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.

SIG SAUER Down-Selected by U.S. Army

Looks like SIG is really proud of their stuff big achievement, though I wouldn’t get too excited about it myself. For those reading who aren’t familiar with how this works, Down Select does not mean officially adopted as standard A . It really means. “Ok we are gonna take a look, so we are buying a few more for testings.”

SIG SAUER Selected by U.S. Army for Next Generation Weapons with New Ammunition Technology, Lightweight Machine Gun, Rifle, and Suppressors
Published Date: 09/03/2019

NEWINGTON, N.H., (September 3, 2019) – SIG SAUER, Inc. is proud to announce the official award of a contract by the U.S. Army in the down-select process for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW). The award encompasses the complete SIG SAUER system consisting of 6.8mm hybrid ammunition, a lightweight machine gun, rifle, and included suppressors. SIG SAUER will provide single-source manufacturing for ammunition, weapons, and suppressors allowing for less risk and increased capability for the U.S. Army.

“The U.S. Army is leading the world in the first significant upgrade to small arms in decades to meet the growing demands of soldiers on the battlefield. We are honored to have been selected for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program bringing increased lethality to the warfighter over the legacy weapons,” began Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “At the core of our submission is our newly developed, high-pressure, 6.8mm hybrid ammunition that is utilized in both weapons, and is a significant leap forward in ammunition innovation, design, and manufacturing.”

The SIG SAUER 6.8mm hybrid ammunition is designed for increased penetration at greater distances. Cohen continued, “using patent-pending technology the SIG SAUER Ammunition division has engineered a completely new cartridge resulting in a more compact round, with increased velocity and accuracy, while delivering a substantial reduction in the weight of the ammunition.”

The primary objectives set forth by the U.S. Army for the NGSW-AR was a weapon with the firepower and range of a machine gun, coupled with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle. The SIG SAUER NGSW-AR submission is an ultra-light, medium caliber machine gun with AR ergonomics, and chambered in 6.8mm hybrid ammunition. Features include quick detach magazines, side opening feed tray, increased available 1913 rail space for night vision and enablers, folding buttstock, and suppressor.

Additionally, the Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) requirements were inclusive of an NGSW-Rifle. The SIG SAUER NGSW-Rifle submission also chambered in 6.8mm hybrid, is lightweight and features a free-floating reinforced M-LOK


handguard, side-charging handle, fully ambidextrous controls, folding buttstock, and suppressor.

“The U.S. Army challenged the industry to bring forward significant improvements to the legacy weapons. The SIG SAUER NGSW-AR is lighter in weight, with dramatically less recoil than that currently in service, while our carbine for the NGSW-Rifle submission is built on the foundation of SIG SAUER weapons in service with the premier fighting forces across the globe. Both weapons are designed with features that will increase the capabilities of the soldier,” commented Cohen. “The final component of the SIG SAUER Next-Generation Weapons System is our suppressor, which through exhaustively researched design enhancements, reduces harmful backflow and signature.”

As outlined in the recent award issued by the U.S. Army, SIG SAUER will deliver a complete SIG SAUER system inclusive of the SIG SAUER 6.8mm hybrid ammunition, lightweight machine gun, rifle, and suppressors.

“SIG SAUER has designed the most comprehensive solution to meet the requirements of the Next Generation Squad Weapons to enhance mission effectiveness. We are looking forward to partnering with the U.S. Army throughout this process and ensuring our soldiers are equipped for the demands of the modern battlefield,” concluded Cohen.


Of course Sig would like to believe they are the chosen one. Reality is they are not the only company to be down selected for further testing.


“In its announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Army said it had selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer as the three finalists for the program”