Centurion Arms C4 Rail
I recently found myself in the market for a carbine length free float rail for an AR build. After reviewing the multitude of rails on the market I opted to go with the Centurion Arms C4 front sight cut out rail.
I decided on this rail for a variety of reasons. They were:
1. It free floats the barrel. Admittedly, for anything other than a precision rifle, free floating the barrel is of minor benefit, however if given the option I feel like you might as well free float.
2. The rail maintains and extends around the Front Sight Base. I am a fan of the standard AR fixed and pinned front sight base as it is bombproof and basically malfunction free. With that in mind I was not interested in any rails that would require the installation of a low profile gas block. The disadvantage to this is carbine length rails are pretty short and run out of space quickly when vertical fore grips, lights, sling mounts, etc. are installed. This is one of the areas in which the carbine cut out C4 rail shines as it retains the pinned front sight base but has rails that extend past the FSB on the sides and bottom, giving more room to add and position accessories.
3. Easy install that does not require removal of the FSB. As much as I like the pinned front sight base, I hate having to remove them. The Centurion Arms rail’s two piece design makes this a non issue as the FSB does not have to come off for the rail to be installed. It merely clamps around the factory barrel nut, and is an easy do it yourself install. This is also a benefit to those with some type of pinned muzzle device as it will not have to to be removed to install the rail. The handguard cap and delta ring assembly do need to be removed however.
4. Lightweight for its size. The sight cut out rail I purchased weighed in at 10.6 oz.
5. Built in quick detach sling mounts. The rail has built in mounting points for quick detach sling swivels at the front and rear of both sides of the rail. I am a fan of making things as efficient as possible with the fewest parts, and the built in mounting points allow the sling to attach directly to the rail, eliminating the need for a separate bolt on mounting point. The multiple mounting points on each side also allow the user to adjust the sling to their preference.
I purchased my Centurion Arms rail from Rainier Arms and highly recommend them for any of your AR parts needs. I have always had excellent dealings with them. The rail came packaged in a form fitting tube and inside I found the upper and lower pieces of the rail along with the six screws with which to assemble it. No instructions were included however it is fairly simple, straightforward, and self explanatory. If you just have to have them, instructions are available at Centurion Arms website.
I started by removing the factory handguard cap and delta ring assembly. If you want to retain these pieces for re use later you will need to remove the FSB to uninstall them. I did not, nor did I want to remove the FSB, so I used my handy dremel tool to cut them off. The factory under barrel sling swivel also has to come off but a hammer and punch made short work of the pin that holds it in place.
With everything removed the upper and lower sections of the rail clamp around the factory barrel nut. Install four screws at the barrel nut portion of the rail and other two screws on the sides near the FSB end and you’re done. Mount the accessories of your choice in the locations of your choice.
I also have an upper with a Daniel Defense M4 9.5 FSP rail installed and took a few quick comparison photos of the two next to each other. As you can see the DD rail extends slightly further than the Centurion Arms rail however the Centurion Arms rail has continuous top rail while the DD has a gap for the proprietary barrel nut. The DD rail also lacks the built in sling mounts.
After several months of use I have no complaints and have found the rail does what it’s supposed to do with no fuss or drama. It locks solidly to the upper and has no noticeable flex. Subjectively it feels slimmer in the hand than other full railed handguards I’ve handled. I would recommend Centurion Arms rails to anyone looking for a railed handguard.
Shooting, like many other skills, is rather simple. The fundamentals (structure, trigger control, sight alignment/sight picture, breathing, etc) remain the same regardless of the type of shooting you do. Now different types of shooting may focus on certain aspects or groups of fundamentals, but they are all important.
Rapid firing, advance techniques, and assorted tactics build upon the foundation that fundamentals provide. For example, if you have poor trigger control and stance you will shoot poorly in rapid fire.
So we have to practice. In practice we may have to focus on certain aspects to improve them, like dry firing to work on trigger control. In practice and training we can take the time to focus on what we need to do correctly. But we must practice enough to internalize this. If your laying prone in the field, and your target is stationary and far away, you may have the time to think about trigger squeeze and sight picture. However should you be doing room clearing, there isn’t the time to focus on the fundamentals.
To paraphrase Bruce Lee, you must find the tools, sharpen the tools, then dissolve the tools.
The serious shooter, regardless of whether they are practicing for Camp Perry or for combat raids, needs to practice until the fundamentals can be done with out conscience effort. At a vital time, you may not have the time to try and remember the fundamentals if you haven’t already made them muscle memory.
I have a love/hate relationship with news stand gun rags. I buy SWAT magazine and even have a subscription to it, and I use to have a subscription to Precision Shooting ever year from 1999 until it went tango uniform last summer. Those are excellent magazines and PS was THE technical journal of the last 30 years when it comes to real rifle accuracy. I do buy a few other titles when they come out, but its mainly something to flip through when bored ( especially at my old job). I find very little info is offered from most of the rags. Just fluff and advertising. Not to mention the same old crap month after month. If you like to read smug gun writers who think they know everything talk about the gun some MFG sent them to play with for free and take pictures of them selves looking like they are doing serious tests, then they have plenty of that. The main problem now is they just do not offer up any info you didn’t already have months before it hits print. then when they do put it out, its a tiny useless bit. So, I decided to review a few magazines over the next few months and try to figure out which are really worth the money and save some one else from wasting money.
Now that that rant is out of the way.
The two magazines I am going to talk about today are called Off Grid and Triggers. These two are newly out having just come out within the last few days.
Everyone knows about Recoil magazine that came out last year and readers know the way we feel about that bunch. I am skeptical about Recoil magazine since its changes after the editor really steppe don his on yoohoo a few months ago. But, I think everyone would agree that they have changed the gun magazine formula for the long run. Its a large magazine with slick high production, gun porn style pictures and a blend of gun culture interests and fluff. Mainly fluff, but it sold well until they had a boo boo. That magazines popularity had an interesting affect I will get to a little later.
They are trying to recover form it still, and we will see how it goes. I personally will not buy Recoil but I was interested in buying OffGrid to see what it is all about. Its from the same “creators” of Recoil magazine and follows that magazines model. It is the same size and offers up the same type of pictures and articles but not about firearms only. It is not exactly about living off the grid, but its more of a “bug out” and “preppers” type of magazine. I have to begrudgingly admit. It is pretty nice. For actual helpful info and interesting tips and advice.
I was surprised with how much I like this one. It covers a variety of topics from useful working knots to water purification, bio diesel to how to treat sever wounds and what to use. Thats not to say I advise trusting the info from a magazine about complex and dangerous medical and life saving procedures, but, its very interesting and refreshing to see a magazine publish info about this subject considering the risk of some moron trying this out and screwing up.
The magazine reviews back packs, multitools, MREs and a wide variety of topics. It almost seems they put everything they could think of into this one issue. Maybe it will be out once a year or twice because it would be hard to have this much info every month. Below is a picture I took of the article on wounds and treating them to give you a taste of what its like.
That is some pretty detailed stuff for a magazine you can buy at walmart.
Now, should you buy it? I don’t know about you, but I am still sore over the Recoil fiasco. I think of this stuff interests you, it is worth the 9 bucks. But if you are still disgusted with the publisher then flip through it at the store. But this is a nice rag. I’m not going to comment on the prose because i barely can write anything myself and was certainly no english major. But, I don’t read gun magazines and survival type magazines to enjoy the use of the language or to snicker of punctuation like a grammar nazi. I would buy this magazine again.
The next magazine is another example of a current phenomenon. Its called “Triggers.” A very lame name in my opinion. Ever since Recoil came out, several of the normal gun rag publishers have tried to copy it and its look and formula. The first I saw was called “Firepower.” It is a Recoil copy with the same type of aesthetic. But its worthless. The articles, if you can call them that, are tiny little blurbs. They offer nothing of value. It has pictures of military tech and guns with captions taking up a two page spread several times through the magazine. It reviews nothing really and it is a joke in my opinion because it tries to copy Recoil but fails. Adding to that, it is a shameless attempt to copy Recoil and take part of its readers. Triggers is doing the same thing. I am sure that the creators of Triggers thought they would jump in and take Recoils place while using their forumla after Recoils snafu with the negative RKBA blow up.
The editor of Triggers is the same editor for The Book of the AR15 and The Book of The AK47 and Book of the 1911. Eric Poole. Those other magazines are basically the typical gun rag full of long winded adverts for whatever company bought the most ad space in the magazine or sent Mr. Poole and his pals to the most cool training classes. Even those titles saw a change because of Recoil. I notice in the past few issues of those titles more and more small articles that have nothing to do with technical details and real reviews. Sadly they consider those magazines as giving us all the deep detail we want on the newest product.. Yeah.. They don’t.
Here is a shot of the content index of triggers.
It is fool of fluff. I dare say more fluff then Recoil has. At least Recoil knows its Maximum for gun people. Triggers attempts to shamelessly copy Recoil. Instead of current gun rags turning their magazines around and giving the same detail and technical quality that American Rifleman had in the 50s and 60s, they choose to go more and more to this fast blurb article and flashy pictures. I guess we all have too short of attention spans these days to want to read detail. That or they know they have lost to the internet and the best they can hope to be is interesting material for the bathroom.
The comments from the editor promises the mission of the title is to “explore the gun culture where ever guns are found, Triggers offers a commitment to keep and open mind and report the truth about what matters to you” ” We intend to break down barriers of social ignorance through education and place the lifestyle of gun ownership in the context of the larger world in which we live” Blah , Blah blah. That translates to roughly this… “We hope you are still pissed at recoils comments and we are not too late in getting this out to make you think we really care about what you think. We really hope to fill their spot before we lose too much market share when they recover.” They also makes some claims about the readers driving the content. This is interesting to me since previous comments form Mr. Poole indicate he feels it is his duty to only let Military or LEO write articles in the other titles he heads as editor. Only those people are able to give unbiased opinion to us readers on weapons. Never mind I have seen enough LEO and former Mil that couldn’t hit a man sized target at 25 yards,to fill the state of AZ. The undisputed instant credibility of anyone who is a cop or Mil when it comes to guns is becoming a real problem in the gun industry lately, but that’s another topic
Triggers is lame. It has poor excuses for articles that are not worthy of even recoil. It has the same names on the pages as the other 1,000 gun rags form the publisher. No knew blood. No fresh perspectives from people we have not already seen a million times. the one shinning light is a review by the always awesome Kyle Lamb. The incestuous nature of having the same writers over and over in every title they have is about as interesting to me as golf . They try to add comedy to the writing like an issue of maxim and it comes off as fake to me. It snot funny and the more they do it, the more I am reminded that they are trying to swipe recoils formula. I hate it, In fact I am sick of even writing about it because it makes me remember the thing. If you like this type of magazine, I would just stick to Recoil.
For cool pictures and gun porn my pick is the Surefire Combat Tactics that comes out twice a year. Its a lot like a giant commercial, but I know what I am getting and its fun. SWAT is the other titles I make sure to buy by, since I have a subscription, it is full of articles that do try to help with very little fluff. I use to really enjoy the Book of the AR15 before Poole took over. At that time it had good reviews and tests. It had anecdotes form current deployed Marines and Soldiers talking about using it in fire fights and it covered more then just who bought and ad. Its not that anymore and that’s a shame to me. It seems to me that the quality we got in the days of O’Conner, Warren Page, John Waters and P.O. Ackley will never be seen again when it comes to print magazines. Oh it can be found online, but when it comes to the newstand, its all fluff and shiny paper with cool pictures on it. And few people have the money to waste on fluff magazines these days. Unless they start to make it dual use as TP