The Ultimate Tactical Firearms
~A Three Part Series~
by Dr. Leonard M. Breure, PhDIntroduction
Part #1 - The Tactical Carbine
Let's start by looking at one of today's most popular firearms, the M-16 / M-4 / AR-15 family of weapons.
Specifically, let's narrow our focus to its use in the CQB, patrol rifle, personal protection role. I have used or trained people using, every major brand of AR-15 carbine available today.
Some are great, some terrible, most are just plain OK. If you have a ton of money to spend, many of the higher end, semi-custom guns are awesome. But what if you're just an average Joe?
I recently had the opportunity to purchase and equip two new semi-automatic AR-15 carbines. One for me and one for my wife, also a former M.P. I was able to buy any gun and accessories that I deemed fit to create my "ultimate" tactical carbine. Here is what we did and why.
The gun that was chosen was a Rock River Arms CAR A4 AR1222X. After extensive testing by several government agencies, Rock River is providing guns for many of our federal agents.
In addition, my contacts in the training world tell me that the Rock River guns just keep on working - period. This 16" carbine was ordered with Rock River's aluminum, free floating quad rail. Free floating allows for the best accuracy possible out of a given barrel as there is no uneven pressure exerted by anything touching the barrel.
The quad rail is the best way to attach accessories to the barrel area of an AR. The two guns I received proved to be tremendously accurate, both shooting one ragged hole at 100 yards off the bench.
Working from the muzzle back, I started by adding Smith Enterprises' Vortex flash hider to both guns. I've had the opportunity to test over a dozen different flash hiders during extended night fire exercises. The Smith Enterprises Vortex flash hider is by far the best. It all but eliminates muzzle flash completely.
Attached to the left side of the quad rail is Spec-Ops Mamba Sling. This three point sling has served me well for many years. All my tactical carbines and shotguns are so equipped.
The lower rails of both guns are equipped with SureFire's outstanding M900A tactical light that incorporates an integral vertical hand grip. Boasting 225 Lumens with the optional MN-11 bulb, this light offers blinding illumination and target identification while enhancing control of the carbine.
One of the best additions that can be made to a tactical carbine is the addition of good optics. This is especially true in low light or as we age and our vision deteriorates.
Keeping our CQB role in mind, for my money the only choice is the L-3 / EOTech Holographic Weapons Sight. I've been able to put extensive trigger time behind most of the major models and the EOTech stands tallest.
The heads up display, large window and dot within a circle reticle allows for speed as well as precision, depending on the need.
The ARMS #40 Back Up Iron Sight was selected to partner with the EOTech. A word to the wise. Murphy is alive and well. Never trust optics without a good set of back up iron sights.
The standard M-4 stocks were replaced by Vltor's E-Mod stock. Vltor's stocks are combat proven. They not only offer a better check weld and fit than standard stocks, but they hold replacement batteries for the optics and light.
Attached to the Vltor stocks, I added a SpecOps Ready-Mag magazine pouch. With one 30 round magazine in the gun and another 30 on the stock, you have at least 60 rounds anytime you grab the gun.
All my AR's are also equipped with a Tac-Latch from DPMS which makes operating the charging handle with the weak hand easier. Finishing out the exterior of both guns, the final two items are Hogue's over molded pistol grip and a MagPull Enhanced Trigger Guard.
These grips allow a solid purchase on the weapon even with cold, wet or bloody hands. The Enhanced Trigger Guard allows for more room in that area, a must for shooting with heavy gloves.
Internally, the only changes I made to the Rock River carbines was to replace the standard hammer and trigger springs with a set from ISMI. Between the outstanding fit and finish of the Rock River parts and the ISMI springs, both my carbines have crisp, clean, 4 pound trigger pulls.
For general purpose use, I issued Federal's Tactical Urban Rifle 55grain JHPs for both guns.
The iron sights were battle zeroed at 25m / 250m and the EOTech HWSs were zeroed at 50 yards.
Going loud with my new Rock River CAR M4 carbine was a most rewarding experience. I've put in a lot of time behind different carbines with various configurations. These two Rock River guns, customized as described, are truly the best I've ever worked with. They are definitely my "ultimate tactical carbines"!
This is the carbine I showed you, John, when you came to the house recently.