Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BCM Jack Carbine and why ALL rifles should be ambidextrous

Switch Hitting 

Recently, Bravo Company in partnership with Haley Strategic  released a new rifle called the "Jack Carbine". Essentially if you took the attention to detail that produces the highest quality AR-15 parts on the market and built an AR-15 from the ground up you get the Jack Carbine. They missed something though.

On the Firearm Blog they did an article about this rifle and linked to a youtube ad at the bottom. The video has some very intense looking scenario training at both the beginning and ends of the clip. If you jump to 8:20 in the video you will see some interesting things that are the reason for this article.

As Shooter #1 approaches a passageway, he switches the rifle to his left shoulder since that appears to present a lower profile to his target. Look closely at his thumb on his shooting hand. I suspect that he used his thumb to disengage the safety but did not have time to reacquire a proper grip before he had a "problem to solve".

Shooter #1 peels off and Shooter #2 fills the space. At 8:24 you see him juggle a bit before he switches grips and that to me appears to be him taking off his safety before bringing his weapon online.

Just to be clear, I am in no way criticizing these shooters tactics or techniques. They are obviously VERY good at what they do, and I'm pretty sure the bad guy in this scenario didn't really care what kind of grip the shooter had as he was getting ventilated. My point in this article is that had these rifles been configured with an ambidextrous safety, I contend that you would not have seen the very minor hiccups displayed in the scenario. Did it factor into the end result? Absolutely not. Could it improve the performance in a product that is already a top tier weapon? Ya you betcha.

The current doctrine of running an AR-15 involves a lot of engaging/disengaging of the safety. As a left handed shooter, it is very easy for to put the safety back on with the knuckle of the trigger finger, but a bit slower to take it off. The two ways I know of to disengage the safety are to break your grip with the firing hand and flick it off with the thumb. The other which was advocated to me in a class I took with Larry Vickers was to use the knuckle of the index (shooting) finger. Neither of them is ideal.

For right handers it is just the opposite, it is very easy to flick it off with the thumb but putting the safety back on is a bit awkward. Having an ambi-safety is the best of both worlds. Safety off with thumb, safety back on with index finger. Done. Righty or lefty doesn't matter.

Obviously I was not on the design team for the Jack Carbine, so I don't know if Mr. Haley considered running an ambi-selector or not. In keeping with the quality components of the build, both Troy Industries and Battle Arms Development both make a ambi safety selector that appear to be of superior quality. The BAD Safety selector in particular is intriguing since they offer different lever sizes for greater modularity and comfort.

Generally we are talking fractions of a second for these motions, but in a CQB situation fractions of a second can matter. This video also shows that in certain situations, being able to shoot from either shoulder is beneficial. It is for those reasons why I advocate that all weapons should be as ambidextrous as possible. Not only so left handed people don't have to adapt and invent different techniques but because sometimes you need to be "other" handed.

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