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Bucky145
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Posted: 8/26/2009 4:38:57 PM EST
Does anyone have any experience with the Simuntion FX 5.56 marking round being shot out of a AR15/M16? I'm looking at this for training. I have some question as to if they cycle the weapon reliably with the drop in bolt carrier from Simunition. Simunition says they hit about as hard as the 9mm. I'm wondering if this is true or if they hit harder? Any info would be great. I have used a friends dedicated 9mm Simunition AR in the past, but I really need to get my own set up. I thought that it may be cheaper just to stay with my duty AR and change the bolt to the 5.56 Simunition configuration for training. Thay way I can use my optic, and not have to beg to use the 9mm sims rifle.

Thanks for any help.
Bucky145
beavo451
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Posted: 8/26/2009 4:47:53 PM EST
I can't help you with your original question, but I would suggest that you use dedicated Simunition guns. We can have all the safety in the world, but with a conversion, the potential for an accident is still there. Dedicated sims guns reduces that potential to nearly zero. My department uses dedicated sims handguns and ARs that are painted blue.

Arlington PD training death.
Bucky145
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Posted: 8/26/2009 5:09:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/26/2009 5:10:54 PM EST by Bucky145]
Originally Posted By beavo451:
I can't help you with your original question, but I would suggest that you use dedicated Simunition guns. We can have all the safety in the world, but with a conversion, the potential for an accident is still there. Dedicated sims guns reduces that potential to nearly zero. My department uses dedicated sims handguns and ARs that are painted blue.

Arlington PD training death.


Thats one of the things I would like answered if anyone has the AR sims bolt. It's my understanding that with the sims bolt in place it's impossible to have a lethal 223/5.56 round chambered. I guess if the officer fails to change the bolt, fails to use sims rounds, fails to safety check, and then fails the master safety check conducted by our training officer and a second officer, then there could be a huge problem. If my department was willing to buy dedicated sims rifles then I would be there, however they are not going to flip the bill on this one. Hell, I can not even get them to buy 12 new gas rings right now.

Ironically we are looking at the sims guns because of training problems with starter pistols, and airsoft rifles. So far the sims guns have been safer.

Bucky145
ar154all
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Posted: 8/26/2009 5:16:03 PM EST



RDP
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Posted: 8/26/2009 6:46:48 PM EST
Rubber bullets come out of real guns. Not so sure how sims would even get into the same arena as that. I can't find any info on the case to say it was sims. If it was sims.

The sim barrels for pistols won't allow a normal round to be chambered. The AR/M16 set-up is not supposed to allow a live round to be chambered. FX sells dedicated uppers and they are blue. Easy to swap on and off, but then you lose your sighting system.

I have seen the uppers for sale on Subguns every year or so....

IMHO, the rifle rounds seem to hurt a lil' more.
AJFinn
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Posted: 8/26/2009 7:19:11 PM EST
The FX 5.56 bolt will not allow a live 5.56 round to be chambered or fired. We've tried and it doesn't work. As for shooting the things, just make sure instead of using the charging handle to clear a round out of the chamber, you instead pull the magazine and fire the round downrange. Otherwise, you run a very good chance of pulling the brass, but leaving the soap filled projo in the barrel. Trust me, my first time running this setup I was able to get 5 rounds in the barrel before I realized why the guy wasn't getting shot. I simply tapped the things out w/o a problem, but just giving you a heads up.

Take it FWIW...
-AJ
SSDSurf
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Posted: 8/26/2009 8:16:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bucky145:
Does anyone have any experience with the Simuntion FX 5.56 marking round being shot out of a AR15/M16? I'm looking at this for training. I have some question as to if they cycle the weapon reliably with the drop in bolt carrier from Simunition. Simunition says they hit about as hard as the 9mm. I'm wondering if this is true or if they hit harder? Any info would be great. I have used a friends dedicated 9mm Simunition AR in the past, but I really need to get my own set up. I thought that it may be cheaper just to stay with my duty AR and change the bolt to the 5.56 Simunition configuration for training. Thay way I can use my optic, and not have to beg to use the 9mm sims rifle.

Thanks for any help.
Bucky145
We use dedicated 9mm Sigs and dedicated M4A1's for our Sims weapons. Yes the 5.56's cycle very well with the blue Simunition bolt. They will even run very well on full auto out of our M4A1's. I am a certified Sims instructor via General Dynamics, Simunition Operations, and I can't believe that anyone from the company would say that the 9mike and the 5.56 hit about the same as they do not. Even their training materials that is taught to instructors is totally contrary to this.

Just some small facts.....The 9mm has a minimum standoff of 1 foot. The average velocity is 400fps. The 5.56 has a minimum standoff of 3 to 6 feet depending on a link or non link, and the 5.56 projectile travels at 650fps. While the 9mm can break bare skin and leave welts and bruising, you can darn well be sure the 5.56 will break skin and I have seen the 5.56 plastic projectile embed itself under the skin after traveling about 25 feet. Simunition also goes as far as to teach that if the 5.56 round is being used that ONLY approved Simunition 9000 protective equipment is mandatory. This is a higher rating than either the 9mike or .38 and for a good reason.

TheAmaazingCarl
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Posted: 8/26/2009 10:40:17 PM EST
what everyone else said about using the dedicated weapons/uppers, safety is key.


Also, WEAR A CUP.
"This week only, all threats reduced for half price."
Dusteater1
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Posted: 8/26/2009 11:37:33 PM EST
We use them extensively in our training iterations, both in handguns and modified ARs. I'm assuming you're talking about the modifications for the AR upper to accept the 9mm based FX round.

There was another company that made a non lethal cartridge, but we found it to operate at very high velocity and determined it NOT to be suitable for force on force exercises. In fact, we stopped using it completely. Sorry, I dont' remember the name of that company.

Anyway, the FX rounds work.....reasonably well.......they have a tendency, especially in hot environments, to get really soft and not cycle very well. You have to keep the chambers and barrels very clean or they will jam up––we clean them after each scenario––sort of a pain, but it keeps them working. They will jam if it's hot and dirty...and once they jam, they get jammed pretty good until they get cleaned out. I once had to shove 6 squibbed non lethal rounds our of a barrel, but it had nothing to do with the system––it was all operator error. We use them and like them, and they work great for our scenarios, during which they tend to get a bunch of rounds put through them. Just keep them clean––you'll see what I mean.

The magazines we use are clear plastic modified to accept and cycle the 9mm Marking round. They sting a little bit––similar to a bee sting. The worse hit (other than in the groin), in my opinion, is right on the knuckle (which happens a lot for obvious reasons)...dang that hurts.

FX has a full line of protective equipment––vest, helmets, gloves, groin protectors––I'd suggest investing in it or similar...and no, I don't work for FX

The FX modification won't work with live rounds, but we STRICTLY enforce the no live ammo in the non lethal training areas––to the point of "wanding" each person who comes through.

We paint the handgaurds, pistol grip, stock and barrel BLUE on our FX guns. Once it's been modified, it is not allowed to be used with live ammo ever again....period...just to avoid a tragic accident.

bcw107
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Posted: 8/27/2009 4:12:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By TheAmaazingCarl:
what everyone else said about using the dedicated weapons/uppers, safety is key.


Also, WEAR A CUP.


I found out the hard way that a cup still leaves a lot of exposed sensitive area. I use a knee pad and thread the straps through my belt and just let it hang down. It covers a MUCH larger area, isn't uncomfortable, and is fine for stopping Sims.
I like football and porno and books about war.
Bucky145
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Posted: 8/27/2009 12:12:25 PM EST
Where are your guys buying your sims gear? The last time I checked a sims upper was around $650, what's the ar bolt conversion cost approximately? Are you guys wearing full Sims name brand protective clothing? or going with mix and match stuff from other sources?

Bucky145
JoeDanger
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Posted: 8/27/2009 3:19:07 PM EST
One of our local departments uses the 5.56 Sim conversions with their HK 416's. No complaints so far on semi or full auto with them. That said, they do hit considerably harder than their 9mm counterparts. During a joint exercise a few months ago, one of our guys was hit by a friendly fire 5.56 Sim round in the shoulder. The round penetrated his BDU shirt and lodged into his skin.
bcw107
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Posted: 8/27/2009 3:47:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bucky145:
Where are your guys buying your sims gear? The last time I checked a sims upper was around $650, what's the ar bolt conversion cost approximately? Are you guys wearing full Sims name brand protective clothing? or going with mix and match stuff from other sources?

Bucky145


Simmunition is a brand name. You'll need to check their website to determine your nearest distributor. I use Tacnologies which is the sole source distributor for Texas and I think surrounding states for Simmunition ammunition. I think dedicated Sim weapons and conversion components can be purchased through other distributors. As far as clothing you gotta train like you fight so we use regular tac uniforms and body armor with the only exception being the addition of a protective mask like the kind used for paintball.
I like football and porno and books about war.
Bucky145
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Posted: 8/27/2009 4:05:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By bcw107:

Originally Posted By Bucky145:
Where are your guys buying your sims gear? The last time I checked a sims upper was around $650, what's the ar bolt conversion cost approximately? Are you guys wearing full Sims name brand protective clothing? or going with mix and match stuff from other sources?

Bucky145


Simmunition is a brand name. You'll need to check their website to determine your nearest distributor. I use Tacnologies which is the sole source distributor for Texas and I think surrounding states for Simmunition ammunition. I think dedicated Sim weapons and conversion components can be purchased through other distributors. As far as clothing you gotta train like you fight so we use regular tac uniforms and body armor with the only exception being the addition of a protective mask like the kind used for paintball.



Thats pritty much what we use too with the 9mm sims, but if we go to the 5.56 it sounds like more protection is in order.

Bucky145
SSDSurf
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Posted: 8/27/2009 5:31:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/27/2009 5:33:27 PM EST by SSDSurf]
We wear our normal gear etc, however if you wish to avoid any type of potential problems, you guys should be running eye, throat and groin protection at a minimum. The 5.56 really should be run will full head and face gear also, as opposed to the paintball style masks. If not, and if there are any injury related issues, Simunition will flat out say that the training and agency acted with negligence.
Garage-Logician
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Posted: 8/27/2009 9:28:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/27/2009 9:29:49 PM EST by Garage-Logician]
Originally Posted By Bucky145:
Does anyone have any experience with the Simuntion FX 5.56 marking round being shot out of a AR15/M16? I'm looking at this for training. I have some question as to if they cycle the weapon reliably with the drop in bolt carrier from Simunition. Simunition says they hit about as hard as the 9mm. I'm wondering if this is true or if they hit harder? Any info would be great. I have used a friends dedicated 9mm Simunition AR in the past, but I really need to get my own set up. I thought that it may be cheaper just to stay with my duty AR and change the bolt to the 5.56 Simunition configuration for training. Thay way I can use my optic, and not have to beg to use the 9mm sims rifle.

Thanks for any help.
Bucky145


We have about 8 of the drop in bolt conversions. They cycle fine in semi and full auto. If Simunition told you their 5.56 hits about the same as 9mm, I would question that representative's competence. I've been hit hundreds of times with both 9mm and 5.56 FX rounds. While I can't personally tell much of a difference, the FPS rating from Simunition should tell you all you need to know about that. The 5.56 is faster, it should probably hurt a little more.

We bought our bolt conversions from Streicher's Police Supply in Minneapolis. They're a great company, and if I'm not mistaken either a Site Sponsor or an Industry Partner here (in fact, I see a Streicher's button at the top of this page as I type). If I recall correctly, we paid about $275 apiece for them. Keep in mind though, the 5.56 FX rounds are a little more expensive than the 9mm FX rounds.

One last note on protective gear. Simunition brand masks suck. They suck great big giant donkey balls. Not just one model either, they all suck. Their are two big problems, they fog up horribly, and it is next to impossible to get a proper cheek weld on a long gun. ATK has introduced a line of marking rounds and protective gear under the name Force on Force. They currently only offer 9mm rounds, but they are developing a 5.56 round. Their rounds are designed to be fired with Simunition conversions, so you wouldn't have to buy new equipment. Their protective gear, especially their masks, are a huge improvement over Simunition's gear. One of their masks is a padded facemask/helmet with a clear visor. It doesn't fog much at all and you can actually get a good cheek weld and a proper sight picture.

Good luck, hope this helps.

ETA: One of these days, for shits and giggles, I'm going to put some FX and Force on Force rounds through the chrono and see what the result is...
r-allen
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Posted: 8/29/2009 2:59:11 PM EST
We use the 5.56 bolt conversions. We have them in 12 guns and have never had any problems with them. Also, you can't fire a live round with the conversion bolt installed. As far as a comparison between the 9mm and the 556 sim round, the 556 round hurts a hell of a lot more. They have proven to be an invaluable training tool for us.
alorton
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Posted: 8/29/2009 7:14:08 PM EST
I actually got a T&E set of each from Simunition and gave the following write up as a proposal, names removed:

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Proposal: Simunition AR15’s

Submitted by: Officer XXXX

At the request of Sgt XXXX, I did some research into Simunition platforms for the AR15 style of rifles. I contacted the company directly and learned that they offer two basic types of Simunition conversions.

The first type of Simunition conversion is the bolt replacement style. The kit comes with a bolt and bolt carrier that replaces the bolt and carrier inside the standard AR15. This converts the rifle to blowback design. The force of the cartridge firing works the bolt (like our pistols) instead of the expanding gas working the bolt (like a standard AR15).

The second type of Simunition conversion had a dedicated upper receiver that uses the standard 9mm marking cartridges we already stock for our Sig conversions. This system was also of blowback design.

The pros and cons of each system:

.223 Bolt Conversion:

Pros:permits use in any rifle which allows use of standard accessories, uses standard AR15 magazines, cheaper up front conversion cost

Cons:requires special .223 marking cartridges, can load and chamber standard .223 live rounds, higher velocity requiring additional protective equipment and longer stand off distance, can foul the barrel which is the barrel used for on duty use

9mm Upper Conversion:

Pros:permits use of ammunition we already stock, cannot accidentally chamber .223 or .40 live rounds, can be used with standard protective equipment

Cons:requires dedicated gun that isn’t exactly the same as the individual Officer’s rifle, requires special magazines, more expensive initial cost

Equipment compatibility:

The strongest argument for the .223 bolt conversion is that it allows an Officer to use his or her patrol rifle. The weight, barrel length, trigger, stock, sling, light, optic, etc. will all be identical to what the Officer uses on the street. You simply remove the exsisting .223 bolt and carrier out of the rifle and replace it with the Simunition bolt and carrier. This can be done by anyone that knows how to clean the AR15 rifle. The .223 bolt conversion also uses standard AR15 magazines.

The 9mm upper requires a dedicated weapon that won’t exactly match what each individual Officer uses on the street. It would not differ greatly as most patrol rifles are configured around a 16” barreled, collapsible stock AR15. The largest variation is with vertical foregrips, weapon mounted lights, and sighting systems.

Saftey:

The strongest argument against the .223 bolt conversion is that since you are using standard magazines and barrels, a live .223 round can be loaded, will feed from the magazine, and can be chambered. The .223 conversion bolt and ammo use a rebated case rim. This will, in theory, prevent the bolt from closing on a standard .223 round and will not allow the bolt to go fully into battery. While this should never allow a live round to fire, it isn’t as safe as using a gun that cannot chamber a live round. The .223 bolt conversion also requires additional protective equipment and greater stand off distances for engagement due to the higher velocity of the round.

The 9mm upper conversion cannot chamber a live .223 or .40 round. The velocity of the 9mm round in a rifle platform allows us to use it at the same distances and with the same protective equipment as we currently use the Sig conversions.

Another safety consideration is that additional protective equipment is required for use with the 5.56 cartridges. A throat protector and a groin protector would be required for anyone participating in training while the 5.56 rifles were being used.

Cost:

As stated above, the 5.56 bolt conversion is less expensive than the 9mm upper receiver conversion. The standard 5.56 bolt conversion lists at $289 per unit while the 9mm upper (with 16” barrel) lists at $684. This is a difference of $395 per unit. There would also be an additional cost per rifle for spare magazines ($38 per magazine) and a rear sight ($70 per rifle). Assuming we would want 2 extra magazines per rifle this would increase the price difference to $541 per rifle.

The offset to this is the fact that the 5.56 ammo is more expensive. The 5.56 ammo is $644 per thousand rounds while the 9mm is $515 per thousand. This is a difference of $129 per thousand rounds of ammunition. The extra cost per rifle for the 9mm upper conversion would break even at approximately 4194 rounds fired and would be less expensive overall after that point. While 4194 rounds is a significant number, with our current training schedule we would reach that number in just a few years of service from the conversions. The other consideration is that the 9mm marking cartridges are already ordered and stocked for our Sig conversions while the 5.56 cartridges would require separate inventory.

Another cost point to consider is that the 5.56 cartridges require additional protective equipment. They require throat and groin protection ($38 for throat, $50 for groin). We would also have to purchase more than one per rifle as everyone in a scenario where a rifle is used would required the additional equipment. Assuming we purchased 10 of these items (a minimum for active shooter or SWAT training) that would be an additional purchase of $880 for just protective equipment. It would also be another item that would need to be transported and accounted for every time we did Simunition training.

Testing:

I was able to procure a test and evaluation example of both the 5.56 bolt conversion and the 9mm upper receiver conversion. Officer XXXX and I took both of the units to the range for testing. We obtained the following results:

5.569mm AR 9mm Sig
Avg. Muzzle Velocity (fps):617.9499.2420.2
Avg Accuracy (10yds): 3.5”2”3.5”
Impact (from POA at 10yds):1.5” high 2.5” low 12” low
Avg Accuracy (25yds): 5”7”N/A
Impact (from POA at 25yds):Zeroed12” low N/A
Avg Accuracy (50yds): 8”18”N/A
Impact (from POA at 50yds):4” low48” low N/A

The first thing to note is the substantial increase in muzzle velocity from the 5.56 rounds. The average velocity of the 5.56 was approximately 200 feet per second faster (almost 50%) than the average velocity of the 9mm round from the Sig conversion. This demonstrates the need for the additional protective equipment should the 5.56 conversion be used. It should also be noted that the 9mm AR conversion showed a velocity increase with the same ammunition over the Sig platform due to the extended barrel length (average increase of approximately 80 feet per second or 20%).

The extended range of the 5.56 conversion is evident from the figures above and is mostly due to increased velocity. The 9mm round from the pistol were unable to pattern at 25 yards due to inaccuracy and low velocity. The 9mm did much better from the rifle but was still far exceeded by the 5.56.

As for reliability, we fired several full magazines of both 5.56 and 9mm round through their respective platforms. While the test and evaluation parts were dirty and uncleaned from the last user, they both functioned flawlessly. In approximately 100 rounds of each, neither rifle experienced a single malfunction. This included rapid fire sequences firing full magazines of ammunition.

While it is unlikely that we would never see a malfunction from either platform, this suggests that the reliability of the rifle conversions is significantly better than that of the Sig conversions we currently use.

One note of caution: the 5.56 conversion bolt can be used in any AR15 platform. Many rifles use different length gas systems and/or different buffer and spring configurations. It is possible that the bolt conversion would not function this well with every combination that is used by our Rifle Operators. We simply didn’t have enough test ammunition to evaluate the conversion in every type of AR15 rifle.

After our range testing, the 9mm upper conversion was used in our active shooter/Officer down rescue training. The response from Officers that used the conversion was overwhelmingly positive. All considered it a valuable training aide and no problems were experienced during the scenarios with the equipment. We were unable to use the 5.56 conversion in this training due to lack of ammunition and the fact that we did not have the additional protective equipment.

Conclusions:

Both the 5.56 and the 9mm platforms would serve well for training purposes. Both have the respective advantages and disadvantages but overall Officer XXXX and I believe that the 9mm conversion is preferable for our uses. The fact that we were unable to use the 5.56 during training scenarios due to ammo shortage and protective equipment pinpoints the major limitations of the 5.56 conversion. If we have ammuntion for the Sig conversions, we have ammunition for the 9mm AR conversion. If we have protective equipment for the Sig conversions, we have protective equipment for the 9mm AR conversions. It is also apparent that while the 5.56 conversion would save some up-front cost, over several years the 9mm conversions will prove to be less expensive due to ammunition costs. Finally, the added safety of it being physically impossible to load and chamber a live round in the 9mm conversion makes it the better choice.

Proposal:

I propose that the department purchase two 9mm upper receiver conversions for the AR15/M16 platform (P/N 5306585 $684/ea). Along with this purchase, I propose we purchase 4 additional magazines (P/N 5308310SP $38/ea) and 2 rear sights (Brownells P/N 231-000-030 $66.60/ea). We would also need to dedicate 2 of the DRMO M16 rifles for training use. Since we already have the ammunition and protective equipment this would be all the required items needed to incorporate these conversions into force on force Simunition training. If funds allow I would like to equip these rifles with collapsible M4 style stocks (Brownell’s P/N 080-000-545 $65/ea) and 3 point slings (Brownell’s P/N 100-000-377 $18/ea) to set the rifles up as close as possible to the standard patrol carbine in use by our Department.

The total expenditure would be $1653.20 for the uppers, magazines, and sights with an additional $166 for stocks and slings ($1819.20 total).