5.56 Timeline

Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group, Grip-23

Several months ago Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group (www.ucwrg.com) provided us with a few of their Grip-23 AR15 grips. I was very happy to have the opportunity to get my hands on them as they are hard to get. Jaime, at UCWRG was a pleasure to deal with and you could tell their customer service was a top priority.

UCWRG Grip-23
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black

First impressions:

Several things interested me in the Grip-23. Our friends at Tactical Link (www.tacticallink.com) got me interested in UCWRG. I saw the Grip-23 showing up on rifles, in a lot of Tactical Link’s pictures, on their Facebook page. I wanted to try some of the new grips that were coming out with a more vertical grip. I have had some wrist issues and felt that the more vertical grip would help me with those issues. At just twenty dollars,  the Grip-23 is a lot less than other big name grips. After receiving two Grip-23’s from UCWRG, one in FDE and another in Black, I mounted them on two of my rifles.

Initially I was worried about liking the grip. Magpul Design Group was consulted about AR15 grip design and several prototypes resulted from this information. I have never been a fan of the Magpul grips and was apprehensive about any influence the consulting had in the Design of the Grip-23. Once I mounted the Grip-23, I immediately felt the benefits of the more vertical angle of the grip. It is a no frills, simple, no B.S. design.

UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black.
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black.
USWRG Grip-23 FDE, Magpul FDE L-Plate, Tactical Link Z-360 Patriot Brown.
USWRG Grip-23 FDE, Magpul FDE L-Plate, Tactical Link Z-360 Patriot Brown.

Grip-23 Ergonomics:

When you look at the Grip-23, you notice it has an extended beaver tail or (Tang) on the grip, much like the Magpul grips but the Grip-23’s is larger.  This larger, thicker tang pushes the web of the hand down farther than other grips. The benefit to this is a straight pull in the trigger.  The index finger/trigger finger is parallel to the bore of the rifle and this allows a straight to the rear pull on the trigger.  This index helps with accuracy and quicker follow up shots. With traditional angled grips, I find that my trigger finger is coming down at a slight angle. If you have some kind of match trigger like a Geissele in your AR, you will definitely see the benefits to the improved  ergonomics.

Another thing I noticed with the better index, was the reach on the magazine release. The lower hand grip, more vertical angle and parallel index  allows you to get a full finger pad on the magazine release. This gave a positive no doubt press to release the magazine, on a reload.

UCWRG Grip-23, Grip.
UCWRG Grip-23, Grip.
UCWRG Grip-23,  Grip Width.
UCWRG Grip-23, FDE & Black, Grip Width.

The vertical angle of the Grip-23 also lends itself to an elbow down shooting position with the fire control hand/arm.  This helps you avoid (Chicken Wing) with your strong side arm. With the more vertical  grip and elbow down hold, you can get the rifle closer into your body and control recoil better. I have had several injuries involving my wrist. With a tradition angled grips, my wrist hurts or becomes fatigued when I have to remove my support hand from the rifle.  I found with the Grip-23 I was able to support the weapon, with one hand, for longer periods of time, without my wrist hurting or forcing me to lower the rifle. This made working the charging handle and doing magazine exchanges much easier. One area that you really notice a difference in the angle of the grip, is in a low ready or hanging position. Much like if you were patrolling or doing perimeter security. It feels much more natural when holding the grip in low ready as you don’t have your wrist kinked like on a standard grip.

UCWRG Grip-23, Black, Colt LE6940.
UCWRG Grip-23 Black, on Colt LE6940.


As I stated in the beginning, the Grip-23 is a simple, no B.S. design. Having said that, the no fills simplicity but well thought out design is what this grip is all about.  I have never used the storage compartments in other grips and the Grip-23 happens to have no storage feature. It has a hollow open bottom like a standard A2 grip. There is no trigger gap extension, to cover up the infamous gap at the trigger guard, that you find on other grips. UCWRG understands that most users are replacing the standard trigger guard with a Magpul trigger guard or other similar manufacturer enhanced trigger guard.  The Magpul trigger guards come on most of the big name (Colt, Daniel Defense, BCM) rifle manufactures now, so the gap extension is not needed. The Grip-23 has a smooth, none aggressive texture.  After market stippling is common for those who want a more aggressive surface.

By focusing on the angle and placement of the fire control hand, in relation to the trigger and controls of the AR15 platform, UCWRG has created a grip that enhances AR15 handling performance at a very low cost. In most cases $15.00 to $20.00 less than other aftermarket grips.

UCWRG Grip-23, Black on Colt LE6920.
UCWRG Grip-23 Black, on Colt LE6920.

Overall Impressions:

I really like the UCWRG Grip-23. I think it enhances overall weapon handling and manipulation. The Grip-23 is competing heavily with my favorite go to grip at half the price. One thing you will notice in all of my pictures, there is a Tactical Link Z-360 sling mount on all of the rifles. The Grip-23 gives good separation between the grip and mount. If you like the Z-360 mounts the Grip-23 is a very nice addition in combination with the Z-360 mount.  As I continue to mess around with the Grip-23, I like the benefits of the Grip-23 more and more.  In my opinion, for the price, you will not get another grip that gives you more ergonomic and weapon handling performance than the UCWRG Grip-23. Personally, the UCWRG Grip-23 is also just damn sexy looking on a rifle. I think the Grip-23 will find it’s way on to more of my AR15’s in the future.


More 1,000 yard shooting, M1903 , M14 And Even A Colt Commando

After my last two  posts about shooting at 1,000 yards with the service A2 and the M4 carbine with SOCOM barrel  of 14.5 inches along with some 800 yard shooting with 16 inch barrel  and T-1, I was talked into to shooting some other rifles under the same, or close to the same way.

So with that in mind, I tried 1K with a made in 1935 M1903 Springfield rifle, US caliber .30,  an LRB  M1A ( M14 ) a  target AR15 to show what you could be done with the seirra 80 grain match HPBT loaded long  and just to see if it could be done, something I never dreamed would make it to 1K. More on that later.


To talk about the guns used and results not in the order I shot them, I will start off talking about the  80 grain bullets in the 5.56.  The bullet has been a staple for the longer ranges in matches for a while now and to get the performance you want, you have to load them very long. this opens up the case for more room for powder.  Sure they can be seated to magazine length but you restrict powder capacity and lose so much velocity they stop being useful in the way they are meant to be.

I wanted to try to make the 80s look as good as I could so I didn’t try it iron sighted this time. I used a set up a lot more practical for making hits at long range.


After my sighting shots to confirm I was on paper. I shot 20 rounds of the 80 grain handloads with two misses.  The weather yesterday was  perfect with no wind. I did string the shots and a few other problems but all in all I think this will give a good idea of just how well the 80 grain HPBTs and VLDs can perform.  The gun is not as custom as the more serious long range set ups but it is obviously more then just a rack grade gun.   If you have a A2 with a 1/7 0r 1/8 twist, you can use the 80s in it and it will deliver much improved long range accuracy. The first time I tried this was years ago using a Colt  Match Target HBAR  with the 80s.  So give it a try if thats all you have and you want to see what you can do. It can be done.


I am going to take this time to show the size of the target with me beside it for scale.   Some may be confused by the point I am trying to make with all this 1K shooting or miss the point,  I am not trying to demonstrate ways to win at Camp Perry nor am I worried about some absurd idea like head shots at 1000 yards.  I am simply showing that hits on a man sized target can be made.  I am not concerned with cones of deviation, muzzle velocity at 1,000 yards ( other then to help me get on target) terminal performance of the different rounds at that range or any other pedantic minutia.  That will have to wait for another time. This series is about what can be done within reason and maybe to instil confidence in the average marksman beyond what something like the apple seed shoots teach.   The details will be addressed at a later time for those more worried about the more technical details.

Moving on, I also fired the M1903 using the seirra 175 grain bullet in handloads.


The target above shows my hits after a 20 round string of fire after confirming I was on target ( or thought I was close). The gun was made in 1935 and is from the CMP.   It is not worn out but neither is is brand new.  The sights on the ’03  are something I have a love/hate relationship with.  I feel they can be used for precise long range target work under idea lighting and with the use of a sight micrometer to make accurate adjustments, but I feel are  horrible for combat.   But, my lack of time behind the 03  shows on the target even with match 30-06 loads.  A round that otherwise handles 1,000 yards very well.  I think If I had the 03A3 with a rear peep I would have done better.

The M14 did about what I thought it would. its not secret I loathe the M14/M1A but I promise I did give it all I had.   I initially was going to use the 7.62 ball ammo like I did the M855 in the AR15 to make it fair. But since many people know I despise the rifle , I wanted to give it an advantage after it was suggested to me by my spotter.   I even turned down a rack grade  SA M1A with standard  barrel for this custom rifle with SS Krieger barrel.

Knowing how finicky the M14 operating system can be with different loads, I used  the federal 168 gold medal match  ammo.  This seems to be much loved by a lot of people who for some reason think it is a great 1K load. So I figured I would try two in one.


I marked the 1903 hits in red and the M14 in orange though you can not really tell.   I labeled the hits as “M14”  on the target.  few hits were made and all but one of those was a keyhole hit.  The 168 runs out before 1000 yards despite popular opinion.  You can see the huge gaping oblong holes with light shinning through, that the 308 made from the M14.  I plan on doing this test again with heavier bullets and also with ball ammo.   I want to give it every chance I can since I personally dislike the rifle a great deal. I will also do my best to get a friend who admires the M1A to do the shooting next time.   But, until then, this is what I got for you. Do with it what you will.

Last is something I did on the request of my friend who took the pictures and spotted for me. It was his gun and I never expected anything but a waste of time and utter failure along with a pile of empty brass with nothing to show for it.


The last gun I used, was indeed that 11.5 inch barrel Colt Commando.  I really was not going to talk about this and we spent a while discussing  if it should even be talked about on the website.  But since my partner and co owner of looseorunds has experience making extreme range ( for the gun) hits with a  MK 18  I decided to write about it.

the hits of the sub carbine where made with match hornady 68 grain bullets.  I fired over 90 rounds to get on paper.  The hits are marked with a star like shape around the holes.  Most are at the bottom of the target, with one very, very , very lucky random hit dead center of the torso.  Likely a freak accident or me yanking the trigger or a bird flew by , or whatever. Certainly not from any skill from me.


The red star cannot be made out, but by clicking on the picture it will enlarge and you can see the light through the hole.  All rounds did not strike the target straight on of course and the amount of holder over and sight fiddle work is so beyond reason I am not even sure exactly what the hold ended up being.  At the end it seemed like I was holding 30 or 40 feet over the target to see if I could artillery a round on.   After 90 rounds I suppose statistically you have to make something connect?  I doubt I could repeat it. The conditions and weather seemed to want to see if happen as well. I have never had better luck. Below is a picture of me getting ready to foolishly attempt to use a 11.5 inch barrel carbine.

I really can not stress enough how  very lucky this was.  It was very little skill and probably would have had the same results if I had fired a 100 round burst from full auto at the target. I fully expected it to be a waste of time, and truly it is.  I am sure a couple of those hits were even base forward. All the holes showed unstable bullets as expected and to add to that it was clear they barely made it through the thin card board.   The barely hit with enough force to kick up dust from the misses allowing us to spot where they impacted.   In another  century of shooting I am sure this would never happen again.


One other point I would like to mention is this is the first time I have tried the Leupold Mark AR  scope at a range beyond 200 yards.  This is the Mildot with Mil turrets model  with the illuminated center “dot”   it was repeatable and held up well.  I did run out of elevation using this scope since I did not have a canted base or enough elevation adjustment in its 1 inch tune to get out close to 1,000 yards, but it was not meant for that. It does have a BDC turret  that matches common laods to around 600 meters. I was able to work it by running it almost out then using a few mildots as hold. I ended up swapping it out for my regular lang range Leupold target scope for the  precision I needed.   For the money, I think these are really neat optics though for anyone who wants a good solid scope for varmint or closer range AR15 work.   I’m sure leupold probably can supply turrets with a BDC for MK 262 or any other standard load you may want. But I am not sure.  I would not expect to use it for long range sniper work though. Keep in mind its price and what it was intended for.

If you have any question about this  feel free to email us and I will answer whatever you ask to the best I can. I will also have a follow up post to this one in a while to fill in the more detailed technical questions for those who want the nitty gritty.