setting up an AR for a carbine class?


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Billmanweh
March 15, 2005, 11:25 PM
I'm just getting my first AR put together and I'm planning to get some training and probably a carbine class at some point. I just have almost no experience with rifles and I'd like to get a leg up before I develop bad habits.

Anyhow, here's what I've got right now...

RRA Complete Lower with a RRA 6 pos Collapsible Stock
RRA FT Upper Receiver
RRA B/BC and DPMS CH
Chrome lined midlength barrel that's turned under the handguards, threaded for the FH, and midlength handguards
Delta Ring Kit and Gas Tube
Phantom 5C2 FH
A.R.M.S. #40L BUIS
some 30rd mags from Brownells

I know I need a sling, but I'm pretty clueless as to which one to get. Is there anything else (besides a case of ammo) I might pick up before I do a class or some training? Accessories, or any little tweak I might add?

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RRTX
March 15, 2005, 11:48 PM
Talk to Techbrute for sling ideas. I haven't done any formal classes besides stuff in the military, but I'm sure people that have been to classes will agree that keeping it simple is your best bet. The more fancy stuff you have, the more stuff there is to break. I think your setup is probably just about ideal for a beginner class, add a good sling and you are good to go. All the go fast goodies can come later, once you can shoot a stock rifle well the other stuff will be easier to learn with later.

garrettwc
March 16, 2005, 12:42 AM
RRTX is right on target.

I read an article by Pat Rogers, and it seems that the most important option on the carbine is reliability. Spend your time and money working the kinks out of your gun until it is 100% reliable. Make sure all your mags are working properly.

For a basic carbine class, lots of gadgets, or iffy reliability, are distractions that will keep you from getting the most out of the class.

GBTx01
March 16, 2005, 01:00 AM
I agree with what has been said. I would recommend that you get some sort of Mag holder. There are a number on the market from Kydex to Nylon to the always available back pocket.
Check with where you are doing the course but many courses include a little pistol integration for transition. Depending on the school it may be covered in the intermediate course.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 16, 2005, 10:27 AM
It sounds like you have a good basic rifle setup. What you need to work on now is making sure that this setup is reliable. You will be paying money for formal training and troubleshooting ARs on the line wastes everybody's time.

I know I need a sling, but I'm pretty clueless as to which one to get.

If your budget will allow it, take a look at the Blue Force SOC sling (http://www.adcofirearms.com/acc/blueforce.cfm). It configures as a three-point, two-point, or single point sling and with the "contractor" kit is adaptable to almost any weapon.

However, if you are like the rest of us and have money as a major concern, I've found the JPS Patrol Slings sold by Bushmaster, the Israeli IDF slings, and the Boonie Packer 2-point slings to be very affordable two-point rigs that will allow pistol transitions and can still be used as a traditional two-point sling. They will not hang up on gear as much as a 3-point sling and they secure the weapon better than single-point slings - plus they do it cheap ( ~$20). The price for all this versatility is the usual "jack of all trades, master of none" issue.

Is there anything else (besides a case of ammo) I might pick up before I do a class or some training? Accessories, or any little tweak I might add?

Do a quick search of THR as I know the subject has come up before and there are some very good posts on it. One thing you might want to look at is a "gapper" or grip that fills the small hole between the trigger guard and A2 grip. If you are taking a class and using the rifle a lot all day long, some people wear a good blister on the middle finger of their shooting hand. Not everybody has the problem; but some do. Also look at some nomex flight gloves, especially if you are taking a class in the Texas summer. It doesn't take long for the guns to get pretty warm and the flight gloves can make shooting more comfortable.

You will also want to look at a way to carry magazines for class. There are a thousand different options here depending on how much you want to spend and what your needs are. Like most gun stuff, there are drawbacks and advantages to everything.

I took two formal classes using nothing more than a magazine in my back pocket as a handy reload. This is convenient and cheap (and even works well as long as you don't jam a magazine filled with pocket lint into your gun); but is only practical if the firing line is very close to where you are stowing the rest of your gear and ammo.

I'm taking a carbine course with Tac-Pro Shooting Center this year and was advised that something more than a back pocket would be desirable, so I've been trying to solve the "how to carry gear" issue and it is much more perplexing than sorting out a rifle for me. Right now I will probably be using a chest rig just for the convenience.

444
March 16, 2005, 12:19 PM
Where you take the carbine class (who teaches it) has a lot of bearing on what you will need. I have taken several carbine classes at both Gunsite and Frontsight. At Frontsight you would be fine carrying one extra magazine in your back pocket. At Gunsite, you would be at a huge disadvantage and I honestly don't think it would be worth taking the class like that. At Gunsite, I carried as much ammo as I could: at least six 30 round magazines and still ran out.
One item you really need is a LULA: http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/magazines/8448670-lula.asp
When most people shoot recreationally, they load a magazine and shoot the gun until it is empty, then reload the gun and keep going. THis is considered very bad form in a defensive situation. One of the big lessons taught in formal classes is that you keep you gun fully loaded when ever possible. If you engage a bad guy and things settle down, you reload your weapon as soon as you think it is safe to do. You might have fired one round, you might have fired 15 rounds, odds are you really have no idea how many rounds you fired: you fired as many as it took. If you need your weapon again, you want it fully loaded. Anyway, when you come off the line, you are going to have a bunch of partially loaded magazines. You need to top them off. Sometimes you want to quickly unload a magazine and put it's contents into another partial magazine. Whatever: in a class you are doing a lot of loading and unloading and this tool speeds things up and saves a lot of wear on your fingers. You will be happy with it.
Looking at your gear, IMO you need three main things. A sling, an optic, and a light. Along with magazine pouches, plenty of magazines, and the LULA.
In all the classes I have taken, I got tired physically (and mentally). You spend a lot of time standing on the firing line with your weapon in your hands. Again, this isn't plinking out on the back 40 where you can just set your gun down. You need to have a tac sling to support the gun to give you arms a break. A carry strap doesn't get it. You need to be able to have the gun in the low ready (cheating low ready to get a little rest) and have some of the weight supported by the sling. I prefer a single point sling, specifically the one by The Wilderness. I have used that single point sling in four carbine classes and two shotgun classes. That is something like a total of 27 days of at least eight hours a day carrying a weapon on a sling: my choice has been tested.
Optic: You will quickly appreciate an optic both day and night. The one to buy is the Aimpoint ML2 or ML3.
Light: all the classes I have taken have included at least one night shoot. You will need some kind of light that you can use while you are running the carbine. I choose a Surefire 900 series weaponslight, you can get by with less, but it needs to be something LIKE a smallish "tactical" flashlight. Big Maglites and stuff like that are not the way to go.

As was mentioned, this has been covered numerous times: do a search and you will find some reading material.

Billmanweh
March 16, 2005, 12:38 PM
I prefer a single point sling, specifically the one by The Wilderness. I have used that single point sling in four carbine classes and two shotgun classes. That is something like a total of 27 days of at least eight hours a day carrying a weapon on a sling: my choice has been tested.

Optic: You will quickly appreciate an optic both day and night. The one to buy is the Aimpoint ML2 or ML3.

Light: all the classes I have taken have included at least one night shoot. You will need some kind of light that you can use while you are running the carbine. I choose a Surefire 900 series weaponslight, you can get by with less, but it needs to be something LIKE a smallish "tactical" flashlight.


I'll probably end up getting an Aimpoint and a Surefire once I've spent a little time getting to know how to use the rifle first.

Is this the sling you're referring to?

http://thewilderness.com/catalog/default.php/cPath/1_8

Thanks!

444
March 16, 2005, 12:51 PM
Yes

Bartholomew Roberts
March 16, 2005, 01:06 PM
Keep in mind, the cost will be more than just the sling since you will also need a sling mount for the singlepoint sling. I run a Specter MOUT sling most of the time myself and they are great for range or 3-gun use. However, if you are attending a Thunder Ranch style course where they have you climbing ladders or conducting any type of movement where the weapon needs to be more secure, the singlepoint sling will allow the weapon to swing around like a big weight on the end of a rope (unless you also invest in some type of weapons catch). Your weapon will also end up muzzle first in gravel or dirt the first time you bend over to pick something up if you aren't careful.

The three 2-point slings I mentioned will allow you the same options 444 mentioned (taking the weight off your shoulders, transitions) and will provide more secure carry as well. Some of them rely on a nylon to attach around the front handguard and may not play nicely with hot aluminium rails. But with standard handguards, they will work just fine.

For an example, the Boonie Packer (http://www.redi-mag.com/2psling.php) runs $13 and with the 1.5" webbing is more comfortable than many thinner single-points as it distributes the load better.

The JFS Patrol Sling (http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/slings/std-bp42-bk.asp) at $23.95 is an excellent product that I own myself and have been very happy with. The only reason it isn't still on the rifle is because the nylon collar melts off when the RAS gets hot.

The Israeli IDF sling (http://www.practicaltactical.net/html/idf_sling.html) runs $25 and is the most comfortable of them all since they use a padded 2" wide strap; but not quite as flexible as the other two mentioned above.

I own a Specter MOUT singlepoint, Specter SOP 3-point, and JFS Patrol sling so I've had some time with all three systems and the two-points listed above will provide a wide range of utility compared to more specialized single or three point slings.

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