13 January 2016


I attempted to watch a video about what you should look for in an AR, and what to look out for.

He started out strong with an admonition that carbine stock castle nuts need to be staked.

Then the presenter chided manufacturers for not including back-up irons because that passes the expense on to the customer.

Then demanded that the carbine lock plate have a single-point adapter because the old sling mounts "are useless and obsolete."

Where I shut it off was the declaration that the forward assist, missing from his gun, was a feature paid for in blood by US soldiers and Marines.

The iron sights and slings are very influenced by preferences.  Including a means that's not to the liking of the customer just means they've got to spend money on what they prefer anyway, and will now have parts they don't want laying around.  What he's really saying is he wants the company to make an AR suited to HIS preferences, and I'll be he doesn't realize that's what he's saying.

The forward assist?  Paid for in blood?

Like Hell.

The original AR-15's R601 and R602 lacked the feature.  Neither was an issue firearm.

The M16 or R604 lacks it as well.  The USAF bought this version in quantity.  The Navy used some from the Air Force contract for its riverine forces in Vietnam.

The XM16E1 (R603) introduces the forward assist and it's on every AR the Army has ever bought.

The forward assist was added to the M16 series at the Army's insistence that there be a manual way to force the bolt closed.  Never mind that the recess in the side of the bolt carrier is supposed to do this already (hint use your thumb).
The Marines didn't want the feature, but were forced into buying the same gun as the Army.

When, pray tell, did either the Army or Marines pay for the lack of a forward assist in blood?  Literally every single AR they've issued to combat troops has had it.  XM16E1, M16A1, M16A2, M16A4, M4 and M4A1 all have forward assists.

  If anything the mode of failures during Vietnam points to the forward assist making things worse not alleviating anything.  Forcing a round into a too-tight, corroded and fouled chamber means you get one last shot, it doesn't restore the gun to service.  Now you've got a spent case stuck in the chamber and you'd better hope the charging handle has enough ass to get it unstuck.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, single-point slings are really cool for carrying the gun at low-ready, and for ninja-transitions to your pistol. But you can't use it to stabilize your gun, and you can't use it to put the gun over your back out of the way if you need to do non-fighting shit, or make people understand that "no I'm not carrying a rifle so I can kill every motherfucker in the room".

    I like 2 point slings.....if somebody sold me a rifle with a 3-point sling I'd feel obliged to learn to use it because that's how Jeff Cooper liked 'em.


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