By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
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June 22, 2014
Last updated on 8/24/14.
Last September (2013), DefenseReview (DR) published a short article on DR contributor, retired U.S. Army Special Forces assaulter/operator, and tactical shooting instructor Mike Pannone of CTT-Solutions reknown running a Bravo Company Manufacturing BCM upper receiver utilizing a prototype BCM mid-length upper receiver group with KMR (KeyMod Rail) ultra-lightweight magnesium-aluminum metal alloy modular free-float tactical handguard/rail system at the range. In that piece, one of the first articles published on the KMR rail by anyone, we quoted Pannone as saying that the BCM KMR is “the best rail out there”, and that he wants all his guns to have it, eventually. The BCM KMR’s looks and features combined with Pannone’s statement peaked DR’s interest to the point that we took a trip out to Bravo Company Manufacturing / Bravo Company USA in Wisconsin to see and handle the KMR ourselves, and, boy, were we glad we did.
The BCM KMR is certainly a rail to behold (and hold), in all its aluminum-magnesium-alloy glory. You have to handle it by itself to truly appreciate it it, since its ultra-lightweight aspect is its most important selling point, other than its KeyMod aspect. Before we handled it, we’d recognized the KMR’s aesthetic excellence and theoretical advantages, but it wasn’t until BCM founder and CEO Paul Buffoni actually placed it in our hands that we realized just how great it was. To handle the KMR is to understand it. It’s both ultra-lightweight and comfortable in the hands, and therefore makes for an ideal rail system for those who prefer to utilize a C-Clamp grip, or those who prefer to run a stubby vertical foregrip (like your humble correspondent), but also want the option of being able to transition to a C-Clamp grip, if desired.
Editor’s Note: We, here at Defense Review, prefer to run a stubby vertical foregrip (VFG) with two fingers against the underside of the rail, and two fingers on the foregrip, with the thumb pointing straight along the side of the rail. Thus, we’re basically attaining a similar hand position as that provided by an angled foregrip (like the MagPul AFG – Angled Fore Grip) without losing a vertical foregrip’s weapon-control and retention advantages, and primarily using the vertical foregrip as a backstop. With this grip, the weak-hand thumb maintains full contact with the rail at all times. If/when the barrel and rail get too hot, we can always transition to a full grip on the VFG. Fortunately BCM makes a well-designed, slightly angled/canted VFG called the BCMGUNFIGHTER Vertical Grip SHORT that DR is currently running canted forward. We may occasionally swap out the stubby BCM VFG on our current weapon setup with a Grip Pod System (GPS) when we’re in a situation where the GPS will come in handy.
But, back to our regular programming. The BCM BFH 14.5″ Mid Length (Light Weight) Upper Receiver Group w/ BCM KMR 13″ Handguard and BCM BFH 16″ Mid Length (Light Weight) Upper Receiver Group w/ BCM KMR 15″ Handguard are arguably two of the best bangs for the buck in the tactical AR world right now, if you’re talking DGI (Direct Gas Impingement) uppers, in our opinion. Understand that you’re getting a BCM KMR 13 or BCM KMR 15 ultra-lightweight aluminum-magnesium alloy free-float rail, a HPT/MP (High-Pressure Test/Magnetic Particle Inspected) cold-hammer-forged BCM BFH barrel made with Mil-Spec barrel steel per MIL-B-11595E, a BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle and a BCMGUNFIGHTER Compensator. That’s A LOT of bang for the buck, right there, and pretty damn tough to beat for the quality level and price point, not to mention the fact that its being backed up by a great company.
We should mention that our sample BCM 14.5″ Mid-Length KMR blaster also sports a BCM Folding Battle Sight – Front – M4 Type (OEM’d/manufactured by Troy Industries), a BCM Folding Battle Sight – REAR (also OEM’d/manufactured by Troy Industries) back-up iron sight (BUIS) set-up, and a BCMGUNFIGHTER Grip Mod 1 – Black pistol grip with high-rise back strap, all of which work well and look good on the gun.
Of course, if you’re going gas piston/op-rod (push-type operating rod) for a complete AR upper or carbine/SBR (Short Barreled Rifle), the nod currently goes to Adams Arms, an example of which is the AA Midlength Evo Ultra Lite 16″ Upper (5.56mm), which DR’s been happily running for awhile, now. DR writer/contributor, U.S. military Special Operations Forces (SOF) assaulter/operator and tactical 3-Gunner Jeff Gurwitch’s combat/tactical AR of choice incorporates either an 11.5″ or 14.5″ AA piston AR upper. We just have the most experience with that piston system. We also want to test the latest Patriot Ordnance Factory POF P415 and P308 Gen-4 piston AR’s with the new E2 (E-Squared) Extraction Chamber, to see how it stacks up to the Adams Arms system. I may be fantastic. We just haven’t run it, yet.
DR likes and owns both DGI and piston AR platforms, as both have their respective advantages and attributes, and both will run like the wind, provided they’re properly maintained. If you can afford it, DR would recommend that you by at least one of each type from a quality manufacturer, so you get the best of both worlds.
DefenseReview plans to run our sample BCM BFH 14.5″ Mid Length (Light Weight) Upper Receiver Group with BCM KMR 13″ Tactical Handguard at our next tactical carbine course, so we can give our readers a full high-round-count, high-intensity report. We’ve already mounted it on a FERFRANS Specialties semi-auto-only AR lower receiver group outfitted with a Geissele Automatics SSA-E (Super Semi-Automatic Enhanced) Trigger , BCM BCMGUNFIGHTER Grip, and Ark Defense Enhanced SOPMOD Buttstock (ESB). The Ark Defense ESB is currently one of our favorite telescoping/retractable AR carbine/SBR stocks, along with the B5 Systems Bravo SOPMOD. We see these two stocks as pretty interchangeable, although the B5 Bravo’s a bit smaller. You really can’t go wrong with either one.
Mounted on the FERFRANS complete lower (with Ark Defense ESB), the BCM 14.5″ midlength upper with KMR 13″ handguard is one of the three lightest, most comfortable, and best-handling 5.56mm tactical AR uppers we’ve ever handled (the other two being Adams Arms Ultra Lite piston AR uppers), especially with the BCMGUNFIGHTER Vertical Grip SHORT mounted on it. AND, it looks great (see photos)–and tactical aesthetics (i.e., looks) are half the battle.
In the meantime, while we’re waiting to do our own high-round-count testing, we’re going to try to get feedback from those who have. The first person we’re going to try to get in touch with on it is Mr. Pannone. We’re curious to find out how many rounds he’s got through his BCM KMR upper, so far, and what his experience has been with it with regard to reliability, accuracy and durability. We trust his judgement implicitly when it comes to tactical AR’s. No one knows the internal mechanics of the AR-15/M16/M4/M4A1 Carbine/SBR weapon system better, especially from a military SOF assaulter/operator’s perspective. Until then, enjoy the accompanying photos and video clips.
Editor’s Note: The FERFRANS/BCM mid-length 14.5″ tactical AR carbine with BCM KMR tactical handguard in the photos sports an Aimpoint Micro T-1 mini-red-dot combat optic, a Inforce WML (Weapon Mounted Light) tactical white light/infrared (IR) illuminator, and a MWG IK-520 40-round steel-reinforced polymer AR magazine (5.56mm). In the photos featuring the author, he’s wearing a Hardpoint Equipment Fulcrum Modular Armor System tactical armor plate carrier with Hard Point Universal Mag Carriers (UMC’s) rifle mag pouches (holding a MWG 40-rounder and Lancer Systems L5 AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazine) smoke-translucent mag) mounted on it in such a way that you can still see the tactical vest well, Line of Fire LOF Phantom combat/tactical gloves, and Numa Tactical Point Ballistic eye protection (Eyepro)/tactical eyewear with polarized lenses and 3-lens kit.
Company Contact Info:
Adams Arms (AA)
612 Florida Ave # B
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
Toll Free: 877-461-2572
Email Contact Form: http://www.adamsarms.net/contact/contact-sales
Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF-USA)
Sales Email: [email protected]
Technical Email: [email protected]
Marketing Email: [email protected]
Law Enforcement Email: [email protected]
International Email: [email protected]
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