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MARCH 2015

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13 RIFLES

8 UPPERS

LWRCI 5.56 IC-PSD

Yankee Hill
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TAVOR
TORTURED!

12,000+ Rounds

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tacticalweapons-mag.com

VOLUME 9 ISSUE 1 FEB./MARCH. 2015

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

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 todays 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 todays 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 thats 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!

LAPDS STAKEOUT SQUAD By John Fasano

With leading-edge training and hardware from varsity makers,


these elite enforcers put a stop to the citys worst offenders!

94 QUICK REFLEXES
100 UTAS UTS-15 MARINE 12 GA.
110 RUNNING BRAVOS 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

BCMs carbine proves its mettle at U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle Defoors
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 AACs 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

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 Bushs 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 wed 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.
Heres 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 protestorssome
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, wed be
asking for mission failure. So we proudly bring
you our most-packed issue to date, and like
the cover reads, were 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 Mossbergs everymans .308-chambered MVP, Armalites AR-31 and more than a
dozen .50 BMG rifles that are bred for either
winning sniper competitions or anti-materiel
military missions.
Peoplethose whove been there and done
that and have the battle scars to prove itbring
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, Andr Dallau, 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

LWRCIs 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 Wilsons Texas ranch proving grounds
to check out how you can get your Beretta 92
Bullet-Proofed by Wilsons 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 dont miss R. Lee Ermeys tribute to our
troops very first G-ridethe military Jeep.
How about powering-up your AR rifle
game? Check out the latest complete 6.8 SPC
II-chambered rifles and uppers from todays
top manufacturers, plus get a sneak peak at FN
Americas AR-15 entry to the civilian market.
Finally, wed be remiss to forget this issues
cover darling, LWRCIs IC-PSD (Personal
Security Detail) 5.56mm. Now theres 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


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877-652-5295 or email
niademarco@wrightsmedia.com.
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: tactical-life@harris-pub.com
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 persons 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.

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

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

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.

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
LWRCIs proven M6 platform and

10 TACTICAL WEAPONS

featured LWRCIs 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. Armys Individual Carbine (IC) program, the goal was to
improve the design and operating
controls of the legacy M16 platform. The result was LWRCIs new
IC series of rifles, including the
IC-PSD in 5.56mm NATO I was
recently able to test.

INDIVIDUAL CARBINE

LWRCIs IC rifles feature fully ambidextrous


lower receivers that are

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 LWRCIs 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-PSDs 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


carbines 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 LWRCIs
proprietary stock, the IC-PSD collapses
to a mere 24.75 inches. The IC-PSD is
also equipped with LWRCIs 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, LWRCIs 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

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
Ive used mine consistently for two years. In fact,
Ive 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. Ive 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. Ive 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

IWIs Tavor SAR bullpup has


proven to be a true workhorse. Its
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, Ive installed
a Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6.5x24mm SMRS
on the top rail along with a Trijicon RMR
mounted in the one oclock position for upclose work. Ive 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 sideIve
installed a SureFire Scout light with a KM2
dual-projection (white and IR) headand
rails and grips can be added if needed. It
also doesnt 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
Precisions extended shell deflector and
Manticores LUMA ambidextrous safety.
Finally, I added SureFires 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
ShootingSights 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, Ive left the TAV-D
unit in place.

ROCK SOLID

Ive 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 Commonwealths
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 Ive 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. Ive 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 Im 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. Ive 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 IWIs 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 Tavors bullpup
design and the fact that you didnt 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
riflesone 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 Armorys 77-grain OTM ammo.
ShootingSights TAV-D trigger wasnt 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 bullpups
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, theyre very
closesimilar 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 SARs capabilities. No, its 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
weapons 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. Magpuls
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 thats
pretty easy to do at home,
going mobile presents
an issue or two. Cases
work, but most scream,
Theres 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, Im not


trying to break the rifleits 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
designit 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 5.56mmexactly 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 bulletthe
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 governments 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 5.56mms: 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 TODAYS 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, Magpuls 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 whitetailstake 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 M4s. 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 Combats 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, YHMs 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. Youll see the difference downrange, where accuracy and performance matter. Heres 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

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

BUSHMASTER 6.8 SPC UPPER

DANIEL DEFENSE CUSTOM UPPER

DPMS BA-A3-68

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

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
Combats 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

ow that you have


your AR-platform rifle
picked outwhether
its in 5.56mm or 6.8
SPCyoull need to
start accessorizing! If you
want the quick course on
how to design and build
the ultimate AR, youll want
to check out the
American Gunsmithing Institutes
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 sheriffs
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, youll 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
AGIs 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 its 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

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

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 FNs first version of the AR-15 intended
for civilian sales is new this year. The company
announced that its 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 FNs
Minimi (Mini Mitrailleuse, or mini machine gun)
as the M249 and the legendary FN MAG (Mitrailleuse dAppui Gnral, 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

FNs 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
thats 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 FNs experience with
the AR-15. In fact, the companys 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 dHerstal (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, FNs U.S-based
production arm is FN America, with manufacturing in Columbia, South Carolina, and
the sales and marketing branch located
in McLean, Virginia. FNs 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

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

1 Since the M16A4, U.S.issued rifles have utilized


Picatinny top railsjust like
the FN 15sfor quickly and
easily mounting optics.
2 For traditionalists, the FN
15s standard iron sights,
including the front post, are
excellent. The rifles sights
can also be adjusted just
like an M16A4s.

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 companys extensive line of
military small arms. FNs firearms are used
by the armed forces of over 100 nations.

AUTHENTIC AR

As mentioned, the newest addition


to FN Americas line is the FN 15. This
is arguably the most faithful copy of a
government-issue rifle available for civilian

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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 M16A4s
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 Americas 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
Magpuls 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 15s
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 doesnt 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. Ill be the first
to admit that Im 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

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

KILLEEN, TEXAS, GOES FN 15

he Killeen, Texas, Police Department became one of the first large


police departments to field the FN 15,
FNs 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. Killeens
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
M16A2which Ive used at every All Army
event Ive competed inhas 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 Id like to trade my issued rifle
for this FN 15, I would literally be cheating
by using it at military shooting matches.

BATTLE LEGACY

FNs 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: Its 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 theres 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-Gunners 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
featuresincluding the Versaport gas system that
regulates cycling pressure based on shell length and
provides serious recoil reductionits ready to go
right out of the box. (remington.com; 800-243-9700)

SPEC BOX

Built with Berettas


ultra-fast Blink
operating system,
the semi-auto 1301
Comp can deliver four
rounds in less than a
second. This shotguns
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 companys 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 couldnt 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 Berettas 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 ARs, 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; 2-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. Its


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 componentslike a receiver-mounted bolt release, a curved operating
handle and a top-mounted cantilever railto 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 (2"), 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
magazineand its giving the Saiga some competition in the Open Division. For
shotgun reloads, it doesnt 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 Mossbergs 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, its safe to say that the Model 1100 has
proven itself as a rugged and abuse-absorbing autoloader. It
stands to reason that its 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 its 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 theres no difference in loading
speed, and theyre 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 companys 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 2-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
its fast, fun and exciting. But its 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

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
todays military and
civilian top shots!
>>> By Fred Mastison

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. Youll 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 shooters 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.

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. Lets 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 firefiring 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 riflemanthese 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 beginners 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 t for any hand sizenot 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 Combats
Bullet-Proof accessories!
BY DAVID BAHDE <<<
WEAPONS USED by soldiers and
officers over a long career hold a very
special place in their heartsespecially
if they were used in combat or to defend
ones life. The gun is like a trusted friend,
one that stayed with you through thick
and thin. Sure, its emotional, and while
its not always the case, many soldiers
and officers often experience an attachment to their duty weapons. This has
occurred for as long as soldiers have
carried weapons into war. My father kept
a .45-caliber revolver that sat on his hip
in New Guinea during WWII for years
afterward. He also spoke fondly of
the Ithaca Model 37 shotgun that he
carried while a part of the Army
Air Corps, calling it the perfect
jungle weapon. While
other weapons were
certainly available, these
two always worked and
saved his life on a number
of occasions.
The Beretta 92, designated
the M9, remains the issued pistol for most
of our military. It is also an issued pistol
for a number of police departments. Many
soldiers moving into the police world will
also purchase a Beretta 92 or similar for
personal carry given their familiarity. While
polymer-framed pistols tend to rule in
the police market, they are anything but
favorites for many. Some still prefer the feel
of an all-steel pistol, and like all weapons
these days, they can benefit from some
custom work. Gunsmiths working on 1911
pistols abound, as do those modifying
every polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol

50 TACTICAL WEAPONS

Wilson Combat
is now upgrading
Beretta 92/96 pistols
with high-quality parts
built for hard use, action
tuning and Armor-Tuff
finishes. Several custom
packages are available.

out there. Those willing to customize a


Beretta are few in numberthat is until
now. Wilson Combat, one of the first
companies to create custom-grade 1911
pistols on a large scale, has started tricking out Beretta 92/96 pistols.

DYNAMIC DUO

I recently traveled to Bill Wilsons Circle


WC Ranch in northeastern Texas and
got the chance to put these pistols to the
test. My primary reason for the trip was
to hunt hogs on Bills 10,000-acre ranch,

which has 9,800 acres of free


range and 200 acres of preserve
dedicated to hogs. The lodge is
spacious and almost luxurious, with
good food and excellent company. It is
also a place for Bill and his son, Ryan, to
test and work on new projects. The ranch
also has a pistol range, a 100-yard rifle
range and even a range with steel targets
set out to 600 yards. Bill will host instructors like Ken Hakathorn and others for rifle
and pistol training here.
During these types of events, Bill has
had numerous requests to modify the
Beretta 92 pistol. Dedicated users wanted
to replace parts and receive some custom
work. Bill Wilson decided it was a great
idea, and while he is certainly familiar with
this pistol, he chose to bring in the best
Ernest Langdonas a technical advisor.
Langdon is one of the original innovators
when it comes to high-performance
Beretta 92 pistols. Langdon has used this
pistol as a Marine and has also competed
extensively with it to become a true master
of the platform. Often sought out as an
instructor by federal agenciesincluding
the State Departmentand military units,
he is truly an expert with the Beretta 92.
Together, he and Bill Wilson have come
up with some really nice upgrades to this
venerable handgun.
FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

LET THERE BE
LIGHT BEARING.

BLACKHAWK! EPOCH LEVEL 3 LIGHT-BEARING DUTY HOLSTER


accepts most popular weapon-mounted lights and features a fast,
intuitive thumb lock release that reinforces proper grip
2014 BLACKHAWK! NORFOLK, VA U.S.A.

BLACKHAWK.com

CUSTOM COMBAT

ABOVE: Wilson
Combat ammunition
is among the most
consistent when it
comes to expansion
and velocity. Note the
retained weights for
these 9mm loads.
LEFT: Bill Wilson
might be known for
his 1911s, but he also
shares a fondness
for the Beretta 92
platform. He collects
many and consistently
practices with them.

BULLET-PROOF UPGRADES

Wilson Combat can upgrade customersupplied Beretta 92 and 96 pistols. Some


of Wilsons parts include new sights, grips,
guide rods, triggers and safeties. There
are also trigger springs, recoil springs,
holsters and pouches. You can order
these parts and have them installed by
competent gunsmiths, or you can send
your pistol to Wilson Combat for a few
complete packages.
For the Basic Carry Package, Wilson
will tune your Berettas action; install a
contoured magazine well, a rear Battlesight
and a fluted steel guide rod; coat the frame
in Armor-Tuff; and laser-etch the companys logo into the slide. The IDPA SSP
Division Package (only for M9A1 models)
adds a fiber-optic front sight, an oversized
magazine release and G10 grips.
With the Custom Carry Package (for
the 92F, 92FS and 96FS), you also get

checkering on the front and backstraps,


a round triggerguard, G10 grips with the
Wilson Combat medallion and a custom
carry safety/decocker. For 92A1 and 96A1
users, a dovetailed front sight is added.
You can also add an Elite II hammer and
G conversion (decocker only) where
applicable. The prices range from $360 for
the base package to $770 for the Custom
Carry work.
If you are not interested in a complete
package, you can also pay for just the
work you want, including everything in
these packages as well as other custom
work. Wilson Combat has essentially
become a one-stop shop for almost any
Beretta 92/96 customization.

RANGE REPORT

Bill Wilson had several pistols for us


to use during our time. Hunting hogs is a
nighttime adventure for the most part, so

1 Wilson Combats
Beretta 92/96
enhancements include
a high-visibility fiberoptic front sight and a
fluted steel guide rod.

1 2
52 TACTICAL WEAPONS

2 You can choose


a single-sided or
ambidextrous safety/
decocker. Also note
the Wilson Battlesight,
which is fast on target.
FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

the days were spent training and shooting


Wilson Combat pistols. We used some of
his personal pistols along with examples
of what can be customized for you.
It has been a few years since Ive used
it, but the Beretta 96FS was one of my
first personal carry pistols. The G22 was
the issued pistol at the time, but it just did
not suit me, and the Beretta was one of
the few approved pistols. I carried it for a
couple years, and it served me well. Accurate, reliable and comfortable to shoot, it
remained my duty pistol until my agency
approved 1911s for carry. Handling these
Wilson Combat Berettas brought back a
memory or two, but these versions were
much nicer. You can feel the difference
just handling them. The checkering was
well placed, the controls were slim yet
easy to access and the sights were excellent. The annoying and useless hook on
the triggerguard was removed on these
pistols as well. The new G10 grips locked

Wilson Combat has


essentially become a
one-stop shop for almost
any Beretta 92/96
customization.

things into place nicelythey really felt


like custom pistols.
When it came to sending rounds
downrange, it was the trigger that was
most impressive. Standard Beretta 92
pistols have pretty smooth DA/SA triggers. They can be a bit heavy and long,
but theyre generally smooth. The action
tuning on these pistols made the triggers
as smooth as butter and quite a bit less
stiff. The double-action pull felt about 6
pounds or so, maybe a bit more, and the
single-action pull was crisp with just a bit
of take-up and minimal overtravel. I performed several drills requiring fast followup shots, and after just a few rounds I
all but forgot about that first trigger pull.
Reminiscent of well-tuned revolvers, you
just pull through the first round smoothly.
The reset on the single-action trigger was
short, tactile and repeatable. These pistols have always been accurate; triggers
like this just make it much easier to wring
out that accuracy. Bill and Ryan Wilson
were getting regular hits at 50 yards
off-hand. Mine were just a bit less regular
Continued on page 129
FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 53

PRECISION BOLT GUN

ARMALITE

7.62 AR-31

SPACE-AGE LOOKS AND


MATCH-GRADE PARTS COMBINE
FOR SUB-MOA ACCURACY
OUT TO 800 YARDS!
>>> 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 customizeand
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 companys 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-31s octagonal action
is nestled firmly in Armalites patented V-block receiver system.
The AR-31s 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 unloadedand about
16 pounds with a scope and ammothe 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 wellthe 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-31s 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 bolta
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: Federals 168-grain Gold Medal
Match, Black Hills 168-grain Match HPBT
and Hornadys 168-grain BTHP Match.

To measure the AR-31s 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. Whats

PICK THE PERFECT SPOTTER


POWER: While 20-60X eyepieces sell well,
Ill take a 15-45X, even on scopes with big
objective glass. Ive yet to find a scope
underpowered at 45X. Its 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,
theyre 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 headtheres no need to get
out of your shooting position.
TOP SPOTS: Leupolds 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 Leupolds folded light
path, which keeps length to a minimum. The
scope weighs a modest 37 ounces. You also
dont 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

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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 Alpens 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 preferconvenient 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. Im 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, youll appreciate lenses that shed water. Im sweet on the
split focusing rings on Leica and Zeiss spotters that let you shift effortlessly from fast to
fine focusing. Youll 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 its


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

TO BE FRANK, Im 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 youve probably noticed,
Mossbergs 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 thats 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 wasnt 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 ones
undeniably that gun. End to end,
Mossbergs taken several good
ideas and merged them into one
capable little carbine that should be
very much at home in a cop car. If
youve 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
isnt all that simple, and Mossbergs
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:
Whens the 7.62mm version coming
out? Mossberg listened, dusted off
the drawing board, and the result is
very much out now.
The 5.56mms 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 thats compact, reliable,
accurate and priced right!

>>> By Denis Prisbrey

Short, solid and packing plenty of big-bore


power, the Mossberg MVP Patrola bolt action that
can use AR magsis ready for todays 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 sideforward
for fire and rearward for safe.

LIGHTNING BOLT TRIGGER

A prominent enough component of the


MVP action to warrant separate mention,
the MVP Patrol carbines 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 carbines striker unless its
fully depressed, which acts as both a drop
safety and an accidental-discharge safety
if the triggers 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, its one of the best


factory triggers Ive 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
thats of any interest, and if its not Mossberg also includes a muzzle cap thread
protector in case you dont 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 theres
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 sightsan
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
sofarther 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

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, its 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 bolts 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 isnt 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.
Its admittedly a trade-off; the recess is too
small for a gloved finger, but the upside,
ROUNDS DOWNRANGE
by my thinking, is that theres no way an
I tested the scoped MVP Patrols 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

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 packages 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 dont 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. Mossbergs
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 its 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 guns certainly not the first
choice for clearing a home or building, the
handy MVP Patrols 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 Mossbergs
a contender. For more information, visit
mossberg.com or call 203-230-5300. TW

training to be adequate, moving targets and


decision-making (shoot/dont-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 officers gun and attempting to liberate
it from his or her grips. While we all know
what the clich answer is to the problem,
it is not always as simple as just firing your

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.

1 Its not uncommon for suspects to try


to grab an officers 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 attackers 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. Its preferable to target
pressure points on the assailants 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
techniqueblending.
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 As an attacker grabs your long gun


from the side, its 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
youve gained leverage and created some
distance between you and the attacker,
rotate the weapons 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

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
officers 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. Lets look
at some of the best currently available.

1 SAFARILAND: As the originators of


the retention rating system, this company
might seem a sentimental choice, but its
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)

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 attackers 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)
Editors 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 BMGs primary tasks are generally anti-materiel in nature at long range.
Undoubtedly, the .50 BMGs 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 theyve 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 Sauers SIG50 is just such a rifle, and its
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 SIG50s 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 SIG50s buttstock locks solidly in place and detaches, allow-

70 TACTICAL WEAPONS

SIG SAUERS
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 Leupolds
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
SIG50s 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 BMGs


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. Thats what Ive seen
over the yearstighter 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 yardsit 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 dont lend
themselves to shooting tiny little
groups. Even if the rifle will shoot

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

SIG SAUER SIG50


4

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 Ive 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 centerwhich 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

THIS RIFLE WAS


DEFINITELY FAR FROM
TYPICAL, PRODUCING ONE
OF THE BEST 100-YARD
GROUPS IVE EVER FIRED
WITH A .50 BMG RIFLE.
l

During testing, the author used the SIG50


to punch this incredible one-hole group
measuring 0.49 inches at 100 yards with
Hornadys 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 Ive 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. Hornadys 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 its
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

Ive 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 its
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.
Leupolds 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. Leupolds
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 Sauers
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
EDITORS NOTE: Visit tactical-life.com to
see the author go way downrange with
Sig Sauers 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:

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

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 successespecially 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:

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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Midwest Industries LWM M-LOK 12 rail

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DISTINCT ADVANTAGE

AGENCY SPOTLIGHT

LAPDs

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.

YOURE A DETECTIVE at one of the

Los Angeles Police Departments many


divisions, maybe Narcotics, and youve
made a name for yourself as a hard charger. Bright. Excellent investigative skills.
Youve gained the respect of your fellow
detectives, and so your lieutenant has
recommended you for one of the departments cream-of-the-crop squadsthe
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. Youre given
physical and psychological tests, and you
pass. Smile a little. Youre 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 dont do stakeouts, so they dont understand the pressure

82 TACTICAL WEAPONS

With leading-edge
training and hardware
from varsity makers,
these elite enforcers
put a stop to the citys
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. Its like sitting on an IED for a week
at a time. And its a huge strain on family
lifemissed anniversaries, birthdays, holidays. No wonder the divorce rate among
elite cops hovers around 85 percent! But

dont worry, most SIS cops are married


multiple times. Thats 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.
Its The Stop. Your adrenaline pumps.
Guns drawn. Bad guys face down on the
street. Youll know one thing when you
get home tonight: They cant hurt anyone
anymore. Ive talked to the detectives
at the SIS, and theyve said theres 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 Divisions equivalent
of the SWAT team. It would be tasked
with solving the cases the other detective
units couldnt, using plainclothes surveillance methods to track down the citys
most dangerous offendersterrorists,
bank robbers, serial killers and drug dealersand take them off the street.
The LAPDs 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 SISa
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 Winchesters
.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 LAPDs 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
detectives 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 cant get
to his heavy armament, he has to engage
the bad guys with whatever weapon is on
his body, so its 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

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
doesnt move in when its clear that suspects are going to commit a crime, the
answer is simple: With their method,
theres 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
Cosbys son Ennis murderer, to name a
few. Delta Force and the Navy SEALS, the
militarys 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
AACS COMPACT SUPPRESSOR can turn your
9mm pistol into the ultimate stealth striker!

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
companys 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
companys 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 AACs 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 missions 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.

Designed for special


missions, AACs 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

ARE YOU READY TO STEP UP?

find a dealer
at lwrci.com

dealers contact an authorized lwrci distributor

   
     
   
  
  


LWRCI

HIGH PERFORMANCE FIREARMS

PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA

LWRCI.COM

877-90 1-1348

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 Precisions 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 Winchesters 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
GunClips 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

INFO BOX
ADVANCED ARMAMENT CORP.
advanced-armament.com; 770-925-9988
GLOCK
glock.com; 770-432-1202

92 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

The New Windham Weaponry .308 SRC

Made In

The Quality Goes In Before The Rifle Goes Out


The U.S.A.

7.55 Lbs (without Magazine)


.308 Caliber (7.62 x 51)
Forged Aluminum Receivers
20 Round Magpul PMag
16.5 Chrome Lined Barrel
1 x 10 Right Hand Twist
Transferable Lifetime Warranty
MSRP: $1413.00

P.O. Box 1900 Windham, Maine 04062 Toll Free: 1 855 808 1888

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


Its 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 G20s 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
pistols slide to accept a mini reflex sight,
and it offers slides already made for this
purpose. I had Lone Wolf cut the G20s
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 Ive 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
Trijicons 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
authors 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 its 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 changesjust
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
youre 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
wont 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, youll 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. Safarilands 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.

EOTECHS 518/558 HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHTS

olograhic Weapon
Sights from EOTech
are all the rage these
days, and for good
reasonthey 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,
Safarilands 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.
Whats 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.

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 its 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
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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!

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
ships 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
isnt a lot of time for reloads. Thats
where the UTS-15 Marine from UTAS
becomes relevant.

TACTICAL WEAPONS 101

UTAS UTS-15 MARINE 12 GA.


1

2
Ken MacSwan Photos

OCEAN THUNDER

The UTS-15 takes its designation from its joint design/production


originsU 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.
Thats 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 2-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
2-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. Its
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.

I fired two rounds of Federals


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

M&P PC PORTED. AN EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE TO FEEL TO BELIEVE.

PORTED SLIDE AND BARREL FOR REDUCED RECOIL, MUZZLE FLIP AND IMPROVED SECOND
SHOT TARGET ACQUISITION. ADJUSTABLE TRIGGER STOP FOR MORE FEEL.

#EXPERIENCE #MANDP AT SMITH-WESSON.COM/MPPISTOLS

M&P9 PERFORMANCE CENTER PORTED. *OPTICS NOT INCLUDED

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 (2-inch shells)
$1,650

UTAS recommends against firing the UTS15 without a choke in place.


The UTS-15s controls are quite ergonomic. The safety is on the left side of the
receiver like an AR-15s, 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-15s 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 Ive 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 buckshotall in 2-inch shells. I also used


3-inch Federal #4 buckshot.
I used an assortment of targetssome
zombies, since we know fast-firing shotguns are good zombie killersand some
bad guys with guns. I started off firing
2-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 Federals 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 Federals 2-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-15s 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-15s 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 lasers 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 wasnt
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
youre 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 BlackHawks 24/7-ready enhancements!
BY MIKE DETTY PHOTOS BY ALEX LANDEEN

A great part of the AR-15s


appeal is the ease with which it can
be accessorized to fill any individuals
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 writers
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 companys 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

BlackHawks 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 BlackHawks ambidextrous singlepoint sling adapter. I like its design because
it does not require removing
Take your quality
the buffer tubes castle nut. The
ARlike the Smith
part simply slides over the buf& Wesson M&P15OR
fer tube and is tightened using
shownto the next
the supplied wrench. Once
level with BlackHawks
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 stocks
durable reinforced-polymer
construction means itll
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 BlackHawks 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 BlackHawks 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 youre using some sort of laser
designator so that its point of aim does
not shift. I like the BlackHawk forends 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 BlackHawks
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.
BlackHawks 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 carrifles buffer tube. I adjust mine so the end
bine fast handling and easy to point.
of the buttstock hangs just below my sterBlackHawks 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. Its 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

INFO BOX

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

EXTREME TESTFIRE

RUNNING
BRAVOS
RECCE-16
BCMS CARBINE PROVES ITS
METTLE AT U.S. NAVY SEAL
KYLE DEFOORS 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 worlds
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 dont 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.
Dont be afraid to do so in order
to improve.
TIPS FOR NEW SHOOTERS:
Seek out training that makes
sense for you. Dont 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. Youll miss
fundamentals that youll
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 worlds 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 samethey
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 rails 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 BCMs product
development team, the KMRs
KeyMod interface system
provides four additional
offset mounting positions
between the traditional

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

3, 6, 9 and 12 oclock 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
didnt 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 shooters rigger band or bungee to secure the rifles 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 Defoors 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-4Cs
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 didnt 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-

114 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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 doesnt
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 shooters weaknesses along
with direct feedback to adjust techniques.
Defoor says, The targets and timers dont
lie. Either the bullets are being fired in the
allotted time and hitting the bullseye, or
they are not. Its 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

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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

distances. Defoor requires accountability


for round placement and understanding
of how a shooters 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

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.

116 TACTICAL WEAPONS

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

TACTICAL WEAPONS 117

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 users 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,

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

>>>>>>>>>>> 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.

118 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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
Warriors 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 IIs 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)

120 TACTICAL WEAPONS

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 doesnt 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 weapons 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

Maxpeditions 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

TACTICAL WEAPONS

121

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 carbines accuracy at 100 yards. The Leupold scopes
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 Hornadys
55-grain TAP Urban and 62-grain TAP
Barrier loads as well as ASYM Precisions
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 Precisions 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 Barriers 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 cases 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

122 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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
betteror at least more accuratethan
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 isnt 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 riflemans 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
CMPs Excellent grade ($1,025 with shipping and a two-month wait) or better is
the only way to ensure youll get a decent
shooting rifle, and that will set you back the
same amount as an FN 15. Even then, its
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 youre 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 doesnt
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 youll 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
EDITORS 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

TACTICAL WEAPONS 123

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 timethese 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
didnt 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. Its 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

124 TACTICAL WEAPONS

MISSION 22: Twenty-two


suicides per day. Thats 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 Nashvilles 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 Americas veterans. On September 11, 2014,
Defoor traveled to BCMs 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

126 TACTICAL WEAPONS

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

TACTICAL WEAPONS 127

TACTICAL WEAPONS CLASSIFIEDS

128 TACTICAL
TACTICAL
WEAPONS
WEAPONS
128

Sept. 2010

FEB/MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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 Bills 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 nights
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 didnt 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 Combats 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.
EDITORS 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 <<<

A MAN & HIS JEEP


Take a ride through history with The Gunny on
the old, but reliable as hell, classic G-ride.

hen Americas favorite


war correspondent wrote
these words back in
World War II, his comment went straight to the hearts
of millions who knew exactly what
he was talking about: It does
everything. It goes everywhere. Its
as faithful as a dog, as strong as a
mule and as agile as a goat. It consistently carries twice what it was
designed for, and still keeps going.
Ernie Pyles tribute to the jeep
doesnt say it all, but it comes
close. Like millions of others today,
I was not available for WWII service. But I have learned a great deal
about the small bug of a vehicle
that was launched back then and
sent scurrying around countless
bases and in the field with both
combat and support units.
About 650,000 copies of the
original were churned out in WWII.
Today, those veteran Jeeps go for
big bucks, and the Jeep name lives
on in countless variations you can
buy fully-loaded outright, or barebones models you can rig up to
your personal likingand wallet.
There are no Jeeps like the original on duty with our military today.
Beginning in 1983, when the Army
opted to go the Humvee route,
armor- and firepower-loaded fourwheel-drives replaced the Jeeps.
Many who knew and loved
Jeeps read the news that the Army
was phasing them out in 1983
26 TACTICAL WEAPONS July 2013
with a shudder. Gone would be the
beloved chariots that ran millions of
errands, carried messengers, did
reconnaissance over impossible
terrain, could be loaded with serious firepower, and even carried out
our wounded and dead.
When the Army announced the
Jeeps demise, Associated Press
columnist Hugh Mulligan wrote,
No item of government issue,
not even the mess kit, was more
beloved than the Jeep. His column
was titled Taps for the Jeep, and

130 TACTICAL WEAPONS

for artwork he revived a famous


WWII cartoon by Bill Mauldin,
creator of the renowned Willie
and Joe series from the Stars and
Stripes newspaper.
In it a cavalry sergeant has his
hands over his eyes as he points
his .45 at the hood of his conkedout Jeep. Hes putting it out of its
misery. The sergeant, who isnt
Willie or Joe, looks like hes been
getting in the chow line more than
his turn, but his sadness is clear.
So strong is the image that it was
chosen as the cover of Bill Mauldins Army, one of several books
from his WWII cartoons.

been some of the latest models,


loaded with features the original
Jeep creators could never even
have dreamed about. I drive these
high-tech rigs anywhere, from the
freeways right into the backcountry
where the fish and game live.
They are provided by the folks
at Omix-ADA, their Rugged Ridge
group and their Alloy USA group.
Together, theyre one of the leading
Jeep parts and accessories companies. As their spokesperson, I get
to drive a new Jeep every year with
all the bells and whistles. I drive
each years model to the Specialty
Equipment Market Association

sometimes I see myself as a young


Marine Staff NCO during the Vietnam War, driving Jeeps all over the
bases where I was assigned. I had
to have those Jeeps. I had places
to go, things to do, and I couldnt
hack it without my Jeep. If the
Marines didnt issue me one, I had
to make other arrangements to get
behind the wheel.
Over the years a lot of folks
have asked me if I know where the
name Jeep comes from. Heres
the dope: When the Army got the
green light on the new vehicle in
1940, it cherry-picked the best features from prototypes submitted by
three companies. These
were Ford, the Willys
Overland Company and
the Bantam Car Company.
Bantam was too small to
handle the vast amounts
of orders the Army needed
churned out, so it was left
to Willys and Ford. Willys
called its model the MA
for Military Model A. Ford
called its the GP, which
does not stand for General
Purpose but with the G
The Gunny can go way off road in his Rugged Ridge-equipped Jeep.
meaning
Government and the P
You can bet it all that hell never have to take his .45 to it.
for a type of vehicle.
The attachment between a man
(SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas,
As long as youre not thinking
and his Jeep back then was as
where its on display.
General Purpose, Fords GP desstrong as it had been between his
Most of the people who stand
ignation may be the origin of the
veteran ancestors and their horses.
in line to meet me at the SEMA
word Jeep. There was also a little
For many of us, its still that way.
Show are Jeep owners. They have
character that came along in PopI had an original Jeep at one
the LED lights, the running boards,
eye cartoons back then that was
tacticalweapons-mag.com
time. I even posed for pictures
the winches, the fender flares, the
called Jeep.
with it back during my Mail Call
rust guards on the front and on
Anyway, the name Jeep has
TV series. It was an old Ford
their lights. They have the light rack
been around since the early 1940s,
original model, a renegade that had
up on top, custom seats, custom
and it will be around a long time to
survived 192,000 miles. I sold it
skins to go around the outside of
come for high-spirited owners who
because in California where I live I
the vehicle. These people buy a
want both comfort on the road and
have to get onto freeways to drive
Jeep and then they go to work on it. the ability to go pretty much wheralmost anywhere at all. Driving a
Despite the high-tech world of
ever they please. You can customvehicle with a 45-mph top speed
Jeeps today, I find myself reminiscize one or buy it fully loaded.
was going to get me killed.
ing about the old Jeeps I drove as
I only have one complaint. Mine
When I sold my olive-drab
a Marine. From my roles in movies
has all kinds of add-on gizmos,
friend, my love of Jeeps remained
like Full Metal Jacket you may think
but they wouldnt let me mount my
in my gut. And far from doing withI dont have a single sentimental
.50-caliber machine gun.
out a Jeep, my new friends have
bone in my body, but I do. And
Semper Fi! TW
FEB. /MARCH 2015 tacticalweapons-mag.com

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2012, Kimber Mfg., Inc. All rights reserved. Information and specifcations are for reference only and subject to change without notice.