Is bolt assist on AR really needed?


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BSA1
August 19, 2013, 12:37 PM
Just before the banic hit I was considering purchasing a S&W Sporter which as we know does not come with bolt assist.

When talking to my son who is active USA he said he has used the bolt assist on occasion but he is not in a combat unit. He says the AR's they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used.

However in the civilian market we have much more control over the quality of our guns and ammunition which leads me to ask if the bolt assist really needed for civilian use. Obviously S&W does not.

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Fishbed77
August 19, 2013, 12:50 PM
However in the civilian market we have much more control over the quality of our guns and ammunition which leads me to ask if the bolt assist really needed for civilian use. Obviously S&W does not.

The forward assist was removed from the S&W M&P-15 Sport to help it hit a price point.

I wouldn't read any more into it than that.

Tommygunn
August 19, 2013, 01:02 PM
Like a fire extinguisher it has no use until it's needed.
Then you need it.
A clean well lubed rifle in good condition will probably never need it.
Dirt, wear, and so forth may cause problems the assist may help with.
Keep in mind one thing; it's there because the actuator on the AR is behind the carry handle and is separate from the BCG and the bolt. There is no way it could be used as an assist.
While older military rifles such as the M-14, the Garand and the M-1 carbine did not have AR-like "assists" they didn't need them -- the actuator was on the right side and part of the bolt actuator/cam that was used to charge the weapon; if those guns didn't come to full battery you whacked that actuator with the palm of your hand.
An act hopefully as rare as the use of the AR assist ... but likely for similar reasons.

JShirley
August 19, 2013, 01:05 PM
No. If a round doesn't seat just by fully retracting the bolt and releasing, you have a problem. Remove the round.

John

MartinS
August 19, 2013, 01:08 PM
"...he has used the bolt assist on occasion..." Listen to him.

wally
August 19, 2013, 01:19 PM
IMHO its a cure worse than the disease. If a round doesn't enter the chamber freely, pounding it in with the FA will likely make matters worse. On a military weapon I could imagine a situation where one last shot could be a life saver and if it doesn't do the job lack of a follow-up wouldn't matter, but in general if you need to use it you may need tools to get another shot from your rifle.

I'd think it'd better to transition to the pistol instead of hammering in a round with the FA if you wouldn't have time to eject and try a fresh round.

moxie
August 19, 2013, 01:36 PM
Ages ago. We didn't have forward assist on our M-16s. I personally never felt the need for one. In the rare case of a round not going fully into battery, it makes more sense to me to eject the round and try again with a new one. I remember when they started appearing, thinking, hmm, what have I been missing? Couldn't figure it out.

Now all AR-type guns have BFA, except for the exceptions like the Sporter. I still have never felt the need to use one. Might be useful in a rare combat scenario, in which case, given the option, I'd want one. But otherwise it's pretty much useless.

DPris
August 19, 2013, 01:39 PM
Having started out on original M16s without the FA, I don't feel the least bit embarrassed to say it IS needed on MY ARs. :)
My first AR did not have one & it was traded off in favor of one that did.
Denis

mr.trooper
August 19, 2013, 01:42 PM
Not needed IMO.

If you have a failure, your responce should be an imediate action drill, not to cram on the FA.

BSA1
August 19, 2013, 01:45 PM
"...he has used the bolt assist on occasion..." Listen to him.

I am. He says "the AR's (actually M-16 for the purists) they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used."

Those issues do not apply to apply to most civilian shooters.

Also AK and Mini 14 don't have the feature either.

The forward assist was removed from the S&W M&P-15 Sport to help it hit a price point.

Hey I have no problem saving some bucks as long as it is reliable weapon in normal civilian usage which in my case means I am too old and fat to go crawling around in mud and sand.

wally
August 19, 2013, 01:53 PM
Also AK and Mini 14 don't have the feature either.

They have a "fixed" bolt handle, same as the M14(M1A), Garrand, & M1 Carbine, but again hammering in a round is unlikely to be a more than a single shot "solution".

I've never used the FA on any of my ARs, not missed it a bit on the two that don't have it (they stack in the safe a whole lot better), and never used the bolt handle as a FA on an AK, M1A, or Mini-14.

Edit: I have used the bolt handle to hammer out a stuck round on an AK with the assistance of a rock :)
With an AR if long brass rod time, if the "pogo bounce" doesn't do the trick.

gotigers
August 19, 2013, 01:55 PM
I am a recreational/match shooter only. I don't have a need for it. I see no reason not to buy a S&W sport for the same type of shooting.

Hanzo581
August 19, 2013, 01:56 PM
Well what's this rifle for? If it is just for target shooting I'd go with the Sporter. If it is something you want to bet your life on in a defensive situation I'd go with one with the forward assist and dust cover.

R.W.Dale
August 19, 2013, 01:59 PM
[B]".

Also AK and Mini 14 don't have the feature either.



Yes they do.

It's called a "bolt handle" and it gives you Means by which you can manipulate the bolt in EITHER direction.

On the AR the charging handle can only work one way. This said on an AR a round not fully clambering is telling you to GET IT OUT! Not JAM IT IN FURTHER

cdb1
August 19, 2013, 02:04 PM
My FFL is a former marine and he told me never to use the FA unless it was an emergency. Didn't ask him why but got the impression it isn't good for the rifle.

Reloadron
August 19, 2013, 02:18 PM
Just before the banic hit I was considering purchasing a S&W Sporter which as we know does not come with bolt assist.

When talking to my son who is active USA he said he has used the bolt assist on occasion but he is not in a combat unit. He says the AR's they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used.

However in the civilian market we have much more control over the quality of our guns and ammunition which leads me to ask if the bolt assist really needed for civilian use. Obviously S&W does not.
This is a good read on the subject. (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/11/foghorn/ask-foghorn-what-does-a-forward-assist-do/) Good because it includes the why in the evolution of the forward assist.

Ron

ATLDave
August 19, 2013, 02:18 PM
FWIW, Eugene Stoner did NOT like/design the forward assist. So, the guy who invented the AR did not believe in them.

adelbridge
August 19, 2013, 02:40 PM
I use mine often. I hunt with my AR-10 and I baby the bolt shut so not to make any noise. I use the FA to make sure bolt is closed. On the LR308 version the FA is the shell deflector. A lot of big money swat style ARs are slick sides. Slick sides carry much easier as they don't snag on clothes. You can use your thumb to push the bolt forward and it is just the right amount of pressure to keep you from chambering a round that shouldnt go.

Dave Rishar
August 19, 2013, 04:09 PM
No. I have an analogy for why, but it's slightly racy and may not be appropriate for this forum. PM me if you really want to know. It's slightly humorous.

As has already been mentioned in this thread, if the round doesn't want to go in, stop and find out why. Forcing things where they don't want to go rarely corrects the problem, and in fact usually makes things worse.

Can a forward assist be useful? Yes. Adelbridge mentioned one way in the post just before mine. But it's not needed.

YZ
August 19, 2013, 04:41 PM
Not needed. But it is so identified with the M16 that it is still replicated in modern semi-auto clones for the sake of "authenticity". Some 22LR versions keep an entirely cosmetic forward assist, like the fake air gills in a sports car.

Fishbed77
August 19, 2013, 04:45 PM
They have a "fixed" bolt handle, same as the M14(M1A), Garand, & M1 Carbine, but again hammering in a round is unlikely to be a more than a single shot "solution".

Not exactly true in the case of a Garand. Even in properly-operating Garands, a slight tap of the op-rod handle is often needed to close the action and fully chamber a round after loading a new en-bloc clip.

oldguy870
August 19, 2013, 04:49 PM
Like the previous poster said:

1. FA allows you to silently load your weapon.

Drop a round into the chamber and slowly release your bolt with the charging handle. Then, use the FA to make sure it is in place.

2. It allows you to do a chamber check silently. Same principle as above.

lpsharp88
August 19, 2013, 04:55 PM
I've got a M&P 15 Sport and could care less that it doesn't have a dust cover or a FA. Never used the FA in the military (even with the crappy A2's in basic) so really didn't see a need for one for my personal weapon. Like other people have said, no need to try and force something that doesn't wanna fit to begin with. Would probably save a big headache to eject the finicky round and chamber the next one

Sam Cade
August 19, 2013, 05:23 PM
1. FA allows you to silently load your weapon.

Drop a round into the chamber and slowly release your bolt with the charging handle. Then, use the FA to make sure it is in place.

2. It allows you to do a chamber check silently. Same principle as above.

Both of these tasks can be accomplished by pressing forward on the bolt carrier itself.

C0untZer0
August 19, 2013, 05:31 PM
I personally have never had the forward assist work for me on an M16A1.

I used to compete in rifle matches when I was in the service and I learned to just eject the round and move on.

I also would take a few extra rounds with me to the firing line because it usually happened at least once over the course of a competition that a round wouldn't chamber.

But that's just the old service rifle - there are so many different makes now of the AR, I would expect it to be different for different manufacturers.

briansmithwins
August 19, 2013, 05:40 PM
Situations like this is why a FA comes in handy:

http://youtu.be/WcfqZFWpk9s

Without utilizing the CH as a FA I wouldn't have been able to fire two rounds after the rifle was dirty.

Not all shooting happens on sunny days at the range, at known distances, at stationary targets, with a clean rifle.

BSW

Destructo6
August 19, 2013, 06:01 PM
Press Check: often the bolt will not go fully into battery after performing one. So, hammer that forward assist.

Otherwise, not so much.

arizona98tj
August 19, 2013, 06:14 PM
Not needed IMO.

If you have a failure, your responce should be an imediate action drill, not to cram on the FA.

Very, very true.

I have seen far more shooters at the range hammer on the FA and jam that round to the point where a rod down the barrel is required to drive it out than I've ever seen successfully seat a round in a dirty rifle.

That being said....if you are a soldier or a LEO or some other such occupation where you anticipate crawling around in the mud, much, sand, etc....and feel you need a FA to ensure your survival/safety, by all means make sure you have a FA on your rifle.

Me? I'm getting too old to soldier (did my service back in the '70s) and I can afford to keep my AR clean and in a reliable condition. And if one of my reloads decides it is not suitably sized to fit the chamber, I already know that smacking the FA isn't going to make my life any easier. ;) I sure wouldn't hesitate for a second to purchase a M&P Sport, without the dust cover or the FA.

plodder
August 19, 2013, 06:18 PM
I used the FA on one of my ARs once. Took me about 20 minutes to clear the jam that resulted:banghead: Since I up to this point have never experienced a mortal combat, do or die situation on the range I frequent, I think I will refrain from attempting to force a bad cartridge or load of dirt into battery position.

TexasPatriot.308
August 19, 2013, 06:25 PM
in the military, it became almost automatic (pardon the pun) to push the forward assist when you chambered the first round. I have seen couple posts abound babying the charging handle on an AR10 or bolt on mini 14, it is not really good to baby these, let the bolt shut at normal speed. if you are hunting, chamber a round and put it on safety, then go to your blind etc. when you need a forward assist, you will be gald it was there.

breakingcontact
August 19, 2013, 06:32 PM
No. If I have a round that isn't fully chambered, I'll eject that round instead of potentially seriously jamming up the rifle with a bad round.

chicharrones
August 19, 2013, 06:35 PM
I use mine often. I hunt with my AR-10 and I baby the bolt shut so not to make any noise. I use the FA to make sure bolt is closed. On the LR308 version the FA is the shell deflector. A lot of big money swat style ARs are slick sides. Slick sides carry much easier as they don't snag on clothes. You can use your thumb to push the bolt forward and it is just the right amount of pressure to keep you from chambering a round that shouldnt go.

That's the best reason I can think of for us civilian shooters. Quiet chambering. I've done it myself for the heck of it, just ride the bolt charge handle forward and give the forward assist an easy push to finish closing the bolt. It's quite slick.

Longhorn 76
August 19, 2013, 07:44 PM
If you have ever had to bump the slide of your pistol to load a round, you might want an assist.

Dr.Rob
August 19, 2013, 08:49 PM
I used my exactly 2x during 'break-in' ie first 200 rounds and never since. So probably not.

CGRifleman
August 19, 2013, 08:55 PM
I've never needed or used one on a civilian AR. The only gun I've ever used the forward assist on was an M16A2 but being that I'm in a service that is not primarily combat-oriented, our M16s look like factory seconds made from leftover parts and I've yet to see one go 300 rounds without malfing.

benEzra
August 19, 2013, 11:11 PM
They are useful when doing a press check on a civilian AR, but as others have mentioned you can also ensure the bolt is back in battery simply by pushing on the bolt carrier. However, having a forward assist keeps oil/grime off your thumb and is a little quicker. Loading the chamber by riding the charging handle, then using the FA to seat the extractor over the rim, is also easier on ammo (keeps the firing pin from dinging the primer).

TexasPatriot.308
August 19, 2013, 11:33 PM
I keep hearing references to a "civilian" situation, in rapid fire combat with grit etc. building up...... you will need the forward assist.... and "riding" a charging handle is never recommended or ever good.....they serve a purpose.....use common sense.

Arizona_Mike
August 20, 2013, 02:24 AM
Whether you are target shooting, hunting, or on a two way range, you are much better dumping a bad round than forcing it.

I can see two situations, both not civilian.

1. Very dirty chamber from a prolonged engagement.
2. Loading silently by holding back the charging handle then seating the extractor over the rim with the FA.

Mike

kingcheese
August 20, 2013, 08:11 AM
the way I see it, the m16, M&A, and ar platforms wouldn't have ever gotten the forward assist if there wasn't a real problem present, you may never actually need it, but your gonna hate not having it if youever do, its not like you can slap your charging handle to help the bolt seat properly

skoro
August 20, 2013, 10:48 AM
It was on the M-16a1 back in the day...

X-Rap
August 20, 2013, 12:00 PM
My son who is a combat vet of recent wars agrees with JShirley and others in the clear and recharge and his given reason is that the bolt will properly chamber a round and if not forcing the FA might render the gun totally useless.
I like it for reasons stated regarding quieting down the noise by riding the bolt and then locking it up with the FA. I use this technique while hunting and it works fine. It seems that the dust covers and FA come as a pair on many of the uppers I see and the dust cover is a must for me as it can take a reliable rifle and make it not so much if crap gets in there.

velocette
August 20, 2013, 12:18 PM
I see fairly regularly at the large municipal range that I work part time at, live round jammed AR rifles. Usually due to steel cased ammo or gun show reloads.
(Don't get me started on them.)
If the shooter has assaulted the forward assist, then clearing the jam is a lot more difficult and brutal. If we cannot open the action, a rod down the bore will NOT move the round. Banging the firearm's butt on the ground seems to be the only way to clear it. Not a good thing to do with a loaded rifle and one done very carefully.
FA's might be worthy in rare circumstances, but for the huge majority they will cause far more problems than they ever might cure.

Roger

Welding Rod
August 20, 2013, 12:57 PM
I would rather have no flash suppressor than a 3 prong flash suppressor because using one to break bands on crates might bend the barrel.

Vern Humphrey
August 20, 2013, 01:17 PM
Ages ago. We didn't have forward assist on our M-16s.
That's the Air Force version (although some leaked to other services.) The M16A1 was the first version with the forward assist, and it was needed.

One use was when crossing water (a rice paddy, stream, etc.) it was SOP to "crack" the bolt to let water drain from the barrel -- then use the forward assist to ensure the bolt was fully closed and locked.

Bobson
August 20, 2013, 05:50 PM
No. If a round doesn't seat just by fully retracting the bolt and releasing, you have a problem. Remove the round.

John
John, I know you're a combat vet. I'm an Air Force vet and my brother was an infantry squad leader in the Marine Corps. Why does the military teach the use of the FA if the best thing to do is to simply remove the round and move on? This isn't my way of suggesting you're wrong - I'm just curious why the inconsistent teaching exists.

jmr40
August 20, 2013, 06:04 PM
I almost never shift my truck into 4X4. But when I need it, I need it bad. I'd rather have it, and never need it, than not have it, and find I do need it.

Riomouse911
August 20, 2013, 06:10 PM
I have used the FA once..maybe twice, in 25 years of shooting them. Not really needed for non-combat guns, IMHO.

jaytex1969
August 20, 2013, 08:45 PM
If you have a failure, your response should be an immediate action drill, not to cram on the FA.

I spent 7 years in the Infantry with M16/203's in various states of use/abuse/decay.

Most of that time was in the swamps of Georgia, with numerous trips to the Mojave desert for training and the 7 months of Desert Shield/Storm. (all nasty environs for your weapon)

My forward assist was quite valuable on numerous occasions. There is not always time for the immediate action drill for THAT shot.

The immediate action drill we were taught to use, in fact, included the FA in the sequence. We used the "acronym" of "S.P.O.R.T.S."

Slap the magazine upward
Pull the charging handle to the rear
Observe the ejected round
Release the charging handle forward
Tap the forward assist
Squeeze the trigger

horsemen61
August 20, 2013, 08:50 PM
I am building an AR 15 CURRENTLY and will try to go with a slick sided upper :D I just think they look nicer

YZ
August 20, 2013, 10:50 PM
I almost never shift my truck into 4X4. But when I need it, I need it bad. I'd rather have it, and never need it, than not have it, and find I do need it.
Why not fix a bayonet then?

YZ
August 20, 2013, 11:02 PM
I spent 7 years in the Infantry with M16/203's in various states of use/abuse/decay.

Most of that time was in the swamps of Georgia, with numerous trips to the Mojave desert for training and the 7 months of Desert Shield/Storm. (all nasty environs for your weapon)

My forward assist was quite valuable on numerous occasions. There is not always time for the immediate action drill for THAT shot.

The immediate action drill we were taught to use, in fact, included the FA in the sequence. We used the "acronym" of "S.P.O.R.T.S."

Slap the magazine upward
Pull the charging handle to the rear
Observe the ejected round
Release the charging handle forward
Tap the forward assist
Squeeze the trigger
You are right on the money about the military. A civilian building or shopping for a semi-automatic AR is not going to need the forward assist, because he is not a soldier. And if he wants to be a soldier, having the FA will not get him any closer.

moxie
August 20, 2013, 11:36 PM
delete post

moxie
August 20, 2013, 11:38 PM
"Why not fix a bayonet then?"

You are now getting to the heart of the matter.

chicharrones
August 21, 2013, 12:37 AM
You are right on the money about the military. A civilian building or shopping for a semi-automatic AR is not going to need the forward assist, because he is not a soldier. And if he wants to be a soldier, having the FA will not get him any closer.

I gotta wonder why one has to be a soldier or not to have a forward assist. Most of the ARs I've ever seen has a FA. Maybe we shouldn't use an FA, but it tends to come with the gun.

Also, most sporting users of ARs don't need a flash suppressor either, so should we non-soldiers feel compelled to remove them? Even the non-forward assist M&P Sport has a flash suppressor. Then what about other features, like collapsible stocks? Why not have a fixed stock with length of pull spacers? We could just go down the parts list to say what a civilian shouldn't have on an AR to the point an AR isn't an AR anymore.

I get the argument about the best way to clear a malfunction in an AR is to manually cycle the charging handle to clear a misfeed and chamber a fresh cartridge. What I don't get is the classification of AR owners having to be military or not to have a forward assist on their AR.

Justin
August 21, 2013, 12:54 AM
I've been shooting ARs since the late 1990s, and in all that time I've used the forward assist on an AR only a couple of times.

nwilliams
August 21, 2013, 12:57 AM
IMO it's not needed.

That said I don't really care if my AR has one or it doesn't. To me it's like the bayonet lug, I may never use it but it's just a part of the gun I can choose to ignore.

grter
August 21, 2013, 12:57 AM
I am quite familiar with the M16 A1 and would never even consider buying anything on an AR platform that does not have a foward assist.

I have as well as every one else have had to use it on many many occaisions and it almost always works.

Just carbon build up from shooting lots of rounds through it can cause a failure of the bolt to fully close. You can take this advice for what it's worth but don't buy one without it.

I also would keep the dust cover because the AR platform will jam if debris gets in.

YZ
August 21, 2013, 09:27 AM
Not compelled chiccharones but as an option, sure. I for one replaced the last a2 hider with a comp. The FA doesn't bother me, it's just redundant to me in a semiautomatic sporting rifle.

jim243
August 21, 2013, 10:07 AM
Are they needed, no. Is it cool to have one on your rifle, yes. Will you ever use it, most likely not.

My first AR in 1969 did not have one and for 20 years I never needed it. It is more an issue of quality of ammo than rifle. If you are going to use junk ammo then you might need one. But most civilian and current surplus ammo works fine without one.

I too would question the wisdom of forcing a stuck round into the chamber. You are not going to use the rifle in full automatic mode so the likely hood of fouling the rifle that badly that you need to use it is unlikely.

It is a small stubby rod that pushes on the serrations on the side of the bolt carrier group to force the bolt forward another 1/10 of an inch. If you have a problem with a magazine feeding or a problem with a feed ramp it will not help.

It's purpose was to force the bolt forward on a rifle that was so fouled due to powder build up in the upper that the bolt would not go forward completely to lock up the bolt. In those conditions you really need to clean your rifle than relying on the forward assist.

In 40 years I have never needed to use it. Just keep your rifle clean and use decent ammo and it will be a non-issue.

Jim

kBob
August 21, 2013, 10:58 AM
Listen to Vern guys!

Even if just hunting or target shooting I would want the FA. The 5.56mm bore produces what is known as capillary action. The surface tension of water is such that it will not normally drain from a .223 barrel with the breech closed on a round. Under wet conditions one NEEDS to point the barrel down, Pull back the charging handle half an inch or so shake the rifle let the charging handle go and then seat using the Forward assist. Doesn't have to be a swamp, a good rain will do and I am convinced from experience that condensate in high humidity can do the same.

Most of you have missed entirely the main failure the FA got used for in the A1 days. FIRST ROUND FAILURE TO FEED. From every magazine. I have had any number of folks tell me it was not necessary to load 20 rounders to 18 rounds only or 30 rounders to 27 only. Here is a clue. Those recommendations came about because of real world experience. The force applied to the top cartridge in a magazine did differ depending on how full the magazine was. Thus if "full" it was more than just possible for the pressure on that round and the feed lips to be such that the return of the bolt carrier group was slowed to the point that the bolt would close but not lock. Because of factors such as dirty guns, imperfect release of the charging handle, dirty magazines, slightly dented magazines or holding your tounge wrong such failures to feed or actually lock were pretty common......even down loaded.

So as we needed our rifles to protect our lives, the lives of our buddies, and sensitive equipment part of the loading procedure was to ALWAYS rap the FA whne changing magazines.

My first issued AR was an XM16 E1 and I needed the FA in training. The next couple of guns were M16 A1 rifles, one so new it liked fuzzy still and all needed an FA.

If you remotely think you might be tempted to use an AR15 as a home defense tool or as a police patrol rifle you might want an FA. As a Soldier I sure wanted mine.

On closing the bolt with the dust cover cutout on the Bolt Carrier Group. I have personally seen GIs cut their thumbs on the actual ejection port doing this on a cold rifle and have personally seen burns I would not want when trying to do that on a hot rifle. On one guy's thumb you could see where the two gas vent holes where when he put his thumb on the BCG.

I have personally seen AR15 rifles fail to feed numerous times in ways that could have been prevented by using the FA. I have used the FA to avoid such issues and to clear such failures without ejecting a possibly valuable round.

That said if the gun is to be a toy rather than a tool go ahead and buy a flat side with out a dust cover and be happy.......but don't think the forward assist is a bad thing.

BTW folks seem to forget that Eugene Stoner was part of a design team and not alone.

-kBob

Vern Humphrey
August 21, 2013, 04:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmr40 View Post
I almost never shift my truck into 4X4. But when I need it, I need it bad. I'd rather have it, and never need it, than not have it, and find I do need it.
Why not fix a bayonet then?
How would that help him get his truck out of a mud hole?:p

I trained on the M1 Garand back in '62. We used our issue weapons for bayonet training -- serious bayonet training, with dummies, tires, and targets that swung around to hit back. It took a lot of muscle, and we hit them hard. We used the same rifles we qualified with on the range.

Five years later, I was a commanded an Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) company at the same post (Fort Polk, LA.) By then the issue weapon was the M16A1 and you didn't DARE use it for bayonet practice. It's much too fragile.

BSA1
August 21, 2013, 05:13 PM
kBob,

So my Saiga AK must be a superior weapon since it is designed without a FA?

Without explanations of the "numerous times" you saw the AR15 fail to feed does not contribute to a factual discussion.

Today's AR's are very refined from the original "Made by Mattle" rifles.

thralldad
August 21, 2013, 05:18 PM
I've been shooting M-16/M-4 since the Carter administration. Never needed the FA but it was always there, just in case!

chicharrones
August 21, 2013, 05:19 PM
kBob,

So my Saiga AK must be a superior weapon since it is designed without a FA?


But your AK has a forward assist and a charging handle all rolled into to one. So . . .

BSA1
August 21, 2013, 06:30 PM
The AK does not have a "charging handle" or "forward assist." It has a bolt and bolt handle.

Pushing or hitting on the bolt handle to fully chamber a round is like using a pair of pliers to pound a nail in. It may work but that is not the purpose it was designed for.

The FA on the AR pattern rifle is a stand alone single purpose feature.

Destructo6
August 21, 2013, 06:42 PM
I use, and teach the use of, the forward assist.

Prepare for patrol:
1 )Insert magazine
2) send bolt forward
3) press check
4) hammer forward assist to ensure bolt is fully in battery
5) close dust cover
Your M4 is now ready for patrol.

Does anyone see a problem with this preparation?

It's not intended to be used to force a bad round into the chamber, but is used in an administrative mode (no immediate threat) to ensure that first round is ready to go.

45_auto
August 21, 2013, 06:46 PM
It may work but that is not the purpose it was designed for.

Interesting viewpoint. If it wasn't designed to be able to close as well as open the bolt, why didn't Kalashnikov design it be more of a one-way device like an AR charging handle, or at least put spikes or a sharp edge or something on the back so you couldn't use it "incorrectly"?

chicharrones
August 21, 2013, 07:49 PM
The AK does not have a "charging handle" or "forward assist." It has a bolt and bolt handle.

Whether one rifle has separate mechanical pieces or one rifle has a single mechanical piece to bring the bolt back or push it forward, the end result of their usage is the same.

BSA1
August 21, 2013, 07:50 PM
No idea other than the AK is famous for it's reliability even when badly abused or neglected. I recall a interview of a meeting between Stoner and Kalashnikov discussing the differences in their design, strengths and weaknesses. Mr. K stated his rifle was designed to be reliable and was critical of M-16 design.

Mr. K was a actual soldier who was wounded in action during WW 2. Don't know about Stoner.

BoilerUP
August 21, 2013, 07:52 PM
Kinda like a hobbyist mounting an offset red dot on a 14lb bull barreled AR with massive scope..."just in case I need to CQB."

chicharrones
August 21, 2013, 07:59 PM
Kinda like a hobbyist mounting an offset red dot on a 14lb bull barreled AR with massive scope..."just in case I need to CQB."

As soon as someone starts making bolt-on forward assists for slick side ARs, you might be onto something there. :)

kwguy
August 21, 2013, 08:15 PM
Kinda like a hobbyist mounting an offset red dot on a 14lb bull barreled AR with massive scope..."just in case I need to CQB."

Ok, that's pretty funny...

YZ
August 21, 2013, 09:35 PM
No idea other than the AK is famous for it's reliability even when badly abused or neglected. I recall a interview of a meeting between Stoner and Kalashnikov discussing the differences in their design, strengths and weaknesses. Mr. K stated his rifle was designed to be reliable and was critical of M-16 design.

Mr. K was a actual soldier who was wounded in action during WW 2. Don't know about Stoner.
That does not make Mr K a better weapons designer than Mr S, or the opposite to be true.

So Kalashnikov likes the AK better than the AR? Gosh I dunno what to make of it.

Scrubber3
August 21, 2013, 10:23 PM
Listen to Vern guys!

Even if just hunting or target shooting I would want the FA. The 5.56mm bore produces what is known as capillary action. The surface tension of water is such that it will not normally drain from a .223 barrel with the breech closed on a round. Under wet conditions one NEEDS to point the barrel down, Pull back the charging handle half an inch or so shake the rifle let the charging handle go and then seat using the Forward assist. Doesn't have to be a swamp, a good rain will do and I am convinced from experience that condensate in high humidity can do the same.

Most of you have missed entirely the main failure the FA got used for in the A1 days. FIRST ROUND FAILURE TO FEED. From every magazine. I have had any number of folks tell me it was not necessary to load 20 rounders to 18 rounds only or 30 rounders to 27 only. Here is a clue. Those recommendations came about because of real world experience. The force applied to the top cartridge in a magazine did differ depending on how full the magazine was. Thus if "full" it was more than just possible for the pressure on that round and the feed lips to be such that the return of the bolt carrier group was slowed to the point that the bolt would close but not lock. Because of factors such as dirty guns, imperfect release of the charging handle, dirty magazines, slightly dented magazines or holding your tounge wrong such failures to feed or actually lock were pretty common......even down loaded.

So as we needed our rifles to protect our lives, the lives of our buddies, and sensitive equipment part of the loading procedure was to ALWAYS rap the FA whne changing magazines.

My first issued AR was an XM16 E1 and I needed the FA in training. The next couple of guns were M16 A1 rifles, one so new it liked fuzzy still and all needed an FA.

If you remotely think you might be tempted to use an AR15 as a home defense tool or as a police patrol rifle you might want an FA. As a Soldier I sure wanted mine.

On closing the bolt with the dust cover cutout on the Bolt Carrier Group. I have personally seen GIs cut their thumbs on the actual ejection port doing this on a cold rifle and have personally seen burns I would not want when trying to do that on a hot rifle. On one guy's thumb you could see where the two gas vent holes where when he put his thumb on the BCG.

I have personally seen AR15 rifles fail to feed numerous times in ways that could have been prevented by using the FA. I have used the FA to avoid such issues and to clear such failures without ejecting a possibly valuable round.

That said if the gun is to be a toy rather than a tool go ahead and buy a flat side with out a dust cover and be happy.......but don't think the forward assist is a bad thing.

BTW folks seem to forget that Eugene Stoner was part of a design team and not alone.

-kBob

Nailed it... Plus admin checks of course

You guys like anti-lock brakes right? Just saying...

savanahsdad
August 21, 2013, 10:49 PM
Kinda like a hobbyist mounting an offset red dot on a 14lb bull barreled AR with massive scope..."just in case I need to CQB."
that's not a bad set up if you are hunting and your gun is set up for 200 to 400 yards and a deer pops out 25yards in front of you , , I wish I had a off-set red dot last year deer hunting , that deer was a big blur in my 6-18X44 scope , as for a FA, less useful than a bipod , and I rarely use that ,

BLB68
August 21, 2013, 11:08 PM
Situations like this is why a FA comes in handy:

http://youtu.be/WcfqZFWpk9s

Without utilizing the CH as a FA I wouldn't have been able to fire two rounds after the rifle was dirty.

Not all shooting happens on sunny days at the range, at known distances, at stationary targets, with a clean rifle.

BSW

You're right! A forward assist is really useful if you're in the habit of pouring dirt into your action.

BLB68
August 21, 2013, 11:18 PM
A forward assist is useful in a military setting. If you aren't in such a setting, you're very unlikely to need it.

One big problem with civilian shooters with no military experience is that they skip right over the SPO in SPORTS and go right for the forward assist. Obviously, this can cause problems.

Where are you going to use the AR as a civilian?

1. The Range. Not critical here in the least.
2. Hunting. Could be you want one here, if you're in some really harsh conditions. But really, you're not under any time pressure, why not just perform proper maintenance steps if you have a problem?
3. Self defense at home. I'm sure someone carries a carbine or rifle in their trunk because they think it may come in handy for self defense, but most of the time if you're using a long arm for self defense, it's going to be in your home. Not a harsh environment, or you wouldn't live there, would you?

I've seen it pointed out in reviews of the S&W Sport that you can push on the bolt carrier in lieu of the forward assist. If you've put some rounds through it beforehand, it'd suggest wearing gloves. :D

As for checking the weapon to see if it's loaded? Really? Is that really an issue? I KNOW my defensive weapons are loaded. It'd be kind of missing the point if I had to check the dang things if something came up . . .

Another thing that doesn't come up for civilians is abusing weapons with blanks and blank adapters in training. Gas ring damage was the most common problem I saw as an armorer in the Army.

kwg020
August 21, 2013, 11:36 PM
Every time I used it, it only made the problem worse. I can live without it. kwg

DNS
August 21, 2013, 11:54 PM
KISS rules in my safe.
My Sport works great without it and none of the hogs have ever complained. Didn't have one when working for Uncle Sam either.

ID-shooting
August 22, 2013, 12:06 AM
Every time I used it, it only made the problem worse. I can live without it. kwg
You were doing it wrong.

grter
August 22, 2013, 12:57 AM
Again yes yes yes it is needed.

It is a part of the AR platform that evolved out of a very serious need (an extreme need in Vietnam) to address certain problems that are part of it's design.

Removing it is a step backwards not forwards. The AR platform despite all of the refinements added to it over time is still prone to malfunctions especially those of the type that need a foward assist to correct.

It is a weapon you best maintain meticulously and much more so than than your standard firearm or you are going to find yourself in a jam (pun intended)

After running a large amount rounds through it you will need that forward assist and having an AR without a dust cover is just plain asking for trouble.

I think AR makers had better find another way to be a cheapskate because this won't fly well with anyone who knows the AR platform.

savanahsdad
August 22, 2013, 01:32 AM
I wish this was a pole . I've lost count of the yeas and nays, and the OP said AR's and did not say what cal. we could assume 223 as he did say M&P sport, but I see a few AR10's in 308 posted , , but when you just say AR's there is a whole bunch of things to think about , as there are a ton of cal's and set ups out there that don't need FA's or dust covers, or rails or ect ........

if your going to use it for what it was made for, then you may need it, so you should have one , but most of us would get by with out a FA. or a dust cover, another thing one might think about is weight , , no dustcover and no FA will not only cost less but it will weigh less and someone else said it is one more thing to get snag on stuff so get what fits your needs , do you need a bipod ? do you need a flash hider ? a brake? a dust cover ? a FA? do you need a off-set red-dot , ect ect , they all have a use , if I could have got mine without a FA I would have , as I don't need it , and mine don't have a dustcover and I don't need one ,

BLB68
August 22, 2013, 03:10 AM
Again yes yes yes it is needed.

On a military rifle, sometimes. Not so much on a civilian model.


It is a part of the AR platform that evolved out of a very serious need (an extreme need in Vietnam) to address certain problems that are part of it's design.

What problems are part of its design that require the forward assist? Which of those problems apply to civilian life?


Removing it is a step backwards not forwards. The AR platform despite all of the refinements added to it over time is still prone to malfunctions especially those of the type that need a foward assist to correct.

Name those malfunctions that need a forward assist. I'm assuming you mean "can't clear without the forward assist," when you say "need a forward assist." So, name some.


It is a weapon you best maintain meticulously and much more so than than your standard firearm or you are going to find yourself in a jam (pun intended)


Bull. ARs don't require any more meticulous maintenance than any other firearm, particularly those in civilian hands.


After running a large amount rounds through it you will need that forward assist and having an AR without a dust cover is just plain asking for trouble.


After running a large amount of rounds through it, you will need to clean it. Because you'll be on a range doing that. If you're running enough rounds through an AR to cause problems due to fouling during an actual fight, you're not a civilian.

Dust cover is irrelevant. You aren't closing after every shot, are you? Are you dragging it through the mud when you're taking it to the range or out of your closet? No. Civilians have no real need for the dust cover, either. Military has very little need for one, but it's handy in some conditions.


I think AR makers had better find another way to be a cheapskate because this won't fly well with anyone who knows the AR platform.

I'm pretty familiar with it, having been in the military and been an armorer. (Unit level, mind you, not my primary MOS. Still, trained well above the normal level on maintenance on the weapons in use at the time.)

Being familiar with the AR rifle, lack of a forward assist or dust cover wouldn't prevent me from buying an M&P Sport. (More attractive packages at a slightly higher price point would, particularly those that come with things I'd want to add to the Sport, but that's another discussion.)

ID-shooting
August 22, 2013, 09:27 AM
To post #83...

"What problems are part of its design that require the forward assist? Which of those problems apply to civilian life?"

"Name those malfunctions that need a forward assist. I'm assuming you mean "can't clear without the forward assist," when you say "need a forward assist." So, name some."

I can answer that...25 years of m16/AR use, can't ever remember using a FA outside of function checking. Bought a new AR this year. during the break-in period it has frequent fail-to-feeds stripping the first round. was stopping about half way out the mag. One tap on the FA let the rifle finish the cycle and continue firing. Didn't have to recharge the rifle, didn't have to unmount the rifle from a firing position, didn't have to drop the mag, didn't really even slow me down. Now that there are a few rounds though it, it doesn't hang anymore. but nice to know if it does, the FA is there.

That experience alone made me realize why it is there and why I would never have an AR that didn't have it.

cfullgraf
August 22, 2013, 09:53 AM
I have ARs with and without forward assists. I also have one AR with a side charging handle attached to the bolt carrier.

Just like on a Garand's op rod handle, it is handy to be able to tap on something to make sure the bolt is properly in battery. The recess in the bolt carrier can do that but I do not find that as convenient or as easy as the forward assist.

But, I rarely have ever needed a forward assist so in most cases, I could do without. For a home defense rifle, i'd prefer to have a forward assist.

BSA1
August 22, 2013, 10:13 AM
WOW! 85 posts on this topic. The factual replies have been very informative and helpful to me.

grter; Clearly the majority of the posters here do not share your opinion about the AR. It may be your needs may be best met with the AK design. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Lots of AK's have been sold in this country).

BLB68
August 22, 2013, 11:00 AM
To post #83...

"What problems are part of its design that require the forward assist? Which of those problems apply to civilian life?"

"Name those malfunctions that need a forward assist. I'm assuming you mean "can't clear without the forward assist," when you say "need a forward assist." So, name some."

I can answer that...25 years of m16/AR use, can't ever remember using a FA outside of function checking. Bought a new AR this year. during the break-in period it has frequent fail-to-feeds stripping the first round. was stopping about half way out the mag. One tap on the FA let the rifle finish the cycle and continue firing. Didn't have to recharge the rifle, didn't have to unmount the rifle from a firing position, didn't have to drop the mag, didn't really even slow me down. Now that there are a few rounds though it, it doesn't hang anymore. but nice to know if it does, the FA is there.

That experience alone made me realize why it is there and why I would never have an AR that didn't have it.

So, basically useful, but not really a vital feature for civilian use. Nothing wrong with that, but convenient isn't the same as necessary.

oldguy870
August 22, 2013, 04:11 PM
Civilian use or Military use - It is absolutely vital if you want to load your gun silently with 100% reliability.

Discussion over. Case settled. It is a valuable feature. Next topic...

45_auto
August 22, 2013, 05:54 PM
Discussion over. Case settled. It is a valuable feature. Next topic...

If it's a valuable feature, why are all those AR uppers WITHOUT a FA selling so well?

BSA1
August 22, 2013, 05:56 PM
Actually contrary to your dogmatic attitude oldguy870 the majority of the posters do not feel the FA is needed.

And I would greatly appreciate it if you would not try to close the discussion on a topic I started.

Destructo6
August 22, 2013, 06:08 PM
If it's a valuable feature, why are all those AR uppers WITHOUT a FA selling so well?
Because it looks cool.

Never underestimate the CDI (chicks dig it) factor when it comes to sales and marketing.

I don't feel that the FA is useful, I know it is, so I am reluctant to purchase an AR without the feature.

Justin
August 22, 2013, 07:59 PM
I use, and teach the use of, the forward assist.

Prepare for patrol:
1 )Insert magazine
2) send bolt forward
3) press check
4) hammer forward assist to ensure bolt is fully in battery
5) close dust cover
Your M4 is now ready for patrol.

Does anyone see a problem with this preparation?

It's not intended to be used to force a bad round into the chamber, but is used in an administrative mode (no immediate threat) to ensure that first round is ready to go.

This makes sense. That said, the method I use to ensure that a round has been chambered is a bit different. Before inserting the magazine for the first time, I look at the magazine to make note of which side the first round is on.

I then insert the magazine and chamber that first round.

Then quickly remove the magazine and note whether the top round is on the opposite side of the magazine. If it is, I know there's a round in the chamber.

JShirley
August 22, 2013, 10:06 PM
Some of the answers indicate a FA is "needed" because the member wants to use poor handling and "ride" the bolt shut- which should never be done with autoloading firearms. Just like the slide on your 1911, Glock, or M9 should be fully retracted and then released, the charging handle should be drawn fully back and then released.

It's just silly to state that anyone "needs" to load their firearm incorrectly. :rolleyes:

John

BLB68
August 22, 2013, 11:54 PM
Civilian use or Military use - It is absolutely vital if you want to load your gun silently with 100% reliability.

Discussion over. Case settled. It is a valuable feature. Next topic...

I'm not that tacti-cool. I just keep my guns loaded. If there's already a round in the chamber, there's no need to load silently. If things progress through an entire magazine of ammo, then I'd think the time for silence has already passed, so silent reloads don't seem all that useful.

Your average defensive use isn't going to require a whole lot of stealth for a civilian. I do question the wisdom of riding the charging handle for any reason, though. FA may not be enough if you you ride the handle.

X-Rap
August 23, 2013, 12:28 AM
I can't think of many procedures that from time to time aren't modified or improved from time to time. Getting caught up in rigid doctrine "just because that's the way it's done" isn't always the best tactic at the moment.

I do question the wisdom of riding the charging handle for any reason, though. FA may not be enough if you you ride the handle.

You don't know unless you try but if it does then go for it. If I am out in the field most of my loads are done as quietly as possible, I don't slam my doors either.

taliv
August 23, 2013, 12:46 AM
justin's method of press check is better because you can do it in the dark.


if you're just putzing around with an AR15, it doesn't really matter. get one with or without.

if you're going to TRAIN to use the ar15, then you will likely follow one of the standard sets of admin reloads, immediate action, remedial action, etc procedures that are taught by various trainers. (trainers each have their own versions of these) I haven't trained with everybody, but I'm not aware of any of the popular trainers that teach use of forward assist.

the point is, unless you train to use it, when you need it, you're not going to use it. so again, it doesn't really matter

BLB68
August 23, 2013, 06:14 AM
Good points on the training.

BLB68
August 23, 2013, 06:17 AM
If I am out in the field most of my loads are done as quietly as possible, I don't slam my doors either.

Maybe a quieter action type is in order then.

benEzra
August 23, 2013, 08:13 AM
It's not intended to be used to force a bad round into the chamber, but is used in an administrative mode (no immediate threat) to ensure that first round is ready to go.
Bingo. For a gun that commonly switches back and forth between range/competition and loaded HD standby, the ability to do a press check without getting your hands grimy is a convenience.

As for checking the weapon to see if it's loaded? Really? Is that really an issue? I KNOW my defensive weapons are loaded. It'd be kind of missing the point if I had to check the dang things if something came up . . .
So you never, ever, do a press check on a pistol you pull out of the safe to verify there's a round in the chamber?

My AR serves in both the HD role and as a casual competition gun/plinker, so it goes from loaded-in-the-safe to unloaded-for-transport to loaded-in-the-safe a LOT. Loading the chamber directly and closing the bolt via the FA prolongs the life of the SD ammo, and as stated the FA is useful for a press check.

Perhaps the design purpose of the FA was to cram dirty rounds into the chamber, but that is not its *only* purpose, particularly in a civilian context where loaded standby is common.

chicharrones
August 23, 2013, 09:33 AM
So you never, ever, do a press check on a pistol you pull out of the safe to verify there's a round in the chamber?

I know you aren't replying to me, but I do press check whatever pistol I carry for the day every morning. I'm a double checker. Some of us are and some of us aren't.

If I had my AR set up for home defense, I would press check it every time I touched it. That might not be every day, but it would be something I would do.

BoilerUP
August 23, 2013, 10:01 AM
Answer to the OP's question:

Depending on your intended application, a forward assist may or may not be "really needed".

For a range toy or p-dog gun, I personally wouldn't care and seriously doubt it would be required. Like many, I have had a significant jam after using the FA at the range.

For a fighting rifle or one used for hunting when I might want to commit the faux pas of "riding the charging handle" for noise, I'd prefer to have one. Especially after having a misfire with a Rem 7400 because I slowly closed the bolt after getting in-stand without verifying it was fully in battery, which almost caused me to miss a nice buck.

X-Rap
August 23, 2013, 10:07 AM
Maybe a quieter action type is in order then.
Yea sure I'll break out a bolt gun next time just so you can be sure to know I'm doing it "right"

herrwalther
August 23, 2013, 10:50 AM
I have only used the forward assist on several occassions. 1) When some knuckle head put their rifle back together without putting in the buffer and spring so the bolt carrier gets wedged in the buttstock. The forward assist helps in correcting that assuming you can get the the bolt carrier far enough forward ie cleaning rod. 2) doing a silent press check of the chamber. Pulling back on the charging handle so the bolt backs halfway out, check for a round, ride the handle forward. Riding the handle forward does not always put the rifle back into proper battery, tap the assist and it is solved. Other than these times I have never needed the forward assist.

Tapping the forward assist is part of the military's immediate action for a weapon malfunction, but as long as your rifle is (moderately clean) and in decent working order, the forward assist is not needed in most courses of fire. Minus the circumstances I noted above.

Hangingrock
August 23, 2013, 12:12 PM
Did not the addition of the FA in part because of the difficulties encountered with the rifles in prolonged firing with the ammunition of the time period. Was there not congressional hearings on the subject and were not the Hill Fights of 1967 that involved the Marines which incurred significant problem with the rifle a major issue?

cfullgraf
August 23, 2013, 12:54 PM
Folks can see my opinion on forward assists in AR-15 in post #15.

But here is an observation that I have made.

There are numerous semi-auto rifles with a fixed handle attached to the operating system. Rifles such a the Garand, M1 carbine, AK, SKS, and numerous other military and civilian rilles. I have seen no complaints that tapping on the handle to close the bolts on these rifles jams the gun. Although, i am sure there are situations that it could happen. Folks just seem to not get into those situations, or don't complain about them.

On the other hand, folks seem to think they need to pound or hammer on the AR-15s's forward assist when a round fails to completely chamber. A misshapened or dirty round then jams.

Could this fall into the same myth category that said the M-16 never needed cleaning?

taliv
August 23, 2013, 12:55 PM
Tapping the forward assist is part of the military's immediate action for a weapon malfunction,

the only tapping i'm aware of in immediate action drills (e.g. "tap rack bang") is tapping the magazine to ensure it is seated, not tapping the slide or FA.

most units have different procedures so saying "the military" is a bit broad. what unit specifically taps the FA?

Scrubber3
August 23, 2013, 02:42 PM
Bought a new AR this year. during the break-in period it has frequent fail-to-feeds stripping the first round. was stopping about half way out the mag. One tap on the FA let the rifle finish the cycle and continue firing. Didn't have to recharge the rifle, didn't have to unmount the rifle from a firing position, didn't have to drop the mag, didn't really even slow me down. Now that there are a few rounds though it, it doesn't hang anymore. but nice to know if it does, the FA is there.

That experience alone made me realize why it is there and why I would never have an AR that didn't have it.

What make/model AR did you get?

ID-shooting
August 23, 2013, 04:59 PM
the only tapping i'm aware of in immediate action drills (e.g. "tap rack bang") is tapping the magazine to ensure it is seated, not tapping the slide or FA.

most units have different procedures so saying "the military" is a bit broad. what unit specifically taps the FA?
US Army: At least in my Basic in Ft Jackson, SC in 1987 and continued by me to my troops till I got out in 1997. It was listed in our Common Tasks books.

SPORTS

Slap the mag
Pull the charging handle
Observe ejected round
Release charging handle
TAP THE FORWARD ASSIST
Squeeze the trigger

labhound
August 23, 2013, 07:41 PM
To the OP, I did buy an M&P15 Sport a week before Sandy Hook. It's my first and only AR. It fit the price range I wanted to stay in. Excellent rifle, 100% reliable so far. I bought it for a range gun and if needed to shoot at varmints out to about 150 yards, don't shoot when it's raining, don't drag my guns through the dirt and muck, and clean them regularly so the lack of a forward assist and dust cover wasn't an issue to me.

VA27
August 23, 2013, 07:53 PM
No.

Averageman
August 23, 2013, 08:09 PM
I would be more concerned about the lack of a dust cover than a forward assist.
I have used the forward assist after a press check, during immeadiate action drills, but I have also seen that same forward assist in the hands of a few folks turn a bad situation in to worse.
If it wont go don't force it, eject the round and observe what is happening with your rifle. All action beyond that is situational to what your weapon is doing.

herrwalther
August 23, 2013, 08:40 PM
the only tapping i'm aware of in immediate action drills (e.g. "tap rack bang") is tapping the magazine to ensure it is seated, not tapping the slide or FA.

most units have different procedures so saying "the military" is a bit broad. what unit specifically taps the FA?

Army specifically teaches the SPORTS for malfunction drills
Slap the mag to ensure proper seating.
Pull back on the charging handle
Observe the round being extracted/new round entering chamber
Release charging handle
Tap forward assist
Shoot

That is taught in boot camp from day one of BRM but gets drastically shortened by most units to tap rack bang. And in some just rack and bang.

grter
August 24, 2013, 01:04 PM
Yeah keep it clean that is some very very very very good advice.

Let me be clear I don't care what any of these people may think but if an AR is not babied it quickly turns into one of world's worst crappy jam o matics out there.

My opinion is despite all of it's refinement's it barely qualifies as a suitable battle rifle and that's giving lots of credit.

However it's ease of handling, ergonomics, ability to accesorize, and great accuracy can be equalizers one had better know how to stretch all of these advantages otherwise you are screwed going into battle with that thing.

Despite the above you are going to need every bit a gadgetry that had been concocted over the years to reduce that jamomatics malfuntions.

"You just need to keep it clean" you bet you do cause the tinyest bit of dirt in the action is going to turn that thing into an alumminum plastic club.


You better hope the soldiers you are fighting are poorly trained.

If you pay constant attention (and I do mean constant) and meticulously maintain it as well as keep dirt out (dust cover is not an option it's a lifesaver) it probably is usable. If things get too hot and you wind up firing lots and lots of rounds through it, that dirt bomb carbon spitting direct impingment system is going put you in quick need of multiple sports routines (foward assist included.)

The bolts on those things always wind up a hair from fully closed when they get dirty which I will repeat again doesn't really take much to happen. A light tap on the forward assist pushes into battery.

The forward assist is a device put on this thing because it's so prone to jamms it is needed and not optional.

For those who keep them sitting in their clean homes problems will be minimum but in my opinion I still would not bet on it.

That summerizes my love hate relationship with this thing. I have yet to use any other rifle in this category that feels as natural, points as well, and provides as much accuracy as an M16 A1 but that lack of reliability and sensitivity to minute particles of dirt is something I really worry about.

BoilerUP
August 24, 2013, 01:08 PM
"You just need to keep it clean" you bet you do cause the tinyest bit of dirt in the action is going to turn that thing into an alumminum plastic club.

I know a number of folks that spent a year or more each in OIF/OEF in the Army or Marines infantry and to a man, none of them complained about their M16/M4 being a "jam-o-matic".

grter
August 24, 2013, 01:28 PM
I know a real lot of others that have both from past and present.

I of course know from my personal experience and I do keep firearms clean. At the time of my experience I was even more fanatical about keeping firearms spotless.

It's still a jamomatic

ID-shooting
August 24, 2013, 01:29 PM
What make/model AR did you get?
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=720916

grter
August 24, 2013, 01:32 PM
The one issued to me in the military the Colt AR15 felt so good to hold, point, and shoot, but oh keep your fingers crossed because it's not a brand name issue it's a design issue.

I suppose if stored in the comfort of ones dust free home, (not mine because Bloomberg lives around here too,) gun case, car, whatever, it will only jam a fraction of the time when shot as it would if carried and frequently used in the field.

45_auto
August 24, 2013, 01:44 PM
Some of the answers indicate a FA is "needed" because the member wants to use poor handling and "ride" the bolt shut- which should never be done with autoloading firearms. Just like the slide on your 1911, Glock, or M9 should be fully retracted and then released, the charging handle should be drawn fully back and then released.

You would have everyone in your unit eject a round into the dirt after crossing a stream? One of the highly emphasized points on the M16 when I went through basic training MANY moons ago under returning Vietnam vet drill sergeants was the importance of keeping the barrel clear of water. Seems that the small bore doesn't self-drain easily.

From the US Army M16 Operator's manual. Pages 84 and 85 even have pretty little pics to show you how to do it if you can't read:

http://www.independencearmory.com/downloads/AR15_Articles/TM9-1005-319-10.pdf

AFTER FORDlNG
WARNING
Do not fire if water is present in barrel.
1. Remove muzzle cap.
2. Point the muzzle down and shake vigorously.
3. Pull charging handle 2 to 3 inches rearward end allow water to drain.
4. Release charging handle and strike forward assist to seat round and lock bolt.

But I'm absolutely sure everyone on this forum is MUCH smarter than the US military! ;)

ID-shooting
August 24, 2013, 02:12 PM
I certianly is boiling down to two camps, range-only dudes and field-oriented dudes. If your rifle is meant to stay pretty, no need for a FA, your rifle is meant to be lugged around in the weeds, bushes, dirt and muck, need a FA. I am in the latter.

yzguy87
August 24, 2013, 02:46 PM
I use mine when hunting. The first time i went out for coyote I had a dpms lr-308 with a slick side upper. I wished I brought my ap4 bc it had one. Like said on post 18 you can chamber the round quieter with it out in the field.

As for using one in war when your rifle jams, idk about that. Kinda sounds like a bad idea unless its an emergency.

Thanks for the ttag link Ron!

jdh
August 24, 2013, 02:59 PM
grter,

just out of curiosity what was your MOS?

BSA1
August 24, 2013, 08:09 PM
I certianly is boiling down to two camps, range-only dudes and field-oriented dudes. If your rifle is meant to stay pretty, no need for a FA, your rifle is meant to be lugged around in the weeds, bushes, dirt and muck, need a FA. I am in the latter.

Not true.

Just about all long gun actions whether is lever, bolt, semi-auto will fail to feed if the action is cycled too slowly. Try cycling a lever action rifle too slowly and you will get the mother of all jams.

In the case of the AR a possible benefit of the forward assist is to finish chambering the round when the action is cycled too slowly for stealth operation. Even this is not a sure thing as anytime the action is cycled too slowly a jam may occur or the round still may not fully chambered.

As to being lugged around in the weeds, bushes, dirt and muck who carries their gun with the action open? I am puzzled as to how dirt and muck will get into the chamber and on the ammunition when the action is closed.

The quietest action that I can think of when chambering a round is the Rolling Block as only the noise from the gun that occurs is when the hammer is being cocked. And it is jam free.

If the quarry someone is stalking is so close and/or so alert that the sound of the action being cycled will spook it then the best choice would be to approach with a round already chambered, the safety on, finger off the trigger and muzzle pointed in safe direction.

Vern Humphrey
August 24, 2013, 08:58 PM
There are numerous semi-auto rifles with a fixed handle attached to the operating system. Rifles such a the Garand, M1 carbine, AK, SKS, and numerous other military and civilian rilles. I have seen no complaints that tapping on the handle to close the bolts on these rifles jams the gun.
I may be one of the last American soldiers to use an M1 in combat -- I bummed one off the ARVN unit I advised and carried it instead of my issue M2 carbine.

I was also one of the last American soldiers to be trained on the M1 -- while waiting orders for OCS, I cleaned M1s for turn-in to ordnance, and went to pick up the new M14s.

Standard practice with the M1 (and with the M14) was to smack the operating rod handle to be sure the first round was fully chambered.

JShirley
August 24, 2013, 09:10 PM
ID is correct about SPORTS.

herrwalther, the Army doesn't have boot camp. It has basic or ITB OSUT.

45, there aren't many US Army teams that wade through water chest high. I know my team- since I am a team chief- never will.

John

grter
August 24, 2013, 09:26 PM
Very good you had better hope that whatever miricles of today's modern technology used to keep you out of water holds up.

Sorry but successful efforts at making the battlefield as close as possible to neat and tidy is not a good explanation but if you want that thing to keep firing you had better make sure it is kept very very very very very neat and tidy.

Take it for what it is worth but I am warning you this is life saving advice worth heeding.

Reinventing the wheel at the cost of life and limb is not an endeavour worth pursuing.

Just humor what you belive to be myths if it is no extra trouble and entertain the fact that it may have already been learned by past experience.

You never know it may save lives.

BoilerUP
August 24, 2013, 09:34 PM
So grter, you still haven't told us what theater of war the AR15/M16 proved so unreliable for you.

Yes, the rifle wasn't very reliable in Vietnam...but current issued rifles aren't the same ones that were used nearly five decades ago, either. Current rifles seem to have acquitted themselves pretty well in dusty, gritty, dirty desert environments over the last 10-plus years of active combat.

grter
August 24, 2013, 09:43 PM
Yea sure you mean the new ones with the dust cover and forward assist yes I think I get the idea. No doubt the dust cover has a lot to do with that.

Thicker barrel with faster twist rifling to stabilize heavier bullets so twigs and stuff don't deflect the still small bullet sure I can go with that.

16 inch barrel no not for me probably not a horrible compromise but I would stick with the old 20 inch barrel for better range and ballistics.

Oh wait a minute this is about the forward assist like the one on the current issue M4 which also happens to have a dust cover. A great idea learned from decades of combat experience if you ask me. Yup I can see the logic of it.

Sam Cade
August 24, 2013, 09:50 PM
Yea sure you mean the new ones with the dust cover and forward assist yes I think I get the idea. No doubt the dust cover has a lot to do with that.


You know that the dust cover has always been a standard part of the rifle, even before the FA and case deflector bump...
Right?


Thicker barrel with faster twist rifling to stabilize heavier bullets so twigs and stuff don't deflect the still small bullet

No. Just...no.

grter
August 24, 2013, 09:53 PM
Sure Mr. Cade sure I am sure you mean yes yes yes. It's not a bad weapon if kept spotless but don't get carried away it's far from the greatest gift from above dropped down unto the laps of eager soldiers.

Sam Cade
August 24, 2013, 10:05 PM
Sure Mr. Cade sure I sure you mean yes yes yes. :scrutiny:
I am unable to parse this sentence.

wturner14
August 24, 2013, 10:37 PM
Wasn't the forward assist intended to fully engage the bolt if the chamber was cruddy or something similar?Not to hammer in a round. I've had .22 semi that a little assist from time to time. We were trained to palm the assist after chamfering the first round and I don't recall ever using it after that. I think it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

JShirley
August 24, 2013, 10:37 PM
grter, "Keep me out of water"?! You wouldn't say this if you had been a deployed soldier in the past 12 years. I have deployed during this time period. Twice.

That's one. Two- since you seem to have missed it- is that I command my team. And (relatively) deep-water crossings are dangerous. So MY troops won't be doing them. All of which is besides the question of "is a forward assist necessary?". (Note that this is a different question than "is the FA used by some?") Necessary? No, not at all.

John

herrwalther
August 24, 2013, 11:00 PM
herrwalther, the Army doesn't have boot camp. It has basic or ITB OSUT.

I was using the common nomenclature for BCT, trying to keep the alphabet soup down for those who didn't go through it.

I have crossed a few streams with my rifle. I surprisingly would get wet, rifle would stay out of the water.

I would not all the M4/AR-15/M-16 a jam o matic. Most malfunctions I have seen with this rifle family have been caused by the magazine, not by water or an otherwise unclean rifle. I would bring my rifle cleaning kit on missions but I would not worry about it jamming up on me because it got some sand or dust down the barrel during the lovely, mountainous walk.

Auto426
August 24, 2013, 11:18 PM
Yeah keep it clean that is some very very very very good advice.

Let me be clear I don't care what any of these people may think but if an AR is not babied it quickly turns into one of world's worst crappy jam o matics out there.

My opinion is despite all of it's refinement's it barely qualifies as a suitable battle rifle and that's giving lots of credit.

However it's ease of handling, ergonomics, ability to accesorize, and great accuracy can be equalizers one had better know how to stretch all of these advantages otherwise you are screwed going into battle with that thing.

Despite the above you are going to need every bit a gadgetry that had been concocted over the years to reduce that jamomatics malfuntions.

"You just need to keep it clean" you bet you do cause the tinyest bit of dirt in the action is going to turn that thing into an alumminum plastic club.


You better hope the soldiers you are fighting are poorly trained.

If you pay constant attention (and I do mean constant) and meticulously maintain it as well as keep dirt out (dust cover is not an option it's a lifesaver) it probably is usable. If things get too hot and you wind up firing lots and lots of rounds through it, that dirt bomb carbon spitting direct impingment system is going put you in quick need of multiple sports routines (foward assist included.)

The bolts on those things always wind up a hair from fully closed when they get dirty which I will repeat again doesn't really take much to happen. A light tap on the forward assist pushes into battery.

The forward assist is a device put on this thing because it's so prone to jamms it is needed and not optional.

For those who keep them sitting in their clean homes problems will be minimum but in my opinion I still would not bet on it.

That summerizes my love hate relationship with this thing. I have yet to use any other rifle in this category that feels as natural, points as well, and provides as much accuracy as an M16 A1 but that lack of reliability and sensitivity to minute particles of dirt is something I really worry about.


I'm not sure if you are a troll, or just don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.

JShirley
August 24, 2013, 11:59 PM
I have experienced malfunctions, but they were typically caused by a LARGE amount of debris (like a tabkespoon's worth of sand), or not enough lube. The M16 platform does like to be "run wet".

John

Torian
August 25, 2013, 12:09 AM
I have experienced malfunctions, but they were typically caused by a LARGE amount of debris (like a tabkespoon's worth of sand), or not enough lube. The M16 platform does like to be "run wet".

John
Indeed it does. Of course, in sandy environments that tends to really gum up the action quickly.

I used a lot of Militec lubricant when I was overseas. Does nothing to protect the metal...but in such a dry environment...that's not an issue. Great stuff, and seemed to help keep the gas tube cleaner than normal. That thing is a real bugger to clean.

A lot of malfunctions that I experienced were due to crummy magazines. When I switched from my issued mags to PMAGs, I rarely had a problem.

The M4 is a precision weapon compared to the AK-47. Tighter tolerances with a gas tube action means we have to keep the action fairly clean to have it perform at the level we want it too. It's high maintenance...but I think it gets the job done.

If I could have chosen a weapon system to bring with me to Iraq / A-Stan, I would have brought my LRBM14 with my VX-R Leupold, and my 10mm Elite Match as a sidearm:)

JShirley
August 25, 2013, 09:36 AM
Militec sent me some Militec-1 for free during my 1st deployment. Good stuff, and good people.

John

dprice3844444
August 25, 2013, 09:55 AM
if they thought it wasn't needed,the bean counters woulda removed it

Vern Humphrey
August 25, 2013, 10:23 AM
Not picking a fight, but I've waded swamps on four continents in my time in the Army. I've also crossed rivers and streams without benefit of boat or bridge.

JShirley
August 25, 2013, 01:51 PM
It's a whole different Army now, partially due to the high degree of mechanization. Since 2001, we have typically been in environments that are extremely dry and generally inhospitable.

Regardless, Vern, are you saying you have waded in water deep enough to get into your weapon on four continents? If so, either you were a real snake eater or had piss-poor leadership.

John

Vern Humphrey
August 25, 2013, 04:37 PM
It's a whole different Army now, partially due to the high degree of mechanization. Since 2001, we have typically been in environments that are extremely dry and generally inhospitable.

And it is the climate, not the mode of warfare, that has made the difference -- after all, I was a Mechanized Infantry Company Commander in Viet Nam. But mechanized or not, Infantry has to be ready to fight as Infantry when the chips are down.

Regardless, Vern, are you saying you have waded in water deep enough to get into your weapon on four continents? If so, either you were a real snake eater or had piss-poor leadership.
It has been my experience that trying to find the easy way is a good way to get ambushed or run into booby traps and mines. In combat, you have to be prepared to deal with the toughest going. And if your training hasn't included that kind of terrain, woe to you.

Torian
August 25, 2013, 05:02 PM
And it is the climate, not the mode of warfare, that has made the difference -- after all, I was a Mechanized Infantry Company Commander in Viet Nam. But mechanized or not, Infantry has to be ready to fight as Infantry when the chips are down.


It has been my experience that trying to find the easy way is a good way to get ambushed or run into booby traps and mines. In combat, you have to be prepared to deal with the toughest going. And if your training hasn't included that kind of terrain, woe to you.
We train how we fight.

Since we are more or less currently relegated to fighting in dry, sandy and mountainous terrain, our training should reflect that.

If we started moving towards a conflict that involved a wetter, more tropical climate, I'm sure we would modify our combat training accordingly

The rivers I saw in Iraq looked and smelled like raw sewage, which no one went into (I would rather have lit myself on fire), and in Afghanistan...what rivers?

:)

JShirley
August 25, 2013, 05:11 PM
What Torian said. The only flowing water I saw in 23 months in Afghanistan was essentially sewage.

Again, wading in water more than waist high is extremely dangerous, especially with any type of current. Engagements likely in the near future will not be in areas at all safe to "wade" in. Hey, train as you fight, right?

John

X-Rap
August 25, 2013, 05:16 PM
The begining part of the book House To House has the author and others up to their necks in one of those canals. Reading this and other stories as well as first hand accounts from the war in Iraq tells me that there is a fair amount of water and it is filthy but early on our men had to deal with it more than towards the later. My son said they went around, over or on boats when dealing with water a couple yrs before the pull out.

Reloadron
August 25, 2013, 07:10 PM
Way back to the beginning:

Is bolt assist on AR really needed?
Just before the banic hit I was considering purchasing a S&W Sporter which as we know does not come with bolt assist.

When talking to my son who is active USA he said he has used the bolt assist on occasion but he is not in a combat unit. He says the AR's they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used.

However in the civilian market we have much more control over the quality of our guns and ammunition which leads me to ask if the bolt assist really needed for civilian use. Obviously S&W does not.

Back around post #16 I provided what I thought was a pretty good link on the subject.

Anyway, far as I know the AR15 is just a civilian version of the military M16 so to understand the evolution of the forward assist on today's AR flavors we should look back as to how the feature came about on the M16 rifle.

The original M-16 rifle issued by the U.S. Air Force didn’t have a forward assist. These so-called “slick sided” upper receivers just had an ejection port and nothing behind it, not even a brass deflector. And they worked fine. Well, except for that whole “bad ammunition, poor corrosion resistance and shoddy maintenance” thing. But the military powers-that-be wanted a forward assist installed.

Anyone familiar with the US Military and the powers-that-be controlling the US Military know they tend to get what they want. There was no shortage of problems with the earliest M16 rifles. So the forward assist came to be. Just like most military hardware there is a revision list.

Stoner’s (Remember Eugene Stoner) solution was to mill a recessed section into the bolt right in front of the ejection port that not only would allow the shooter to push the bolt forward using their finger but would provide room for the spring housing on the dust cover when the cover was closed with the bolt forward. The military was not impressed and the XM16 and XM16E1 models included a forward assist system that provided a mechanical device to replace Stoner’s simple solution.

The forward assist also served to allow for “Silent Loading” another feature the military wanted. Thus the forward assist was born and came to be.

Back to the original question is a forward assist really needed on civilian versions of the AR15? My opinion is no it is not needed. At least I have never had a need for it. "In the end it’s a personal preference. Your gun will run just fine without one, but for some people it provides quick and convenient peace of mind".

Below are two colt rifles. One has the forward assist and one obviously does not. They are both shot in clean environments free of jungle crud and water as well as dessert sand. There is really no need for a forward assist that I can think of. Not for my intended applications with those rifles anyway.

http://www.bearblain.com/images/Colt%20SP1%20and%20Sporter.png

So choose what works for you. The forward assist is a nice to have but I do not see it as necessary. Unless of course you see jungle swamps and dessert warfare in your shooting future. :)

Also, for what it is worth, while in Vietnam my memories, though fuzzy, involved carrying our rifles over our heads when fording streams, rivers, rice paddys, swamps and other assorted ugly things. Having trained with the M14 all of my subsequent M16 experiences were actually pretty good.

Ron

Vern Humphrey
August 25, 2013, 07:19 PM
Anyone familiar with the US Military and the powers-that-be controlling the US Military know they tend to get what they want. There was no shortage of problems with the earliest M16 rifles. So the forward assist came to be. Just like most military hardware there is a revision list.
Actually, they don't -- the Army had tested the AR 15 and rejected it. The Air Force, using it basically for police and air base patrols found it acceptable.

MacNamara, to prove he was the boss, ordered the Army to adopt it. The Army demanded some well thought-out changes, and the Forward Assist was one of those. As it turned out, they didn't demand enough changes and during most of the Viet Nam War we had problems with the M16A1.

The maintenance issue came about because it was originally touted as "never needing cleaning," so no cleaning kits were issued.

Reloadron
August 25, 2013, 07:32 PM
Actually, they don't -- the Army had tested the AR 15 and rejected it. The Air Force, using it basically for police and air base patrols found it acceptable.

MacNamara, to prove he was the boss, ordered the Army to adopt it. The Army demanded some well thought-out changes, and the Forward Assist was one of those. As it turned out, they didn't demand enough changes and during most of the Viet Nam War we had problems with the M16A1.

The maintenance issue came about because it was originally touted as "never needing cleaning," so no cleaning kits were issued.
Hi Vern, my comments about the powers-that-be was more in political jest. MacNamara was always on an ego trip.

The maintenance issue came about because it was originally touted as "never needing cleaning," so no cleaning kits were issued.

Right on target. I remember a little of that. As a young Marine I didn't get to Vietnam till '72. Even then given a choice I liked the M14 I trained with and used right till I deployed. If there was one single thing the M16 needed to function correctly and reliably it was cleaning. Then more cleaning. That whole never needs cleaning was a lousy selling point. That is all it was as it sure as heck wasn't factual.

Anyway, overall I really don't see a great need for the forward assist on a civilian AR15, other than the peace of mind I mentioned. However, it's the buyer's choice I guess.

Ron

Vern Humphrey
August 26, 2013, 07:21 PM
Hi Vern, my comments about the powers-that-be was more in political jest. MacNamara was always on an ego trip.
Indeed he was, but he had the good sense to have himself cremated -- otherwise Viet Nam veterans would be lined up for miles to micturate on his grave.

Warp
August 26, 2013, 08:17 PM
Actually, they don't -- the Army had tested the AR 15 and rejected it. The Air Force, using it basically for police and air base patrols found it acceptable.

MacNamara, to prove he was the boss, ordered the Army to adopt it. The Army demanded some well thought-out changes, and the Forward Assist was one of those. As it turned out, they didn't demand enough changes and during most of the Viet Nam War we had problems with the M16A1.

The maintenance issue came about because it was originally touted as "never needing cleaning," so no cleaning kits were issued.

Do you really think those problems were a result of not changing the rifle enough??

moxie
August 26, 2013, 08:19 PM
Vern, you're starting to hit the high notes! Almost spit up my spaghetti .

Vern Humphrey
August 26, 2013, 11:16 PM
Do you really think those problems were a result of not changing the rifle enough??
No, those problems were the result of adopting the rifle in the first place.

After 50 years of refinement and engineering changes, we're about where we'd have been on Day One if we'd simply taken a proven design -- like the M1 Carbine, and simply scaled it up a bit to take a .22 varmint round.

Magnuumpwr
August 27, 2013, 12:40 AM
ATLDave, Eugene didn't use chrome lined barrels either while designing. He also used 308 not 223. So just because the designer of any items used or did not use something does not mean they came up with a "perfect" design.
As to the OP, some new guns need a little extra help getting into battery until the contact parts smooth out. You are of course referencing a factory assembly line rifle, keep that in mind.

Destructo6
August 27, 2013, 01:53 AM
After 50 years of refinement and engineering changes, we're about where we'd have been on Day One if we'd simply taken a proven design -- like the M1 Carbine, and simply scaled it up a bit to take a .22 varmint round.
I disagree. This sort of thinking brought the US the short-lived M14. The M1 Garand was a breakthrough weapon, but the M14 was a mild modernization that wasn't able to keep up with its main adversary, the AK.

I think the military realized that something truly modern was needed and the AR was there to fill the niche.

Now, what would have happened had the US adopted something like the FAL in .280 British? Would the AR have been anything more than a prototype and footnote? Would the US have used that FAL well into the 1980s as most countries that adopted it did?

justice06rr
August 27, 2013, 02:13 AM
Its not required/needed, but it is a nice thing to have on an AR15. I've owned different AR's, along with a M&P15 Sport that I bought early this year. I never had the need for the FA on the Sport as long as its properly lubricated and you chamber a round normally.

Deus Machina
August 27, 2013, 07:12 AM
I'm of a split mind on the bolt assist. But I don't own an AR (yet) so take that as you will.
For civilian use, I can only imagine that most instances of it would just jam the thing up harder. For military, it would help quiet loading and maybe finer dirt and crud wouldn't be as bad as the stuff we get here.

But this is exactly the reason I am a fan of Soviet hardware. The 5.56x45mm casing is effectively straight-walled, and anything in the chamber puts on serious friction. The taper on the various x39's, on the other hand, floats the brass away from chamber walls after a very short travel, and releases anything that was gumming it up. I've never found a point where I needed any further coaxing to chamber or clear my AK.

Nappers
August 27, 2013, 09:21 AM
A buddy at work who fought in Afghanistan never used his FA on his weapons, with military rounds, that's pretty good.

We talked about the M&P Sport and he said, get one! Dust cover, Don't need it unless you are going to the beach and digging a fox hole where sand will get in. I said "nope".

ATLDave
August 27, 2013, 10:07 AM
ATLDave, Eugene didn't use chrome lined barrels either while designing. He also used 308 not 223. So just because the designer of any items used or did not use something does not mean they came up with a "perfect" design.

I certainly agree that "original intent" fetishism makes little sense. But that's not what I'm talking about. Stoner started with the .308, but then altered his design to work with .223. He may not have specified chrome-lined barrels, but I'm not aware of him ever lodging any objection to them. It's my understanding that he affirmatively disliked the FA, taking the view that its most likely use would be to exacerbate a bad situation.

I think of my times using semi-automatic pistols. Virtually every time I have assisted the slide forward with a stuck round, I have regretted it. If a round is not completely chambered, retraction is the solution, not cramming it forward. And I've seen a friend jam the dickens out of his AR hammering on the FA.

The "press check" or quiet bolt closing seems like the best argument for a FA.

benEzra
August 27, 2013, 10:08 AM
I've never found a point where I needed any further coaxing to chamber or clear my AK.
It might occasionally be necessary to push the charging handle forward a little after a press check over a full magazine on an AK (it's been a while since I sold my SAR-1, and I don't remember), and it probably would be necessary if you ever single-loaded the chamber or rode the handle forward to chamber a round quietly. Whether or not you actually use it that way, the AK does have the capability.

Mikhail Kalashnikov did apparently design the AK with press-checking in mind, BTW; that's presumably why with a round chambered and the safety on, the cutout in the safety/selector allows you to pull the charging handle back far enough to check the chamber but no further.

Torian
August 27, 2013, 03:41 PM
I disagree. This sort of thinking brought the US the short-lived M14. The M1 Garand was a breakthrough weapon, but the M14 was a mild modernization that wasn't able to keep up with its main adversary, the AK.

I think the military realized that something truly modern was needed and the AR was there to fill the niche.

Now, what would have happened had the US adopted something like the FAL in .280 British? Would the AR have been anything more than a prototype and footnote? Would the US have used that FAL well into the 1980s as most countries that adopted it did?

I'm curious what rational makes you think the M14 doesn't measure up or completely outperform the AK47?

We are still issuing M14s to our squad or platoon level designated marksman in the Army. Our Scouts were using them in Afghanistan to annihilate the Taliban at distances where their AK47s were completely worthless. Up close, it usually only took one round for us to get our point across.

I would have definitely preferred both the action and caliber of this weapon to the issued M4 I had. I think problem lies in the fact that the M14 weapon system requires more skill and training for the shooter (more recoil / extended range interdiction) than the Army wants to invest. It's also more cumbersome, and not as maneuverable in close quarters such as getting out of a vehicle. The current M4 platform is lightweight, with a much smaller round, which is easier to shoot, and also easier to carry larger amounts of ammo. It's also a weapon system that is easier for lightweights (females) to handle in the event they need to go outside the wire / engage the enemy.

Not a superior performer in my book...but works better for the collective armed forces as a whole.

grter
August 27, 2013, 04:50 PM
As far as the forward assist making things worse on a manfuction or jam in my experience it never ever never made things worse.

The forward assist worked almost all the time when the bolt needed to be nudged into battery. If it didn't work it just didn't work nothing ever got worse from using a forward assist.

Maybe people who are unfamiliar with the mechanics and function cycle of the AR may "make things worse" when used properly the forward assist does it's job most of the time and it if doesn't nothing changes for the worse.

This is just the design of the AR platform.

Don't cut corners if you choose to get an AR get a mil spec AR with a dust cover and forward assist. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Reloadron
August 27, 2013, 06:26 PM
Indeed he was, but he had the good sense to have himself cremated -- otherwise Viet Nam veterans would be lined up for miles to micturate on his grave.

Hi Vern, in keeping with guns here and the US arsenal in general Robert McNamara wasn't the first to have US GIs want to stand in line.

Long before Robert McNamara immediately following WWII there was a Louis A. Johnson who was a rather interesting character.

Louis Arthur Johnson (January 10, 1891 - April 24, 1966) was the second United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from March 28, 1949 to September 19, 1950.

Born in Roanoke, Virginia, he earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. After graduation he practiced law in Clarksburg, West Virginia; his firm, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC eventually opened offices in Charleston, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C..

Note he only served a short time.

Following WWII Johnson all but decimated the US military, cutting more and more military spending. Many Korean veterans felt this was why we lost so many troops at the onset of Korea, we were ill prepared lacking equipment. Many GIs placed the blame on Johnson's cuts.

The irony here is Steptoe & Johnson still exist headquartered in Clarksburg WV. Johnson's grave is at the base of Stanley Street in a very large old cemetery. My now deceased brother-in-law who was a retired USMC Force Recon guy during Nam lived on Stanley Street. Following 20 years he went to law school and worked for Steptoe & Johnson. Great guy and shooting buddy who I miss. He loved to tell the story of how Johnson's grave was easy to find, because of all the angry Korean veterans, his headstone was the one with the yellow stains.

Anyway, as to a forward assist? In keeping with guns, take it or leave it. :)

Ron

Destructo6
August 28, 2013, 06:12 PM
I'm curious what rational makes you think the M14 doesn't measure up or completely outperform the AK47?
Very simply: it doesn't fill the role of the modern assault rifle.

It was intended to fill the roles of
1) rifle (big check)
2) Submachinegun (nope)
3) Automatic Rifle (nope)

The AK does all of these things reasonably well, but I think the AR does it better, particulary with more recent refinements. The M14 does only the first well, but it does that very well.

The AK beats the M14 in weight, weight of ammo (combat load), controlability/fast follow up shots, etc. About the only place the AK comes up short is range, which is borne out in your anecdote of limited M14 use in Iraq/Afghanistan.

Creature
August 28, 2013, 06:14 PM
I wont own a AR that doesn't have the assist.

Grassman
August 28, 2013, 06:53 PM
If it "may" be useful in a jam, and can allow me to load more quietly in a hunting situation, I want it. Case closed, for me at least. Both of my AR's have em.

Torian
August 28, 2013, 11:29 PM
Very simply: it doesn't fill the role of the modern assault rifle.

It was intended to fill the roles of
1) rifle (big check)
2) Submachinegun (nope)
3) Automatic Rifle (nope)

The AK does all of these things reasonably well, but I think the AR does it better, particulary with more recent refinements. The M14 does only the first well, but it does that very well.

The AK beats the M14 in weight, weight of ammo (combat load), controlability/fast follow up shots, etc. About the only place the AK comes up short is range, which is borne out in your anecdote of limited M14 use in Iraq/Afghanistan.
You left out one important point: your standard AK is completely outclassed in terms of accuracy by the M4 or M14. Otherwise, I do not disagree with much of what you said.

You should have seen the ranges we ran with the Iraqis and the Afghans. The AK is not a precision weapon. Follow up shooting is great if you can actually hit what you are shooting at. Attempts to qualify with this weapon usually turned into a complete circus show.

For the up close "spray and pray", it seemed to work well for the forces we worked with.

fireside44
August 29, 2013, 09:17 AM
You left out one important point: your standard AK is completely outclassed in terms of accuracy by the M4 or M14.

Those claims are greatly exaggerated when discussing issue weapons and besides, extreme accuracy isn't a plus in a combat weapon.

Warp
August 29, 2013, 09:22 AM
Those claims are greatly exaggerated when discussing issue weapons and besides, extreme accuracy isn't a plus in a combat weapon.

I agree that the claims/differences are often exaggerated (AR's are far more reliable than some claim, and AK's are far less inaccurate than others claim)...but how in the heck is "extreme accuracy" not a plus in a defensive arm?

I fail to understand how, all else equal, it isn't a case of 'the more accurate, the better'

Torian
August 29, 2013, 09:55 AM
Those claims are greatly exaggerated when discussing issue weapons and besides, extreme accuracy isn't a plus in a combat weapon.

What kind of experience are you drawing your opinion from? At the distances we are usually engaged at these days, you definitely need / want the accuracy if you can get it.

Issued weapons (M4 / M16) for me have performed well (forget the issued mags) and could hold a tight group when needed. I wouldn't consider that accuracy "extreme"...just acceptable. If you have to take a shot IVO civilians you'll be glad you have it. No accuracy difference between them and 6920 I personally own.

I think a much better comparison to the M4 in terms of accuracy would be something like a milled Arsenal SAM7R with a decent trigger. This is not a standard AK of course, but the shootout would be interesting.

grter
August 29, 2013, 11:47 AM
Every one keeps comparing the AR with the AK-47 (7.62x39) when it should be compared with the AK-74 (5.45x39.) The 7.62x39 does not have much range but can punch through barriers real good and is not easily deflected by branches and stuff which made it excellent for the Vietnan jungle.

From what I have read the 5.45x39 (sorry guys but thats the way the cookie crumbles) is a better version of a 5.56 (AR round) round. It is one nasty far reaching round with less recoil that keeps it's tissue destroying capabilities regardless of how short your weapon's barrel is. For a dense jungle the AK-47 would most likely be better but for a more open field beware AR toters an AK-74 is pretty close to a match if the person weilding it knows how to use it.

This is gathered from my armchair studying and serparation of patroitic propaganda nonsense.


The AK-74 is nothing to underestimate for a lot of reasons from what I have read. The AK-74 has some state of the art features developed over the years and frightening ballistics. The AR is still more accurate but the 74 can reach out far enough to be considered a formidable threat.

If you keep that AR clean, the Dust Cover closed when not in use, and tap that Forward Assist when needed you should have something usable with a little bit more range, ergonomics, and ability to widely accessorize than your standard AK-74.

I got this information from cokeman2324 videos. Whatever people may think the guy does own maintain and use both AR and AK platform weapons. If you can sort out his personal opinions there is a lot of info there but that goes in all walks of life doesn't it.

taliv
August 29, 2013, 02:06 PM
to be honest, i was surprised this thread made it past page 3 still on topic, and was shocked it was still on topic by page 6. but all things come to an end

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