In late 2004, FN Herstal won the contract from the United States Special Operations Command for a new, modular, and adaptable rifle system. The FNH entry was called the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR). The new rifle system offering was rumored to be slated for several different calibers, including 6.8 SPC. To date, the FNH SCAR is only available in factory form in 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm. The FNH SCAR saw service with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the two variants, the SCAR MK16 (5.56), commonly referred to as the SCAR-L for Light, and the MK17 (7.62), commonly referred to as the SCAR-H for Heavy. In 2010, SOCOM announced that it was cancelling the MK16 program. The initial claim was that the MK16 did not do anything better than the current M4 offerings. To my knowledge, a couple of units still field the 5.56 SCAR-L in the 10.5 inch CQC variant. The SCAR family of rifles operate off of a short stroke piston system. The SCAR family of rifles are also completely ambidextrous, a bonus for left handed shooters who often are at the whim of right hand designs. Continue reading
I recently was presented with a challenge that the “stud time” for the VTAC 1-5 Drill had to be under 3.0 seconds. For the life of me I didn’t remember whether my best time was 2.83, 3.28, 3.82, or hopefully not 8.32 (but those 3 digits were clearly in there somehow…I’m sure of it….). I always enjoy a new challenge, so I packed up my range gear and hit the range. Continue reading
In my travels, I see that many LE agencies and individual LEO’s are moving toward Short Barreled Rifles (SBR’s) for patrol and SWAT. Most typically, the rationale is for easier movement in and around cars, as well as CQB movement inside buildings. While there is no arguing that a shorter barrel is easier to move around, I would offer that it is not a mandatory requirement for success. Continue reading
You can never have too much ammunition. At least, that is the mentality of many users that wish to strap on as much ammunition to their rifle as possible. While I typically like to have my carbine as light as possible, there are legitimate reasons to attach a spare magazine to the gun. I have seen many different ways to accomplish this, and some are better than others. But before we go into the options, let’s look at whether or not you need to have a spare magazine attached to the rifle. Continue reading
My latest addition to the rifle pile is this S&W M&P 10. I have taken great interest in the development of the 7.62/.308 gas guns, and am still trying to figure out what I want to do with one. This M&P 10 got set up just enough to hit some range time with it.
The rifle is essentially in its stock configuration with the exception of a Vltor E-Mod stock from the parts bin and a Schmidt & Bender Short Dot in an extremely old LaRue mount. This optic setup is quite interesting for many reasons. It was likely one of the very first, if not the very first Short Dot in the US outside of the original DoD contract. You can read about the background of the Short Dot on the Vickers Tactical site. I was with Larry during the 2002 SHOT Show when he drafted the spec list and was also present during the meeting with Hans Bender when Larry presented the list of requirements. It was with Larry and Hans Bender’s direct assistance that I was able to purchase one of these optics direct from Schmidt & Bender and mount it with the then-unknown LaRue mount from Austin Precision Products. The Short Dot presented capabilities relatively unseen at the time, and is still a fine optic today, albeit a heavy one.
After some more range time with this setup, I will have to put some thought into how I want to complete its configuration. What do you like on your M110/SR-25 type rifles?
Now comes the “in the white” prototype of the new Apex Tactical Specialties line of bolt handles for the SCAR 16s/17s line of rifles.
The design was a request by some .mil customers who wanted a bolt handle that would clear all the optics they were issued. Based upon their needs, we developed a couple of versions designed specifically around the EoTech and Elcan. The above picture was decided as the best compromise for clearing the optics with gloves on, all the while giving positive control of the bolt handle. Some OpSpec students have been running these bolt handles for the last year in classes and we have over 15,000 rounds to test for wear and issues.
The yet to be named project should be to market around the NRA show, or slightly before.
Riflescope, glass or precision optic; there are just as many terms for the tubular magnifiers that sit atop your prized weapons as there are manufacturers and options for these pricey items. Quite a few have come and gone throughout my locker over the years, but a handful have stayed based on use, repeatability, glass quality and overall ruggedness. The few hours I had at SHOT this year I was talking with Darryl Bolke about optics and he said I needed to see the new offerings from Bushnell. Evidently the look on my face made Darryl respond with, “Seriously, you need to believe me on this one.” Hearing that from a trusted friend, I followed and we met the Director of Military and Law Enforcement Sales, Tom Fuller. An hour later, with an exchange of business cards, I had arranged for two of their new production scopes to be sent my direction when they came off the line. Continue reading
I was first introduced to the HK416 by Larry Vickers and Ken Hackathorn at SHOT Show about six or seven years ago. Back then, it was known as the “HK M4″ before Colt had the chance to call foul on the name. Since then, probably every fan of the M4 pattern carbine has heard of it, especially since the commercial version, dubbed MR556, has been released. Gun store gossip aside, do you really need one?
I have been around every evolution of the SCAR®/CAR/MK17 (or whichever nomenclature you chose to use) since the beginning of the program. I have participated in numerous SOCOM tests, taught a block of training where we had over 70+ of them, as well as carried and employed the weapon system overseas giving me a decent amount of familiarity with the weapon. Designed to replace the EBR M1A and MK11/SR-25 weapon systems FN was chosen by NSW and SOCOM as the new 7.62 battle rifle. After over eight years of development, and numerous changes by FN driven by AAR’s from operators overseas, I believe the weapon itself is not where it needs to be… it has promise but isn’t quite there yet. One of my biggest complaints with the system is the lower. In my opinion, although while being lightweight because of the polymer material used, it isn’t durable enough for heavy use. Another one of the largest complaint from the civilian side was the accessibility and price of magazines from FN as the military contracts were soaking up the vast majority being produced. Continue reading
Last week I shared a simple drill set for the carbine which helps to isolate and build some core skill sets. Next up is to perform the same drill set on the support side. Yes, mirror image of how it would normally be shot. Why do this? The amount of exposure from negotiating a right handed corner with the carbine on the right shoulder requires both painful contortion and significant exposure from cover. Simply shouldering the carbine on the left side would correct all this, yet few shooters are typically able to do this with any level of skill. Continue reading
When you hit the range, have a plan for the day so that you can get the best bang for your buck (literally). There is no need to get very elaborate all the time when planning your range session. Working core skills is rarely considered glamorous or “operator” enough, but the reality is that none of the other ninja stuff matters if your basic skill set is weak or underdeveloped. Continue reading
Molded rail sections. From L: Scout light adapter, long and short Picatinny rails.
I have been using the CMR rail from Centurion Arms for a while on my latest rifle build. It is an exquisitely well executed tubular forend with a 12:00 rail and threaded helicoils for the attachment of modular rail sections. My buddy Monty from Centurion had supplied me with a set of the preproduction rail sections a few months ago, and I finally got around to getting them onto the gun. The rail sections are molded, and screw right onto the tube via the threaded helicoils. As pictured above, there is a Scout mount adapter as well as a long and short Picatinny rail. Other adapters, including an X300 mount, are in the works. Production units of the pictured rail sections should be hitting fairly soon at your favorite Centurion dealer. Continue reading
87 Industries Gas Block Kit comes complete with the gas block, set screw, cross pin, gas tube pin, and hex wrench.
Our dedicated followers know that a pinned gas block is cheap insurance that your gas system won’t leak or come apart at the worst possible moment. Popular extended hand guard systems don’t make it easy to check if your set screws or gas block is loose, and a cross pin is the most reliable way to ensure your gas block is snug. However, for end users that don’t have access to custom fixturing or a mill, pinning a gas block on your own build can be a hassle. Enter 87 Industries.
They offer a Pinned Gas Block Kit which is set up so that the end user can install a pinned gas block with nothing more than a vise and a drill press. The owner tells me that it can even be done with a steady hand and a hand drill in a pinch. The kit includes a drill bit, tapered cross pin that eliminates the need for reaming, Loctite 262, set screw to hold the block in place during drilling, and allen head wrench. The gas block is made of very tough 17-4 Stainless finished with black oxide. The block works with .750″ diameter barrels.
I will be installing one of these with a drill press on a future build, so stay tuned.
I recently completed a stripped Gen 2 Noveske Chainsaw Grade lower and topped it off with a BCM mid-length upper with a Centurion Arms rail. For my optic I chose both a Trijicon ACOG (the compact 1.5 X 16S, see here) or a short base EOTech (see here). A good looking, well set up AR with optics, Made In The USA! For white light, I mounted a Surefire X300 Ultra. Fits and looks good, and is lightweight . . . I even like the way the activation switches work, except for one issue, see below. (Prior Jerry Jones MSW post about the Surefire is here).
My GAP built Surgeon actioned 6 Creedmore with Vortex Razor 5-20 scope
The amazing thing about the firearms industry currently is the vast array of options a person has to modify his/her weapon to their tastes or preferences. This variety is not limited to the adult Lego® of the firearms world, the AR15. There is now also a great market of accessories and options for precision bolt action rifles that’s growing rapidly. The biggest mistake I see many new shooters make with their first bolt action rifle purchase is making the assumption that all rifle stocks or chassis will fit everyone. This is sadly not the case. Each individual shooter’s length of pull, cheek structure, hand size, forearm length, and a number of other factors play into each shooter’s fit to a stock. There is always someone more than willing to tell any new shooter that the stock or chassis that they have is the only way to go. More often than not I watch online as shooters go from a stock to a chassis and back, continuously buying and selling stocks until they finally settle on one that is comfortable for them and fits their shooting style. Continue reading