Archive for the 'AR-15s' Category

US District Court judge Roger Benitez Rules California AR-15 Ban Unconstitutional

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 3 weeks ago

Here is the ruling.

KeyMod vs M-Lok

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

Not a bad article at all from Field & Stream on KeyMod versus M-Lok.

The KeyMod system was invented in 2010 by VLTOR Weapon Systems and Noveske. Its commonly found on the forends on AR-15s and AK-pattern rifles. VLTOR and Noveske designed the system to give a user flexibility in terms of what kinds of accessories they want to attach to a gun and where. They made the system open source so any company could produce it.

Keymod rails are covered in keyhole-shaped slots in a uniform pattern. Each hole has a larger end and a smaller end. To attach an accessory or rail, you place studs (which comes with KeyMod-compatible accessories) in the larger hole, slide the accessory forward, and screw it into place. The studs lock the accessory or rail to the KeyMod forend, and when properly installed, it will not move under recoil.

In a nutshell, that’s why I prefer KeyMod over M-Lok.  Ease of installation.  I find having to grab the nut underneath the rail to ensure that the screw isn’t spinning on M-Lok attachments supremely annoying, and I’ve had them come loose before.

But to each his own.

Windham Weaponry Is Finished

BY Herschel Smith
10 months ago

It’s over for them as a company.

It is with deep regret that we announce the closing of Windham Weaponry. Our website/online retail ordering system will remain active through Tuesday night, Sept 12. We will do our best to ship all orders this week and early next week. No credit card will be charged until the order is shipped.

Twelve years ago, when we started Windham Weaponry, our shareholders and longtime employees were excited to continue the traditions and spirit of Bushmaster Firearms, after the new owners decided to leave Maine.

We built WW into a company we could be proud of providing outstanding customer service, high quality products, as well as a great place for our dedicated employees to work.

The last few years have been a very challenging time for the firearms industry, and we have struggled to keep the WW dream alive for as long as possible. Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet our loan obligations with the bank after they worked with us as much as they could.

There was a glimmer of hope when we were negotiating with an investor to help keep WW alive and healthy, but that just fell through.

We have begun discussions with Keenan Auction Company to determine the best course of action for a full liquidation which should happen within the next month or so.

Our shareholders and employees truly appreciate your loyal support all of these years.

Here is a video of one man’s perspective.  Here is a reddit/Firearms discussion thread.

I searched hard in the comments for reasons.  I couldn’t locate any.  There are hints of loan problems, and family that may not be as committed as the owner Richard Dyke (who recently passed away).  There seems to be nothing definitive on why this is happening to the company.

The one thing I do agree with in the discussion threads is that the AR-15 market is saturated (LaRue, PSA, Daniel Defense, Aeroprecision, BCM, S&W, and on the list goes).  Unless you have the money to go big, I’m sure it’s difficult to compete.

Travis Haley: How to Zero Your Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
10 months ago

Jennifer Mascia, Crackpots, and the AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 1 week ago

Lee Williams writing at Ammoland.

The story was written by one of the Trace’s senior fabulists, Jennifer Mascia, who is “currently the lead writer of the Ask The Trace series and tracks news developments on the gun beat.” Mascia has also led the Trace’s hilarious we’re journalists, not activists, propaganda campaign on social media.

Mascia claims her story was a response to a reader’s question: “Many gun owners claim to buy assault-style rifles for defense. So how many documented cases are out there where someone actually defended themselves with an assault-style rifle?”

You can read the rest at Ammoland.  Jennifer is trying to assist the controllers in changing the subject from “in common use for legal purposes” to actually having used a weapon for self defense.  First of all, she doesn’t know anything about that regardless of what she claims.  No one can go to news reports and find every instance they need for a comprehensive study.  For example, use of the weapon might have been to flash the rifle muzzle at home invaders only for the invaders to run.  With that said, I think I could come up with quite a few instances myself, but that’s not really the point of this, and we’ll get to more later on this subject when you listen to Professor Mark Smith below.

Let’s turn our attention to Jennifer for a moment.  I’ve had an exchange with Jennifer before.  Let’s review, shall we?

I had a rather protracted conversation with someone who writes under the nom de guerre Tommy Gnosis.  Not that I care that deeply, but something sounded strange about the comments, like they had no particular bearing, were inconsistent, or feinted support for individual rights but didn’t do a good job of hiding the fact that it was all just a distraction.

So I did a little bit of research.  Tommy Gnosis is someone named Jennifer Mascia, who has her own web site.  In fact, she was one of the authors of the now defunct “The Gun Report” for the New York Times.  Recall that report?  That awful, hideous, dreary rundown of shootings every day?  As if all we have to do is remove those awful guns from society and sin goes away because evil is located in things rather than the heart of man (a noted neo-Platonic and stoic view).

Anyway, I did an IP trace and found that the address was owned by Bloomberg.  It makes sense, since I also found out that she works for Bloomberg via Everytown For Gun Safety.  Her Disqus account is active, and features snark, misdirects, sarcasm, insults, and most of all, prose designed to demoralize and demonstrate the complete impotence of whatever group she is berating at the moment.  The prose is designed to cause depression and dejection.

Here is the lesson.  Bloomberg is paying her to visit web sites – particularly gun rights web sites – and spread discontent and dejection.

The exchange continues.

Hi Herschel,

I am not paid to comment here, or anywhere, nor have I ever been. There is no “tactic.” I have never worked for a political organization or a nonprofit, only media companies, and before that, restaurants. No one at Everytown knows I comment here. I actually don’t work with the advocacy arm of Everytown. The news site will be staffed with journalists, not lobbyists. We have zero to do with elections or phone banks. We won’t be working with Everytown staffers.

Her Disqus account was by “Tommy Gnosis.”  I outed her and she posted as “Guest.”  She responded that she isn’t paid to comment anywhere.  There is no “tactic.”  She claimed no relationship at all to Bloomberg.  Now we find out that her use of an IP address that pointed back to Bloomberg was no coincidence.  She is indeed trafficking in propaganda, and she is in the employ of Bloomberg.  Let’s continue with Codrea’s second article on Bloomberg’s next move.

“Tommy Gnosis is someone named Jennifer Mascia,” Herschel Smith at The Captain’s Journal posted in March. He was describing someone who, under cover of anonymity, “visits web sites — particularly gun rights web sites — and spreads discontent and dejection.”

That’s consistent with the “elaborate subterfuge” technique for “infiltrating and disrupting alternative media online” used by those with an agenda. Per Canadian research, such “Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.”

That would also seem consistent with the control-all megalomaniac who hired her, in a company-he-keeps kind of way. Mascia is one of two paid flacks “attached prominently to the Everytown news project,” an experiment in virtual Astroturf that billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be rolling out this summer.

David then goes on to explore her past as daughter of a mob hit man.

What drives Mascia is anybody’s guess, but chances are her father having been an underworld killer with multiple hits under his belt had an influence. That probably comes as a surprise to many gun rights advocates, unaware that Al Jazeera told its readers “America’s best hope for tracking gun deaths is a mob enforcer’s daughter,” and Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action gushed on social media that her story was “Amazing.”

[ … ]

As for pushing Jennifer around, I’ve made clear that if you want to come in this back yard and run with the big dogs, you’d better be prepared for some rough business.  And as for Jennifer herself, you weren’t entirely honest with us, were you?

David Codrea’s First Article

David Codrea’s Second Article

Well there you have it.  She’s bought and paid for by Michael Bloomberg.  She came in under a nom de guerre to spread hate and discontent.  I outed her.  Even then she denied it because she’s a liar.

So why is she trying to assist the controllers in this one specific issue?  Listen carefully to Mark Smith below.  They want the supreme court to change the test in Bruen and Heller from “in common use for lawful purposes” to something else, and they have chosen the Rahimi case for all of their hate towards gun owners.  They see this as their golden opportunity.

I’ve told you what I think.  I think the women on the court, including Barrett and Roberts, side with the controllers and end of changing the rules back to something the DOJ and ATF likes much better.  I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.  There was no particularly compelling reason for them to have taken this case to begin with.

One commenter to the video below remarks, “As I recall, when the DOJ bought AR-15s a few years back, the Request for Purchase form listed them as “personal defense weapons.” Can’t have it both ways.”  I’ll add to this.  If the AR-15 is so bad for use in defense situations, tell me why the U.S. government agencies have so many rifles – some noted as “assault rifles” – in their inventory as personal defense weapons?

How To Build An AR-15 Upper

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a followup to the post on How to Assemble an AR-15 Lower.  I told you I’d link it when they came out in print with it.

Recoil: How To Build An AR-15 Upper.

You can’t just throw your upper in the vise without damaging it. There are a few ways to skin this cat, but I recommend a reaction rod. Geissele makes a good one, as does Wheeler. I use the Real Avid one and have done so for years. These are nice because you have options for mounting and turning the action as you work. If you want something cheaper, a vise block that clamps around the action is only $20 normally and works well. It does limit you and makes assembly a little harder, but it’s cheap.

[ … ]

Technically speaking, the only correct lube is AeroShell 33MS. That said, I use White Lithium grease. You NEED to use grease on the threads for the barrel nut and muzzle device, or you risk ruining them. When selecting a grease, the major thing you need to avoid is a grease with graphite or copper in it. AeroShell 33MS is the mil-spec grease, and I would assume it’s the mil-spec grease for a reason, but I honestly don’t know what that reason is.

I’ve looked, I’ve asked, and no one has been able to tell me why it is the mil-spec other than that it doesn’t have graphite or copper in it. Personally, white lithium is a lot more universal, and buying a tube of that makes more sense to me. I started using white lithium based on the advice of a major brand, and I’ve never had an issue, even if it isn’t “mil-spec.”

He talks about do’s and don’ts, torquing specifications, and other tools you will need.

Frankly, I don’t know how much I’d trust any tool except Magpul.  Also, he doesn’t say much about parts (in terms of recommending specific brands).  I won’t ever replace a BCG in any of my guns without it being a BAD (Battle Arms Development) or a charging handle without it being a Radian Raptor.

Sabre: PSA’s Mid to Upper Tier AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 2 weeks ago


Palmetto State Armory has been in the budget rifle business for a long time. They’ve offered upgraded versions before, but the difference between an expensive PSA and a cheap PSA is normally just delta ring Vs. free-float and maybe a chrome-lined barrel.

The SABRE line is a whole new beast. Combining some of the best parts on the market, this is a rifle spec’d out to take a beating and keep on shooting.

[ … ]

  • Barrel Length: 14.5″
  • Gas System: Carbine-Length
  • Barrel Steel: Cold Hammer Forged Chrome Moly Vanadium
  • Barrel Finish: Phosphate
  • Muzzle Thread: 1/2-28
  • Chamber: 5.56
  • Twist Rate: 1:7
  • Barrel Extension: M4
  • Gas Block Type: Geissele .750″ Super Gas Block; Pinned to Barrel
  • Muzzle Device: Pin/Weld SilencerCo ASR
  • Receiver Material: Forged 7075 T6
  • Receiver Type: M4 T-Marked
  • Hand Guard Type: Geissele 13.5″ Super Modular MK14 M-Lok Rail
  • Bolt Carrier Group: PSA Custom Fathers of Freedom BCG by MicroBest with Sprinco Extractor Spring
  • Bolt Steel: Carpenter 158
  • Bolt Carrier Finish: Mag-Phosphate Finish
  • Charging Handle: Radian Raptor LT
  • Trigger: Hiperfire RBT Trigger with JP Reduced Power Springs
  • Takedown/Pivot Pins: Battle Arms Development
  • Buffer: Carbine
  • Safety: Radian Talon 45/90 Safety
  • Buffer Spring: Sprinco White
  • Pistol Grip: Magpul SL-S
  • Stock: Magpul SL-S
  • Finish: Black
  • Furniture Color: Black
  • Material: Forged Aluminum
  • Upper: Forged 7075-T6 A3 AR upper is made to MIL-SPECS and hard coat anodized black for durability. These uppers are T-Marked engraved.

I normally think of PSA as making budget AR-15s and AKs and AR and AK parts and kits.  They are also known for at least one more thing.  They must have some special sort of deal with the FN pistol factory right down the road from them because they always seem to have FN pistols in stock.

But it would seem they have entered the upper tier AR market.  That’s a tall order in my book, because you can get a BCM upper for around $850 and an Aeroprecision lower for around $350 (or at least you once could), and while the upper is not a complete upper, for another couple hundred you can get a BAD (Battle Arms Development) BCG and a Radian Raptor charging handle for another $100.  Now you’ve put a total of about $1500 into the gun.  But in my opinion this is about the maximum you have to spend to get a really good AR.

That’s more expensive by a couple hundred dollars than the Sabre, but not enough to ignore the build I just outlined if you want a good rifle.

I notice that the Sabre has a Radian charging handle.  It apparently has another BCG (a custom part).  But it’s nice to see PSA into the upper tier market for ARs.  Competition is a good thing.  Here is their site.  You’ll notice right up front that there are various models, with $1250 being the highest cost gun I saw.

See the Recoil article for testing results of the Sabre.

How To Assemble An AR-15 Lower

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 1 week ago

Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito and Kavanaugh would have maintained the vacatur Judge Reed O’Connor put into place rather than issue the stay, while Roberts, Barrett, and the others made the decision to issue the stay.  So in other words, all of the women on the court sided with the government.  Who is surprised by that?

Anyway, parts kits aren’t the only way to enjoy your 2A freedoms.

Recoil has given us a complete step-by-step guide for AR-15 lower receivers – with pictures.  He begins with tools.

Good tools are hard to find these days, but thankfully there are still a few options out there.

If you’re looking to do this as cheaply as possible, just get whatever crap is the lowest price on Amazon and call it a day. Honestly, it will probably be good enough for one build, but very likely only one.

If you think you might do this more than once, or you just don’t want to make yourself suffer while you build, invest a little more money and get tools from reputable firearm brands like RealAvid and Wheeler.

Personally, RealAvid is normally my go-to pick. Full disclosure, they’ve sent me a number of products to review over the years, including most of the ones from them in this article.

But I also put my money where my mouth is, I’ve spent a lot of my own money on their tools over the years because I like the product.

If you want a one-stop option, RealAvid’s Armorer’s Master Kit is pretty amazing but pricy. And it’s totally overkill for just one lower. If you want to go hard and build a lot, it’s worth it.

Ouch!  That is pricey.

My must-have tools are pretty simple, a Bench Block, a hammer and punch set, and an armorer’s wrench.

The bench block can be just about any model. The Smart Bench Block is simple, and I’ve been using mine for about 5 years, love it. The Master Bench Block is the one I used for this article, and it’s pretty nice but not a must-have over the normal block.

I really, really recommend a punch set that is designed for guns, especially the AR-15, since those sets are normally sized right, and some include punches built for the bolt catch – they make life easier and make not scarring your lower a lot easier.

RealAvid’s set comes with all the punches you need, a small hammer, and a nice case. Wheeler’s set is decent for most guns but doesn’t have the AR-15 bolt-catch punches. The AR-Stoner set I owned broke the first time I used it. YMMV.

The wrench is the tool I care the least about; literally, anything off Amazon will be fine. I’ve used the $5 one for about 4 or 5 lowers, and it’s fine. Wrap the handle with a shop rag for a better grip. If you want something a bit fancier, Magpul, RealAvid, Tapco, Brownells, and Wheeler, all make good options.

I disagree with that part.  If you don’t have a good wrench you’ll tear up your parts.  Magpul makes good AR wrenches.

So this is a good URL to tuck away.  I’ll return to this in time.  After reading it I wanted them to have done one on upper receivers.  At the end they say this.

We’ll do another guide soon for building an upper, but those require some more tools.

I’ll pass along the next article on lower receivers.

AR-15 Barrel Profiles

1 year ago

History is important to understanding the past, but also to understand the present and potential future changes based on past experience. But history isn’t the only thing discussed when Widener’s considers AR-15 Barrels.

Many believe the barrel is the heart of a firearm. Maybe that’s why the various AR-15 barrel profiles are so close to the hearts of many gun owners. Shooters carry strong feelings on this topic, so we’ll walk through them carefully, talking about AR barrel histories, profile variations, and the latest styles.

In these modern times, the AR-15 is among the most popular firearms worldwide. While many may think of the AR-15 as a new weapon, it’s been around since the late 1950s, and the barrels on this iconic rifle have undergone about as many changes as the gun itself. So let’s talk about the origin of the AR-15 barrel profile, why changes were made, and what type of profile is best for you.

How Barrel Profile Impacts Shooting

Your barrel’s profile is essentially the thickness of that barrel. You can find a bunch of different profiles out there for your AR-15s. Generally, thinner barrels are lighter. That’s great if you’re a hunter and you need to haul your AR-15 through the woods. You can also maneuver with thinner profile barrels more easily.

If you worry about recoil, you might opt for a thicker barrel profile. They help weigh down the gun for more stability; they can also sometimes withstand heavy mag dumps better than thin barrels. Military style shooters who fire rapidly may also prefer a heavy barrel. The heavier profile can help absorb heat and prevent the reliability issues that come up with an overheated barrel.

A History of AR-15 Barrels

The man leading the invention of the AR-15, Eugene Stoner, made strides in establishing the foundation of modern AR barrels. The first barrel on the AR-15 was made for the M16A1 — the pencil barrel.

The story goes that the military thought the barrels were “bending” under the stress of drills and off-label prying tasks. This prompted the updated “government barrel,” which has some extra stock on the muzzle end to prevent warping.

Later, some people discovered that the barrels probably weren’t bending. Instead, there was a debris buildup at the point of the gas block, called a “bent barrel.” There’s some variance of opinion on this, as the earlier pencil barrels are generally regarded as being of lower quality than today’s pencil barrels. Regardless, these earlier flubs (imagined or not) with the AR-15 barrel sparked the evolution of future profiles.

Let’s talk more about the specific barrel profiles on the AR-15 and their purposes.

The Most Notable AR-15 Barrel Profiles

In the next few sections, we’ll review some of the most common barrel profiles on the AR-15. Keep in mind that, in this guide, we’re talking specifically about the barrel profile. If you’re curious about barrel twist rate, best barrel length, or steel type, you can browse some other articles on our site. We’ve also listed some barrel diameters below for reference. These are all taken from the base (thickest part) of the barrel and may differ depending on the manufacturer.

The article continues with a discussion of several barrels.

Single Stage vs Two Stage Triggers: AR15 Trigger Testing

1 year ago

Video Included.

While the dispute between single stage vs two stage trigger is very much a preference thing, this won’t be a preference article. This article will discuss build and mechanics, the options and reliability of each, and why one might be chosen over the other in specific situations.

When thinking of a single-stage vs a two-stage trigger, the main terms that need to be known are hammer, sear, and disconnect. As these three parts will differ between triggers in an AR.

Hammer:The hammer is released when the trigger is fully pulled, striking the firing pin to ignite the primer of the round. Note: The hammer does have a portion on it that is known as the “searing portion” but it is not usually referred to as the main sear.

Sear: The sear is a separate part from the disconnect and hammer. The sear will be the last ledge that the hammer slides off of before being totally released to hit the firing pin. Dependent on the trigger, the sear can be a part of the trigger or its own separate piece that is then connected to the trigger.

Disconnect:The disconnect holds the hammer down after the trigger is pulled and the gun is cycling. As the gun is cycling, the hammer is pushed down and held down by the disconnect. This disconnect will then release once the gun has fully cycled and the trigger has been released. Once the disconnect releases the hammer, the hammer is now being held down by the sear.

Below is a graph provided by TriggerTech of various trigger pulls comparing pull weight and trigger travel distance. You can see the different forces and trigger travel required to set off different triggers as well as the amount of variation from trigger to trigger.

As some are better with words and some are better with actually seeing it, below is one of the better videos I’ve found in explaining the mechanics of the single-stage vs two-stage trigger. His example being with a Mil-spec single stage trigger in a standard AR-15 and then a Geissele Super Dynamic Two-Stage trigger.

It is worth it to note that all triggers will be different, even when it is a simple single stage trigger. Aftermarket triggers such as Triggertech, Hiperfire, and CMC are all very intricate designs and will differ from the example below but will have similar steps of operation.

Educational details about build and applications at the link.

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