Black Rain Introduces First NRA Branded AR-15

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The NRA are famous for being a gigantic stick-in-the-mud when it comes to new technology and ideas. The organization banned all silencers from its annual meeting and convention for decades, before finally relenting and letting them in around five years ago. That fuddy-duddy nature can be clearly seen even in their corporate portraits, where everyopne is holding either a break action shotgun or a bolt action rifle except for Ted Nugent’s zebra striped AR-15. The NRA has been co-branding with rifle manufacturers for ages, but never before have they put their logo on an AR-15 rifle. Until now.

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SHOT Show: Navy Arms Winchester Model 1873

Courtesy Joe Grine

Mr. Val Forgett, III., President of Navy Arms, has partnered with Winchester and Turnbull Restorations to produce a beautiful modern reproduction of the 1873 rifle. At last year’s SHOT Show, Winchester showcased its modern limited-edition reproduction of the 1873, but both the monotone gray and black colors of the basic Winchester case-hardened version and utilitarian wood left me a bit cold. Fortunately, Navy Arms is basically taking the stock Winchester version and upgrading it, and the results are stunning to say the least . . .

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New From Olympic Arms: Convertible AR-10/AR-15

Brian, the owner of Olympic Arms, walked us through the unique features of their new AR-10-style rifle. This .308 uses a proprietary, 10-round magazine and proprietary upper. However, if you want to shoot some 5.56 you can slap on any standard AR-15 upper and the magwell accepts AR-15 (STANAG) magazines without any adapter or magwell block needed. It looked pretty slick and is supposed to have an MSRP in the $1,100 to $1,295 range depending on options. I’m hoping for a T&E sample when production units are ready. Photos and details follow. . .

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LWRC Shows Off the SMG-45

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Everyone and their brother is making an MP5 replacement these days. SIG SAUER has the MPX, AAC has the Honey Badger, and now LWRC is throwing their own special sauce onto something they are calling the SMG-45. The compact submachine gun uses almost 100% ambidextrous controls (the non-reciprocating charging handle is still left side only for now), existing UMP magazines, and a nifty piston delayed operating system to cycle the gun. There’s also a folding stock to make it even more compact. As for civilian availability . . .

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MasterPiece Arms’ MPA-308 BA Reigns Supreme

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As Nick wrote when he announced our first-ever choice for firearm of the year, MasterPiece Arms hasn’t generally been known for their high-end guns. But in naming their MPA-308 BA our Editors Choice New Firearm of 2014, he noted that “it’s a wonderful gun: a hand-crafted, precision-machined bolt action rifle. Each barrel is individually bored, rifled and hand lapped to perfection. Every action is individually tested to ensure that what leaves the factory is up to spec. The chassis provides a solid platform for the rest of the gun.” That’s MPA’s main man, Phil Cashin, above, accepting the honor. If you take the time to check one out, you won’t be disappointed.

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No Caracal for You: CS .308 Eye Candy

Courtesy Joe Grine

Pretty much all of us at TTAG loved the Caracal 9C with Quick Sights when we reviewed it back in 2011. So we were happy to see that the firm’s USA subsidiary is still alive and kicking – something that we were unsure of after hearing rumors of their demise. In any event, the Caracal guys brought their pistols, carbine, and CS 308 sniper rifle to the SHOT Show Range Day.  I really enjoyed shooting the CS .308, and found it easy to engage the steel targets set up at 500, 700, and 900 meters.  Unfortunately, the full production capacity of these beautiful rifles is currently dedicated to fulfilling military contracts in the middle east. Maybe one day. In the meantime, here is some Caracal eye candy . . .

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Mesa Tactical Launches AR Scar Stock Adapter

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The options for the SCAR stock are very limited, but the options for the AR-15 platform are as colorful as the rainbow. VLTOR has an adapter for the SCAR that lets you do the whole “peanut butter in my chocolate” thing, but their version comes with a buffer tube assembly already firmly in place. Mesa Tactical has slightly different take on things . . .

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New from Daniel Defense: V11 Pro

Courtesy Joe Grine

Daniel Defense continues to expand its V11 line of carbines into the “competition-ready” segment of the market with the V11 Pro. The V11 Pro features a 18-inch cold hammer forged barrel, the DD 15 inch Slim Rail KeyMod rail, a Geissele Super Dynamic 3 Gun Trigger, the DD Gen 2 Muzzle Brake, and the excellent Daniel Defense furniture.  We got to shoot this rifle at SHOT Show Media Day and walked away very impressed . . .

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Hands-On with Magpul’s D60 Drum Magazine

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Magpul released their latest creation just last week: a 60 round drum magazine. Much like the Romanian 75-round drums we’ve seen for the AK-47 platform, the D60 uses a snaking interior design to hold the maximum number of rounds while being as compact as possible. In fact, the dimensions on the magazine make it smaller overall than the 30 round PMAGs, and allows it to fit both the HK416 rifles and the USMC’s IAR rifle. Most of the design details are similar to the Russian versions, but there are a few nifty upgrades.

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New from KRISS: GEN2 KRISS Vector

GEN2 KRISS Vector (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Our man Leghorn got some trigger time with the full-zoot KRISS Vector SMG back in June. That bad boy spits out .45 ACP at “a finger-scorching” 1,200 rounds per minute. Which left Nick underwhelmed, accuracy-wise. Roger that. The semi’s the one to have – if you’re into that whole pistol-caliber SBR-ish thing. (*cough * SB Tactical Brace  *cough*) New for 2015: the GEN2 KRISS VECTOR, complete with . . .

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New from FNH USA: SCAR 20

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The more I use my SCAR 17S, the more it grows on me. I wasn’t a huge fan at the outset, but the performance of the gun has started to change my mind. FNH USA submitted a modified version of the SCAR 17 for the CSASS program that was looking for a short semi-auto sniper rifle platform, and while the contract has yet to be inked for any of the competitors they have decided to go into full production with a civilian version of the rifle. Made 100% in the United States (unlike the current Belgian imported receivers for the SCAR series) the rifle sports some cool features.

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New from Leupold: D-EVO Optic (HANDS ON!)

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Switching from close range to long range targets is a pain in the ass. Close range targets are best serviced with 1x optics like red dots, but anything past 100 yards really needs a bit of magnification. Usually there are three options: use a variable 1-6x scope that is expensive and heavy, get a flip-to-side magnifier for your red dot, or just live with whatever you have. Leupold has released a new optic called the D-EVO that is designed to fit underneath your existing red dot and give you the ability to use both a red dot and a magnified optic with a BDC reticle. At the exact same time, no switching needed . . .

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