I don’t like how I perform with a carbine. I am not all that bad with a PCC at typical USPSA distances, but I have always felt like I just lacked some of the expertise with a regular old 5.56 rifle. This is why I always try to take intermediate and advanced carbine courses when the opportunity presents; I am hoping some more hands-on instruction will bridge some of that performance gap.
To that end, I took the Green Ops Defensive Carbine II class recently… read on for my thoughts.
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.