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Tag Archives | AR-15

Magpul Announces MBUS Pro Enhanced Front Sight Post and MOE SL Enhanced Butt-Pad

Magpul just announced two new products that are add-ons to some of their existing products.

The MBUS Pro Enhanced Front Sight Post is a replacement front sight post for the MBUS Pro Front Sight and Offset Front Sight. The post is specially machined with two profiles, .060” Standard width for maximum visibility and .040” Match width for increased precision. The Match width side of the post has a marking dimple for easy identification during installation. You simply turn it so that your preferred profile is presented to the shooter.

MAG553-MBUS PRO Enhanced Front Post Sight-Standard-2MAG553-MBUS PRO Enhanced Front Post Sight-Match-1

The MOE SL Enhanced Butt-Pad offers a .5″ longer length of pull and has a thicker, vented design that soaks up more recoil. It is compatible with the MOE SL, MOE AK, and Zhukov-S stocks.

MOE347-Stocks Mood

Dueck Defense Red Dot Adapter

The new Dueck Defense Red Dot Adapter (RDA) is a compact mount that bolts directly to your Dueck Defense RTS rear sight. It allows you to attach your Micro Aimpoint or compatible red dot in such a way that it achieves a lower 1/3 co-witness with the RTS sights.

Dueck Defense adapter

It should be noted that this is designed to be used with the generation 2 versions of the RTS sights. To determine if your RTS rear sight is compatible with the RDA, check to see if the holes on the leading face of your rear sight are threaded. If they are threaded it will accept the new RDA.

Check out the RDA at Dueck Defense.

Review: LMT Defense Flip Up Sights

When you think LMT, you probably don’t think back up iron sights… That might change by the end of this review. I have been spending some quality time with a set of AR-15 back up sights with a very straight forward name – the LMT Defense Flip Up Sights. At first glance, you might see some influence from other sights on the market but when you drill down a bit you see some unique features that make these worthy of your consideration.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front Top LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Folded


This review will cover the L8BUI556 sight set which consists of the L8N 5.56 Flip Up Rear Sight and the L8K Flip Up Front Sight. They can be purchased separately or as a set.

Both the front and rear sights feature steel construction with a black phosphate finish. They weigh in at 4.4 ounces for the set. The sights do not lock in the up or down position. They have a strong and positive detent that keeps them upright until you decide to fold them (or down until you need to deploy them). Both sights mount via a large cross bolt that can be turned with a flat head screwdriver or an improvised facsimile.

The front sight features large ring shaped protective ears. LMT managed to cram a standard AR-15 front sight post into the relatively compact design.

The rear sight has a BDC cylinder that is marked in increments of 100 yards out to 700 yards. Elevation adjustments are made at the front sight as normal but bullet drop can be compensated by twisting the cylinder in the desire direction. Each click of the BDC cylinder is a 1/2 MOA elevation adjustment. The windage adjustment is accomplished via knobs on either side of the sight and offers 1/4 MOA increments.

The rear sight features two, same-plane apertures which can be easily selected by the shooter. The sight can be folded with either aperture in the deployed position. The smaller one measures .0625″ in diameter and the larger measures .125″ in diameter.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front

Observations from Use

These sights are easy to install and zero. They have a Z (zero) setting on the BDC cylinder which I did not use. I just set the cylinder to the 200 yard mark, zeroed at 50, and then confirmed that I was zeroed at 100 yards on the 100 yard setting. I generally just keep the BDC cylinder set at 200 yards for everything from arms length to 200 yards just for consistency sake with my other ARs that have 50/200 yard zeros.

The dual windage knobs on the rear sight made zeroing just a little bit easier. While zeroing, I was laying in the prone position with the muzzle resting on a backpack. The left side knob allowed me to reach back with my support hand to make adjustments. If you are unsupported, you can still use your strong hand like you would on most sights. I suspect that my southpaw friends will appreciate the ambidextrous knobs as well. I do wish they were smaller to avoid getting knocked off zero. I didn’t have a problem but smaller knobs might keep Murphy at bay, especially since these knobs are basically used to zero and then never touched again.

The BDC cylinder is easy to read and easy to use. It is plainly marked from 100 to 700 yards. The cylinder bottoms out on the 100 yard mark which serves as a sort of zero-stop. One full rotation puts you on the 600 yard mark with the 700 yard mark coming about a half turn after that. This means that the 700 yard mark is located between the 400 and 500 yard marks on the cylinder and the shooter needs to give a full rotation before settling on the 700 yard mark (not that these sights will be used often at 700 yards on an AR-15 carbine). There are 10 additional clicks after the 700 yard mark before the BDC cylinder hits a hard stop which is nice because it makes it hard to get lost when you are dialing distance.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front Folded

The apertures on the rear sight have it going on. They are same-plane which is a big plus in my book. You can keep either aperture in the ready position and still fold the sight normally. The smaller aperture is fairly standard in size and provides very fine aiming. The larger aperture is actually smaller than most rear sights. It is large enough to provide some additional light and speed but still small enough to be used as slightly extended distances. I suspect that it’s smaller size is dictated by the form factor of the sight but it works.

I am glad to see that these sights use only a detent to stay in position rather than a positive lock. In my experience, this makes sights much better equipped to handle impact. Every rail mounted fixed sight or locking sight that I have drop tested will bend or break, often on the first drop. Typically, those that use only detent action to stay in place survive repeated drops because they can collapse on impact. That was the case with the LMT Flip Up Sights. I dropped them 3 times from waist height with no physical damage other than scratching.

The front sight has a lot going for it. I was thrilled to see that it uses a standard front sight post. That may seem like a small thing but it actually one of the features that really sets these sights apart. By shoehorning a standard front sight post into a relatively compact front sight LMT has given you a ton of options like tritium front sight posts, finer front sight posts, and the ability to use common front sight adjustment tools.

I would prefer to see the standard, outward curving front sight protection ears but that is just personal preference. I know that some people find the round ears to be faster since you basically look through the sight and place the entire round front sight assembly on your target to get a quick hit up close. However, I find that sometimes my eye wants to center the round protective ears rather than the front sight post during slow fire.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Rear

It is obvious that LMT took great care to remove sharp edges from these sights. Even the top of the rear sight apertures is blended into its dome shaped protective ears to make the whole structure as blunt as possible. The lack of sharp edges and break away action of the sights are all part of the original design requirements to create sights that were as safe as possible to the shooter.

These aren’t the smallest or lightest sights on the market but they should be pretty darn durable. Like I said, they came through 3 drops basically unscathed and the all-steel construction should make them plenty rugged.

Wrap Up

These LMT Defense Flip Up Sights may have a mundane name but they pack of lot of slick features. The windage knobs should be reduced in size and I would prefer outward curving protective ears on the front sight. The rear sight is very well designed with its same-plane apertures, ability to fold with either aperture in the ready position, and dual windage knobs. The use of a standard front sight post give the end user tons of options. These sights are definitely worth a look for your next build.

Check out the Flip Up Sights at LMT Defense.

Disclosure: These sights were provided to me for review, free of charge, by LMT Defense.

Ballistic Advantage Barrel of the Week: 12.5″ Gov’t Profile, Carbine Gas, Modern Series

The Ballistic Advantage Barrel of the Week deal is pretty sweet. They are offering the Modern Series 12.5″ government profile barrel with carbine gas for $109.50.

Check out the barrel of the week at Ballistic Advantage.



Set Up Your RDS Magnifier for Success

It wasn’t long after Aimpoint released their 3X Magnifier that I had one in hand. I basically waited to purchase mine just long enough for LaRue Tactical to come out with their LT755 QD Pivot Mount. Since that time, the magnifier concept has lost some of its cache likely due to the improved low power variable magnification optics that proliferate now and a better understanding of some of the shortcomings that are inherent to RDS magnifiers. Those shortcomings include narrow field of view (which isn’t that bad), significant extra weight, increased distortion of some red dot sights, and a clumsy transition between mounted and unmounted.

There were times in the last several years where I was tempted to sell my magnifier but I could never quite bring myself to do it mostly because, in spite of its flaws, it still does something that no other optic set up can. It offers useable magnification along side true non-magnified performance. As good as 1-4X and 1-6X optics have become, there is still a difference between the 1X setting of these low magnification variables and a quality RDS (see this previous article).

Now that I have literally years behind an RDS and magnifier setup, I have found that there are really three keys to making them work for me. That means there are three keys to mitigating the main drawbacks of the concept and all three are pretty simple.


Choose a Good Mount

The mount is probably the single most important factor in ensuring that you have a good magnifier experience. I dislike mounts that require the magnifier be removed from the rifle in order to use the RDS by itself. I don’t want to have to worry about stowing my magnifier on my gear.

Choose a mount that allows you to quickly move the magnifier out of your field of view while keeping it attached to the rifle or remove it all together. I like the LaRue Tactical LT755 but there are other choices.

Choose the Right RDS

I use Aimpoints almost exclusively on my carbines and as much as I love them, I admit that not all of them work well (for me) in front of a magnifier. I first used the magnifier behind an Aimpoint Comp ML3 with a 2 MOA dot reasoning that the finer aiming point would be beneficial and it worked well for me but I saw some distortion of the red dot. I later tried it behind several Aimpoint Micros and Comp M4s but found that the dot turned into a series of star bursts or several dots swimming around each other when magnified. This may not happen for all users but it happened for me.

It turns out that the best combination that I have found so far is a Comp ML3 with the 4MOA dot. For whatever reason, I see Aimpoint’s 4 MOA dots much more clearly. This combination gives me a razor sharp aiming point and makes hits out to 300 yards very easy which is really all I can ask from this set up.

Whichever RDS you prefer, spend some time figuring out what works best in front of the magnifier.

Shed Weight from the Front of Your Carbine

Using an RDS and magnifier set up means having two optics and two mounts on your rifle. The capability that this setup offers comes at a fairly steep cost in weight. The best way I have found to mitigate this is the shed weight from your carbine, concentrating specifically on the front end.

The weight of the magnifier sits toward the rear of the receiver. You can really counteract the heavy overall feeling that this lends a carbine by reducing weight at the front. Choose a lighter barrel profile and a lighter hand guard. I think that in order to get the most out of a RDS and magnifier setup, you really need to build the carbine with this setup in mind.

You don’t have to go crazy. A lighter medium profile or pencil barrel and lightweight extended hand guard will make a big difference in how your carbine feels. It will also greatly reduce the overall weight. You should be able to build a carbine that weighs around 7-7.5 pounds (and feels lighter because of where the weight is) without much trouble at all.

If you have a magnifier and are thinking of giving up on it, gives these three tips a try before you boot it to the curb. If you are thinking of trying a magnifier, make sure to set yourself up for success. There really is a strong upside to this set up but it takes a little fore thought to get the most out of it.

Aero Precision Acquires Majority Stake in Ballistic Advantage

Aero Precision (AP) just officially announced their partnership with Ballistic Advantage (BA). AP acquired a majority stake in the barrel maker and BA will now operate as a subsidiary of AP. With Aero Precision’s quality AR-15 and AR-10 receivers and Ballistic Advantage’s massive range of excellent barrels, this is a match made in heaven.


Many of you Aero Precision but fewer may be familiar with Ballistic Advantage which is a shame because they make excellent barrels. BA offers a wide range of barrels in various lengths, materials, finishes, profiles, and gas systems. I have used several of their barrels from their least expensive Modern Series barrels to their higher end precision barrels. They have all been excellent. In fact, their Modern Series barrels are among the best values on the market right now, their Hanson profile barrels are some of the best all-around lightweight barrels available, and their short barrels are known for being smooth and reliable.

This is very good news for shooters.

Sub 6 with a Twist

I recently added the Scalarworks LDM to my lightest carbine which shed 1.5 ounces from the total weight, lowering it to 6.13 pounds (unloaded). I stood there looking at the scale for moment and realized that I was so tantalizingly close to the 6 pound mark, that I would have to go for it. There are certainly AR-15 builds that are lighter than this but this one is different. It has a bit of a twist that sets it apart from most. I have a set of requirements that I will not compromise in order to maintain this carbine’s intended use as a defensive firearm and the idea for this project was to start with base components that I already owned to show what could be done with careful retrofitting versus building something from the ground up.

JTT Ultralight with a Twist

Throughout the project, these requirements have guided my decisions:

  • It must have an optic, light, back up sights, and a forward grip of some kind (hand stop, vertical grip, etc.). This alone sets it apart from many lightweight builds which are generally done with just an optic or just irons and no light in order to save weight.
  • It must be able to accept a two point sling.
  • It must have a rail that completely covers the gas block (11″ or greater since this is a midlength). This is to support the way I shoot, support practical field shooting positions, and make barricade shooting easier.
  • It must have an appropriate weight buffer (an H buffer in this case) and an M16 bolt carrier group. I do not want to get into adjustable gas systems and lightweight recoil parts.
  • It should have a forward assist… not because I use it often but because I like the idea of it and I have a hard time giving it up.
  • I will not resort to drilling holes in grips, stocks, or similar lightening methods.

Those requirements, coupled with the limitations of using an upper I already had, make this an interesting and challenging project. I could purchase a BCM upper with their KMR and excellent ELW profile barrel and be done but that strays outside my idea for working with what I already had (a BCM 14.5″ lightweight midlength with pinned A2X). I could add a low mass carrier and adjustable gas block and done but that goes against my requirements. So, that basically leaves me hunting and pecking for lighter weight options.

The carbine currently weighs 6.13 pounds which means I will have to find a way to shed a hair over 2 ounces. My current plan is go with a rail system that is lighter than my current Fortis REV. I will probably go with the Fortis REV II since it is about 1.4 ounces lighter than my current REV and uses the standard barrel nut as an attachment point which is important since I have a pinned muzzle device. I will also try to track down the lightest Keymod forward grip I can find. Those two items alone might take me to the sub 6 promised land.

Hopefully, this will serve as some inspiration for what can be done to reduce the weight of the carbine that you already own.
Here is a breakdown of the carbine as it stands:

You can find many of the parts listed above at Brownells. I purchase a lot of my parts there because of the trust they have built with me over the years.

Get Your Dream AR15 Today!

The Jack from Sharp Bros.

Sharp Bros. took the wraps off of their latest AR-15 lower receiver design – the Jack. Like their Hellbreaker and Warthog lowers before it, the Jack features a sculpted design around the magwell – a skull in the case of the Jack. It will be machined from 7075 aluminum, hard anodized, and available around the first part of April.

IF you haven’t check out the Sharp Bros. website in while, you should. They are developing some lowers without all the elaborate “nose art” that you will want to check out.

sharp bros the jack

Mega Arms Wedge Lock Hand Guard

Mega Arms has released details of their first stand alone free-float hand guard, the Wedge Lock Hand Guard. The hand guard will feature a titanium barrel nut to keep the weight down and reduce heat transfer to the hand guard. It will also be M-LOK compatible.

Mega Arms machines the Wedge Lock hand guards from 7075 aluminum extrusions. They are designed to be thin, light, and strong. Eventually, this hand guard will be released for the AR-10 but initially, 5 lengths are planned for AR-15 pattern rifles:

  • Carbine = 7 inches, $249 (all prices are MSRP)
  • Mid length = 9 inches, $272
  • Rifle length = 12 inches, $295
  • Extended Rifle lenght = 14 inches, $326
  • Mega Extended = 16 inches, $357

mega wedge lock 1 mega wedge lock nut

Ruger AR-556

Ruger has announced their latest AR-15 style rifle – the AR-556. The new carbine will feature direct impingement gas system (DI) instead of a gas piston and appears to be aimed squarely at the budget end of the AR-15 market. Many of the decisions were obviously made to hit a price point and that is okay. I suspect they will sell a ton of them with a street price likely to be well below $700.


I suspected that this day would come and, when it did, I hoped that Ruger would use a mid-length gas system given that their piston carbines use something like a mid-length system. However, the AR-556 uses carbine length gas.

The 16″ hammer forged, medium contour contour barrel is not chrome lined. The lack of chrome-lining is often sold as a “feature” since it makes the barrel “more accurate” but it is usually just a way to cut cost. Chrome lined barrels can be very accurate. The 1 in 8″ twist should stabilize just about projectile you can find on the shelf.

The front sight base has been machined instead of forged. There is a QD sling swivel socket integrated into the bottom and it is proper “F” height. It looks like a fairly nice unit and the barrel is .750″ beneath it so it should be easily replaceable.

The upper looks fairly standard and does have M4 feed ramps. It also has a brass deflector and forward assist which are not found on some competing budget rifles. It has an interesting (and a little strange) delta ring assembly that threads into place to retain the hand guards rather than being spring-loaded like a standard delta ring. Unfortunately, this means that the barrel nut is not standard and will have to be replaced in order to nearly every free-float hand guard on the market.

The grip and rear back up sight appear to be Ruger’s own design and the rifles will ship with a Magpul PMAG.

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