Another cheep junk optic failed at the range today. I highly recommend against trying to use cheap junk optics like NCSTAR, TRUGLO, AIM SPORTS, LEAPERS UTG, etc.
A big thanks to the good folks at LaRue Tactical. I needed a replacement ring half (to replace one I damaged) and some screws for my mounts.
Despite that I gave alternate info that had no ordering history from LaRue and that I offered to pay, LaRue Tactical still sent me the parts for free. Their fast shipping allowed me to correct the issue I created quickly.
On that note, I would like to mention one company I was less then impressed with, Daniel Defense. I asked what size a certain set of screws where that I needed. They kindly offered to send me some, and then quickly mailed me a bag of the wrong screws. All of my several attempts to contact them about getting the correct screws were either ignored or not responded too.
The MARS ITL is a reflex sight designed for use on the Tavor rifle. Some are available for sale in the U.S. The MARS has an integrated laser that is controlled by a fixed umbilical switch attached to the sight. When you press and hold the button on the umbilical the dot shuts off and the laser turns on. Both visible and IR laser models are available. The optic has 4 brightness settings as well as auto adjusts brightness. It runs off a single AA battery.
The MARS sight is a poor choice for use on the AR15 family of weapons. Cowitness is not an option due to the high height of the optic. While it has a quick detach mount, the mount does not return to zero. It has a about 1 MOA dot, and this dot alone can be lost in the field of view of the optic. While it would adjust to ambient lighting condition, it was still dim when on the brightest setting in bright outdoor areas. The aiming dot shuts off when the laser is used, and the laser is only on when the umbilical button is pressed. This cord is non-replaceable and too short to run it to useful locations when this optic is mounted on the top rail of a AR15. Zeroing is easy, but the adjustments are coarse, about 3/4 MOA per click. The laser and red dot are slaved to each other so they share the same zero. This makes zeroing easy, however it is often helpful to have different zeros on lasers and optics.
Run time is short, about 200 hours according to the company. Most people would be better off with a separate laser and optic. I quickly sold the one I owned and I do not recommend the MARS sight for use on the AR15. MARS sights tend to run about $400-900 depending if they are visible laser or IR. Please beware that there are shady individuals selling former military MARS units, and other people trying to sell or trade them for thousands on various gun forums.
For all your Facebook users and SWFA/SuperSniper fans here is a chance to save a few bucks on Super Sniper scopes.
Update April 14th: The 2000 likes code is now active.
Update April 17th: The 2500 likes code is active.
Update April 21st: 3000 Likes code is active.
Update April 24th: Not only has the 4000 Likes code been activated, SWFA has received over 500 likes in the past day. I intend to get a 1-6x for evaluation should the 5000 code be activated.
As of the 26th, SWFA has 5000 likes. I will be ordering a 1-6x to test out.
There is a growing popularity for the short barreled AR and AK. One of the AK varients that has exploded in popularity is the AKS72U, also known as the Krinkov. While Krinkov is an incorrect term, it has become the popular name for these AKs. There are Russian and Bulgarian Krinkov kits and rifles available. Similar but different are the Yugo M92s and Romanian Dracos which are compariably sized but different models. You can get one in 7.62×39, 5.45×39, or 5.56 Nato.
I am not going to pull any punches, these guns suck.
The problem is neither that these rifles (or pistol versions) are AKs, nor the short barrel length but the lack practical usefulness of these rifles. Now don’t get me wrong, if you want one as a fun gun, get it. But please don’t consider buying something like this for home defense, zombie apocalypse, Terminator uprising, etc.
Why are these rifles not practical? Several reasons including sight radius, size, weight. Let me use the AKS74U (or my SLR106UR) as an example.
Sight Radius: My AK has a sight radius shorter then some pistols. Not just are the sights close, they are hard to use. Now this can be negated by optic, but that is additional cost, and if you mount an optic on the side rail you can not fold the stock.
Size: Often the appeal of the Krinkov type AK is how very small it is. However for any sort of practical firing you will need to stock unfolded. With the stock extended, the overall length of the rifle is about 29 inches. That is almost identical to a M4 with the stock collapsed. That M4 with its stock collapsed has nearly twice the sight radius and twice the barrel length. Not to mention a good bit easier to shoot accurately. The Krinkov small size is only helpful for storage, not for shooting.
Weight: While the Krinkov is small, it is not light. A stock rifle is about 6 pounds. To compare it to the M4 again, is similar weight to a M4 with iron sights and plastic handguard. Not to mention that this AK starts off weighing almost as much as a larger rifle, it is far harder to mount any sort of useful accessories like optics and lights to it.
Ergonomics: The AK isn’t know for its ergonomics. However the Krinkov gets worse. Aside from the previously mentioned short sight radius, the handguards on these shortened AK get very hot, very fast. Much faster then on a standard length AK. Should you decided to run something like an Ultimak optics rail on a Krinkov, you may find your self burning your fingers should you not bring gloves. The stockless pistol versions of these rifles are heavy enough to make shooting them like a pistol awkward.
The worst for last, lack of modularity. Now normally this would be a non-issue. However if you compare the SBR’d AK to its competition, the SBR AR15, the AR15 is by far the better choice. Should you buy or build a Krinkov, what you have is what you are stuck with. A SBR AR15 can easily be modified for different calibres, barrel lengths, optics, etc. The short AK, even with its side rail and optional quad rail, lacks most of the flexibility a short AR has.
The main advantage of something like the Krinkov is that you can fold the stock (for storage, use in a vehicle, transportation, jumping, etc). However as soon as you unfold that stock, you are just left with an inferior rifle.
Should you choose to run something like this as your primary weapon, here are a few suggestions. I would recommend employing the weapon system much like how you would have employed a SMG. If using a left side folding stocked AK, get a railed dust cover or handguard to mount your optic on so it wont interfere with folding the stock. Have a good sling. Consider having a smaller mag (like a 20 rounder) for when you are concealing or storing the rifle. Make sure to pick ammo that will perform well with the reduced velocity from your rifle. Wear good ear protection due to the increase in flash and blast from the short barrel. Have fun.
I purchased a used Magpul CTR stock with LaRue RISR and POD installed. It was interesting to try out the LaRue Reciprocating Inline Stock Riser (RISR) on an AR15. The RISR is made to give a higher cheekweld on rifles like the LaRue .308 OBR and accommodate the charging handle on the AR series of rifles.
I tried the RISR on a Colt 6920 first. I found the RISR to be high enough that I could not use the standard iron sights on the 6920. When I tried another upper with a NightForce 2.5-10×24 in a LT135 high mount. Even with the scope mounted higher then normal, I found the taller checkweld that the RISR gave made looking through the scope awkward.
Using the RISR gave a little more resistance then charging a normal AR15. Having an extended charging handle lever would help when using the RISR.
The RISR may be an excellent choice for high mounted optics on the higher rail of a .308 AR. However for me, the RISR just gets in my way on AR15s. I have already removed the RISR from my rifle and will be sending it to Shawn so he can try it out.
DSArms offers an AR15 semi-auto Ambi-Safety for $28 dollars; part number ZM41367AMBISA-A. Both parts of the Ambi safety appear to be cast. The groove allowing rotation is cut all the way around the DSA ambi safety, allowing the safety/selector to move into what would be a Burst/Full Auto position on a select fire rifle. However the rifle will not fire while the safety is placed on this position.
The DSA safety is one of the cheapest options for an ambidextrous safety for the AR15. The both sides of this safety lever are full size, so it may bump into your trigger finger when you flip the safety. This safety also sticks out a little more from the receiver then other safeties. This is most likely to ensure compatibility with the wide variety of aftermarket pistol grips available for the AR15. I really do not like how the safety will spin into the third position. If I push too hard or too far when trying to take the rifle off safe, I can push the safety past the fire point and any point past that the rifle will not fire.
I do not recommend the DSArms ambi-safety because it will rotate past fire. However if that is not an issue for you, the DSArms ambi-safety is one of the cheapest ambi-safeties around.
Occasionally questions arise about the side sling swivel for the AR15/M16/M4. This will answer a few common questions.
It is normal for the sling mount to move. it will wear and make marks on the barrel.
Side sling swivels come from the factory mounted so the loop faces the rear of the rifle. This is fine if your using CAR or M4 plastic hand guards. However if you are using a Knights M4 RAS this loop will interfer with installing and removing rail panel covers. The Army authorizes mounting the sling loop forwards to negate that issue.
If you are mounting a M203 underbarrel grenade launcher on a M4, the side sling swivel will need to be mounted so the loop is on the ejector port side of the rifle(same side as used for left handed shooters).
Shawn asked me to post this up on the blog. This is a video made for Marines on the their Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK).