I’m going to record my AR-9 trouble-shooting process in this blog post so that maybe someone else can glean some insight into all the things that can possibly go wrong, and how to fix them… because I lived through them.
I bought a DDLES “Glock mag” AR lower from Gunbroker once upon a time because that was the hotness like five years ago, and hard to get hold of. It was a smoking deal; based on the person’s other sales item and lack of engraving on the lower, I suspect they had an illegal SBR they were parting out in an attempt to make it go away. I dutifully filed a Form 1 on it, waited G-d only knows how long, and bought a cheapo PSA upper to put on it – I think it was 10.5″, whatever it took to get it across the magic 29″ OAL floor we have in MD.
It was a terrible performer right out the gate. It didn’t eject right. It didn’t cycle reliably. It tore cartridges in half. But, last night, after months of work, I got it working. How? Read on.
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.
Every time I see someone ask about non-5.56 calibers on the AR-15 platform, there’s a legion of fanboys who start proclaiming that .300 AAC (aka, .300 BLK or Blackout or whatever) is the way to go. Let’s take a look at its capabilities:
Subsonic .300AAC? All the ballistics and energy of .45ACP. Somewhat better penetration due to bullet profile, but I don’t get the hype at all. We’ve spent literally decades declaring PCCs and SMGs dead, and now this is the hotness?
Supersonic .300AAC? Nearly indistinguishable from 7.62×39 in terms of ballistics, and if you’re OK with .308 bullets in a .311 bore, the bullet selection is the same.
Yes, .300AAC can be a .45 ACP and a 7.62×39 on demand. That’s the best cartridge design of the years 1911 and 1944, all in one gun. That’s not a compelling to me. But, OK… let’s say that is compelling to you. I can use my imagination!
I am going to lead off with a rather controversial statement, but I think it’s one I can justify: when choosing and configuring a long gun for any specific role that involves dynamic movement, there are four top considerations: reliability, functionality, weight, and cost. I frequently see people ignoring weight, and it drives me crazy.
Continuing my tradition of running my guns hard and Israeli-style, I was very happy to kick off the new year with the Green Ops Defensive Carbine I Clinic this past Sunday. This was the third time I’ve taken this particular class, and I can say that each and every time, I’ve learned something new.
This time around, I decided to go with my IDF Colt Commando carbine clone. Yes, that’s right… I went with a plain-old AR-15 for once. Read on for my impressions of the class!
I was poking around on Gunbroker and noticed that McKay Enterprises has imported the Silver Shadow Gilboa M43 rifle to the US, and it is now available for sale at an MSRP of $1749. The Gilboa M43 is an AR-15-style rifle that takes AK mags, much like the CMMG Mk47 or RRA LAR-47. To my knowledge, this is the first AR-15 rifle ever imported from Israel to the United States. I am not sure how they deal with the 922r parts count – presumably the stock. pistol grip, and muzzle device are US made, and maybe the FCG (given that the magazine in the picture looks foreign).
The price, unfortunately, is going to be a real hindrance to sales. When I did a quick check online, the CMMG Mk47 was going for $1200, and the Mk47 has a very good reputation for the smart engineering behind it (like using the AR-308 platform as a base to enable a much beefier bolt). There’s also some stiff competition at the $1600 price range from the IWI Galil ACE 32. Without a serious price drop to $1200 to match the Mk47, I just don’t think the M43 is going to sell in any significant numbers. Good if you want a collector’s item, but probably not what Silver Shadow and McKay Enterprises are hoping for.
One of the really neat things about collecting Israeli firearms and accessories is that the Israelis surplused tons of neat stuff. While I haven’t seen any surplus Israeli reflex sights come on the market yet, there are a bunch of Eyal and Nimrod scopes floating around out there. I was recently able to get my hands on an El-Op Eyal scope. The Eyal is a “M16 carry handle”-style scope of the type that was popularized by the old Colt 3x and 4x scopes.
The reflex sight is arguably one of the most important recent developments in small arms technology. I’ve read assertions that first round hit probability is tremendously increased with the proper use of reflex sights, especially on moving targets, and I’m certainly inclined to agree. Aimpoint was the first manufacturer to create such sights, but a company that followed closely behind them was Elbit Systems of Israel, who created the Falcon optical gunsight.
I was able to acquire a Falcon reflex sight recently, and had a chance to put it through its paces. More after the break!
I guess I missed this because of high holidays, but FAB Defense has announced their 30rd AR-15 and AK magazines under the brand name of “Ultimag”. I’ve heard they’ve been in the wild for a few months, but expect a US appearance soon.
The AR mag is your standard windowed polymer magazine. I assume it is meant for export to non-US countries, given the complete market dominance of the Magpul “pmag” in the USA. FAB Defense might also try to sell them to the IDF domestically – they bought 10k CAA mags a few years back, and I suspect there’s a lot more aluminum magazines to replace given how often they become unusable due to dents.
The AK magazine is similar to Magpul’s MOE AK magazine, which is to say it doesn’t have steel-reinforced locking lugs. On the other hand, it does have a window, which makes it unique. I have had some evolution on my views of the necessity of a window on a magazine, but I admit that it’s a feature which can be construed as reasonably helpful. I am skeptical it will see much take-up in the USA, but I could see buying one for testing.
One of the big advantages of the upcoming Galil ACE line from IWI is the ability to take standard magazines. While I have no particular problem with Galil mags, they’re pretty much proprietary to the Galil (well, and the SiGalil). Being able to use AK, AR-15, and SR-25 (“DPMS-style”) magazines is a big step forward for the Galil platform.
One lesser-known feature of the Galil, though, is that with some work and an adapter, you can get it running AR-15 magazines.