In this time of constantly accelerating innovation, any piece of equipment older than a few decades is due for replacement. This temporally-enhanced evolutionary process holds true for everything from refrigerators to battle rifles. A few years ago, Magpul designed the Magpul Masada rifle. Although the marketing department might have spent a little more time at Wikipedia (the siege at Masada only ended victoriously on the symbolic level), the Magpul long gun was everything the company believed a battle rifle should be. Remington took their concept to full production with their Remington ACR.
Just like the current M4/M16 platform, the ACR consists of an “upper” and “lower” receiver. End users (as shooters are called) can hang onto the lower and swap-out just about everything else on the rifle—barrels, optics, lights, etc. Hey presto chango! From 5.56x45mm NATO and 6.8 Remington Special (yet another 6.8 caliber) without an armorer.
The LE/Mil Remington ACR’s fire control components are extremely familiar; they’re basically the same as the M4/M16 controls. The only significant differences between the M4/M16 and the ACR: the bolt release is located at the bottom front of the trigger guard, and the charging handle is located in front of the chamber instead of behind against your face.
To activate the ACR’s bolt release, you have to positioned your finger dangerously close to inside the trigger guard. In contrast, Magpul’s B.A.D. device. I can release the bolt while my finger’s STRAIGHT and outside the trigger guard. With the ACR, I have to bend my finger slightly in order to put enough pressure on the release.
You can operate the Remington ACR’s forward charging handle without moving your hand off the fire controls or compromising your cheek weld. Unlike the FN SCAR, the ACR’s handle doesn’t reciprocate. So even if something gets in the way of the ACR’s charging handle the gun will still function. Yes but—the ACR’s charging handle is fixed on one side, not both. While they can be moved to either side based on user preference, neither the charging handle nor the safety selector switch are ambidextrous.
The safety / giggle switch is in the same position as the AR-15’s and operates in the same manner. It’s plastic. Personally I prefer my safety devices to be made of metal (especially when they’re on a machine gun); metal is less prone to bending and breaking than plastic. Style-wise, the flat dark earth safety selector switch blends in nicely with the rest of the rifle.
In terms of recoil, the LE/Mil Remington ACR’s hard to judge with the suppressor attached. Suppressed, the rifle has very little recoil, about as much as my AR-15 with a big-ass compensator attached (my friends tell me the rifle IS my compensator, but whatever).
While firing it, the rifle just feels right. Keeping the ACR on target during sustained fire isn’t that hard, but the muzzle does rise a significant amount. The cyclic rate of fire is a tad high, though, so bursts tended to be a little longer than I expected (to be fair, this was only the third fully automatic weapon I had ever fired, so take that statement with a grain of salt).
The ACR was a bittersweet joy to fire, knowing that the entire U.S. government stood between the fully-automatic rifle and my gun safe. Anyway, Remington designed the ACR to replace the M4/M16 family of rifles. While it is a fantastic piece I don’t see any major improvements that would justify swapping out the entire stock of the U.S. armed forces for the ACR. Which makes me sad. I was really rooting for it ever since it was unveiled at SHOT a while back. Still, the lobbyist-fed fat lady is just warming up.
Law Enforcement / Military Remington ACR
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO / 6.8 Remington Special
Barrel: 10.5″ / 14.5″ / 16.5″
Size: 21 5/6″ to 37 1/2″
Weight: 8 lbs. empty w/ 14.5″ barrel
Operation: Gas piston system
Finish: Black / Desert Tan
Capacity: Uses standard 5.56x45mm NATO magazines
MSRP: $??? (Law Enforcement / Military Only) (Civilian MSRP $2,343)
Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.
Accuracy: * * * *
From what I could tell, it seems pretty accurate. Even in fully automatic fire, I was able to keep the rifle on a target roughly person sized at 15-20 yards for five or six rounds.
Ergonomics: * * *
Everything feels pretty good on this rifle. It points well and moves great from one target to another. But compared to the AR-15, it’s a lot bulkier. Like, significantly bulkier. The AR-15 does the same stuff but is much more streamlined.
Ergonomics Firing: * * * * *
Oh man, it feels good. Like, really good.
I didn’t have enough time to test the reliability, but given the operating system and other reports on this rifle I’d say it’s par for the course.
Customization: * * * * *
The rifle not only has a full length top rail, but it also has slots to mount other rails or accessories directly to the rifle. You can change the stock, the grip, the side the charging handle and the safety are on… Freedom of choice!
Overall Rating: * * * *
Is this rifle a great shooter and feel wonderful? Yes indeed. Is the Remington ACR significantly better than the M4/M16? Not by my estimation. Is it better enough for civilian shooters in search of the next biggish thing? Absolutely. Am I going to buy one? As soon as it stops being so ungodly expensive.
[DISCLAIMER: The guns I fired at the NDIA (National Industry Defense Association) symposium are generally not available to the public. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to give the weapons a full and complete review. But I did have enough trigger time to get a general idea of how the guns feel and handle.]