Tag Archives: AR-15

Go ahead, spitball how many guns are in circulation

Of course, this is a moving target and in most cases would be considered something of a wild ass guess in most cases, but the NSSF, working with industry and regulatory data for the past couple of decades, came up with some interesting figures when it comes to the number of guns in private circulation in the U.S.

The big numbers: 434 million firearms, 20 million “modern sporting rifles” such as AR-15s, and 150 million magazines which are considered in eight or nine states to be “high capacity.”

Oof.

More in my column at Guns.com.

NGSW? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The current NGSW field 

The U.S. Army is full-speed ahead on an initiative to select a new series of innovative 6.8mm-caliber Next Generation Squad Weapons to phase out its 5.56mm platforms for combat troops. However, it would seem the Department of the Army is hedging their bets with traditional systems just in case things don’t work out like planned such as in past ambitious programs for futuristic small arms.

In April, FN won a 5-year $119 million contract for new M4/M4A1 Carbines from the company’s South Carolina factory– where 500 of the shorty 5.56s roll out every, single, day.

And this week, Big Army likewise issued a $78 million award to FN for more M249s, the squad-level U.S-made variant of the FN Minimi light machine gun that has been standard since 1982.

Just google the Individual Carbine (IC), Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), or the Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) programs to see why keeping the legacy infantry arms in production until things work out is a good idea.

The army advanced combat rifle ACR prototypes.

Keeping Maggie in shape

A simple step that is often missed in the act of care and maintaining semi-automatic firearms, such as the AR-15, is to spend a minute keeping the magazines up to snuff. With that in mind, I put together a quick and dirty guide to cleaning both the most common polymer (Magpul PMAG) and aluminum (STANAG) mags along with some tips and tricks.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Colt: Back on the Consumer AR Market

While Remington has quietly ditched traditional black rifle brands Bushmaster and DPMS in the past several months– perhaps in a bid to get bought by the Navajo Nation — Colt exited the AR market late last year, much to the applause of anti-gun groups and politicians.

However, I spoke to Colt at the time and they made clear the departure was only temporary, due to having landed a multi-million FMS contract for overseas allies.

With that being said, Colt says they are now back to the business of shipping ARs for the consumer market again. Everything old is new again, it would appear.

Colt first began marketing the semi-auto AR-15 Sporter to consumers in 1963 and continued to sell the SP-1 (R6000) series with few changes until 1984, since moving on to other AR-style rifles.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Answering those AR selection questions

As I have gotten a lot of questions on how to select an AR-15 in recent months, I put together some 2,000~ of basic information as to what features to look for, what they mean (e.g. the differences between 8620 steel and S7 steel on bolts), and what to avoid on black rifles.

If you are curious, check it out in my regular column at Guns.com. 

Ever thought about a SCAR in 6.5 Creedmoor?

Last year, FN apparently trialed a version of their MK 20 SSR (sniper support rifle) in 6.5 Creedmoor as USSOCOM was flirting with the idea of fielding the new– and increasingly popular– round for future use. Not to let research go to waste, the company just announced they will start selling the commercial variant of the SSR, the FN SCAR 20S, in 6.5CM.

Boom.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Le Glock Mle 2020

French trench raiders during the First World War, winter 1917 Bezange Forest, Lorraine, note the Ruby pistol.

The French military has flirted with modern semi-auto pistols for longer than most. During the Great War, thousands of Spanish-made Ruby and Star pistols augmented the country’s rather lackluster Modèle 1892 revolvers.

This cleared the way for the later FN 1922-inspired MAB Model D pistol and Charles Petter’s famous Mle. 1935, the latter design one that went on to morph into the Swiss SIG P210, arguably one of the best handguns of the 20th Century.

After WWII, the MAC Mle 1950, itself very P210-ish, was adopted and, coupled with the PAMAS G1, a domestically-made clone of the Beretta 92F, is still in service today.

The French MAC 50 PA modèle 1950 pistol

Now, 115 years after the Ruby was first ordered, the French defense ministry has placed an order for 75,000~ new Glocks.

The Glocks, reportedly a two-tone Gen 5 G17 MOS with a threaded barrel, suppressor-height night sight, and optics plate, will be delivered through 2022.

Besides the Austrian polymer pistols, the French are also going FN when it comes to a rifle to replace their venerable FR F2 (itself a souped-up MAS1936).

Sniper overwatch by a 3e RPIMa marksman with a French FR-F2, Rwanda, 1993. These rifles will be upgraded to SCAR H PRs in the coming years. 

More in my column at Guns.com.

Poking around at Daniel Defense

So a spent some time at Daniel Defense in Georgia recently, filming an episode of Select Fire. Marty Daniel has an interesting story, with the basis of his company starting because his golf game sucked.

They made their first rifle in 2009 and now, just a decade later, are cranking out 40,000 a year. Talk about growth.

That’s a lot of oily M4s

So I told you guys that I spent some time in the Palmetto State last month filming at FN with Guns.com. Want to see how the tour went? I think you will find the M240 and M4 production lines interesting. Do you know FN makes roughly 500 M4s every single day?

After they’re test fired, they’re disassembled, cleaned, then reassembled and given a 101-point inspection. Then, they’re literally dipped in preservation oil and packaged 50 rifles to a large wooden crate.

Some poor Joe or Devil is going to have to clean that off one day…

Anyways, check out the full video below.

The Gambia op in the rear-view

Back in 2014, a group of four American citizens with ties to the West African country of The Gambia decided to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, whose official state website at the time listed him as “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh,” among other titles.

The would-be revolutionaries had military backgrounds to one degree or another to include one, Papa Faal, 47, of Minnesota, who was a long-time veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force that included recent combat service in Afghanistan.

The plot involved shipping semi-auto AR-15s, NVGs and assorted sundry banana republic gear to Africa secreted in 55-gal drums.

Once on the ground, Faal led ground assault team of a two other Americans and dozen ethnic Gambians from the UK and Germany in an attack on the Presidential Palace that was supposed to be supported by a sympathetic company of Gambian troops.

One of two cars used in a 2014 attack on the Gambian State House during a coup attempt in The Gambia. Several naturalized Americans from the West African nation helped plan and carry out the failed coup, violating U.S. federal law. (Photos: FBI)

Well, the turncoats never turned and Faal and the boys were left assed-out, only barely managing to break off the attack and beat feet out of the country, leaving most of their comrades and two shot up rental cars behind.

Back in the U.S., Faal and three men were quickly charged in 2015 with Conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act and Conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. In the end, they plead guilty and in exchange picked up paperweight sentences of between six months and 366 days in federal prison–except for Papa Faal who got off with time served.

Anyway, I covered the coup details extensively in my column at Guns.com here, here and here.

But the FBI just released more information on the story here, including some great images.

I can’t believe these guys went to gun shows and stocked up on this thin receiver stuff when they could have bought true Type 56 Spikers and FALs all over Africa for a song…You can tell this was not a CIA op…

In their investigation, agents identified more than 20 weapons purchased by Americans. They also examined the cars used in the attack as well as the safe houses, and they took DNA samples from the two dead Americans.

But the whole thing started off like a page from a Mack Bolan book:

Two Americans were killed in the failed coup on December 30, 2014. The next day, distraught Gambian-American Papa Faal entered the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Senegal.

“He said, ‘I need to get back to the United States. The Gambians are looking for me,’” said Special Agent Jeffrey Van Nest from the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office. “When embassy staff asked why Faal said he was part of the attempted coup. That’s when we got involved.”

 

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