5.56 Timeline

Re-Thinking the Modern Rifle

Howard’s recent article about the M16A4 and its numerous disadvantages sparked a firestorm of discussion and criticism. I utilize rifles in all my shooting and have a few M16A2 style clunkers myself…but I am here to offer some discussion on the future of the rifle length platform and who can take advantage of it. So Where does the modern fighting rifle fit in the world of AR15’s?

M16A4: Not So Modern

Let’s get this away right out front: the M16A4 is not a good example of a modern fighting rifle. Every bad thing about the platform Howard touched upon is absolutely right. From the A2 stock to the outdated KAC rail system, the weapon is a rather heavy for what it does. We cannot define a modern fighting rifle based on what the Marines use, just as we cannot define a modern fighting carbine as a vanilla issue US Army M4. As civilians, we don’t have the barriers to building a rifle that will suit our needs and purpose; as cool as it is to build civilian M16 series clones, it usually ends up being a poor choice in a defensive weapon. Let’s start by changing the configuration.

Outfitting an M16A4 style built with modern components significantly reduces its biggest two handicaps: Weight and Length.


Ditching the A2 stock is the first step in keeping a rifle length system useable

I updated my A4 rifle with a Vltor A5 stock years ago. The system is now useable with body armor and is a good update to any rifle length system. The rifle can run with standard buffers as well (I would recommend starting at H2) and needs very little attention. Performing this one upgrade is a good start, but can make the weapon muzzle heavy. Solution? Shorten the barrel or add a lighter hand-guard system… or do both.

Shortening the barrel from 20 to 18 inches and equipping the rifle with a modern rail system shaves off both weight, and length. Shortening the barrel to 18 inches and equipping the rifle length system with a modern lightweight rail such as a Daniel Defense Lite Rail 12.0 or a BCM KMR does wonders for the handling of the rifle.


The biggest advantage of a rifle? M193 still works well for self-defense. Here is my 18 inch rifle with Criterion barrel.

The 20 inch barrel is a long pipe and modern defensive loadings diminish the need for reliance on velocity as a fragmentation mechanism. I recognize this fact, but logistically I also recognize the availability of M193 and how easy to obtain it is. Keeping the 20 inch barrel or updating to an 18 inch barrel still keeps the benefit of fragmentation as a wounding mechanism for the common as dirt M193 loading.

M193 is still humming along at around 3200 to 3250 fps out of an 18 to 20 inch barrel. While it is agreed that modern defensive loadings are preferred to M193, the ability to stockpile and train with 55gr fragmenting FMJ for a good price is a benefit in its own right. With Winchester PDX running near $1.40-1.49 a round vs $ .42 cents a round for Federal M193 then it begins to turn the table in favor of logistics. It allows you to train with the same round you can use for self-defense. While I have a magazine loaded with 69 grain OTM available for self-defense, I keep more M193 on hand due to cost and availability.

Not Just a Shorter Rifle

Keeping in mind the changes above, a rifle length system can be far more versatile than the stock M16A2 and M16A4 clones. There are a few extra advantages to modernizing a rifle setup, especially for new shooters.

Anyone who has tossed a quality compensator on a 20 inch gun knows how easy it is to keep these rifle length systems flat. Giving a rifle to a new shooter interested in AR’s is a good move, since the concussion and recoil will be kept to a minimum while the handling of the weapon will be excellent.

Is it any wonder why 3 gun competitors love to shoot 18 inch rifles? They handle well and stay on target. While 3 gun setups may be a far cry from a defensive rifle, it doesn’t take much to adapt the beneficial characteristics of a 3 gun rifle to a AR15 set up for home defense.

While my opinion may differ from a majority of internet opinion, I believe that proper forethought into how you set up a rifle can elevate it from “the old musket” to a weapon that can go toe to toe with modern carbines, and in some ways outperform them. The modern upgrades available to carbines are directly beneficial to the rifle while preserving its smooth shooting characteristics.

Bonus: I didn’t even have to mention sight radius or bayonets for this article.

Brian – www.thenewrifleman.com

Considerations in Purchasing a Safe

Article submitted by guest writer Mitchell Wakehurst

You can find his website on home and business safes at http://citysafes.com.au


How safe is your safe?

Humans instinctively feel the need to safeguard everything he holds dear from loss, theft and damage. In response to these security needs, most homes and business establishments are equipped with strong safes and vaults to protect cash, jewelry, and other valuables from robberies and calamities.  However, as quality, performance, and efficiency of home and office safes technology improve, so does the ingenuity of robbers in safecracking.  Letting our guard down is never an option if we wish to avoid grief and regret. In addition, choosing an excellent safe has never been this crucial. If you search the internet, you will find a wide variety of safes with upgraded features like fireproofing, waterproofing, hi-tech locking mechanisms, and other enhanced aspects. Given these myriad of choices, it is baffling to find the safe that answers all your security needs.


The most difficult puzzle of getting the right safe
Despite the invention of the locking system, which was the basis the concept behind safes, there were and still are a lot of dark and gray areas to consider. Among these are the following:
> Durability ‒ This is a vital component in ensuring the overall safety of what you have locked inside the safe. Is it insulated enough to stand raging fires? Consider if it could stand forced entry such as use of crowbars and other tools. The safe’s weight also matters: a heavier one would be obviously difficult to carry.
> Size ‒ This would help you decide based on the availability of space wherever you intend to install your safe. It also helps you come up with a list of important belongings to put inside this safe.
> Convenience ‒ This is another important aspect to guarantee the selection of the best safe. Check how the combination of locks works: is there any backup key in case of a lock out? Consider also the ease of installation (eg. Bolts, and tools needed) and functionalities (eg. LED light to illuminate its contents).
> Level of immunity ‒ This may be somewhat related to durability but focuses more on the extent of the safe’s vulnerability. Watch out for bolts, hinges, and other features that could compromise your safe’s security.
> Customization ‒ Imagine a safe custom-built to give all the features you could ever ask for. Customizable safes may appear to be more expensive than ready-made ones, but if you can have all the features you want or at least tweak the safe to fit your needs, it is a worthwhile investment at the end of the day.
With all these factors in mind, you need to connect each of them with the following:
> What do you plan to keep in your safe?
> Where do you intend to install your safe?
> How long is your safe expected to provide safety?
> What level of safety must be achieved by your safe?
> What is the main purpose of your safe? Is it even necessary?
Lock your valuables inside your safe but never your mindset from anticipating the worst. You have done your part when you have brilliantly prepared for all imagined risks or dangers by carefully selecting the safest safe you can find.

Stuff I Like From 2014


Magpul MS1 slings: The MS1 got rid of my complaints about Magpul slings (unwanted single point hardware & open loop adjuster) and combined it with a smooth sliding adjuster, a soft and non binding nylon strap, and a reasonable price. It has become my preferred sling.

Magpul MS1 Sling



Colt 6720: I won’t spend too much time on this one since Duncan has already covered it, and I echo his thoughts on it. After picking one up earlier this year, I found the 6720 to be lightweight, quick handling, accurate, and reliable. Everything you could want an AR carbine to be.

Colt Lightweight AR6720 Carbine



Colt 901 MARC: After some trigger time on our 901 MARC t&e gun I prefer it in most every way over the original 901. The weight loss from removing the rails on the sides and bottom of the gun, which combined with the resulting thinner handguard profile have lead to a far better handling gun.

I found I could get a better grip on the MARC due to the thinner handguard which along with its lighter weight allowed me to run and gun with it almost as though it was a 5.56 gun. Surprisingly the reduced weight didn’t come with a noticeable increase in recoil, probably due to getting a better support hand grip on the handguard for recoil management.

All of the pros of the original 901 in a lighter, better handling package.


COLT 901 M.A.R.C. Accuracy Test & Review PART 1

Brian’s Best and Worst Products 2014

Hi, I am Brian of www.thenewrifleman.com and I am pleased to join Looserounds.com as a contributor. Here are some of my favorite products of 2014, though some of them are not *new* products.


Sierra match kings 69 grain bullets: Its nice having a favorite loading based around this product as I found it easier to find than the 77grain ammo during the scare and it was plenty accurate to help me learn the ins and outs of shooting to 600 yards. Its not a new product by any means, but its a fantastic boost to any rifles capabilities past close ranges.


ALG defense QMS trigger: Its a affordable upgrade to any single stage stock trigger. Smooth with no grit, and very little to go wrong. My next step up will be a Gieselle, but for now this works on a budget.


Armalight NM 1/2×1/2 match rear sight: Quality drop in sight replacement that exceeded my expectations. A raised edge keeps the sight square against the receiver without pins or double spring setups. I utilized this to shoot a basic rifle in NRA High Power and it was a solid piece of equipment.


Aero Precision M4E1: While I just received it, the fit and finish and simplicity of the design make it extremely easy to swap barrels and rails. The platform is stiff and feels robust. I have good confidence that going into the 2015 competitive season, that this receiver will perform well.


Giesselle Reaction Rod: Made building my rifles quick, easy, and the product will last forever. I can only hope my kids take advantage of it and build AR15s for decades after it is passed down to them. Even if they don’t build AR15s it will make a hellacious club.

Let Down: Haley Strategic G Code holster. Not a comfortable choice. I have been wearing it for a year now and I have broken a screw during casual use and overall it just isn’t the most comfortable IWB experience for me. I am a thin guy so that may play a part, but as of this point I’m looking for a better product.

Duncan’s Best of 2014

Here are a few of my favorite products of 2014. They are in no particular order.

M&P Shield,  without safety:

After the first of the year disappointment in the G42 being a .380, the new M&P Shield stepped in to fill the single stack 9mm role everyone was wanting. Smith & Wesson quickly capitalized by finally listening to what most had said about the Shield over the last few years. Mainly, many wanted the Shield to be offered without a safety, to operate more like the M&P Full Size models and a Glock.  I picked up the new Shield offering mid-year and it basically goes with me every day. The Shield had a few hiccups when first released and some recently. These issues have been fixed by Smith & Wesson and the Shields are very reliable. One thing I found very interesting, is when I fired the 9mm Shield and the G42 together, I did not feel a lot of recoil difference.

S&W M&P Shield /no safety
S&W M&P Shield /no safety

Lancer L5 AWM Magazines:

If you have followed us for a while, you know my personal stock up/go to magazines are USGI with Magpul followers and L-Plates. In 2014 I found amazing deals on Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazines (AWM) at USGI prices so I jumped on them.  The Lancer L5 AWM is (In my Opinion)  the best magazine to use for Duty/Defensive purposes. A true 30 round capacity polymer magazine with the strength of wraparound steel feed lips. Most of the popular polymer magazines will crack, over time, around the feed lips. With the Lancer’s this is a non-issue. Price was always the only reason I did not buy a lot of Lancer’s. In 2014 Lancer L5 AWM’s became my go to magazine.

Lancer L5 AWM Smoke Translucent
Lancer L5 AWM Smoke/Translucent

Surefire X300 Weapon Light:

Several of the LR staff have bugged me to get a Surefire X300 over the last few years. As with everything I get, price is always a factor, as I have multiple defensive weapons and it’s hard to get several firearms equipped with a weapon light when they are expensive.  The Streamlight TLR-1 is usually what I like to use. I purchase a Surefire X300 specifically to mount on one of my AR-15’s and I am glad I did. The Surefire X300 is the best weapon mounted light I have used on an AR-15. It is a little more user friendly on the AR, has a longer distance more focused beam and has a little more lumens than the TLR-1’s I normally use. On a patrol rifle, for my specific purposes, the Surefire X300 is the best weapon mounted light I have used to date. It has just the right combination of function and light output, for both outdoor and indoor use.

SureFire X300 Weapon Light
SureFire X300 Weapon Light

Colt AR15-A4 Lightweight LE Carbine (AR6720):

The low prices on AR15’s have been great in 2014. At the beginning of the year I purchased a Colt AR6720. It is one of those AR’s that made me say, ” Why did I wait so long to get it”. You find yourself wondering how a pencil barrel can really make that much of a difference. Once you get it in your hands, it just feels right.  The 6720 has all of the things you want in a reliable lightweight Carbine. It is lightweight, fast, smooth, accurate, fun to shoot and most importantly, it has the quality and features you expect in a duty/defensive carbine. I really purchased the 6720 for my wife and she absolutely loves it, but I find myself wanting to steal it. (looserounds.com / colt-lightweight-ar6720-carbine)

Colt AR6720 Lightwieght LE CArbine
Colt AR6720 Lightwieght LE CArbine

Aimpoint Micro T1/H1:

For the second year in a row, I have to mention the Aimpoint Micro’s. I have slowly replaced all of my older 30mm (M2, ML2, ML3) Aimpoint’s. They are simply, small, fast, rugged, reliable, lightweight and have unmatched battery life. There is not much more that I can say that is not already out there. Aimpoint is simply the best RDS and I feel the micro’s are the best within the Aimpoint line.

Aimpoint Micro  T1/H1(RDS)
Aimpoint Micro T1/H1(RDS)

Kinetic Concepts Tactical MOLLE-Link:

For me, the Kinetic Concepts Tactical (KCT) MOLLE-Link system, has to be my favorite and I think most innovative products this year. It is one of those things that is so simple yet so effective and makes you wonder why it took so long for someone to think of it. The MOLLE-Link system allowes a low profile ability to mount Kydex holsters, magazine and accessory pouches directly to MOLLE webbing, with no bulky accessory attachments.  The KCT MOLLE-Link products are easy to quickly mount/remove and are extremely secure. Great product and idea from KCT. (looserounds.com / kinetic-concepts-tactical-molle-link-holsters)

Kinetic Concepts Tactical (KCT) MOLLE-Link
Kinetic Concepts Tactical (KCT) MOLLE-Link