5.56 Timeline

The AR15, right arm of the Free World.

For far too long the FN FAL has held the title, “The right arm of the Free World” due to it’s use by over 90 countries in the past. The reign of the FAL has passed. About seven million were made by about fifteen counties.

Between the US, Canada, and China we have made more than eight million AR15s. That doesn’t include all the other countries making them. More than 80 counties have used the M16, or a variant. As far as I can tell, that 80 countries number does not include many users of the M4 and similar.

You have countries like New Zealand, who switched from the M16 to the AUG and then back to an AR, the LMT MARS. France switched to the HK416.

Many countries that don’t use an AR15 variant for their standard army, use them for their special forces. UK Special Forces use the L119A1 (Colt Canada C8SFW), Australian special forces use the HK416.

Derivatives of the AR are seen around the world as well. From the Daewoo K2, Norinco CQ, etc. 9mm AR submachine guns have been used by Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Israel, Malaysia, and others. The SIG MCX, a gun that is based off the AR, but changes even more of the design, has been used by at least 12 countries.

Shawn loves to point out a great argument about the marketability of the AR. Look that companies that make competetors to the AR15. Most of them still make AR15 also. FN makes the F2000 and the SCAR-L. They still make AR15s. IWI just added an AR15 to compete with their Tavor for market share. Stateside, companies that has less popular .223 rifles like the Ruger Mini-14, now also make and sell AR15s. Companies like S&W got into the AR15 market to get some of that massive amount of money being throw around for the AR15.

Companies all around the world make AR15s locally for their respective markets. A couple of examples: Oberland Arms or Schmeisser for Germany. In Russia, Molot made the Vepr-15 aka VPO-240. Now ADAR in Russia is building AR15 from Molot barrels and outsourced parts.

Hell, search the news, you can find articles of shipping containers of AR15 parts made in China being confiscated because of the parts are being imported illegally into the US. Where else did you think some of these super cheap parts were coming from?

The commercial market loves the AR15. These can be found nearly anywhere in the world, and most of the western world has individuals trained and ready with some form of the AR15 to fight on their behalf. You will find that the majority of elite professional gunfights in the Western World are using the AR15.

The FAL had its’ day. It is time to correctly call the AR15 the right arm of the Free World.

A look at the Capco M16A2 upper – Part 1

Once again I spend money I shouldn’t have spent on something I don’t really need. But I wanted it. I carried a M16A2 for most of my time in the Corps.

Capco is a defense contractor that has been around since 1968. I only learned about them a year ago. At some point, they provided M16A2 replacement uppers for the U.S. Military.

For the past little while, there were lots and lots of Capco M16A2 uppers for sale. Used uppers in the $350 range, and new in wrap uppers for $430-450ish. I’d been watching these for sale and kept telling my self I was going to get one. There were what appeared to be hundreds of them for sale from various sources. I kept waiting and waiting and finally broke down and got one. It was the last one on Gunbroker. Now more might get listed as any time, but I don’t see any for sale currently. Good thing I didn’t wait any longer. As the supply might have dried up.

It came sealed in a rust preventive bag.

It had a wick in the bore, but that had slid down into the receiver.

It had some various little blemishes on the bottom. Looked like when someone hammered in the forward assist roll pin they caught the upper a couple of times.

The upper is finished black (Not like the older “Colt Grey”). It has the newer style small forward assist.

The upper receiver is marked with a raised P and the Splintered A. The barrel markings are very faint on mine. At first I thought the barrel wasn’t marked and I looked over it several times. Finally after oiling it all up I was able to make out the stamping on the top near the muzzle. “P MP 5.56 NATO 1/7”

Bottomed out at 8/3-1

Out of the package, the rear sight bottomed out at 8/3-1. I used a 1/16th allen wrench to implement the RIBZ (Revised Improved Battlesight Zero).

Bottomed out at 8/3-3

By doing this, 8/3-3 will be my 100 yard setting. 8/3-2 will be my 200 yard setting.

I noticed the pin under the elevation knob has some type of black goo or sealant on it. I don’t know if they were trying to rust proof or water proof that, or cover up for damage. I have seen a couple of cheap Capco M16A2 uppers where the upper was damaged by improper installation of that pin. It could be they put a dab of black paint to cover up heavy handed clumsy roll pin installation. The black stuff is dabbed on both sides, so I’m not sure.

Much to my annoyance, the windage knob was not timed so that the bold line next to the R would be straight up when the sight is centered. I’m enough of a nut case to care about such things, so I removed the knob and reindexed it.

If someone is looking for a minty perfect looking upper, this Capco would be a poor choice. It has a handful of various blemishes, and plenty of things to nit pick. But for someone wanting to get something semi-retro, or for the collector with more money than common sense, the Capco M16A2 upper might be a great choice.

I’ll write more after I get to shoot it.

IWI ARAD : Yawn.

So big news today if you are a fan of Israeli guns. IWI has jumped into the AR market, not just any AR though. Get this. Its a piston AR!. Finally what the world has been waiting for. Obviously I am not impressed. Really nothing they have come up with in the shoulder fired small arms world has impressed me. Yeah the UZI was a big hit but since then.. The Galil is too heavy , the tavor.. Yeah. It’s a bullpup. Now we see them making an AR. Which is like when S&W started making 1911s. It’s a form of accepting reality of the market.

So now we see they have a piston AR. It does nothing other piston ARs can’t do. It is also just as unnecessary as all the other piston ARs.


IWI ARAD Assault Rifle is designed for Infantry use, Special units and Law Enforcement units.

IWI ARAD is especially intended for all kinds of combat scenarios with it’s ability to change calibers.

IWI ARAD is equipped with a picatinny rail to enable the use of a variety of optics and other attachments. The picatinny rail is an integral part of the upper receiver of the rifle. In addition, M-LOK rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions along the handguard. It includes a telescopic buttstock which allows the users to adjust the length individually for their particular needs.
The modular structure of the rifle enables the user to easily dismantle and replace the barrel. The weapon is fully ambidextrous with controls on both sides of the rifle.

IWI ARAD Assault Rifle is a short stroke gas piston operated, with a regulator which allows constant operation in all environmental conditions

Short-stroke gas piston
2 position gas regulator – Regular/Suppressor use
Optional: MIL-STD 1913/M-LOK accessory rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions
Hard-anodized monolithic aluminum MIL-STD 1913 Rail in the upper receiver

Designed for minimum operator and armorer level maintenance, thus reducing maintenance and life cycle costs
100% interchangeability, reducing the overall costs of the system
All the metal parts of the weapon are corrosion resistant
Hammer-forged, chrome-lined, free-floating barrel, for enhanced accuracy & life cycle
Quick detachable barrel – barrel can be replaced by a user in a matter of seconds
Uses any NATOMIL STD 5.56 Steel, aluminum or polymer magazines

Retractable polymer stock
Highly ergonomic pistol grip
Fully Ambidextrous weapon
4 points along the rifle for QD or Cord attachments
Caliber: 5.56X45mm
Rifling: 6 RH Grooves, 1:7″ twist
Barrel length (mm) : 292 (11.5″)
Total length, butt retracted (mm): 720
Total length, butt extended (mm): 800
Weight (pprox.. Kg) (w/o magazine): 2.85
Rate of fire (pprox.. Rd./min): 700~1100

Maybe next they will do something even more revolutionary like introduced a polymer frames striker fired pistol.

If I were starting my gun collection from scratch…

Back during Hurricane Irma I spent a good bit of the time during the power outages thinking about this topic. From my thoughts on that topic I’ve done a fair bit of reorganizing my collection since then. I’ve started this article several times, and held off writing it as I wanted to use it as a discussion point for when we restart the podcast. But since we keep putting off making the podcast again, and I have a hurricane heading towards me again, I figured I’d finally write this up.

When people ask me what guns to buy, I give the same answer. Colt 6920 with an Aimpoint PRO and a Glock 19.

If I was starting over with that, I would be pretty happy with that start.

But personally, I’d buy something different for my self.

A problem with thoughts like this, is considering the availability of items. There are plenty of things I currently own that are unavailable now. I couldn’t buy one to replace it, or it would be extremely hard to replace. That makes the decision a little harder. All sorts of questions like, would I want to buy the coolest newest stuff or still with older time proven equipment? Off the shelf guns, or customize everything? Etc.

For the sake of brevity, we will ignore mags, ammo, cleaning gear, etc.

For pistols, it would be pretty simple. I carry a Glock G26. So I would start with one of those. Then I would buy another to be a spare. I’d carry one while using the other for training, and switch between them each year. As I do currently.

Then I’d pick up a Glock 19. I’d be perfectly fine with a gen 2 or 3, but I would spend a little more to get a Gen 5 MOS so I would have the option of mounting what ever optic down the road should I choose to do so.

Horribly simple. I’d pick up more pistols as fun guns. Plenty of them, but they would be for fun.

What about rifles?

Now for a while now my favorite rifle has been my Colt 6945. Over time it slowly pushes my other AR15s out of that spot. So I would order a replacement Colt 6945.

Colt LE6945

I’d throw a Aimpoint T-1 or T-2 on the top. Then I would order a Surefire can for it.

But, unfortunately, the NFA process sucks and can take a long time. So I would need a non-nfa rifle around.

I’d pick up a Larue PredatAR. I love the accurate light weight barrel and the design of the hand guards on it.

A PredatAR upper on a Colt Lower.

I like the extended hand guard. I love how light and handy it is. The PredatAR feels equally at home with a reflex sight as it does with a magnified optic. It is great for run and gun, or you could slap on a big scope and shoot tight groups at distance. It is my favorite non-NFA AR15 configuration. If I were starting over, I’d order one immediately and would probably put a lower power variable optic on it.

Now the PredatAR uses a proprietary rail unlike the more popular MLOK and Keymod. If I wanted that, I could go with the Larue Ultimate Upper option, but given the choice, I’d just stick with the PredatAR.

Larue UU upper on a Colt Lower. A passable alternative to the PredatAR.

So I got some Glocks, and some AR15s. What else?

Sometimes, you just feel you want something not as nice as an AR15. Something less handy, not as light. You know what is like. Sometimes you just crave something not small caliber high velocity. There are countless lesser firearms that could fill that niche.

Larue PredatAR 7.62

I’d order a Larue PredatAR 7.62. All the same reasons as the PredatAR 5.56. Accurate, light and handy. Feels just as right with a red dot or a high magnification scope. For this, I would likely mainly use a higher magnification scope and set it up for firing from the bench or from the prone.

Having not started from scratch, I settled for the cheaper and easier to get Larue UU kit in 7.62 with the PredatAR barrel.

A .30 cal AR gives me a familiar platform than I can use in any number of ways. With a reduced mag, I could hunt with it in locals that don’t allow hunting with a .223. But for the most part it would just like the 5.56 PredatAR would be used. Just launching a little larger diameter projectile.

I’d have to get a silencer for each.

After putting together this core few guns I’d start buying all the other odd, rare, cool looking, or obscure guns I want. But these few listed would be the first.