A few weeks ago Howard posted an informational article on the Knights Armament RIS and RAS.
In it he offered up the opinion that while newer and better options exist at the RAS’s $300 price point, it was still a viable choice for a handguard if purchased at a discount on the used market or as a blemished model from Knights itself.
I agree with his thoughts on the RAS, and recently purchased one of the blemished models from Knights for a planned M4 build. I was quite pleased with what I found when I opened the box from Knights.
The only blemish I could find, if you’d even really call it that.
Mounted up. While the included rail panels are nice touch, I went with the ladder panels as I prefer their slimmer profile.
Sometimes you might want to mount an optic to a fixed carry handle AR. There are a few different ways to do so, but I think one of the best is the old A.R.M.S. #02 mount.
There are many knock offs of the A.R.M.S. #02 that are no where near as good quality. Many cheap similar scope mounts that are made in China break when you try to tighten the mounting screw. Now I am not much a fan of ARMS products, but this one does what it is suppose to do. So I keep one around in case I feel the desire to slap an optic on an A1 or A2 upper.
Today I learned of a LaRue product I didn’t know about before. It is conveniently labeled “ARMORER’S TOOL”.
It is simply a piece of plastic holding a LaRue adjustment wrench and a hex key Allen wrench for tightening or loosing LaRue ACOG mounts. A nifty little combo tool for those that use a good many LaRue ACOG mounts.
The new issue of Guns & ammo has gun writer Dick Metcalf telling us all how we should accept more gun regulation
You can read it here
along with opinion from the guys over at TTAG
and if you want Dicky to know what you think about his ideas on regulation and how we should agree to it, his personal Email address is below.
This article is from Brian, owner of The New Rifleman.com where he talks about his development as a modern day rifleman and his journey to become well rounded and proficient, as well as how his tools change in his quest. This article is about testing magazines as a method for support during firing while using the AR15/M4 rifle.
Lots of conjecture out their about magazine monopodding. There is plenty of debate over whether it will cause magazine related stoppages. I found, with my two rifles, that the issue of stoppages could be related to not only the rifle, but the brand of magazines. What are the distinguishing features of a rifle that will have failures when mono-podding vs one that will function fine?
An Easy Way to Stabilize the Shot
Monopodding the mag is a quick and easy way to stabilize the shot. Recently it has gained more and more popularity judging by discussions on ar15.com and m4carbine.net. The crux of the argument belies the old military “doctrine” of never-resting the rifle on the magazine. Various posters report thousands of rounds on a monopodded magazine and they will report the stability benefits of doing so. Others report failures to feed.
I examined my rifles to judge the suitability of monopodding the magazines and came to a few conclusions.
1) Monopodding success or failure depends on the magazine, magazine well, and also the magazine release of an individual weapon
2) One rifle may have many issues with monopodding the magazine while other rifles will have zero issues
Where do the issues lie?
The magazine itself is not the only culprit if your rifle jams while monopoding. Check your individual rifle and a few different magazine brands. Magazine monopod is a great technique to stabilize the rifle if it won’t affect your weapon’s reliability.
Testing Your Rifle, Testing Your Mags
I have two rifles. PSA and a Maine manufactured Bushmaster. The PSA is a flat top DD upper with a Rainier Arms mil-spec bolt and carrier. The Bushy has an surplus FN A2 upper with a Windham Weaponry bolt carrier and a Mil-Spec bolt.
I have three types of magazines. USGI with Magpul Follower, Magpul PMAG Gen 2, and Magpul PMAG gen 3.
When you mono-pod the mag you are applying upward pressure on the magazine and the magazine release. If the magazine and rifle both meet the wrong criteria the feed lips of the magazine will scrape against the bottom of the bolt when applying this upward pressure.
Place your favorite magazine brand into rifle. Press rifle down on to magazine with decent weight. Hold down magazine catch with thumb. Cycle charging handle.
Did you feel any resistance?
The USGI has the thinnest feedlips and did not affect function in the flat top or A2. The PMAG gen 2 with the thicker feedlips scraped the bolt carrier of my flat top, but not my A2. PMAG gen 3 was the worst offender. This was interesting since the Gen 3 has Mag-well stops molded into the mag. The Gen 3 scrapes the bottom of the bolt heavily on both my A2 and flat top rifle when applying monopod pressure.
I removed the follower and spring from the magazines and repeated the test. Same results. P-Mags can introduce some friction into the feeding system.
What About the Rifle?
Factors that are in play here, I suspect, are magazine well tolerance since magazines can wiggle fore and aft (which could elevate the rear of the mags feedlips into scraping the bolt carrier), and magazine button / magazine catch placement. The PSA has more wiggle in the magazine catch assembly then the Bushmaster. It is miniscule difference, but with all the other factors combined it may be contributing. Will problems be immediately apparent with your setup? That too depends…
“It works fine”
So where does the extra friction lie in the reliability equation? I shot my fully loaded Gen 3 Pmags while monopoding. I pushed down heavily on to the rifle. I had no malfunctions. The velocity of the bolt carrier and a strong buffer spring were able to overcome the resistance of the feed-lips scraping the bottom of the bolt… but what if things get dirty? Perhaps you take a carbine class and the oil, dirt, and burnt powder start to increase the viscosity of your oil. The bolt carrier slows down a bit due to the grime, powder, and thicker oil.
Then you go prone and monopod the mag. You fire one shot and then possibly a Failure to feed. I didn’t put a 500-600 rounds down range at the last range session I went too, so I couldn’t test the Gen 3 Pmag further than that. For now I will stick with USGI magazines. Perhaps I will start investing in L plates as well. The NHMTG USGI mags have been 100 % in both my rifles so I will continue to buy these magazines along with Magpul followers. Some things to consider are that the mag catch area stamped out of the mag may fatigue over time and eventually the aluminum feed-lips may start scraping the bolt carrier. If that happens time to trash the magazine.
Time to start numbering magazines to keep track of trouble mags in the future.
I love PMAGs, but I won’t work them into my routine for shooting off the magazine monopod. I think I am asking for a malfunction. The stability advantage of shooting from monopod prone is great enough that I will use USGI mags for now.
Individual weapons and setups are wholly unique. Different magazines and unique rifles could deliver an equation that is unreliable under the right circumstances. It is important to test different components and find something that works well for you. My rifles like USGI magazines and the bonus is I can monopod off the magazine without introducing reliability issues. While I didn’t have failures with the Magpul products during my limited testing, I feel the feed-lips scraping the bottom of the bolt carrier while monopoding will lead to reliability issues. I have learned my rifle can tolerate a magazine monopod with USGI mags. I will invest in some L plates to use this technique on hard and soft surfaces.
I want to add to the magazine as mono-pod debate. The Canadian rifle team has been using the magazine for support in the monopod method since the 90s. They have never had a problem with it and have some thought that using the magazine, causes a sort of “free floating” of the rest of the rifle ( AR15s/C7 rifles of course) resulting in great results. Noted trainer Pat Rogers also supports the monopod/magazine method if its needed. There is something to remember about this that many people will not want to mention for fear of offending. Ar15 rifles made to be close to to milspec or that are actually milspec , that is, made to the colt TDP, will not have a problem when using this method with proper made to spec magazines in good condition with good ammo. One of the deals with the early Pmags, is they were made to work in a proper Milspec magazine well, ( colt TDP, real Milspec in other words).
Many bought the first gen Pmags and used them in guns with lowers not made to spec or even close to it and that was when some people reported the mags not working or falling free when empty. Magpul then changed the specs of the mags to work with anything. That was not a problem with that Pmags, just a simple fact some peoples guns were a little out of spec. I have never had a rifle within proper spec not work when using the magazine as a monopod. If you have a rifle not made by the MFGs known to copy Colt’s mislpec measurements for the mag well. or a Colt rifle, or a mag built to work in any rifle or whatever combo it may be, you will have to test each one to ensure it will not fail you. I personally feel that a rifle that cannot function 100 percent because of some kind of pressure on the magazine, when its not the magazine or ammos fault, can not be trusted for serious use of defense and should not be used for serious purpose. Shawn
There is no shortage of companies in the AR game producing their own grip and each promise improved ergonomics, control, comfort, handjobs, etc. I’ve fallen for the marketing hype a few times and tried most of them over the years in an attempt to find the one grip “to rule them all.” Each initially showed promise but all have been discarded over time for one reason or another.
A Hogue grip circa 2005. I grew tired of the finger groves and didn’t like the texture of the rubber.
Ergo grip also circa 2005. Too narrow and oddly shaped.
Magpul MOE grips. Too/large bulky, they feel like a 2×4 in comparison to some. I’ve come to feel the same about their front grips.
Most recently I’ve been flirting with the straighter angle grips such as the Magpul K-grip and the BCM Gunfighter.
Magpul K-grip. Too narrow and small. I don’t think they allow for very good control of the weapon.
I thought I had a winner in the BCM Gunfighter Mod 0, but as time went on I found I did not like how the straighter angle seemed to give me less leverage on the weapon when maneuvering it strong hand only.
So what have I settled on as the best solution in a world of no perfect solution?
In another case of the guys that designed the AR15 getting more right than aftermarket parts peddlers (cough piston AR’s cough) would give them credit for, the A1 is still an excellent choice for a grip. While this is completely subjective, to me the A1 strikes an excellent balance of width and angle, and lacks the finger grove of the A2 that many, including myself, despise. Recently I’ve been using a hybrid A1/A2 grip sourced from Accurate Armory that takes the fingergroveless body of an A1 and combines it with the texturing of an A2. It will be my go to grip for the foreseeable future.
Like Adam, I have played around with newer “improved” after market grips for the last few years. I have never had a problem with the A1/A2 grip that a lot of people say, or claim they do, but I am always one to take a look at newer innovation whether it is worthwhile or not. In the past decade I have tried many of the same grips Adam has spoken about as well and found them lacking or jus plain hype and marketing. I despise the Magpul MIAD and the cheaper MOE grip. I also found the rubber Hogue to be more of a pain then any real use and the ergo variants have never held much for me.
When the BCM Gunfighter came out, I took a long look and bought one. BCM has had some real winners with some incremental ( if not necessary ) improvements lately with the obviously nice charging handles. The new grip and its new trendy angle got my interest up so I bought one.
Before I tried this grip, I was using the Tango Down Battle grip. Now the TD grip was something I really did live up to what I wanted. So, to stop using it was not something I did lightly. After months of using the BCM grip and its new angle that is in such high regard I found out I simply did not like it. Yes it does put the trigger finger behind the trigger at a straighter angle. Yes, it does help tuck in the arm a little better. Did it help control recoil or some such? Not that I could tell. But, the major problem with the grip for me was just what Adam touched on. When I operated the carbine with one hand, I had no leverage. This was not a small problem either. Without the traditional A1/A2 angle , I could not use the leverage of the grip on the rear of my hand, to support the gun as well.
This was greatly exaggerated when I used my alternate killing hand as seen in the picture above. With the BCM grip, the carbine felt very, very muzzle heavy. It was like it wanted to flip out of my hand, go muzzle down into the dirt while flipping the stock end over end. No joke. That really was what it felt like I was fighting the gun against. Now I admit this is a training issue, but why get used to it, or fight it when I already had what I needed in the TD grip or the plain old A2 grip. I have always liked the finger bump on the A2 grip unlike a lot of people so that’s not an issue for me. But the TD does not have any finger grove anyway. The TD gives me storage as well so there is not real advantage there either in my mind.
I gave the BCM grip all the attention and effort that it deserves if for no other reason then the popularity and attention it is getting. It just did not pan out. The grip angle could be over come with training I am sure. But the same can be said about those who think ( thanks to marketing and high profile trainers) that the old grip is some how a hindrance to proper technique. The AR15 pattern can have some tweaks to make it easier to use there is not doubt, but they are small tweaks. Despite gun magazines advert, there is not a lot about the AR15 that the inventors did not get right already and Colt Firearms did not damn near perfect.
A few years back I did the whole grip roulette thing my self. Went from the A2 to the A1 to rid my self of the finger bump. Then went from the A1 to the Tango Down grip. The TD is very nice, but I wish it were it bit wider. Then went to Magpul, I used the slick front strap and smallest back strap. When I ended up buying my first suppressor I found that holding up a muzzle heavy firearm with the firing hand was easier with a grip that had that finger bump, so I went back to the A2. So I went full circle. Other grips I tried and didn’t like included the Ergo (too narrow), Hogue (too many finger bumps), and CAA (functional, but ugly, felt cheap).