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Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot With Removable Base, Rotary Knob and 50k-Hour Battery Life

The newest Advanced Micro Dot from Primary Arms is now available. The new Advanced Micro Dot (MD-RB-AD) features a removable base with broad mount compatibility and 50K hour battery life. The biggest news is that this new version is activated and has its 11 intensity selected via a rotary knob rather than buttons.

From Primary Arms:

The Microdot, Removable Base, Advanced sight (MD-RB-AD) takes everything we learned from our best selling MD-ADS microdot and refines it a step further. MD-RB-AD features an estimated 50,000 hours of battery life from the included CR2032 battery, powering an ultra-sharp 2 MOA dot. Fully multicoated lenses and an ultra-low profile emitter ensure a clean sight picture with minimal lens tint. Eleven brightness settings are controlled by the rotary knob on the right side. The first two settings are compatible with night vision units and cannot be seen by the naked eye. The brightest settings are daylight bright. The illumination knob physically stops at “0” with the red dot turned off.

Covered by the Primary Arms lifetime warranty, MD-RB-AD is designed for use on heavy recoiling firearms such as shotguns. Constructed of 6061 aluminum throughout, MD-RB-AD features a Type II anodized matte black finish. Waterproofing is improved over previous models—for example, the turret caps are now aluminum instead of plastic and tighten down around the waterproofing O-rings until metal-to-metal contact with the scope body. When removed, the turret caps can be used to adjust windage and elevation.

MD-RB-AD comes with a removable 1913 MIL STD Picatinny base. With the base removed, the scope body is compatible with industry standard micro mount systems, enabling MD-RB-AD to be mounted correctly on a wide variety of firearms.

Check out the new Advanced Micro Dot (MD-RB-AD) at Primary Arms.

Challenge Accepted! Lightweight on a Budget Build

After I completed my Sub 6 with a Twist build, I received an email from a someone who stated that anyone could make a lightweight rifle if they had “unlimited funds like you”. This gentleman obviously doesn’t have access to my bank statement but I took that email as a personal challenge to prove him wrong.

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The mildly infamous Sub 6 with a Twist Build

My goal was to build a good quality, reliable carbine that weighed around 6 pounds and cost around $1200. I acknowledge that $1200 is a lot of money but it is still less than some stripped-down, off-the-shelf carbines. The plan for this one was going to be far more ambitious than just iron sights and plastic hand guards. In order to prove this guy wrong, this project would have to have a 12″+ hand guard, a weapon light, and a quality optic. To really prove him wrong, every part would have to be scrutinized for cost in dollars, cost in weight, and quality so that not only was this build affordable, it was also functional.

I am proud to say, I nailed the weight and came in just over $1200 on the price. However, the prices are all listed at retail. A savvy shopper could easily bring the price below $1200.

The Build

I’ll start with the lower as it is an easy one that can be knocked out at one vendor and then move on to the upper parts which requires more thought. Finally, I’ll wrap up with the accessories that make this into an exceedingly useable carbine.

Lower Build

The obvious choice for the lower was a GWACS Armory CAV-15 MKII. Their one piece polymer lowers are extremely durable, very lightweight, and economical considering that they include the pistol grip and buttstock. I have used them extensively and have come to trust them. The lower itself costs $129 and the lower parts kit adds $64.95. If you can find a few extra dollars in your budget, GWACS Armory’s new lightweight pivot pins will save you even more weight.

Upper Build

The upper receiver is where much of what makes an AR-15 reliable happens. This is perhaps the most delicate balancing act between cost in dollars, cost in weight, and quality. Fortunately, we live in a bit of a golden age for the AR-15 and there are no shortage of choices.

The barrel was an easy choice. Faxon Firearms makes great AR-15 barrels that are VERY affordable. I have one of their 16″ midlength, lightweight 4150 barrels that has been a real performer for me. For this build, I used a 16″ midlength, lightweight profile 416R stainless barrel with QPQ finish which has been an impressive performer and will be the subject of a full review later. It is accurate, lightweight, very reliable, and at just $189 – a perfect choice for this build. If you want to save even more, use the 4150 version of this barrel at just $175 (less if you shop around).

This Faxon Firearms barrel was critical to this build. Much of the weight (barrel profile) and reliability (gas port, chamber, etc.) of your build will come down to barrel choice. It would be more difficult to hit the weight and budget numbers, while still building a reliable carbine, without their barrels.

While I was perusing Faxon Firearms, I also picked up their gas block and gas tube. Buying these with the barrel saves $5 ($29.99 for the gas block and $15.99 for the gas tube). Faxon Firearms’ gas block also happens to be skeletonized which saves weight.

I picked up a blemished stripped upper from Aero Precision. I use Aero Precision’s upper receivers in many of my builds and have come to trust them. Their blem uppers also happen to be a great deal. Watch for sales and shop around for an even better price than the $49.99 reflected in the final price for this article. If you are anything like me, you have a forward assist and dust cover laying around.

1200 Lightweight

Here it is. You can cram a lot of carbine into $1200 and 6 pounds.

It isn’t hard to find bolt carrier groups for around $140. Pick up the one you are most comfortable with and run with it. In that price range, I really like the Sionics Weapons Systems NP3 coated BCG. Add the charging handle of your choice. You should be able to find a plain one for around $15 if you shop around.

When you think of lightweight and affordable rails, you think of the ALG Defense EMR. It isn’t just a decent cheap rail. It is one of my favorite rails regardless of price. I chose the 12″ EMR V0 since it comes with all the rail sections I would need later in the build, costs only $135, and weighs in at a scant 7.84 ounces including the barrel nut!

The ALG Defense EMRs also have integral sling swivel sockets which saves weight and cost. This is often overlooked but should be considered when planning a lightweight/budget build. The EMR V0 comes with a barrel nut, rail sections, and integral sling mounts. It is a good deal on its face but it is mind blowing deal when you consider the cost of those items.

Accessories

The accessories are what round out this build and make it really impressive for the cost. You can spend more than $1200 for a basic AR-15. If you follow this recipe, that same $1200 builds you an AR-15 with 12″+ hand guard, a weapon light, and a quality optic.

I chose an INFORCE WML for the weapon light. It weighs 3 ounces and has in integral mount which makes its $125 price tag seem even more reasonable. You could go cheaper on the light but it will difficult to find a set up this light in weight.

Magpul’s MBUS back up iron sights are an easy choice for this build. They are affordable and lightweight. A set can be purchased for around $80 (less if you shop around, especially on the secondary market).

The optic that I chose weighs around 6 ounces with its ADM QD mount, has 50,000 hour battery life, rugged construction, has a variety of mounts available, and uses a common CR2032 battery. Sounds expensive, right? It is also backed by some of the best customer service in the business yet it costs only $238.99 (with an ADM mount so it could cost even less with a less expensive mount). The Primary Arms MD-ADS has impressive specs and has proven itself to me as a solid value.

I just used an A2 flash suppressor that I had laying around. If you don’t have one, ask a buddy.

The Tally

The total weight of the carbine build listed above worked out to 6 pounds even. I was hoping to go under 6 pounds but I am glad I didn’t go over.

The total cost was $1219 going by mostly normal retail prices. Like I said before, a savvy shopper could easily build this for less than $1200.

Wrap Up

This build made me realize how blessed we are as shooters/consumers. A build like this wouldn’t have even been possible just a few years ago. Rails were much heavier, barrels were more costly, weapon lights were massive, lightweight optics were more costly, and there certainly weren’t as many choices.

Expensive AR-15s are often expensive for a reason but, in this golden age of AR-15s, you should never feel like you have to settle. There are enough options out there that anyone should be able to build something close to what they want at a price they can afford if they are willing to do some leg work.

Primary Arms MD-ADS

A new leader in the budget red dot sight race may have just emerged from the club house. Primary Arms just introduced their Advanced Micro Dot with Push Buttons and 50K Battery Life, MD-ADS. That name is way too long so I’ll just call it the MD-ADS.

MD-ADS-2

The MD-ADS is obviously based on the HoloSun HS403G that was released earlier this year based on the appearance, button interface, and 50,000 hour battery life (that’s right, 50,ooo!) but Primary Arms has made at least one noticeable improvement. They have moved the battery compartment to the side of the optic rather than the bottom so that it doesn’t have to be removed from its mount to change the CR2032 coin cell battery.

It should also be noted that unlike most budget red dot sights, the MD-ADS has a very low profile LED unit. It really doesn’t seem to project into the field of view at all which is nice if you ever need to use iron sights through the optic.

To top it all off, the MD-ADS can use any mount intended for use with Aimpoint Micros.

More stats:

  • 12 brightness settings
  • daylight visible illumination
  • nitrogen purged
  • water resistant (no depth provided)
  • 2 MOA dot
  • 3 year warranty

WeaponTech AK47 Enhanced BHO Followers

Some shooters can feel when their AR-15 (or other magazine fed rifle with an automatic bolt hold open feature) locks back on an empty magazine and use this as their cue to execute a reload. AK shooters typically don’t have that same cue. Instead, their cue is the click of the hammer falling on an empty chamber unless they use bold hold open magazines.

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Until recently, if you wanted bolt hold open magazines you were limited to finding surplus Yugoslavian magazines, new Croatian magazines, or modifying certain types of Chinese magazines. These aren’t necessarily bad options but they are all fairly similar in that they are steel magazines. Now, with the introduction of the WeaponTech AK47 Enhanced BHO Followers, any AK-47 magazine can be converted to hold the bolt open on the last empty.

The WeaponTech AK47 Enhanced BHO Followers are polymer followers with metal reinforcement that replace the follower in any AK-47 magazine (expect the new Magpul MOE magazines) to add bolt hold open functionality. Many AK magazines have detents inside the magazine body that prevent the follower from coming up so high that it interferes with the bolt but these appear to bypass those in order to place the follower at the correct height to capture the bolt.

Like other BHO magazines, the bolt will slam closed as soon as the magazine is removed.

Check out the WeaponTech AK47 Enhanced BHO Followers at Primary Arms.

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