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Review: Carlson Comps .22 Thruster

The .22 Thruster from Carlson Comps is a muzzle device that is purposely created to enhance the function of .22LR conversions for the AR-15. It has become very popular to use a .22LR conversion unit for an AR-15 in order to keep the cost of practice down. A shooter could shoot several hundred rounds of .22LR ammo for a fraction of the cost of what the same number of 5.56 ammo would cost. It is an inexpensive, practical, and effective way to train.

.22 Long Rifle ammunition is inexpensive for a reason. It is often not made with the highest standards of quality and consistency. Different brands of .22LR often perform drastically different. In fact, the same brand can often vary quite a bit in performance between manufacturing lots. The bottom line is that the wide variety of tolerances and inconsistency of .22LR ammo can make designing a .22LR conversion unit that functions across a wide variety of ammo very challenging.

Fit and Finish

Muzzle devices are utilitarian objects that should be all function with little regard for form but that doesn’t mean they can’t be well made. The .22 Thruster is nicely machined and nicely finished. The black finish has a slightly glossy finish that seems to hold up well to normal handling. Most of the .22 Thruster is covered with very finely cut checkering that provides enough grip to allows it to be installed and removed quickly without tools. The quality is obvious.

How Does It Work

The .22 Thruster can help a .22 conversion cycle a wider variety of ammo. It does this by serving as an expansion chamber which creates more back pressure. The extra back pressure helps cycle the bolt.

The .22 Thruster has a similar effect to that of a sound suppressor, not in that it suppresses sound, but that it increases back pressure much like a sound suppressor does. To be clear, it does not decrease the sound signature but it does increase back pressure. This extra back pressure can be the difference between a round fully cycling the bolt and short stroking. It can be just enough extra pressure to cycle a round that may be just a bit underpowered or a particular round that your .22 conversion may choke on periodically.

Greg, owner of Carlson Comps, is quick to point out that this is not a cure all for malfunctioning .22 conversions. It can’t be a cure all due to the inconsistency of .22LR ammo. However, it may be just enough to reduce some or all of the malfunctions for certain types of ammo.

Installation

The .22 Thruster installs like any other muzzle device. It can be threaded directly onto the barrel. It can also be tuned through the use of peel washers. The user can adjust the size of the expansion chamber by stacking peel washers on the barrel before installing the .22 Thruster. This allows the user to tune the device to their particular weapon or a particular brand of ammo.

It does not need to timed or aligned any specific way. There are three small holes on the device that serve no purpose other than to make sure that the device is never confused for a sound suppressor. These holes can be oriented in any direction.

Does It Work

I set out testing the .22 Thruster with a grand plan in mind. I was going to put hundreds of rounds through a .22 conversion, logging each malfunction along the way. I hoped to have a large data set from which to draw conclusions about the muzzle device. Greg warned me that my plan might be a bit grand due to how unpredictable .22LR can be. He was right.

A friend and I put hundreds of round through his dedicated .22 upper only to find that we couldn’t find an ammo that would malfunction consistently. I needed malfunctions to determine whether the device was working and I couldn’t deliver them.

I have not given up and will continue to test the .22 Thruster. I have plans to try a few drop-in conversions that I am hoping will be less reliable. I will write an update with my findings when that time comes.

The concept is simple and solid. Expansion chambers work. Like Greg says, this is not a cure all, but it can certainly help.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that most people who are using .22 conversions are also using muzzle devices that are designed for the 5.56 that offer no benefits to their .22 conversion. The .22 Thruster is designed specifically to increase the function of .22LR conversions and it does that based on a solid concept.

Carlson Comps offers the .22 Thruster and several other muzzle devices on CarlsonCompsInc.com.

Midwest Industries Rear Sling Adapter for the AK-47

Midwest Industries (MI) has a new rear sling point for the AK-47. It is a rotation limited QD sling swivel socket that can be attached anywhere on the rear stock utilizing two short screws. The adapter can be mounted to any stock with a solid core, wood or plastic. In spite of the name, this isn’t just useful for single point slings. It would make a great rear sling point for a 2 point sling as well.

Since the adapter attaches via screws, it should be useful on stocks on other weapons as well. This could be great on something like a wood stocked shotgun or even lever action rifle.

Mounting a sling on an AK has always been a bit of challenge. This adapter from MI is something that has been needed for a long time.

Spikes Tactical 14.5″ Light Weight Mid-Length AR-15 Upper

AIM Surplus recently listed the highly anticipated Spikes Tactical 14.5″ Lightweight 5.56/.223 Upper Receivers. These uppers were so highly anticipated that they are already sold out less than 48 hours after they were listed.

The fact that they are already sold out isn’t surprising given the excellent value that these uppers represent. They feature a 14.5″ light weight mid-length HP and MP tested barrel with a pinned Vortex flash supressor, Magpul MOE hand guards, a bolt, carrier, charging handle, and Spikes Tactical ST-T2 heavy buffer. That is a lot of upper for just $539.95 shipped.

Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO)

Aimpoint introduced a new, more budget friendly, optic called the Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) at the 2011 SHOT Show. The optic and its price ($440 MSRP) are geared toward the police market but it is already for sale to anyone (not just police).

The PRO seems to sit squarely between the now discontinued CompM2 and the CompM3. It has the 2 MOA red dot of the CompM3 but the 3 year battery life is a bit lower than the CompM3’s 50,000 hour battery life. 3 years on one 1/3N lithium battery is no slouch. It also features night vision compatibility, hard anodizing, and the extra waterproofing that is typical of Aimpoint’s military/police offerings.

This would be an attractive optic at this price point if all that you received in the box was the Aimpoint PRO itself, but Aimpoint takes it a step further by including their QRP2 mount. The QRP2 can be used on an AR-15/AR-10 flat top with the included spacer or you can remove the spacer to low mount the sight on something like a shotgun. The QRP2 isn’t my favorite mount on the market but it very functional and will serve to get the user up and running right away.

Aimpoint also includes some very slick lens covers. The rear cover has a transparent window that allows the sight to be used in an emergency even if both lens covers are closed. Since there is no window in the front lens cover, the sight functions like the old occluded eye sights when both covers are closed. It would be nice to see these become standard on all Aimpoint offerings.

The Aimpoint PRO is a really excellent value. I have already seen street prices of around $400 which is amazing considering everything that comes with the optic.

Review: Grip Force Adapter for Gen4 Glocks

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Grip Force Adapter for Generation 1, 2, and 3 Glocks. I was extremely impressed so I jumped at the chance to try the Generation 4 model when Grip Force Products offered to send me one.

Gen 4 Glock without the Grip Force Adapter

The Gen123 and Gen4 models of the Grip Force Adapter appear to be very similar at first glance and, for the most part, they are very similar. However, the 4th Generation Glock frame is smaller from frontstrap to backstrap. This smaller grip really lets the Gen4 Grip Force Adapter shine.

The Gen4 Grip Force Adapter displays all the benefits of the Gen123 model that I reviewed earlier – a straighter backstrap and an extended beaver tail to prevent slide bite. However, the slightly shorter hump on the backstrap of the Gen4 Glock and the slightly smaller grip really seem to take the Grip Force Adapter to the next level. The change in the way the Glock feels and handles seems to be even more dramatic with the Gen4 grip adapter. It just seems to respond even better to the straightening of the backstrap.

Just as with the Gen123 model, the Gen4 model had a negligible effect on trigger reach. In fact, there is even less potential for issues with the trigger reach since the Gen4 Glock’s grip starts out smaller. It was a complete non-issue for me. In fact, it is hard to tell any difference in how my finger reaches the trigger. The feel of the straightened backstrap is far more noticeable than any change in how I reach the trigger.

Gen 4 Glock with the Grip Force Adapter

Gen 2 Glock with the Grip Force Adapter (Gen123)

I was impressed with the Grip Force Adapter on Generation 2 and 3 Glocks. I am even more impressed with the Grip Force Adapter on Generation 4 Glocks. The Gen4 grip just seems to respond better to the addition of the Grip Force Adapter. The Gen4 Glock and the Grip Force Adapter are a match made in heaven.

You can read more about the Grip Force Adapters on the Grip Force Products website. Also be sure to reference Jerking the Trigger’s full review of the Gen123 Grip Force Adapter for more information and photos.

Magpul Rifle Length MOE Hand Guards – Now Shipping!

The the long awaited rifle length MOE Hand Guards from Magpul are now shipping. These were originally announced back at the 201o SHOT Show. There have been pictures all over the web of these hand guards being used on “dissipator” type carbines and they certainly seem to be well suited to that type of build.

They should be on dealer’s shelves shortly. You can read more on Magpul’s website.

IWC 2 to 1 Point Triglide 1.25″ Now Available

Impact Weapon Components just made the 1.25″ version of the previously reviewed 2 to 1 Point Triglide available on their site. The new version is sized to work on slings that use larger 1,25″ webbing like the Vickers Combat Application Slings (VCAS) from Blue Force Gear. The VCAS is my personal favorite sling so I will have to pick up a few of these.

You can check out the original 1″ version and the new 1.25″ version on the IWC website.

Nordic Components Compact Retractable Stock

If you have a dedicated .22LR AR-15 build, the new Compact Retractable Stock (CRS) from Nordic Components just might catch your eye. It is similar in design to the collapsible stocks that Heckler & Koch uses on many of their firearms. Nordic Components adapted the design to fit any AR-15 that does not require the use of the buffer tube, like those that have been converted to .22LR.

The stock is adjustable from a fully collapsed length of pull (LOP) of 5 7/8″ to six other positions varying from a LOP of 8-7/8″ to 13-7/8″. The stock weighs roughly the same weight as a standard M4 collapsible stock but it is significantly more compact. In its fully collapsed position it still allows for the bolt catch to function and will allow the dust cover to open far enough for the rifle to function.

This stock would be especially handy on a .22LR SBR build. .22LR uppers can be made with extremely short barrels without concern for gas system length. Those shorter barrels, coupled with a stock this compact, would make for a very trim, light weight, and handy firearm.

The new CRS is available now from the Nordic Components website.

Troy Nav Stock

It has become very common for those who carry both an AR-15 and a GPS to attach the GPS to the stock of the AR-15. This is usually done in a field improvised way or by using a wrist strap that is also designed to attach the GPS to an AR-15 stock. The most common GPS device used for this application the Garmin Foretrex 401. It’s compact size make it ideal.

Troy has a clever solution that does away with the field improvisation. The Troy Nav Stock actually has a Foretrex 401 embedded into the stock. It is mounted upside down so that the user needs only to glance downward and roll the rifle slightly to view the display or operate the GPS. The Foretrex utilizes a patch antenna that will function very well even when the unit is upside down in this manner.

This is specialized gear that not everyone needs but it definitely a clever solution for those who do need it.

Image is property of Troy Industries.

Next Generation Arms X7 – Gray is the New Black

Next Generation Arms (NGA) is about to unleash a new AR-15 pattern rifle called the X7. The X7 is what an AR-15 would look like if every part was scrutinized, modernized, and optimized for function. It combines innovative features and premium parts to make a rifle so unique that can’t even be called by the name “black rifle” – it’s The Gray Rifle.

The list of features on this rifle is impressive and it seems that nearly every part has been tweaked in some way to increase function. The hand guards are slim to allow a large variety of grips. The 6 and 9 o’clock rails on the hand guards have been set back slightly from the end of the hand guard to allow for an extended support arm grip. The magazine well is cavernous to speed reloads and give more space for the fingers when clearing double feeds. There are integral QD sling mounts in the optimal locations – on the fore end near the receiver and on the center of the receiver end plate. Ceramic coatings are used through out for extreme corrosion resistance and easier maintenance. The barrels are made by Noveske and are guaranteed to hold 1 MOA. I could go on but I think you are starting to get the picture.

It should be no surprise that a rifle this well appointed, this well thought out, and this innovative is the result of input from some of the best trigger pullers in the industry. NGA had independent advisers like Mike Pannone, Ed Santos, John Farnam, and others helping them throughout the process of bringing this rifle to market.

The X7 won’t be cheap but it is definitely going to be impressive.

You can read more about the X7 on the NGA website.

Image provided by Next Generation Arms.

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