Tactical Weapons March 2015

November 2, 2017 | Author: army3005 | Category: Projectiles, Firearms, Projectile Weapons, Armed Conflict
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FEB.• MARCH 2015

®

POWER SURGE

GEAR GUIDES

AR UPGRADES GAUGE 12SEMI-AUTOS HANDGUN REFLEX

ISSUE! MAX-CAP SHOTGUNS

SIGHTS

‹‹‹‹ Utas UTS-15

‹‹‹‹ MONSTER .50 CALS Barrett Model 82A1

SNIPER CENTRAL

Kyle Defoor’s

BRAVO RECCE-16

Bill Wilson’s

BERETTA 92/96

HARRIS PRESENTS $9.99

TACTICALWEAPONS-MAG.COM Display Until March 30, 2015

Mossberg MVP .308 Sig Sauer SIG50 Armalite AR-31 7.62 Real-World Training

EXTREME BEAST

CQ 6.8 SPECTRUM

13 RIFLES

8 UPPERS

LWRCI 5.56 IC-PSD

Yankee Hill Machine Model 57

TAVOR TORTURED!

12,000+ Rounds

TIER-ONE OFF-ROAD

UTVs

Your m4 superstore with one of the largest stocking inventories of the latest AR15, M4 and M16 Parts, Accessories and Tactical Gear! • BCM Diamondhead ®



Vltor Basic IMOD Stock $94.95

Folding Rear Sight $119.00

• ADM AD-B2 Base $65.95 • ADM T1 SOCOM Spacer $19.95 • Centurion Arms C4 Rail 12 Inch $314.00

• Aimpoint Micro H-1 $617.00



Folding Front Sight $99.00

$94.95

Light Mount $50.00

Short • TangoDown QD Vertical Grip

• ALG Defense

®

• BCMGUNFIGHTER™ • Thorntail Offset Adaptive Compensator Mod 1

SCAR • TangoDown Panel 6 Inch $13.70 BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Grip Mod 0 $29.95

• BCM Diamondhead

$89.73

• Geissele SSA Trigger

QMS Trigger $45.00

A2X Flash • BCM Suppressor $34.95 ®

$210

• Inforce HSP WML $119.00 Solutions • CTT Mag Cap

Systems • B5 SOPMOD Bravo Stock $58.00

KMR-10 KeyMod • BCM Rail 10 Inch $254.95 ®

Low Profile • BCM Gas Block $44.95 ®



Trijicon TA31RCO-M4 $1,422.05

• BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Vertical Grip $49.95

R-COM B-Model • GDI Mount $205.00

Force Gear • Blue VCAS Sling $45.00

X300 Ultra • SureFire LEDWeaponLight

1.0 • BattleComp $149.99

Industries SSK-KeyMod • Midwest 12 Inch Free Float Handguard

XPS2-0 • EOTech HWS $499.00

• EOTech G33 STS Magnifier $549.00

Industries • Midwest Folding Front Sight $79.95

Industries • Midwest SPLP Rear Sight $119.95

KMR-13 KeyMod • BCM Rail 13 Inch $269.95 ®

• TangoDown PR-4 Rear

KeyMod • IWC QD RL Sling

• BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Compensator Mod 0 $89.95



BCMGUNFIGHTER™ VPG-KeyMod QD Vertical Grip $44.95

Mount $17.00



ARC • TangoDown MK2 Magazine $14.95

ALG Defense ACT Trigger $65.00

Enhanced • BCM Trigger Guard

Sling Mount $73.65

• BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Buttstock • BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Grip Mod 3 $17.95

®

FSC556 Tactical • PWS Compensator $98.95

KeyMod • PWS Bipod Adapter $23.95

Combat • Wilson Tactical Trigger Unit $269.95 Carbine • Vltor EMOD Stock $119.65

• Geissele Super Modular KeyMod 13 Inch Rail MK4 $350 Defense AR15 • Daniel Lite 7.0 Rail $219.00

• BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Grip Mod 2 $29.95 PRO • Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic $416.00

• TangoDown BattleGrip $35.75

All pricing is subject to change without notice. Please see our website for current pricing.

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

tacticalweapons-mag.com

®

VOLUME 9 ISSUE 1 • FEB./MARCH. 2015

ON THE COVER COMPACT DEFENDER: LWRCI IC-PSD 5.56 By Rob Garrett

8

8

Small in size, big on bite, the new IC-PSD redefines CQB firepower.

FEATURES

14 20 30 36 44 54 58 68 74 82

36

44

TORTURING MY TAVOR By David Bahde

After 12,000-plus rounds, see how this modified-to-the-max SAR keeps rocking!

THE SIX8 SPECTRUM By Robert A. Sadowski

SOCOM-born ARs and uppers built for today’s marksmen who demand more punch.

FN AMERICA FN 15 By John M. Buol Jr.

The company that equips our troops is now offering an M16A4-style rifle for everyone.

SPEED DEMONS By David Maccar

Ultra-fast smoothbores built to dominate at the range, in the field or competition!

SNIPER SCHOOL By Fred Mastison

William Graves’ GPS Defense: leading the way for today’s military and civilian top shots!

ARMALITE 7.62 AR-31 By Fred Mastison

Space-age looks and match-grade parts combine for sub-MOA accuracy out to 800 yards!

MOSSBERG .308 MVP By Denis Prisbrey

The new AR-mag-fed Patrol rifle that’s compact, reliable, accurate and priced right!

SIG SAUER SIG50 By David Bahde

The big bad bolt that brings major .50 BMG power and sub-0.5-MOA precision!

FRONTLINE .50 CALS By Richard Johnson

Meet some of the most powerful bolt-action and semi-auto rifles on the planet!

LAPD’S STAKEOUT SQUAD By John Fasano

With leading-edge training and hardware from varsity makers, these elite enforcers put a stop to the city’s worst offenders!

94 QUICK REFLEXES 100 UTAS UTS-15 MARINE 12 GA. 110 RUNNING BRAVO’S RECCE-16 By David Bahde

Torture testing two customized Glocks fitted with ultra-fast reflex sights! By Leroy Thompson

The ultimate pump action that packs 15 rounds of pirate- or zombie-dropping shot!

110

By Len Waldron

BCM’s carbine proves its mettle at U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle Defoor’s battle-proven training academy!

DEPARTMENTS BRIEFING ROOM ................................................................................................................................................................ 6 CUSTOM COMBAT Wilson-grade Beretta 92/96 By David Bahde ........................................................... 50 CQB DEFENSE Equalizing gun grabbers By Fred Mastison ........................................................................ 64 SUPPRESSORS AAC’s silent Ti-RANT By Rob Garrett ................................................................................ 88 ENHANCED AR Do-it-yourself carbine upgrades By Mike Detty ................................................................... 106 TACTICAL RIDES Tier One off-roaders By Nick Jacobellis ........................................................................ 116 NEW MISSION GEAR New and noteworthy operator hardware ........................................................ 120 GIVING ’EM HELL The Gunny on the all-time classic Jeep! ................................................................. 130

116 4

TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

BRIEFING ROOM

SURGING AHEAD

W

®

WHOEVER CAME UP WITH THE EXPRESSION “LESS IS MORE” was most definitely not referring to the shooting sports, armed combatives and personal defense. Going into a fight or competition of any kind with “less” in the forms of weaponry, shooting ability and leading-edge tactical training is a recipe for mission failure.

6 TACTICAL WEAPONS

Sean Utley Photo

Do you think President Bush’s 2007 Iraq War troop surge would have resulted in a more stable Baghdad with reduced violence had he commissioned 5,000 additional troops as opposed to the 20,000? The answer is no. Conversely, do you think we’d have lost four American lives at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi had then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her State Department answered the repeated requests from the late ambassador Stevens and other U.S. officials at our embassy in Tripoli for additional security personnel instead of actually reducing it? Again, the answer is no. Here’s a more timely “less is more” failure to chew on: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon deploying some 2,200 National Guardsmen to Ferguson, Missouri, prior to the grand jury verdict being handed down and then not positioning them in front of the many stores that were then looted and burned by violent protestors—some stores for a second time since the justified shooting took place on August 9, 2014. We at Tactical Weapons know for a fact that if we give our readers less content, we’d be asking for mission failure. So we proudly bring you our most-packed issue to date, and like the cover reads, we’re appreciative to have you along for our “Power Surge.” The power comes in several varieties. Smoothbores, for instance, get headlined by UTAS’ “Ultimate Tactical Shotgun” that packs 15 rounds into its bullpup configuration. We also round up the latest 12-gauge semi-autos and pump actions primed for 3-Gun duty. In the long-range domination category we have Mossberg’s “everyman’s” .308-chambered MVP, Armalite’s AR-31 and more than a dozen .50 BMG rifles that are bred for either winning sniper competitions or anti-materiel military missions. People—those who’ve been there and done that and have the battle scars to prove it—bring the “mind power” to this issue. Join former combat-decorated Navy SEAL Kyle Defoor, who was tagged by Bravo Company to help design a BCM Gunfighter RECCE-16 rifle, at his

STANLEY R. HARRIS VIRGINIA COMMANDER SHIRLEY STEFFEN KARIN LEVINE NINO BOSAZ RORY SLIFKIN MICHAEL O. HUMPHRIES GREG LICKENBROCK CARA DONALDSON LETICIA HENRY

Publisher Executive Publisher Group Publisher Associate Publisher Managing Editor Art Director Editor-at-Large Assistant Editor Junior Managing Editor Advertising Sales

CONTRIBUTORS: David Bahde, André Dall’au, R. Lee Ermey Leroy Thompson, Doug Larson Phillip Null, Will Dabbs M.D. Lamar Underwood, Jorge Amselle Len Waldron, Rob Garrett

TIM HANNON Circulation Director RICHARD CIOTTA Single Copy Sales Manager CLAUDIA BIRCU Websites and Social Media Director DANIELLE CORREA Production Manager EMILY LEE Advertising Coordinator SPIRO MAROULIS Production Director KIM SHAY Director of Digital/Mobile Publishing COVER PHOTO Sean Utley Harris Publications, Inc. 1115 Broadway, NYC, New York 10010 www.tactical-life.com, Fax (212) 463-9958

LWRCI’s IC-PSD packs a ton of pistondriven performance into an ultra-compact package for CQB. Just add a fast-targeting sight like the Trijicon RMR (shown).

Defoor Performance training academy. Head to Bill Wilson’s Texas ranch proving grounds to check out how you can get your Beretta 92 Bullet-Proofed by Wilson’s custom shop. Longrange shooters, whether civilian or elite law enforcement and military teams, can learn a ton from our “Sniper School” feature on William Graves’ GPS Defense marksman training, too! And don’t miss R. Lee Ermey’s tribute to our troops’ very first G-ride—the military Jeep. How about powering-up your AR rifle game? Check out the latest complete 6.8 SPC II-chambered rifles and uppers from today’s top manufacturers, plus get a sneak peak at FN America’s AR-15 entry to the civilian market. Finally, we’d be remiss to forget this issue’s cover darling, LWRCI’s IC-PSD (Personal Security Detail) 5.56mm. Now there’s a case where less (as in overall size) is a whole bunch more for operators who work in extreme close quarters. — The Editors

For licensing and reprints of Tactical Weapons, contact Wright’s Media at 877-652-5295 or email [email protected] For subscriptions, single copies, back issues or gift orders, please call us at 800-866-2886. Visit us at www.tacticalweapons-mag.com General Info/Questions: [email protected] To The Readers: Be advised that there may be products represented in this magazine as to which sale, possession or interstate transportation thereof may be restricted, prohibited or subject to special licensing requirements. Prospective purchasers should consult the local law enforcement authorities in their areas. All of the information in this magazine is based upon the personal experience of individuals who may be using specific tools, products, equipment and components under particular conditions and circumstances, some or all of which may not be reported in the particular article and which this magazine has not otherwise verified. Nothing herein is intended to constitute a manual for the use of any product or the carrying out of any procedure or process. This magazine and its officers and employees accept no responsibility for any liability, injuries or damages arising out of any person’s attempt to rely upon any information contained herein. TACTICAL WEAPONS ® is published quarterly by Harris Publications, Inc., 1115 Broadway, New York, NY 10010. Single copy price: $9.99 in U.S.A., $10.99 in Canada. Submissions of manuscripts, illustrations and/or photographs must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. Copyright © 2014 by Harris Publications, Inc. All rights reserved under International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

With its durable bronze Cerakote finish, piston-driven operating system and ultracompact overall length, the LWRCI IC-PSD is a highly refined 5.56mm that is ideal for protective and tactical operations. Shown with a Trijicon RMR reflex sight.

8

TACTICAL WEAPONS

LWRCI FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Small in size, big on bite,

this new piston-driven IC-PSD sets out to redefine CQB firepower. By Rob Garrett Photos By Sean Utley

5 5 5

5

The terms “personal security detail” and “protective security detail” invoke visions of large men in dark suits with Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses, ear buds and lapel microphones. The men and women who work on a “detail” represent the last line of defense for the protectee. The United States Secret Service is the highest-profile agency in this arena and, over the years, has refined the “art” of protection. Protection is a series of compromises where the protectee wants as much freedom as possible while the detail would like to have him in an armored bubble at all times.

IC-PSD 5.56 FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS

9

LWRCI IC-PSD 5.56



I ran a series of informal drills and found the little gun was quick to index and had very little recoil, making follow-up shots remarkably easy.

1

Most agencies and details will not openly discuss the methods or equipment used in their duties. However, from time to time, the public gets a glimpse behind the curtain. One such case was the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. Seconds after the shots were fired, a USSS agent produced an Uzi submachine gun. The Service later transitioned to the Heckler & Koch MP5, which has been observed on several occasions. In recent years, the changing threat matrix has resulted in many agencies transitioning from 9mm submachine guns to comparably sized platforms chambered for rifle cartridges. These rifles have generically become known as personaldefense weapons, or PDWs. In 2006, long before the recent PDW excitement, LWRC International developed the PSD to meet the need for a compact 5.56mm. The original PSD was built on LWRCI’s proven M6 platform and

2

10 TACTICAL WEAPONS

featured LWRCI’s gas piston operating system, an 8.5-inch barrel and a legacy quad-rail handguard. My first experience with a PSD was in 2011, when I wrote a roundup article on SBRs. I requested a PSD upper for the project and paired it with my registered SBR lower. The little gun ran like a top, and at the end of the project, I purchased the upper. It has been my go-to SBR since that time and has logged a lot of range time. When LWRCI became involved in the U.S. Army’s Individual Carbine (IC) program, the goal was to improve the design and operating controls of the legacy M16 platform. The result was LWRCI’s new IC series of rifles, including the IC-PSD in 5.56mm NATO I was recently able to test.

INDIVIDUAL CARBINE

LWRCI’s IC rifles feature fully ambidextrous lower receivers that are

3



1 The IC-PSD features a slim, monolithic upper. Also note the 8.5inch barrel, which is capped with a four-prong flash suppressor. 2 The folding Skirmish rear sight features a square post that, when rotated, offers apertures of different sizes. 3 The Skirmish front sight has large, protective wings, and the edges of the sight bases have been contoured for a lower profile.

ergonomically compatible for both right- and left-handed operation. The ambidextrous safety/selector is mirrored on both sides of the receiver, as is the bolt catch. The bolt catch on the right side is positioned to the rear of the magazine release button. This position allows it to be manipulated by the trigger finger of a right-handed shooter. The left-side magazine release consists of a large paddle that is recessed and protected by two raised ribs that prevent an accidental release. It is also positioned to allow it to be manipulated by the trigger finger of a left-handed shooter. The new IC platform also uses a Monoforge upper receiver that features a low-profile handguard that is user-configurable with sections of Picatinny rail. Both the upper and lower receivers are forged and then struck twice, once before and once after being heat-treated. This processing is known in the industry as “coining” and allows LWRCI to maintain extremely tight tolerances. The lower receiver features a flared magazine well for faster reloads and a magazine stop to eliminate over-insertion of the magazine. All IC rifles also feature LWRCI’s large, ambidextrous charging handle. Like other LWRCI rifles, the new IC-PSD features a patented, self-regulating short-stroke piston system. The design eliminates the gas and carbon buildup in the receiver and bolt carrier group, and enhances reliability while reducing recoil and muzzle rise. Even with the piston system, LWRCI rifles retain substantial parts commonality with traditional direct impingement rifles. The piston is accessed by loosening two retaining screws and removing the top portion of the rail assembly. The design captures the retaining screws and allows for easy maintenance in the field. The IC-PSD’s 8.5-inch, 41V45 steel alloy barrel is forged from an oversized barrel blank using highpressure rotary hammers. This

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

LWRCI IC-PSD 5.56 SPEC BOX

LWRCI IC-PSD CALIBER:

5.56mm NATO

BARREL:

8.5 inches

OA LENGTH: WEIGHT: STOCK:

24.75-28 inches 6.5 pounds (empty) Collapsible

SIGHTS:

Folding front and rear

ACTION:

Piston-operated semi-auto

FINISH:

Bronze cerakote

CAPACITY:

30+1

MSRP:

N/A

ABOVE: The IC-PSD carbine’s ambidextrous charging handle is oversized for easy manipulation under stress and/or when wearing gloves. LEFT: LWRCI has designed a compact stock to take advantage of the shortened buffer tube. The curved buttplate proved comfortable in various shooting positions.

On the range, the PSD proved 100-percent reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

PERFORMANCE: LWRCI IC-PSD LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

ASYM Precision 70 TSX

2,200

1.09

Hornady 55 TAP Urban

2,256

1.25

Hornady 62 TAP Barrier

2,263

1.14

Note: Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph, and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100 yards.

12 TACTICAL WEAPONS

process results in near-perfect rifling that is molecularly stronger than other forms of rifling. The barrels are also treated with NiCorr, which is “more lubricious, harder wearing, more heat and corrosion resistant than normal hard chrome.” The company advertises a barrel life of 20,000 rounds, as compared to the 6,000 to 10,000 rounds for standard mil-spec barrels. The one-piece bolt carrier is designed to operate with the short-stroke piston and is also coated with a proprietary nickel coating to prevent corrosion and provide increased lubricity. The IC-PSD uses a specially designed, fourprong flash suppressor. The IC-PSD carbine also utilizes a shortened buffer tube and a specifically designed buffer that was introduced with the UCIW. When combined with LWRCI’s proprietary stock, the IC-PSD collapses to a mere 24.75 inches. The IC-PSD is also equipped with LWRCI’s excellent Skirmish backup iron sights. The rear sight is a square post with two different aperture diameters that can be selected by rotating the post. The front sight consists of a post that is adjustable for elevation and features a semi-circular guard that is reminiscent of the sights found on an MP5. In my opinion, LWRCI’s flip-up iron sights are some of best available on the market today. Recently, LWRCI started offering a Cerakote ceramic coating as a factory option to the standard black anodizing. When Cerakote is applied over the top of the standard Type III hardcoat anodizing, it provides exceptional resistance to both abrasion and corrosion. Cerakote also has self-lubricating properties that enhance reliability, especially in dry and duty environments. Currently, the company offers Cerakote in Flat Dark Earth, OD green and bronze.

COMPACT TEST-FIRE

I recently had an opportunity to spend a day on the range testing the new ICPSD. I was immediately struck by how attractive the rifle was. The bronze upper and lower receivers are accented by the black stock, Magpul MIAD pistol grip, operating controls and rail panels. The iron sights, barrel and flash suppressor are also black, giving the new IC-PSD a very serious look. The IC-PSD has standard internals, with a trigger pull that measures 7.5 pounds. I ran a series of informal drills and found the little gun was quick to index and had very little recoil, making follow-up shots remarkably easy. — Continued on page 122 FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TORTURING BULLPUP TESTFIRE

MY

After 12,000-plus rounds’ worth of running and gunning, see how this modified-to-the-max SAR keeps rocking! >>> By David Bahde

I

was one of the first people to get their hands on the 5.56mm NATO Tavor SAR when IWI US began offering these semi-automatic bullpups, and I’ve used mine consistently for two years. In fact, I’ve run over 12,000 rounds through it now. While I was initially skeptical of the Tavor SAR, I was immediately surprised by its handling and accuracy during my first range test, and it continues to satisfy me. I’ve used the Tavor SAR in training courses, from CQB distances out to 1,000 yards. The carbine has fired many types of ammunition ranging from military surplus to match grade, including steelcased rounds. I’ve used it with several sound suppressors and many other accessories available on the market. This is easily the most thorough testing I have ever completed. What follows are my conclusions based on this testing, including what accessories have proven the most valuable to me.

BULLPUP UPGRADES This particularly Tavor SAR is a matte black, 16.5-inchbarreled, flattop model. Weighing in at 7.9 pounds unloaded, the rifle utilizes a long-stroke gas piston operating system. Chambered in 5.56mm NATO, it uses standard M16/AR-15 magazines and has a forward-mounted, non-reciprocating charging handle. It also has front and rear backup sights that fold flush with the Picatinny top rail.

14 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

IWI’s Tavor SAR bullpup has proven to be a true workhorse. It’s simple, accurate and completely reliable. Shown with a Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6.5x24mm SMR scope and a SureFire Scout light in a Gear Head Works TMF forend.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS

15

IWI TAVOR SAR In its current configuration, I’ve installed a Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6.5x24mm SMRS on the top rail along with a Trijicon RMR mounted in the one o’clock position for upclose work. I’ve also added a Gear Head Works Tavor Modular Forearm (TMF). You can mount a 1-inch flashlight in the center and route pressure pads to either side—I’ve installed a SureFire Scout light with a KM2 dual-projection (white and IR) head—and rails and grips can be added if needed. It also doesn’t add much in terms of weight. Another addition is Gear Head Works’ Fulcrum Located Extra (FLEx) swivel, a metal plate that replaces the plastic factory ejection port cover to help seal off excess gas, and it also offers a QD sling swivel, which gives you the ability to switch between single- and two-point slings quickly and firmly. During a Haley Strategic D5 Carbine class, it was great for all of the prone shooting. Attending



THE TAVOR SAR WILL HANDLE ANY

REAL-WORLD ABUSE AS WELL OR BETTER THAN ANY OTHER RIFLE OUT THERE.

a Follow Through Consulting carbine class, it made the unconventional positions possible without shifting the sling. The FLEx is essential for working in tight quarters or switching the carbine between shoulders. More must-haves include Galloway Precision’s extended shell deflector and Manticore’s LUMA ambidextrous safety. Finally, I added SureFire’s three-pronged SOCOM flash suppressor, which also serves as an adapter for my SOCOM762MINI sound suppressor. I tested the Tavor SAR with two different trigger units from Timney Triggers



and ShootingSight. Timney offers a crisp, 4-pound, single-stage trigger unit, while ShootingSight’s two-stage TAV-D trigger is modeled after the M1 Garand trigger with a 5-pound pull weight. Both drop in without tools and cannot be adjusted. Always fond of a two-stage trigger, I’ve left the TAV-D unit in place.

ROCK SOLID

I’ve used this Tavor SAR in all manner of weather, from the depths of winter to the hottest days of summer. I try to use the 5.56mm rifle at all department shoots and training schools. Short of my PWS MK116,

AGENCY SPOTLIGHT

PA CAPITOL POLICE

GO TAVOR

>>> By Dennis Adler

WHEN YOU HEAR “CAPITOL POLICE,”

you might immediately think of the Washington, D.C., Capitol Police. As Pennsylvania State Capitol Police Superintendent Joe Jacob explained, “Most states either have a capitol police department or are covered by a division of the state police assigned to the capitol.” BACKGROUND: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has one of the larger capitol police departments in the country, established in 1895 under Governor Daniel Hartman Hastings, the Commonwealth’s 21st governor. In fact, the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police are also the second-oldest state police organization in the United States. “The agency grew over time, but probably took its largest growth spurt after 9/11,” said Jacob, who joined the Pennsylvania Capitol Police in 2012 after serving 39 years as an officer and later as the chief of police in Wright Township, Luzerne County, just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “The agency had up to 175 to 200 officers, and it was extremely large. With attrition, and as technology has changed over the years since 9/11, we now maintain officers at all [state] building entrances and have standing equipment with metal detectors, as well as officers to operate that equipment. The total

16 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

PERFORMANCE: IWI TAVOR SAR LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

Hornady 60 TAP A-MAX

2,880

0.65

Silver State Armory 70 TSX

2,955

1.27

Silver State Armory 77 OTM

2,578

1.00

Winchester 55 FMJ

2,870

1.57

Whether equipped with low-power optics, simple red-dot reflex sights or your favorite backup iron sights, the compact Tavor SAR bullpup is ready for just about anything you can throw at it.

Note: Bull weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph, and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100 yards.

number of officers [required] is less now, and we have a lot more technology deployed on the whole campus.” The jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police extends beyond the Capitol building and encompasses all state office buildings surrounding the Capitol, plus outlying buildings in Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township. The Capitol Police also cover the state buildings in Scranton and Philadelphia and anywhere in Pennsylvania where there is a state building or state employees operate. EVOLVING ENFORCERS: In 2015, the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police will celebrate its 120th year since being established, and over those years their responsibilities have grown and they have faced and met many challenges. “The Capitol Police are a fairly elite organization, and we have really stepped up to offer a lot of newer services in the last year or two, such as active-shooter training, and fielding our own Special Response Team, or SRT,” Jacob added. Today it is comprised of approximately 100 uniformed police officers and a staff of security officers and civilian employees. These services are accomplished by foot patrols, a bike patrol team, a new fleet of police vehicles for mobile patrols, K9 explosives teams, a patrol/narcotics K9 team, investigations and training divisions, and the SRT for incidents requiring a tactical response. The Capitol Police also maintains a sophisticated mobile command center outfitted with state-of-theart technology for critical incident responses. The majority of the force is comprised of unformed officers, although the Capitol Police FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

also have plainclothes officers deployed and an investigative service to handle criminal investigations or special assignments where a uniformed officer presence is not required. The recently implemented SRT is a designated LE team whose members are recruited, selected, trained, equipped and dedicated to increasing the likelihood of safely resolving critical incidents. They respond to any threat to public safety that would otherwise exceed the capabilities of traditional law enforcement first responders and/or investigative



There were just a lot of features on the Tavor that we all liked. After further review, we decided to go with it.



units. The SRT is currently authorized to carry the latest 5.56mm NATO Tavor SAR tactical rifle and the .45 ACP Sig Sauer P220 as a sidearm. CHOOSING TAVOR: The Pennsylvania State Capitol Police just recently adopted the Tavor SAR as its standard-issue rifle for carry in patrol cars and for members of the SRT. “We were getting ready to purchase some new rifles,” explained Jacob, “and one of our firearms instructors, Officer Rebecca McCoy, was at a three-day firearms course where one of the new weapons being demonstrated was the Tavor. While there she had the opportu-

no other 5.56mm rifle I’ve tested in the long term has proven as dependable. It has never failed to feed anything, including steel-cased ammo, military-surplus rounds and reloads. I’ve experienced no issues with bullet weights ranging from 40 to 77 grains, even with frangible ammo. Aside from an AK, it would be hard to find a more dependable rifle. I generally keep this rifle in one of the steel drawers in the back of my FJ Cruiser. Whether I’m driving down a rocky road to the range or across the country, the Tavor SAR has handled the abuse with ease. It has never failed to fire, lose its zero or have anything come loose. Dragged through snow in the winter, mud in the spring and dust in the summer, the rifle has been cleaned sparingly, oiled occasionally and wiped down once in a while. I’ve dropped the Tavor SAR from my truck, dragged it across rocks and brushed it against trees,

nity to take a one-day armorer course on the Tavor and came back very impressed with the design and suggested we take a further look at them. Being that IWI’s U.S. headquarters is located right here in Harrisburg, I met with Michael Kassnar, vice president of sales, and IWI General Manager Craig Lucas. I went to the firing range with three of our instructors, and we put between 400 and 500 rounds through each weapon, and we were very impressed with them! We got our SRT people involved, and they liked the Tavor’s bullpup design and the fact that you didn’t give up any barrel length and have the ability to hold the gun on target while reloading. There were just a lot of features on the Tavor that we all liked. After further review, we decided to go with it.” Currently the Capitol Police has 30 Tavor rifles—one mounted in every patrol car, one for each SRT team member, and there are additional rifles kept in the Capitol armory. The Pennsylvania State Capitol Police also worked with IWI on developing a mounting system for patrol cars. “Looking at how the Tavor is used in Israel versus its use with law enforcement in the U.S., there had not been a lot of thought about how the weapon could be carried and stored inside a police vehicle,” explained Jacob. “The rack that was developed worked out very well, and we have now equipped all of our cars with it. It is a dual rack between the front seats that carries the Tavor and a 12-gauge pump shotgun.” The relationship that has developed between IWI and the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police is a superb example of the role law enforcement continues to play in the development and use of new arms and equipment.

TACTICAL WEAPONS

17

IWI TAVOR SAR

TRIGGER TIME

Firing the Tavor SAR right out of the box with its factory trigger, I was able to shoot groups hovering at about an inch. It took real concentration, though. Most groups were closer to 2 inches given normal shooting conditions. The trigger felt similar to factory M16 triggers issued to our troops— heavy but predictable. Aftermarket triggers, however, have made a huge difference. The Timney Tavor trigger is more like a single-stage AR trigger. I produced some surprising groups with this trigger and Silver State Armory’s 77-grain OTM ammo. ShootingSight’s TAV-D trigger wasn’t much more accurate over the Timney. But I was more comfortable with it because I am accustomed to two-stage triggers. The take-up is a bit long given the bullpup’s trigger bar, but once you get to the first stage, it is smooth with a very clean second stage. The SAR has yet to malfunction with this trigger. Where both of these triggers shine is rapid fire. Running the factory trigger hard while trying to remain accurate is difficult. While neither of these aftermarket triggers will mimic an AR 3-Gun trigger, they’re very close—similar to high-quality duty triggers. The triggers also made a big difference when it came to long-range shooting. During a recent Haley Strategic D5 Carbine class, I was able to make hits at 600-plus yards, confirming the Tavor SAR’s capabilities. No, it’s not a DMR or precision rifle, but with the right optics, 100- to 1,000-yard hits are relatively easy to make.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Suppressors chambered in 5.56mm with typical backpressure would not run reliably mounted on the Tavor SAR with all ammunition. The best bet seemed to be .30-caliber suppressors. My SureFire SOCOM762-MINI was reliable with zero impact shifts. It also added very little to the weapon’s overall length and significantly reduced its report. I also installed a SureFire SOCOM flash suppressor to be able to add a suppressor if needed. Every conceivable magazine was tested, and they mostly worked well. Magpul’s Gen 3 PMAGS have been flawless, along with factory magazines. SureFire 60-rounders also worked great. Given a firm acti-

18 TACTICAL WEAPONS

HALEY STRATEGIC INCOG RIFLE BAG I

prefer to have a carbine close at hand most of the time. While that’s pretty easy to do at home, going mobile presents an issue or two. Cases work, but most scream, “There’s a rifle in here!” Many also force you to break your rifle down. Several backpack designs are great, but many will not allow you to carry a 16-inch-barreled carbine. Enter the Haley Strategic Incog Discreet Rifle Bag. HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Offered in Disruptive Grey, it can be used as a range bag, an organizer or a discreet carry case. The main compartment will hold a 16-inch-barreled carbine with the stock collapsed. It will also support a pistol and spare magazines. The expandable front section is a perfect fit for the Haley Strategic D3 chest

rig. Room on either side supports hook-andloop-fastened small- to medium-sized bags. Two of my London Bridge Trading gear bags fit perfectly. Strong zippers allow you to open one side, or you can grab and pull and the bag opens up for use as a shooting bag. In addition to the carry handle, the Incog also features a stowable sling for overthe-shoulder carry.

SPEC BOX

IWI TAVOR SAR CALIBER:

5.56mm NATO

BARREL:

16.5 inches

OA LENGTH:

26.13 inches

WEIGHT:

7.9 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Reinforced polymer

SIGHTS:

Flip-up front and rear

ACTION:

Piston-operated semi-auto

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

INFO BOX

and it just keeps on working. No, I’m not trying to break the rifle—it’s simply hard use, what you can expect from a solider, officer or tactical team leader. Short of trying to destroy it, the Tavor SAR will handle any real-world abuse as well or better than any other rifle out there.

Matte black 30+1 $1,999

READY TO RUN: The Tavor SAR fits perfectly into the Incog, and I could also fit my equipped D3 chest rig in the center pocket. Side pockets hold spare magazines, knives and other tools. It carries well with a solid balance. Built from the highest-quality materials, the Incog is made to last through years of hard use. For more information, visit haleystrategic.com or call 480-351-8066.

vation of the magazine release, all magazines I tested dropped free.

TANK TOUGH TAVOR

While never buried or dropped in the ocean for months, I handled the Tavor SAR as harshly as anyone could without trying to break it. It passed every test with flying colors. This is no flash-in-the-pan oddball design—it works, and continues to work, in the harshest conditions. If you can get past the differences a bullpup provides, it is an excellent rifle. As a duty or self-defense rifle, it just does not get much better than this. This rifle will stay at my side for many years to come. TW

BUSHNELL bushnell.com; 800-423-3537

MANTICORE ARMS manticorearms.com; 630-715-0334

GALLOWAY PRECISION gallowayprecision.com

SHOOTINGSIGHT shootingsight.com; 513-702-4879

GEAR HEAD WORKS gearheadworks.com

TIMNEY TRIGGERS timneytriggers.com; 866-484-6639

IWI US / TAVOR iwi.us; 717-695-2081

TRIJICON trijicon.com; 800-338-0563

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

©2014 Magpul Industries Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Magpul holds a Trademark on all of its product names and logos.The following products are trademarks of Magpul Industries Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries: Magpul, M-LOK, MOE.

SPECIAL PURPOSE AR S

THE

SIX8

SPECTRUM

THE 6.8 SPC

was developed after the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) shelved a program to create a modular, special-purpose rifle that could fire both 5.56mm NATO and 7.62x39mm ammo. During that program, USSOCOM discovered that the 7.62x39mm had slightly better terminal performance than the 5.56mm—exactly what many operators in Iraq and Afghanistan had also noticed. The Enhanced Rifle Cartridge (ERC) program rolled out of the modular rifle program and was headed up by USSOCOM and aided by Remington. To develop the 6.8 SPC, a shortened .30 Remington case was used with a .270 bullet—the same bullet used in the .270 Winchester cartridge. This bullet has a good ballistic coefficient (BC) with less air resistance in flight, good accuracy and plenty of downrange energy. More rifles and carbines currently made in 6.8 SPC have a Spec II chamber. By 2004, civilians had access to the 6.8 SPC, and the round has become a popular AR caliber for hog and deer hunters as well as those serious about personal and home defense. The Saudi government’s armed forces also use the 6.8 SPC. Since the round was designed to fit in the AR-15 platform, only a few internal components are different than the 5.56mm’s: the bolt head, magazine and barrel. Accuracy and terminal ballistics matter. Here are some of the best 6.8 SPC rifles and carbines available on the market today.

BEST OF THE SOCOM-BORN DGI AND PISTON-DRIVEN ARs & UPPERS BUILT FOR TODAY’S MARKSMEN WHO DEMAND MORE PUNCH. By Robert A. Sadowski



THIS BULLET HAS A GOOD BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT...WITH LESS AIR RESISTANCE IN FLIGHT, GOOD ACCURACY AND PLENTY OF DOWNRANGE ENERGY. 20 TACTICAL WEAPONS



FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SPEC BOX

AMBUSH 6.8 SPC II

The Ambush 6.8 SPC II, designed by Ambush Firearms, a sister company of Daniel Defense, features a cold-hammer-forged, 18-inch barrel with a 1-in-11-inch twist rate. It carries a free-floating, 12-inch MFR handguard with an adjustable foregrip, a Geissele SSA two-stage trigger and their new, enhanced furniture. (ambushfirearms.com; 855-262-8742)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

18 inches

OA LENGTH: 34.8 inches WEIGHT:

7.23 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Collapsible

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black, Realtree AP

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$1,799

l 2 Vets Arms builds premium, custommade firearms and contributes a portion of the sale for each rifle to support veteran organizations like GallantFew.

SPEC BOX

2 VETS ARMS 6.8 DMR

The 2VA 6.8 DMR from 2 Vets Arms is built with a 7075-T6 billet, side-charged upper receiver and uses a 20-inch, 416R stainless steel barrel with an intermediate-length gas system. The forged 7075-T6 lower receiver uses an adjustable twostage trigger. 2 Vets Arms is a service-disabled, veteran-owned business (SDVOB) that specializes in developing and building high-performance custom rifles, and the 2VA 6.8 DMR is just that. (2vetsarms.com; 918-799-5186)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

20 inches

OA LENGTH: 36.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.2 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

B5 SOPMOD Alpha

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Flat Dark Earth

CAPACITY:

25+1

MSRP:

$1,849

TACTICAL WEAPONS

21

6.8 ar spectrum

SPEC BOX CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16 inches

OA LENGTH: 32.7-36 inches WEIGHT:

6.4 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Collapsible, standard A4

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black, OD green

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$1,115

ARMALITE M-15A4

Armalite is the original creator of the AR, and the M-15A4 in 6.8 SPC is built with a mid-length handguard and gas system. The double-lapped, chromelined barrel, optimized for 110- and 115-grain bullets, has a 1-in-11-inch twist rate. (armalite.com; 800-336-0184)

SPEC BOX

BARRETT REC7 GEN II The REC7 Gen II is a well-tuned pistondriven rifle that is fast cycling and totally reliable. It has a slim, octagonal KeyMod handguard that offers a comfortable handhold. Barrett decks out the REC7 in quality parts, including a

PWS Triad flash suppressor, Magpul’s MOE stock and pistol grip, Precision Reflex flip-up sights, a Bravo Company Manufacturing Gunfighter charging handle, a Geissele trigger and more. It is well balanced and built for accurate, rapid fire. Barrett rifles its 6.8 SPC barrels with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. (barrett.net; 615-896-2938)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

9.25 or 16 inches

OA LENGTH: 25.88 or 33.25 inches WEIGHT:

5.95 or 7.2 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Magpul MOE

SIGHTS:

PRI front and rear

ACTION:

Piston-operated semi-auto

FINISH:

Cerakote

CAPACITY:

10+1, 30+1

MSRP:

$2,759

SPEC BOX

BUSHMASTER ACR

The Bushmaster ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle) is a next-generation combat rifle that has AR-like controls but features well beyond the AR, like a multi-caliber bolt assembly that allows

22

TACTICAL WEAPONS

calibers to be swapped and an adjustable, twoposition gas piston system that supports suppressed and non-suppressed fire. The stock is fully adjustable to fit most statures and it folds, making the ACR highly maneuverable. (bushmaster. com; 800-998-7928)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16.5 inches

(used market only),

5.56mm

OA LENGTH: 33-36 inches WEIGHT:

8.2 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Collapsible

SIGHTS:

Magpul MBUS

ACTION:

Piston-operated semi-auto

FINISH:

Black, Coyote

CAPACITY:

30+1

MSRP:

$2,603-$2,766

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

6.8 ar spectrum

SPEC BOX

DOUBLESTAR SUPERMATCH

The DSC Supermatch is outfitted with a heavy stainless barrel that is either 20 or 24 inches with a 1-in-8- or 1-in10-inch twist rate. The heavy barrel is free-floated in a DSC riflelength handguard, and a rifle-length gas tube keeps this 6.8 SPC rifle running and producing sub-MOA groups. (star15.com)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

20 or 24 inches

OA LENGTH: 38.5-42.5 inches WEIGHT:

9.2-9.75 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

DSC A2

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$1,494

SPEC BOX

DPMS PRAIRIE PANTHER

Hogs or whitetails—take your pick, since the Prairie Panther in 6.8 SPC can handle either with ease. This rifle is lightweight even with a 20-inch, fluted barrel made of 416 stainless that is Teflon coated. A carbon-fiber tubular handguard free-floats the barrel for optimal accuracy. The rifle is an optics-ready flattop design. (dpmsinc.com; 800-578-3767)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

20 inches

OA LENGTH: 36.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.2 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Fixed A2

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$1,269

SPEC BOX

LMT CQB MRP DEFENDER PISTON

The CQB MRP Defender Piston features a piston operating system that runs cleaner and cooler than the direct impingement system. The 6.8 SPC barrel, cryogenically treated for enhanced accuracy, has a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. The monolithic MRP upper also offers quick barrel changes. (lmtdefense.com; 309-787-7151)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16 inches

OA LENGTH: 36.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.2 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Fixed A2

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$2,508

SPEC BOX forged barrels with 1-in10-inch twist rates. The newest model is the A5, which is essentially the same as LWRCI rifles use a patented self-reguthe IC-A5 but with a twolating, short-stroke gas piston system position gas block. Up until that not only keeps the bolt carrier cool now, Six8 A5s have been and clean, but it also helps improve han- limited runs, but their popularity means dling, since the recoil is lighter. LWRCI they will become a standard catalog equips its Six8 line with cold-hammeritem in 2015. (lwrci.com; 410-901-1348)

LWRCI SIX8 A5

24

TACTICAL WEAPONS

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

14.7 or 16.1 inches

OA LENGTH: 23-35.3 inches (16.1-inch barrel) WEIGHT:

7.1 pounds (16.1-inch barrel)

STOCK:

Collapsible

SIGHTS:

LWRCI Skirmish

ACTION:

Piston-operated semi-auto

FINISH:

Black, Dark Earth, OD, brown

CAPACITY:

30+1

MSRP:

$2,599

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

6.8 ar spectrum

SPEC BOX CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

18 inches

ROCK RIVER ARMS LAR-6.8 X-1

OA LENGTH: 36-38.5 inches

Rock River Arms (RRA) has updated its LAR-6.8 series with the X-1, a rifle featuring an 18-inch, stainless barrel with a 1-in-10 twist. It sports RRA furniture like the Operator CAR or A2 stock, a two-stage trigger, the Beast or Hunter muzzle brake and the TRO-XL free-floating handguard. The rifle comes with a 1-MOA accuracy guarantee at 100 yards. (rockriverarms.com; 866-980-7625)

WEIGHT:

7.8-7.9 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

RRA Operator A2 or CAR

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black or Flat Dark Earth

CAPACITY:

25+1

MSRP:

$1550-$1,600

SPEC BOX

Stag Arms comes optics-ready for mounting scopes or sights. The thermoplastic handguard and AR-style pistol grip are similar to an M4’s. The barrel for the Model 5 has a 1-in-11-inch twist rate. Swapping out an upper is an easy deal since Stag Arms uppers are compatible with mil-spec lowers. (stagarms.com; 860-229-9994)

CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16 inches

OA LENGTH: 32.7-36 inches WEIGHT:

6.4 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Collapsible

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

N/A

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16 inches

OA LENGTH: 32.3-35.8 inches

STAG ARMS MODEL 5 The flattop Model 5 from

SPEC BOX

CALIBER:

WEIGHT:

6.4 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Collapsible

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

25+1

MSRP:

$1,045

WILSON COMBAT RECON SR TACTICAL The Recon SR Tactical features forged 7075-T6 upper and lower receivers. The barrel is a 14.7-inch, medium-weight, stainless steel, match-grade unit with M4 feed ramps. The muzzle sports either a permanently mounted Rapid Threat attachment or a permanently attached Accu-Tac flash suppressor for a total barrel length of 16.1 inches. Surrounding the mid-length gas system and low-profile gas block is Wilson Combat’s TRIM rail. (wilsoncombat.com; 800-955-4856)

SPEC BOX CALIBER:

6.8 SPC II

BARREL:

16 inches

OA LENGTH: 33.5-37.5 inches

26

WEIGHT:

7.4 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Magpul CTR

SIGHTS:

YHM QDS front and rear

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH:

Cerakote

CAPACITY:

25+1

MSRP:

$2,265

TACTICAL WEAPONS

YANKEE HILL MACHINE MODEL 57

Yankee Hill Machine (YHM) builds high-quality ARs that undergo a strict quality control process. The company offers a variety of 6.8 SPC carbines, including the Model 57, YHM’s standard billet AR which features next-gen styling,

plenty of fluting for lightweight handling characteristics and an interesting handguard with short rail sections and a long top rail for mounting optics. (yhm.net; 877-892-6533) FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

6.8 ar spectrum

8 MORE WAYS TO GAIN THE UPPER HAND The 6.8 SPC round is a performer, and juicing up a mil-spec AR is as easy as swapping uppers. You’ll see the difference downrange, where accuracy and performance matter. Here’s a list of upper receivers chambered in 6.8 SPC.

1 ARMALITE M-15A4 6.8 UPPER

The M15A4 6.8 upper is compatible with mil-spec lower receivers and, like all ArmaLite 6.8 SPC barrels, has a 1-in11-inch twist rate. The handguard comes in either green or black. MSRP: $650. (armalite.com; 800-336-0184) 2 BUSHMASTER 6.8 SPC UPPER

1

ARMALITE M-15A4 6.8 UPPER

The 6.8mm SPC upper receiver fits any Bushmaster M4-style lower and comes with one 25-round magazine. It comes with or without a carry handle. MSRP: $883. (bushmaster.com; 800-998-7928) 3 BUILD YOUR OWN DANIEL DEFENSE UPPER

2

BUSHMASTER 6.8 SPC UPPER

3

DANIEL DEFENSE CUSTOM UPPER

4

DPMS BA-A3-68

5

6

ROCK RIVER ARMS LAR-6.8 MID-LENGTH A4

STAG ARMS MODEL 5H UPPER

The “Build Your DDM4” utility on the Daniel Defense website allows customers to spec out their own custom 6.8 SPC II rifles and uppers, choosing from a variety of barrel lengths, rail systems, gas blocks, muzzle devices and accessories. Orders are built by DD custom armorers within seven to 10 days of submission. Prices start at $1,000. (danieldefense.com; 866-554-4867) 4 DPMS BA-A3-68

DPMS’ complete uppers include a tactical/defensive BA-A3-68 upper in either 16- or 20-inch barrel lengths. These are setup with mil-spec-type front sights and a removable carry handle. MSRP: $604$684. (dpmsinc.com; 800-578-3767) 5 ROCK RIVER ARMS LAR-6.8 MID-LENGTH A4

The LAR-6.8 Mid-Length A4 upper come optics ready with an M4-style handguard. The barrel has a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. The gas block is railed for mounting a backup front sight. MSRP: $595. (866980-7625; rockriverarms.com) 6 STAG ARMS MODEL 5H UPPER

Stag Arms uppers are compatible with mil-spec lowers. The Model 5H upper comes with a 16-inch barrel, an M4-style handguard and a Picatinny top rail. MSRP: $535. (stagarms.com; 860-229-9994) 7 WILSON COMBAT TACTICAL

LIGHTWEIGHT

7

WILSON COMBAT TACTICAL LIGHTWEIGHT

With a 6.8 SPC II chamber and a 1-in11-inch twist rate, the Tactical Lightweight uppers features an Accu-Tac flash suppressor, a low-profile gas block and Wilson Combat’s TRIM modular handguard. (wilsoncombat.com; 800-955-4856) 8 YANKEE HILL MACHINE

TJ COMPETITION

8 28

YANKEE HILL MACHINE TJ COMPETITION

TACTICAL WEAPONS

The YHM TJ Competition Carbine upper has a mid-length handguard and was built with input from Todd Jarrett. MSRP: $1,209. (yhm.net; 877-892-6533)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

DIY AR UPGRADES

N

ow that you have your AR-platform rifle picked out—whether it’s in 5.56mm or 6.8 SPC—you’ll need to start accessorizing! If you want the quick course on how to design and build the ultimate AR, you’ll want to check out the American Gunsmithing Institute’s new DVD course: The AR-15: Practical, Tactical or Tacti-Cool, hosted by master gunsmith Sergeant Mark Foster. Foster has over 30 years of gunsmithing experience and is a 20-year veteran of a California sheriff’s department where he is the chief armorer and

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

systems and much more. For each category, Foster training Officer. In this Ameri- outlines what works well, tells the viewer what to avoid can Gunsmithing Institute and explains why. His daily course, you’ll see many field experience, combined examples of triggers, grips, with his armorer experience optics, lights, rails, barrels, stocks, muzzle brakes, com- working on fellow officers’ pensators, flash suppressors, weapons, gives him practical knowledge regarding the sights, handguards, gas reliability and functionality of each of these options. After reviewing the accessories thoroughly, Foster builds a variety of “missionoriented” ARs and reviews what he chose for each and why. For example, he tailors the AR for CQB, general AGI’s AR-15: Practical, Tactical or Tacti-Cool DVD is a great starting place for tricking out your AR-style rifle.

hunting, SWAT, 3-Gun, varmint hunting, home defense, plinking and zombie killing, just to name a few. MISSION COMPLETE: After watching this American Gunsmithing Institute course, you will be able to design and build your own ultimate AR. Foster also discusses and shows some of the tools needed for changing barrels and handguards, but more importantly, he demonstrates step-by-step how to change a barrel and install a freefloating handguard. This DVD is a must-have for any AR enthusiast, and it’s available for only $79.95. For more information about AGI, including its wideranging course catalog, visit americangunsmith.com or call 800-797-0867.

TACTICAL WEAPONS 29

FN AMERICA FN has been making M16 rifles and M4 Carbines for our troops for decades, and now the company is offering civilian-ready rifle and carbine versions as close to those used by our armed forces as possible with its high-quality, tanktough FN 15 series.



These are the first true-to-issue AR-15s being made in the same south carolina facility that has been making issued M16/M4 series rifles since the late 1980s.



30 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

F

FN 15 >>> By John M. Buol Jr.

The company that equips our troops is now offering an M16A4-STYLE RIFLE everyone can shoot!

Photos Courtesy FN America

N

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

EW THIS YEAR is the FN 15, a commercially released version of an AR-15 from FN America. Before passing this off as yet another AR-15, this is a model from more than just another maker. Despite the ever-increasing demand for these types of rifles in the civilian market, and the fact that FN has successfully released a number of designs for civilian consumers, it might be surprising that FN’s first version of the AR-15 intended for civilian sales is new this year. The company announced that it’s finally producing two models: a full-length, fixed-stock, A4-type rifle and a collapsible-stock M4 Carbine variant. This has prompted some gun owners to ask if FN has experience building these rifles. The company has been producing AR-15s by the hundreds of thousands for decades, but until

now FN has been more particular about its customer base. FN America remains the current manufacturer of the M16/M4 series for our Department of Defense. In addition, the company builds our current-issue machine guns based on its successful designs. In the early 1980s, the Department of Defense adopted FN’s Minimi (Mini Mitrailleuse, or “mini machine gun”) as the M249 and the legendary FN MAG (Mitrailleuse d’Appui Général, or “general-purpose machine gun”) as the M240. During this same period, FN also created the SS109 5.56x45mm cartridge, which was adopted as a standard NATO round and issued to the U.S. military as the M855. The company then opened FN Manufacturing in Columbia, South Carolina, to build small arms for the U.S. military. By the late 1980s, FN Manufacturing was selected to build the M16A2 and subsequent variants.

TACTICAL WEAPONS

31

FN AMERICA FN 15



FN’s years of experience manufacturing the M4 and M16 for the U.S. military have produced a commercial AR-15 that is mil-spec and much more. Sean Utley Photos



ABOVE: The FN 15 is dimensionally identical to issued M16A2s and M16A4s, from the handguards to the receivers. RIGHT: The stock pistol grip is the same that’s been used since the M16A2 first came out in the early 1980s.

FN has been somewhat quiet about this, hence why some shooters have been wondering about FN’s experience with the AR-15. In fact, the company’s website makes no mention of the fact that FN America has been producing the M16/M4s presently in service with the U.S. military for many years.

FN HISTORY

Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (French for “National Factory of Herstal”), identified as FN Herstal or just FN, is an international small-arms manufacturer headquartered in Herstal, Belgium, and is one of the largest exporters of firearms in Europe. As is common in this industry, FN is a subsidiary of the Herstal Group, which also owns Browning and Winchester Repeating Arms. As mentioned, FN’s U.S-based production arm is FN America, with manufacturing in Columbia, South Carolina, and the sales and marketing branch located in McLean, Virginia. FN’s U.S. branch produces American-issue firearms, such as the M16 series, the M249 and the M240, among others.

32 TACTICAL WEAPONS

SPEC BOX

FN 15 RIFLE CALIBER:

5.56mm NATO

BARREL:

20 inches

OA LENGTH: WEIGHT: STOCK:

39.5 inches 7.97 pounds (empty) Fixed, synthetic

SIGHTS:

A2 front, carry handle rear

ACTION:

Direct impingement semi-auto

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

Hardcoat anodized black 30+1 $1,149

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1 Since the M16A4, U.S.issued rifles have utilized Picatinny top rails—just like the FN 15’s—for quickly and easily mounting optics. 2 For traditionalists, the FN 15’s standard iron sights, including the front post, are excellent. The rifle’s sights can also be adjusted just like an M16A4’s.

1 Firearms designed and manufactured by FN at its U.S. plant include the FNX series of hammer-driven pistols, the FNS series of striker-fired pistols, the FN 15 series of AR-platform rifles, and the FN SPR and TSR bolt-action rifles. This is in addition to the company’s extensive line of military small arms. FN’s firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 nations.

AUTHENTIC AR

As mentioned, the newest addition to FN America’s line is the FN 15. This is arguably the most faithful copy of a government-issue rifle available for civilian

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2 sales, which makes sense as FN has been producing the 5.56mm M16 rifle under Colt license for a U.S. government contract since the late 1980s. The FN 15 is currently available in two versions. The FN 15 rifle has the same dimensions and features as the M16A4, with a 20-inch, 1-in-7-inch-twist, chrome-lined, alloy steel barrel featuring an A2-style flash suppressor and chambered in 5.56mm NATO. Like the M16A4’s issued sights, the FN 15 rifle comes with an A2-style front sight and a removable A4-style carry handle/rear sight. The standard, polymer forearm and fixed buttstock

are both black, and its overall length is 39.5 inches. The FN 15 carbine is a similar build but with M4 dimensions, a 16-inch barrel and a six-position-collapsible stock. Its overall length is 31.9 inches with the stock collapsed and 35.2 inches with the stock completely extended. Tactical Weapons has recently learned that FN America’s FN 15 carbine has already been selected as the official long arm of at least one large police department. The Killeen Police Department near Fort Hood, Texas, has procured and fielded 231 FN 15s. Shortly after FN America put the FN 15 to market, the Killeen

TACTICAL WEAPONS 33

FN AMERICA FN 15

The new FN 15 Sporting rifle is tricked out with an 18-inch, match-grade barrel, a SureFire muzzle brake, a free-floating Samson forend, a Timney trigger and Magpul’s stock, pistol grip and triggerguard.

Police Department put in a purchase for the carbine version with iron sights through TK Tactical. The police-issued FNs needed to be short and durable, and FN America President and CEO Mark Cherpes said Killeen went with the company because these officers needed “the standard benefits expected from an M4-style rifle.”

MATCH PRECISION

Given that the FN 15 rifle has dimensions and specs identical to the current-issue M16A4, I decided to test it with three issued loads: the 62-grain, green-tip M855, the 55-grain M193 FMJ, and a 77-grain Sierra MatchKing round contracted by the U.S. Army Marksman-

The FN 15 produced groups like this with M193 ammo. This or the betterperforming 77-grain load yielded nearly 1-MOA performance.

PERFORMANCE: FN 15 RIFLE LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

>

AVERAGE

Black Hills 77 SMK

2,750

1.25

1.00

M193 55 FMJ

3,165

1.45

1.20

M855 62 FMJ

3,095

1.65

1.30

BEST

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

ABOVE: The rifle showed promise immediately. This neat, half-inch triangle was shot at 50 yards. An honest 1-MOA group, and the author was just making sure the rifle would hit paper before moving to 100 yards!

ship Unit (USAMU) for Across The Course competitions. I assumed the FN 15 rifle would perform similarly to issued rifles, but I was pleasantly surprised. I chose to use the included iron sights for all of the shooting instead of an optic because that is how these rifles are issued. Just like issued iron sights, the FN 15’s rear sight can be adjusted for windage and elevation in 0.5-MOA increments, and the front sight can be adjusted for elevation in 1.25-MOA increments. While a scope can certainly be an aid to good shooting, an optical sight doesn’t render the rifle more precise and, as decades of High Power and Long Range competition have proven, iron sights can be as accurate given an appropriate mark to aim at. I used B-8 pistol targets, which provide a nearly 6-MOA bull at 100 yards (the same size used in Across The Course matches) and reduced F-type “dog” silhouettes, which gave a flat, fat base to hold iron sights to. While shooting some initial groups at 50 yards after confirming I was on paper, I punched a neat half-inch triangle with three shots. Not a bad start. Moving to 100 yards gave similar results. More groups with the 77-grain load demonstrated that the initial group was not a fluke. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a particularly good rifle-shooter, but I found that shooting neat triangles just over an inch proved routine with this factory load in the FN 15. My group sizes averaged 1.25 inches for the day with the 77-grainers. The M193 and M855 loads are noted for being less precise, but the FN 15 turned in good performance with this more commonly issued ammuni-

FROM THE TOP: the FN 15 rifle, an M16A4 with an ACOG and an issued M16A2. While not known as an AR-15 maker in the civilian market, FN has been making them for a long time, as all these rifles are made by the company in the same U.S.-based plant.

34 TACTICAL WEAPONS

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KILLEEN, TEXAS, GOES FN 15

T

he Killeen, Texas, Police Department became one of the first large police departments to field the FN 15, FN’s AR-15 released to the law enforcement and civilian markets. The department procured 231 of the U.S.-made, M4-style carbines in May 2014 from CATED SERVICE DED I FN America and began receiving KILLEEN ★ them the same POLICE month. Killeen’s FN 15 carbines 1882 offer the standard benefits expected from an M4-type firearm. Given that the FN-made M16/ M4 series proved more than capable in Iraq and Afganistan, they should prove more than capable deployed from Killeen police cruisers. Being made in the same facility that has produced the M16/M4 series for decades, the FN 15 has the same durability as issued, mil-spec equipment.

tion as well. The M193 ammo is usually more consistent, and that again proved to be the case. While not as precise as the superior 77-grain load, the FN 15 handled the 55-grain FMJ round quite well. These group sizes were, on average, only a few tenths of an inch larger. Shooting from the shoulder, especially from position, there are not many riflemen outside of top competitors who can benefit from that difference. The worst group of the day, shot with M855 ball ammo, which is known for lessthan-impressive precision, was just over 2 inches across. The best that my issued M16A2—which I’ve used at every All Army event I’ve competed in—has ever managed was a 1.88-inch group with this ammo, and that was from an expensive machine rest bolted to a concrete pillar. Despite being dimensionally identical to issued rifles, and as much as I’d like to trade my issued rifle for this FN 15, I would literally be cheating by using it at military shooting matches.

BATTLE LEGACY

FN’s years of experience manufacturing the M4 and M16 for the U.S. military have produced a commercial AR-15 that is mil-spec and much more. These are very basic AR-15s with the same configuration seen on issued rifles for over two decades. These are the first true-to-issue AR-15s being made in the same South Carolina — Continued on page 123

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 35

SHOTGUN GUIDE

SPEED DEMONS ULTRA-FAST SMOOTHBORES BUILT TO DOMINATE AT THE RANGE OR ON THE BATTLEFIELD! >>> By David Maccar

Photos Courtesy of Manufacturers

5 5 5 5 5 5 5

COMPETITION SHOOTERS

have gravitated to 3-Gun in the past few years for several reasons: It’s fun and challenging, there are a number of variations, it replicates practical shooting situations, and it requires a shooter to become familiar, if not an expert, with a variety of firearms. Plus there’s all the cool gear. Much attention is given to the AR, the 9mm handgun and, in the increasingly popular Open, Outlaw Open and Heavy Metal divisions, 7.62mm battle rifles and larger-caliber handguns. When it comes to the shotgun, many shooters leave it for last, but it can make or break a competition. Lots of shooters started with a lot of gunsmithing and aftermarket products on tried-and-true semi-autos to get them tuned for 3-Gun matches. Today, many smoothbores have enlarged ports for quick reloads, tuned gas systems for fast, reliable cycling and sights optimized for quick target acquisition right out of the box. Here are some of the best available on the market.

36

TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

REMINGTON VERSA MAX COMPETITION TACTICAL When Remington introduced the Versa Max line in 2010, it quickly became a favorite among hunters and shooters of all walks. The Competition Tactical model is based on the Versa Max Tactical and tuned to meet a 3-Gunner’s needs. It features an eight-shot standard magazine with a two-shot, carbon-fiber tube extension for a 10+1 capacity. With oversized controls, a green Cerakote receiver, an enlarged loading port, express dovetail sights and plenty of other features—including the Versaport gas system that regulates cycling pressure based on shell length and provides serious recoil reduction—it’s ready to go right out of the box. (remington.com; 800-243-9700)

SPEC BOX

l

Built with Beretta’s ultra-fast Blink operating system, the semi-auto 1301 Comp can deliver four rounds in less than a second. This shotgun’s ready for competition right out of the box with a 5+1 capacity.

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

22 inches

OA LENGTH: 43 inches WEIGHT:

8 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

XS express

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Green Cerakote

CAPACITY:

8+1, 10+1

MSRP:

$1,699

SPEC BOX

BENELLI PERFORMANCE SHOP M2 3-GUN EDITION

Already a favorite of 3-Gunners, in 2013 Benelli USA introduced a version of its venerable M2 tactical shotgun fine-tuned for 3-Gun competition. Features include the company’s proven Inertia Driven system that runs cleaner than other gas systems, an oversized bolt release, an extended tactical-style bolt handle, a modified carrier and an enlarged loading port along with HIVIZ competition sights. A shooter couldn’t ask for a smoother-running semi-auto with such a stellar reputation already proven on many ranges and in countless tactical situations. (benelliusa.com) FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

21 inches

OA LENGTH:

42.5 inches

WEIGHT:

7.3 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

ComforTech

SIGHTS:

HIVIZ front, mid-bead

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

8+1

MSRP:

$2,499

TACTICAL WEAPONS 37

SHOTGUN GUIDE

BERETTA 1301 COMP

This semi-auto is designed for competition right out of the box with a quality standard shooters expect from a gun-maker like Beretta. It cycles extremely quickly, with Beretta’s proprietary Blink gas system capable of pumping out four rounds in less than a second. It handles like a shotgunner's dream and has oversized controls, including the cocking handle and bolt-release lever, as well as enlarged loading and ejection ports. The receiver comes drilled and tapped for rail mounts, and the length of pull is adjustable to conform to individual shooting styles and clothing. (beretta.com)

SPEC BOX GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

21 or 24 inches

OA LENGTH: 43 inches WEIGHT:

8 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front, mid-bead

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

4+1

MSRP:

$1,255

SPEC BOX

FIREBIRD PRECISION MKA-1919

Similar to how the Saiga and Vepr are based on the AK, the Akdal MKA-1919 is patterned on the AR, which makes it a natural and nearly seamless transition shotgun for 3-Gunners more versed in rifle and pistol shooting. The magazine, bolt release and safety controls are positioned like an AR’s, making reloads fast and intuitive. A super-tuned TAC-12 model from Firebird offers a free-floating barrel and a non-reciprocating charging handle. (firebirdprecision.com; 866-997-0818)

GAUGE:

12; 2¾-inch chamber

BARREL:

19.7 inches

OA LENGTH: 36.5 inches WEIGHT:

7 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Front post, carry handle rear

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$1,600

SPEC BOX

FN SLP MK 1

FN has been producing auto-loaders for more than a century. It’s no surprise that the company makes some of the best tactical semi-auto shotguns on the market. The SLP MK I comes from those tactical roots and has the reliability, capacity and components—like a receiver-mounted bolt release, a curved operating handle and a top-mounted cantilever rail—to make it one of the best 3-Gun 12 gauges out there. (fnhusa.com; 703-288-3500)

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

22 inches

OA LENGTH: 43 inches WEIGHT:

8.4 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front, adjustable rear

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

8+1 (2¾"), 7+1 (3")

MSRP:

$1,324

SPEC BOX GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

16.9-26.8 inches

OA LENGTH: 41-51 inches

38

WEIGHT:

8.5-9.25 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Front blade, adjustable rear

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

5+1, 8+1, 12+1

MSRP:

$1,199

TACTICAL WEAPONS

MOLOT VEPR 12

The Vepr, patterned after the Kalashnikov rifle, ditches the conventional underthe-barrel mag tube and employs a gas-operated, long-stroke piston with a box magazine—and it’s giving the Saiga some competition in the Open Division. For shotgun reloads, it doesn’t get much faster than a detachable box mag. There are several variants of the Vepr out there with different stocks and grips, but they ship from the factory with a full-length top rail. The gun comes with a five-round mag that slides straight into the receiver. (molot-usa.com; 775-200-1678) FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Hartland, WI U.S.A. / Fax: 262-367-0989 / Toll Free: 1-877-BRAVO CO / 1-877-272-8626 * MOUNTING HARDWARE ADDS 2.2 OZ

BravoCompanyMFG.COM/KMR

SHOTGUN GUIDE

SPEC BOX

MOSSBERG 930 JM PRO

When five-time USPSA 3-Gun National Championship winner Jerry Miculek puts his name on a gun, especially one from a company with Mossberg’s reputation for rugged reliability, you know its something to pay attention to. With 10- and 9-shot tube versions and performance-enhancing features like a beveled loading gate, a shorter forend for quicker loading time, an oversized bolt handle and bolt release, and a dual vent gas system making for lighter recoil and easier cycling, the 930 JM Pro is a perfect choice for beginners and experienced competitors alike. (mossberg.com; 800-363-3555)

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

22 or 24 inches

OA LENGTH: 42.5 or 4.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.75 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black or Kryptek Typhon

CAPACITY:

9+1, 10+1

MSRP:

$776-$804

SPEC BOX

REMINGTON MODEL 1100 TAC 4

After 40 years, it’s safe to say that the Model 1100 has proven itself as a rugged and abuse-absorbing autoloader. It stands to reason that it’s a favorite of many 3-Gunners, and the TAC 4 model requires little modification for competition. The controls are familiar, and the platform is flexible with a bevy of aftermarket accessories and parts readily available. (remington.com; 800-243-9700)

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

22 inches

OA LENGTH: 42.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.75 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

8+1

MSRP:

$1,015

SPEC BOX

STOEGER M3000

The Stoeger M3000 is a versatile, reliable shogun. For that alone it’s suited for 3-Gun competition. The fact that it uses an inertia-driven system and runs clean with only three moving parts makes it even better. Plus, it will fire a range of loads reliably without adjustment. The biggest drawback is its short magazine tube, which only holds four shells. But, like the gun itself, an extension tube is inexpensive and will increase its capacity to 9+1. (stoegerindustries.com)

WINCHESTER SXP EXTREME DEFENDER

Pump guns certainly have their place in 3-Gun, especial in Heavy Metal or Open divisions. They can be a bit slower than a semi-auto in unpracticed hands, but there’s no difference in loading speed, and they’re far more reliable in dirt and weather than a gas-operated gun. Following in the footsteps of the Winchester 1300, this SXP comes with all the necessary accessories for competition and runs silky smooth because of its inertia-assisted slide action, which is capable of cycling three rounds in half a second. Its capacity is low, but a mag tube extension solves that problem quickly. (winchesterguns.com)

40

TACTICAL WEAPONS

GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

24-28 inches

OA LENGTH: 45.75-49.75 inches WEIGHT:

7.3-7.5 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front

ACTION:

Semi-auto

FINISH:

Matte black or Realtree camo

CAPACITY:

4+1, 9+1

MSRP:

$599-$679

SPEC BOX GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

18 inches

OA LENGTH: 38.5 inches WEIGHT:

7.5 pounds (empty)

STOCK:

Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fixed front and rear

ACTION:

Pump

FINISH:

Matte black

CAPACITY:

5+1, 8+1

MSRP:

$559

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SHOTGUN GUIDE

NEW & NOTEWORTHY

SCATTERGUNS ADAPTIVE TACTICAL VENOM BOX MAGAZINE KITS Transform your standard Mossberg pump-action shotgun into a detachable-magazine-fed powerhouse with the Adaptive Tactical Venom box magazine kit. The kit allows for the use of 10-round detachable magazines with most Mossberg Maverick, 500 or 590 12-gauge shotguns. Kits come with or without M4-style stocks and can be had in black, MultiCam, Desert Digital, STON and A-TACS camo. The MSRP starts at $300. For more, call 208-4428000 or visit adaptivetactical.com.

AMERICAN TACTICAL ATI DOUBLE TROUBLE American Tactical (ATI) recently unveiled the Double Trouble, a new take on the classic over/under double-barrel shotgun. This new 12-gauge shotgun has a double-barrel configuration with a black polymer forend and a fixed, polymer pistol-grip stock. A Picatinny rail on the forend allows a shooter to add a white light or laser. For more, visit americantactical.us or call 800-290-0065.

ATI OMNI HYBRID .410 SHOTGUN American Tactical (ATI) has introduced a semi-auto shotgun based on the company’s Omni Hybrid line of AR-15 receivers. Chambered in .410 bore, these shotguns will use 5- and 15-round detachable box mags. The MSRP for models with aluminum uppers is $669.95, while those with Omni MAXX polymer uppers have an MSRP of $649.99. For more, visit americantactical.us or call 800-290-0065.

FOSTECH ARMS ORIGIN The Origin shotgun from Fostech Arms is a 12-gauge, semi-automatic shotgun fed from a detachable magazine. Gas-operated, the gun is said to run very reliably with most 2¾-inch ammo. It comes equipped with a folding Minimalist stock and Diamondhead sights. The ambidextrous safety has oversized paddles for easy manipulation. Short-barrel options are available with the proper NFA paperwork. The MSRP starts at $2,600. For more, visit fostecharms.com.

42

TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

RangeMaxx 3-GUN CASE

3-GUN

competition is the fastestgrowing shooting sport in the world today because it’s fast, fun and exciting. But it’s also gear and ammo intensive. When it comes to organizing, protecting and toting your gear, the RangeMaxx 3-Gun Competition Gun Case has your back so you can focus on winning. In a typical 3-Gun match, you shoot, grab your guns and move quickly to the next course of fire. Your guns and ammo must be organized and ready. RangeMaxx designed the 3-Gun Competition Gun Case specifically to carry one AR, one tactical shotgun and one handgun—

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

exactly what you need for a match or for a serious day at the shooting range. The large main compartment has a padded divider that safely separates rifle and shotgun compartments. A removable, padded pistol case allows you to discreetly remove the handgun for separate carry if you wish. Three large, zippered exterior pockets offer

storage for ammo and other essential accessories, such as magazines, cleaning supplies and small tools. MAXED OUT: The RangeMaxx 3-Gun case combines the best features of a soft case and a hard case. It is made of rugged 600-denier polyester with a PVC backing to take the weight of a

heavy load and comes with a padded handle strap for conventional carry. There are also detachable shoulder straps that can be configured to carry the gun case like a backpack. The RangeMaxx 3-Gun Competition Gun Case is available in either flat black or coyote brown. For more information, visit basspro.com or call 800-227-7776. TW

TACTICAL WEAPONS 43

S

TRAINING SPOTLIGHT

From fundamental longrange countersniping positions to advanced high-angle shooting, students at GPS Defense Sniper School have an opportunity to cover it all with hands-on training from elite instructors. Straight 8 Photo

44 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SCHOOL

SNIPER WILLIAM GRAVES’ GPS DEFENSE: leading the way for today’s military and civilian top shots! >>> By Fred Mastison

N



estled in a remote area just west of Phoenix, Arizona, lies one of the best sniper schools that most people have never heard of. Unlike traditional shooting schools that constantly push for exposure, GPS Defense Sniper School quietly moves along, enjoying success with little fanfare. Founded in 1998, the program originally operated as the McMillan Sniper School and the H-S Precision Sniper Program while these companies were its corporate sponsors. Through it all, founder William Graves has kept to his principles and built a world-class precision shooting school. His clients range from elite military special operations personnel to serious civilian shooters looking to master the craft. Students come to GPS Defense Sniper School from all over the world. Graves, a former Dallas-area police officer, has developed a world-class curriculum that covers every aspect of precision shooting. His office is a testament to his work. On the walls sit framed letters of commendation from George W. Bush and Tony Blair. You’ll also find countless unit patches, challenge coins and thank you letters from numerous federal agencies. His drive and effort have earned him a strong reputation as well as a coveted government training contractor designation.

The key to GPS’ success has been a hard focus on providing real-world training in a professional setting.



FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 45

GPS DEFENSE SNIPER SCHOOL WILD GPS WAYPOINTS

Located west of Phoenix on hundreds of acres of rolling hills and Southwest desert, GPS offers one of the most diverse shooting areas in the country. From a static 100-yard zeroing range to a mock Middle Eastern village, it has terrain and targets to hone even the most advanced shooter’s skills. The company has recently developed a high-angle shooting area to teach shooters the skills needed to make these difficult shots. Coupled with a top-notch unknown-distance range, GPS gives shooters everything they need to push themselves and develop their skills.

Because of their extensive experience, GPS instructors are able to offer a variety of classes to fit the needs of any student. The courses move in succession and go from “Sniper/ Countersniper DDM” to “Instructor Development” classes. Because of its unique status with the military, GPS has even developed a professional warfighter class for personnel preparing for deployment. Designed by their professional instructor staff at the request of the Department of Defense, it teaches practical fighting skills with a sniper rifle as opposed to basic prone marksmanship. It is a two-week course designed for those

Straight 8 Photos

20 POLICE MARKSMAN FACTS While most police marksmen rarely shoot beyond 100 yards, they are required to maintain exceptional accuracy skills. Failure to do so can mean tragedy for innocent civilians.

P

olice countersnipers are more commonly known as marksmen. Many of the traits seen in military snipers are also found in those who choose the life of the long gun in law enforcement. All snipers, regardless of their branch or law enforcement agency, share and use the same set of core skills. However, each one has developed additional skills that do not always apply to the other. The operational differences between the military and their law enforcement cousins are dramatic, yet it all boils down to pressing a trigger. One of the primary differences is range. While most military shooters have the potential to make incredibly long shots, the

46 TACTICAL WEAPONS

police marksman is bound by urban confines. They simply do not operate in areas where they have large open areas to shoot. RANGE & ROLE: Most LE shooting scenarios are in downtown areas with little more than 75 yards to the target. While this may seem to make the shooting easier, it is complicated a great deal by the rules of engagement police must follow. Many military shooters see “minute of man” as operationally sound. Their job is the elimination of hostile personnel, and torso shots are well within the effective target area. Police marksmen may be required to take a shot on a partially exposed head behind

glass. To say that they must shoot minute of angle is an understatement. In fact, a majority of the shots police marksmen will take are headshots. They are required to neutralize the threat with one round to avoid collateral damage caused by a wounded suspect. Additionally, military snipers are often tasked with taking down “targets of opportunity,” or enemy combatants that fit their rules of engagement. Police marksmen rarely see more than one designated target in a scenario. The task of a police marksman is hyper focused and demanding. Let’s take this opportunity to look at the anatomy of a police marksman and 20 things you might not have known about them. 1. The most common rifle seen in the law enforcement community is the Remington Model 700 bolt action chambered in 7.62mm/.308 Winchester. 2. Police marksmen are called on as shooters first and observers second. 3. They must have the skill to consistently shoot a 1-inch group or smaller at 100 yards or closer. 4. Most agencies partner a marksman with another officer to help spot. 5. Of all the police marksmen shots in the last 20 years, 95 percent took place between 0 and 100 yards. 6. The most common round seen is the 168grain hollow-point boat-tail (HPBT). 7. While military shooters strive to stay as far away from their target as possible, police marksmen do everything they can to get closer. 8. LE marksmen rarely shoot from a prone position. A majority of shots are taken from improvised positions, such as squatting or sitting. 9. Most designated marksmen are part of a larger critical event or SWAT team.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

on the cusp of a deployment. Personnel can schedule an entire sniper element to avoid waiting a year to schedule Department of Defense schools. This is the same sniper training that GPS has provided to 2nd Ranger Battalion, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, SEAL Teams Two, Three, Four, Five and Seven, and SEAL sniper school instructors. GPS graduates meet and exceed current military sniper school shooting standards.

ELITE OPERATORS WELCOME

GPS’ current client list includes 35 Department of Defense/federal agencies, 153 law enforcement agencies from 34 states, and eight foreign countries on four

10. A majority of police marksmen operations center around hostage or barricadedsuspect scenarios. 11. Police marksmen oftentimes have to execute a command fire—firing at the exact moment the scene commander dictates. 12. Marksmen oftentimes build complete range and orientation books for their areas of responsibility. That way if they are called into action, they begin with solid range data. 13. Most professional SWAT teams require extensive training and selection for their designated marksmen. 14. Unless connected to a full-time SWAT team, police marksmen still manage their day-to-day duties as police officers. 15. Most law enforcement rifles are stock because of liability concerns. 16. During extended deployments, marksmen will take turns watching the scene through the scope. 17. Smoking and coffee drinking is highly discouraged, as it affects the vision of the LE marksmen. 18. The overwhelming majority of marksmen callouts do not result in shots fired. 19. Ninety-five percent of SWAT countersniper engagements occur in low-light conditions after nightfall. 20. The American Sniper Association calculates that out of 200,000 SWAT callouts over the last 20 years across the U.S., only 172 incidents have ended with a marksman killing a suspect. Police countersniper, marksman, defensive law enforcement rifleman—these are all different names for the same person who has accepted the huge responsibility of climbing behind a rifle. A person who understands that a shot 1-inch to the right or left could make the difference between success and tragedy.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 47

GPS DEFENSE SNIPER SCHOOL

REAL-WORLD TRAINING

The key to GPS’ success has been a hard focus on providing real-world training in a professional setting. GPS instructors are all experienced shooters with military and law enforcement backgrounds who share much more than just textbook knowledge. Professional presentation and

48 TACTICAL WEAPONS

Straight 8 Photo

continents. Aside from providing training in combat-focused carbine, tactical pistol and sniper weapon system training, GPS offers a variety of specialty courses including urban vehicle operations, building assaults, room clearing, downed-officer extractions, close-quarters battle, handto-hand combat, restraint techniques, and using Tasers and pepper spray. In keeping with its real-world-applications philosophy, GPS has also recently expanded its curriculum to offer an enhanced Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course. Created in the mid-1990s by U.S. military medical special operation members and the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT), the TCCC course is the only nationally recognized class of this type to prepare individuals for facing a unique tactical environment.

Whether a beginner’s course or more advanced, students start by getting a good zero.

training has allowed GPS to secure POST approval for much of its training, allowing law enforcement to secure continuing education credits for training. With this winning mixture, GPS now manages over 200 class days per year. Because of its long history of success and commitment to excellence, GPS has recently been approved by the Veterans Administration as a training school, which allows military veterans the opportunity to use their VA benefits to pay for training.

Those who make the trek to GPS find that they get a great deal more than they had hoped for. The dusty hilltop with military-style containers doubling as briefing rooms reminds every shooter present that this is the real deal. The skills they will develop over the next few days will elevate their marksmanship regardless of their previous experience. Few other schools in the world can share the accolades and diversity of training that are found at GPS. For more information, visit sniperschool.com. TW

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com



P320

WE DROPPED THE HAMMER ON THE COMPETITION.

THE NEW P320. We asked leading law enforcement professionals what they required in a pistol. They told us they needed safe, tool-free disassembly. A smooth, consistent trigger pull. A proper fit for any hand size—not just a back strap. We listened. And carefully followed orders. The result is the P320. A superior pistol in every way. Learn more at SIGSAUER.COM/P320

CUSTOM COMBAT

WILSON-GRADE

BERETTA 92/96 Trick out your favorite DA/SA with Wilson Combat’s Bullet-Proof accessories! BY DAVID BAHDE > By Fred Mastison

The AR-31, chambered for 7.62mm NATO/.308 ammo, has proven to be a serious player in the precision bolt gun market. With a well-thought-out design, it is sure to be a popular law enforcement rifle. Shown with a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T scope and a Harris bipod.

54 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

With a modular design rivaling the AR-15, the AR-31 provides a solid base to customize—and it uses AR-10B mags!

Armalite has been in the rifle business since the 1950s and a major player in the bolt-action precision rifle world for over a decade. The Armalite AR-31 is the most recent addition to the company’s precision rifle family. Following in the steps of the successful AR-30 and AR-50, the new kid on the block does not disappoint. Chambered in the much more cost-friendly .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO, it is a reliable short-action bolt rifle that will certainly catch the eye of law enforcement and civilian marksmen.

NEXT-GEN DESIGN

The rifle is available with either an 18- or 24-inch barrel, and I received the former for testing. It comes with what could be called a space-age-looking stock system. The buttstock offers

a wide range of adjustments. The cheekpiece can be raised an inch, and the length of pull can be adjusted from 13 to 15 inches. The buttstock is one of the best I have come across. The easy-toturn adjustment wheels are designed with a ball detent. This is a helpful addition that keeps the wheels from turning due to recoil or long shooting sessions. The cheekpiece is unique in that it is covered with mildly padded, non-slip nylon material. At the range, this proved to be helpful in eliminating any slippage while getting a cheekweld. Additionally, the buttstock has pre-threaded attachment points for sling swivel studs and a Picatinny rail bottom to attach other sling swivels or a monopod. On top of the chassis is a continuous, 20-MOA Picatinny rail that will allow shooters to get out to longer ranges. Measuring a full 18 inches long, the top rail is also a perfect fit for law enforce-

ment officers who may need to mount night vision or other targeting enhancements on the rifle. The forend also comes complete with Picatinny side rails for mounting lights and other required devices. The rifle is obviously built for serious shooting. It features an 18-inch, double-lapped, chrome-moly barrel that is capped with a highly effective muzzle brake, and the barrel is threaded so users can install other accessories. The AR-31’s octagonal action is nestled firmly in Armalite’s patented V-block receiver system. The AR-31’s bolt utilizes a floating bolt-head design to ensure the lugs always maintain even contact with the action, further helping with accuracy. Weighing in at 14 pounds unloaded—and about 16 pounds with a scope and ammo—the rifle is not something that makes you think of long hikes. There are benefits, however, but more on that later. One feature that I really enjoy is the fact that the rifle runs standard AR-10B magazines. This gives operators the ability to run 5-, 10- and even 25-round magazines. Along that same line of thought, it is notable that the magazine release is indexed along the side of the magazine well—the same as you would find on the AR-10 or any AR-15-style rifle. While some may argue the pros and cons of such placement, I found it to be comfortable and easy to run. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 55

ARMALITE AR-31 SPEC BOX

ARMALITE AR-31 CALIBER:

7.62mm NATO

BARREL:

18 inches

OA LENGTH: WEIGHT: STOCK:

35.5-39.6 inches 14 pounds (empty) Skeletonized, adjustable

SIGHTS:

None

ACTION:

Bolt

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

The AR-31’s skeletonized buttstock is adjustable for both length of pull and cheek height. Also note the large buttpad and bottom Picatinny rail.

Matte black 10+1 $3,460

The safety on the rifle sports a stiff, 180-degree flip at the back of the bolt—a unique design that will take time to master. The trigger is mechanically clean with a crisp break.

RANGE WORK

For the range, I outfitted the AR-31 with a Harris bipod and a Vortex PST 6-24x50mm FFP scope with an EBR-1 MRAD reticle. Mounted in Vortex rings, the PST would prove to be a great piece of glass for the rifle.

After a brief sight-in period, it was time to start shooting groups. The AR-31 did not disappoint. Since I was looking to measure the AR-31 as a law enforcement rifle, I stuck with 168-grain match ammo for the test. Being the most common round found in the law enforcement community, it seemed appropriate to run it like most officers would. I gathered three solid choices for ammo and ran them sideby-side: Federal’s 168-grain Gold Medal Match, Black Hills’ 168-grain Match HPBT and Hornady’s 168-grain BTHP Match.

To measure the AR-31’s accuracy, I fired five-shot groups at 100 yards from a stable prone position using the Harris bipod and a sandbag at the rear. The weather was standard Arizona fare— sunny and warm. Being early in the day, there was no wind whatsoever, which was helpful for gathering data. Firing groups, it quickly became apparent that the AR-31 liked the Federal Gold Medal Match ammo. My best group came in at just 0.3 inches, and the rounds were essentially stacked on top of each other. What’s

PICK THE PERFECT SPOTTER POWER: While 20-60X eyepieces sell well, I’ll take a 15-45X, even on scopes with big objective glass. I’ve yet to find a scope underpowered at 45X. It’s more than you need to spot bullet holes in targets. The light weight and compact profiles of 50mm spotting scopes can tempt you, and some of these small scopes, by Burris and others, deliver bright, sharp images in good light. But if you need a spotter for more than an occasional peek, 60mm seems to me a practical minimum. At 15X, you get 4mm of exit pupil, adequate for all but the dimmest of light. Leupold Tactical Mark 4

TRAITS: Like cameras, the best spotting scopes have removable lenses. In spotters, they’re the lenses in the eyepiece, straight or angled. For bench work, angled eyepiece models let you peek into the scope with a slight tilt of the head—there’s no need to get out of your shooting position. TOP SPOTS: Leupold’s Tactical 12-40x60mm Mark 4 has an edge on most of its competitors, with a 5mm exit pupil at the lowest power. I also like the Leupold’s folded light path, which keeps length to a minimum. The scope weighs a modest 37 ounces. You also don’t have to remove its protective soft-sided

case to use it. The eyepiece accepts an adapter for digital cameras. (leupold.com; 800-538-7653) Even more versatile is the new Bushnell Elite Tactical 8-40x60mm, with low-end magnification that matches your binocular. The Bushnell Elite features ED Prime glass and a RainGuard HD coating, with a straight, heavily armored chassis. It has an attractive and distinctive pea-green finish. Like the Leupold, it comes in a heavy black canvas soft case that can be left in place and simply unzipped on the tripod. It weighs about the same as the Mark 4 scope. (bushnell.com; 800-423-3537)

Meopta Sport Optics

Bushnell Elite Tactical Alpen Optics

56 TACTICAL WEAPONS

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FROM 100 TO 800 YARDS, THE GUN WAS EASY TO RUN AND HELD ITS EXCEPTIONAL ACCURACY.

With its smooth, solid bolt action and doublelapped precision barrel, the AR-31 proved to be exceptionally accurate on the range.



PERFORMANCE: ARMALITE AR-31 LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

Black Hills 168 Match HPBT

2,650

0.50

Federal 168 Gold Medal Match

2,650

0.30

Hornady 168 Match HPBT

2,700

0.50

Note: Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps per manufacturer specs, and accuracy in inches for best more, the results of five-shot groups at 100 yards. the Hornady and Black Hills ammo were both slightly under 0.5 inches each as well. punching steel at greater distances. From After the hard data was recorded, it was 100 to 800 yards, the gun was easy to run time to push the targets out and start and held its exceptional accuracy. The clarity of the Vortex glass made shooting at distance a pleasure. Ignoring a few A lightweight option is Alpen’s 15obvious mistakes made by the shooter, 45x60mm, which I tested recently with a the rifle performed as a tack driver. raft of other spotting scopes. Of traditional On the functioning side of things, the design, it features the forward focusing dial gun ran flawlessly. The weight of the I prefer—convenient to reach with my finger gun became an asset, as the recoil was as I steady the scope with my hand. Its resominimal, allowing for faster follow-up lution matches that of much more expensive shots on target. One unique aspect of scopes. (alpenoptics.com; 877-987-8370) the gun that the bolt will hold open after a The Meopta 20-70x82mm scope delivers magazine is empty, similar to what we see brilliant, needle-sharp images. The insulator on AR rifles. It took some getting used to. came through the glass much more clearly While the ejection port is ample in size, the than in the smaller scopes. I’m mightily locking made single-round feeding a bit of impressed by this Czech-built scope. Like a wrestling match. While it may be helpful the Alpen, it has an adjustable collar that in eliminating running the bolt home on an lets you rotate the body on the tripod without empty chamber, it presents some interesting training challenges. losing the image. (meoptasportsoptics.com; 800-828-8928) LAST LOOKS: No matter your choice of spotting scope, insist on fully multi-coated optics. Consider ED (extra-low dispersion) glass, also listed as APO (apochromatic), which corrects for color fringing and delivers the sharpest images. Hunting, you’ll appreciate lenses that shed water. I’m sweet on the split focusing rings on Leica and Zeiss spotters that let you shift effortlessly from fast to fine focusing. You’ll use your binocular constantly, a spotting scope only occasionally. But when you must see far, nothing beats the “big eye.” —Wayne van Zwoll

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

READY TO GO LONG!

The AR-31 is a fantastic rifle, and it’s one that law enforcement agencies and civilian shooting competitors should consider. With an easy-to-manipulate, 18-inch, threaded threaded barrel, it can truly work well in tight spaces. Easily accessorized with a sound suppressor, optics, night vision and/or thermal gear, it is a solid platform for any agency. Add to that exceptional accuracy, and the AR-31 may be one of the best rifles that has hit the market in some time. For more information, visit armalite.com or call 800-336-0184. TW

TACTICAL WEAPONS 57

CARBINE TESTFIRE

T

TO BE FRANK, I’m not too proud to admit it when I

Main Photo Sean Utley

occasionally overlook a good thing and find out later that I did. The “good thing” in this context is, as you’ve probably noticed, Mossberg’s latest version of the MVP series of bolt guns introduced in 2011. First produced in 5.56mm NATO/.223, the MVP featured an innovative bolt head design that allowed the rifle to use standard AR-15-style magazines, and that’s my excuse for not paying more attention back then. I had limited interest in a bolt-action centerfire 5.56mm and let it go right on by. I duly noted the positive reviews as time passed, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the 7.62mm NATO/.308 Winchester Patrol version last year that the MVP began to grab my attention, and when I stopped by the Mossberg booth at a large industry trade show in early 2014, one very businesslike specimen stood out clearly: the scoped MVP Patrol package. Yes, Mossberg offers the MVP in other patterns and configurations, including a neat “Flex” model with quick-detachable stock options, but on a bolt gun intended for fast and dirty “get me out of this” applications, I like a car-

58 TACTICAL WEAPONS

bine with a solid stock and compact overall dimensions, and this one’s undeniably that gun. End to end, Mossberg’s taken several good ideas and merged them into one capable little carbine that should be very much at home in a cop car. If you’ve been a shade slow on the uptake with these, like I have, you may want to look a little closer.

MOST VALUABLE ACTION

The first MVPs used a twolugged bolt with a unique hinged “trapdoor” section on the bottom of the bolt face that dropped down to engage a 5.56mm case rim for reli-

able feeding from a standard-issue or commercial AR-15 detachable box magazine, giving it as high a magazine capacity as any “tactical” semi-auto based on that military platform. Adapting a bolt-feed action to an auto-feed magazine isn’t all that simple, and Mossberg’s solution was both ingenious and successful. The 5.56mm MVP Patrol was accepted quite well, but it generated an obvious question among the market segment who wanted more horses under the hood: When’s the 7.62mm version coming out? Mossberg listened, dusted off the drawing board, and the result is very much out now. The 5.56mm’s trapdoor was replaced by two narrow, raised “ramp” sections milled into the bottom of the bolt, with the highest forward ends raised slightly above FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

MOSSBERG

.308 MVP

Cheer on the new AR-mag-fed Patrol package that’s compact, reliable, accurate and priced right!

>>> By Denis Prisbrey

Short, solid and packing plenty of big-bore power, the Mossberg MVP Patrol—a bolt action that can use AR mags—is ready for today’s law enforcement missions. Shown with the optional UTG 3-9x32mm scope.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 59

MOSSBERG MVP PATROL Sean Utley Photos

ABOVE: Mossberg offers the MVP Patrol with a large fiber-optic front sight (left) as well as an adjustable rear sight (right) to back up a mounted optic. RIGHT: The Lightning Bolt Action trigger is drop-safe, clean and adjustable from 2 to 7 pounds with just a screwdriver.

the underside of the bolt head enough to serve as two “push-tabs” between the locking lugs in sliding a 7.62mm case forward out of the magazine and into the chamber. The MVP Patrol uses a conventional pivoting extractor and plunger ejector in its bolt face, with a checkered bolt handle knob, and the bolt shaft itself is spiral-fluted to keep on chugging through the frequently hostile world of hard-use field conditions. For cleaning and disassembly, the bolt release is a depressible tab on the left side of the action, and the two-position swiveling safety is positioned across from it on the right side—forward for “fire” and rearward for “safe.”

LIGHTNING BOLT TRIGGER

A prominent enough component of the MVP action to warrant separate mention, the MVP Patrol carbine’s Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger, developed in 2008, is user-adjustable from roughly 2 to 7 pounds with a simple screwdriver, and features a distinctive trigger blade with a lightning bolt cutout inside the actual trigger. This blade blocks the sear from releasing the carbine’s striker unless it’s fully depressed, which acts as both a drop safety and an accidental-discharge safety if the trigger’s knocked from a side angle by some extraneous object that might otherwise jar it far enough back to fire. Both the blade and trigger are steel, and ride inside an easily removable and easily replaceable polymer trigger housing. The pull on my test sample was factory-set at 2.75 pounds, with a barely perceptible hint of travel before a very clean let-off and

60 TACTICAL WEAPONS

zero overtravel. In fact, it’s one of the best factory triggers I’ve worked with.

HIDDEN VALUES

Moving on, the little carbine projects a very solid “I can handle it” impression, weighing in at 8.5 pounds (minus an optic) with a 16.25-inch, 1-in-10-inch-twist, medium bull barrel and reassuringly hefty furniture in your choice of black or tan with textured sections at the wrist and forend. Its synthetic-looking stock is actually wood with a coarse finish painted on it, which explains the absence of that “hollow” feeling that typically comes with synthetic versions. The matte blued barrel features 5/8x24 threading and comes fitted with an A2-style birdcage flash suppressor that is SPEC BOX

MOSSBERG MVP PATROL CALIBER:

7.62mm NATO

BARREL:

16.25 inches

OA LENGTH: WEIGHT: STOCK:

37.5 inches 8 pounds (empty) Black textured

SIGHTS:

Fiber-optic front, adjustable rear

ACTION:

Bolt

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

Matte blued 10+1 $863

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

closed at the bottom to prevent kicking up dust while firing from a prone position. This threading is a common thread pitch for 7.62mm sound suppressors, by the way, if that’s of any interest, and if it’s not Mossberg also includes a muzzle cap thread protector in case you don’t want the extra length of the flash suppressor, either. On both the basic and the scoped models of the MVP Patrol the factory includes a Picatinny rail for mounting optics, and there’s a very functional, ventilated, black rubber recoil pad behind the neoprene Beartooth cheek-warmer sleeve on the buttstock. Sling swivels are also included.

DIALING IN

The basic MVP Patrol carbine comes equipped with a set of open sights—an orange fiber optic up front and a Williams fully adjustable ramped rear. The sights are quick to acquire, the fiber-optic front sight is quite visible in low-light settings, and the setup is easily good out to 200 yards or so—farther with some holdover practice. The scoped MVP Patrol package adds a UTG 3-9x32mm BugBuster scope with a 1-inch tube, zero-resettable target turrets for quick finger adjustments, 0.25-MOA

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

l

Mossberg ships the MVP Patrol with a 10-round, steel magazine that is durable, easy to load and positively retained. Note the release tab just ahead of the magazine.

click adjustments, a mil-dot reticle for range estimation, an adjustable objective for parallax-free viewing at 3 yards to infinity, a useful choice of either red or green full reticle illumination and variable brightness levels, a 2-inch sunshade, flip-open lens caps, and quick-detachable alloy rings with steel locking levers. Obviously, the optic can extend practical engagement distances well beyond 200 yards, if needed, even with such a short barrel.

AR CAPACITY

Capacity takes third position in a “tactical” rifle or carbine for many professional applications, right behind reliability and accuracy, but it does matter. In a longrange bolt gun, it’s not quite so important, but for relatively close-in encounters where

time stretches out and there may be group opposition, it certainly can be, and for that reason any LE or home-defense carbine benefits from having more than five rounds on board. Half a box of ammunition already in there is a bonus from the get-go, and being able to swap in 10 more rounds all at once instead of single-loading a traditional bolt-action is a double bonus. Understanding this market demand, one primary feature Mossberg was going for in these little carbines was capacity, and the MVP Patrol comes with a proprietary 10-round, steel, detachable magazine manufactured in-house by Mossberg.

TACTICAL WEAPONS

61

MOSSBERG MVP PATROL The bolt’s spiral fluting reduces weight without losing integrity, and the bolt head works with multiple mag types.

a high-stress activity. Easily accessible by either hand, this is very positive retenLOAD VELOCITY ACCURACY tion and is still fairly quick Black Hills 175 Match HP 2,413 2.31 to access during a reload Speer 150 LE Gold Dot 2,661 1.63 sequence. Remember, the Winchester 168 Silvertip 2,535 1.00 carbine isn’t intended to fill a squad automatic weapon Note: Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph, and accuracy in inches for best role, and having the magathree-shot groups at 100 yards. zine firmly in place when the flare goes up instead of a gapingly empty mag well is far more impormagazine, which is another feature I like. tant than a half-second reload capability. It’s admittedly a trade-off; the recess is too small for a gloved finger, but the upside, ROUNDS DOWNRANGE by my thinking, is that there’s no way an I tested the scoped MVP Patrol’s accuexposed mag button (AR style), external racy by firing three different loads from a lever (AK style) or enclosed lever (Mini-14 rest at 100 yards. The 168-grain Winchester style) can be bumped, banged, knocked Silvertips created the best three-shot group, or jostled into dumping a magazine during

PERFORMANCE: MOSSBERG MVP PATROL

EXTREME HOSTAGE TARGETS

T

he most pressured shot any operator will attempt involves taking out a threat that is using a hostage as a shield. Snipers practice these shots repeatedly, but shooting small groups on static targets at the range is not realistic training. Unpredictable movement of both the target and the friendly is essential for recreating a live-fire event. MOVING TARGETS: Challenge Targets’ Extreme Hostage Target (EHT) provides a system where the “suspect” moves side to side behind a static “hostage” or, by upgrading the system, both the hostage and suspect move. The upgraded system can also be configured to show two suspects moving behind a static hostage. The hostage target can also be replaced with a user-supplied prop that simulates cover (e.g., a brick wall or a door with a window) from behind which each of the two threats pop out unpredictably. This element adds realism and forces the trainees to use their best decision-making skills.

handguns, shotguns or patrol rifles. These non-specialized officers need to understand their capabilities and the limits of their equipment when more extreme situations present themselves. For instance, officers need to understand the factors that necessitate when to switch from buckshot to slugs and what firing positions are needed when delivering a less rapid but critically accurate shot. Using realistic moving targets instead of traditional static targets for law enforcement training goes beyond the objective of increasing officer survivability. It also is legally defensible should the department be accused of inadequately training its officers. In both Oklahoma City v. Tuttle and Popow v. City of Margate, the courts held that for firearms

Challenge Targets’ EHT is portable, comes in two sections and weighs about 50 pounds.

VERSATILITY: Challenge Targets sells silhouette-cut cardboard hostage and suspect targets, and the system accepts standard IPSC and IDPA cardboard targets. First responders to hostage situations may not be tactical teams, so patrol officers can use the EHT with

62 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Sean Utley Photo

Having worked with two high-dollar precision 7.62mm rifles in the past year that sported price tags more than double the scoped MVP Patrol package’s suggested retail price of $863, and found both mags on those to be more than slightly userunfriendly to load, the Mossberg magazine was a very pleasant surprise. Besides being quite sturdy, it loads just like a typical double-stack military mag, which means straight down from the top, between the feed lips, and cartridges don’t have to be coordinated with three hands and slid in under the lips from the front while trying to keep the round just below that one from jumping ship at the same time. Mossberg’s done well on this magazine, and ups the ante further by offering five-rounders for hunting and 20-rounders for extended social encounters. Something else guaranteed to appeal to many potential tactical 7.62mm bolt-action buyers is that the MVP Patrol can also run with M14/M1A military magazines and LR-308/SR-25-style magazines. Lockup is accomplished via a tab that sits flush inside a stock recess directly in front of the

which measured 1 inch exactly. The lighter Speer 150-grain LE Gold Dot rounds took second, and the heavy 175-grain Black Hills Match ammo came in third through the short barrel. The UTG glass was clear, and even though it’s not a high-priced scope, its performance was more than adequate on the Mossberg. The optics mounting system and backup sights are strong features for a little carbine like the MVP Patrol. The MVP Patrol is a compact package (including a scope and backup sights) that has low-light utility, solid heft, high-capacity mags, an excellent trigger, very tolerable recoil, a free-floated barrel, a flash suppressor, 7.62mm power and more than enough accuracy and range to reach out at typical LE distances with confidence. While a bolt gun’s certainly not the first choice for clearing a home or building, the handy MVP Patrol’s trim size gets it out of a car and around tight corners quickly when needed, and it offers serious firepower in a relatively small carbine. If power and portability matter to you, this Mossberg’s a contender. For more information, visit mossberg.com or call 203-230-5300. TW

training to be adequate, moving targets and decision-making (shoot/don’t-shoot) should be incorporated into training as well as other factors such as low-light situations. KEEPING IT REAL: The EHT is a simple system that requires little adjustment or maintenance once it is set up. Target movement is activated by the wind or via a rope by the instructor, so electric or pneumatic power is not required, which makes where and how the target can be used much more flexible. All that is required for setting up the EHT is a surface that is close to level. The target moves laterally to the shooter, realistically simulating a threat bobbing out from behind a hostage. Targets are mounted above a steel rocker mechanism that rocks back and forth on tracks. Activation is from the wind blowing a cardboard strip that acts as a sail stapled to the rear of the target or from initially pulling a cord and letting the rocker and counterbalance take over. Challenge Targets advises that movement requires at least a 3-mph wind. The target is exposed for two to five seconds depending on the wind or rope pull. Because the goal is realistic movement, making the hostage and suspect targets move unpredictability will enhance the training experience. For more, visit challengetargets. com or call 800-859-5841. —Andy Massimilian

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 63

CQB DEFENSE

EQUALIZING

GUNGRABBERS

Develop your inner samurai and blend to end up on the good side of an attack. BY FRED MASTISON PHOTOS BY STRAIGHT 8

“GO!”

rings through the headsets as the SWAT team launches into a dynamic entry. The team pours into the house and immediately encounters resistance. Unlike scenarios played out on movie and TV screens across the country, this fast-paced and dangerous dance takes place in an area the size of your living room. The resistance comes in the form of an assailant grabbing an officer’s gun and attempting to liberate it from his or her grips. While we all know what the cliché answer is to the problem, it is not always as simple as just firing your

1

4 64 TACTICAL WEAPONS

weapon. The entire team is now engaged inside the home, and muzzle awareness is critical. This is the reason why experienced teams work extensively on weapon retention and control techniques. Modern defensive tactics, as taught in academies across the country, are the simplified versions of ancient martial arts techniques. They are boiled down to their mechanical components and presented in a manner that makes them easy to perform and remember. These are the same principles used in teaching weapon retention to SWAT officers. The thing that is lost,

however, in just teaching mechanical technique is the mindset and more ethereal aspects of open-hand combat. This can lead to bad habits or what are commonly referred to as “range scars.” Without knowledge of why a technique works, it is difficult to understand how to make small adjustments in order to maintain its effectiveness. While turning DT training into martial arts sessions is not feasible, we can take some of the philosophies embraced by the samurai and apply them to our modern weaponretention techniques.

2

3

5

1 It’s not uncommon for suspects to try to grab an officer’s firearm during a highrisk entry or altercation. 2 As the gun is grabbed, lower your center and drop your elbows down. 3 Draw the weapon back into your center and slide back, off of the line of attack. You are blending with their movement. 4 Rotate the muzzle under the attacker’s wrist in a circular path and then drive it into their wrist. 5 Drive the assailant off balance and strike with your support-side hand. It’s preferable to target pressure points on the assailant’s face and head for maximum effectiveness. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com



The last thing an officer wants to do is get into a push/ pull match for their weapon. PUSH & PULL



Weapon grabs never develop slowly. An adversary generally grabs the officers’ weapon and begins the fight. From discussions with many officers who have experienced this phenomenon, I have seen a trend develop: When weapons are grabbed, it becomes a tug of war. This can have catastrophic results if the officer does not have a distinct size and strength advantage over the subject. Because of the possibility of a disparity in size, I teach a simple philosophy to mix with the technique—“blending.” The last thing an officer wants to do is get into a push/pull match for their weapon. The technique I teach for this is based around a centuries-old martial arts technique. If the adversary pushes, you pull. If they pull, you push. With this principle, the subject is never able to accomplish their goal of controlling the weapon. By blending with the grab, the subject can easily and quickly be taken off balance and controlled.

CIRCULAR POWER

The second component of weapon retention is the use of circles. While blending is a good way to deal with the initial grab, there needs to be a dynamic response to the attack. Once the initial blend has been executed, the officer should begin to circle the entire grab back into the assailant. This does two important things. First, it begins to jam the attacker and limit their motion. Secondly, it brings the weapon to bear on the attacker in the event shots need to be fired. This is a serious consideration in that the room may be filled with other officers and civilians. You must be aware of the muzzle and know where fired rounds could potentially end up. People are accustomed to resistance in a linear form. A push is countered with an opposite push in the same plane. The person with superior strength or leverage always wins this contest. Circles are FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 65

CQB DEFENSE

1

4

2

3

5

1 As an attacker grabs your long gun from the side, it’s important to immediately strengthen your grip and not lose control. 2 Avoid fighting or tugging and move in the direction of the grab. 3 Once you’ve gained leverage and created some distance between you and the attacker, rotate the weapon’s muzzle upward slightly. 4 Reversing the circle now, bring the muzzle down hard onto the wrist of the assailant. 5 As the attacker loses control, you can drive them to the ground or fire the weapon as the situation dictates.

If the attacker grabs your weapon and tries to pry it upward, blend with the movement, lifting the gun with him, and then reverse the motion back into the assailant. This can help you gain leverage and strike back.

RENTENTION HOLSTERS

R

etention systems in holsters are often classified as Levels I, II and III. The terminology itself refers to a specific testing protocol developed by Bill Rogers in the 1970s and adopted by Safariland in the 1980s. With the Safariland retention protocol, the holster must pass a series of successive tests, which among other things, relates to how difficult it would be over a set period of time for an assailant to take an officer’s weapon from their holster. This terminology was adopted by the holster industry yet often, holster levels are based on the number of features that are included in the design. These more generalized levels are represented by the following characteristics: • Level I: A holster that relies solely on friction to keep the weapon in place. • Level II: This incorporates a strap or thong over the back of the weapon in addition to friction.

66 TACTICAL WEAPONS

• Level III: This level incorporates all of the previous traits and adds in the need for the weapon to be twisted or rocked forward in order to be drawn. There are many companies working in the retention holster industry, but only a few have the name recognition and track records of heavy hitters. Let’s look at some of the best currently available.

1

1 SAFARILAND: As the originators of the retention rating system, this company might seem a sentimental choice, but it’s a great deal more than that. The company currently offers Automatic Locking System (ALS) and Self-Locking System (SLS) holsters, which are some of the best designs on the market. (safariland.com; 800-347-1200)

2

3

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

much more difficult to counter in these scenarios because they do not offer any direct line of resistance.

STRIKE BACK

Once the blend has been made and circles executed, it is time to offer a “kinetic response” to the aggression. This can come in many forms and once again shows the power of blending and circles. The officer can strike anywhere on the attacker’s body or head. Ultimately, they can also now fire their weapon if the situation dictates. The movements they executed not only control the attacker— they allow the officer to maneuver the assailant into a safe firing position. Every officer should be concerned with overpenetration, so turning the aggressor out of the path of others lessens the chance of injuries to fellow officers or civilians. The martial arts philosophy of blending takes some practice to get used to. Our general reaction to things is to tug and fight. With practice, blending will quickly become second nature. This principle can be applied to any situation and can make even simple techniques more powerful. Take care to train correctly, because the truth is that practice makes permanent. Lose the range scars and blend with a new way of looking at weapon retention. TW

2 DESANTIS: One of the newest offerings from this well-respected holster-maker is the Stryker. The holster has received solid reviews from the law enforcement community and solidified DeSantis’ position among the best holster companies. (800-4241236; desantisholster.com)

3 BLACKHAWK: The BlackHawk SERPA holster design has been one of the most popular retention holsters ever made. Affordable and easy to find, BlackHawk has found a goldmine with its design. (blackhawk. com; 800-379-1732) Editor’s note: The test protocol established by Rogers and Safariland requires that the holster pass a series of published tests which includes a five-second forceful attempt to take the firearm and or holster and firearm from the wearer. Further levels of security are identified if the holster passes additional outlined tests. See safariland.com for more information. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS

67

MONSTER BORES

SIG SAUER

SIG50 >>>>> By David Bahde

THE BIG BAD BOLT

that brings major .50 BMG power and sub-0.5-MOA precision! 68 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

The bolt-action SIG50 from Sig Sauer delivers tremendous .50-caliber energy on target with repeatable, sub-MOA precision, making this 23.5-pound tack driver perfect for most tactical operations or target shooting.

5 5 5 5 5 5 5

For most military and police applications, the .50 BMG’s primary tasks are generally anti-materiel in nature at long range. Undoubtedly, the .50 BMG’s forte is delivering significant energy and penetrating hardened targets. This is precisely what makes it so well suited to stopping armored vehicles, drug-smuggling boats and other vehicles. The byproducts of all that energy, however, are significant recoil and a rather impressive muzzle blast. Not everyone can or wants to run .50-caliber guns, especially in a bolt-action rifle. The recoil can be painful, staying on target for follow-up shots is mostly wishful thinking, and the muzzle blast will shake windows 50 yards away. Lighter .50 BMG rifles weigh a little less than 25 pounds; add extra ammunition and support gear and you are rapidly approaching what used to be a crew-served weapon. Even with all its drawbacks, when you need a .50 BMG there is really nothing better, and while some applications will work with minute-of-truck accuracy, there are times when greater precision is necessary. Precision rifles in this caliber have been around for years, and they’ve been used with great effect in a number of conflicts. One of my best friends carried and used one as an Army

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Ranger. Competitive shooters still use them today, and many have seen use in antiterrorist units and SWAT teams where precisely delivering serious energy on target is critical. Some of these weapons are single-shot rifles, but most are magazine-fed bolt actions. With the right ammunition, these guns can be truly accurate. Sig Sauer’s SIG50 is just such a rifle, and it’s capable of some rather impressive groups.

TACTICAL WEAPONS 69

SIG SAUER SIG50 BIG .50 SPECS

Like many of the most accurate .50 BMG rifles, the SIG50 starts with a proven bolt-action receiver built by McMillan. This system has seen significant action in military rifles and dominates benchrest competitions in this caliber. It is strong, smooth and capable of extreme accuracy. Sig Sauer has the SIG50’s action built to its high standards using a more angular design. The receiver is machined from 4340 chrome-moly steel and heat-treated to 45-48 Rockwell, making it as tough as nails. Topping the action is a full-length, 30-MOA rail to accommodate the scope of your choice. Even tougher 9310 steel is used for the bolt, which is carburized to 60 Rockwell. Helical fluting reduces weight and adds reliability. The oversized tactical bolt handle makes for smooth operation and will clear most large scopes. The rifle utilizes metal, five-round magazines, and the single-stage trigger, tuned to 3.5 pounds, is adjustable. The action is mated to a 29-inch, fluted, stainless steel, match-grade barrel with a 1-in-15-inch twist rate. Sig Sauer caps the barrel with a four-port muzzle brake designed to tame recoil and redirect muzzle blast away from the shooter. The SIG50’s buttstock locks solidly in place and detaches, allow-

70 TACTICAL WEAPONS



SIG SAUER’S SIG50 IS A PROVEN DESIGN THAT IS ABOUT AS ACCURATE AS YOU CAN GET.



ing the rifle to be easily stored and transported. The buttstock is also adjustable for cheek height, and shooters can remove spacers to adjust the length of pull. The stock has a contoured pistol grip that puts the rifle solidly in your shoulder pocket, and out front is an all-steel bipod for stability. Flush cups at the front and rear of the stock accommodate quick-detach (QD) sling swivels. Finally, the SIG50 rifle is coated with a tan, anti-glare Duracoat finish, making it ready for years of hard use. For testing, I mounted Leupold’s 3.5-25x56mm Mark 8 scope. Using a 35mm tube and indexed matched lenses, it is incredibly clear and rugged. An illuminated mil-dot reticle is mounted in the first focal plane (FFP), and the illumination is controlled using a side-mounted

ABOVE: The heart of the rifle is its McMillan action, which is immensely strong yet smooth to operate. The massive bolt features spiral fluting to reduce weight without losing any strength or reliability.

BELOW: The buttstock features an adjustable cheek riser that allows shooters to find the perfect fit behind the rifle. The author used a 3.525x56mm Leupold Mark 8 scope to wring out the SIG50’s potential.

knob with several levels. The zoom ratio provides plenty precision without sacrificing your field of view. M5B2 knobs with “pinch and turn” activation keep things locked in place until you need them. Each rotation, in 0.1-mil increments, provides a tactile click, making adjustments without looking at the knobs easier.

SUB-MOA PRECISION

Normally, testing a .50 BMG’s accuracy at less than 300 yards can be problematic. Like many large-bore rifles, they tend to group better at 300 yards than 100 yards. That’s what I’ve seen over the years—tighter groups at longer distances. Many will zero these rifles at 300 yards or more, but not all, especially those in law enforcement, where a 100-yard zero remains the norm. Most police agencies are looking to take out an engine block or hardened targets within 100 yards, so grouping at this distance is important. On the other hand, those with real long-range needs may zero the rifle at 500 yards—it just depends on what you are doing with the rifle. Having used similar rifles over the years, achieving 1-MOA results at 100 yards is pretty good. Rifles with this much recoil just don’t lend themselves to shooting tiny little groups. Even if the rifle will shoot

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SIG SAUER SIG50 4

3

1 2

8 10 13

12

SPEC BOX

SIG SAUER SIG50 CALIBER: .50 BMG BARREL: 29 inches OA LENGTH: 57 inches WEIGHT: 23.5 pounds (empty) STOCK: Adjustable SIGHTS: None ACTION: Bolt FINISH: Duracoat CAPACITY: 5+1 MSRP: $9,825



11 that accurately, it is difficult to be consistent with each round. Staying locked into the rifle and not moving off of the target is all but impossible. This rifle was definitely far from typical, producing one of the best 100-yard groups I’ve ever fired with a .50 BMG rifle. At the range, I loaded some Hornady 750-grain A-MAX rounds and fired a fiveshot group at 100 yards from prone, pretty much creating one hole that measured 0.49 inches center to center—which is very impressive considering the .50 BMG bullet has a 0.51-inch diameter. I was so astounded that I measured the hole several times with my calipers to be certain, as it



The SIG50 is a simple design with easy-toservice parts. The bolt is made from heavyduty, carburized 9310 steel with a hardness rating of 60 Rockwell.

72 TACTICAL WEAPONS

7

9

THIS RIFLE WAS DEFINITELY FAR FROM TYPICAL, PRODUCING ONE OF THE BEST 100-YARD GROUPS I’VE EVER FIRED WITH A .50 BMG RIFLE. l

5

6

During testing, the author used the SIG50 to punch this incredible one-hole group measuring 0.49 inches at 100 yards with Hornady’s 750-grain A-MAX ammunition.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

ADJUSTABLE CHEEK RISER ENLARGED BOLT HANDLE 30-MOA OPTICS RAIL FLUTED, MATCH-GRADE BARREL MUZZLE BRAKE QUICK-DETACH SLING POINT HEAVY-DUTY STEEL BIPOD ANTI-GLARE DURACOAT FINISH FIVE-ROUND MAGAZINE SPIRAL-FLUTED BOLT ADJUSTABLE TRIGGER PISTOL GRIP REMOVABLE BUTTSTOCK

was the first time I’ve ever made a group tighter than half an inch at 100 yards with a .50 BMG rifle. The bottom line: This rifle is about as accurate as it gets short of using a benchrest gun with handloads. Moving out to 300 yards, the same ammo held very close to 0.5 MOA with a group measuring 1.60 inches. It remained quite consistent at this distance, with everything grouping under 1.75 inches at 300 yards. There was no real loss in consistency at 500 yards, either, with groups averaging 3 inches. Hornady’s A-MAX load took the day here as well with a best group measuring 2.75 inches. Running the SIG50 was pretty comfortable as these things go. At the end of a couple days on the range, my shoulder was no sorer then a couple long days with a 12 gauge and buckshot, maybe a bit less. The recoil impulse is sharp, but it’s over quickly and the muzzle brake does its job well, as it kept the blast mostly away from me and did not kick up much debris at the range. This was not a new gun, but one that had been fired previously, so the action was well broken in. It was smooth to run the bolt, with no excessive lift required with FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

ON-DEMAND POWER

I’ve always preferred removable buttstocks on these types of rifles. Folding stocks can work, but this design ensures things stay solid. Big .50 BMG rifles like this will never be portable, per se, but some are just downright unwieldy. If it is used as a deployment rifle you still need to get it in place, and carrying it around in a hard case is less than ideal. You will also need a specially designed case if it’s to be carried fully assembled. Removing the stock, the SIG50 fit in both my Eagle and Galati bags, and both would work fine for typical police deployments. For longer treks or tracking, the rifle fit very well in my Eberlestock G4 Operator bag along with magazines, extra ammo, and even my Bushnell spotting scope and all of its attachments. Leupold’s Mark 8 scope worked very well. The glass is exceptionally clear, rival-

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

PERFORMANCE: SIG SAUER SIG50 LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

>

any of the ammunition tested even during a more rapid-fire string. While not able to run it lightning fast, it was quick and smooth, with no failures to eject. So long as the bolt was run hard it never failed to feed. The trigger was very predictable, clean, crisp and conducive to repeatable accuracy.

100 YDS

300 YDS

500 YDS

Hornady 750 A-MAX

2,815

0.49

1.60

2.75

Barrett 661 FMJ

2,750

0.75

1.73

3.15

HSM 743 HP

2,800

0.60

1.69

2.95

Note: Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity per manufacturer specs, and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100, 300 and 500 yards. ing any foreign-made scope on the market today. With a 3.5-25X magnification range, it is about as versatile as it gets. Police officers may want the field of view that comes with the lower power, yet 25X magnification is about as powerful as you can go and remain usable, especially where any appreciable mirage exists. Leupold’s pinch-and-turn adjustment knobs are excellent. Large and easy to read, the knobs did not shift during transport or low crawls, yet they are pretty easy to move when needed. They were tactile, easy to adjust without looking, and the scope held its zero despite the .50 BMG recoil. These days the mil-dot reticle would not be my first choice, but for many longtime operators they remain a preference. For those in need of a ranging reticle, the Mark 8 is

available with Horus H-58 and Tremor 2 reticles, also in the first focal plane. There is no doubt that the big .50 BMG has a place in the tactical environment, and it likely will for many years to come. For large, hardened targets where rapid fire is needed, semi-autos are still preferable. If you need precision at any range, bolt actions are still the best choice. Sig Sauer’s SIG50 is a proven design that is about as accurate as you can get. If you need a truly accurate .50 BMG precision rifle, make sure you give the SIG50 a very close look. For more information, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-772-2302. TW EDITOR’S NOTE: Visit tactical-life.com to see the author go way downrange with Sig Sauer’s SIG50 bolt-action rifle.

TACTICAL WEAPONS 73

Designed for enduring long-term military deployments, the AX50 bolt-action rifle from Accuracy International promises superb accuracy and consistent cold-bore performance. (accuracyinternational.com; 540-368-3108)

>>>>

BIG-BORE ROUNDUP

ACCURACY INTERNATIONAL AX50

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

27 inches

SPEC BOX

OA LENGTH: 53.9 inches WEIGHT:

27 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$10,812

Based on the proven AW50, the Accuracy International AX50 allows snipers to deliver first-round hits in harsh environments.

74 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

This bolt-action, single-shot rifle from Armalite is designed for affordable accuracy. It features an octagonal receiver, a 30-inch barrel and a large, fluted muzzle brake to tame recoil. (armalite.com; 800-336-0184)

SPEC BOX CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

30 inches

OA LENGTH: 58.5 inches WEIGHT:

34.1 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

1

MSRP:

$3,359

>>>>>>>

ARMALITE AR-50A1

An evolution of the AR-50 design, the AR-50A1 offers a smoother action and increased strength at a very attractive price.

MEET SOME OF THE MOST POWERFUL BOLT-ACTION AND SEMI-AUTO RIFLES ON THE PLANET! By Richard Johnson

D

FRONTLINE

efending the United States for many decades, the .50 BMG was developed for the Browning machine gun. Since that time, the cartridge has been adapted for use in rifles, where it has seen a great deal of success—especially in long-range engagements. Here is a quick roundup of semi-auto and bolt-action .50 BMG rifles being made today.

.50 CALs FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 75

BIG-BORE ROUNDUP

BARRETT MODEL 82A1 SPEC BOX

With surprisingly low recoil, the Barrett Model 82A1 is a semi-automatic rifle with years of harsh military service behind it that prove its reliability of the design. Barrett also offers the similar semi-auto M107A1. (barrett.net; 615-896-2938)

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

20 or 29 inches

OA LENGTH: 48-57 inches WEIGHT:

31.45-32.72 pounds

ACTION:

Semi-auto

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$9,119

BUSHMASTER BA 50 SPEC BOX

Introduced in 2014, the BA 50 is a bolt-action rifle that retains the ejection port on the right side of the gun but moves the bolt handle to the left. It disassembles like an AR-15 for cleaning. (bushmaster.com; 800-998-7928)

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

30 inches

OA LENGTH: 58 inches WEIGHT:

30 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$5,657

DESERT TECH HTI SPEC BOX The Hard Target Interdiction (HTI) rifle from Desert Tech is a bullpup design, giving the gun a full 29-inch barrel while keeping the overall length less than 46 inches. This keeps the overall package short for better handling without sacrificing ballistic performance. (deserttech.com; 801-975-7272)

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

29 inches

OA LENGTH: 45.4 inches WEIGHT:

20.1 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$7,239

DRAKE STALKER MK15 SLAM

SPEC BOX

The MK15 SLAM (Snipers Light Anti-Material), a descendant of the U.S. Navy Surface Warfare MK15, is a match-grade rifle that uses the McMillan TAC-50 action mated with a Strike Dual chassis. With a folding stock and a 17.5- or 26-inch barrel, the MK15 is very portable. (drakeassociates.us; 631-749-1100)

76

TACTICAL WEAPONS

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

17.5 or 26 inches

OA LENGTH: 44.25 inches WEIGHT:

26.9 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1, 10+1

MSRP:

$8,699

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

BIG-BORE ROUNDUP

EDM ARMS WINDRUNNER M96 SPEC BOX CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

28 inches

OA LENGTH: 45 inches

The Windrunner M96 rifle from EDM Arms is a boltaction rifle that uses a removable barrel to break down into an easy-to-carry package. The disassembly and reassembly process takes less than a minute and requires no tools. (edmarms.com; 928-636-0675)

WEIGHT:

34 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$7,500

MCMILLAN TAC-50 A1-R2 SPEC BOX The latest TAC-50 rifle, the A1-R2, is a bolt-action gun fitted with a special hydraulic piston in the buttstock and a proprietary muzzle brake to reduce peak recoil by 90 percent. These rifles can be configured for both right- and left-handed shooters. (mcmillanfirearms.com; 800-401-7269)

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

29 inches

OA LENGTH: 56 inches WEIGHT:

25.5 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$11,990

SAFETY HARBOR FIREARMS R50

SPEC BOX CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

18-29 inches

OA LENGTH: 44-55 inches

Fed by a detachable five-round magazine, the R50 is a bolt-action rifle that is available with barrel lengths from 18 to 29 inches. Single-shot rifles are also available from Safety Harbor Firearms. (safetyharborfirearms.com; 727-726-2500)

WEIGHT:

15.5-18.5 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$2,450

SERBU FIREARMS BFG-50A

SPEC BOX

The BFG-50A is a gas-operated, semiautomatic rifle that comes standard with a 26-inch barrel, a Shark Brake muzzle device and a Serbu bipod. The rifles use 10-round, M82-type detachable magazines. (serbu.com; 813-243-8899)

78

TACTICAL WEAPONS

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

26 inches

OA LENGTH: 51.5 inches WEIGHT:

23 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Semi-auto

CAPACITY:

10+1

MSRP:

$7,200

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

BIG-BORE ROUNDUP

SPIDER SUPERCOMP FERRET50 SPEC BOX

The SuperComp Ferret50 is a single-shot, boltaction rifle that can be made with either a right- or left-handed bolt for no additional charge. Spider Firearms also makes .50 BMG conversions for AR-15 lowers. (ferret50.com; 407-957-3617)

CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

32 inches

OA LENGTH: 61 inches WEIGHT:

34 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

1

MSRP:

$3,382

STEYR HS .50 M1 SPEC BOX CALIBER:

.50 BMG

BARREL:

33 inches

OA LENGTH: 58.2 inches

An updated version of the original HS .50, the M1 adds a five-round magazine, side Picatinny rails and a newly designed bipod. The 33-inch barrel is capped with a high-efficiency muzzle brake. (steyrarms.com; 205-417-8644)

80 TACTICAL WEAPONS

WEIGHT:

31.3 pounds (empty)

ACTION:

Bolt

CAPACITY:

5+1

MSRP:

$7,695

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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LAPD’s

STAKEOUT SQUAD

SIS detectives surveil suspects as long as it takes to obtain incriminating evidence. Here an SIS detective practices firing from her stakeout car.

Y

YOU’RE A DETECTIVE at one of the

Los Angeles Police Department’s many divisions, maybe Narcotics, and you’ve made a name for yourself as a hard charger. Bright. Excellent investigative skills. You’ve gained the respect of your fellow detectives, and so your lieutenant has recommended you for one of the department’s cream-of-the-crop squads—the Special Investigation Section, or SIS. Just as every member of the LAPD SWAT team had to first achieve the highest level of performance on the street, the detectives chosen for the SIS must be exemplary. You go. You ‘re interviewed. You’re given physical and psychological tests, and you pass. Smile a little. You’re now part of the team. In over 40 years, only 110 candidates for the SIS have made the cut. What will you get for that honor? Stakeouts. In fact, weeks on stakeouts. Regular people and even most cops don’t do stakeouts, so they don’t understand the pressure

82 TACTICAL WEAPONS

With leading-edge training and hardware from varsity makers, these elite enforcers put a stop to the city’s worst offenders! By John Fasano Photos by Justin Lubin & Hiro Soga they create. In law enforcement, the stakeout is the most stressful, frustrating and dangerous assignment a cop can get. It’s like sitting on an IED for a week at a time. And it’s a huge strain on family life—missed anniversaries, birthdays, holidays. No wonder the divorce rate among elite cops hovers around 85 percent! But

don’t worry, most SIS cops are married multiple times. That’s the bad. The good? The high you feel staking out the worst three-strikers, watching them put on their ski masks and hit a bank. Watching them drive off, thinking they are scot-free. Your heart rate increases, and you feel the cool polymer grip on your Glock 30S rubbing against your side as you pull away from the curb after them. You and your fellow SIS members follow them away from busy streets, cut them off and finally surround them. It’s The Stop. Your adrenaline pumps. Guns drawn. Bad guys face down on the street. You’ll know one thing when you get home tonight: They can’t hurt anyone anymore. I’ve talked to the detectives at the SIS, and they’ve said there’s no greater high in life.

SIS STORY The Special Investigation Section of the Los Angeles Police Department, an elite tactical squad within the RobberyHomicide Division, was created in 1965 to be the Detective Division’s equivalent of the SWAT team. It would be tasked with solving the cases the other detective units couldn’t, using plainclothes surveillance methods to track down the city’s most dangerous offenders—terrorists, bank robbers, serial killers and drug dealers—and take them off the street. The LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division is comprised of approximately 110 sworn and civilian personnel in five sections: Robbery, Homicide, Special Assault, Cold Case Homicide and the SIS, each under the supervision of a lieutenant and given the job of investigating high-profile crimes. The primary objective of the SIS, specifically, is to determine if a suspect under investigation by one of the sections is actually connected with a crime, and if so, locate, gather evidence and arrest the suspect. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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AGENCY SPOTLIGHT l

The Glock 21 is the primary sidearm of the LAPD SIS because of its simplicity, reliability and .45 ACP stopping power.

The way the SIS becomes involved in a case works like this: Divisional detectives throw the unsolvable cases to the SIS—a kidnapping, suspects in a series of bank robberies, or the latest major threat to American cities, a sleeper cell of potential terrorists. In these cases, the detectives have a suspect, but have not been able to amass enough evidence for an arrest. The SIS then sets out to get that evidence, and has a 99-percent success rate in closing those cases. Although primarily assigned to the Robbery-Homicide Division, the SIS detectives are available to any LAPD department entity seeking the surveillance of active criminals.

GUNS & GEAR

The SIS meets monthly for training sessions because their lives depend on their pistols probably more than any other cop working within the department. While

84 TACTICAL WEAPONS

SPEC BOX

GLOCK 21 GEN4 CALIBER: .45 ACP BARREL: 4.6 inches OA LENGTH: 8.03 inches WEIGHT: 29.3 ounces (empty) GRIPS: Polymer SIGHTS: Fixed ACTION: Safe Action FINISH: Black, surface hardened CAPACITY: 13+1 MSRP: $687-$734

they are constantly looking for new techniques, they are also continually evaluating their duty weapons. Stakeouts on hot suspects require that the SIS detectives carry a concealed handgun sometimes for days at a time. As members of the LAPD, SIS operators are cleared to carry any weapon in any caliber previously approved for LAPD use. That list includes 1911-pattern steel and polymer-framed pistols made by Kimber, Smith & Wesson, Beretta and Glock in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. While the main force of the LAPD uses the Beretta 92 pistol chambered in 9mm, the SIS has chosen to issue the .45 ACP cartridge for its detectives. While most police pistols are “carried a lot but fired a little,” that is not the case for the SIS because of the nature of their takedowns. They go with Winchester’s .45 ACP, 230-grain, jacketed-hollow-point Ranger T-Series ammo because they need maximum firepower and, more importantly, maximum stopping power, such as when they move in on heavily armed bank robbers. The possibility of injuries to civilians

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com



IN OVER 40 YEARS, ONLY 110 CANDIDATES FOR THE SIS HAVE MADE THE CUT.



One of the LAPD’s SIS detectives practices transitioning to his subcompact Glock 30S backup pistol in full kit.

is increased the longer the engagement ensues. The terrible North Hollywood shootout had street cops and their 9mms unable to take out the up-armored bad guys. That shootout was ended by a few well-placed, 230-grain .45 bullets. The primary sidearm for the SIS is the Glock 21. This is the gun that is fully stoked with 14 rounds (13 plus one in the chamber) and holstered on the front of the detective’s raid vest. The raid vest is usually locked in the trunk of the unmarked car along with a Benelli M4 12-gauge shotgun and either a Colt LE6920 or an HK416 5.56mm NATO rifle. If the stakeout goes sideways and the detective can’t get to his heavy armament, he has to engage the bad guys with whatever weapon is on his body, so it’s standard operating procedure in the SIS to carry more than one concealed handgun. SIS detectives have been known to carry a compact .45 ACP pistol in an inside-the-waistband holster and one or two hideout subcompacts like the Glock 36 or S&W 457 (or even .38 Special S&W 442 or 649 wheelguns or the S&W M&P Bodyguard 380 in .380 ACP) in an ankle rig. Sitting in a stakeout car for days at a time makes you appreciate your gun and FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 85

AGENCY SPOTLIGHT holster fit, and the detectives are free to buy additional guns as long as they are on the approved list. One detective told me, “When your life depends on carrying a concealed handgun, you either get your clothes to fit the gun or get the gun to fit the clothes.” SIS team members are always looking for the thinnest, lightest carry gun with the fewest sharp edges and projections. Last year the department approved a new pistol, the subcompact Glock 30S for concealed carry. The SIS had a hand in the creation of this new, lighter Glock by requesting a backup gun with a slimmer slide than

l

The SIS worked with Glock to create the G30S, an ultra-slim backup gun packing 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP firepower.

the Glock 30 that could be reloaded with the same 13-round magazine of .45 ACP ammunition of their main Glock 21.

HOT TAKEDOWNS

The SIS uses surveillance methods it has refined over the last four-plus decades. Once they have a target, they set up a

BENELLI M4

SPEC BOX

GLOCK 30S CALIBER:

.45 ACP

BARREL:

3.77 inches

OA LENGTH:

6.96 inches

WEIGHT: GRIPS:

HK416 5.56MM

Polymer

SIGHTS:

Fixed

ACTION:

Safe Action

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

86 TACTICAL WEAPONS

22.95 ounces (empty)

Black, surface hardened 10+1 $637-$684

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

mobile stakeout of the criminal suspects using disguises and unmarked cars so that they can stay on them 24/7 for days and even weeks and months until the suspect commits another crime. Only then will the SIS detectives pull on their tactical vests and move in, apprehending the suspects as they leave the scene of the crime. While many have asked why the SIS doesn’t move in when it’s clear that suspects are going to commit a crime, the answer is simple: With their method, there’s no question of the suspects being guilty or not. At the same time, clearly guilty men and women suddenly facing an armed tactical squad rarely come in “quietly,” and what are called “hot takedowns” often become active firefights. For a squad that tops out with only two-dozen active members, now including two female detectives, the SIS killed 34 suspects between 1965 and 1998. This has not won them any fans in the very liberal Los Angeles area media, even though no member of the SIS has ever been charged with a crime or suspended from duty in connection with a shooting. So the SIS shuns the media attention of its more famous brother tactical unit, the LAPD SWAT team.

SECRET GUARDIANS

The SIS keeps the details of its methods a closely guarded secret even from other police units, and is even headquartered in a location separate from the rest of the LAPD. In the 1990s, the LAPD even denied that such an organization existed. The SIS attributes its success to that secrecy, and you cannot argue with the results. It has closed some impressive cases in the City of Los Angeles: the Alphabet Bomber, the Freeway Strangler and comedian Bill Cosby’s son Ennis’ murderer, to name a few. Delta Force and the Navy SEALS, the military’s best, come to be trained by SIS in surveillance methods. Today, the Special Investigation Section is facing many new challenges from different directions, from new LAPD higher-ups having problems dealing with the massive overtime bills to the constant drumbeat of an anti-police, pro-criminal media. On top of that, Los Angeles, as a major port and air terminus, is seeing more organized, well armed criminal activity and drug smuggling than every before. The SIS can now be called in to gathering evidence on suspected terror cells and human traffickers. With its constant training, surveillance technologies and constantly improving firepower, the SIS remains on the cutting edge of tactical detective work. TW FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 87

SUPPRESSORS

SILENT Ti-RANT AAC’S COMPACT SUPPRESSOR can turn your 9mm pistol into the ultimate stealth striker!

I

BY ROB GARRETT PHOTOS BY CAMERA ONE

I am fortunate to live within driving distance of Atlanta and Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC). Over the years, I have visited the company’s facility and have had the opportunity to shoot and evaluate a number of its suppressors and AR rifles. AAC has become a major leader in the suppressor industry with a very impressive client list. In the process, AAC has branded itself with multiple logos, unique advertising, a great website and a blog. The company has also created a loyal following of customers that reminds me of the Glock craze in the early years. AAC products and ads seem to be everywhere!

PACK LEADER

Several years ago, AAC introduced the Ti-RANT as the company’s next generation of high-performance pistol suppressors. Available in both .45 ACP and 9mm, the Ti-RANT suppressors address size, weight and noise reduction through design, materials and engineering. The outer tube of the Ti-RANT is manufactured from Grade 9 titanium that offers improved strength and a significant weight reduction when compared to an aluminum or steel tube. The internal baffles are an improved K-baffle design that are precision machined from a combination of 17-4 PH stainless steel (blast baffle) and Type III hardcoat anodized 7075-T6 aluminum.

88 TACTICAL WEAPONS

To maximize sound reduction, and to take advantage of the titanium weight reduction, the Ti-RANT has a larger tube than the Evolution 9. The Evolution 9 is 7.73 inches in length, 1.25 inches in diameter and weighs 9.7 ounces. By comparison, the Ti-RANT tube is 7.9 inches in length, 1.38 inches in diameter and weighs only 8.6 ounces. The Ti-RANT offers a 13-percent increase in internal volume with a 1.1ounce weight reduction. The Ti-RANT features an improved version of AAC’s ASAP (Assured Semi-Automatic Performance) system. The ASAP is a Nielsen-type recoil booster that is located in the rear cap and consists of a precision-machined piston that is spring loaded in the cap. The piston has 10 sprockets that interlock into the back of the suppressor tube, giving the Ti-RANT an exceptionally tight and consistent lockup. The booster is essential to reliable operation in Browning-type recoiloperated pistols. The ASAP also allows the suppressor to be adjusted to minimize any shift in the point of aim/ point of impact. To adjust for any shift in the point of impact, the suppressor is pulled forward, away from the pistol, and

rotated. The spring then re-indexes and locks the tube against the sprocket. A spin-off of the original TiRANT series was the S-model series. The Ti-RANT .45S was developed for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare community. These combat units wanted a compact suppressor for use with the HK45 compact pistol. The compact HK45C is 7.2 inches in length, and the units found that the 8.74-inch length of the Ti-RANT .45 was too long for the mission’s requirements. AAC subsequently developed the Ti-RANT 45S to meet the requirement. The overall length of Ti-RANT 45S is just 6.42 inches. The 45S provides an 18-decible sound reduction when dry and a 28.4-decibel reduction when wet. This compares to -31 decibels and -41 decibels for the full-sized Ti-RANT. The end-users felt that the tradeoff in performance was balanced by the smaller size. The success of the Ti-RANT 45S led to requests for a compact version of the Ti-RANT 9, thus the Ti-RANT 9S was born.

l

Designed for special missions, AAC’s Ti-RANT 9S is a smaller version of the popular Ti-RANT 9 that is meant to be run “wet.” The author tested it on a custom Glock 19 Gen4 with an Inforce APL (shown).

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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SUPPRESSORS The 9S is a mere 5.07 inches in length, as opposed to the 7.9-inch length of the fullsized Ti-RANT 9. Both share the same tube diameter of 1.38 inches. The reduction in length brings the weight of the 9S down to 7.6 ounces, 1 ounce less than the Ti-RANT 9. The 9S offers a sound reduction of 22 decibels dry and 27.2 decibels wet. This compares to a 35-decibel reduction when dry and a 38-decibel reduction with the longer Ti-RANT 9 when wet.

RANGE TI-RANT

I recently tested a Ti-RANT 9S at the range. For a host, I selected a Glock 19 Gen4. The G19 is close to a perfect carry pistol. It is small enough to be easily concealed yet large enough to run effectively. The 15+1 magazine is ample for most applications, and the G19 can accept the larger G17 or the 33-round G18 magazines. It is no surprise that many in the intelligence and special operations community “live” with a G19 close by. In preparation for this evaluation I made several modifications to the G19. The first call was to Hilton Yam at 10-8 Performance. His Glock rear sight is CNC machined from heat-treated 4140 bar stock to withstand the knocks and drops that come with daily carry. The rear aperture is U-shaped for a faster and more intuitive alignment. The second call was to Brownells to order a Warren Tactical replacement front sight. I selected a tritium dot sight with a white ring to match the U-shaped rear aperture. The final call was to KKM Precision for an extended/threaded barrel. KKM barrels are made using certified 416R gun-barrel quality steel and are button rifled for matchgrade accuracy. KKM Glock barrels are cut with fully supported SAAMI-spec chambers for shooting factory and reloaded ammo. On the range, the Glock 19 and Ti-RANT 9S ran without any issues. I tested the Ti-RANT 9S with three subsonic loads. The first was ASYM Precision’s 147-grain match FMJ load, which averaged 907 fps. While designed as a match load, the lower velocity makes the ASYM load ideal for use with suppressors. The second ammunition SPEC BOX

AAC Ti-RANT 9S CALIBER: 9mm LENGTH: 5.07 inches DIAMETER: 1.38 inches WEIGHT: 7.06 ounces SOUND REDUCTION: -27.2 decibels (wet), -22 decibels (dry)

90 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SUPPRESSORS

PERFORMANCE: TI-RANT 9S W/ GLOCK 19 LOAD

VELOCITY

ACCURACY

ASYM Precision 147 FMJ

907

1.03

HPR 147 FMJ

919

1.39

1,017

1.52

Winchester 147 T JHP

Note: Bullet weight measured in grains and velocity in feet per second (fps) by chronograph for five-shot groups at 10 feet. was the HPR 147-grain FMJ load. This load is specifically designed for use with suppressors and averaged 919 fps. The final load was Winchester’s 147-grain T-Series JHP ammo, which is designed for LE and personal defense. The Winchester load averaged 1,017 fps and was the loudest. Carrying a pistol with a suppressor has been a challenge for many years. Crye Precision, in coordination with the special operations community, has come up with an ingenious solution that is simply called the GunClip. The GunClip is a polymer, U-shaped bracket that clasps the pistol by the top of the slide and the lower edge of the triggerguard. A safety strap wraps around the pistol and is secured via a snap that is released by the middle finger. The GunClip’s unique design allows the pistol to be carried with or without a suppressor. As expected, the Ti-RANT 9S was most effective when used as designed. By adding approximately 5 cubic centimeters of water, the signature was significantly reduced. It is within these operating parameters that the Ti-RANT 9S becomes a real standout. The Ti-RANT 9S is approximately 28-percent smaller than the full-size Ti-RANT 9. This reduction in size results in an increase in sound signature over the TiRANT 9 of 28 percent (wet) and 37 percent (dry). For users who require a compact suppressor, the Ti-RANT 9S is ideal. TW

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92 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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QUICK REFLEXES TORTURE TESTING TWO CUSTOMIZED GLOCKS FITTED WITH ULTRA-FAST REFLEX SIGHTS!

Combat pistols equipped with reflex sights are fast on target, accurate and more precise at greater distances. Here the author fires his 9mm TSD Combat Systems pistol with a Trijicon RMR mounted.

>>> By David Bahde It’s pretty common to see red-dot or reflex sights mounted on rifles these days. Quality reflex sights last a lifetime and will enhance your accuracy. Now that same process has begun for pistols. From a purely functional perspective, there is no reason a reflex sight should not provide the same advantages on a pistol. The sight just needs to be small enough and mounted properly. Several pistols are now made with slides cut to accommodate these miniature reflex sights, making the pistols practical for duty, SWAT operations and even concealed carry. A couple manufacturers offer factory-made pistols with slides relieved to accept micro red-dot sights. Gunsmiths can also alter pistols for this capability. Adapters are out there, but they mount the sight rather high. Glocks are the most commonly adapted, and several aftermarket slides are available. Configured with or without backup iron sights, taller “suppressor” sights allow for co-witnessing. The rear sight can be mounted in front of or behind the reflex sight.

94 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

I recently evaluated the concept of using a fast-targeting reflex sight on duty handguns with two test platforms.

FASTER GLOCKS

Large-frame Glocks fit me well, especially with some grip work. My preferred Glock is a G20 SF. It fits me well, and a barrel swap has resulted in a soft-shooting and completely reliable .40 S&W pistol. Ernie Bray at Red Creek Tactical stippled my G20’s grip, removed the finger grooves and worked his usual magic on the trigger. A .40 S&W KKM Precision barrel was installed, and I was also given a 10mm barrel. The slide was given Ken Hackathorn sights and a Cerakote finish. My Timberwolf-framed 9mm pistol most closely resembles a Glock 17. This frame comes with a reduced grip frame, an extended beavertail, interchangeable backstraps and an oversized magazine release. The internals are mostly from the factory, with a Lone Wolf Distributors trigger disconnector. This pistol fits my hand well and points like a 1911. The TSD Combat Systems slide houses factory internals and a KKM Precision barrel. And, just like the Glock 20, it has a Cerakote finish and Hackathorn sights. Lone Wolf Distributors can cut your pistol’s slide to accept a mini reflex sight, and it offers slides already made for this purpose. I had Lone Wolf cut the G20’s slide to mount the Burris FastFire III. While it cost the same as going to a custom gunsmith, the service was incredibly fast. AmeriGlo Suppressor sights were mounted for properly co-witnessing the irons with the red dot. For the Timberwolfframed pistol, I installed a TSD slide precut to accept a Trijicon RMR and featuring Trijicon Glock Suppressors sights consisting of a white-outlined front unit and a black rear unit. The RMR bolted right on, and the sights co-witnessed perfectly. Just SPEC BOX

CUSTOM GLOCK 20 CALIBER: .40 S&W or 10mm BARREL: 4.6 inches OA LENGTH: 7.59 inches WEIGHT: 26.28 ounces (empty) GRIPS: Polymer SIGHTS: AmeriGlo Suppressor front and rear, Burris FastFire III ACTION: Safe Action FINISH: Cerakote CAPACITY: 15+1 MSRP: $1,200 (as tested)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 95

BATTLE REFLEXES use the screws provided with the slide so the extractor spring will fit in the slide.

EXTREME TESTING

I tested both of these pistols over several months, doing everything with them you might do with a pistol in a duty, deployment or carry environment. I tested both the guns and their sighting systems for speed, sighting, reliability, usability and function. I carried them in off-duty rigs, tactical rigs, on plate carriers, concealed, and as both primary and secondary weapons. I shot the pistols from a number of non-standard positions in both “full kit” and minimal carry modes. Firing from my strong side, off hand, prone, on my back, rolling from side to side and in a number of weather conditions, this was easily one of the most thorough evaluations I’ve ever given handguns. The idea was to not only test their functioning but also practicality and, most importantly, value. Is adding a reflex sight to your duty handgun worth it? Here is what I found.

the reflex sight housing seemed to occlude my vision (especially the RMR), but after a while my eyes adjusted and I could focus on the reticle. Just put the dot on the target and press the trigger. For those married to always having a crisp front sight, this setup might be problematic. Threat- or target-focused shooters will transition quickly. Is using a reflex sight as precise, per se, as lining up squared-off irons? No. Should beginners learn to Trijicon’s RMR is one of the strongest mini reflex sights shoot this way? Not in my on the market today. It fit perfectly in place on the opinion. But this was not a author’s pre-cut TSD Combat Systems slide. target pistol test, nor am I My accuracy was generally enhanced a novice learning sight picture and alignment. For combat pistols in the hands with the reflex sights, especially as the of a solid shooter, the reflex sights were distance increased. Shooting at 25 yards plenty accurate. was faster with consistent accuracy. Initially

NEXT-GEN

REFLEX SIGHTS

Leupold DeltaPoint 2 Burris AR-1X Designed for fast shooting in tactical situations, the AR-1X prism sight works well at close range but is also effective out to 600 yards. Shooters can adjust the reticle brightness and colors (red, green and black) with the push of a button. One lithium AA battery will power the 13.2-ounce unit for 5,000-plus hours in the field. (burrisoptics.com; 970-356-1670)

96 TACTICAL WEAPONS

Updated for 2014, the new DeltaPoint 2 retains the motion-sensoractivated automatic illumination and brightness adjustments of the original DeltaPoint, but now adds manual adjustments for shooters who prefer brighter or dimmer aiming points. The DeltaPoint 2 also features a larger viewing window and lower-profile construction to aid in faster target acquisition. (leupold. com; 800-538-7653)

Mepro M5 The Mepro M5 from Meprolight is a new red-dot-style sight with a 2-MOA dot that runs on a single AA battery. The unit is built to withstand military duty and is compatible with nightvision and magnification scopes. From a single AA battery, the unit offers up to 8,000 hours of operation. An improved 33x32 display also allows for quick target acquisition. (meprolight.com)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Are these sights faster? Yep. Once you get used to using reflex sights, they are quick, especially for well-trained shooters. I think it’s important to keep co-witnessed iron sights, and I like to have the rear sight mounted behind the reflex sight. With this setup during testing, my presentation was unchanged. Shortly after the front sight presents, so does the red dot. Put the dot on the threat and press the trigger; repeat as necessary. Once you stop “looking” for the dot, it is quick. After the first couple hundred rounds, it was very intuitive for me. If you turn the dot off, nothing changes—just use the front sight as always. Set up with iron sights, there is nothing to lose here. These pistols shined when shooting one-handed, around obstacles, while wearing a gas mask and in unconventional positions. Lining up your iron sights while you’re on your back or side, or working around obstacles, can be tough. The reflex sight is much faster and a lot easier to use. Kitted up and rolling around on the ground with a rifle on my chest, the reflex sights were huge assets. The same was true with one-handed transitions in full kit. Bottom line: The less conventional the position, the more the red dot helped.

Redfield Accelerator The new Accelerator reflex sight from Redfield is lightweight and extremely durable. The waterproof, 1X sight can be mounted on virtually any shotgun, rifle or pistol with a Picatinny or Weaver-type rail. The unit has multiple brightness settings (low, medium, high and auto) and runs on a CR2032 battery that can be accessed through the top of the sight, meaning shooters won’t have to remove and remount the sight. (redfield.com; 877-798-9686)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SPEC BOX

CUSTOM TSD COMBAT/TIMBERWOLF CALIBER: 9mm BARREL: 4.49 inches OA LENGTH: 7.32 inches WEIGHT: 22 ounces (empty) GRIPS: Polymer SIGHTS: Trijicon Suppressor front and rear, Trijicon RMR ACTION: Safe Action FINISH: Cerakote CAPACITY: 17+1 MSRP: $1,200 (as tested)

Both of these pistols were flawless over a couple thousand rounds of ammunition. Nothing came loose, neither failed, and cycling with both factory and aftermarket recoil springs was unaffected. After a few rounds, you’ll forget the reflex sight is there until that dot comes up. The FastFire III occluded my field of view less but was not as bright, even on its brightest setting. It also has an on/off switch. The RMR was always on and blocked a bit more of my

Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV QD The Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV QD from Sightmark has two sighting methods built into one unit. The first is a non-magnifying reflex sight the uses five different illuminated reticle patterns. The second method is using a built-in red laser for close-in or unusual firing positions. The unit is night-vision compatible and weighs only 9 ounces. (sightmark.com; 817-225-0310)

view, but the dot was brighter in daylight. It has proven incredibly rugged and simple, making it my choice for tactical pistols. Its battery life is measured in years, and newer models are adjustable and have some other features.

ALWAYS READY

Holsters are the weak point in this arena right now, especially tactical rigs, but things are getting better. All of my Kydex holsters worked fine, as none of them cover the back of the pistol. Even carrying the Timberwolf concealed in an NSR Tactical IWB presented no problems. Suppressor sights may be too tall for some, but it had no affect on any of my holsters. Many companies now make holsters for carrying Glocks with these sights concealed. There are a couple tactical rigs out there, but the Safariland ALS series remains the most popular, and it accommodates competition-framed Glocks like the G17 and G34. Safariland’s Optic Tactical Holster is a standalone ALS rig designed with the military in mind. Covered in Cordura, it reduces the IR signature and can be had in several colors, including black. There is a holster to accommodate

Trijicon RMR Cerakote For 2014, Trijicon has begun offering Cerakote finishes for its popular RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex), Reflex and ACOG sights. This allows the shooter to custom-tailor the sight color to match the frame and furniture of their weapon systems. Trijicon currently offers three Cerakote finish options: Sniper Gray, Flat Dark Earth and OD green. (trijicon.com; 800-338-0563)

TACTICAL WEAPONS 97

BATTLE REFLEXES



BOTTOM LINE: THE LESS CONVENTIONAL THE

POSITION, THE MORE THE RED DOT HELPED.

EOTECH’S 518/558 HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHTS

H

olograhic Weapon Sights from EOTech are all the rage these days, and for good reason—they work! Now EOTech has expanded its line of Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS) to include the Models 518 and 558, which are now available on the market. In response to customer demand, EOTech took all of the best features of its HWS products and combined them into these highly functional and easy-to-use new sights. The 518/558

98 TACTICAL WEAPONS

models both feature the highly sought-after quick-release base and side-button functionality of the EXPS series and run on AA batteries (lithium or alkaline), the most common batteries in use around the world. FAST & FOOLPROOF: The 518 and 558 are compatible with the G33



Finished with Cordura nylon for a reduced infrared signature, Safariland’s Optic Tactical Holster is a fast, combat-ready, standalone ALS rig that accommodates pistols with miniature reflex sights installed.

Magnifier for longer-range shooting and the recently released EOTech Laser Battery Caps (LBCs), doubling the aiming capability with integral lasers. Simply remove the standard cap and replace it with the drop-in LBC visible laser or the LBC2 with both visible and infrared lasers. What’s more, the two new sights are classified under the U.S. Department of Commerce for export, making it easier for international customers to obtain these cutting-edge sights. The Model 518 has an suggested retail price of $539 and the Model 558 has an MSRP of $629. For more information visit eotechinc.com or call 888-368-4656.

l

a light and one without this capability. Mine took just a tad of fitting where the sight makes contact with the edge of the holster. Once it fit, it was excellent. It carried the pistol securely. TSD also offers a holster made by Blade-Tech that fits RMRequipped G17s and G19s. Starting out a bit skeptical, I made every attempt to find a reason for reflex sights not being the future of tactical pistols. Honestly, I could not find one, other than a lack of holsters, and that will be fixed rather quickly with increased demand. I would not hesitate a second to carry either pistol on duty. Depending on your department, reflex sights may lack some political correctness, but from a purely functional perspective they are well suited for duty use. They are also excellent for secondary pistols. The only real issue to me is debris covering the sight, which is not something that happens often, but it’s something to consider if you are rolling around in the mud and muck. This is only the beginning. As reflex sights get smaller and more guns accommodate them properly, demand will surely rise. Just as red-dot sights for rifles became the norm in the tactical world, given time there is little doubt the same will be true of pistols. TW

INFO BOX AMERIGLO ameriglo.net; 610-296-8915 GLOCK glock.com 770-432-1202 LONE WOLF DISTRIBUTORS lonewolfdist.com; 208-448-0600 SAFARILAND safariland.com; 800-347-1200 TRIJICON trijicon.com; 800-338-0563 TSD COMBAT SYSTEMS onesourcetactical.com; 928-776-4492 FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

NEXT-GEN 12 With its blue camouflage finish, breaching choke, laser/light, 15-round capacity and more, the bullpup-style UTS-15 Marine is an impressivelooking shotgun with the reliability and performance operators need on the high seas.

UTAS

>>> By Leroy Thompson

Ken MacSwan Photo

MARINE 12 ga. 100 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

The ultimate pump action that packs

15 rounds of pirate- or zombie-dropping shot!

W

arships have a wide array of weapons that can be used against attackers, but merchant ships and private yachts are far more limited. Let me add the caveat that when I was doing private protective work I saw yachts equipped with heavy machine guns that could chop most attacking craft to pieces, but that was the exception.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Normally, the merchant vessel or yacht will rely on three types of weapons to counter attackers. Instead of the machine gun, an anti-materiel rifle such as a Barrett .50 can be used to keep attackers at a distance by targeting their engine, hull or other vulnerable areas. Wind can affect the point of impact substantially at sea, so a heavier bullet is better as well. Personnel can also be picked off at a distance. In this scenario, shooters usually find a good shooting position that is least sensitive to the ship’s movement and allows them to fire from a rest or bipod for such longer-range shooting.

For engaging pirates as they approach a vessel, a select-fire battle rifle becomes more useful for providing continuous fire. Although the M4 seems to be widely used, I normally recommend one of the AR-type rifles in .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO for greater striking power and to do more damage to the pirate craft. Normally, to allow for movement of the two vessels, body shots on the pirates are preferable. Finally, to actually engage pirates who are boarding or have boarded the ship or yacht, the shotgun is very useful. Not only does it unleash a lot of lethal buckshot fast, but the shotgun will be less likely to damage critical gear aboard the vessel being defended. The primary problem with shotguns used in maritime security, however, is magazine capacity. After the order to “Repel boarders!” there isn’t a lot of time for reloads. That’s where the UTS-15 Marine from UTAS becomes relevant.

TACTICAL WEAPONS 101

UTAS UTS-15 MARINE 12 GA. 1

2 Ken MacSwan Photos

3

OCEAN THUNDER

The UTS-15 takes its designation from its joint design/production origins—“U” for U.S.A., where it was designed by Ted Hatfield, and “T” for Turkey, where some of the parts are manufactured. The “S” is for shotgun, and the “15” represents the cartridge capacity. And cartridge capacity is one of the big selling points for the UTS-15. Let me digress on that point for a minute. Traditionally, higher cartridge capacity for shotguns has meant longer tubes and longer barrels. Hence, higher cartridge capacity has meant less handiness. Box-magazine-fed shotguns can have shorter barrels, but to get even a seven- or eight-round capacity, the magazine becomes so long that it will catch on doorways or other projections. Drums for shotguns can increase cartridge capacity without becoming too unwieldy. Currently, though, the solution that combines cartridge

102 TACTICAL WEAPONS

capacity with handiness best is the use of multiple tubes. That’s what the UTS15 does. It has twin feed tubes combined with what appears to be a bullpup design. I say “appears to be” because, by definition, a bullpup rifle has the action and magazine behind the trigger group. That is not the case with the UTS-15, as the magazine tubes are forward. But it looks and handles much as a bullpup. With the UTS-15 feed system, each of the dual feed tubes, which are located above and on each side of the bore, holds seven 2¾-inch shells or six 3-inch shells. There is a selector lever atop the shotgun that can be set in the middle to allow alternate feeding from each tube or on the right or left sides to feed only from that tube. Using the selector to feed from only one tube at a time allows you to load one tube with buckshot and the other with slugs or some other combination. Loading is accomplished via two ports, one on each side. You open the loading port cover and push the follower forward against a spring to lock it in place while shells are loaded. When the port is closed, a shell pops back into the loading chamber ready to feed. If the full 15-round capacity is desired, after the first shell is loaded, that tube may be topped off. Unlike some of the other highcapacity, multiple-tube shotguns,

1 The shotgun comes with fixed front and rear sights, a straightline stock, large sling swivels and a thick buttpad to help absorb recoil. 2 Each magazine tube has a follower that, when pressed, locks it and prepares it for feeding seven 2¾-inch shells or six 3-inch shells. 3 The AR-type safety is located just above the pistol grip on the left side of the UTS-15 shotgun for ease of operation. 4 The breaching choke offers a useful standoff device, and the light/laser below it operates via a switch on the right side of the gun.

the UTS-15 is a pump action. As with any pump shotgun, it is important to operate the action fully by pulling it to the rear smartly and thrusting it forward smartly to feed the shell and lock the action. When using 3-inch shells I found it especially important to pull the forearm back smartly to ensure ejection of the spent shell. Because of the relatively complicated loading drill, checking that the UTS-15 is unloaded requires a couple of extra operations. First, the action should be opened and the chamber checked to be empty. Then, each of the loading port doors should be opened to check that the loading chambers are empty. Finally, the top of the stock may be opened to look once again to ensure that a round is not present anywhere in the action. It’s easier and faster than it sounds. Opening the top of the stock also allows easy access to clear a malfunction should one occur.

RANGE READY

The barrel is threaded to accept chokes designed for Beretta shotguns, allowing some choice in what choke to use with the UTS-15. It comes standard with a cylinder-bore choke that fits flush inside the barrel. However, I chose the optional ported cylinder-bore breaching choke, to be honest, because I like the way it looks.

4



I fired two rounds of Federal’s 3-inch #4 buckshot, which chopped up an OPSGEAR Osombie target really well with a pattern measuring 12.25 by 13.5 inches.



FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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UTAS UTS-15 MARINE 12 GA. SPEC BOX

UTAS UTS-15 MARINE GAUGE:

12; 3-inch chamber

BARREL:

18.5 inches

OA LENGTH:

28.3 inches

WEIGHT: STOCK:

6.8 pounds (empty) Synthetic

SIGHTS:

Fixed front and rear

ACTION:

Pump

FINISH: CAPACITY: MSRP:

Blue camo 14+1 (2¾-inch shells) $1,650

UTAS recommends against firing the UTS15 without a choke in place. The UTS-15’s controls are quite ergonomic. The safety is on the left side of the receiver like an AR-15’s, and it operates similarly. On the right side of the receiver is another switch that operates the green laser/white light located under the barrel. Down turns on just the laser and up activates both the white light and laser. This laser can be adjusted for both windage and elevation with an Allen wrench, but the white light itself cannot be adjusted. On the bottom of the synthetic stock is a button that releases the slide manually. A flip-up dust cover similar to an AR-15’s is on the right side of the receiver. I would recommend keeping it closed to keep debris, dust, etc., from getting into the action. The triggerguard has also been squared and is large enough for operators to use the shotgun while wearing gloves. A Picatinny top rail allows users to mount optics and sights. I usually use a red dot, often one of the miniature models, on shotguns, but the optional iron sights for the UTS-15 are sufficient, so I used them for all of my testing. The rear has a flip-up ghost ring/V-notch that is adjustable for windage. Since I use ghost-ring sights on a lot of my shotguns, I chose that option. The front post sight is adjustable for elevation. After firing only three patterns, I had them adjusted for 25 yards. The UTS-15 has a well-designed pistol grip with finger grooves. Generally, bullpup-type weapons do not lend themselves well to extensive carry, though the pistol grip helps. The UTS-15 has sturdy sling swivels mounted on the side.

ROUNDS DOWNRANGE

So far I’ve fired over 90 rounds through the UTS-15 in three sessions. I used Winchester GI overrun 00 buckshot, Federal Tactical low-recoil 00 and #4 buckshot,

104 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

Winchester low-recoil 00 and #4 buckshot—all in 2¾-inch shells. I also used 3-inch Federal #4 buckshot. I used an assortment of targets—some zombies, since we know fast-firing shotguns are good zombie killers—and some bad guys with guns. I started off firing 2¾-inch Winchester low-recoil 00 buckshot at 15 yards. For my testing I wanted to see how fast loading from alternate tubes was, so I fired two rounds with the selector set in the center for dual feeding. The two rounds on a zombie target were low, but the pattern was good and would have chopped the zombie into two half-zombies. Also at 15 yards, I fired two rounds of Federal’s 3-inch #4 buckshot, which chopped up an OPSGEAR Osombie target really well with a pattern measuring 12.25 by 13.5 inches. I had adjusted for windage and elevation prior to firing these rounds, so the pattern was well centered in the chest. At 25 yards, I tried two rounds of Federal’s 2¾-inch Tactical #4 buckshot on an OPSGEAR bad guy with a gun target. The pattern was a little to the left but only stretched 14 inches. I adjusted the windage an additional two clicks, and the second pattern at 25 yards was well centered.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

The UTS-15’s high capacity and fastoperating slide action allow operators to quickly engage multiple targets at one time with a variety of tactical loads.

In addition to firing half a dozen patterns on paper, I fired another 80 to 90 rounds at plates at distances from 15 to 35 yards to evaluate the UTS-15’s handling. I mostly fired with the selector set to alternate barrels, but I did do a couple of runs with it set to feed from the right tube, then shifted to the left tube when it was empty. It was a bright sunny day, so I did not get a chance to figure out the laser’s point of impact. The trigger pull was pretty good, which means

that I did not notice it being especially heavy. Of course, as expected, the recoil was light given the low-recoil loads. There was more recoil with the 3-inch loads, but shooting wasn’t uncomfortable. I like the sights. They are easy to acquire and can be readily adjusted. Windage is click adjustable and elevation can be adjusted by inserting a screwdriver in the slot atop the front post. As I mentioned earlier, it is important with the UTS-15 shotgun to work the slide with some force when pulling the forearm back and pushing it forward to ensure optimum reliability. This is especially true if you’re working with 3-inch shells.

MORE FIREPOWER

The UTS-15 Marine is definitely distinctive. For those who want a less “distinctive” look than the model I tested, the UTS-15 is available in black, olive drab, Flat Dark Earth/desert and some other finishes. With an MSRP of $1,650, the UTS-15 is not a cheap shotgun, but it is a lot of shotgun for the price. For more information, visit utasusa.com or call 847-768-1011. TW

TACTICAL WEAPONS 105

ENHANCED AR

DIY CARBINE UPGRADES

Customize your self-defense AR with BlackHawk’s 24/7-ready enhancements! BY MIKE DETTY PHOTOS BY ALEX LANDEEN

A

A great part of the AR-15’s appeal is the ease with which it can be accessorized to fill any individual’s perceived needs. Its modular design and standardization of specifications between manufacturers make this weapon exceptionally easy to customize to missionspecific configurations. These facts did not go unnoticed by BlackHawk. Last fall I was invited to a writer’s seminar in Manhattan, Montana, where BlackHawk had just opened a brand-new manufacturing plant that specializes in

106 TACTICAL WEAPONS

plastic injection molding. The spacious, state-of-art facility is where the everpopular SERPA holsters are made. Many of the company’s new AR accessories are also molded at the plant. After a tour of the plant we were driven to a nearby range, where each of the writers was issued a new Smith & Wesson M&P15OR rifle (a flattop, 16-inch-barreled gun with a collapsible buttstock), a set of tools and a box of new BlackHawk AR accessories. In no time at all, we had swapped the issue S&W parts for upgraded BlackHawk accessories and took the rifles to the line, where we were treated to some shooting instruction by professional shooter Todd Jarrett. The improved ergonomics of the M&P15s helped us shoot these guns more comfortably, and the single-point slings allowed

the guns to hang without fatigue while we waited for our turns to shoot. I was impressed enough with the BlackHawk accessories to request an unmodified S&W M&P15OR and a complete set of BlackHawk accessories to build a new personal-defense gun.

TRICKED-OUT AR

BlackHawk’s new adjustable carbine buttstock is available for both military and commercial receiver extensions, more commonly called buffer tubes. The S&W M&P15OR uses a mil-spec buffer tube. By depressing the release lever and pulling it all the way to its rearward position, and then pulling down on the lever pin, the buttstock can be pulled off the buffer tube. But before I installed the new buttstock, I installed BlackHawk’s ambidextrous singlepoint sling adapter. I like its design because it does not require removing Take your quality the buffer tube’s castle nut. The AR—like the Smith part simply slides over the buf& Wesson M&P15OR fer tube and is tightened using shown—to the next the supplied wrench. Once level with BlackHawk’s in place, I then slid the new accessories, including buttstock over the buffer tube. a new forend, stock, sights and pistol grip. The quality of the new BlackHawk buttstock is outstanding. It offers smooth, wobble-free adjustments. There are ambidextrous sling mounting locations, and one push-button sling swivel is included. The stock’s durable reinforced-polymer construction means it’ll stand up to extreme use, and it even has an integrated metal sling stud molded into the toe of the buttstock. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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ENHANCED AR 1

2 shooter with a good grip that prevents slippage under adverse weather conditions.

SIGHTS & SLINGS

1 The BlackHawk Ergonomic Grip has subtle finger grooves, texturing and a storage compartment. 2 BlackHawk’s Knoxx adjustable carbine stock sports several sling-mounting options. 3 The folding rear backup sight features an aluminum aperture in a lightweight polymer housing. 4 The flip-up front sight deploys with the push of a button and has protective wings that help draw your eye for fast targeting.

I wanted to add BlackHawk’s new AR-15 Carbine Quad Rail Forend to replace the issued handguards on the S&W M&P15OR so I could attach a tactical light to the rifle. The two-piece aluminum handguard easily replaces the stock handguards. Unlike many of the other drop-in rail handguards on the market, the BlackHawk parts feature steel reinforcement where they contact the barrel nut, ensuring solid rigidity. Four setscrews unitize the two halves and make them movement free. This is especially important if you’re using some sort of laser designator so that its point of aim does not shift. I like the BlackHawk forend’s slim profile, which should prevent hand fatigue, and the two halves are vented to help dissipate heat. There are also limited-rotation, push-button sling swivel attachment points on both sides of the handguards. To prevent cutting my hands I used BlackHawk’s rail covers, which fill the voids of the rail.

GET A GRIP

BlackHawk also produces a railmounted thumb rest that attaches to the railed handguards. Popular with 3-Gun shooters, this accessory is also finding favor with tactical operators. Made from reinforced polymer, the thumb rest can be used on either side of the rifle. It provides a

108 TACTICAL WEAPONS

While I wanted to mount an EOTech holographic sight as my primary optic, I also needed backup sights. BlackHawk offers a folding backup iron sight compatible with mil-spec front sights. It features a single “hybrid” aperture for simplicity. It locks into its stowed position but deploys with spring pressure by depressing a button at the rear of the sight. Its aperture is made from aluminum, while the sight housing is molded from polymer for an optimal strength-to-weight ratio. I also used a BlackHawk detachable front sight designed to be mounted on the railed gas block. It too can fold down, out of the way when using optics. The spring3 4 loaded sight can be quickly deployed with the push of a button. Its circular hood protects the front sight and, combined with the rear sight, makes a rugged and serviceable backup iron sight system. BlackHawk’s single-point Storm Sling XT made it easy to carry the M&P15OR around. The sling features a great deal of adjustability and is made with durable, 1.25-inch-wide nylon webbing for comfort. It uses a plastic-encased MASH clip for quick, positive attachment and quiet consistent index for the support hand and, detachment. I attached it to the sling when used in conjunction with a vertical mount I had previously installed on the foregrip, makes the 16-inch-barreled carrifle’s buffer tube. I adjust mine so the end bine fast handling and easy to point. of the buttstock hangs just below my sterBlackHawk’s vertical foregrip attaches num. This gives me quick weapon access to any Picatinny rail and is designed yet allows the carbine to hang out of my for improved weapon control and heat way when I need to have my hands free for management. It is molded from reinforced other things. polymer and secures to the rail with two clamp screws. A 1.5-inch extension can also be attached for a full-length grip. The BATTLE READY O-ring-sealed storage compartment is a With my carbine modified all I had to handy place to store optic batteries. do was add an EOTech 512 HWS and a To make it easier to use the safety, tactical light to fill my needs for a homeBlackHawk offers an ambidextrous selecdefense gun. It does everything I need it to do without excessive cost or bulk. It’s an tor/safety with extended levers and an accurate gun that handles well and should improved angle to make its use more ergokeep me safe in any scenario. nomic. It is a drop-in part that requires no BlackHawk offers a complete line of fitting, but the pistol grip must be removed tactical AR accessories, and the ones to install it so the safety detent and spring I used here in this article were chosen can be removed. After replacing the selecfor my needs to modify the tor, I took the selector spring M&P15OR for home defense. and installed it along with a Your needs may vary, and BlackHawk Ergonomic Grip. BlackHawk provides a ready Designed with subtle finger BLACKHAWK source for weapon upgrades. I grooves and an integral upper blackhawk.com; was impressed with the quality extension, the Ergonomic 800-379-1732 of the BlackHawk accessories. Grip positions the hand more SMITH & WESSON Each product comes with comcomfortably to engage the smith-wesson.com; trigger without strain or fatigue. plete and easy-to-understand 800-331-0852 Its unique texture provides the instructions for installation. TW

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FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

EXTREME TESTFIRE

RUNNING BRAVO’S RECCE-16 BCM’S CARBINE PROVES ITS METTLE AT U.S. NAVY SEAL KYLE DEFOOR’S BATTLEPROVEN TRAINING ACADEMY!

>>> By Len Waldron

FOR KYLE DEFOOR

, the path to

becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL and serving in its most elite Special Mission Unit began before he graduated from high school. A football and track standout from a small town in northwestern Alabama, Defoor was living a life of hometown notoriety most young men would envy. But after taking a career interest test that determined he was suited for nothing he found interesting, Defoor met a Navy recruiter who showed him a Vietnam-era film on the Navy SEALs. The challenge of and preparation for becoming a frogman struck a chord with him, and he made it his singular focus for the next two years. To the shock of his parents and hometown, he quit football and track, joined the cross-country team to train himself in longdistance running, and three times per week drove three hours round-trip to train with the University of Alabama swim team. His unusually mature vision and monomaniacal commitment paid off. Defoor enlisted in the Navy, passed BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training), earned his SEAL trident and became a member of SEAL Team Eight. Over a career that spanned nearly 10 years, Defoor served as an assaulter and sniper with Naval Special Warfare and was awarded a Bronze Star for Valor in Afghanistan. Today, Defoor runs Defoor Proformance Shooting, a marksmanship and tactics company training both civilians and the world’s most elite military and law enforcement units.

110 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

With a rugged U.S. Optics SR-4C optic on a Bobro mount, the BCM RECCE-16 is a functional yet lightweight midrange weapon. The Enhanced Light Weight upper and KeyMod Rail reduce weight without sacrificing strength.

Kyle Defoor, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, demonstrates in his classes with basic iron sights and simple setups to drive home the importance of fundamentals to marksmanship and weapons handling.

WARRIOR PROFILE:

KYLE DEFOOR

HOMETOWN: Haleyville, Alabama MILITARY SERVICE: 10 years as U.S. Navy SEAL assaulter and sniper. Bronze Star with V For Valor in Afghanistan TRAINING RESUME: Head of marksmanship instruction for Blackwater, instructor at Tiger Swan CURRENT ROLE: Founder of Defoor Proformance Shooting, which specializes in tactics and marksmanship instruction to military, law enforcement and civilians. TRAINING PHILOSOPHY: “People don’t come to my courses to learn how to win an IPSC match. They are typically serious about learning and adapting their gunfighting skills. I teach students how to deal in violence as quickly and as efficiently as possible so they can go home safely to their families, protect their comrades, or accomplish their mission.” “Training is about growing, adapting, and learning. Sometimes you have to go back to being a baby. Don’t be afraid to do so in order to improve.” TIPS FOR NEW SHOOTERS: “Seek out training that makes sense for you. Don’t choose instruction or an instructor on what your buddy or the internet tells you. Judge yourself honestly and be humble about what you need. Avoid getting overspecialized too early. You’ll miss fundamentals that you’ll have to relearn later.”

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 111

BRAVO COMPANY RECCE-16



Defoor runs Defoor Proformance Shooting, a marksmanship and tactics company training both civilians and the world’s most elite military and law enforcement units. Having now spent nearly as many years as a firearms trainer as a SEAL, Defoor has seen fads and concepts come and go. So when he mentioned he had collaborated on the development of a carbine with Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) and a matching optic from U.S. Optics, Tactical Weapons decided to put his work to the test at his two-day pistol and carbine course in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

PROFESSIONAL GRADE

Defoor became aware of BCM rifles gradually. Several of his fellow shooters had BCM rifles, and the reports were all the same—they always work. Though sponsored by a different manufacturer at the time, he began to notice more and more BCMs showing up at his classes, and their users were rarely those who had to step off the line to fix problems and never suffered catastrophic problems. “I found it odd. There were consistently so few problems with this brand of rifle. No loose barrels, no failed extractor springs, no gas block issues, nothing we typically see after heavy use with all the other production models,” says Defoor. So when BCM founder Paul Buffoni called, Defoor was receptive. Buffoni, a retired U.S. Marine, has made incorporating feedback from the field a relentless habit in the development of the BCM line of firearms. To this end, Defoor had thoughts and Buffoni listened. Their work together produced a variation of the BCM RECCE that

112 TACTICAL WEAPONS

After students zero their rifles (above), its on to drills. Defoor runs a two-point Viking Tactical sling that can be easily adjusted, along with the new BCM stock, for fast CQB work or longdistance shooting. The BCM foregrip adds another level of control.

Defoor tweaked to align with the functionality sought after by many of the reconnaissance shooters he trains. First and foremost, the rifle had to be reliable and made with quality components. Second, it had to be as light as possible without sacrificing performance. And finally, it had to deliver accurate rounds at close and medium ranges, particularly when paired with an optic. Called simply the BCM RECCE16, the rifle is a winner. The design centers largely on the Enhanced Light Weight (ELW) upper. The bar-



rel is a partially fluted, continuously tapered design. It has a heavier profile near the chamber and tapers toward the muzzle. Weighing 1.38 pounds, it is 11 ounces lighter than a standard mid-length gas system barrel. But like all BCM barrels, it still features mil-spec barrel steel, a manganese-phosphate finish, and a chrome-lined bore and chamber. All BCM barrels are also high-pressure and magneticparticle inspected. The lightweight complement to the fluted barrel is the 5.5-ounce, 13-inch-long KeyMod Rail (KMR). Manufactured from a blended aluminum and magnesium alloy, it weighs 30 to 40 percent less than aluminum with the same strength properties. BCM has also designed a proprietary mounting, indexing and locking system that mitigates rail movement created by heat from the barrel nut. BCM describes the rail’s exterior surface as “a ceramic-like coating with superior wear resistance when compared to anodizing or even hard chrome.” Developed by Eric Kincel, the director of BCM’s product development team, the KMR’s KeyMod interface system provides four additional offset mounting positions between the traditional

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions. Ultimately, the KeyMod system and the composite alloy materials provide a lighter, cleaner and smoother mounting surface than traditional Picatinny systems. The RECCE-16 also features an ALG Defense Advanced Combat Trigger (ACT). The ACT is a single-stage, mil-spec trigger tuned to operate with less grit and a sharper break than traditional designs. The ACT parts are differentially coated with nickel-boron and nickel-Teflon to reduce friction and enhance wear resistance. Its pull weight is not lower than the 5.5-pound M4/M16 minimum weight specifications. The RECCE-16 comes with a rugged, lightweight and adjustable BCM Gunfighter stock. Defoor notes, “We dropped it from 21 feet, not necessarily on purpose, and it didn’t so much as crack.” The Gunfighter features both a quick-detach (QD) swivel socket and a modular VBOST (Vehicle Borne Operations Sling Tab) that interfaces with the shooter’s rigger band or bungee to secure the rifle’s sling against the stock when the carbine is not in use. The RECCE-16 also comes with a tool-less, direct-attach, KeyMod vertical foregrip. Made with a slight angle that can be oriented to the rear or front, the Gunfighter vertical grip attaches through the KeyMod system and tightens with a twist of the grip, which locks into place when the grip is fully seated.

RUNNING THE GUN

I caught up with Defoor outside of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for his two-day pistol and carbine course. He had arrived several days earlier and hand-assembled a rifle identical to the one I would be running in the course. Like most of his openenrollment courses, the students at this training session ranged from military and law enforcement personnel to civilians. SPEC BOX

BRAVO COMPANY RECCE-16 CALIBER: 5.56mm NATO BARREL: 16 inches OA LENGTH: 32-36 inches WEIGHT: 7 pounds (empty) STOCK: BCM Gunfighter SIGHTS: Flip-up front and rear ACTION: Direct impingement semi-auto FINISH: Matte black CAPACITY: 30+1 MSRP: $1,490 FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 113

BRAVO COMPANY RECCE-16



The BCMs adapt and grind through shooting challenges like a Willys jeep through mud and sand.



Kyle Defoor uses a timer to instill in students an awareness of how long it should take to accurately place a round on target at various distances.

Along with the BCM RECCE-16, I ran a U.S. Optics SR-4C 1-4X scope on a Bobro QD mount. The SR-4C features a mil-scale reticle with a daylight-visible red dot in the middle of the crosshairs. The SR-4C and the Bobro mount were both Defoor’s specs for the course setup. “I have worked with U.S. Optics to help develop an optic that can function both at CQB range as well as quickly adjust to mid-range magnification.” The SR-4C’s red dot does not change with magnification, so the shooter can utilize it throughout the magnification range of the scope. Defoor also adds, “The scope is the toughest optic I have seen. Its capped turrets are functional protection, and I have seen it dropped onto the turret during an exit from a helicopter onto concrete. The optic didn’t even lose its zero.” As this course was conducted on a flat range, I ran a simple High Speed Gear battle belt with taco mag pouches and a Raven Kydex holster for my Glock 35. I used Black Hills remanufactured ammo for the pistol and new, 55-grain Black Hills ammo for the rifle.

MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE

As a gunfighting instructor, Defoor has mastered the “minimum effective dose.” This means he has consciously elimi-

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The KMR rail system provides a long and stable runway for mounting optics, lights and lasers. The rifle also features a crisp ALG Defense ACT trigger.

nated any instruction, drill or repetition that doesn’t contribute to the skillset he has in mind for the shooter. This not only accelerates learning, but it also gets the shooter further down the road to proficiency within the two-day period. Through 10 years of training shooters, Defoor selects drills and round counts that will immediately tease out shooter’s weaknesses along with direct feedback to adjust techniques. Defoor says, “The targets and timers don’t lie. Either the bullets are being fired in the allotted time and hitting the bullseye, or they are not. It’s critical for each student to judge himself honestly and adjust.” Two days is ultimately not a great deal of training time, so the drills and progression came quickly. This class was made up of fairly proficient shooters, so we

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were able to cover ground quickly. The instruction began with the pistol and transitioned into the carbine. I had zeroed the U.S. Optics SR-4C to the BCM RECCE-16 prior to the course and had put about 500 rounds through the rifle. I had no failures or malfunctions before the course and was curious to see what stress the rifle could handle. The optic only required a slight elevation adjustment as I had zeroed at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level and Oshkosh lay at 790 feet. Otherwise, the Utah-to-Wisconsin flight had not affected the optic. Defoor spends most of the first day on the “zero.” While this might sound excessive, it teaches each shooter to know precisely where his round is hitting at various

l

distances. Defoor requires accountability for round placement and understanding of how a shooter’s carbine or pistol is set up and where the rounds will land at a given zero, at several distances. He simultaneously uses the groups at distances to incorporate fundamentals and tactical considerations. This is concentrated instruction without filler for fluff. Though experienced, the shooters were challenged and improved. In my case, some minor adjustments on a grip I had thought I had perfected years ago yielded measurable results. Ian Ross, a gunsmith and recreational shooter noted, “It was the mountain of little things that allowed me to make the improvements I sought. Learning about angular and parallel deviation, shooting his — Continued on page 124

TACTICAL WEAPONS 115

TACTICAL RIDES

TIER ONE

Commander 800R XT with rear open differential equipped with Police Pack. It is shown with additional accessories and RP SOF run flat tires.

OFF-ROADERS

Tricked-out UTVs built for special operations from RP Advanced Mobile Systems. BY NICK JACOBELLIS PHOTOS BY ALEX LANDEEN

T

Two of the most impressive products on display at the 2014 Border Security Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, were the Commander 800R XT with rear open differential equipped with Police Pack and the RP Advanced Mobile Systems StrikeC based off of the Can-Am Commander 1000. The process to manufacture these UTVs begins when Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) provides commercial versions of the Can-Am sideby-side UTV to RPAMS, which modifies the already well-proven Can-Am design with customer-requested options.

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A Tucson Airport Authority Police officer takes aim with his issued SIONICS AR while field-testing the RPAMS UTV.

As far as models are concerned, BRP and RPAMS collaborate on two- and fourseat law enforcement and military models. All of these models are designed from the ground up to serve with tremendous reliability under the most adverse conditions imaginable, including in combat zones and high-threat locations. BRP and RPAMS will also sell their UTVs minus certain features to private corporations. The fact that the RPAMS Strike-C Can-Am Commander has a top speed of 70-plus mph also makes these UTVs exceptionally fast for military, law enforcement and security personnel. Gasoline FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com



The test vehicles were very comfortable, very maneuverable, very responsive and well suited to their missions.



versions of RPAMS’ UTVs are also equipped with 10-gallon fuel tanks that provide a range of about 150 miles.

STRIKE-C & COMMANDER 800R XT

The two-seat Strike-C is built on a steel frame and is able to exceed speeds of 70 mph because it is equipped with a 976cc, 86-horsepower, liquid-cooled Rotax V-Twin gasoline engine, a CVT transmission and two- or four-wheel drive with an autolocking front differential. Both the two- and four-seat models are also equipped with a high-load, tactical nerf bar assembly/rock slider with a stow and lock mode for aerial transport; a tactical assault bumper with a strut-integrated payload track system and aerial transport tie-downs; a modular flatbed assembly with internal, lower-deck storage; a multi-track restraint system; and a 1,000-plus-pound payload capacity. The two rear seats on the four-seat model fold forward to accommodate a NATO-sized litter or other equipment. In addition to its “good to go” appearance, the RPAMS UTVs are fitted with a hood and fender assembly that makes these vehicles look like they should be featured in the next Transformers movie. These UTVs are equipped with RPAMS’ 12-ply SOF Series II run-flat tires, which can take a direct hit from a 7.62mm round of ammunition and continue to remain fully operational even when “deflated” for up to 75 miles at a continuous speed of 45 mph. These run-flat tires are available in black or desert tan, with the tan-colored tires specifically designed to blend in with desert terrain. Some of the most interesting and practical standard features of the RPAMS StrikeC are its Fatigue Mitigation Warfighter MOLLE tactical seats, which are made with rip-resistant, 1,000-denier Cordura fabric. The seats are designed to provide the best possible comfort for all passengers while operating the vehicle at different speeds in adverse driving conditions, and the seats also have removable sections to accomFEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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TACTICAL RIDES



All of these models are designed from the ground up to serve with tremendous reliability under the most adverse conditions imaginable, including in combat zones and high-threat locations.



modate a user’s hydration pack or other necessary gear. Power steering and a tilt steering wheel are included as standard features. Both the Strike-C and the 800R XT can also be fitted with a severe-duty, four-point retractable harness kit featuring quick-release rotary buckles. The interior compartment also provides enough leg, hip and shoulder room for a uniformed patrol officer/first responder, a SWAT team operator,

1

or a fully equipped Special Forces operator to comfortably enter, ride in and exit the two- and four-seat models. Solid half-doors and nylon mesh “doors” are also available. Other optional features include HID lights; a blackout/infrared capability for operations utilizing night-vision gear; a quick-release articulating roll cage assembly for aerial transport; MSI Defense Series suspension packages, including 2.5-inch piggyback shaft-

SPEC BOX

2

3

>>>>>>>>>>> 800R XT WEIGHT:

1 TAAPD officers run the 800R XT through its paces in off-road desert terrain along the perimeter of the Tucson, Arizona, Airport. 2 The rear compartments of these UTVs provide plenty of space for storing spare ammunition, water, MREs and other gear. 3 This rear view shows the rugged frame, bumper and run-flat tires.

D D LENGTH: D WIDTH: D HEIGHT: D WHEELBASE: D FRAME: TOW CAPACITY: D FUEL CAPACITY: D D ENGINE: HORSEPOWER: D D DRIVE TRAIN:

STRIKE-C

1,295 pounds

1,497-1,697 pounds

9.86 feet

10.1 feet

4.88 feet

5 feet

6 feet

6 feet

6.32 feet

7.03 feet

Steel

Steel

1,500 pounds

1,500 pounds

10 gallons

10 gallons

976cc, V-twin

976cc, V-twin

85

85

Selectable 2WD/4WD

Selectable 2WD/4WD

TAAPD officers stand guard near their RPAMS Strike-C on the left and the Commander 800R XT with rear open differential equipped with Police Pack. It is shown with additional accessories and RP SOF run flat tires.

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adjustable compression shocks (passive) or 2.5-inch ProTune semi-active shocks with a terrain selection shocktuning control; and RPAMS’ keyless anti-theft ignition system. Clearly, the combination of these features makes it possible for law enforcement officers or special operations military personnel to utilize RPAMS-modified UTVs in safety and comfort while operating on different types of terrain at different speeds. In addition to the option of being equipped with an RP Modular Front Cargo Rack Assembly, the exposed rear pickup truck bed on RPAMS UTVs are also large enough to accommodate backpacks, ammo cans, cases of MREs and other equipment. Both the two- and four-seat Strike-C UTVs can also be fitted with metal swivel arms to accommodate a belt-fed machine gun. To top off the impressive list of standard and optional features, RPAMS also offers a wide variety of camouflage for its military and law enforcement UTVs. This list includes U.S., NATO and other foreign military camouflage. RP Advanced Mobile Systems and BRP Can-Am UTVs cost between $15,000 and $29, 900 depending on the model and options.

OFF-ROAD TESTING

In May of 2014, TW teamed up with officers of the Tucson, Arizona, Airport Authority Police Department (TAAPD) to field-test the Strike-C and Commander 800R XT on rough desert terrain as well as on roads that run through the airport complex. We chose these conditions because these two-seat, side-by-side UTVs are designed and equipped to operate as street-legal vehicles that can also be used off-road in rugged terrain. We began our evaluation by having two members of the Tucson Airport Authority Police get familiar with each vehicle. After operating these UTVs on paved roads, the military version was driven on open desert terrain that borders a large portion of Tucson Airport. During this field test, the TAAPD officer appeared to be having a lot more fun operating the pair of modified UTVs than they usually have when they perform their patrol duties in traditional marked and unmarked police vehicles. Both officers reported that the test vehicles were very comfortable, very maneuverable, very responsive and well suited to their missions. For more information, visit rpadvancedmobilesystems.com or call 503-434-6845. TW FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 119

NEW MISSION GEAR CHRISTENSEN ARMS COMPONENTS

Christensen Arms has been specializing in carbon fiber for over 25 years. Now its offering carbonfiber-enhanced rifle components to shooters. The components currently available include carbonfiber handguards, which are vented for heat dissipation and feature a patented, integrated, carbon Picatinny rail system. Christensen is also offering its ultra-light match carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels in several calibers. Finally, the company is offering CA-15 machined billet and forged uppers and lowers available in either Cerakote or matte black. The piston-operated CA-15 upper comes with a handguard and a nickel-boron-coated bolt carrier group. (christensenarms.com; 888-517-8855)

DANIEL DEFENSE SLIM RAIL

The SLiM (Slim, Lightweight, Modular) Rail from Daniel Defense utilizes the KeyMod accessory attachment system for incredible weight savings as well as superior cooling,

ergonomics and modularity while maintaining the strength and durability expected from Daniel Defense. The SLiM Rail features the battle-proven “Bolt-Up System” which

TAC SHIELD WARRIOR 2N1 & SHOCK SLING II Tac Shield has unveiled its new Warrior 2N1 Rifle Sling, offering the best of both two- and single-point attachment systems, as well as the single-point Shock Sling II. The Warrior’s top-quality, 1.25-inch webbing offers improved strength and abrasion protection. Operators can quickly change from a singlepoint to a two-point configuration with the double HK hooks and strong steel attachment ring. The Shock Sling II’s new Controlled Stretch bungee design offers excellent control while shooting and at rest. This sling keeps the weapon tight while supporting aggressive transitions for engaging targets quickly and precisely. The Shock Sling II includes both an adjustable shoulder strap and direct vest attachment Straps for maximum versatility, speed and weight distribution. (tacshield.com; 910-687-4695)

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BCM GUNFIGHTER STOCK

The new Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) Gunfighter stock features a streamlined, snag-free design. This new stock fits all mil-spec-sized buffer tubes and doesn’t need the additional external tension adjustment that other units do. A large adjustment latch runs over half the length of the underside, making adjustments easy. BCM patented the internals, with the main locking piece made from a heat-treated steel alloy, as compared to the more typical single pin found in other adjustable stocks. (bravocompanyusa.com; 877-272-8626)

provides modern flattop upper receivers with a free-floating, continuous, uninterrupted platform and allows for simplified alignment to the host weapon’s upper. The SLiM Rail is available in 9-, 12and 15-inch models. (danieldefense.com; 866-554-4867)

CAA SAIGA 12-GAUGE MUZZLE BRAKE

The new Saiga 12-gauge muzzle brake from Command Arms Accessories (CAA) is designed to provide every

Saiga owner with a new level of accuracy and shooting comfort. Designed to reduce both felt recoil and concussion

blast, the new muzzle brake, the MBS12, also significantly reduces muzzle rise. The six side vents are positioned at a 90-degree angle from the bore to reduce both the felt recoil and concussion blast. The three top vents virtually eliminate muzzle rise for quicker, more accurate follow-up shots. (commandarms.com; 866-611-9576)

MAXPEDITION MAG BAG TRIPLE

Maxpedition’s new Mag Bag Triple is an activeshooter response bag with three front M4/M16 30-round magazine pouches. The 12-by-5.5by-9-inch bag has a large main compartment lined for CCW or modular accessories. Each front pouch holds two 30-round 5.56mm mags, one 7.62mm mag or one 30-round AK-47 mag. The bag also features several MOLLE channels as well as compartments for pistol magazines and other accessories. The Mag Bag Triple comes with a 1.5-inch shoulder strap with webbing for quick carrying. (maxpedition.com; 310-768-0098)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

GUNTEC USA KEYMOD HANDGUARD

Guntec USA has released a new American-made, 9-inchlong, Ultra Lightweight Thin KeyMod free-floating handguard with a monolithic top rail. The handguard features a T6 aluminum body and a steel barrel nut, providing extra

rigidity without extra weight. The KeyMod system provides a sleek, streamlined method for attaching accessories. With the included steel barrel nut, the handguard weighs only 9 ounces. (guntecusa. com; 480-478-4517)

REVOLUTION STRONGHOLD XL

Revolution Safe Company has created the Stronghold XL Tactical Edition, which features licensed Pendleton Revolution Technology. The XL Tactical Edition offers unequaled ease of access to a double row of ARs and similar-platform firearms displayed on revolving shelving. The XL Tactical Edition can comfortably accommodate seven different ranges of gun lengths at once, and even more if you consider the singleport adjustable turrets. Additionally, the XL Tactical Edition can be equipped with unique storage shelving for both pistols and revolvers without sacrificing long gun capacity. (revolutionsafes. com; 770-466-6181)

ELITEIRON STAINLESS SUPPRESSORS Silence, please! After significant market research, cutomer feedback and extensive internal development and testing, EliteIron has announced a new line of 17-4 stainless steel sound suppressors that are measurably stronger and much quieter than titanium suppressors. The new EliteIron BattleDog stainless steel suppressor in .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO is 6 inches long, has a sound pressure reduction level of 28 decibels and weighs a scant 16 ounces. (eliteiron.com; 406-244-0234)

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

X-15 SIDE-CHARGED UPPER

The new X-15 Side-Charged Upper (SCU) from X Products is a new left-side AR upper designed to work with a military-standard AR-15 bolt and carrier without requiring any modifications. The elevated charging handle position allows the bolt carrier to be operated with a proprietary cam pin that is included with the upper. The design, which features M4 feed ramps, allows for use with delta rings and increaseddiameter forend rails, and it works with standard bolt-hold-open devices and remote versions. (xproducts.com; 503-502-0565) TW

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LWRCI IC-PSD 5.56 C o n t i nu e d f r o m p a ge 1 2

I installed a Leupold 2.5-8x36mm Mark 4 MR/T M2 tactical scope with a LaRue SPR mount for testing the carbine’s accuracy at 100 yards. The Leupold scope’s TMR reticle and brilliant light-gathering capabilities make it ideal for tactical operators as well as sportsmen. I have found this particular scope to be extremely versatile, and it has become my go-to glass for any AR evaluation. Formal testing consisted of chronographing three premium loads and testing them for accuracy. I tested Hornady’s 55-grain TAP Urban and 62-grain TAP Barrier loads as well as ASYM Precision’s 70-grain Barnes TSX barrier load. The 55-grain TAP Urban ammo averaged 2,256 fps while the 62-grain TAP Barrier average 2,263 fps. ASYM Precision’s 70-grain Barnes load averaged 2,200 fps. At 100 yards, the IC-PSD proved to be exceptionally accurate with all three loads. The 55-grain Urban ammo produced a best five-shot group that measured 1.25 inches, while the 62-grain Barrier’s group measured 1.14 inches. The heavier ASYM load produced a group that measured 1.09 inches. I would like to thank Adam Pini, a sales representative with LWRCI, for also getting behind the rifle for the accuracy portion of the test. Adam is a competitive rifle shooter and did the IC-PSD far greater justice than I could have. Carrying a weapon in a protective environment is always a sensitive issue. With the exception of war zones, long guns are rarely exposed. In addition, tactical, black nylon cases are not appropriate in a five-star hotel or a VIP lounge at a private airport. In some situations, particularly during air travel, a low profile is more important than the immediate availability of a long gun. Enter the Pelican 1510 Carry On Case. As with all Pelican cases, the 1510 is built for hard use and features both a side carrying handle and an extended handle and wheels. When disassembled, my PSD fits perfectly in the 1510. The case’s 9-inch depth allows for two layers of storage to accommodate both the rifle and other operational equipment, such as radios, optics and additional magazines. The IC-PSD is a highly refined persondefense weapon that is well suited to any operation mission requiring a compact, 100-percent reliable rifle. I liked it so much that I ordered one for personal use. Now I have to wait patiently for my Form 4 to clear the ATF. In the mean time, my original PSD will remain my go-to SBR. For more information, visit lwrci.com or call 410-901-1348. TW

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FN AMERICA FN 15 C o n t i nu e d f r o m p a ge 3 5

facility that has been making issued M16/ M4 series rifles since the late 1980s. If my test FN 15 is any indication, these are built better—or at least more accurate—than issued rifles. Word on the street is that these models are just setting FN up to be a major AR vendor in the civilian market. Even if that isn’t the case, sometimes basic and original is good. While walking down Commercial Row at Camp Perry this year, I saw at least one vendor offering parts for building replicas of Vietnam-era AR-15s, complete with pencil-thin barrels, three-pronged flash suppressors, triangle handguards and upper receivers without forward assists. More important than nostalgia, the FN 15 is a great rifle to learn all the important points needed for effective riflery with a self-loading centerfire. It has all the adjustments required to learn slow and rapid fire at rifleman’s distances. One could argue that the M1 Garand or M14 is a better “real” rifle, but any sensible analysis shows the AR-15 has eclipsed them. Unless you pick it yourself in person at Perry or Anniston and know exactly what to inspect for, the CMP’s “Excellent” grade ($1,025 with shipping and a two-month wait) or better is the only way to ensure you’ll get a decent shooting rifle, and that will set you back the same amount as an FN 15. Even then, it’s still a used rifle and will certainly be more costly to feed. A decent M14 will be twice as much to buy and just as expensive with ammo. Unless you’re willing to dump more money into an M1 or M14, a factory-new FN 15 will almost certainly out-shoot them. There are reasons AR-15s dominate Across The Course Service Rifle events. Plus, should it be desired, the FN 15 sports a Picatinny rail, making it easy to add optics. Sure, you can find plenty of vendors that will slap all sorts of gizmos on an AR-15 to entice sales. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the shooter any better. Every skilled marksman and instructor worth listening to will advise all aspiring riflemen to stick to proven basics in an effort to improve their skills. Learn to shoot well with iron sights from position at varying distances and you’ll be effective with any small arm. A rifle like the FN 15 is ideal for all aspiring riflemen. For more, visit fnhusa.com or call 703-288-3500. TW EDITOR’S NOTE: As this article went to press, TW editors learned that FN America is also announcing the introduction of its FN 15 Sporting variant, which should be a huge hit in the 3-Gun competition market. Be sure to check out video of the new FN 15 at tactical-life.com. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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BRAVO COMPANY RECCE-16 C o n t i nu e d f r o m p a ge 1 1 5

cadenced speed-shooting drill (four circles and various times to shoot), grip tweaks, putting emphasis on violent action (pistol draw, high and low ready with rifle) and moving at the beginning of the ‘beep’ to decrease draw time…these things make real differences. He forced accountability and helped the shooter find the answers if they came up short on an exercise.”

LESSONS LEARNED

From the BCM RECCE-16, I was looking for two things specifically: Would the rifle function properly throughout high heat and round-count drills, and would the lighter, fluted barrel heat up and throw rounds outside its initial cold bore zero tolerances. The overall setup on this light rifle was ergonomically comfortable, particularly with the added benefit of the rounded cheekpiece and the adjustable and slightly angled vertical foregrip. I ran a modified two-point sling with the strap attached to the buttstock and QD swivel mount anchored at the rear of the forearm.

The RECCE-16 grouped rounds within 1 inch at 100 yards from a prone position and maintained that consistency throughout the course, though my shooting didn’t always reflect it. In drills designed to demonstrate the stress of speed as well as accuracy, the rifle heated up but held its groups. When reverting to a prone or supported position between sessions of standing or kneeling courses of fire, the RECCE-16 always stacked the rounds within the original zero grouping. Out of nearly 1,500 rounds through the rifle, only one round failed to fire. There was a slight dimple on the

INFO BOX BRAVO COMPANY bravocompanyusa.com; 877-272-8626 DEFOOR PROFORMANCE SHOOTING kyledefoor.com U.S. OPTICS usoptics.com; 714-582-1956

primer, and it fired when reloaded. It’s hard to determine the cause of such a singular anomaly, but I otherwise had no failures to load or extract, no magazine seating issues, and never felt like the rifle was heating up to a point where it was uncomfortable to run. Having run multiple BCM rifles in the past, the consistency was no surprise. The BCMs adapt and grind through shooting challenges like a Willys jeep through mud and sand. The difference with the RECCE-16 was the lighter weight and the small ergonomic tweaks provided by the BCM stock, foregrip and KMR rail. The rifle was a pleasure to run, particularly with the U.S. Optics scope. TW

Sean Utley Photos

ELDER HEART & BCM ON MISSION 22

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MISSION 22: Twenty-two suicides per day. That’s over 8,000 per year. It is a national crisis, and one Magnus Johnson and Tom Spooner, both former U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, could not allow to continue as civilians. Both have felt the impact of PTSD on their lives and families and have lost brother soldiers who returned from combat only to have their wartime experiences drive them to suicide. They formed Elder Heart, a 501(c) (3) organization that raises awareness of the crisis of veteran suicide through public art projects completed by both veterans and civilians. Through the projects, veter-

ans and community members are brought together in a singular purpose: helping Veterans reintegrate into civilian society and get the help they need for PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms. Johnson calls it “social impact art,” and it tells an important story without politics. FIRST PROJECT: Recently, Elder Heart unveiled a steel and iron sculpture in Nashville, Indiana. The sculpture was placed in front of Nashville’s tourist center and features a helix of 22 ascending leaves, with each one representing the daily loss of a veteran to suicide.

BCM RIFLE AUCTION: Kyle Defoor and Bravo Company Manufacturing teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind rifle to support America’s veterans. On September 11, 2014, Defoor traveled to BCM’s Wisconsin manufacturing facility and hand-built a BCM RECCE16 rifle. Zeroed and fired by Defoor, the rifle was later fired and signed by veterans from the special operations community from the Vietnam era though the present day. Those who are operators in active units inscribed their call sign or nickname. The auction raised $15,000. To learn more about how you can help, visit elderheart. org and mission22.com.

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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TACTICAL WEAPONS CLASSIFIEDS

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• Sept. 2010

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CUSTOM COMBAT C o n t i nu e d f r o m p a ge 5 3

but pretty easy nonetheless. The perfect checkering, the G10 grips and the smooth trigger jobs make these pistols accurate and comfortable to shoot. Over the course of a few days, none of these pistols ever malfunctioned for me. Most of the shooting was accomplished using Bill’s handloads, with just a few sessions using their factory ammunition. Bill is not a big believer in super-hot loads, so most were pretty comfortable. Still, after doing some ballistic testing through some of the previous night’s hunting adventures, rounds expanded with fantastic consistency. Fired at about 20 yards, it was anything but an FBI protocol, but the results were impressive. I have little doubt that one of these pistols, loaded with Wilson Combat ammunition, would make for a fine duty or concealedcarry combination.

READY FOR DUTY

While we didn’t fire groups to measure their accuracy, per se, I was able to shoot some ten-shot groups at about 10 yards using all of the Beretta pistols. With just a bit of concentration, my shots amounted to one large hole. Rapid-fire groups at that range stayed inside about 3 inches or so. Tagging knockdown steel targets was pretty easy, and even headshots on steel at 25 yards were regular. These pistols are accurate by any reasonable or realistic standard. There was no opportunity for chronographing, but in my experience Wilson Combat’s listed velocities are as precise as it gets, so those listed with the picture of expanded bullets are accurate. Without fail, all Wilson Combat Ammunition tested at my home range has fallen within 50 fps of the posted velocities, with most results being much closer. Spending a couple days with these pistols is not going to change my preference for pistols without decockers. But, if you are a Beretta 92 fan or are carrying one for duty, these are about as good as they get. Wilson Combat really turns them into custom pistols. If you are carrying a Beretta 92 (or variant) or are looking for a solid custom version, then you really need to give Wilson Combat a solid look. For more information, visit wilsoncombat.com or call 800-955-4856. EDITOR’S NOTE: For live-fire action of this gun and the new Wilson/Beretta 92G Brigadier Tactical, visit tactical-life.com and personaldefenseworld.com. FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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TACTICAL WEAPONS 129

GIVING ’EM HELL BY R. LEE ERMEY
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