By Toby Melville
October 25, 2018
The AR market is flooded with both good and bad innovation. In fact, it could be said that the AR has become the Jeep of the rifle world. Its following is global, its reliability and performance are a standard, you can take it anywhere, and it’s been everywhere. And, finally, the modularity of the platform in unparalleled. The AR platform has also received some new additions to its toolbox that have separated it even further from its competition.
I feel it’s important that we first look at what we expect from an AR. We want an accurate, lightweight, reliable, ergonomic, and modular system. We have attained that goal, but it ‘s the ability to fold the stock (and fire while folded), change out the configuration, break it down for rapid storage, and have a better fire control system that’s been legally unattainable, or the platform didn’t lend itself to it.
The premise for this build was not just to showcase all the amazing products from these different companies, but to actually verify that there’s a viable platform that can allow for a multi-caliber AR weapon that’s not a proprietary operating system, that would allow police (at the local, state, or federal level) the ability to have two weapons in one, and can save money and time. It cannot be overstated that a good patrol carbine does not necessarily lend itself to CQB/CQC (Close Quarters Battle/Close Quarters Combat) and vice versa. With this layout, you can have the best of both worlds. While the package does not have to be set up in this way with these exact products, I’ve demonstrated that this build does allow for both patrol and CQB with caliber flexibility that has not truly been present in the AR platform before.
With the arrival of Dead Foot Arms (DFA) and their Modified Cycle System and folding stock, it’s allowed AR owners the ability to move into previously uncharted waters known only to weapon platforms like the AK, FAL, G36, and so many others on the modern battlefield. To be sure, there are other fantastic options like the LAW Tactical folding stock, Maxim Defense, and many others offer reliable innovative designs, but it’s Dead Foot Arms that’s truly taken this to the next level. The DFA Modified Cycle System Folding Stock gives the end-user/operator the ability to use any AR stock and buffer tube while still using a standard bolt carrier group (BCG) (that they offer). Or, you can send in your own for modification. This is what allows DFA to truly push to the next level. Add the fact that the system can be fired folded, even on full auto, and this is a recipe for success!
Another innovative product is the Binary Firing System GEN 3 (BFSIII AR-C1) Trigger Pack from Franklin Armory. Their patented design allows shooters to stay well within the left and right limits of the law, while allowing shooters the ability to scale their rate of fire responsibly. Unlike full-auto fire, which allows the shooter to fire continuously while holding down the trigger with one pull, the Franklin Armory BFSIII AR-C1 Binary Firing System trigger pack allows the shooter to scale the rate of fire by firing on a single pull and a single release. I have had extensive experience with full-auto fire in my time serving the republic, and I generally only used full-auto fire on belt-fed weapons platforms. I, like so many others, have found full-auto to be too inaccurate for most shooting scenarios, but the Binary Firing System allows the shooter to use rapid paired shots, or tailor the rate of fire, based on how the shooter needs to engage targets.
Perhaps there is a need for target suppression. Well, the Binary Firing System trigger allows the shooter to fire faster with its patented system than with traditional triggers. Perhaps there’s a need for controlled pairs or double taps. Again, the Binary Firing System allows for such faster follow-up shots than would be possible with a standard trigger. This of course is readily evident as you use the system. The other part of the Binary Firing System is that Franklin Armory made it a solid performing mechanical design. When you pull the trigger on Binary mode, and don’t wish to fire on the release, one simply has to place the fire selector on “Semi”, and it automatically disengages the binary firing function. Simply awesome is the best way for me to describe it. I would honestly prefer this system over my full-auto option on my M4A1 platforms during my last two and half decades of service.
Another important piece of this weapon platform is the Cry Havoc QRB (Quick Release Barrel) Kit coupled with the amazing hand guard from Unique-ARs. The Unique-ARs QRB allows for the rapid removal and instillation of your barrel and hand guard as a single unit, or as I call it, your front assembly. This system allows for the individual to break the AR in half lengthwise versus the conventional upper and lower. The other part that is amazing is the ability to change from one caliber to the next without loss of zero. So, we have a 10-inch (10″) .300 blk integrally-suppressed front assembly with an OSS suppressor inside of a Unique AR Ultra-Light Hex (2016 Hex) tactical hand guard. This is an awesome setup. But wait, there’s more! We did an identical setup using a full 16-inch (16″)-barreled assembly in 5.56 (5.56x45mm NATO). What this has given us is a set-up where the end-user can choose a short heavy caliber for CQB, and quickly transition to a lighter more-accurate-at-range caliber for patrol. Both are suppressed with an OSS can (muzzle can, i.e., silencer/sound suppressor), and both run integrally inside Unique ARs hand guards.
The Unique-ARs tactical hand guards (also written “handguards”) are nothing short of true perfection. They not only allow for an integrally-suppressed setup with the huge OSS suppressors, but they’re also really lightweight and allow for rapid cooling, due to their open design. This leads to a weapon that can cool quickly, even in hotter environments. The shooter can also add rail sections, which I recommend. And, the hand guard is so open you will want places to keep your hand from accidently hitting the suppressor. Needless to say, as I shot this set-up in the high temperatures of Texas, I had zero issues with heat transfer or control. The system was flawless, and it was amazing knowing I could rapidly tailor my weapon based on the needs of the mission at hand.
Another question that would naturally follow is optics and their zero. With the difference between .300BLK (Blackout) and 5.56 in drop at distance, there’s a need for multiple optics. So, I’ve turned to Midwest Industries (MI) for quick detach mounts. I ran their QD Atlas Bipod Mount so the optic could sit forward for better peripheral vision, but would sit above the QRB mount. I found some irregularity for this, so I’ll be pushing to a different setup in the near future. Nonetheless, you can easily find several different solutions for swapping between an optic for .300 blk and 5.56. The other obvious problem with this setup is that 5.56 and .300 BLK are not going to be compatible with 7.62mm NATO (7.62x51mm NATO)/308 Win. Both the upper and lower are different, and the need to change from 308 to 5.56 would be impossible, but I can see other options for this.
Before we go, I’d also like to point out the new AR pistol grip from Unique-ARs. The Unique Grip is a very innovative and creative design. This grip brings me back to my childhood of BMX bikes and mushroom grips. For those in the know, you will remember that the mushroom grip was the real deal in our childhood. Well, in some ways, this reminds me of a reverse of that grip. The loosening of the wingnut at the bottom of the grip allows for the grip to slide freely within itself, and lends to the end-user being able to custom-fit the grip to the desired contour. Once you have achieved your desired contour, one simply turns the wingnut, thus tightening the grip to allow for it to maintain your custom fit. One note: You will need to really crank down on the wingnut to remove any secondary movement that will occur. Once you’ve tightened the grip to ensure solid placement, I’ve found it to be very slimline and comfortable.
Finally, we ran Vortex SPARC II Red Dot combat optics for both calibers, for the shoot. Vortex continues to amaze me with their quality and price. Somehow they’ve managed to keep the optic gods happy and deliver quality at a price point that’s more than fair. The rifle and its components were Cerekoted by Iron Claw Tactical (ICT); John, Ron, and Al are an amazing team that I’m not only proud to call a part of
my team, but they’ve also become personal family friends through good business deals. Iron Claw Tactical is an amazing company turning out quality radical AK products and top shelf paint.
Author’s and Editor’s Note: Bad Company Tactical (BCT) and DefenseReview (DR) would like to thank all of the support we’ve both received from our sponsors and supporters. If you’d like to become one of them, please shoot us both an email. Without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. DR’s got more articles on the way. Thank you for checking us out, and staying true to Defense Review. We really appreciate it.
Company Contact Info:
Midwest Industries, Inc (MI)
W292S4498 Hillside Rd.
Waukesha, WI 53189
Email Contact Page: http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=33
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