When it comes to weapons optics, specifically on the AR-15/M4, iron sights should be the first option considered. As we all know, there’s tons of options for optics including: red dots, magnified scopes, magnifiers, holographic, and even tritium powered scopes. The marketing and money spent on advertising these types of optics has exploded in the last 20-30 years. Even more so in the last decade. We’ve been conditioned over the years to believe that spending money on what experienced combat shooters consider “fluff toys”, is somehow going to improve our marksmanship and make us more proficient shooters. However, the exact opposite is what’s happening. Since the mass introduction of these optic options in the last couple decades, professional instructors and shooters like Paul Howe of Combat Shooting and Tactics have repeatedly reported and seen first hand that the use of “other-than-ironsights” has dramatically decreased the efficiency of our most popular weapon systems such as the AR-15/M4. Both military and civilian shooters are experiencing the same negative trend. The fundamentals are being abandoned for fluff, marketing promotions, and just plain laziness.
Lets go ahead and state the obvious message of this blog post: IRONS ARE MORE ACCURATE, MORE DEPENDABLE, AND DEVELOP MARKSMANSHIP SKILLS THAT WILL TRANSFER OVER TO THE FLUFF TOYS, IF YOU DECIDE TO USE THEM.
The most important aspect of utilizing iron sights, is the reliability. Most of us today that buy and build AR’s, are doing so for the proverbial Shit Hit The Fan (SHTF) scenario. If and when this event happens, batteries are going to be in very short supply. Even if you stockpile batteries, they tend to lose their charge and or go bad by some other means. No battery will stay good and charged forever, and most will only last a few years before they are rendered unusable. Although nothing is full proof against the rigors of combat, irons are the most durable, by a long shot. I’ve yet to see in 17 years of shooting, a set of irons give up or end up unserviceable.
I know this will ruffle some feathers, but iron sights are faster at getting a shot off and deliver more surgical accuracy in combat style shooting. I understand how this statement sounds ludicrous. However I spent just one day on the range testing this. What I found surprised me a lot. I was shooting the American Resistance 16″ 556 rifle with 62gr M855 ball ammo (green tip) at 200 yards in the prone position without a bipod or bag. Just standard prone (no fluffy accessories). First I used a Burris 1-4x scope, shooting a human sized, torso steel plate. I set the magnification to 4x and tried to fire 10 rounds as fast as I could effectively shoot. With the Burris scope, I shot my final round at 21.06 seconds on the shot timer. I had 4 impacts on steel in this rapid fire drill. The next drill I ran was using Daniel Defense AR-15 Iron Sights Rock & Lock using the same weapon, same ammo, and same shooting position.. These are a very basic set of fixed iron sights that I’ve added the XS System’s CSAT Rear Aperture to (Covered more in depth under “Red Dot Optics”). Again, the drill was shot from 200 yards. The first noticeable difference was how much faster I was able to get the weapon back on target for follow up shots. The next thing I noticed was how often the steel plate was ringing and singing to me. 9 out of 10 rounds has impacted the steel and my time from start to finish was 12.30 seconds! Almost half the time, with more than double the hits! I did not expect this to be the case at all. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2012, I also left my iron sights. I immediately started buying and using red dots and scopes. They were so much cooler looking, and everyone in the civilian shooting world was ranting and raving about how awesome their weapons were with these high-tech, high dollar optics. I followed suit unfortunately. Well here we are today, and I’m having to swallow my pride. I’m taking a step back, and ditching the new tech for the old school. With all that being said, I still use, sell, and promote red dots, scopes, ect in a limited capacity. Except now I promote them with a more educated explanation.
- LOW POWER MAGNIFIED SCOPES:
Lets start with the 1-4x, 1-6x, and 1-8x scopes. Prices on these are on the cheap end, $200, and go all the way up to $2,000. Although they do have their place on weapons for some shooters, these are my least preferred. Iron sights do have a couple major downsides: longer range visibility and low visibility/night shooting. First lets cover being able to articulate at 200+ yards (daytime) who someone is, what’s in their hands, and if they’re a worthy target. Unfortunately iron sights just don’t have these abilities. You don’t have to use a powered scope to overcome these obstacles. You can carry a magnified monocular, that you keep either in your pocket/bag, or on a lanyard around your neck. According to many police officers and combat action military veterans, most firefights happen inside of 100 yards, and even more inside of 25 yards, and more than likely it’ll be around 7-10 yards. This brings up a great point for irons. For most gun fights, it seems that magnified optics are really useless. Irons will give you everything you need plus they won’t add the extra weight to the weapon, and you won’t have to spend a fortune on useless fluff. The average magnified scope and mount set weighs about 1.5 pounds! Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal fatigue, and fatigue equals poor shooting technique. The DD irons I use are 3.4 ounces. As mentioned above, I use the XS Sight’s CSAT Rear Aperture. This is the most practical, simplistic, and ingenious aftermarket product that the AR-15 has seen in the last 20 years, and only cost around $40. What is it? The CSAT aperture accounts for the 2.5″ offset that the 556/223 delivers when zeroed at 100 yards. Explanation: When you zero your AR-15 at 100 yards, then you move up to 7 yards, which as stated by numerous combat shooters and police officers, is where the majority of firefights happen, you’re going to notice that your zero isn’t hitting center mass anymore. At 7yds, your point of aim (POA) remains the same, but your point of impact (POI) has changed. This is due to the line of sight, line of bore issue. The CSAT aperture has a small cut above the small peep hole that the shooter will line up with the front sight post (just like a set of pistol sights are used), that perfectly corrects the 2.5″ offset. This also gives the shooter a much faster and efficient shot time. Usually around .6 of a second to get a round fired and surgically placed.
As for red dot optics, these are probably the most widely used in the civilian and law enforcement communities. Prices on these range from $75, all the way to $1500, depending on brand, features and/or battery life. Don’t get me wrong, these are very useful additions to your weapons platform. When used incorrectly though, they can really cause some marksmanship issues. Most red dots do not have a way to account for the offset at close distance. If you watch enough body cam footage from police officers, you’ll begin to notice that that when the shot is presented, it’s rarely in a flat range, paper target style shot. The officer doesn’t have a clean and clear shot of only the suspect The officers a lot of the time, have only a portion of the suspect to aim in on. Either they have a hostage in from of them, with only a small portion of their head visible with the hostage being held in front of them, or the suspect is concealed behind something. This particular scenario is probably the most common from what I’ve watched. This is very important to note because if you don’t account for the 2.5″ offset, it’s really easy to shoot the hostage by mistake due to stress and situation overload on the weapon operator. For me personally and what I recommend to my students and customers is red dot optics should be used in conjunction with iron sights. Due to iron sights being pretty much useless in low light and/or night time shooting, the red dot optic definitely has its place. When it’s dark/low light is when the red dot shines, pun intended. However, there is a lot of misinformation on how these are to be used. They should be zeroed at 100 yards just like any optic should on the 556/223 AR-15/M4. As for the POI when using red dots, be sure to use the dot correctly: We’re going to use the 7 yard line for this example, for ease of understanding in text and not on the physical range to show you. At 7 yards, you’ll want to aim in a small pasty style target (we use the CSAT target, and aim in on the black 1″ square pasty. The red dot should be sitting at the extreme bottom of the 1″ square, with the top of the red dot, sitting on the bottom of the pasty. (NOT SITTING ON TOP AND COVERING THE 1″ PASTY). Your impacts will then be 2.5″-3″ low of the 1″ pasty. This is due to your 100yd zero and the line of sight/line of bore offset. NOTE: You can use an unfired 223/556 to measure if you don’t have a tape measure on the range (unfired 223/556 round is 2.25″ and you’ll estimate a .5″ extra). If you don’t get these results at 7yds, that means your 100yd zero isn’t as perfect as you thought. Go back to 100yd and re-check zero. Also note that this technique should be used on Trijicon ACOG’s as I feel they fall under the red dot optic category. To further test the iron sights against new tech, I moved to the 7 yard line for close quarter, speed drills, in the standing position from the low ready. In this test I ran the Trijicon MRO red dot optic first. For the target, I utilized the “HEAD SHOT” target designed by Paul Howe at CSAT. The reason for this choice of target is it takes away the “flat range” full paper target image and gives the shooter a much smaller target to shoot at with a hostage in front of the suspect, leaving only a small portion of the suspects head to shoot at. This is important in this drill because we should have a 100 yard zero, and at 7 yards, we should have a 2.5″ low POA/POI offset. This was a real eye opening test. One round was fired, with a total of 5 shots, for each timed test. When using the Trijicon MRO red dot, it seemed like it was going to be a no brainer that it was faster as I felt I could see and access the target faster. And this was partly true initially. However my accuracy and shot placement was a bit off and caused me to hit the hostage or get really close many times. This is due to having to “hold” for the offset while shooting a speed drill. My average time from the low ready to a shot on target was .95 second. Next up, I shot this same drill using the DD iron sights with the CSAT aperture. Average shot time was .71 second! The most noticeable improvement was how accurate these rounds were impacting the target. Not one round hit the hostage, nor did they get anywhere close. Looking at the impacts on paper, you would have assumed I was doing a non-speed drill and taking my time to place each shot. Not the case at all. I was .24 second faster and much more precise.
- HIGH POWER MAGNIFIED SCOPES:
Magnified scopes (2x-20x) are the final option, and in my opinion the least desirable personally. They do have applications where they can be used effectively and practically. Most of time where these are practical, is on an AR platform weapon that’s chambered in a caliber other than 223/556 such as 6.5grendel, 224 Valkrie, or AR10 long range platforms. The only real exception to this general rule in 556/223 are AR-15’s set up with 18″ and longer barrels. If you’re building a long range sniper rifle or bench gun, then yes, a high powered magnified scope would be suitable. For this blog post, I’m more focused on battle/duty rifles that are used in a more short range (7-300 yards) and utilizing 16″ or shorter barrels. If you’re shooting beyond 300 yards, then yes, scopes might be applicable to your set up due to needing to see what the naked eye physically can’t. If your weapon is a 16″ or shorter barrel, iron sights will suit you perfect out to 300 yards, for daytime shooting. Using your 100 yard zero with the CSAT aperture, you can effectively shoot targets from 7-300 yards without adjusting sights, clicking turrets, or ranging. For the 7-11 yards shots you can use the CSAT aperture. For 12-200 yards you’ll use the small peep on the rear sight, aiming center mass on your intended target. For the 201-300 yard shots, you can simply use the small peep, but hold the front sight post at the center of the head. The difference of impact from 100-200 yards is too marginal to account for in combat style shooting (2-3″). The drop from 100 to 300 is a little over 12″. So you can put a round in the belly by holding high on the target. Effectively you have one zero, to account for shots from 7-300 yards! This is why the iron sights fitted battle rifle is so much faster and efficient. No fluff, less weight, less fatigue, no clicking, no ranging, and much cheaper on the wallet.
USING IRON SIGHTS, RED DOT, AND A SUPPRESSOR
Another great benefit of iron sights, is the ability to have two independent zeroes on your weapon. The reason for this is you may want to run your weapon both suppressed and un-suppressed. The problem with this if you zero your weapon without a suppressor, then put a suppressor on it, you’ll notice your zero or POI has changed. This can be remedied by utilizing a red dot with your iron sights. What you’ll do is zero your iron sights for daytime shooting without a suppressor. Then you’ll zero your weapon’s red dot with the suppressor installed. What this does for you, is gives you the option to use your irons for day shooting without the suppressor. You’ll also have the red dot zeroed with the suppressor which if the suppressor is needed for both day and/or night, you can simply switch to using the red dot. Using a suppressor at night gives a couple of really good night shooting advantages: low muzzle flash report and low vis/low key night operations due to quieter weapon noise.
Here’s some of the best iron sights I’ve personally used, trust, and recommend to you:
What do ARs chambered in 9mm, 40cal, 45acp, and 7.62×39 all have in common? The need for a heavy hitting hammer is required to reliably and consistently detonate the primers on these calibers. All of these calibers are notorious in the AR platform for giving you light strikes on the primer when using aftermarket, light pull-weight triggers. There’s a whole array of companies out there making great triggers for AR-15’s that only have a 2-4lb trigger pull. The problem is these companies haven’t kept their ears open on the range. There’s a very notable change of muzzle blast coming from most firing range lanes. For the most part it’s a much quieter signature. In the last two years, the PCC or AR-9mm has picked up steam and is now a full fledged member to most of our weapon collections. With that being said, there’s only one company out there manufacturing a trigger that works perfectly in any AR platform from .308win and 6.5Creedmoor, all the way down to AR-9. And they get down to 2.5lb trigger pull! If you haven’t been introduced yet, we would like to formally introduce you to the leader in design, technology, and customer service: HIPERFIRE.
Based in Minnesota, Hiperfire brings American manufacturing to the peak of greatness. Their CEO and engineer Terry Bender, has a long resume in the firearms industry and stumbled upon his line of triggers while developing a semi-auto .50cal rifle. During his R&D of the .50, he quickly realized there was an issue. Just like the current steel cased 7.62×39 and 9mm ammo being fired in AR platforms, the .50cal was asking for more hammer strike. The required hammer strike was an easy fix, however the trigger pull followed the hammer and came in around 10lbs! The trade-off wasn’t worth it. As most of us know, it’s just not practical to shoot a long range precision rifle, with a trigger pull that weighs almost as much as the weapon. What he came up with is the “Cam-Over Toggle System”. Essentially, he added two springs to the hammer (Cam-Over Toggle Engine) that take force off of the sear surface, which decreased the trigger pull weight, and assisted the hammer in its drop to increase weight to the hammer strike. American engineering at its finest did what no one had been paying attention to, or hadn’t figured out. Hiperfire delivered a single stage trigger that decreased trigger pull weight (down to 2.5lbs) while delivering the hardest hitting hammers on the market. They solved a problem before the true recognition of a problem had really been recognized. He developed his first line of Hiperfire triggers in 2011, and by 2016, AR-9’s were taking a dominate role in the market. Along with this new caliber craze, there was a hunger for a dependable trigger to get away from the mil-spec 7-8lb norm. Alongside the AR-9, companies like Faxon Firearms have released their ARAK-21 chambered in 7.62×39 which requires a heavy hammer spring for the steel case ammo from Russia and China. HiperFire triggers are the only triggers American Resistance will install for our customers when building ARAK-21’s(7.62×39). HiperFire answers the question: Will this trigger work in my AR? YES! No matter the caliber, no matter the ammo! If it’s an AR, HiperFire not only works, but feels like a million dollar trigger. And it’s competitively priced against it’s competitors whose triggers are questionable at best when it comes to reliability.
Mr. Bender is not a veteran himself, however he knew that the best plan of attack was to hire vets. He brought on a team of American Veterans to fine tune his already solid product. This is important because typically there’s no one who has more trigger time than our Vets. Vets not only shoot a lot, but they have a working knowledge of the AR platform. When it comes to troubleshooting, installing, or customer service, they are the go to soldiers under HiperFire’s umbrella. Plus, it really makes a lot of sense to have an American Made trigger company operated, assembled, and tested by American Veterans.
Lets spend a bit going over some of the triggers and their specifications.
HiperTouch Eclipse (ECL) is the “Top of the line” AR trigger! This is the “upgraded” model of the HiperTouch 24C. It has all the same workings as the 24C (Cam-Over Toggle Engine), with an added feature: Nickel Bliss, Electroless Nickel Boron (NiB) coating on the hammer and trigger. This gives it an extremely smooth feel, added corrosion protection, and a polished look. The Eclipse has virtually no pre-travel and/or take up, giving the shooter the confidence to know that as soon as he or she moves (pulls) the trigger, there’s no delay or drag to the trigger. The instant the trigger moves, the hammer drops, which is crucial to precision shots (especially at greater distances). There’s nothing more aggravating for shooters, than looking through your optic, getting a perfect sight picture alignment, squeezing the trigger, only to get the take up out of the trigger, and not have the hammer drop. This is assisted by the straight bow trigger with the “HiperShoe Finger Pad Revolution”. The HiperShoe allows the shooter to adjust for fine weight adjustment, take-up settings, and allows the shooter to position their finger in the exact same spot every time. Pull weights on the Eclipse can be adjusted from 2.5lbs to 3.5lbs. To sum up the Hiperfire Eclipse: This trigger is single stage, crisp break, short over-travel, and extremely positive reset that you can feel and hear. For long range shooting, the Eclipse is hands down the pinnacle. When shooting at greater distances, you should be removing as many variables as possible. The ECL eliminates the trigger variable, which in turn will tighten those groups dramatically.
HiperTouch Reflex is what HiperFire refers to as the “Every Man’s” trigger. If you’re not a fan of the “flat” or “straight bow” style trigger, this will be the one you’ll want. It’s got the same mechanics of the 24C, however it features the classic “curved” trigger. For shooters looking for a trigger that’s familiar in feel, you’ll really appreciate the lack of take-up/pre-travel, smooth feel that the Reflex gives you. If you want an all-around trigger that allows a precision shot at 1000 yards on a precision rifle, a duty weapon feel for up close in the hot zone, or you just want to dump a magazine for a video shoot, this is your pick. Just like the Eclipse and 24C, the Reflex features the “Cam-Over Toggle Engine”, heavy hitting hammer for those calibers mentioned above, Soft-Start Lock-Up for Pre-Ignition Stability, and adjustments on trigger pull of 2.5lbs or 3.5lbs. The reset is fantastic! You hear it just as much as you feel it in the trigger. This is hands down the “best all-around” trigger, very affordable, and the trigger used by Keanu Reeves in John Wick 2.
HiperTouch EDT is the Enhanced Duty Trigger. They offer 3 different variations of the EDT: Sharp Shooter, Designated Marksman, and Heavy Gunner. All 3 are very similar, with small variations. The Designated Marksman features the most obvious difference. The trigger has a semi-flat bow. The top of the trigger is designed for a more stressful situation where a “hair” trigger could be a bit dangerous. The bottom of the trigger, would be used in a more precision shot situation. The EDT class triggers all offer pull weights of either 4.5lbs or 5.5lbs. These are ideal for replacing Mil-spec style triggers in duty weapons. Hiperfire understands that some agencies require certain pull weights on their officers weapons, and the EDT triggers fill that niche, with precision machining to ensure you get a safe, reliable, and crisp trigger. They all have a smooth feel, and break really clean. Our personal pick is the EDT “Heavy Gunner” for 9mm AR’s and 7.62×39. It comes standard with HiperFire’s Heavy, SwingFast Hammer Head. If you’re looking for a duty trigger that’s friendly on the wallet, the EDT is your trigger!
Fostech Echo ll is NOT a HiperFire trigger. However, we thought it was worth mentioning that due to HiperFire’s Cam-Over Toggle Engine, Fostech was able to release their binary trigger. When Fostech was developing and designing their Echo ll trigger, they were having trouble with hammer strike, and contacted Hiperfire about licensing their product. The rest is history. Fostech now has the best binary trigger on the market, and HiperFire’s system is making it all possible.
Installation of all their triggers is not drop-in style, but that’s great feature. Drop-in triggers are not recommended for duty style weapons. Recently they released their new updated triggers with an even better design on the toggle springs. In the previous versions, the toggle springs were a 3 piece assembly that could be a bit tricky for the first time installer. Now they have revamped the parts into a single toggle spring assembly for a much easier install. If you’re ever unsure, please watch some of our videos on how to install them. See below for a video on how to install the 243G which they have re-named the “Reflex”. We’ve found that the EDT series triggers are the most difficult to install. Fear not, the guys at Hiperfire took note of this and send out all EDT’s with the slave pin installed in the trigger assembly, and they include a guide pin to assist in install. The guide pin is one the best tools for first time AR builders, and even the most experienced. We still use the guide pins every day here at our shop for all brand triggers we install.
There’s a fairly common question we get here at the shop from customers who are looking to start building their own AR; “What should I be concerned with when building an AR myself”? Our answer is the same every time: “Don’t cheap-out on your BCG, barrel, and trigger”. These are the 3 determining parts of where your rounds impact the target and how long your weapon will last. As mentioned above, it doesn’t matter what caliber you’re building, you can count on HiperFire’s triggers to not only work, but exceed your expectations of a fire control group. Chances are that these triggers will out preform your ability in speed. When you first start using them, you’ll notice that you trigger is resetting faster than your trigger finger can react, and pull again. On the flip side, if your trigger finger is already trained for speed and you have a quick flick of the finger, the Hiperfire will still be there waiting for your next pull.
HiperFire didn’t reinvent the wheel, they invented a whole new means of travel (or last there of pre-travel). They achieved pull weights for AR’s that were originally only seen in long range bolt guns, and at the same time delivered hammer strike that allowed the new-aged AR’s to use high quality triggers effectively. If you haven’t tried a HiperFire, I challenge you to pick one up, and feel the difference. You’ll be a believer before the first magazine is empty. Whether you’re a novice first time shooter, military veteran, or competition shooter, you’ll notice the quality and ability of these fine tuned triggers.
What’s the hype with AR15 Breakdown pistol’s? Is it just a fad or trend that will come and go like skinny jeans? Hardly the case here. The American Resistance™ “AR Breakdown Pistol” is the industry standard when it comes to ingenuity, quality, and customer service. We’ve spent countless hours testing and developing the highest quality parts to ensure the most reliable weapon systems on the market. Not only did we spend the time and effort to deliver high end custom built AR15’s with high end materials, we spent just as much time developing a quality assurance system to ensure the assembly and machining are done above and beyond industry standards. All of our weapon systems are built to order. There’s no assembly line production here. Our lead armorer spent 9 years in the U.S. Marine Corps fine-tuning his “attention to detail”, and applies that working knowledge to every weapon he builds. Regardless if it’s a “budget” build for $500 or high end $5000 custom weapon, the same care and quality attention are forged in every weapon built.
AR15’s have become the most popular DIY weapon in the world. Just like any hobby out there, we get bored once we’ve mastered our task at hand. The AR Breakdown Pistol keeps the ball rolling forward when it comes to creativity. The AR platform is an ever-evolving machine. With products like Cry Havoc Tactical’s QRB Barrel Takedown system, Law Tactical’s Folding Stock adapters, and SB Tactical’s Pistol Stabilizing braces, American Resistance™ has taken these great ideas intended for more simplistic applications, and applied them to a unified re-invention of the wheel. 5 years ago if you would have told your range friends that you had you AR15 in your center console of your vehicle that would accept the same magazine and ammo as your Glock19, they would have laughed you off the range. Today, due to American ingenuity this concept has become a reality.
Why would you need a 9mm carbine that can shoot the same ammunition as your side arm with a 100+ yard effective range? Aren’t most self-defense firefights fought inside of 20 yards? The Breakdown AR pistols are not intended to replace the weapon on your hip. Each has its own specific application, and should be used accordingly. When seconds count, and for immediate encounters, the side arm is your fastest, most effective tool. If you don’t have 5 seconds to assemble your Breakdown AR, it makes much more sense to draw your handgun from your holster and defend yourself. Lets put a scenario into perspective: You’re an educator and you’re either outside on the playground or in the gymnasium for gym class. Both of these environments can potentially have well over 20 yards of distance between you and an active shooter, sometimes even closer to 100 yards. Lets assume that an active shooter presents themselves as a threat and you have 30 yards of distance between yourself and the shooter. With a traditional handgun like a Glock or even a revolver, this situation quickly becomes even more dangerous. Once you have drawn your weapon, you’ve just presented yourself as the most important threat to the shooter. With a traditional handgun, any shot outside of 15 yards can prove to be challenging, even for someone who trains fairly often with their weapon. Stressful situations bring on tunnel vision, physical shaking, and a severe lack of “normal” thinking and/or brain function. Having a weapon that has an effective range of 100+ yards, will make a 20-75 yard shot very simple. Shooting across a gymnasium or playground just became something of ease, even for someone who isn’t a “professional” shooter. Something else that most don’t factor in about active shooters, is whether they are using a shotgun, rifle, or handgun, you want to either match their firepower or out power them. In this scenario, the chaos would be intense with crying, screaming, and running kids. You WILL need your shots to be well placed and followed up in rapid succession to eliminate the threat without risking injury of your students. Lets not forget the intimidation factor. Most active shooters enjoy knowing that they have the power to control a bad situation. When they see that you have an equal to, or greater weapon, you’ve just turn the tables on the mentality of your threat. They’re now accessing you as an attacker on them, which will take away from their ability to control the situation. Use your sidearm weapon to react to immediate threats, but if you’ve got distance and 3-5 seconds, assemble your carbine and control the situation from a much safer distance.
Along with having superior firepower, you will still need to be proficient both with your weapon(s) of choice, and mental preparedness. There’s many companies and individuals out there that offer training in the exact scenario presented above. However, no one specializes in this type of training like our personal recommendation: Tactical Response Solutions LLC. Owner/operator Brian Stutes is a U.S. Navy Vet, and specializes in training civilians, educators, and law enforcement officers in active shooters situations. Brian@TACResponseSolutions.com
Now let’s cover why the Breakdown Pistol is the safest weapon to put in the classroom or church pew. We understand that this isn’t a weapon that you’re going to carry on your hip. We’ve got our Glock for that. This weapon will be in a locked desk drawer, discreet backpack under the educator’s desk, or even a lunch box. First, let’s assume that for what ever reason, a young student (10 years old) gets a hold of your Glock handgun. It doesn’t take any training for that young person to pick up that handgun and pull the trigger, injuring/killing themselves or some one else. If this same young child, gets their hands on a Breakdown AR pistol, they will have no idea how to assemble it without first being instructed by a professional. Granted this training takes less than 30 minutes to become proficient, for someone who has never seen or been instructed on how to assemble this weapon, they will basically be holding an odd looking piece of metal. The AR Breakdown Pistol is without a doubt, the most effective and safest weapon anyone could possess in an active shooter situation.
Now that we’ve discussed why the American Resistance Breakdown AR Pistols are crucial, lets touch on weapon specifications. Keep in mind that these can be built in 1000’s of different configurations. What we have come up with is not only the most cost effective, but allows even the most novice shooter to operate the weapon without having to spend hundreds of hours on the range getting proficient. The base of the platform remains the same no matter if it’s a $1000 or $4000. This is the system we have appropriately named “The Educator”. It uses our AR Glock Magazine Last Round Bolt Hold Open lower receiver. Yes, you read that correctly! Our 9mm “Educator” uses the same magazine and ammunition as your Glock handgun. For optics, we’ve opted to use the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 Red-Dot optic for 3 very valuable reasons. First is usability. Unlike iron sights or polymer flip sights, you don’t need a lot of range time to look through the optic, put the red dot on the target, and pull the trigger. Iron sights require quite a bit of training to use effectively. They are also fairly difficult to aim in quickly. Iron sights require a couple seconds to line up your eye to the rear sight, then the front sight, then the intended target. With the Romeo 5, there’s no “eye relief” or specific distance that your eye needs to be from the optic. It’s a simple point and shoot system. Simply put the red dot on your intended target, and pull the trigger. Next, the Romeo 5 comes standard with more than enough battery power (40,000+ hours). It uses a power saving mode. This means you don’t have to manually turn your optic off when not using it. The optic will turn itself off when not in use, and when you pick up the weapon to use it, the Romeo 5 will automatically turn itself on. This eliminates fumbling with small buttons in a mentally and physically stressful situation. Lastly, is the size of the optic. It would make no sense to have compact weapon system and mount a massive sized optic on top of it. The Romeo 5 is only 2.5″ long and 2.5″ tall, making it one of the smallest optics available.
Loading the weapon and getting it ready to be fired was our next mission. How do we make this easy and painless for someone who doesn’t have 5 years of experience with shooting? AR15’s have traditionally used charging handles that are known to be at best, awkward to use even for avid shooters. The “Educator” comes standard with Devil Dog Concept’s “Hard Charger” side charging handle. The DDC HC takes the awkward position of the charging handle and moves it to the side of the weapon with an over-sized handle to make loading the weapon an obvious and natural motion. For females in particular who have longer fingernails, the DDC eliminates the painful motion of breaking fingernails using the old standard charging handle method. It’s not that we’re trying to save a pretty nail job, but breaking off a fingernail during an active shooter event, only adds a unneeded variable to an already stressful situation.
For the trigger, we kept it standard with a Mil-Spec 6lb pull. For those of us that have built plenty of AR’s, we know that we can get down to 2 or 3lbs. Having a light weight trigger for a competition or long range precision weapon is one of the best upgrades for your AR. However, having a light trigger pull in a stressful situation can prove to be more dangerous than anything. With the 6lb pull weight, we’ve drastically lowered the possibility of accidental discharges. To discharge a weapon with a 6lb or heavier trigger, it has to be intentional.
The American Resistance AR Breakdown Pistol is extremely ergonomic and fundamentally simplistic to operate, even for beginner lever shooters. When your life and those you care about depend on how well you prepared, don’t get caught with a half thought out plan. Make sure you have the only weapon on the market that takes evil by surprise at a moments notice.
- 10.5″ Barrel by American Resistance
- Forged mil-spec upper receiver and lower receiver
- DDC Side Charger
- Sig Sauer Romeo 5 Optic
- 6lb trigger pull
- SB Tactical Stabilizing brace
- Cry Havoc Tactical QRB Barrel Takedown System
- Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter
Weight Loaded: 8.5lbs
Length when Broken Down: 9″
Length when assembled: 24″
Width when Broken Down: 4″
Height From bottom of grip to top of Romeo 5 optic: 9″
After over 15 years of building, shooting, and training with M16/A15 platforms, I’ve narrowed it down to the most reliable, rugged build, that you can do yourself. With these parts, you will come out with a build that in my opinion gives companies like LWRC and Daniel Defense a run for their money. This is a combination of parts from various manufacturers. We will start with the lower receiver.
I use my own “American Resistance/556Guys” lowers (https://americanresistancegear.com/product/556guysamerican-resistance-lower-receiver/ ). Ours are mil-spec forged, and have an added bonus of M16 pockets for the fire control group.
Anderson mil-spec upper receiver. Nothing special about their uppers, other than they fit great and I’ve never gotten one that’s been out of spec. For the BCG, I run a Nickel Boron coated M16 BCG from American Resistance https://americanresistancegear.com/product/american-resistance-nib-bolt-carrier-group/
HandGuard is made by Bravo Company. This is the KMR Alpha Keymod 15″. I also prefer the Troy Alpha Rail.
ButtStock and pistol grip are both made by Hogue. I choose these based on personal preference of how they feel. The Hogue stock won my heart due to the fact that it doesn’t pull out my facial hair while cheeking the rifle.
ALWAYS USE A MILSPEC BUFFER TUBE!!!! This will save you some frustration later.
I run an American Resistance billet oversized triggerguard as well https://americanresistancegear.com/product/ar-billet-trigger-guard-extended/
Optics like most AR accessories, are extremely preference driven. For me, it’s the Burris MTAC 1-4X24 rifle scope https://americanresistancegear.com/product/burris-mtac-1-4x24mm-rifle-scope-illuminated-ballistic-ar-reticle-matte-combo/. There’s a bunch of factors that make this optic number 1. At a price of $600, it has it all. Scope, one piece mount, red dot, and night vision compatible. The 1-4X24 scope can be set to 1 power, turn on the illuminated reticle, and it can be used like a red dot optic. No eye relief needed when using it like this. The glass is fantastic as well. It comes with a Fast Fire 3, which in my opinion, isn’t really needed on the rifle. You can take it off and use it on your Glock or some other weapon. I’ve Cerakote’d mine, thrown it around in the truck and abused it at the range and it’s never lost zero in over 3 years! It adds a bit more weight, but not enough to disregard it as a positive choice for optics.
For a charging handle, I opted for the Side Charging Devil Dog Concepts Hard Charger Rear https://americanresistancegear.com/product/devil-dog-concepts-hard-charger-hcr-rear-mount/. With the optics I’m using, this allows me to charge the weapon without fishing under the scope.
An A2 flash hider is all you need. The 223/556 doesn’t have enough kick to justify a muzzle brake in my opinion.
Lancer is my choice for mags. I like the metal feed lips. Haven’t seen a single issue with them in the last year+ so I’m sticking with them.
Now lets get down to the meat and potatoes of any AR build: The trigger and barrel.
Spikes Tactical’s 16″ Cold Hammer Forged barrel is by far the best I’ve tested. You can’t destroy these things. Since this barrel is a midlength gas system, you will want to run a H2 buffer. You don’t have to, but it’s ok to go up in weight on your buffer, it’s when you go down in weight that it can be problematic. This heavier weight will also help if you run a suppressor on your weapon.
For the last 3 years I’ve been using a Geiselle SSA-E 2 stage trigger. Well, I’m a bit let down with it. The 2 stage aspect of it quit. Sometimes it’s a 2 stage, and sometimes it’s a single stage. This is the second one that’s done this to me, so I’m quitting the 2 stage. I’ve been trying out the Hiperfire HiperTouch 243G https://americanresistancegear.com/product/hiperfire-243g/ for a few years now and it’s really proven to be the best trigger on the market. It’s fully adjustable from 2.5lb-5lbs. Every Hiperfire trigger I’ve used has shocked me at how crisp, clean, and solid they are. They don’t come with any gimmicky crap either. They’re just a badass trigger. On a side note, their customer service is second to none.
All in all, this set up has never given me a fail to feed, fail to eject, fail to shoot, light strikes, or any malfunctions while firing suppressed. When it comes to building AR’s, you get what you pay for. I understand you can build one on a budget and it can run perfect. However, when you put the extra though and money in it, you will notice the difference.
WHAT DOES A.R. STAND FOR? ADDICTIVE RIFLE.
Just got our first shipment of Dead Foot Arms’ (DFA) side folders this week. These things are impressive! Installation is as easy as they make it sound and look. Took less than 5 minutes to remove the old buffer system/bcg and install the new DFA from start to finish. We built the first one up on a 10.5″ 556/223 AR pistol for our test run. For the last couple days we have run a couple hundred rounds through this weapon and not a single issue has come up. DFA made these surprisingly sturdy and easy to operate. The locking mechanism is firm and has zero slack or wobble to it. This is one of those items that I will enthusiastically recommend to anyone for their AR.
Here’s a list of notable mentions from our first week with them:
- We got the Nitride BCG with ours, and even without lube, the action is extremely smooth and surprisingly quiet.
- Unlocking and locking the folder is easy and ergonomic for the shooter
- Even on a 7.5″ barrel, the DFA will allow for a forward grip, without a tax stamp, due to the total length being 26″ or more.
- Price point is right where it needs to be. It sounds expensive, but considering that the BCG comes with the kit, it’s really not bad at all for what you get.
- Customer service from the reps at DFA is fantastic!
Closing remarks: Get one! This a must have for Carbine length or pistol AR’s both in rifle and pistol calibers.
Click here to buy now!
I’ve had lots of questions on the breakdown AR pistol in regards to the 9mm version. Yes it can be done, and it’s actually my preferred caliber for it. My choice on 9mm is the CMMG MK9 lower. I know that most consumers out there today like the Glock magazine lowers because they already carry a Glock handgun as their everyday carry and so they have plenty of mags for it. I do too, however I like the cheaper magazines for the CMMG, usually around $15 retail for the 32rd ASC mags, and $40 for the Glock 30rd mags. Also, the CMMG lower will lock the bolt carrier group to the rear after the last shot, without having to tinker with it. For some shooters, they don’t care if it locks after the last round, and that’s fine, it’s all preference. Now, on to the meat and potatoes. The Law Tactical folding stock adapter is a must for this setup and requires you to use the adapter piece that inserts into the bolt carrier group. This can be problematic for some Glock BCG’s. Because all the 9mm BCG’s that I’ve seen, are solid in
cerakote: sig pink & graphite black
back-end for added weight due to the blowback system. you’ll need a BCG that has the removable internal piece. Glock mag lowers (sometimes) have a completely removable backside, and cannot be used with a Law Tactical Folding stock adapter. All CMMG 9mm BCG have the “correct” backside, however, you will need a lathe to cut a portion of the BCG off to make room for the Law Tactical adapter. Now for the Pantheon Arms “Dolos” quick detach kit. This kit is designed for gas impingement, and requires a gas block and tube for the Dolo’s to work properly. Given that the AR 9mm is blowback, you will have to install a gas block and tube so that it works correctly. What I do is cut the gas tube off just inside the hand guard so that none of it is exposed outside the Dolo’s kit, and it’s one less thing to bend or break. I’ve built over 20 of these breakdown pistols, and from my experience, the 556/223 version has had the most complaints. If you do it on a 7.5″ 556/223, it’s loud as hell. If you don’t wear ear plugs while shooting it, you’ll never need them again. The 556/223 version is also a pistol gas system, which is very high pressure and very abusive to the weapon, which will require some periodic maintenance to keep it running efficiently. I highly recommend running a 9mm weight buffer with the 556/223 7.5″ to soften the abuse and lessen the recoil. The 9mm version, is a blowback system, and I’ve yet to have an issue out of any of them. What’s even better, is I’m about 7000 rounds deep on one of the 9mm’s, and what I’ve come to find out, is this weapon prefers CCI Blazer Aluminum case ammo. It’s not too often you get an American made gun that performs better with cheap ammo or something other than a brass case. The downside to the 9mm breakdown pistol: It cost about $400 more to build, but the ammo is cheaper, so over time it should balance back out ( depends how much you shoot). And one last kicker for the 9mm: it’s not near as loud as its 556/223 counterpart. Also, try to use MilSpec triggers with 9mm, they are picky and I’ve found milspec triggers are far more reliable.