Centurion Arms C4 Rail
I recently found myself in the market for a carbine length free float rail for an AR build. After reviewing the multitude of rails on the market I opted to go with the Centurion Arms C4 front sight cut out rail.
I decided on this rail for a variety of reasons. They were:
1. It free floats the barrel. Admittedly, for anything other than a precision rifle, free floating the barrel is of minor benefit, however if given the option I feel like you might as well free float.
2. The rail maintains and extends around the Front Sight Base. I am a fan of the standard AR fixed and pinned front sight base as it is bombproof and basically malfunction free. With that in mind I was not interested in any rails that would require the installation of a low profile gas block. The disadvantage to this is carbine length rails are pretty short and run out of space quickly when vertical fore grips, lights, sling mounts, etc. are installed. This is one of the areas in which the carbine cut out C4 rail shines as it retains the pinned front sight base but has rails that extend past the FSB on the sides and bottom, giving more room to add and position accessories.
3. Easy install that does not require removal of the FSB. As much as I like the pinned front sight base, I hate having to remove them. The Centurion Arms rail’s two piece design makes this a non issue as the FSB does not have to come off for the rail to be installed. It merely clamps around the factory barrel nut, and is an easy do it yourself install. This is also a benefit to those with some type of pinned muzzle device as it will not have to to be removed to install the rail. The handguard cap and delta ring assembly do need to be removed however.
4. Lightweight for its size. The sight cut out rail I purchased weighed in at 10.6 oz.
5. Built in quick detach sling mounts. The rail has built in mounting points for quick detach sling swivels at the front and rear of both sides of the rail. I am a fan of making things as efficient as possible with the fewest parts, and the built in mounting points allow the sling to attach directly to the rail, eliminating the need for a separate bolt on mounting point. The multiple mounting points on each side also allow the user to adjust the sling to their preference.
I purchased my Centurion Arms rail from Rainier Arms and highly recommend them for any of your AR parts needs. I have always had excellent dealings with them. The rail came packaged in a form fitting tube and inside I found the upper and lower pieces of the rail along with the six screws with which to assemble it. No instructions were included however it is fairly simple, straightforward, and self explanatory. If you just have to have them, instructions are available at Centurion Arms website.
I started by removing the factory handguard cap and delta ring assembly. If you want to retain these pieces for re use later you will need to remove the FSB to uninstall them. I did not, nor did I want to remove the FSB, so I used my handy dremel tool to cut them off. The factory under barrel sling swivel also has to come off but a hammer and punch made short work of the pin that holds it in place.
With everything removed the upper and lower sections of the rail clamp around the factory barrel nut. Install four screws at the barrel nut portion of the rail and other two screws on the sides near the FSB end and you’re done. Mount the accessories of your choice in the locations of your choice.
I also have an upper with a Daniel Defense M4 9.5 FSP rail installed and took a few quick comparison photos of the two next to each other. As you can see the DD rail extends slightly further than the Centurion Arms rail however the Centurion Arms rail has continuous top rail while the DD has a gap for the proprietary barrel nut. The DD rail also lacks the built in sling mounts.
After several months of use I have no complaints and have found the rail does what it’s supposed to do with no fuss or drama. It locks solidly to the upper and has no noticeable flex. Subjectively it feels slimmer in the hand than other full railed handguards I’ve handled. I would recommend Centurion Arms rails to anyone looking for a railed handguard.
Shooting, like many other skills, is rather simple. The fundamentals (structure, trigger control, sight alignment/sight picture, breathing, etc) remain the same regardless of the type of shooting you do. Now different types of shooting may focus on certain aspects or groups of fundamentals, but they are all important.
Rapid firing, advance techniques, and assorted tactics build upon the foundation that fundamentals provide. For example, if you have poor trigger control and stance you will shoot poorly in rapid fire.
So we have to practice. In practice we may have to focus on certain aspects to improve them, like dry firing to work on trigger control. In practice and training we can take the time to focus on what we need to do correctly. But we must practice enough to internalize this. If your laying prone in the field, and your target is stationary and far away, you may have the time to think about trigger squeeze and sight picture. However should you be doing room clearing, there isn’t the time to focus on the fundamentals.
To paraphrase Bruce Lee, you must find the tools, sharpen the tools, then dissolve the tools.
The serious shooter, regardless of whether they are practicing for Camp Perry or for combat raids, needs to practice until the fundamentals can be done with out conscience effort. At a vital time, you may not have the time to try and remember the fundamentals if you haven’t already made them muscle memory.
I have a love/hate relationship with news stand gun rags. I buy SWAT magazine and even have a subscription to it, and I use to have a subscription to Precision Shooting ever year from 1999 until it went tango uniform last summer. Those are excellent magazines and PS was THE technical journal of the last 30 years when it comes to real rifle accuracy. I do buy a few other titles when they come out, but its mainly something to flip through when bored ( especially at my old job). I find very little info is offered from most of the rags. Just fluff and advertising. Not to mention the same old crap month after month. If you like to read smug gun writers who think they know everything talk about the gun some MFG sent them to play with for free and take pictures of them selves looking like they are doing serious tests, then they have plenty of that. The main problem now is they just do not offer up any info you didn’t already have months before it hits print. then when they do put it out, its a tiny useless bit. So, I decided to review a few magazines over the next few months and try to figure out which are really worth the money and save some one else from wasting money.
Now that that rant is out of the way.
The two magazines I am going to talk about today are called Off Grid and Triggers. These two are newly out having just come out within the last few days.
Everyone knows about Recoil magazine that came out last year and readers know the way we feel about that bunch. I am skeptical about Recoil magazine since its changes after the editor really steppe don his on yoohoo a few months ago. But, I think everyone would agree that they have changed the gun magazine formula for the long run. Its a large magazine with slick high production, gun porn style pictures and a blend of gun culture interests and fluff. Mainly fluff, but it sold well until they had a boo boo. That magazines popularity had an interesting affect I will get to a little later.
They are trying to recover form it still, and we will see how it goes. I personally will not buy Recoil but I was interested in buying OffGrid to see what it is all about. Its from the same “creators” of Recoil magazine and follows that magazines model. It is the same size and offers up the same type of pictures and articles but not about firearms only. It is not exactly about living off the grid, but its more of a “bug out” and “preppers” type of magazine. I have to begrudgingly admit. It is pretty nice. For actual helpful info and interesting tips and advice.
I was surprised with how much I like this one. It covers a variety of topics from useful working knots to water purification, bio diesel to how to treat sever wounds and what to use. Thats not to say I advise trusting the info from a magazine about complex and dangerous medical and life saving procedures, but, its very interesting and refreshing to see a magazine publish info about this subject considering the risk of some moron trying this out and screwing up.
The magazine reviews back packs, multitools, MREs and a wide variety of topics. It almost seems they put everything they could think of into this one issue. Maybe it will be out once a year or twice because it would be hard to have this much info every month. Below is a picture I took of the article on wounds and treating them to give you a taste of what its like.
That is some pretty detailed stuff for a magazine you can buy at walmart.
Now, should you buy it? I don’t know about you, but I am still sore over the Recoil fiasco. I think of this stuff interests you, it is worth the 9 bucks. But if you are still disgusted with the publisher then flip through it at the store. But this is a nice rag. I’m not going to comment on the prose because i barely can write anything myself and was certainly no english major. But, I don’t read gun magazines and survival type magazines to enjoy the use of the language or to snicker of punctuation like a grammar nazi. I would buy this magazine again.
The next magazine is another example of a current phenomenon. Its called “Triggers.” A very lame name in my opinion. Ever since Recoil came out, several of the normal gun rag publishers have tried to copy it and its look and formula. The first I saw was called “Firepower.” It is a Recoil copy with the same type of aesthetic. But its worthless. The articles, if you can call them that, are tiny little blurbs. They offer nothing of value. It has pictures of military tech and guns with captions taking up a two page spread several times through the magazine. It reviews nothing really and it is a joke in my opinion because it tries to copy Recoil but fails. Adding to that, it is a shameless attempt to copy Recoil and take part of its readers. Triggers is doing the same thing. I am sure that the creators of Triggers thought they would jump in and take Recoils place while using their forumla after Recoils snafu with the negative RKBA blow up.
The editor of Triggers is the same editor for The Book of the AR15 and The Book of The AK47 and Book of the 1911. Eric Poole. Those other magazines are basically the typical gun rag full of long winded adverts for whatever company bought the most ad space in the magazine or sent Mr. Poole and his pals to the most cool training classes. Even those titles saw a change because of Recoil. I notice in the past few issues of those titles more and more small articles that have nothing to do with technical details and real reviews. Sadly they consider those magazines as giving us all the deep detail we want on the newest product.. Yeah.. They don’t.
Here is a shot of the content index of triggers.
It is fool of fluff. I dare say more fluff then Recoil has. At least Recoil knows its Maximum for gun people. Triggers attempts to shamelessly copy Recoil. Instead of current gun rags turning their magazines around and giving the same detail and technical quality that American Rifleman had in the 50s and 60s, they choose to go more and more to this fast blurb article and flashy pictures. I guess we all have too short of attention spans these days to want to read detail. That or they know they have lost to the internet and the best they can hope to be is interesting material for the bathroom.
The comments from the editor promises the mission of the title is to “explore the gun culture where ever guns are found, Triggers offers a commitment to keep and open mind and report the truth about what matters to you” ” We intend to break down barriers of social ignorance through education and place the lifestyle of gun ownership in the context of the larger world in which we live” Blah , Blah blah. That translates to roughly this… “We hope you are still pissed at recoils comments and we are not too late in getting this out to make you think we really care about what you think. We really hope to fill their spot before we lose too much market share when they recover.” They also makes some claims about the readers driving the content. This is interesting to me since previous comments form Mr. Poole indicate he feels it is his duty to only let Military or LEO write articles in the other titles he heads as editor. Only those people are able to give unbiased opinion to us readers on weapons. Never mind I have seen enough LEO and former Mil that couldn’t hit a man sized target at 25 yards,to fill the state of AZ. The undisputed instant credibility of anyone who is a cop or Mil when it comes to guns is becoming a real problem in the gun industry lately, but that’s another topic
Triggers is lame. It has poor excuses for articles that are not worthy of even recoil. It has the same names on the pages as the other 1,000 gun rags form the publisher. No knew blood. No fresh perspectives from people we have not already seen a million times. the one shinning light is a review by the always awesome Kyle Lamb. The incestuous nature of having the same writers over and over in every title they have is about as interesting to me as golf . They try to add comedy to the writing like an issue of maxim and it comes off as fake to me. It snot funny and the more they do it, the more I am reminded that they are trying to swipe recoils formula. I hate it, In fact I am sick of even writing about it because it makes me remember the thing. If you like this type of magazine, I would just stick to Recoil.
For cool pictures and gun porn my pick is the Surefire Combat Tactics that comes out twice a year. Its a lot like a giant commercial, but I know what I am getting and its fun. SWAT is the other titles I make sure to buy by, since I have a subscription, it is full of articles that do try to help with very little fluff. I use to really enjoy the Book of the AR15 before Poole took over. At that time it had good reviews and tests. It had anecdotes form current deployed Marines and Soldiers talking about using it in fire fights and it covered more then just who bought and ad. Its not that anymore and that’s a shame to me. It seems to me that the quality we got in the days of O’Conner, Warren Page, John Waters and P.O. Ackley will never be seen again when it comes to print magazines. Oh it can be found online, but when it comes to the newstand, its all fluff and shiny paper with cool pictures on it. And few people have the money to waste on fluff magazines these days. Unless they start to make it dual use as TP
Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.
HRO-CQB That’s Hostage Rescue Operations-Close Quarters Battle
There is no doubt that Loose Rounds Staff love Dark Star Gear (DSG) holsters. Tom at Dark Star Gear was kind enough to make me a Glock 17 holster to review. I specifically wanted a Glock 17 holster for competition and training, that had a sweat guard only to the slide stop and a slight cant under 10 degrees. It has been several months (3) since Tom from DSG provided me with this holster. I like to really use a product for a while before I sign off on it. I have used numerous Kydex holsters from several manufacturers and have a few that I really like. Shawn turned me on to Dark Star Gear and honestly I was thinking to myself, how much better can a Kydex holster get.
Well I have to say, after running the DSG holster, it is my favorite. My other holsters see little to no use now. After talking with Shawn and seeing his reviews of the quality of the DSG holsters, I found I was not disappointed. The quality and attention to detail on the holster was amazing. The first thing that immediately stood out were the soft loops. Once you strap the holster on with the soft loops, you understand why DSG has chosen them. They make the holster more comfortable and flexible than hard loops on other similar holsters. Because the soft loops flex and conform to your belt and body, it makes for a close and more comfortable fit than hard loops.
I immediately started running the holster hard to get a feel for it. I spent the first hours with the holster doing one hundred (100) draws and fire from conceal carry. The holster had the right balance of retention and speed from the draw. I then started to carry the DSG holster every day for CCW and range use. It was not long before I was invited to a Combat Focus Shooting (CFS) class by Rob Pincus. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to run the DSG holster in a serious, equipment demanding, defensive firearm course. In one day, I had already shot 500 rounds, drawing from the holster while, moving, running, turning and firing under stress. The DSG holster exceeded all of my expectations and I had several others in the class ask me about the holster I was carrying.
On the first day of CFS, I had the DSG holster on a total of sixteen (16) hours. I never felt the holster, it did not dig into me and was by far the most comfortable holster I’ve worn in over a decade of law enforcement training and civilian conceal carry (CCW). Tom at DSG also pointed us in the direction of Volund Gearworks ATLAS belts. I used this belt in the CFS course with the DSG holster and it was the perfect combination for me. They are my go to CCW and range gear.
I have not counted the actual draws from the DSG holtser but at this time it is well over 2000 in training. This does not including administrative holstering and unholstering of daily CCW carry. My wife (Cassie) has also been using the DSG holster for carry and range use. She also feels it is the most comfortable holster for her and has referenced it in several of her articles.
It is safe to say that the Loose Rounds Staff is firmly behind Dark Star Gear. For the price, turnaround time, quality and comfort, DSG is hard to beat. This is one damn fine, tough and reliable holster as well. I have not noticed any wear on my firearm finish with all of the use of the holster. Not that it really matters to me but I know some people worry about it.
Check out the other reviews from Loose Rounds on Dark Star Gear and stop by their website.
Loose Rounds Reviews:
I received on Monday the Colt 901 AR15 upper adapter. This really lets me start to use the 901 in the modular capability I was really looking forward too when it was first announced. Don’t get me wrong, if the 901 was limited to only being a .308 AR I would still find it the best .308 AR for me, but it sure is nice to be able to use it with standard AR15 uppers too.
Since getting the 901, I have made a few changes. I dropped in a Geissele SSA trigger, replaced the stock with a CTR. I keep a Nightforce 2.5-10×24 scope on it, but sometimes I take that off and play around a bit with an Aimpoint PRO. For me, the CTR is a more comfortable and better stock for how I use the 901. The SSA is just a nice upgrade. The Nightforce makes it a nice package as the 2.5x setting is still reasonably fast up close, and 10x is enough magnification for me to do some good shooting, with out slowing me down or letting me fool my self into thinking I am running a pure precision rifle. One ergonomic change that made a bigger effect than I expected was adding Tango Down SCAR panels. The 901 quad rail is tall and narrow. I considered adding some rail panels to the side to help make the handguard feel a little more round. Normally I would use KAC rail panels as I have many of them laying around, but the 901 lacks the notches required for the KAC panels to lock into. So I picked up some TD SCAR panels and have found that I really like having them on the 901.
A friend shooting the 901 with an Aimpoint PRO in Wilcox mount.
Colt 901 lower with 5.45 upper. Using the 901 lower with standard AR15 uppers means I have to carry less stuff with when I go shooting.
When I shoot off the bench I have generally been using a Harris BRMS bipod. I have also been trying a Grippod on this rifle but I am not sure if it is right for this rifle. If you end up shooting off a hard surface, those slick feel of the grippod slide way too much when shooting .308.
Soon I will add an AMBI safety and another sling mount. I find I often use the left side mag release and the right side bolt catch, the ambi-safety will make the rifle fully ambidextrous.
My future goal is to register it as a Short Barreled Rifle so I can run a 10.5 inch 5.56 upper on that lower, and also have the 16in .308 upper. I really want to have a hard case that will contain the set of a 5.56 SBR upper and the standard 901 upper along with a few optics. That pair, combined with a small .30 can suppressor that could work on both uppers would do most everything I could want out of an AR.
Recently, getting ammo has not been exactly easy. Or Cheap. Even if you are like a lot of shooters and stockpiled up ammo, you still have to shot it to keep your skills and to improve. I am not a fan of not shooting because you won’t have it anymore. Even when getting ammo is tough, skills have to be maintained. But, there is no need to waste precious ammo when you don’t have to. A lot can be done in a day with just a few rounds. So, to me, there is not real reason to destroy or damage perfectly serviceable ammo when you don’t need to.
For a long time people training for clearing weapon malfunctions like the double feed, would set the drill up using live ammo. Now, I understand doing this since its convenient but I never really did see what it would hurt to take a few extra seconds and use dummy rounds. Not just dummies made from live round components either.
Often, practicing this drill on the range or training classes can be very hard on the ammo. Not always, but enough to matter when ammo is already hard to get. Using the plastic dummy rounds, you get the same function as live rounds, its safer and its not really slower.
The drill can be set up with the dummies, and the new mag can have live ammo in it. So you can work them into the drill. You save the few precious, precious live rounds and you have easily ID’ed dummies that do not look like live rounds. This way, there is not change of confusing dummies that look real under low light conditions or confusion or any of the other thousand ways things like this love to go wrong.
Dry fire practice and ruining these drills inside are a lot safer as well. Other then it takes a little more time to go fetch your dummy rounds for a drill, I can think of no good reason not to use them. They act the same as live rounds, feed the same and everything. And they are easy to ID and recognize as dummy rounds and safe. I keep two mags for training and dry runs indoors. Both mags are marked and for dummy round use only.
Other then saving money ( and those few rounds will add up if you do train alot) you can just never have too much safety. I feel this is self evident to anyone with any intelligence enough to not vote for obama.
The dummies can be used in all the most popular calibers and other then popped primers and case head separation and bullet set back. You can do a lot with them. You can also use them for reloading drills. I like to practice reloading and inserting the mag with a dummy in it to get the feel of a round being chambered and the look and feel of seeing a round ejected on a tap/rack / bang drill. It just adds more reality to it for me. I have no idea if it really benefits, but it does keep it more interesting for me and that helps me want to devote time to these drills when I am indoors. Otherwise I would maybe keep repeating what I like to do instead of what I need to spend time practicing.
I also use them for side arms as well as rifles. Clearing a “stove pipe” with a nice rounded dummy is a lot easier then a real empty brass case that may tear my hand up when there is just no need in it.
These plastic/polymer dummies are cheap and tough enough to last a long time. I pay less then 80 cents a piece for these dummy satey rounds and I feel they are worth it. They are safer, cheaper and do not cost me money in screwing up live rounds when I want to practice drills that would other wise deform a live round that could have went toward marksmanship improvement.
Cassie Larsen submitted this article.
When I started thinking about conceal carrying, I was concerned about the printing of the firearm. How was I going to carry on a daily basis and keep the firearm safe and hidden. My husband, who has been conceal carrying for over a decade, said that I would have to adjust my clothing options if I was serious about conceal carry. I don’t know about you, but I was not happy with the idea of having to change my style of clothing, to a possible bigger, baggier, clothing style for conceal carry. After some time playing around with my current wardrobe, I am pleased to report I have many outfits that I can conceal carry very easily. Now, when I go to the store to buy new clothes I ask myself, “Can I easily conceal carry in this?” If my answer is no, then I look to buy something else.
I’ve read many articles that talk about downsizing your gun in the summer to still conceal carry. Many suggest carrying a 380. What if you can’t afford to buy a new gun or don’t want to down size your current caliber? In all the pictures in this article, I will be wearing a full size or mid size Glock. This will show you, you can still dress for the weather and conceal carry a mid to full size firearm. Once you understand that you can conceal a mid to full size firearm, like a Glock, you will have no problem concealing a smaller firearm.
Another thing to think of is where you are going to be carrying. You want to be consistent with where you carry, and where you practice drawing from. To me it would be confusing to carry at a different location per my outfit choice. I would hesitate when the time came to draw my firearm. Where is my gun at today? Is it on my thigh, in a belly band, strong side holster or appendix carry. If you need or want to carry in another position, remember to practice drawing from that position so that you can be efficient and consistent .
This is a normal button up shirt, it’s not baggy or a larger size then I normally wear. I did need to be more conscious when I bent over with this setup, because you could see the bottom of the holster. If someone was staring at my butt, at that moment, they would see the bottom of the holster, maybe that would make them stop though. I wouldn’t normally wear a Glock 17 but if I need to, I have clothing options that would work with it.
This is one of my favorite shirts, I have it in two different colors. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work because it’s a very shear shirt. But with the right gear you can’t see anything. Since this type of shirt is thin, it works well on hot days. I do recommend a IWB holster with a sweat guard so you don’t have any pinching or rubbing from the gun.
This shirt has a elastic bottom which makes it gather. This actually makes it a great conceal shirt. I can OWB carry without having the holster show, since the elastic gather hooks under the holster, it keeps everything in place, even with movement. There was no imprint difference with OWB or IWB carry.
Tank Top & Shorts:
This tank top is fitted in the back and I had no way to carry in my normal strong side carry. I thought I would try Appendix carry since this shirt gathers a little in the front. Also, to show another position for conceal carry. At first I didn’t think Appendix carry would be comfortable with the mid-size Glock 19. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and easy it was to conceal with Appendix carry. I was so excited about the possibilities of concealment, with Appendix carry that I tried on many of my more fitted shirts. They worked much better with Appendix carry. I will definitely be exploring this carrying position a lot more in the future.
Appendix carry is something my husband is leaning towards. One thing that is very important with Appendix carry, is to get a quality Appendix carry holster.
Who would think I was carrying a mid size firearm wearing a pencil skirt? I have several skirts that have belt loops, I thought why not try my gun belt with them. I noticed with my current IWB holster, and Glock 19, wearing it with my skirts didn’t work well. My skirts either sit on my hips or high almost to my belly button without a holster. With my IWB holster my firearm was sitting too high on my back, or making my skirt fit weird. With the OWB holster, it was much more comfortable and my firearm was easier to access.
My Jean skirts all have loops too, which means a gun belt and holster will work well. Most women have a few cardigans in their closets. A cardigan is great for conceal carrying, just throw one on over any shirt and your good to go. I recommend buttoning up a few of the bottom buttons, you wouldn’t want your shirt to move and show your gun.
I am looking for a good conceal carry purse, for when I wear a dress. I would also like a belly band holster, for clothes that I can’t securely use a holster with. I’d like to try a pair of compression shorts. I’ve read good things about them, not sure if they are a gimmick or actually a good item. I’m also going to be in need of my own Appendix carry holster. I think my husband has created a monster… I now understand his constant researching and looking up new gun items on line. Maybe we will have to work out an agreement each new gun item he gets, I get one too.
Warmer weather is no reason to stop carrying your firearm. Hopefully I’ve been able to show that you can still carry your mid/ full size firearm even with less clothing on. It is important to remember, without the proper quality equipment (i.e. gun belt, holster) you are not going to conceal well. In all the pictures in this article I am wearing a dedicated conceal carry gun belt and quality kydex conceal holsters.
Personally, I am happy I can carry for protection and still keep my style.