Much of my attention that day was spent on these weapons – the FN Mk46 Mod 0 and Mk48 Mod 0. Both weapons have an aura of mystique that the standard M249 doesn’t, mainly because they were developed for SOCOM (Special Operations Command) to meet the needs of Special Operations Forces, most visibly the U.S. Navy SEALs. Truly the definitive ‘exotic’ weapons. Actually, my first encounter with these weapons was at the SEAL compound in Coronado, where I took these photos. But while I got a chance to examine and handle them, I didn’t get to shoot them. I really digged the lightweight and compact Mk46, so when Eric told me that Vltor had bought both weapons, I was very excited to get the chance to shoot them to my heart’s content.
TAD Gear has released the newest evolution of their popular Force 10 Cargo Utilities – the 2007 model in Crye MultiCam. Constructed of the 8.5oz MIL-PRF-MCCUU 50% Nylon 50% Cotton heavier weight twill (same as used on the Crye Precision Field pants), these TAD gear ‘black label’ Force 10′s are laden with features and made in the U.S.A.
OR Gear’s pack cover is a lightweight, durable, waterproof cover designed to keep your pack dry in wet weather. It’s made out of coyote tan HyrdoLite â„¢ waterproof, coated fabric. It comes in its own pouch that can be attached to the PALS webbing on the outside of a pack, using OR Gear’s Qik-StikÂ® attachment system. It’s a good idea to keep it easily accessible, ready to be deployed at the first sign of rain. The cover actually compresses into a smaller package than the pouch, and can fit into a smaller one if need be.
The MCTAR-17 2-piece Carbine Forearm from Midwest Industries, Inc is a very reasonably priced option for the shooter who wants a rail system for his carbine, but doesn’t want to alter the host weapon, or require gunsmithing. It’s also M203 or shotgun compatible with the bottom rail removed.
The MCTAR-17 is made from the same size extrusion as the MCTAR-22 free float handguard reviewed above, and shares the same cross-section: outside measurement across rails was about 2.45″ – same height and width. The other features are also shared – crisp T-numbering on all four Picatinny rails and large holes for ventilation. The forearm has two pieces; the upper and lower half. At the front of the forearm are semi-circular rings which slip into the front handguard retaining cap. At the rear are rings which are grooved to fit around the barrel nut, and secured by the delta ring.
There are typically 3 different common types of muzzle devices – flash hiders, comps/ brakes and combinations of the two. A flash hider is designed to suppress the flash coming out of the muzzle, for the purpose of reducing the signature of the shooter to the enemy. Compensators/brakes can be designed to reduce felt recoil, and/or muzzle ‘jump/rise’. This is usually achieved by redirecting the expanding gases leaving the barrel at an angle to the bore. The expanding gases act like ‘jets’, and exert a force on the compensator and barrel. The idea is to figure out how the muzzle moves when the weapon is fired, then engineer the compensator to counteract and reduce that movement as much as possible. Every movement of the barrel requires a corrective/reactive movement on the shooter’s part. Reducing that means less time spent getting back on target or moving on to the next one.
A new helmet retention system for the ACH/MICH is available from Ops-Core, based in Boston. The guys from Crye Precision recommended that I check out their stuff, so I contacted them about the products shown here. Dubbed the Head-Loc Retention System, Ops-Core offers four-point X and H-harness configurations. Note that the H Head-Loc shown here was a Nomex prototype, and is not representative of the tan colour that the production version will have. I’ll update this writeup when the tan H-harness becomes available.
Outdoor Research, or OR Gear is a leader in the outdoor equipment industry, with both civilian and government product lines. OR manufactures a wide variety of outdoor products, including those shown below.
SG Water Bottle Parka, 1L – The SG Water Bottle Parka is sized to fit a 1L Nalgene bottle, and designed to insulate it at extreme temperatures. It’ll keep water from freezing in cold temperatures and keep liquids cool in hot weather. The bottle is insulatedby foam on all sides and the coated shell fabric resists abrasion and inclement weather. It has a zipper top lid, and outside dimensions are about 8″ high and 4.25″ in diameter. It uses a Quik-StikÂ® attachment method, which is molle compatible. Two bars are weaved through molle webbing and secured with velcro. I discovered that the SG Water Bottle Parka would also fit the Jetboil system. It’s a snug fit that compresses the foam insulation, but works well. I’d like to see it in other colours besides black.
Midlength VIS build – The reason I hadn’t gotten a VIS when they came out was that I was waiting for Vltor’s new gas block/flip up front sight assembly. My patience paid off, and Eric put this together for me. It’s a Wilson 1/8 16″ stainless barrel re-contoured with a continuous taper (to the gas block) per Eric’s specs. Ops-Inc shoulder and mid-length gas system. Illustrated below with a couple of different optics; a Trijicon TA01NSN and a Nightforce 2.5-10 x 24 NXS scope. It’s going to be set up as a ‘recce’ upper with the ACOG.
PREVIEW – Vltor Weapons Systems will debut their new M4K upper at the 2007 SHOT show. It’s built on a Vltor VIS-1, carbine length Bi-lithic upper receiver. The M4K enables an M203 to be mounted on a shorter barrel than an M4, resulting in a more compact package when maneuverability and compactness is a priority. It accomplishes that with a modified M4 barrel, and proprietary flash hider. Also shown is the new Vltor gas block with integral front sight.
There’s just something about belt-fed weapons that holds people’s fascination that other weapons don’t. Maybe it’s the image of exposed links of ammunition that cast no doubt about what these devices are fed. Whether it be the cloth belts of the Vickers, or belts of 7.62mm slung around the necks of M60 gunners in Vietnam, we’ve grown up with images of what we think machine guns are supposed to look like. And they all have belts. Seeing a seemingly unending belt of ammunition hanging from a feed port of a machine gun has the intimidation factor that magazine fed rifles don’t. Belt feds look like they’re just waiting to unleash hell.