First look at the Barrett REC7 DI Pistol

By: SI Staff

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The latest model out from Barrett is an addition to the company’s popular REC7 DI lineup, which now features a REC7 DI AR-15 in a pistol format for a limited time.

The new REC7 DI pistol features a 10.25-inch barrel and comes in at an overall length of 24.75 inches. The total weight of the new gun is 5.45 pounds and ships with a 20-round Magpul PMag. The gun is finished in a black Cerakote coating and features a Magpul MOE pistol grip, along with a Magpul enlarged trigger guard. The fore-end of the gun is Barrett’s own enhanced BRS handguard design and features KeyMod attachment points.

The AR pistol is constructed with a match-grade barrel made with stainless steel and uses the company’s own high-efficiency muzzle device to reduce recoil. The gun also features an oversized charging handle for easy racking of the pistol, along with a specially designed gas block that features a nut-retention device for extra durability. The gun features a continuous flattop rail that reaches to the end of the fore-end, giving users a lengthened sight radius for irons or plenty of room for optics mounting.

The REC7 DI pistol is equipped with the Gearhead Works Tailhook MOD 1 pistol brace, which is billed as the most compact pistol brace on the market today. The brace measures less than 1 inch thick and provides users with a shelf that works to counter the forward weight of an AR pistol, allowing the shooter’s wrist to relax and focus on controlling the trigger. The brace is made from solid aluminum and clamps to pistol buffer tubes ranging from 1.17-1.2 inches in diameter.

The Barrett REC7 DI pistol is available in 5.56 NATO and .300 BLK and available only for a limited time. The suggested retail price on the gun is $1,899.

First look at the Trojan Firearms PRO9V1 9 mm Carbine

By: SI Staff

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Trojan Firearms, based in Phoenix, AZ, took more than 30 years of knowledge and experience in precision machining and put it toward designing high-performance firearms. The latest from the company is the new PRO9V1 carbine, chambered in 9 mm.

The new Trojan PRO9V1 carbine is based on the ergonomics and controls of the AR-15 platform, but the company’s focus on the new gun was to design a pistol-caliber carbine from scratch in order to provide consumers with the most reliable 9 mm carbine possible, solving many of the issues found in many pistol-caliber carbines on the market with straight-blowback operating systems.

The Trojan Firearms PRO9V1 features an upper receiver, lower receiver and handguard that are CNC machined from aircraft-grade billet aluminum. The springs and detent pins in the lower are coated with Teflon in order to provide added lubricity, and the gun also features a flared magazine well that improves reloading.

The carbine features a 16-inch barrel that features a lightweight contour, a 1:10 rate of twist and is constructed from 4150V steel. The barrel features a nitride finish and uses a Grater Gen II muzzle brake that can be tuned according to the end user’s preferences. The gun also features an ambidextrous charging handle, as well as the company’s own adjustable drop-in trigger.

Other features of the gun include a free-float handguard that features a KeyMod attachment system that allows for easy mounting of accessories anywhere on the circumference. The upper receiver and the rail top form a continuous flattop Picatinny mounting surface for optics and other accessories. The gun also features a tension screw and a lock screw that allows users to keep the upper and lower receiver tightly matched.

The new Trojan Firearms PRO9V1 is available in two different models. The first model, the PRO9V1-G, is compatible with all 9 mm Glock magazines. The PRO9V1-M is compatible with 9 mm MBX or STI 2011 magazines. The company also sells a California-compliant version.

The guns are available in red, metallic blue and black finishes. The suggested retail price for the PRO9V1-G is $1,399, while the PRO9V1-M retails at a suggested price of $1,549.99. The California-compliant model is available for $1,449.99.

New Bolt-Action Precision Rifles for 2017

By: Shooting Illustrated Staff

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One of the noticeable trends over the last couple of years has been the exploding interest in precision rifles, particularly those chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, proven ideal for long-range precision shooting.

Market offerings have typically been somewhat limited in this respect, with many options usually based on the same action. However, in 2017, gun manufacturers stepped up their product offerings and provided the precision-rifle market with a huge array of new guns. These precision rifles are designed to provide shooters with the best possible trigger, action and barrel needed to place shots on-target accurately from great distances.

Take a look at some of the more unique new bolt-action precision rifles for 2017:

American Built Arms Howa Precision Rifle
Built off the reliable and accurate Howa 1500 action and featuring A*B Arms’ MOD*X GEN III Modular Rifle System chassis, this turnbolt could be a valid option for anyone looking to get into the long-range game without needing a second mortgage. It is also available in .308 Win.

Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 40.75 inches
Weight 7: pounds, 6 ounces
MSRP: $1,200
(443) 310-8777 abarms.com



Bergara B14 HMR
The new Hunting and Match Rifle from Bergara is designed as a do-it-all platform that features the B14 action bedded inside a full-length integrated mini-chassis for accuracy.

Caliber: .308 Win.
Magazine Capacity: 5 rounds
Barrel Length: 20 inches
Overall Length: 39.5 inches
Weight: 9 pounds, 2 ounces
MSRP: $1,150
(877) 892-7544 bergarausa.com



Browning X-Bolt Target McMillan A3-5
Browning’s acclaimed X-Bolt action is now available in a stock perfect for long-range shooters. The first chambering in the McMillan A3-5 stock is the hot new 6 mm Creedmoor, which offers superior performance at extreme ranges.

Caliber: 6 mm Creedmoor
Magazine Capacity: 4 rounds
Barrel Length: 28 inches
Overall Length: 46 inches
Weight: 10 pounds, 3 ounces
MSRP: $2,800
(800) 333-3288 browning.com



Howa HCR
The Howa HCR features a Howa 1500 heavy-barreled action mated to a precision-engineered aluminum chassis. The rifle is available in six different calibers and black or MultiCam finishes.

Caliber: .308 Win.
Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 41 to 45.25 inches
Weight: 9 pounds
MSRP: $1,239
(800) 553-4229 legacysports.com



IWI US Dan Tactical Precision Rifle
This combat-proven precision turnbolt is built on a one-piece, aluminum-alloy chassis. Designed with IWI’s commitment to ergonomics, it promises superior accuracy at extreme ranges and is already in use with the SAS in Syria.

Caliber: .338 Lapua Mag.
Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 28 inches
Overall Length: 47.6 inches
Weight: 15 pounds, 5 ounces
MSRP: $8,999
(717) 695-2081 iwi.us



Remington 700 Magpul

It’s a match of titans as rifle giant Remington meets the king of furniture, Magpul. The Model 700, one of the foremost bolt-action rifles on the market, gets the Magpul Makeover with a customizable stock.

Caliber: .308 Win.
Capacity: 5 rounds
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 41.5 inches
Weight: 8 pounds, 12 ounces
MSRP: $1,175
(800) 243-9700 remington.com



Ruger American Rifle Ranch
Featuring a lightweight synthetic stock designed for quick, easy handling, Ruger’s latest addition of its Ranch line of American Rifles is chambered in .450 Bushmaster, making it one versatile and hard-hiting boltgun.

Caliber: .450 Bushmaster
Magazine Capacity: 3 rounds
Barrel Length: 16.12 inches
Overall Length: 36 inches
Weight: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
MSRP: $599
(336) 949-5200 ruger.com



Savage Model 10 Ashbury Precision
Savage Arms partnered with Ashbury Precision Ordnance and Drake Associates to develop a lineup of tack-driving “chassis-style” rifles. The modular, upgradable and reconfigurable chassis features a double-locking, folding shoulder stock, along with an octagonal aluminum handguard.

Caliber: .308 Win.
Magazine Capacity: 5 rounds
Barrel Length: 24 inches
Overall Length: 46.73 inches
Weight: 10 pounds, 5 ounces
MSRP: $1,799
(413) 568-7001 savagearms.com



Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis
This machined, 6061-aluminum chassis houses Weatherby’s proven Vanguard action and comes with a sub-MOA guarantee from the factory (when shooting premium ammunition). The minimalist fore-end allows attachment of rail sections for adding accessories.

Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 20 inches
Overall Length: 39.25 to 40.25 inches
Weight: 8 pounds, 8 ounces
MSRP: $1,519
(800) 227-2016 weatherby.com



Winchester XPC
Built off of Winchester’s rigid XPR receiver, this chassis gun features a button-rifled, freefloat barrel with a target crown and threads for mounting a suppressor or muzzle device. The alloy chassis is finished with Cerakote to enhance durability. The XPC is also available in .308 Win. and .243 Win.

Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 24 inches
Overall Length: 44 inches
Weight: 10 pounds, 5 ounces
MSRP: $1,598
(800) 333-3288 winchesterguns.com

Smith & Wesson Joins with Magpul to Expand M&P15 Series Rifles

By: American Rifleman Staff

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Smith & Wesson has announced that through a collaboration with Magpul Industries, it is adding three firearms to its popular M&P15 series of rifles. The new M&P15 MOE SL rifles integrate Magpul’s MOE SL accessories that shooters were adding to their rifles in a ready-to-shoot package, as well as a new Stealth Gray option.

The rifles have also been enhanced to feature the latest Magpul slim line accessories such as the MOE SL Carbine Mil-Spec stock, MOE grip, and MOE SL mid-length handguard in three different color options, Black, Stealth Gray, and Flat Dark Earth.

“Magpul and Smith & Wesson have been collaborating for almost 10 years,” said Drake Clark, Magpul senior director of sales and business development. “When it came time to refresh the M&P15 line, we were excited to assist with the development.  … we know these will be popular with M&P fans.”  

The M&P15 MOE SL rifles feature a mid-length gas operating system, resulting in lower recoil and the ability to make quick, accurate follow-up shots. The rifles also feature a Smith & Wesson/Magpul co-branded lower receiver, Smith & Wesson patented flash suppressor, folding Magpul MBUS® rear sight, and a lightweight 5R rifled 4041-steel contoured barrel with a 1:8” twist rate. MSRP: $1,239

M&P15 MOE SL Mid Magpul Spec Series Configurations:

M&P15 MOE SL Mid Magpul Spec Series – Black                              SKU:11512
M&P15 MOE SL Mid Magpul Spec Series – Stealth Gray                   SKU: 11553
M&P15 MOE SL Mid Magpul Spec Series – Flat Dark Earth              SKU: 11513

Ruger Precision Rifle Now in 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem.

By: American Rifleman Staff

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Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. has introduced the Ruger Precision Rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem., usable with a wide range of readily available ammunition, and broadening the appeal of the already very popular rifle.
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The new Precision Rifle employs a hybrid “Target” chamber, which safely accommodates 5.56 NATO cartridges while providing excellent projectile control and accuracy for both .223 Rem and 5.56 NATO cartridges. The rifle ships with two Ruger AI-Style Precision Rifle magazines that accommodate 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. factory ammunition loaded with the longer, higher ballistic coefficient projectiles popular among long-range shooters.

Like all Ruger Precision Rifles, this model’s highly accurate, free-floated barrel is cold hammer-forged from 4140 chrome-moly steel and features 5R rifling for minimum bullet upset. Minimum bore and groove dimensions (air-gauged for process control) and a centralized chamber deliver outstanding accuracy, longevity and ease of cleaning. This new model features a 1:7” twist rate that stabilizes long-for-caliber projectiles.

All models of the Ruger Precision Rifle are equipped with a left-folding stock with adjustable comb height and length of pull, an ergonomic pistol grip and a Precision Rifle handguard, all of which may be customized with AR-style components. The Ruger Precision Rifle also features a Ruger Precision Rifle Hybrid Muzzle Brake, a 20 MOA scope base and the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger, which provides a user-adjustable pull weight range between 2.25 and 5 pounds.

SIG Sauer Announces MPX 9 mm Semi-automatic Carbine

By: American Rifleman Staff

 

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When SIG Sauer introduced the popular modular SIG MPX submachine gun in 2014, it hinted that a carbine model was in development. We’ve just gotten word that the long-awaited SIG MPX 9 mm semi-automatic carbine is being introduced at the 2016 SHOT Show

“For those who want the full feature set of the SIG MPX, but don’t want a short-barrel rifle or live in a state with restricted access, the SIG MPX Carbine is a great choice,” said John Brasseur, Director of Product Management for SIG Sauer, Inc. “Later, if the operator decides to SBR the carbine, it’s a simple change with a conversion kit.”

The carbine maintains all of the ergonomics of the SBR and pistol variants, but now with a 16″ hammer-forged barrel, along with a full-length aluminum KeyMod handguard which provides ample room for mounting lights, lasers and grips. Completely ambidextrous, the carbine is great for left- or right-handed operators with its dual-sided selector switch, magazine release, charging handle and bolt release. The three-position collapsing stock features integrated QD sling cups for fast and easy sling attachments.

The carbine operates from a fully-closed bolt, and the locking rotating bolt system offers enhanced reliability and safety in use. A short-stroke gas piston with auto-regulating gas valve allows the SIG MPX Carbine to run all weights and brands of 9 mm ammunition, from low-power training loads to +P duty ammo. No adjustments are needed to maintain rock-solid reliability.

Familiar AR-pattern controls and ergonomics reduce the training curve and are instinctive for anyone experienced with the AR system. A full-length picatinny rail allows for solid, consistent mounting of optics and targeting lasers. SIG Sauer folding iron sights come standard.

The SIG MPX Carbine is completely modular, and handguards and barrel lengths can be quickly changed over in the field. The barrel comes with the SIG three-prong flash hider.

Check back here starting Mon., Jan. 18 for complete SHOT Show coverage of these SIG Sauer firearms and more.

SIGM400 Predator
For predator and varmint hunters who prefer to hunt with a semi-automatic rifle, SIG Sauer has also announced that it has redesigned the SIGM400 Predator and added it to its long-gun catalog. The new Predator is based on the direct-impingement SIGM400 action, with enhancements optimized for hunters.

“Hunting with the modern sporting rifle had gone from fad to an accepted norm,” said John Brasseur, Director of Product Development for SIG Sauer, Inc. “With the SIGM400 Predator, hunters have an exceptional hunting rifle right out of the box, with no upgrades or additions needed.”

The 5.56 mm cal. rifle features a two-stage match trigger, a hammer-forged stainless-steel barrel (18” in 5.56 mm and 16” in .300 BLK), and top picatinny rail. Barrels are threaded for muzzle devices or sound suppressors. It also features a hard-coat anodized upper and lower receiver, six-position MILSTD telescoping stock, and five-round detachable magazine.

 

The Kriss USA Vector Gen II CRB

By: American Rifleman Staff

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A prime example of form following function, the Kriss USA Vector is a pistol-caliber carbine built around its unorthodox, but innovative, operating system. Devised in Europe but built in Chesapeake, Va., the Vector platform’s Super V recoil-mitigation system was designed from the outset with the goal of shooting rapidly with repeatable accuracy while on the move. The Vector was first introduced to the market in 2008, in both full-automatic and semi-automatic variants, and since that time its selective-fire models have been adopted by military, law enforcement and security forces the world over.

Originally manufactured only for the .45 ACP cartridge, in 2014 Kriss USA released a second generation that not only made numerous aesthetic and ergonomic refinements to the Vector platform, but also introduced several additional chamberings. Today, the Vector Gen II is available configured as a carbine (CRB), a pistol (SDB), an NFA-applicable short-barreled rifle (SBR) and a select-fire submachine gun (SMG) reserved for military/law enforcement use, and is chambered for five cartridges (9 mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, 10 mm Auto and .45 ACP). A CRB chambered in 9 mm Luger is the subject of this review.

The heart of the CRB is the Super V, a delayed-blowback system that harnesses the energy exerted by expanding propellant gases on the cartridge case and redirects it to where it can be used to the shooter’s advantage. While in battery, the bolt sits inside the receiver in line with the bore, just as with any other autoloader. However, following ignition of the cartridge, rather than being driven directly rearward into the shooter as in a traditional blowback, the bolt and a slider assembly attached to its rear draw the carrier downward, revectoring the energy to help counteract the muzzle’s natural inclination to rise during recoil.

During this downstroke, a bolt-mounted extractor pulls the spent case from the chamber and an ejector on the left wall of the receiver expels it through the right-side ejection port. When the slider assembly reaches the bottom of its track, a mainspring returns the bolt up and forward again, stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine before locking back into the chamber. The result is a firearm that is remarkably soft-shooting and easy to keep on target, even during rapid strings of fire.

Nonetheless, as a consequence of the Super V’s unconventional footprint, the CRB’s overall shape is distinctly different, and its manual of arms may therefore be unfamiliar to many shooters. A serialized lower receiver houses the operating system, magazine well and barrel, while the upper receiver incorporates both the trigger assembly and buttstock extension, and these two receivers can be separated quickly without tools by simply pushing out three pins. This modular construction allows lowers of differing chamberings to be used interchangeably with the CRB’s upper, greatly increasing the versatility of the platform, and Kriss USA does offer complete lower receivers for this purpose—however, as the serialized part, each lower will require its own paperwork.

The Gen II CRB’s steel receivers are nitride-treated for increased corrosion resistance and durability, and are covered almost completely by a polymer housing that is available from the company Cerakoted in Black, Flat Dark Earth (shown), Olive Drab Green, Combat Grey and Alpine White. Also black nitrided for extended service life, the carbine’s 16″ steel barrel comes installed with what Kriss calls its Enhanced Barrel Shroud. However, while the other three configurations of the Vector all feature a threaded barrel, the CRB does not.

The Kriss CRB is built around the Super V, a delayed-blowback operating system designed to counteract the muzzle’s natural inclination to rise during recoil.

Although the previous generation of Vector incorporated a folding buttstock into its design, this feature has been replaced on the Gen II with a mil-spec M4-type stock adaptor and a six-position adjustable buttstock. According to Kriss USA, the change was made in order to allow shooters, as in typical AR-platform fashion, to customize the CRB with the stock of their choosing. The carbine comes from Kriss with flip-up, polymer Magpul MBUS sights, and a 13″ segment of Picatinny rail tops the rifle for the installation of an optic. Three inches of rail are also positioned on the lower receiver, just forward of the magazine well at the six o’clock position, for the mounting of an accessory, and the sides of the receiver are drilled and tapped for the installation of optional rails.

The gun feeds from standard, double-stack Glock handgun magazines of the corresponding cartridge, which are inserted into the carbine via a magazine well just forward of the Super V system. A non-reciprocating charging handle is positioned on the left side of the gun in the seam between the two receivers, and it folds flush with the side of the carbine when the bolt is in battery. The CRB’s bolt will automatically lock back on an empty magazine, and a bolt lock/release is located just below the charging handle. A magazine release button is on the left side of the receiver just forward of the magazine well where it is intended to be actuated by the shooter’s support hand, and a bilateral thumb safety with a 45-degree throw is situated just above and to the rear of the trigger on the upper receiver.

Function testing through approximately 300 rounds of assorted loads yielded zero failures to function, and the Super V worked as advertised; felt recoil and muzzle flip were about as minimal as can be found in a center-fire carbine. Our test rifle’s trigger exhibited generous take-up and slight creep before crisply breaking at a pull weight of 7 lbs., 9 ozs. Accuracy of the carbine was more than adequate given the CRB’s intended use: short-range engagements, likely from an unsupported position.

Placement of the magazine release was problematic for some of our testers, as both left- and right-handed shooters found that care had to be exercised to avoid inadvertently contacting it with the support hand, resulting in a magazine on the floor and an out-of-commission carbine. Installation of a vertical fore-grip onto the nearby rail would eliminate this issue and is recommended. Right-handed testers found the rest of the controls to be conveniently positioned; southpaws will likely find the bolt release awkwardly placed and the right-side safety lever difficult to activate due to interference by the stock adaptor.

Unconventional controls and unorthodox aesthetics notwithstanding, the eminently controllable Kriss USA Vector Gen II CRB is a slick piece of technology that would make a capable home defense firearm for the recoil averse. And, when chambered in one of the more energetic cartridges offered, could even find success within certain short-range hunting scenarios. Although its price tag positions the CRB among the more expensive pistol-caliber carbines on the market, its Super V recoil mitigation system and multi-caliber capability also place it high among that niche’s most unique offerings.

Kimber Adirondack

by G&A

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In his book “Wilderness Hunting and Wildcraft,” Col. Townsend Whelen wrote, “A man will travel farther, hunt over more country, have a better chance of coming on game, and be in better condition when he does if his weapon is light.” For those who hunt on their hind legs as opposed to waiting out in a weatherproof blind, truer words were never written. As trendy as limiting rifle weight has become, few have mastered the art. The Kimber Adirondack comes close.

It’s difficult to find the words that effectively describe just how light this rifle is. The Kimber Adirondack might be the nimblest production bolt-action rifle on the market. Kimber shaved weight without mass skeletonization of parts or skimping on the foundation that makes a rifle a rifle.

The carbon/Kevlar fiber stock, with its gummy-feeling Optifade Forest camo covering, is full size. It has a 13.63-inch length of pull, and that includes a 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator rubber recoil pad. The stock, with the triggerguard, weighs only 24.8 ounces. The action is stainless steel, and so is the 18-inch, pencil-thin barrel. At the muzzle, the barrel is only .58 inch in diameter. Screw the barreled action and stock together with the two guard screws, and total rifle weight is 4 pounds, 10 ounces.

It’s interesting that the muzzle on the Kimber Adirondack has been threaded and comes with a thread protector. Kimber says this is for a suppressor or muzzlebrake. Considering that the Kimber Adirondack is chambered for mild-mannered cartridges such as the 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester, very few will have a need for a muzzlebrake.

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Weight is saved everywhere to keep the Adirondack under 5 pounds, including its deeply bored-out bolt handle

Additionally, with the slow-twist barrel, the suppressor would only be suitable for supersonic ammo. That does not mean it’s a bad idea, but admittedly a suppressor would drastically change the handling qualities and weight of this svelte little rifle. Ironically, even with the added weight of a can, the Kimber Adirondack would still be lighter than many sporting rifles.

The Kimber Adirondack rifle, or carbine as it is, is built on Kimber’s proven 84M action. This is a two-lug bolt action that operates similarly to the controlled-round-feed (CRF) Mauser 98. However, there is a difference. With a true and properly tuned CRF action, ammunition can only be fed to the chamber through the magazine box. If you place a cartridge on top of the magazine follower and attempt to close the bolt, it will not go completely into battery because the cartridge rim cannot slip behind the large claw extractor. Kimber has engineered the 84M action so it can feed reliably from the magazine box or from on top of it.

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Kimber uses the Mauser-type claw extractor, arguably the best bolt design ever conceived.

The benefits of a CRF action are more imagined than real, but if you like this imaginary assurance, the 84M action used on the Kimber Adirondack is arguably one of the best. Kimber wisely engineered the action so that the ejector is positioned slightly in front of the rim of the cartridge in the magazine box. This limits the possibility of a short-stroke jam. Still, short stroking can produce a double feed because the bottom of the bolt face, by dragging on the rim of the top cartridge in the magazine box, can push it forward.

However, the reality is that the opportunity for this is so narrow, you’ll almost have to purposely engineer the condition to make it a reality. The 84M is a very reliable action. It has a three-position safety, a magazine that holds four cartridges and a single-stage trigger that breaks with an almost unperceivable amount of creep at 4 pounds on the nose.

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Kimber threads its stainless barrels for shooters who want to attach a muzzlebrake or suppressor.

The barreled action is pillar/glass bedded to the sleek stock, and the barrel is free floated past the primary taper, just forward of the action. The only skeletonizing, if you want to call it that, is an almost half-inch hole drilled in the bolt-handle knob and the deep, spiral fluting of the bolt. Overall fit is exceptional in every area, and the brushed stainless finish on the action and barrel contrasts nicely with the digitalized camouflage coating on the stock. However, it seems that if camouflage were the goal, another pattern might make more sense.

The 84M action is drilled and tapped for scope mounts, and the Kimber Adirondack does not come with open sights. Numerous mounting options exist, but we’d strongly suggest those available from Kimber.

First are the front-dovetail, rear-windage-adjustment, Redfield-style Kimber bases available in stainless or blue. Second are the all-steel, vertically split Talley rings, which, many argue, are the most rugged scope rings on the planet. Last, there are the aluminum Talley one-piece rings. Melvin Forbes of Ultra Light Arms engineered these rings about 30 years ago. Forbes sold Talley the design, and the company has reengineered them to fit many actions. They weigh only 2 1/2 ounces and are unworldly rugged, and Kimber offers them in blue or Optifade to match the Kimber Adirondack’s stock.

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with the three-position Model 70-type safety lever flipped to the right, a red dot indicates that the rifle can be fired.

The Kimber Adirondack test rifle came with Talley one-piece rings in an Optifade Forest finish. The rifle was also equipped with a Zeiss Conquest HD5 3-15x42mm riflescope, dipped in camo to match the rings and stock. Kimber sells this scope and a 2-10x42mm option directly through its website with your choice of a Plex or Rapid-Z 600 or 800 reticle. Together, the rifle and scope were visually appealing even though the scope seemed a bit large on the carbine.

As an aside, these Zeiss products are excellent riflescopes and priced accordingly. At almost 15 inches long, the 3-15X is still moderately light at only 17.6 ounces, which is a consideration if a light rifle is your goal. The glass surfaces have the Zeiss LotuTec coating, which helps shed moisture and resist scratches. There is a fast-focus eyepiece and a side parallax adjustment. It’s waterproof, has a 75×50-MOA square adjustment range and comes with Zeiss’ five-year no-fault warranty.

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No detachable box magazine or hinged floorplate here. Loaded through an open bolt, the Adirondack can hold four rounds.

Five loads were tested from a sandbag rest at 100 yards, and five five-shot groups were fired with each load. Though this has become the de facto standard for rifle accuracy testing, we were anticipating that with the thin barrel, shots might string as the Kimber Adirondack heated up. They did not.

The average group size for all 25 groups was less than 2 inches, and the most accurate tested was the Remington Managed Recoil load, which was a pleasure to shoot. None of the loads were seriously uncomfortable from the bench even though total rifle weight, with rings and scope, was right at 6 pounds. From field positions, the Kimber Adirondack was pleasant with all boxes of ammo, and with a hunting rifle, field-position shooting matters most.

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One criticism of light hunting rifles is that they’re harder to shoot offhand. The reality is that the absence of weight is not the problem; improper balance is the culprit. Many light rifles are not balanced correctly for offhand shooting. If a rifle is butt-heavy, it’s swift to handle and feels lighter than it is (think back to a 94-type lever action). If a rifle is muzzle-heavy, like an old Kentucky rifle, it’s easier to hang on target but slower to get there.

Ideally, a rifle for field use should balance between your hands, about at the front action screw. A rifle so balanced will provide the perfect equilibrium between fast handling and target steadiness. It will come to shoulder quickly, and you will be able to hold it on target steadily enough to trigger an accurate shot, regardless of weight.

Without a scope, the Kimber Adirondack balances about an inch behind the front action screw. With the Zeiss Conquest scope installed, the balance point was about the same, making the rifle roughly a half-bubble off plumb as far as perfect balance is concerned.

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Still, it was easy enough to keep shots inside the vital zone of a deer target out to 150 yards from the standing offhand position. Based on its balance, the Kimber Adirondack was very quick to get in action. If you’re a still hunter, stalker, ridge runner or wilderness hunter, you’ll want a rifle you can pack all day and that will find your shoulder in an instant. Things can happen fast when you hunt on hind legs.

The Kimber Adirondack is put together very well. We’ve tested and hunted with other Kimber 84Ms over the years, and, like those, the Adirondack was a bit finicky in choosing a load it liked to shoot. However, just like those other Kimbers, with a little looking, an accurate load could always be found. Two of the five loads tested in the Kimber Adirondack delivered better than 1½-MOA five-shot precision. The trigger is good, the action is well engineered and smooth to operate, and, if you like that modernized camo look, your eyes will fall in lust.

If we were decision makers at Kimber, G&A would change two things. We’d opt for a 20-inch barrel, which would still keep the rifle compact but would move the balance point slightly forward. We would also work with Zeiss to offer its more affordable, more compact and lighter 2-7x32mm Terra 3 riflescope with the Optifade camo. In our minds, that scope would be a much better fit to the Kimber Adirondack, a quick-handling, lissome carbine.

Would Townsend Whelen have liked it? We can only speculate, but during his lifetime he never saw a rifle like this. We don’t think the old boy would’ve minded packing it into the wilderness, and that’s where this rifle belongs.

Rock River Arms LAR-47 Review

by Marco Vorobiev  

RRA_LAR47_001

I realized I was empty. Without delay I dropped the empty magazine out of the rifle and pulled a bright-orange Bakelite replacement loaded with 30 deadly 7.62×39 rounds out of my chest rig and slapped it into my AR. That’s right, AR. I didn’t suddenly go senile and stick the wrong mag into the gun, nor have I accidentally mistyped an “R” instead of a “K” in “AK.” Nope. No mistake here. I was testing Rock River Arms’ new LAR-47.

But the idea of chambering an AR in the harder-hitting 7.62×39 is hardly a new one.

AK or AR?
Neverending Internet battles over what caliber is better make for an interesting sidelight of the eternal AK vs. AR argument. Most likely it will never end as long as both platforms exist. Among the opposing parties there are those who base their opinion on real-life experience, but more often than not it’s mere perception. I love the lack of recoil in a 5.56. However, when combat ranges are drastically shortened and exceptional accuracy at longer distances isn’t required, the increased knockdown power of the 7.62×39 can really pay off.

As a result, several manufacturers have produced ARs in “Russian Short .30” caliber. That’s not a big deal when it comes down to just swapping the upper receiver. The tricky part, however, lies with the lower receiver and the mag well in particular. A new 30-round magazine had to be devised to accommodate tapered 7.62×39. And, to be polite, the result was somewhat less than perfect. The mag has to be transitioned from severe curvature to straight to fit into an AR mag well. This type of magazine presented several problems. A minor one would be the magazines not fitting into existing web gear. A major problem? Unreliable feeding in a sensitive AR.

The AK, on the other hand, was originally designed to fire the 7.62×39 cartridge and had a near-perfect magazine developed for it. In fact, the magazine design is so good that I’ll come right out and say it’s the best design for a combat rifle. Everything from the feeding lips to the mag-retention system is outstanding.

Having said that, I’m not trying to idealize an AK as the perfect battle rifle. It has its advantages but also lacks things, especially from the viewpoint of American shooters. I happen to be a big subcaliber fan, based on time spent as a member of a fighting unit in Afghanistan during the Soviet campaign in the 1980s. Naturally, you can conclude that my weapon of choice is an AK74 chambered in 5.45×39. But I had plenty of experience with its older .30-caliber sibling as well and have seen what both are capable of firsthand.

Moving to the States at the end of the ’80s, I quickly immersed myself in the wonderful gun culture that this country has to offer. As soon as I was able, I got my hands on an AR. Always drawn to the coolness of the rifle, I just had to have one. As soon as I got my own, I learned to appreciate the AR for the superb rifle that it is. Its accuracy, ergonomics and balance made me an instant fan. Even today one of my go-to rifles is Bravo Company’s BCM-4. But I did not totally swear off the AK. I like both rifles and over the years learned to appreciate the good features and work around the “bad” ones that—most definitely—both designs possess. Today I not only get to use ARs on a regular basis for work, I also get to observe these rifle in action at our school, where we teach both DMR and Fighting Carbine classes.

The Crucial Factor
Now, the prospect of an AR firing the familiar 7.62×39 round from an AK magazine was downright intriguing. But I did have a couple of reservations. (1) Would firing a larger projectile resulting in harsher recoil be detrimental to accuracy? (2) How would it feed a tapered round out of the “wrong” magazine? Magazine design is crucial to any feeding system. More often than not, perfectly innocent rifles get a bum rap for being unreliable because of badly designed or poorly made magazines. ARs are no exception (in fact, they’re most likely a leader in that department).

Though I was cautious, I also knew that the AK magazine design was robust and reliable. To see how it worked in the AR was something that I had to see for myself. If it worked, it would open a whole world of possibilities. From a military point of view, the ability to replenish your ammo at your enemy’s expense is a great asset for small units operating behind enemy lines, as I’ve learned. The ability to pick up loaded mags off a dead enemy during a firefight is indispensable.

For an average civilian shooter who, for years, has been shooting AKs due to the economical aspects of the rifles themselves, as well as the attractively priced ammo, having the ability to use the same already-paid-for mags and cheap ammo will make for an easy transition to an AR platform.

So, after a few phone calls with my editor I had a new Rock River Arms’s LAR-47 on its way to me.

The LAR-47 Arrives
The rifle arrived in its hardcase accompanied by two plastic 30-round magazines made by Master Molder of Wilson, N.C. It looked like your average AR except maybe for the weird mag well. The only other things suggesting it was something else were the two black plastic 30-round AK magazines that were included. Closer examination of the magazines revealed great attention to detail. I proceeded to take apart the LAR-47. It came apart as any AR should and revealed no hidden surprises. As I continued to play with the gun, I immediately noticed that it came with no rear sight—pretty common for new ARs these days. Granted, there’s no shortage of rear sight options. I had Midwest Industries’ SPLP folding sight handy that I quickly installed.

Next, since the LAR-47 came with standard CAR-15 handguards, I decided to install Midwest Industries’ SS-series drop-in handguards in case I felt like installing any accessories. I added a TangoDown front vertical grip, and with that I was done. One thing I should mention: Just as on any AK, the precise placement of the grip is dictated by the curvature of the magazine. The LAR is not an exception.

The rest of the gun was in line with any other AR. It was equipped with a standard M4 collapsible stock and regular pistol grip. The triggerguard is unique—it had to be changed to accommodate the magazine release latch that is cleverly designed to be operated by the trigger finger or, more conventionally, with the thumb by either right- or left-handed shooters. I shouldered the gun a few times and noticed that it was extremely comfortable and, strangely, somewhat reminiscent of an AK. This is probably due to the rifle’s weight distribution. The LAR-47 sports a much heavier barrel than its 5.56 compatriots. Also, a fully loaded AK magazine substantially outweighs that of the standard AR, placing more weight toward the front of the gun. That put a smile on my face, as I felt a familiar feeling coming over me. Other than that, the LAR-47 bears little resemblance to the AK both visually and operationally. The rifle’s action, incidentally, was as smooth as you would expect from Rock River.

Feeding the Rifle
Next, without any hesitation I inserted the plastic magazine into the rifle’s mag well and clicked it in place. It went in like butter. A few words about the LAR-47’s mag well: It is basically an AR mag well that is cut roughly in half diagonally. It also serves as a guide for the magazine. After inserting the mag that was provided with the gun and taking it out, I examined the magazines closely. They seemed to be well made out of hard plastic and, without a doubt, would serve their intended purpose on the range. But it’s doubtful that they will be as robust as the original AK mags that are made out of steel entirely (or at least are reinforced with steel). No worries. I had a full line of various AK magazine at my disposal, and I immediately wanted to see which of them would fit the LAR. And that is where I encountered my first disappointment. Note that when I say “disappointment,” I mean for me personally and in no way due to the gun design and its intended use. When this gun was on its way, I was already imagining how I would slap the Russian 75-round drum into it and blast away at targets with extreme prejudice.

Well, all of my dreams vanished as soon as the drum mag failed to insert into the mag well. Disappointing, but not the end of the world, as I also had several 40-rounders that fit like a glove. The rest of the mags went in without a hitch except for early Soviet aluminum ones (due to the magazine’s guide ribs) and a Polish military black polymer mag. However, the ones that did fit latched in tight and did not display any of the play or wobble that is common in any AK.

The only one thing that was left pertaining to the magazine retention was the dreaded AK “magazine pushup.” Well, I inserted the Soviet steel magazine into the LAR, stock into the ground, balanced myself on the gun and performed the pushup. The gun and the mag held. One thing worth noting is that although the mag-release latch is design to be operated with the trigger finger, when it is depressed the magazine does not drop down and has to be removed with the other hand. Once again, not a big deal because I would prefer to swap my mags using my thumb anyway.

At the Range

In preparation for the range trip, I wanted to make sure I had several different magazines, as I wanted to see if the new gun fed well from most commonly available AK mags. One also can assume that I wasn’t going to just put the new LAR rifle through its paces, but I was going to run it side-by-side with the rifles that were initially designed to fire the 7.62×39 cartridge. So I also had two of my personal 7.62×39 AKs ready—a standard AKML (the railed version of standard AKM rifle) and an AK-103 (the most recent model of the 7.62×39 AK). Both were equipped with side-mount rails so I could test all rifles with the same red dot and optical sights.

To make things pretty equal, I chose standard, similarly priced red dot units—Valdada’s RDS Edge and Vortex’s StrikeFire. I also picked the Hi-Lux CMR 1-4×24 scope, which I consider pretty close to ideal for any carbine. The ammo I used was the commonly available and inexpensive Wolf 122-grain FMJ steel-case stuff.

I was all set for a fun day of frolicking and debauchery at the range, though my initial excitement quickly subsided once I heard the forecast. It was going to be an absolute scorcher. However, duty calls, and after a short drive I was setting up at the 100-yard range. I saw no need to get any closer since I had laser bore-sighted the new LAR-47 and all the scopes I was going to use.

First I wanted to check the LAR’s functionality. I wanted to know if the new rifle would feed out of all the magazines that fit in it. I loaded a Master Molder mag with Wolf ammo and shoved it into the gun, pulled the charging handle and got ready behind my iron sights. With much anticipation I pulled a trigger and—nothing! A quick look into the ejection window revealed a double feed. I quickly cleared it, recharged the LAR, pulled the trigger and the gun went bang. That hiccup would be the only one for the entire day with the Master Molder magazines.

The rest of the magazines functioned as they should except for a Romanian steel mag that had two misfeeds, which underlines the importance of testing magazine function.

Next was accuracy. If I was going to run the new LAR-47 rifle against anything, it had to be the AKs. First I got behind a good old wood-clad AKML and produced four-inch groups. My AK-103 did slightly better and scored three-inch groups with open sights.

Then I slapped a magazine into the LAR-47 and went to work. I have to admit I struggled a bit with getting on target at first due to the original gun not having the rear sight. Luckily, the Midwest Industries’ folding SPLP sight had windage adjustments and I had a front sight adjustment tool. I quickly adjusted the sights and, once on paper, fine-tuned things. Results were more than satisfactory, with solid three-inch groups. Next I shot the rifles with red dot sights and was able to tighten my groups somewhat, with the AKML scoring three inches, the AK-103 2½ inches and the LAR-47 producing a 2¼-inch winner. Not bad considering that most of the red dot scopes have two- to three-MOA dots. The Hi-Lux scope helped to tighten my groups even further only marginally.

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed with performance of the Rock River gun. Though the LAR-47 did produce the best groups, they were only slightly better than my other guns and not enough to declare it a clear winner. It did, however, outperform the AKs in other areas such as felt recoil and ergonomics. Shooting the LAR was very much like shooting any other AR—it felt well balanced. The large AR buffer spring and heavy barrel reduce felt recoil enough to make it really easy to keep the gun on target. By the time I left the range, I felt that I would have to have an LAR-47 of my own.

Final Thoughts
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the somewhat inadequate performance of the 5.56 round. Though for the most part such opinions are usually simply based on perception, in some cases they are not without merit. Naturally, common sense tells us with all things being equal, the heavier .30-caliber bullet will generate more energy. But all things are not always equal.

In ballistics, there are several factors that affect bullet performance, but the main things remain the effective range and terminal velocity. Within the constraints of an intermediate cartridge, that’s where twist rate comes into play. I can discuss twist rates and terminal velocities all day, but really it all comes down to one thing: To achieve the stability of a heavier bullet, a lighter one must spin at a higher rate. Hence the 1:7 twist rate for .223 round and 1:8 for the Russian 5.45×39, whereas the 7.62×39 AKs have a 1:9.45 twist. The LAR-47’s twist of 1:10 comes pretty close to the .30-caliber AKs in that regard. Though faster, smaller bullets perform exceptionally well, at distances past 600 yards a regular 5.56 round runs out of breath. At that distance it will no longer knock down the LaRue Tactical resetting sniper targets, whereas the 7.62×39 continues to carry enough energy to take down those targets even past 1,000 yards.

Although average gunfight contact distances have  closed drastically in recent years (rarely reaching past 400 to 600 yards), the prospect of having an accurate carbine that can sling a heavy bullet with precision at distances up to 600 yards is still a good one. And that’s where the LAR-47 comes in.

Black rifle shooters often refer to themselves as being an AR or AK man and can cite the advantages of each platform. The same people often highlight the shortcomings of the opposing rifle. Many AR sympathizers wish they had a harder-hitting AR, and many AK lovers wish they had improved ergonomics. Well, now you have both with the LAR-47. It should appeal to shooters across the “AK vs. AR” battleground.

RRA_LAR47_002

Gun Review: Cx4 Storm

By: Joe Grine

Courtesy Joe Grine

Beretta released the “Cx4 Storm” in 2003, hoping to compete in the law enforcement market. The case for the Cx4 is strong, since it’s a lightweight, accurate, reliable blowback-operated carbine that allows an officer to use the same magazine as his or her 92 FS or Px4 pistol. Unfortunately for Beretta, most departments have opted for AR-15s and M-4s, so the Cx4 never really achieved the type of US LEO market acceptance that I imagine Beretta would have hoped. But that doesn’t mean the venerable Cx4 isn’t a viable option . . .

 Courtesy Joe Grine

 

Overview

 Courtesy Joe Grine

The Beretta Cx4 Storm is a blowback-operated polymer-framed carbine that fires from the closed bolt. The simple blow-back action ensures perfect reliability. It weighs in at a very light 5.75 lbs and has an overall length of 29.5 inches. Available chamberings include 9x19mm and .40 S&W; Beretta recently discontinued production of the .45 ACP version.

The Cx4 is fed via pistol magazines that are inserted Uzi-style (i.e. through the pistol grip). The advantage to this system is that it is easy to insert magazines even in complete darkness, because the trigger hand gives you a point of reference for the location of the mag-well.

The Cx4 sports a 16-inch, 6-groove, RH twist barrel which is both hammer-forged and chrome lined.

Courtesy: Beretta USA

The Cx4 isn’t fully ambidextrous, but most of the controls are reversible. From the factory, the Cx4 is set up for right-handed operation, including right handed ejection. In about five minutes (or less with practice), the operator can reverse the extractor and ejector, the safety (1), the magazine release (2), the cocking handle (3), and the ejection port cover (4) for left handed use. The only control that is not reversible is the bolt release lever.

The fixed thumbhole stock can be adjusted in length via the use of up to three 15mm (.6 inch) spacers.  In my opinion, pretty much every thumbhole stock sucks on a tactical rifle. However, the Beretta Cx4 is not nearly as bad as others I have tried.  In fact, it is about as good as one might expect, given the political limitations Beretta was faced with.

Ergonomics and Operator Controls

Courtesy Joe Grine

The biggest selling point for the Cx4 has got to be its lightweight, comfortable design. It feels as comfortable as a broken-in set of Ferragamo Derbys. I’ve fired scores of different pistol caliber carbines and SMGs, and perhaps none feel as good in the hand as the Beretta Cx4. Even the legendary HK MP5 feels big and clunky in comparison, and an UZI feels like a boat anchor next to the Cx4.

One of the most important design criteria of the Cx4 was the use of pistol-like controls. Beretta intended to ensure that police officers using their pistols such as the 92F or Px4 Storm could make easy transitions to the Cx4. In this regard, Beretta’s engineers designed the magazine release and bolt release to be in familiar locations for pistol shooters.

Courtesy Joe Grine

The Cx4 is festooned with safety features. A manual safety blocks the trigger, and can be engaged regardless of whether the bolt is open or closed. The carbine also features a bolt travel stop safety, a firing pin block safety, a hammer block / drop safety. Should the carbine be dropped or struck against an object, the bolt travel stop safety will not allow the bolt to cycle.

As an additional safety feature, Beretta added a loaded chamber indicator on the ejector.

The Trigger

The plastic factory trigger is a definite low point, and is primarily what made me initially have reservations about the Cx4. For some reason, Beretta still has an old-school mindset when it comes to triggers on tactical rifles and carbines. In short, Beretta likes them heavy.

As a former Army officer, I get the fact that heavier triggers equate — at least in theory — to fewer negligent discharges. But the US civilian market definitely places high value on 3-5 pound triggers. So Beretta choosing to put heavy triggers on their tactical rifles frustrates me to no end, since I know that Beretta doesn’t do that with their shotguns. My Beretta Silver Pigeon III shotgun’s trigger breaks at around 5 lbs. As it should.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Unlike the Silver Pigeon, the factory Cx4 trigger pull is long and creepier than Joe Biden. To make matters worse, the overall trigger weight is in the bowling ball range — about 10-12 pounds range. That’s entirely unacceptable. While it’s possible to master a heavy trigger with practice, I found myself frequently pulling the lightweight carbine off target a bit as I attempted to “squeeze” the trigger. Needless the say, it was fairly obvious to me that the trigger is the “limiting factor” when it comes to accuracy. As mentioned above, I eventually replaced it with the excellent Sierra Papa mods.

I have one other interesting and little-known fact about the Cx4 trigger. The trigger assembly contains a small ball bearing that rolls back in forth in a cradle. When the carbine is pointed up or down above a certain angle, the ball bearing moves in a manner that causes the trigger pull to increase by a few pounds. I don’t know exactly how it works, but I do know that it is possible to remove that little ball bearing for a smoother trigger. I have shot well over 3000 rounds without the ball bearing with no effect on accuracy or reliability.

Sights

The Cx4’s iron sights are unique and it took me a while to get to appreciate them. The front post sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, but it does require the use of a proprietary tool (included).   The rear sight is a simple “L-shaped” sight, similar to World War II issue M-1 carbines or Enfield No.4 mk 1s.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Courtesy Joe Grine

I learned how to shoot using sights on my Ruger 10/22, but I was never really a great shot with those Ruger sights. However, I really started to master irons at age 14 when I shot M-16A1s at my first JROTC summer camp. The instructors taught us to use the protective “ears” on U.S. military front sights as an aiming “aid” by lining them up with the circle created by the rear aperture, as shown in the photo below. I actually try to back off the rear sight far enough so that the ears “touch” the circle, but not everybody uses that technique. In any event, these outwardly curved “ears” have been a standard on every U.S. military rifle since the Model of 1917.

U.S. Army File Photo

But the U.S. military design is not the only one that uses the protective shield of the front post sight as part of the aiming system. For example, the famous HK front sights are either curved inward or create a complete circle, and can be used to make a very intuitive a “circle in a circle” sight picture.

The Beretta Cx4 does have protective ears, but it is less intuitive as to how you can use them as aiming aide because they don’t turn outward like the U.S. military, nor do they make an obvious circle like the HK front sights. However, if you only focus on the outer edge of the Cx4 front sight ears, it does make a circle pattern, and you can use those outside edges to mirror the “circle” pattern created by the rear peep sight. It works, but it is not as obvious or intuitive as the HK sights.

But let’s not kid ourselves… that beautiful aluminum picatinny is just screaming for optics, and I don’t see too many guys running the Cx4 with irons in any event. Slap an Aimpoint T-1 on that puppy and you won’t need to worry too much about iron sights!

Courtesy Joe Grine

Courtesy Joe Grine

One really nice feature is that both the front and rear sights can be pushed down out of the way when using optics, as shown in the photos above.

Magazines

Courtesy Joe Grine
L-R: 30 rd, 20 rd, and 15 rd magazines.

Beretta makes two versions of the Cx4. One version uses magazines that are compatible with the Px4. The other is compatible with “90 series” of pistols (92F/96 etc) mags. If you have the version made for the Px4 mags, 8000 series magazines (using optional adapters),you can use P92/96 and 8000 series magazines by purchasing two separate magazine inserts.  In either case, the magazines are made by Mec-gar, and are extremely high quality.

The one thing that I found a bit odd is that the 20 and 30 round magazines come from the factory with extremely heavy springs. The first time I loaded them it was extremely difficult to get them loaded to full capacity, even using the factory magazine loader accessory.   Thankfully, the magazine springs lightened up over time, and now it is possible to load them to capacity even without the loader.

Disassembly

Courtesy Joe Grine

The Beretta Cx4 is relatively simple to disassemble. A single metal-reinforced polymer non-captured “disassembly latch” holds the upper and lower receivers together. It can be removed by pushing it out from either end.   Next, the bolt assembly can be removed by backing it out of the upper until you reach an index point, where the charging handle is removed. Once the charging handle is removed, the bolt carrier can be removed out of the rear of the upper receiver.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Courtesy Joe Grine

The extractor, ejector and spring guide assembly are held in the bolt assembly via a “retaining spring,” which is a “horseshoe” shaped leaf spring.   Once you remove that spring, everything pretty much falls out. Pay attention to the way the extractor and ejector are positioned, because the direction of ejection is reversible depending on which side of the bolt carrier you install the extractor and ejector.   The design is both simple and ingenious.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Courtesy Joe GrineThe trigger housing can be removed from the lower receiver. Rather than explain how to do it, I will simply direct you here for a step-by step video.

Accuracy & Reliability

One definite high point for the Cx4 is its utter reliability. Since I purchased the Beretta, I have fired roughly 5000 +/- rounds through the weapon without a single malfunction of any kind. I typically don’t run the cheapest ammo out there, but I’m not running the expensive stuff either. Mostly, I run a combination of gun show reloads, UMC, Winchester (mostly Wally World white box), Tula Brass, Blazer Brass, and American Eagle. Again, the Cx4 eats it all up with boring regularity. Just how I like it.

Courtesy Joe Grine
50 yard group (UMC 124 grain ammo).
Courtesy Joe Grine
100 Yard Groups (UMC 124 Grain)

Accuracy of the Beretta was a bit disappointing at first, with groups averaging roughly 2-3 inches at 50 yards. As mentioned above, the trigger group clearly is the limiting factor to achieving peak accuracy. I probably could have spent a bunch of time and money “learning” the trigger’s quirks, but instead I went the aftermarket route. Indeed, accuracy improved once I installed the Sierra Papa modifications. Shown above is a particularly nice 50 yard group and some “typical” 100 yard groups which I achieved with the Sierra Papa upgrades and a 6x scope (not shown).  Make no mistake, even as modified, it’s still not a target trigger.  But it’s a lot better than it was. More on that below.

Accessories

Courtesy Joe Grine

Beretta typically is fairly generous with its accessory package, and the Cx4 does not disappoint in this regard. It includes an excellent polymer hard case, two 15-round magazines, a magazine loader, a sight adjustment tool, a cleaning kit (rod, bore mop, bronze brush, and jag), gun lock, and one two-inch section of rail which can be mounted on either side of the firearm.

Note: If you buy a new Cx4, pay close attention to the warranty card. The Cx4 comes with a “1(+2)” warranty. What that means is that it comes with a one year warranty, but if you send in the warranty card within 30 days of purchase, Beretta will extend the warranty for two additional years.

Sierra Papa “Upgrade” Parts

Pic 21

As discussed above, the OEM version of the Cx4 Storm is an excellent design but has a few annoying quirks / flaws. If you want to improve your CX4 to make it go from “good” to “great,” you owe it to yourself to check out Sierra Papa.  As they state on their website, their goal is to “improve the breed.”

The owner, Brian Montgomery, is a retired airline pilot who became a Cx4 enthusiast soon after the carbine was released. With an extensive engineering and manufacturing background, he began figuring out ways to improve the weak links in the system. The photo below shows both the Sierra Papa parts and the tools needed to install them. SP used to allow the purchaser to install the parts, but their current policy is to require you to send your trigger pack to them so that they can inspect the unit and decide whether a sear clip is needed. Click here to learn more for the reasoning behind this new policy.

Sierra Papa completes the work very quickly, ensuring a typical 7-10 day door-to-door turn-around time, including shipping.

Courtesy Joe Grine

In the photo below, you can see the difference between the OEM plastic hammer and the SP Stainless steel hammer. In the event the photo does not speak for itself, trust me when I tell you that the SP is a gorgeously milled part that vastly improves the trigger pull. The factory OEM part is very light, and only generates enough inertia when driven by a powerful hammer spring to ensure sufficient energy to reliably operate the firing pin. Unfortunately, the “heavy” hammer spring, in turn, requires a heavy trigger pull. Thus, when you switch to the heavier Sierra Papa hammer, you can also use a lighter hammer spring, which can be operated by a lighter trigger.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Conclusion

Out of the box, the Beretta Cx4 is diamond in the rough. It shows great potential because it’s utterly reliable, light, and compact. However, the plastic hammer makes for a heavy, creepy trigger pull that robs the carbine of its inherent accuracy. The government-mandated thumbhole stock is well-designed, but still detracts from the otherwise good handling characteristics. Fortunately, Sierra Papa can fix these faults, and turn the Cx4 Storm into a real Ferrari. Admittedly, like a Ferrari, these aftermarket mod turn the Cx4 into an expensive project, so you have to decide if it is worth the cost. By the time you invest in a number of 30-round mags, rails, optics, and the Sierra Papa upgrades, you can easily have $1500-2000 into the project. I can easily justify the initial investment by recognizing that the 9×19 chambering will pay for itself in ammo saving: even if you shoot a relatively conservative 2000-3000 rounds a year, the cost savings add up quickly. However, $2k is a big number, and I realize that for many folks it is simply out of the question.

In thinking about pistol caliber carbines, there are lots of options. At the top of the market you have HK SP-89s, HK-94s, and HK UMPs. Colt and JP make 9mm ARs that are really nice, but again they tend to be rather expensive. Sig-Sauer just released the excellent MPX ($1600-ish), and I am definitely going to buy one in the near future. The CZ scorpion Evo 3 is also on the market and comes in at a highly competitive price. At the lower end of the price scale, Kel-Tec’s Sub 2000 is a nice gun if you can ever find one, and the Hi-Point 995 is ugly but apparently works pretty well. The Taurus CT-9 would have been serious competition for the Beretta if Taurus had addressed the 10-round magazine problem, and figured out a way to make the CT-9 a bit more compact. But instead Taurus has discontinued importation of the CT-9, so it’s DOA.

Despite the other options, I think the Beretta offers a professional, bet-your-life-on-it patrol carbine for a very competitive price. Once I solved the trigger “issue,” I really started to like… er.. love…  this carbine, and I can recommend it without any reservations.   Indeed, it makes a fine addition to my Beretta collection.  Better yet, all of my friends who have shot this gun walk away saying “I gotta get me one of those.”  That is high praise and it is well deserved.

Courtesy Joe Grine

Specifications:

Importer: Beretta USA; (301) 283-2191;
Calibers: 9×19 (as tested), .40 S&W; (.45 ACP Discontinued).
Action Type: blowback-operated semi-auto

Frame: molded techno-polymer upper and lower.
Barrel: hammer forged, chrome lined, 16.25inch, six-groove, RH twist
Magazine Capacity (9×19): (10, 15, 18, 20, 30)

Sights: aperture rear, post front adjustable for windage and elevation
Trigger: single-stage 10+ lbs.
Overall Length: 29.7”
Width: 2.5”
Height: 7.5”
Weight: 5 lbs., 12 ozs.
Supplied Accessories: hard case, manual, short rail section, spare magazine, magazine loader.
Street Price: $600 -$800.

 

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy (Stock): * * *
The barrel is inherently accurate, but the 10+ lb. trigger robs the gun of its accuracy potential.

Accuracy (with Sierra Papa Modifications) * * * * *
Ah, much better.

Ergonomics & Aesthetics: * * * * *
A true Ferrari.

Reliability * * * * *
Eats anything, never jams.

Customization: * * * *  
It’s not an AR platform, but the basics are covered. Point taken away due to no aftermarket folding stocks. Bonus point for using Beretta 30-round mags.

Overall: * * * *
Once you get the Sierra Papa mods, there are few 9mm carbines that are superior to the Cx4, and those that are cost 2x more than the Beretta.

Courtesy Joe Grine