Author Archive | Matt

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!

Carbon Fiber EDC Comb from Bastion

I never had reason to carry a comb until I started keeping a beard or goatee. Sometimes you just need a comb to tame those coarse beard hairs that seem to have a mind of their own. Sure, you could carry a plastic comb but why would you when you can get one made from carbon fiber at Bastion! I am not sure anyone needs a carbon fiber comb but I’ll be darned if I don’t want one anyway.

Check out the new, probably unnecessary, but still completely awesome Carbon Fiber EDC Comb from Bastion.

bastion carbon fiber comb

Tacticool22 M&P 15-22 Barrel Nut Wrench

I have put a lot of rounds through my M&P 15-22 and I have changed the muzzle device a few times. All the shooting and tinkering added up to a slightly loose barrel nut. I noticed that accuracy was degrading a bit and my zero had wondered. I knew that a loosening barrel nut was a possibility so that is the first thing I checked when troubleshooting and once I established that as the issue, I went to Tacticool22.com to purchase a barrel nut wrench.

DSCN3296

Consider this a mini review. The service is great from Tacticool22 and the products are solid. The wrench was in hand 3 days after I ordered. It is a piece of thick aluminum tubing with teeth machined on one side and wrench flats on the other. You just slip it down over the barrel so the toothed end engages the barrel nut and use a wrench on the flats to tighten (or loosen). There is enough clearance inside the tube to pass over muzzle devices that don’t stray too far from normal dimensions.

It took surprisingly little movement to tighten the nut. It was barely loose but had a noticeable effect on performance. I suspect many people with M&P 15-22s have borderline loose barrel nuts and don’t even know it. If you own an M&P 15-22, I highly suggest that you invest in the barrel wrench because you will need it sooner or later. My only regret is that I didn’t order the barrel vise jaws that Tacticool22 offers at the same time as the wrench.

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