The first really expensive guns I ever bought was a Galil SAR SBR that was built by the fine gentlemen “TennGalil” over at Hillbilly Firearms . The full build cost me about $2000, which, in retrospect, I suppose doesn’t sound like a lot compared to what higher-end AKs cost now.
Despite it being a rather amazing piece of kit, I barely ever shoot it anymore. There’s not a lot of room in the competition world for an iron-sighted AK if you care about really competitive. Thus, I was quite enthused about Green Ops offering their newer Defensive Kalasknikov class You can read on for my impressions.
I always enjoy training with new instructors. Everyone’s got a different take on subject matter, and even small tweaks to technique can lead to big gains over time. Thus, when I saw that SpartanCore was offering a new vehicle tactics class (“Charon”), I was excited not only to get in some training in and around vehicles, but to also learn more about SpartanCore and the people involved.
IWI-US has announced the release of the Galil ACE Gen II guns. For now, it seems like the 7.62×51 ACE isn’t being upgraded, but the 5.45×39 version is getting a bump to full-production status.
As you can see from the picture, there’s been some changes:
The buttstock is AR compatible.
The trigger has supposedly been upgraded.
The handguard is MLOK, and free-floated. It also looks moderately longer, but that may be a scaling trick.
No more built-in iron sights.
Upgraded safety lever.
My personal take is that this was probably a manufacturing optimization as much as an upgrade, but it is an upgrade nonetheless. Keen readers would be advised to keep their eyes open for closeout Gen I ACEs at the usual suspects.
On a similar note, IWI also recently released a minor update to the Uzi Pro, giving it a threaded barrel.
Every so often, I go through what I refer to as an “upgrade cycle”, where I make a bunch of similar upgrades to my guns. In this case, it was optics. The sighting system is a major component of every weapon system, especially rifles. As I develop as a shooter, I am starting really understanding what I need to make my guns perform at the level I need them to. I’m also trying to divest out of Chinese optics to the greatest degree I can; sometimes it’s hard, but I’m slowly making progress.
In this case, I decided to replace the optic on my 5.45×39 AR-15. This is a 16″ rifle built on the Adams Arms piston system, with Magpul SL furniture. It’s not a precision rig – the handguard isn’t free-floating – but it’s always worked reliably for me, and the ammo’s cheap even when other ammo isn’t.
After sorting through my options, I found an interesting recommendation from the folks at the BrianEnos forum: the C-More C3 1-6×24 scope. C-More is not well-known for their scope line, but the reviews were quite emphatic that it was about 95% of a Razor Gen II-E for about 2/3 the price. This seemed like a great value proposition, so I decided to buy one and see if it measured up!
One of my “grail guns” has always been the Kel-Tec SU-16D9 SBR. This is, as grail guns go, a bit of an oddity. It’s cheap. It doesn’t have a sterling reputation. The after-market is almost nil.
But what it does bring to the table is a piston-operated 5.56 carbine that weighs almost exactly 5lbs with optic, muzzle device, and decent stock. I know this is not as impressive as it once was in this era of $2500 4lb titanium/carbon-fiber AR-15s, but for one fifth the price, it’s still a pretty stunning accomplishment.
I have never seen a proper end-user review of the Kel-Tec SU-16D9, so I am very pleased to bring you this one!
In some industry news, Silencerco announced the Omega 36M yesterday. I am a SiCo guy, and own a bunch of their products, so this was of interest to me. I will say that I was slightly disappointed by the final product, at least in the sense that it was not quite what I expected it to be, but on the other hand, it appears to be a pretty worthy upgrade to the current Omega 300 that provides it much more versatility without much of a weight trade-off.
To explain my disappointment: it’s modular, but unlike the Switchback, you don’t have the option of using the front baffles as your entire can. Recall that the Switchback has a serialized rear end module to prevent you from splitting it and using it on two rifles. The serialized portion on the 36M is the rear tube; the front tube is essentially a Charlie endcap with baffles and a Charlie endcap interface on the front. This is cool, but prevents you from using the front module as a K-length suppressor. Modular is a bit overdone in the current market, but being able to go K-length, standard-length, and extra-length with the same can would have really been a selling point. Perhaps we’ll see a Switchback 36 in the future.
On the recent Primary & Secondary modcast 187, Matt was discussing his new DSA FAL and the general concept of taking what was an obsolete battle rifle and making it new again. I thought this was a cool idea, and decided to embark on a similar project. I have a number of relatively obsolete guns in my safe, but a fair number of them are in “mil-spec” configuration, and thus I don’t want to alter them. But I do have a Sig 556 SBR and a Sig 556R Gen2 that are basically just old “cool guy” guns from a decade ago, and thus fair game.
I took a long look at them, and what I thought needed to be improved… and did it.
My second Green Ops class of the year was another run of the defense carbine I clinic on April 28, 2019. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve taken this class, and every time, I get something new out of it. It’s also interesting to see how Green Ops has been evolving as a company, and how the classes change due to feedback.
Besides my usual goal of improving my somewhat dismal carbine skills, I had two secondary objectives:
Test out my Sig Optics Romeo4M and Juliet4 combo under harder-use conditions.
Get some runs on my AMG Lab Commander shot timer in prep for an upcoming review.
TheFirearmBlog has an excellent article on the IWI Carmel rifle that was displayed at the LAAD expo in Rio recently.
It looks a lot like what you’d get if you crossed a Tavor with a Galil ACE, and it does look a whole lot like the ARX-100. Height over bore is a little bigger than I’d prefer, and it doesn’t seem to have ambi-ejection, but it appears to be a solid traditional-format carbine. I think it’ll sell well in the US if they can bring it in under $1000.
I’d hazard a guess it’s for export purposes, albeit I do think the IDF would do well to have a non-bullpup rifle available for cheap domestic manufacture in the event that they want to transition off the M16 for political purposes.