Category Archives: Rifles and Carbines

The Colt Combat Unit

That’s a bit of a hard-core name for a relatively ordinary (but new to Colt) carbine that was just announced. Here’s the official press release, and we’ve got the released pictures. It turns out that the term applies not just to a midlength carbine, but to a group of shooters and trainers that helped develop it; Colt is calling them, the Colt Combat Unit, too.

Presumably available at reasonable rates for group instruction, county fairs, or African regime changes? We actually don’t know what Colt is going to do with the CCU, as in, group of Colt-promoting pros.

The CCU, as in, midlength carbine, is a TALO Distributors exclusive.


The Colt Combat Unit™ carbine offers many of the features you love about the Colt M4 platform, but now Colt is introducing its first production mid-length gas system. “Producing a mid-length gas system was the logical next-step for us, and it’s long overdue,” said Justin Baldini, Director of Product Marketing for Colt. “Shooters will find that by moving the gas block closer to the muzzle as this mid-length gas system does, the felt recoil is more constant with what is fielded by our troops carrying a 14.5” barrel M4.”


The Colt Combat Unit™ carbine was developed with the help of legendary trainers Mike Pannone, Ken Hackathorn, and Daryl Holland. It features a Magpul® SL® buttstock and pistol grip as well as a MOE® trigger guard. The carbine is the first to feature Colt’s new mid-length gas system. It has a low profile gas block which allows for the use of its M-LOK® capable Centurion CMR free floated forend. The Colt Combat Unit™ carbine (SKU – LE6960-CCU) has an MSRP of $1,299 and is available exclusively from TALO Distributors.

Everywhere, the Carnabetian Army marches on, each one a Dedicated Follower of Fashion. But hey, this is exactly what some people want in a carbine: mid-length gas, free-float, M-LOK and Magpul gear. Its weight isn’t mentioned, but it should be pretty light.


We also note that Colt has been pricing their firearms aggressively, especially when you consider that:

  1. Being a union shop (UAW) means higher costs in wages, benefits, and quality control than an open shop.
  2. They are located in the highest-tax state in the union, which adds to their costs; and,
  3. After their latest bankruptcy, they still have a crushing burden of debt, a vastly overmarket (in a high-priced market) plant lease, and senior management more interested in making money by playing Wall Street grifter than in making money by making guns.

And despite all that, Colt continues to make new, interesting and well-made guns, and sell them at competitive prices. Sometimes 150-plus years of tradition does create momentum, enough that some parasitic drag isn’t overwhelming.

When You Don’t Bubba a Mosin…

…You can actually hit stuff with it… if it’s a right one.

Bog standard 91/30. Good iron sights, approved by ordnance officers of late Tsar and Lenin and Stalin (who were, not to put too fine a point on it, the same ordnance officers). Field rest. The original poster of the video writes (we have only added paragraph breaks):

The M91/30 Mosin Nagant with 7N1 ammo is a formidable long range rifle system. In this video (made available to you by popular demand) Rex Reviews demonstrates just how effective an unmodified military rifle can be in experienced hands.

This rifle is in 100% original military configuration and had NOT been equipped with any optical sights, yet it slams steel at 944 yards as easy as anything else on the shelf.

Many assume these rifle like this (purchased for under $100) must need modification to shoot well… but what many fail to realize is that these rifles were not designed by sporting companies for recreational activities, they were designed by teams of engineers with massive government resources for life-and-death purposes.

These rifles were designed to be harmonically balanced and were inspected to meet serious military manufacturing and design specifications. In a nutshell, they are ready to roll off of the shelf! Ask Simo Häyhä (the White Death) if I’m telling the truth…

It rings the bell at more meters than you’d give it credit for (and more meters that lots of people can see a man-sized target without optical aids). Lots and lots of meters. (944 yd. is 893 meters).

Why did Russia and its Soviet successor empire stick with this 19th-Century bangstick for so very long? Because it was good, in all that word means in reference to a military arm: it was simple, dependable, low-maintenance, hard-hitting, and more accurate than any but a tiny percentage of the men who carried it.

Nothing that Bubba can do to a Mosin (except, we’ll grant, scope it, where the common Soviet solution was sub-optimal) will do anything much to improve the work of those long-dead Russian designers, engineers, and craftsmen.

Tracking Point: Precision has a Lower Price

We’ve been big boosters of Tracking Point throughout all its business and technical drama, and why not? The company leverages technology to make a rifleman (or -woman, or gelding, even) more effective at that first, cold-bore shot, night or day.

That’s a big thing.

There’s a big real-world gap between potential and performance, and it’s very apparent on that cold-bore shot.

The thing that’s limited (to put it mildly) take-up of the technology has been the sting of early-adopter prices: $20-30k for a Tracking Point Precision Guided Firearm.


Now the company has an offer that brings Tracking Point ballistic potential closer to the average AR-toting schlub’s financial potential. For a limited time, their M300FE 5.56 mm Precision Guided Firearm is for sale with the most popular options, night vision, included for under $6k.


We didn’t get around to blogging this the first time they sent it to us this week, so they enlisted a new spokesman: St. Nicholas.



They point out:

Santa is a conservative. He wears red and never wishes anyone “Happy Holidays!” He’s bringing you Christmas early because he is concerned about what will happen after November 8th. It’s time to get ready – for Christmas and whatever else might be coming our way.


The lower price is temporary, officially, and the best deal is only available to the first hundred buyers. That includes a grab bag of extras and further deals:


First 100 Orders 

  • FREE Gen-2 Night Vision $2495 value!
  • Immediate Delivery –  Order Today, Ships Today!
  • $200 off ShotGlassTM!
  • Special Financing 90 days same as cash!*
    *Extended Financing available with payments as low as $137 per month

As they put it in their email, “Don’t becwait for the tree to go up! Santa will be backlogged.”

The capabilities of the M300FE are a combination of the full-house Tracking Point technology and some simplification to reduce costs. For example, special low-trajectory high-velocity ammunition is required (which is sold by Tracking Point, naturally). Because of the ammo’s point-blank to 300 m capability, they can dispense with integrating a laser ranger into the 22 calculations used in setting up every shot.

Some of the capabilities are software-limited, like target speed and lock range. You can track a target at a target velocity of up to 10 MPH — sufficient for foot-borne humans, certainly, but likely to fall short when taking shots on running hogs.

Utilizing TrackingPoint’s new high-velocity UltraFlatTM ammunition the M300-FE shoots point-blank range out to 300 yards so there is no need for an internal laser range finder.

The operation of the system sounds like it’s a little simplified from the earlier tag, track, exact system:


As a shooter pulls the trigger the target is acquired, tracked, and measured for velocity.  By the time the shooter completes his squeeze the target is inescapably captured and instantly eliminated.

It does, however, include the four modes of all current TP firearms: Suppressive Fire, Precision Fire, Auto-Acquire and Night.

Suppressive Fire mode video:

Precision Fire video:

Auto-Acquire Mode (useful for multiple shots on single targets):

Night Mode with Gen2 NV (as included with the first 100 M300FEs, free of charge):


This mode does not seem to be included in the M300FE: Precision Movers.

The ShotGlass system is an unusual extension of the rifle’s capability. Essentially, there’s no need to be behind the rifle to shoot it (although you do have to have access to the controls, especially the trigger). There’s no need for the shooter to expose himself, just the rifle. He sees in the ShotGlass glasses exactly what he’d see looking through the rifle’s digital “scope.” It’s an extra-cost option (

For more information:

And no, this doesn’t make snipers obsolete. Actually, technology like this should increase the advantage of the trained sniper, both in his shooting and scouting

An M1 Comes Home

It’s not every day that you hear about a rifle lost on a French battlefield coming back, through the family of the soldier who carried it, to an American museum. But it’s happening with a World War II M1 Garand rifle like the one in the picture — one that was carried by a young American paratrooper in the D-Day invasion.

M1 Springfield NM - RIA

Martin Teahan was a tough kid from the Bronx, so it’s probably fitting that the story was told through Bronx descendants and in the Bronx Times. And Teahan was one American kid among many whose grit and excellence forever united the American Airborne and the nation of France in the context of martial enterprise, so perhaps it’s fitting that a French Colonel and an American General got involved.

Bronx native Jimmy Farrell is awaiting the return of an M-1 rifle that belonged to his uncle Martin Teahan who served in World War II as part of the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).

Teahan, an Irish-American, was killed on June 6, 1944 in Picauville, Normandy after he had been scouting a position.

After his capture, a German soldier killed him.

Farrell, 60, said Colonel Patrick Collet, a French Army Paratrooper commander, contacted his sister Liv Teahan on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, to let them know the uncle’s rifle was recovered.

“It was the luck of the Irish,” Farrell said with a laugh.

Collet, while visitng a French farmer, had noticed that a rifle the farmer had was engraved with the name “Martin Teahan”.

He then made an effort to contact the family.

Farrell, who served in the U.S. Army from 1974-1977, said that in June he and his wife Monica visited the colonel in Normandy and got a chance to hold the rifle.

The Farrells and GEN Mark Milley and his wife at Teahan's grave in Normandy.

The Farrells and GEN Mark Milley and his wife at Teahan’s grave in Normandy.

“I felt the cold metal of the weapon on my fingertips, and envisioned my uncle, bravely marching forward through enemy territory,” said Farrell.

Afterwards, Farrell said he and his wife got a chance to visit Teahan’s grave site where they met U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley.

Farrell, now a resident of East Brunswick, NJ, said his uncle’s south Bronx roots played an important part in Teahan’s toughness.

Teahan, like many in his day, cheated his way into the paratroopers. He joined underage with a forged parental signature.

Farrell intends to donate the rifle for display at the 82nd Airborne Museum or at the Pentagon. It’s a good story; go Read The Whole Thing™.

GemTech GSBC Suppressor Bolt Carrier under Evaluation

Interesting goings on going on, and one of them is constant tinkering with the Mk 18 carbine in the SOF world. One of the things people are doing is running them suppressed sometimes, and not suppressed other times. The word is that this bolt carrier helps make that change in a regular, direct impingement AR like the Mk 18.


The Mk 18 (or the CQBR upper for the M4A1, which produces the same functional weapon) is widely issued within SOCOM and somewhat beyond it. For example, Marines who need such a carbine have them, but Uncle Sam’s Military Club runs them with some different accessories than the SOPMOD gear commonly used in the other branches’ SOF.

Running suppressed is more and more widespread (in conventional forces as well as in SOF). But there are several downsides to a suppressed DI AR. Taken together, these add up to one of the key impetuses to the development of the piston HK 416. But experience has shown arms developers that it’s possible to make a DI AR run well, while suppressed; what has been a challenge is to make the same AR run equally well with the QD suppressor on or off.

To recap the problems:

  1. More pressure than designed into the gas system, yields…
  2. More blowback out of the ejection port, plus…
  3. Much higher carrier velocities, producing
  4. Higher perceived recoil
  5. Higher cyclic rate on AUTO
  6. Reduced reliability, and
  7. Reduced durability.

Gemtech’s solution is so simple that the instructions for using it are pretty much contained in these two box cover illustrations:


The valve flange is on the left side of the bolt carrier. To change it, then, you must remove the BC from the firearm. You can then turn the valve flange to (S) for Suppressed or (U) for, you guessed it, Unsuppressed.

When you’ve made such a change, or, for that matter, at anytime the GemTech Suppressed Bolt Carrier is installed, an indicator visible through the ejection port shows whether you’re configured to run Suppressed (S) or Unsuppressed (U). gemtech03That’s pretty much it. The setting indicator arrow points aft to S, or forward away from S, and makes the whole system fairly Ranger-proof.

The GemTech bolt carrier is adjusted with a flathead screwdriver, but other tools will work in a pinch. The valve can get a little gummy.

gemtech02The GSBC comes with the carrier key screwed and staked in place, but otherwise it is a bare carrier. It is conventionally notched for use with a forward assist. It lists for $249 and can be bought direct from Gemtech or from Gemtech dealers.


Here’s a close-up of the flange where the valve can be adjusted. gemtech06

Gemtech’s claims of reduced carrier velocity and reduced cyclic rate are supported by an analysis by Philip Dater, available on the Gemtech website (.pdf). The reduction was significant on several different weapons, but much larger (25%) on an M4A1 than on a Mk 18 (16%). Still, that’s not trivial.

AR-15 Lower: How a Midsize Manufacturer Does It

Most manufacturers guard their manufacturing processes about the way KFC guards Colonel Sanders’s 11 Herbs and Spices Coca-Cola guards the Coke recipe. They would no more show you a video of lower receiver machining than they would give you the product. Indeed, some mnufacturers not only won’t let us tour their plants, they won’t give us still photos, talk about processes, or even let their own workers bring smartphones or cameras in certain areas.

A time- and money-saving way to do a standard process can be that big of a competitive advantage.

But here’s midsize manufacturer Palmetto State Defense using a 5-axis machine to take AR-15 lower receiver forgings to 80%.

To us, it was interesting to watch how they rough milled the magazine well to approximate shape, and then CNC broached it to final shape (the rasp of the broach is unmistakeable). The end mill removes lots of metal fast, but the broach gets net shape and surface finish up to standard.

Note how much coolant/cutting fluid is used on these operations!

The link at the YouTube page no longer takes you to a buy page; PSD no longer sells the 80% lowers, apparently. They do make some attractive finished rifles, and one thing they’re selling is 200 rifles that were, supposedly, used in the Range 15 movie. (At press time, they still have 92 5.56 and 95 .300 Blackout rifles in stock). See ’em here.

Coming: a 10/22 Chassis Prototyped by 3D Printing

Rifle chassis are an “in” technology right now. They allow you to trade off the lighter weight and greater comfort of a polymer or wooden stock for the flexibility, rigidity, and accessory-compatibility of the typical chassis.

In the military the chassis is a good idea because the same rifle must often be reconfigured for different shooters and missions. Civilians might not need to do that, but it’s nice to have, say, adjustable pull length and cheekpiece position for a day at the range with the whole family.


It was inevitable that someone would combine this popular accessory with the world’s second-most-popular accessory host, the Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle. In this case, Canadian outfit Spectre Ballistics has designed, and is preparing for production, an economical and fairly light 10/22 stock. It’s not on their website yet, but they’ve shown the prototype — which was 3D Printed.

The actual stocks will be CNC billet aluminum.

There’s a pretty good discussion of the stock and its design and the manufacturing schedule on Reddit. In time, the stock will be available for pre-order on the Spectre Ballistics website (not yet!) in KeyMod and M-lok versions. Target price is $200 CAD, and, unlike American firms, Canadian accessory firms are not under ITAR pressure from their counterpart to our State Department.

dudley_doright(They only have to bowdlerize their 10/22 magazines because Dudley Dimwit of the Mounties can’t tell rifles from pistols).

This is the 3rd version of a 10/22 chassis I’ve been working on. Now I just need to do this one up in aluminium.

It has a KeyMod forend and fully free-floats the barrel. It also locks the action into the chassis using a clamp system better than any factory stock. I’ll also do an M-lok forend too.

Here’s the earlier prototype stock, for comparison’s sake. The main part of this one is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum (a strong alloy often used for things like automotive engine blocks and cylinder heads, and aircraft structural parts like landing gear struts and trunnions).


The final stock will be CNC machined and anodized black. His explanation for making the stock from 6061-T6 aluminum rather than polymer makes perfect sense:

The idea here is to reinforce the action and stiffen the whole thing up. A quality polymer would be nearly the same weight since areas would need to be thicker. Also going synthetic would probably cost $100,000 in tooling for the molds.

Parts are CNC’d out of house, assembled in-house. Yes I have my own printer.

While the Canadian regulatory regime is superior from an exporter’s point of view, there’s things he can’t do. Such as? Make a bullpup stock. One of the bizarre disconnects in Great White North gun law is that, a factory bullpup design (Tavor) or a short-barreled rifle by US standards, is perfectly legal. A bullpup conversion stock? Prohibited. (“Prohibited” is a Canadian regulatory class that is not quite plain-English-meaning “prohibited,” but extremely difficult to own for an ordinary Canadian citizen).

Meanwhile, Canadians, Americans, and probably anybody else who can own a 10/22 can pre-order the sock sometime around the beginning of November, if all goes as planned.


Bubba’s Molested Mosin

This is better than the usual Bubba job; it’s merely poor conceptually and poorer workmanship, not the usual on-crack conceptually and drunk monkey workmanship.

Yes, that’s damning with faint praise. For crying out loud, look at it:


Bubba is not utterly lacking in self-awareness in this case. He titled both his imgur picture and his Reddit thread, “Ruined Russian Rifle: Shortened ’26 Tula Mosin.”

The Reddit crowd seemed to like it. It may say something about the end of the gun culture this Bubba is coming from that his nick there and on YouTube is “BooliganAirsoft.” He suggested that he was aiming for a “scout rifle,” conceptually.

That was the goal, something cheap, easy to shoot, short, and still with plenty of power behind it. This thing was completed for less than even a garbage blown out round receiver currently costs.

bubba-mosin-marksAssuming he got his ’26 hex receiver back when they were going for $75, that might be true, but… he’s put a couple hundred dollars and a gun that was now worth $300-400 together and produced a parts gun worth maybe $75. That’s not winning.

I’ve been sitting on this ’26 numbers matching Tula Mosin for the last 12 or so years, figured I’d finally ruin it. Had the barrel cut down to 16.5″ and finished with an 11 degree target crown, and threaded with 5/8×24. This was done on a CNC machine by a local friend at a large company who makes sweet gun things that we all know and love. Fitted a cheap two chamber muzzle brake which had “MOLON LABE” on the side, so I blued over that.

Stripped Olga’s shellac off the stock and refinished it with a simple poly coating. Nothing that’ll last forever, but I like how it turned out. Stock was a retrofit, no exciting markings to be found. Drilled and machined out the stock to fit the barrel length and reuse the stock dog collar sling. Cut the upper handguard to fit as well.

Here’s the Bubba job on the nose end of the stock:


It wouldn’t be a Bubba job without a Chinese schloptic (a portmanteau of schlock and optic), and here Bubba does not disappoint:

Aiming this thing is a piece of cake with a Kinetic Concealment reflex sight fitted on a 20mm rail adapter. This rail adapter took a ton of sanding to fit square, but it works and holds solid. Has a drilled anti-walk screw in the front, and it seems solid. I’m shocked the lens hasn’t popped off while firing this yet.


The Kinetic Concealment schloptic is a $50 Chinese imitation of a reflex, same as the ones sold to airsoft kiddies.

But what about that magazine? Well, Bubba wouldn’t be Bubba if it worked. It doesn’t, but that doesn’t dim this Bubba’s pride in his creation:

The 10 round mag is from Howling Raven. It needs a little love to feed properly, and I’m still having issues past 8 rounds, but the company has been great to work with at troubleshooting it.

So, this outfit that makes junk for Bubbas is sympathetic on the phone when Bubba calls with trouble? But they don’t actually fix the problem? Sounds like a match made in heaven!

Another commenter had similar problems with the same company’s Bubbamag for Mosins:

I really wish that HR mag would work. The follower (which is the spring) over tilts and jams like a [censored] on my mosin. On the plus side, their muzzle brake is pretty [censored] nice and cheap. Still have to run it to the range to see how well it works.

To which Airsoft Bubba replied:

I had to drown mine in FrogLube to get it to feed semi consistently. My issues are that past 8 rounds, they start to stack and the rim gets stuck in the body. The lube helps with that, but still, I stick with loading 7 rounds for now. For actual important shooting, I’d still stick with the stock 5 round setup for now.

FrogLube. Naturally. He was out of FireClean.

Finishing off the stock is a rubber pad to give me some extra length of pull (6’2″) and a pouch to hold a few extra rounds and my custom made Trogdor patch from Whiskey Two-Four. It’s called Trogdor because, well, it burninates pretty bad. Daylight fireballs are impressive and you feel like you just opened the oven.

Gee, like any short-barreled Mosin (like the ’38, ’44, and Type 53). What a discovery.

Shooting this is a blast, literally and figuratively. Accuracy is actually improved as the old crown was hot garbage water. I’ve taken it out to 75 yards to pop clay pigeons so far, longer range testing is still in the works, but I’m liking the results so far.

Here’s a video of the shooting:

And here’s a video of the build, if you dare:


Ow! Defoor Disses the ACOG

Defoor borrowed this elderly ACOG from the element he was training.

Defoor borrowed this elderly ACOG from the element he was training.

When the Elcan Spectre DR came online to replace the ACOG TA01NSN, we loved it — for about 30 minutes. It was a beautiful piece of glass (at its staggering price, it should be) and the dual magnification — a flip of a lever migrates you from 1 to 4x and zero holds like a rock — was that rare thing, a marketing feature that action guys could actually use. It was bulkier than the ACOG, but had less stuff to snag on your stuff. But lots of us fell out of love with it nearly as fast. Its weak spot was that, while it was stronger than the typical sporting scope, it was no match for the ACOG’s anvil-like qualities. (Over time, of course, operators could break the early ACOGs too). Trijicon is really good about standing behind these old scopes and will go through one and update the tritium, for example, for a reasonable charge ($150 last we checked).

But that was then, and this is now. And here comes Kyle Defoor to put down our favorite (if elderly) combat optic. He writes:

Getting some time on the ACOG this week. Some dudes still use it/are issued it as their primary. My department is to show them how to use whatever they got as good as they can.

To be a professional in this biz you got to be able to show up and shoot whatever, whenever completely stock and sometimes use the gear of the customer if you don’t have what’s needed……and with that, thanks to the guys for loaning me one to rock while we trained together.

And he accompanied it with the usual entertaining array of hashtags:

#defoorproformanceshooting #acog #training #carbine #5days #runwhatyoubrung #makethebestofit

And therein lies a valid point. There’s always going to be something new and technically a bit better than last year’s (or in the case of  the TA01 ACOG, decade’s) model. Chasing an optimized “best” rig is not worth the trouble for most people. First, if you are a pro user some guy way up the chain from you is probably going to dictate what you use, or if you’re lucky, dictate what options you have to choose from.

This “dictation” isn’t too restrictive in some cases, like if you’re a SEAL, PJ, SF, etc. But in some other cases, like an Army support troop or Marine rifleman, you will be told what you will be carrying and will be ordered to like it. At that point, you can whine about it, sign up for selection (where, should you succeed, you will discover that you’re still working for The Man, just at a higher level), or take Kyle’s advice and run what you brung and make the best of it.

Fortunately, the baseline weapons and optics available to grunts today are quite good stuff. The fact that they don’t have this year’s shine on ’em, or weren’t on the cover of REAL OPERATORS BUY THIS magazine last month, doesn’t matter. Real operators can operate with sticks and stones, hell, with their bare knuckles; any step up from that is gravy. And you too can shoot better and more effectively with the weapons you have now, and money and time spent on ammo and training will almost always have a return on investment far beyond what you get from money and time spent picking out and acquiring new and better gear.

If you’re going to be using a carbine over a wide range of, well, ranges and lighting conditions, etc., the ACOG is still a good choice. If your most likely employment is close up, or even indoors, then a red dot is the way to go. And in both cases, training and practice can let you extend the use of either to ranges where the other selection would have been optimum.

Armalite Images at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Via the former Fairchild, FAEC, Fairchild Republic, etc., archives, the National Air and Space Museum has acquired a number of original Armalite publicity and industrial photographs. Thanks to armeiro on this thread in the ARFCOM Retro Forum, we’ve had a look at ’em.

NASM Caption: Exterior of an Armalite company building, possibly the firm's initial headquarters at 6567 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The sign bears the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation's flying horse insignia; Armalite was a division of the Fairchild Corporation.

NASM Caption: Exterior of an Armalite company building, possibly the firm’s initial headquarters at 6567 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The sign bears the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation’s flying horse insignia; Armalite was a division of the Fairchild Corporation.

We can confirm that that does appear to be the door of 6567 Santa Monica, still standing today, according to this Real Estate listing, and this Google Map image. The building is so subdivided that that unit is now a single 700 square foot shop or office. The now somewhat threadbare brick building has been whitewashed, and has grown a layer of ornamental stone near the (now single) door, and the parking lot’s been rearranged for more spaces, but it’s clearly the same place.

So if you live in LA, you can go and stand on the steps where Stoner, L. James Sullivan, and all the Armalite innovators went to work.

Technically, we’re violating NASM’s copyright restrictions by rehosting these images, but we’re (1) doing it as Fair Use and (2) feeding them some corrections and updates. Like this one:

Here’s a guy the Museum calls “an unidentified man” demonstrating “an Armalite AR-10 battle rifle equipped with an ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenade.” The ENERGA grenade was a Belgian design in worldwide use at the time. We’re pretty sure most of you can identify the gentleman in question.


He is Eugene Stoner! NASM also dates this photo “circa 1960,” but by 1960 AR-10 production was underway at AI (based, of course, on earlier engineering of the production rifle), and Armeiro identifies this specific prototype:

This particular unit was a one off prototype from the second U.S. AR-10 model,it has a early design bipod and a reinforced barrel end section in order to fire ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenades,as seen in the photo.

This specific prototype is in the Reed Knight collection. We would guess the photo to be nearer to 1956 or 1957, assuming a prototype was still being used for publicity photos that late. Note that the rifle Stoner holds does not appear to have the canonical AR-10 top mounted gas tube; in early prototypes it came off the right side of the barrel. (This may have been due to an Army Ordnance objection to top mounted gas tubes as risky to shooters; in reality, Army Ordnance of the day was hostile to anything competitive with in-house designs, and the AR-10 was a potential M14 slayer).

Here’s an AR-5 prototype (survival rifle, bolt-action centerfire ancestor of the .22 semi AR-7), taking a ducking with a bathing beauty:


Born about 1940, this pretty lady is probably somebody’s great-grandmother now! But she can’t match that floating AR-5 for progeny.

In another error, the NASM refers to the “AR-5 Parasniper Rifle.” The Parasniper was the first Armalite product, before that name was even formalized, a bolt-action rifle that used aluminum forgings and fiberglass stocks to achieve lowest-in-class weight. It was retroactively numbered the AR-1.