The LWRC Compact Stock runs about $60 dollars.
It is very much like a mini-SOPMOD stock. Don’t mistake this for LWRC’s Ultra Compact Stock, which requires a different receiver extension and buffer system.
This stock is small(about the same size as a M4 stock), light, includes a QD socket, and best of all it is cheap. It will drop right onto a milspec diameter buffer tube.
The LWRC Folding Vertical Grip runs about $40.
I like the size and feel of it, I didn’t find it clunkly or awkward. It is slightly longer than a Tango Down “stubby” VFG.
When I first saw this, I thought it would feel blocky, clunky, and would be awkward. When I actually used it, I found that I liked the feel of it. When folded up(in the configuration I had it in), it could be held like a Magpul AFG.
The problem with this VFG is that when locked open, it wobbles. I found a good bit of play in the folding VFG and I found that distracting when holding the rifle. While the VFG does “lock” open, requiring pulling down on a peg on the grip to close, it still had excessive play when open. If it locked up with out movement I think I would love this grip, but that wobble causes me to dislike using it. This VFG is held on with two torx screws, and much be slid on from the end of a rail.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
In the past, I hadn’t ever paid a whole lot of attention to the Magpul MS series slings for a variety of reasons. I’m not a fan of single point slings so the MS 2/3’s 2 to 1 point convertibility was of no use to me, nor were the hooks/clips/rings that went along with the convertibility. I also never cared for the loop pull sling length adjuster as it always seemed to be a snag hazard. Combine that with a price slightly higher than your basic BlueForce Gear Vickers sling and the Magpul slings didn’t make my radar.
That changed recently while ordering some AR parts from one of my go to AR parts vendors. In need of another sling, I clicked on their sling page. Seeing they didn’t carry my standby BFG Vickers sling, but wanting to order everything from one place to save on shipping, I checked out the other slings available. That’s when I noticed Magpul had introduced another sling called the MS1. Upon seeing it was a dedicated 2 point sling lacking all the hooks/snaps/rings, the loop pull had been replaced by a plastic slider, and it was priced quite economically I thought what the hell, let’s try it out.
Upon receiving the sling I found it to be a fairly straightforward 2 point design featuring the sling strap, three tri sliders and the plastic length adjuster. It seems well made and the stitching looks good. A digital scale shows it to weigh 5.9 oz not counting the Magpul Paraclip I added. Also immediately apparent upon handling the MS1 is the strap is made of a much softer and more flexible material than the BFG Vickers sling.
At 1.5″ wide the MS1 is also slightly wider than the BFG Vickers, with its 1.25″ width.
I added the Magpul Paraclip as an interim way to attach the front of the sling to the rifle until I get around to putting a rail on it. As you can see I clip it to the factory front sling swivel. It’s a quick and dirty way to attach the sling with a side mount orientation and not too much rattle. It you’re ever in need of some type of hook or clip sling attachment I’d recommend trying them out.
I’ve been using the sling for over a month now and have been pleased with its performance. The sling material doesn’t seem to bind, catch, or twist when donning/doffing or adjusting the sling. The length adjuster slides very smoothly, to the point I questioned if it would always hold tension or if I would find the sling slowly lengthening itself under weight. So far this has not been the case and the sling length adjuster has always held tight no matter its position. I will update if this starts becoming an issue.
In summary while I wouldn’t necessarily say the MS1 is better than any other sling out there I would definitely say it is a solid choice and should be considered if you’re in the market for a sling. I plan on picking up a few more.
Several months ago I had the opportunity to meet Joe Chetwood, owner of Crusader Weaponry (crusaderweaponry.com). He had moved into my neighborhood and as we both have a passion for firearms, we naturally ended up meeting each other. I met with Joe at his home on several occasions to talk about the Broadsword and Crusader Weaponry products. One thing led to another and I was soon in possession of the Crusader Weaponry Broadsword .308/7.62 Carbine. From the second you hear Crusader Weaponry’s name, see the Crusader Shield marking etched on the side of the Broadsword, you feel like the paladin of old. The Broadsword channels an era when knights wielded the broadsword, to strike powerful blows to the enemies of righteousness and honor. As I spent time with the Broadsword, I found it to be the modern day, hard hitting, dispenser of .308 justice it was built to be.
Specs / Accessories:
The Broadsword is an AR10 type direct impingent carbine chambered in .308/7.62mm. The Broadsword I was given came equipped with:
Apex free-float rail system
Diamondhead Back-UP iron sights (front & Rear)
Battle Arms Development ambidextrous safety selector
Bravo Company 7.62 Gunfighter Charging Handle
Magpul MAID grip
Magpul Utility Battle Rifle (UBR) stock
Two Magpul PMAG 20 round 7.62/308 magazines
Hard Rifle Case
The upper and lower receivers are a 7075-T6 billet aluminum match set from SI Defense. The upper picatinny rail has engraved “T” mark numbers. I found there was absolutely no play between the upper and lower. The barrel is an 18 inch, 416R match grade stainless steel barrel, with 1/11 twist polygonal rifling.
The upper & lower receivers of the Broadsword are finished in Cerakote Sniper Gray, as well as the barrel. The bolt carrier group and the inside of the upper receiver are treated with Crusader Weaponry’s proprietary Slipstream dry film weapons lube. The dry film lubricant is applied at 150-200 psi, permanently imbedding the dry lubricate to those surfaces it is applied to. The trigger group, charging handle, buffer, and buffer spring can also be treated with Slipstream by choosing different packages offered by Crusader Weaponry.
After spending time with the Broadsword I would change out a few features, like the stock, grip and the rail system, but those are just because of my personal preference. Since Crusader Weaponry is building these custom rifles per individual order, you can get whatever grip, stock or accessories you would prefer. While visiting Crusader Weaponry’s shop, I noticed several Broadsword builds in progress and these rifles had individual requests for different accessories on each rifle.
The Broadsword brakes down just like an AR-15. If you are running a 5.56mm AR-15, the Broadsword will be very familiar. It just has bigger internal parts. Cleaning and maintenance of the bolt carrier group, charging handle, upper receiver, chamber and barrel are extremely familiar, if not identical to your 5.56mm AR15. The only thing you will need to add to your cleaning kit is a 308 chamber brush and bore brush. Once field stripped and cleaned, I applied some of Crusader Weaponry’s proprietary Slipstream STYX lubricant to the Broadswords.
I used a couple of Aimpoint Micro’s and an Aimpoint PRO on the Broadsword. The Broadsword is a lot more accurate than I am and I have seen it fired for accuracy with a magnified optic. A few weeks ago I was able to fire another Broadsword with a 1X4 adjustable scope and found this to be a nice combination. I am not going into formal, measured, MOA accuracy on the Broadsword. I ran the Broadsword like a battle rifle from CQB out to 100 yards. I ran it like a beefed up patrol rifle and as I said before, the Broadsword is a lot more accurate than I am capable of making it. While sighting in the Broadsword, on different optics, I was fully satisfied with 100 yard groups. With some of the OTM match ammo I was right on top of the previous rounds I fired. Once I got it sighted in, I was off to the races running the Broadsword hard.
The trigger felt very close to a standard mil-spec trigger. It had a slightly crisper break than a mil-spec trigger, but there was nothing special about it. It did not affect long range shots but felt very familiar when running it like a patrol rifle. Once again, the trigger group is an area that can easily be upgraded if you want.
The Broadsword is an absolute blast to shoot. For a larger heavier carbine in 308, it has rather natural pointability, very similar to a 5.56mm AR15. I have spent over three months with the Broadsword firing various brands and loads of ammunition through it. I fire close to 1000 rounds of 308 through the Broadsword. I know this particular rifle has been reviewed by several notable industry members and recently was in Special Weapons for Military & Law Enforcement Magazine. This particular Broadsword was very dirty and well used when I got it. The Broadsword never failed during my time with it. It literally chewed its way through everything I put into it. With every thump of 308 fired and with every magazine exchange, the Broadsword just kept going. I even switched back and forth from cheap steel case Monarch to Federal Premium without a stoppage. I found the Broadsword really liked Federal Sierra Match King in 168 grn and 175 grn. I got the best results accuracy wise with this ammo. I found the action to be very smooth. The bolt carrier slid back and forth smoothly even when gritty, dry and hot from prolonged use. After the Slipstream STYX had started to burn off, the Broadsword still ran very smoothly.
Now, the Broadsword is a beast, although it looks slick and sexy it has some weight to it. Nothing a few pushups and exercising won’t fix. It’s nothing you can’t handle but after spending a full day with it, you will know that you have been carrying it around. Although it has weight to it, it is balanced very well. I was able to rack the Gunfighter charging handle with my support hand and change magazines with ease, while holding the Broadsword up with my fire control hand. The weight does dampen down the recoil making the Broadsword smooth and very enjoyable to shoot. Some weight could be shaved off by changing out some of the features on the Broadsword but you will be sacrificing the weight for more recoil.
I found the Broadsword’s recoil was straight back into the pocket of my shoulder. The BattleComp compensator did a nice job of taming the muzzle blast and rise. Now, if you are in a spotter role next to the Broadsword, the BattleComp does nothing for you and you will get your bell rung. After long days of shooting, I found my shoulder was not beat up or feeling the repercussions of all the 308 sent down range. While dumping follow up shoots into my targets, the reacquisition of the sights and Red Dot optics was, smooth and easy to track. With the Broadsword’s features and you doing your part, hard hitting rapid follow up shots, are very easy to keep on target.
The Broadsword does feel like the modern equivalent of the medieval knights broadsword, right down to its cold grey steel look. Finding a 308 battle rifle that runs reliably can be a challenge. Crusader Weaponry is up to this challenge and the Broadsword runs flawlessly. The Broadsword can fill several roles from a heavy patrol rifle, a designated marksman rifle, a hog hunter or anything else you can think to use it for. Crusader Weaponry has several different AR15 and AR10 rifle models available. I had a chance to test fire a Crusader Longbow precision 308, with a very nice Leupold scope mounted on it. Although I only fired a couple of rounds out of the Longbow it looks very promising. I know of only a handful of AR10 type rifles that run reliably. I would put the Crusader Weaponry Broadsword on that list.