The chrome-plated bolt from Young Manufacturing is a true Mil Spec. bolt assembly that aids accuracy and offers long service life. Photos Dave Spaulding
The gas key screws on the Young bolt aren’t staked. Photos Dave Spaulding
The EZ Trigger from JP Enterprises is an option for those who want to improve their AR trigger but don’t want to use a modular design.
Photos Dave Spaulding
The Wilson 10/2 QD Sling Swivel Mount can be placed on any Picatinny style rail system.Photos Dave Spaulding
FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
When it comes to duty weapons, there are those who prefer factory specs and those who want to add every gizmo imaginable to their guns. I fall somewhere in between. I don’t believe that just because you change or add a component to your gun, you make it a liability issue in the event of a shooting. At the same time, I also believe that much of what’s currently available for guns, such as the AR-15 or 1911 pistol is completely unnecessary.
In examining the issue of add-ons, I ask myself, “Does this change or enhance my weapon in some way? Does it make it easier or handier to use? Can I hit more accurately because of it? Can I explain to a group of people who know nothing about guns why I made the change? Does my logic sound reasonable?” If I can answer these questions affirmatively, I’ll likely make the change.
We’re fortunate to be in a time when rifles and carbines are becoming more popular, and officers and agencies are now carrying these weapons with them on duty. Active shooter situations, which run the gamut from Columbine to Mumbai-style assaults, are an increasing concern, as are common street crooks, who are switching from cheap handguns to rifles for greater performance and intimidation. Regardless of the type of weapon, caliber and officer skill, a pistol will seldom be a match for a rifle, so having a long gun is certainly a wise move.
The AR platform is, far and away, the most popular choice for American cops. This is a good thing. Although some debate the gas impingement design or the 5.56 caliber of the weapon, most see it as an effective choice for the streets. After all, the guns have a 50-year history and, although they’ve had their share of problems, they’ve been proven to be reliable performers that will get the job done. Can they be improved? Sure. In this spirit, I want to pass on three after-market products that aren’t hugely expensive and make the AR easier to shoot, more reliable and quicker to clean.
An Improved Bolt
The biggest complaint I hear with regard to maintaining the traditional AR is cleaning. Because the design uses the gases of the fired round to cycle the bolt, gunk collects on the bolt assembly, which can foul the action—especially if it’s allowed to cool and it becomes hard. Keeping the gun lubed is crucial, and I’ve heard of people using everything from the best commercial lubricants to sunscreen (in war zones). Having a bolt that’s easy to clean and assists with lubricity would be a real plus, right? It just so happens that one exists.
The National Match Bolt Carrier made by Young Manufacturing (YM) is half an ounce heavier and has more surface area at the carrier front than do other designs. These additions make for improved alignment of the bolt carrier, as it moves in the receiver, tighter tolerances, more consistent bolt-lockup and much smoother overall operation. The bolt carrier also causes less wear, improves accuracy and functions better compared to standard bolt assemblies. All YM carriers are made using high standards of production, including hand de-burring of all sharp edges. In fact, the extra precision, quality and superior post-production processes are among the reasons Les Baer Custom and other top custom companies choose YM bolt carriers for their ARs and carbines.
Where YM differs from other bolt assemblies is in the staking of the gas key. Although many consider this an essential part of any AR-15, the folks at YM disagree. YM’s president, Daniel Young, said, “Staking does not seal the gas key. Staking keeps the screws from backing out—period. If you do not properly torque the screws to 56 inch-lbs. you will be staking a screw that is loose or one that is over-torqued and prone to breakage. We’ve seen plenty of staked screws that are loose or broken. The Mil Spec also calls for the gas key bottom surface to be sealed with Permatex gasket sealer, something that no one does to our knowledge. We clean the oil from the gas key and screws with brake cleaner, and then use a light coating of Permatex on the bottom of the gas key and screw threads. We then install the key to the required 56 inch-lbs. If the gas key is removed, never use the old screws.”
Although Young’s position may be controversial, I’ve now run almost 2,000 rounds through this bolt in a Stag Arms Model 3, and the gas key is still as tight as it was when I started. The bolt also shows very little signs of wear.
The original JP Enterprises’ Fire Control Kit has long been the benchmark for single-stage AR triggers in terms of precision, reliability, durability, safety and longevity. Now, JP has combined the versatility of its component parts with the convenience of a module with the new JP EZ Trigger. In the past, JP designed and marketed a high-tech, single-stage module as part of its ongoing pursuit for improvements to the AR-15 platform, a platform for which they’re well-known. That said, JP believed it could offer better value along with improved performance and versatility through a complete revision of the JP Fire Control System.
This innovative new trigger system can be installed in about five minutes without any gunsmithing or modification of parts. It really is the best of all worlds: a superb trigger job on par with JP’s professional in-house installation, along with the speed and ease of a drop-in module and the versatility of a component trigger.
JP feels that, unlike other firearms that were designed from the ground up to incorporate modular fire control packs, the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms were never designed to work with such modules. The possible run-out in trigger and hammer pinhole locations and the safety selector position on receivers made by numerous manufacturers can lead to potential compatibility and safety issues. Modules have always represented a compromise to some extent, so many have come to believe they’re not suitable for anything other than recreational or competition shooting, particularly since you can’t optimize a module for any specific application. In addition, modules simply don’t have a proven track record for reliability since they’re so new. Some have even been recalled due to reliability or safety issues.
The new JP EZ Trigger is intended to be the best compromise among safety, performance, value and mission-specific versatility for the tactical arena. The EZ Trigger comes with all the necessary parts included, as well as an instructional step-by-step CD that makes installing the trigger components a snap, even if you’re not an AR-15 armorer. (Note: Read the instructions and view the CD before attempting installation. Although installing the EZ Trigger isn’t complex, it requires some fitting because it’s not a drop-in trigger system.) The trigger action is smooth, with no felt glitches anywhere along the trigger’s length of travel and weighs approximately 5 lbs.
If you have one of those atrocious factory triggers and you don’t like the idea of a fully enclosed trigger module, the JP EZ Trigger is the way to go.
Wilson Sling Mount
The sling is to the rifle what the holster is to the pistol—a necessity. Mounting the sling to the AR-15 can often be problematic. Depending on what type of sling you choose, attachment positions are important because they determine how the weapon will lay while not in use. Additional accessories, deployment techniques and transitions will also come into play. The quick adjustment two-point sling is the right choice for me, but I hadn’t found a satisfactory mounting attachment for the front rails—until now.
The Wilson Combat 10/2 Quick Detach Swivel Attachment is designed to keep your slung rifle close to you instead of canting outward away from your body. It can be configured to either the 10 or 2 o’clock position, depending on the user’s needs. It also enables heavy-duty, push-button, quick-detach sling swivels. The mount can be attached on the top, bottom or side of any Picatinny rail system in order to hang the gun as desired. The 10/2 is created from steel for maximum durability and has a hard-coat finish that resists corrosion. This front mount is perfect for the Ruger SR-556, which doesn’t come with a front mount. The 10/2 Mount is reasonably priced, and it will provide a lifetime of service.