First case of a Forward Assist saving somebody's life?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by DustyGmt, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Green Mountains Vermont
    In a video interview with Tucker Carlson, Rittenhouse discusses how before he was about to be shot by Grosskreutz. he looked down at his rifle and noticed his BCG wasn't all the way forward (he erroneously refers to the BCG as the "Ejection Port") and gave it a smack to put it back in battery. I know there are very few people who believe that the forward assist is even necessary, Eugene Stoner probably being the most ironic and notable, I can't directly quote Stoner verbatim but he said something to the effect that he couldn't imagine a scenario where the forward assist would do anything for somebody engaged in combat except compound the failure and make extraction impossible which would be the last thing you'd want to happen in a firefight.

    I'm curious, for vets and other AR users, have you ever used your FA during shooting or combat, and for those who don't think they are necessary would this incident make you change your mind about how you view them?

    I can say if KR hadn't happened to look down and see his BCG out of battery when he went to pull the trigger at the most critical time (as a gun is being raised up and pointed at his head) when he went to pull the trigger, nothing would have happened and he very likely would have just been executed by Grosskreutz. Thoughts.
     
    crstrode likes this.
  2. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2017
    Messages:
    701
    Been awhile, but smacking the forward assist was drilled into me when shooting that platform. Don't know if it helped or not.
     
  3. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Green Mountains Vermont
    The first AR I ever owned was a DPMS Sportical and it didn't have the FA and dust cover and I remember about 12 years ago when I bought it thinking I should have just spent the extra $250 and got a Colt in mil spec configuration. Back then the local gun shops around me had only a few types of AR's, after a while it wasn't uncommon to see a dozen different brand/configured AR's but back then and when I was a kid admiring them whenever me and my dad or uncle went into the gun shop all I would ever see is DPMS, Colt, Bushmaster, Stag and Armalite. When I finally bought one it was a DPMS because it was the cheapest and it was the only one without a FA/DC so I always associated the lack of FA/DC with cost cutting.

    I got rid of it and it was basically because of that, because it wasn't "mil spec". I also turned my nose up at the 1st Gen M&P Sport but I would gladly trade my SportII+1000rds of ammo for one of those 1st Gen Sports. Man you could get those for $400 and they didn't have the FA/DC but they were shooters. I wished I had bought one when I had the chance because they pulled those melonited 5R 1-8" barreled Sports never to be seen again.

    From this point forward I don't really care if a gun has the assist/cover even though at the time it seemed important to have it back then but if I ever come across one of those original Sports I'd probably buy it. It's just interesting to see Rittenhouse toting around that M&P and actually needing to employ the FA, if he'd have bought the Gen1 he might have been in trouble......
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  4. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2020
    Messages:
    909
    Location:
    Southeast PA
    The forward assist was added to the earliest experimental M16s. The Air Force used them in Nam. They had feeing problems. The Army would not adopt the M16 unless Colt added a forward assist. It was added. When the M16nwas first issued to soldiers in Nam the fund had terrible failures to feed. The FA was ineffective. Turned out that the bolts were corroding in the lousy environmental conditions. The then chromed the bolts, did a massive replacement and the problems went away. With the M1 and M14 any failure to feed was overcome simply charging the weapon again. It was nearly a Nikon occurrence on the M1, but the M14 was more problematic.
     
  5. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    434
    In my uneducated opinion a forward assist is just a device to mess up your world worse than it currently is.

    I have banged the assist of jams and my reward was taking a brass rod and hammer and knocking cartridge and bolt free and clear.

    I think if ammo passes gauge checks and rifle is clean and properly lubed there is no reason for the forward assist.

    I have never been in combat nor military of any form, I just shot my ar15s a great deal a few years ago.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  6. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,980
    Location:
    East KY
    It seems that Rittenhouse should have looked in the ejection port to see if the bolt was in battery when he chambered the first round, not shortly before needing it.

    I like dust cover doors, and no forward assist on my ARs.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  7. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,212
    Location:
    Missouri
    The forward assist is NOT meant to be hit hard or beat on. If it takes more than a light tap to get the bolt to go forward, you have other issue that needs to be addressed. Yes I have had to use the FA on the M16A1 and M16A2 in combat, they work as intended.
     
    twarr1, d2wing, G.E. Lee and 5 others like this.
  8. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Green Mountains Vermont
    Oh, here's an angle on the Rittenhouse shooting I'm not sure has been discussed. I mean it has but maybe not in this specific context, but imagine the scenario playing out exactly as it had with the only change being that Rittenhouse is sitting on his butt like in the video and his gun is still aimed at the ground and Grosskreutz pull his pistol and shoots him in the head. Do you think a case would have even been brought against Mr. Grosskreutz and would a prosecutor be cross examining him with the same tenacity that was brought on KR, provided the case ever made it to a courtroom.

    I very much doubt it. Purely speculative I know. I'm just saying, if the kid had been shot down or beaten to death there likely wouldn't have been any fuss whatsoever. Grosskreutz would be hailed a hero for killing the bloodthirsty white supremacist militia leader......
     
  9. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Green Mountains Vermont
    It's my understanding that Mr. Grosskreutz was the last person shot so the gun was operable and in battery for most of the gunfight(s), only after the initial altercations, shootings, and after several shots fired and chambering the weapon did he happen to notice his bolt was out of battery. Pretty lucky for him since the last guy he shot was drawing a pistol on him and was at PBR. Mr. Rittenhouse would be dead and nobody would even know his name.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  10. Megawatt maker

    Megawatt maker Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Messages:
    299
    Never been in combat...very thankfully, but I've had to use the FA at the range during my time in the Army. I was issued a real worn out POS in basic...I mean it was real junk. The upper and lower had so much slop it would literally rattle...

    I was first issued a decent one, but the Drill Sargent swapped it out with a city boy who never shot before and was having massive problems to begin with...and having that POS to qualify on was too much...so they gave it to me since I knew how to shoot, and he figured I could at least qualify with it...if not get 40 out of 40 (I took serious offense to it at the time...I wanted that perfect score)...but I dealt with it..

    I've also had to use it as a civvy, but that was my fault for doing faulty reloads...and taught me to use small base dies for ARs.
     
    Big Bore 44 likes this.
  11. armydog

    armydog Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2021
    Messages:
    195
    Always. I would never own one without it.
     
  12. crstrode

    crstrode Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    81
    I've never heard anything but negatives when it comes to the forward assist.

    In my mind, Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony has effectively cancelled-out all of the nay-sayers.

    It is obvious to me that Rittenhouse had extensive experience with the AR15 that allowed him to survive a very fast and challenging situation. I doubt that I, (or the majority of "experts" on boards like this) could have reacted as surely and as effectively as he did.
     
  13. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    7,162
    Location:
    Fl panhandle
    The M4 and similar carbines have always been solid performers in my experience, but when SOCOM started adding certain accessories like suppressors, shorter CQB type uppers, "non standard" ammo, etc. there were some teething pains that were corrected in short order. There were a few occasions where using the FA fixed my few malfunctions during this period.
     
  14. Slotback

    Slotback Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    Texas
    Only once in my years of shooting have I ever whacked the forward assist to use it in the manner intended.
     
  15. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,824
    There were only two types of situations where I used FA in the military: When doing a brass check with strict noise discipline or, and far more common, when fixing a rifle that was put back together without its buffer and spring. With the former, you slowly pull back on the charging handle to look or feel for a round in the chamber, then ride the charging handle forward and use the FA to fully seat the bolt carrier.

    In the latter, a rifle without the buffer is locked up. The bolt carrier gets half way down the buttstock and stops because there is no return force to push it back. So that is when I take a small cleaning rod section, work the bolt carrier forward enough to catch on the forward assist notch, and move it up to unbind the rifle. The usefulness of the FA in combat is dubious, but it is still a nice thing to have on there.
     
    MutinousDoug likes this.
  16. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,974
    I've definitely had to use the forward assist in the past and it worked as intended.


    I know some AR's are even built without them which perplexes me, some people say you don't need them.


    Obviously it worked for Kyle or he wouldn't be alive to tell his tale.
     
  17. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2020
    Messages:
    1,896
    I use my forward assist all the time when hunting, it allows me to ride the charging handle and then finish the BCG travel into battery with the forward assist.

    I won’t build an AR without one.

    But my life has not depended on it.
     
  18. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2017
    Messages:
    701
    The rifle I got in Basic was so worn out I could field-strip it by shaking it vigorously side to side. It also had an issue with doubling, firing off 2-3 rounds on semi. Kept telling them, but they kept blowing it off until qualification, when I got jumped by a range NCO for it, told him the issue, and when he tested my rifle, it dumped the whole mag on him.
    I got a loaner I qualified with, and a lot of pushups because I embarrass my drill.
    That's why I got so conditioned to using the FA, never had a jam the rest of my military career, other than with BFAs, but those don't count.
     
    NIGHTLORD40K likes this.
  19. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,081
    Location:
    Brandon, Florida
    Not military here, an uncle and a lot of his buddies were.
    He said it was procedure in Vietnam to give the assist a bump whenever you reload. I'm not sure if that was official or just passed along through the soldiers. Either way, he blames the environment and overuse of the FA for as many jams as anything else.

    Me, I'm 50-50 on it. Should it need it? Probably not. It's needed a bump or two with my brand-new AR, with a nonstandard round, no wear or polish yet, and fresh stiff springs and ejector. I expect it won't after a couple hundred rounds.
    I do demand something else have the tolerances to handle getting full of crud (like an AK) or a dust cover to avoid it, though. Preferably both. The reason I don't buy a side-charging AR is just because it has neither, and all the sand around here would utterly ruin any outdoor trip. With a forward-assist, in the worst case it could at least be a frustrating manual repeater.
     
  20. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Location:
    Arizona
    I was Infantry in RVN in 1970 and our SOP called for ejecting a round that had not fully chambered; that using the FA in that case could potentially render the gun inoperable. As Herrwalther above states the FA was used to brass check or when the bolt was eased forward gently to maintain noise discipline at your guard hole (almost every night).
    I never had the opportunity to try that with a gun pointed at me from arm's length though. I would accept relaxation of protocol in that sort of situation.
     
  21. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Messages:
    8,418
    Location:
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    Hmm, Ive been trying unsuccessfully to find the particulars, but I remember watching an interview with a Army Natl. Guardsman who was awarded, IIRC, the Silver Star, for fighting off an insurgent attack in Iraq more or less single-handedly after his truck convoy was ambushed.

    He stated that his M16 was in poor condition when he received it, a fact he attributed to the low priority afforded rear-echelon troops at the time.

    After dismounting from his vehicle and attempting to return fire from his position in a roadside ditch, he recounted that he had to manually close the bolt on his rifle after every shot, yet still managed to kill several attackers and drive off the rest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  22. armydog

    armydog Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2021
    Messages:
    195
    He described noticing the issue, which I don't think he described correctly, after he shot Huber and right before he shot GG.
     
  23. Archie

    Archie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    3,423
    Location:
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Interesting. I've never seen a cartridge rifle - military anyway, perhaps commercial - NOT having a manual means of insuring the bolt is fully forward (presumably chambering a round). Bolt guns have bolt handles. Semi and fully automatic weapons have charging handles, routinely used to insure the first round in the chamber is fully seated in the chamber and the bolt is closed. All of the above could be used to somewhat 'force' rounds into the chamber when minor obstructions hinder the process of chambering. Dirt, dust and sand come to mind.

    The initial M16 did not have such a device. Now it does.

    Have I ever used such a device at need? No. But once I handled one on which I had a forward assist mechanism. A friend had an early commercial version (Colt) without the forward assist. On the range he had a failure to chamber stoppage. He asked me for help; the cartridge was partially in the chamber but not closing and the bolt was jammed tight against it. I cleared it by dropping the magazine and then - cautious of down range and my very face - banged the butt of the rifle on the ground. The bolt was opened by inertia and the petulant round fell out. After that, the rifle worked fine. I regretted the absence of a forward assist.

    The purpose of the forward assist is to get the initial loading and charging accomplished. Not to clear a stoppage by brute force.
     
    BreechFace likes this.
  24. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,426
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    In a theoretical sense, there is a strong argument to be made against the forward assist. As it has been pointed out, running the action makes the most sense as a general remedy for a bolt carrier which has failed to return fully into battery.

    In a practical sense, assuming KR’s account is accurate, we can see at least one instance where it was exactly what was needed at a critical moment.
     
    Big Bore 44 and crstrode like this.
  25. armydog

    armydog Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2021
    Messages:
    195
    Exactly.

    And you don't want to be that guy entering a room and feel a click. Confirming a round is in the chamber throughout the fight occurs constantly.
     
    d2wing and BreechFace like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice