performance for much lower cost and use a lot less power, making the latter a better fit for night vision … and your wallet.

Top Right: The author took this hog down in Texas.

How Thermal Imaging Works

Bottom Left: The chart shows the electromagnetic spectrum.

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While digital night vision continues to improve, from Gen 1+ to what many agree is comparable to Gen 3 performance, these devices include another welcome feature not available in traditional devices: video output and onboard video recording. Night vision devices in general are available in single-tube monocular, dual-tube monocular (goggle), binocular and riflescope platforms.

To be clear, thermal imaging is NOT night vision. As mentioned, thermal imaging identifies heat signatures any time, day or night. Unlike night vision’s conversion of photons to create an image, thermal devices take advantage of thermal-infrared emissions within the unit’s field of view. These emissions, essentially invisible light, are picked up by a phased array of IR detectors. The detectors use minute differences in temperatures throughout the field of view to create

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cal-plane riflescopes, although they don’t include adjustable focus, Wi-Fi or video recording. Still, I have personally killed a feral hog at 270 yards with a Core RXQ30V. Devices like the Core are a welcome sight, bridging the gap between affordability and performance.

Now More Than Ever a thermogram. Once the thermogram is created, the information is converted to an electronic signal and sent to a processing unit where the information is converted into the image on the thermal device’s display. ing hogs beyond 300 yards with them, depending on IR power and source.

This Juice Takes Less Squeeze In the past, thermal and night vision optics routinely cost thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands … but not anymore. Like VCRs, the cost of electro-optics has dropped considerably across the board. While Gen 3 PVS 14 goggles still often costs thousands, Sightmark blew night-hunters away just a couple of years ago with the Photon XT, a digital night vision riflescope (more than comparable to Gen 1+) with daytime compatibility, currently selling for around $500. Even some of today’s top digital night vision optics generally run no more than $2,000 to $3,000, and hunters are kill-

BELOW: The images below, left and right, take you into the action of a thermal hog hunt.

While thermals can still cost as much as $15,000, depending on what you’re after, Pulsar sells its new flagship thermals, the Trail XP50 Riflescope and Helion Monocular, for just over $5,000 and about $4,000, respectively. Both offer heat signature detection up to 2,000 yards and identification at 1,000 yards with a 640 core. Both devices also boast onboard video recording, Wi-Fi, picture-in-picture, high-powered zoom and stadiametric rangefinder technology! Conversely, Pulsar’s Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope can be found for just under $2,000, less than many of today’s traditional, first-fo-

There has never been a better time to turn your hard-earned bucks into intense, nighttime experience. Whether your objective is to kill predators, make bacon, save lives, patrol waterways, control a perimeter, recover fugitives or a mix of these professional and recreational adrenaline-junky activities, thermal and night vision optics are perfectly suited for life on the dark side. AR-15

HIGHS AND LOWS

01

Gen 3 Night Vision Devices Prices can range from $8,000 to $50,000

02

Thermal Scopes Some go for $900 while some of the costlier cost $15,000

“BOTH DEVICES ALSO BOAST ONBOARD VIDEO RECORDING, WI-FI, PICTURE-IN-PICTURE, HIGH-POWERED ZOOM AND STADIAMETRIC RANGEFINDER TECHNOLOGY!”

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M A D E BY

S I G N ATU R E R E DU CTI ON DE VI CE S R IFLE SU PPR E SSOR

SIG SRD762

REDUCED SIGNATURE

ENHANCED ACCURACY

Maximum sound reduction is achieved by an innovative tubeless design, which helps preserve the hearing of shooter and bystander

Accuracy is enhanced and point of impact shift is nearly eliminated by the Taper-Lok system that centers suppressor to barrel

LESS RECOIL Recoil is cut in half as high-pressure gases are redirected by the Inconel baffles, making even lightweight 300 Win Mags easy to shoot

Go to sigsauer.com/ownership to learn which 40 states allow suppressed hunting.

sigsauer.com

#sigsuppressors


A NOT SO PC, PCC GOOD FOR COMPETITION OR HOME DEFENSE, JP ENTERPRISES’ GMR-15 IS A CATEGORY-DEFINING 9MM CARBINE

Y

Story and photos by Gordon Meehl ou’ve heard the expression, “What’s old is new again.”

Well, that certainly is the case in the firearms industry, and there’s no place this is more evident than in the increasing popularity of pistol caliber carbines (PCC). Over the past couple of years, there’s been a marked increase in the sales of shoulder-mounted, carbine-length rifles tossing 9mm, .40SW or .45ACP rocks down range. On any given weekend, USPSA, 3-Gun Nation and Steel Challenge matches have squads overflowing with PCC shooters. We’ll look at JP Enterprises’ GMR-15, which represents the next generation of the PCC.

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FIRST LOOK

“THE COCKPIT OF THE GMR-15 IS IMMEDIATELY FAMILIAR ...”

With lessons learned from the GMR-13, JP upped the ante on what a thoughtfully designed and solidly built pistol-caliber carbine should be. Remaining true to the design intent and function of an AR, the GMR-15 is every bit a high-performance rifle, regardless of the chambering. The key features and performance markers are what you’d expect of a top-shelf rifle in any caliber. It’s not just a good PCC; it’s a dang good rifle. Because it’s directly in the Stoner design lineage, the cockpit of the GMR-15 is immediately familiar to those with AR experience. The ergonomics of rifle function result in intuitive weapon manipulation. For an AR shooter, existing muscle memory will take you to the recognizably positioned mag release, bolt release and

charging handles. There’s no need to learn a new weapon system just because it’s a new class of weapon. The billet lower has been matched to one of two forged uppers. The test rifle came with JP’s PSC-17 dual charging upper. With the familiar topside charging handle paired with a side-mounted, folding charging handle, coaxing a new round into the breech or clearing the rare misfeed can be dealt with rapidly.

Top: The anodized aluminum handstop not only looks great, but it can be used to provide solid support against barricades, in addition to a solid indexing point.

Bottom: A Vortex Spitfire AR red dot pairs nicely with a JP’s top tier PCC and works well for both competition and home defense use.

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namic roller shoe, however, allows the lateral forces induced by your trigger finger to move (roll) independently from the rest of the firing system. The result is a trigger that is allowed to move directly front to back, allowing for follow-up shots that aren’t pushed or pulled. The PSC-17 upper also includes JP’s proprietary recoil management system, which allows the rifle to shoot flat and for you to place follow-up shots in groups tighter than expected from a PCC (a five-shot group of roughly 1.5 inches at 50 yards with DoubleTap 124-grain JHP). The interface between rifle and shooter is most critical at the trigger. Inside the lower’s integral trigger guard, I had JP’s Armageddon Gear Revolution Firing System. This trigger is designed to improve accuracy, killing lateral forces by negating their effect through the use of a roller trigger. With a static trigger shoe, any lateral forces imposed on the trigger will push or pull the entire rifle off target. A dy-

The rifle features a tuned competition compensator, which caps a super match-button rifled barrel. The result? Further accuracy.

Bottom: The GMR-15 features an interchangeable brass deflector that can be swapped out per the shooter’s preference.

Further increasing accuracy, a tuned competition compensator caps a super match-button rifled barrel. This means that not only are gasses dutifully redirected to reduce muzzle flips and reduce recoil, but the bullet travels through a barrel that was made with attention to detail and not merely “drilled” out in effort to get as many barrels off the line as possible. One feature that should not go without mentioning is the oversized brass deflectors. Brass deflectors, by their very nature, take a lot of abuse. JP allows for a beat up, chewed up deflector to be swapped out for new. While this feature does nothing to increase accuracy or shooting scores, it’s still dang cool.

ROUNDS ON TARGET Of course, product descriptions and technical rundowns only go so far. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” and so the proof of the rifle is in the shooting. Bench test shooting and data collections really can’t tell you the whole story, but I did test the GMR-15 at the range with various brands and weights of ammo. The rifle ate everything I fed it with no hiccups at all. Heavier ammo generally yielded tighter groups with JHP being more accurate than FMJ. The Double Tap 124-grain JHP I found to be the most accurate.

“ … THE COMPETITION COMPENSATOR KEPT THE RIFLE ROCK SOLID WITH NO VISIBLE MUZZLE FLIP.”

THE BOTTOM LINE Complete Rifle $1,699

Upper Assemblies $859 for 9mm upper assemblies

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steelchallenge.com for details. In a nutshell, at each stage the shooter has five chances to hit five steel targets as quickly as possible.

Top Left: The Magpul ACS carbine stock provides a solid point of contact for an already flat shooting rifle.

Starting at the low ready position, the GMR-15 was easy to mount. With controls matching an AR’s ergonomics, operating the firearm was familiar and didn’t take any time getting accustomed to.

I mounted a Vortex Strikeforce AR red dot, filled a dozen Magpul Pmag 21 GL9 magazines with some 12-grain 9mm I had just ordered from Double Tap and headed out to ding some steel.

In timed events, and especially in a steel challenge, shooters are looking for every advantage to save time. JP’s Armageddon Trigger group gave me a huge advantage. With the eventual breakdown in the consistency on my trigger pull, as I tried to go faster (I never said I was a good steel shooter), the roller trigger allowed my finger to roll across the trigger as I squeezed back, preventing me from pulling the shot as my finger started to come across the face of the trigger.

If you’re not familiar with a steel challenge format, check out www.

Additionally, the competition compensator kept the rifle rock solid with no

But, I decided to take the GMR-15 to a local steel challenge event and see how it performed under conditions more similar to how people will be using the rifle.

JP ENTERPRISES’ GMR-15 SPECS

DUAL BENEFIT Regardless of your feelings on the PCC platform, whether you’re an AR purist or have been won over by the rising trend, JP’s GMR-15 is a solid performer. Everything speaks to the company’s desire to give their customers a high-performance firearm.

Bottom: In addition to being a top performer, JP’s GMR-15 is also a good-looking rifle.

Its speed, solid construction and top-tier recoil management system make the GMR-15 ideally suited for the competition side of spectrum, but it also has a definite place in any home defense plan. AR-15

AR-15 AD INDEX

Receiver: Machined from billet 9mm lower with choice of forged JP-15 upper or machined PSC-17 dual-charging upper ($600 upgrade)

Advertiser

Page

LUTH-AR

5.11 Tactical Series

83

MAGPUL

Receiver Finish: Matte black

Adaptive Tactical

77

Maxim Defense

Barrel: JP Supermatch, air-gauged, button-rifled, cryogenically-treated barrel Barrel Finish: Mag. phosphate Muzzle Treatment: JP tactical or competition compensator

Aero Precision

19, 61

9 99

MIDWEST INDUSTRIES

109

M&P Accessories

129

Black Rain Ordnance

132

Bravo Company

2-3

Nemo Arms

Cobalt Kinetics

75

POF USA

67 44-45

111

Precision Reflex

127

97

Seekins Precision

6-7

Del-Ton

29

Sharps Bros.

Grip: Hogue pistol grip

Dillon Precision

43

Sig Sauer

Handguard: JP MKIII handguard system

Elite Survival Systems

77

SimpliSafe

G-Code Holsters

69

Springfield Armory

Grey Ghost Gear

59

Stag Arms

Trigger: JP EZ Trigger Fire control package with Armageddon Gear Revolution Roller Trigger

Guntec

93

Strattec Security Corp. (BoltLock) 127

Holosun

23

Strike Industries

Accessories: JP accessory packing, including operator’s manual, backpack soft case and more

Knight's Armament

131

Wilson Combat

LaserMax

101

Zack Stock Technologies

Buttstock: Hogue overmolded, Mission First Tactical, Magpul MOE, CTR or ACS-L

Operating System: Blowback with JP 9mm silent captured spring

Crimson Trace Corp.

125

Daniel Defense/Ambush Arms

Caliber: 9mm

128

visible muzzle flip. Transitioning from target to target was quick and linear. In stages requiring a mag change, the release dumped the mag quickly and a flared magwell helped guide the new mag into place easily. The ergonomics are compact and require minimal movement to access during the course of fire. I can see, however, some whose hands are on the larger side might take a little more time getting used to the weapon.

85 21, 121 13 41 113 107 91 119

AR-15

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ATTACK AT 4,000 FEET

JOURNEYS

EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE RUSH AS A DOOR GUNNER WITH MACHINE GUN HELICOPTERS By Doug Jeffrey

G

o ahead. Admit it, because we already know.

In many ways, you’re like a mixed martial artist. You consider each and every day another opportunity to improve your skills. Like a fighter who leaves it all in the cage, you leave it all on the range. Every time you shoot you try to raise your game to the next level. Like a fighter, you also want to test your skills to see how you compare to the guy next to you. In Journeys, we’re going to bring you opportunities to test your talent. We may introduce you to one of the world’s most elite instructors. Or you may test your physical skills with the world’s baddest asses. You may even challenge yourself by shooting from a bird. And that brings us to this column. You’re down for the challenge. Admit it.

01

Machine Gun Helicopters (MGH) allows you to suit up and fire a belt-fed machine gun from a helicopter high above the Nevada desert. You always wanted a chance to be like to be a military door gunner, right?

02

The weapon is a fixed M249 (SAW) belt-fed machine gun. The bird is a Eurocopter AS350 B2 A-Star helicopter, specially modified for aerial shooting.

130

Shooting from the air provides one of the greatest challenges you’ll encounter. Courtesy of MGH

03 04

You’ll go up with MGH’s Helicopter range masters.

MGH delivers two types of experiences, whether you’re an adventure-seeker or a high-flying spectator: As a door gunner, you will experience what it’s like to be a real door gunner while flying through the Nevada skies. Aim and shoot your target using MGH’s special effects at 4,000 feet. Spectator packages allow you to invite your friends to watch the action from afar, where they can take in your experience from an unrivaled vantage point only a short distance away.

05

You will be engaging various static targets on the mountainside while looking down an EO Tech scope with a holographic reticle, which repositions itself based on the viewpoint of the shooter’s eye.

06

Ready for an adrenaline rush? AR-15

Do the Math 71

The shooting takes place on a privately owned 71-acre shooting range.

365 Machine Gun

Helicopters flies 365 days a year.

689

The door gunner package costs $689.

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Profile for Praniya

World of Fire Power : AR 15, 2017  

World of Firepower is the most comprehensive magazine for the gun enthusiast. From firearms, rifles and ammo to new guns, handguns and shotg...

World of Fire Power : AR 15, 2017  

World of Firepower is the most comprehensive magazine for the gun enthusiast. From firearms, rifles and ammo to new guns, handguns and shotg...

Profile for praniya
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