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Accessorizing Your AR

From forends to stocks, there are dozens of ways to make your AR-style rifle more ready for duty.

May 17, 2011  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author

Occasionally you come across a mount that fills a need but does not offer users a quick release feature. Warne Mounts' RAMP is available in one-inch or 30mm versions for the main optic. What sets this mount apart from others is the dual offset backup optic mount. There are two 45-degree offset mounts at the rear of the mount so you can use one of the popular mini-red dots that are on the market. This gives you two sets of optics to meet your duty needs, and that's why the mount doesn't need to have quick release levers.

If you use an EoTech and attach a quick release base you have to confirm the new zero because your sight alignment will change. To solve this problem, GG&G offers the Accucam QD Lever, which is a direct replacement for the factory attachment screw. Simply remove the hood of the EoTech and install the new Accucam screw, and you are ready to go with no loss of zero.

And while you have the hood of the EoTech off, install GG&G's lens covers. The covers simply slide into the hood of the sight to give your EoTech flip-up protection. I have used this on my 552 and liked it enough that when I upgraded the XPS with an Accucam, I installed the covers, too.

This is not an article about optics but I really feel like I have to mention my newest favorite: Aimpoint's new Patrol Rifle Optic. This is one of the most affordable red dots on the market today. What sets it apart from other sights is that this is a complete rig: sight, mount, and lens covers, all for $440 suggested retail price. It's a good optic and a very good deal.

Backup Sights

There are a number of flip-up and fixed backup iron sights (BUIS) on the market. It seems there are just as many BUIS as there are optics. My only advice is to buy a good set; I would steer clear of the polymer ones for duty. How well they hold zero has not been proven yet.

The backup sight I want to discuss is an offset front and rear A2 sight set from Dueck Defense and SureFire: the DD Rapid Transition Sight. Designed by Barry Dueck, who heads up SureFire's Suppressor Division, these sights give you a true AR sight picture at a 45-degree offset. I was skeptical of how well they would perform, and was pleased to see I was able to shoot tight groups with them at ranges from 10 to 100 yards.

Brakes and Suppressors

SureFire also offers excellent muzzle brakes and flash suppressors. SureFire's Mini is a five-inch suppressor that secures to SureFire's brakes and flash hiders, adding less than a pound to the weapon and reducing the sound output to less than 130 decibels with standard M855 military ball. The noise reduction is but one advantage of a suppressor; you also reduce dust and pressure signature. SureFire calls this Total Signature Reduction.

"Muzzle brake" is an expletive for many operators, and the reason they think of them as vile is because of the quality of many of the brakes on the market, which are gawdawful loud and actually increase muzzle flash. That said, I have found SureFire's Muzzle Brake is loud if you are parallel to it, but the flash does not affect night vision. I fired many rounds in low or no light with it and have not really noticed the flash. What the Brake does over a flash suppressor is reduce muzzle rise, but in a .223/5.56 you might not notice it. However, when the brake is used on an M1A there is virtually no muzzle rise. At 200 yards you can make sub two second follow-up shots.

SureFire's Flash Suppressor looks much like an A2 model. The difference is the locking points for a SureFire suppressor. When I have fired a carbine with this suppressor on it there is virtually no flash.

A new muzzle brake/flash hider that I really like is BCE's Battle Comp. This combo brake is loud in an enclosed setting, but it gives nearly zero muzzle flash and no muzzle rise. The BCE Battle Comp has been on the market for roughly a year, and the company cannot keep up with production. The comp works well enough it is an OEM for many AR manufacturers.

Another "Battle" part I would look at is from Battle Arms, an ambidextrous safety. I know many will argue you don't need one, but if you are a lefty, it makes operating the AR easier. BA's safety is low-profile and made from machine tool steel so if you break it odds are good your AR is in trouble too. This is an end-user installable part, but heed this word of advice: Do not lose the small ball and retainer spring when you remove the grip to remove the safety.

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