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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/5/2005 6:34:20 PM EDT
The RAS system came along to fill a real need for attaching accessories to the AR to turn it into a Modular Weapon System. One of the main selling points to this item and its competitors has been that it will fit right on to a standard AR with no modifications at all, and that the old plastic handguards can still be used if needed.

Then various free-float handguards came out. They require the weapon to be dissasembled and preclude the possibility of retaining the standard plastic HGs. On the other hand, they free-float the barrel, with all the benefits that we all know.

So, are the older railed handguards obsolete? From a military standpoint, do all ARs NEED a free-float handguard, let alone a railed one? Surely support troops don't need them, and the expense would be unjustifiable. It has been found that optics do not belong on the handguard, and a non-ff system is stable enough for aiming lasers and such. As for general combat arms issue, where the costs could be justifiable: what is more important, having free-floated barrels, or having the ability to retain the optional use of the plastic HG's?

What do you guys think?
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 6:50:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 6:52:00 PM EDT
I can see NO compelling reason for anyone who does not have to permanently attach a muzzle device to use a non floating rail. The floating rails are better, and the cost is the same.
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 7:36:59 PM EDT

So, are the older railed handguards obsolete?


Obsolutely no. Check out the Midwest Industry products.
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 8:02:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Talyn:

So, are the older railed handguards obsolete?


Obsolutely no. Check out the Midwest Industry products.



Which ones?
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 8:33:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:

Originally Posted By Talyn:

So, are the older railed handguards obsolete?


Obsolutely no. Check out the Midwest Industry products.



Which ones?



Bravocompany sells them:

Click on Tactical Handguards
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 8:46:19 PM EDT
Do you mean the MI#17?
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 10:43:49 PM EDT
NO! As far as the Military is concerned it would be nice if all M4/M16's could be equipped with FF rails whether your SOF/Infantry/support, whatever but like all things that takes time. I agree that the more you hang off of a forend the more important FF is but the future will also show that the tools being used on forends will become lighter and smaller and better. For a sniper FF is a must I think but for an infantry Plt. not so much. I would guess the only thing that keeps the military from going FF all the way is the lack of being able to quickly attach/detach the rails without going the way of the SIR or RASII (rails on same plain) which the Military seems not to want. WHen that gets done I say FF all the way.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 12:15:09 AM EDT
I would have prefered a FF'er...but my RAS is upholding it's intended purpose for now.
Price (used) and ease of installation are what sent me in this direction.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 2:46:28 PM EDT
Don't forget the DEA... the two piece rails (Surefire) used by Rock River are NOT free-floating.

Link Posted: 9/6/2005 3:07:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shal1:
Don't forget the DEA... the two piece rails (Surefire) used by Rock River are NOT free-floating.




Thats a very, very small section of the market.

Besides, just because some big name government outfit bought it does not make it the best option, and it definitely does not make it the best option for an individual.

While I am not going to say that a rifle that isn't free floated is at a disadvantage in the real world, I see no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a non float rail, and not pay the extra few $10s to get a FF rail.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 3:13:40 PM EDT
There are still quite a few people with sound logic that dont believe the advantage of a FF tube offset its disadvantages when it comes to a general issue gun thats going to see hard use.


For most civilians, go FF if your set up allows it, but stick to the high end tubes like DD, Troy or LaRue.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 4:30:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2005 4:32:06 PM EDT by SMGLee]
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 4:37:01 PM EDT
If I could be convinced that getting rid of my RAS for a FF rail would be a significant factor in improving shot placement <100m from offhand standing or kneeling position I might look into it. But, at this point I'm not. From a supported (sandbag or bench) firing position at longer ranges then sure I can see where FF could make a difference. Not saying FF isn't better, just may not be enough better for certain situations to merit the expense. Maybe I'm wrong?
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 4:52:59 PM EDT
My personal opinion is that a FF forearm is not a nessecity on a fighting carbine set up for CQB use. There are no negatives to having a FF tube but I do not think it makes much if any difference on a CQB carbine.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 6:43:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2005 6:44:05 PM EDT by Not_A_Llama]
Value-wise, it is extremely difficult to beat 2-piece non-FF rails. They provide a high degree of functionality at prices that're about a third or half of quality FF rail systems.

I believe the vast majority of shooters will not ever see the benefit of free-floating.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 8:39:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2005 8:48:27 PM EDT by AyeGuy]

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
There are still quite a few people with sound logic that dont believe the advantage of a FF tube offset its disadvantages when it comes to a general issue gun thats going to see hard use.


For most civilians, go FF if your set up allows it, but stick to the high end tubes like DD, Troy or LaRue.



I'm with Lumpy on that point.

I was looking at the issue from a military standpoint, not from a civilian hobbyist's. The troops tend to be VERY rough on the gear, and I feel that even the best of the ff tubes out there might quicly be reduced to junk in the hands of Private Snuffy (not my words; those came from another ex-mil type). The same thing goes to monolitic uppers...trash the rails and the upper is junk. Trash a non-ff handguard, and it can be replaced without tools...and I can't see issuing rails of any sort to a cook (see my current thread in the Armory on PDW's).

And like Not-a-lama says, the vast majority prolly won't see a benefit to FF. Maybe SF, Rangers, SEALS and whatnot, but not with guys like I served with...For the average infantryman, combat means expending great amounts of area fire at non-visible targets.

What I was tring to get at is what the current thinking is...if the non-ff handguard is obsolete in the sense that it is transitional from one system to another...in that light, can the ff tube be considered the best solution...or, as SMGLee says, does the future lie in a rigid frame or monolitic upper...
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 2:20:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
There are still quite a few people with sound logic that dont believe the advantage of a FF tube offset its disadvantages when it comes to a general issue gun thats going to see hard use.


For most civilians, go FF if your set up allows it, but stick to the high end tubes like DD, Troy or LaRue.



I'm with Lumpy on that point.

I was looking at the issue from a military standpoint, not from a civilian hobbyist's. The troops tend to be VERY rough on the gear, and I feel that even the best of the ff tubes out there might quicly be reduced to junk in the hands of Private Snuffy (not my words; those came from another ex-mil type). The same thing goes to monolitic uppers...trash the rails and the upper is junk. Trash a non-ff handguard, and it can be replaced without tools...and I can't see issuing rails of any sort to a cook (see my current thread in the Armory on PDW's).

And like Not-a-lama says, the vast majority prolly won't see a benefit to FF. Maybe SF, Rangers, SEALS and whatnot, but not with guys like I served with...For the average infantryman, combat means expending great amounts of area fire at non-visible targets.

What I was tring to get at is what the current thinking is...if the non-ff handguard is obsolete in the sense that it is transitional from one system to another...in that light, can the ff tube be considered the best solution...or, as SMGLee says, does the future lie in a rigid frame or monolitic upper...



But its not transitional. Thats the thing.

Is there as a mounting point for different hardware, from vertical grips, to lights, to lasers. Thats why its there. It has a purpose and is fullfilling that purpose as it was designed to do.

The FF rail has another added purpose and its filling its role.

Plain and simple.
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 8:30:18 AM EDT
if your really worried about your FF tube breaking... you should be worried about receiver extension getting bent...

i have personally seen the KAC FF tube take a beating... smacked into walls/doors from CQB... and its been completely fine... the LaRue tube's are probably stronger anyways... besides... i don't think you can talk about FF tubes being weak unless you buy a LaRue tube... and start hitting it on something and measuring the force required to stress the mechisiem... i bet it would be insaine..

in the US army's preventive maitnance monthly june issue it talks extensively about the KAC M4 two piece rail systems and how they are cracking in iraq. Usually around the point where it connects into the delta ring. I see and understand the few benifits of the two piece systems... but with all the options that are out today... i feel there are better options out there

just go with an MRP and be done with it...
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 9:14:21 AM EDT
I've had A.R.M.S. #51 handguards for my A1 & A2 uppers and liked them. When I went to a flattop I went with the M4RAS and the RAS II.

Both options allow you to go back to the original hand guards without modifications to the weapon.

I've weeded my AR's down to three. Two (A1's) have the original CAR hand guards. One has a RAS II. I can change from the RAS II back to the original hand guards in a few minutes.
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 9:34:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Colt_SBR:
I've had A.R.M.S. #51 handguards for my A1 & A2 uppers and liked them. When I went to a flattop I went with the M4RAS and the RAS II.

Both options allow you to go back to the original hand guards without modifications to the weapon.

I've weeded my AR's down to three. Two (A1's) have the original CAR hand guards. One has a RAS II. I can change from the RAS II back to the original hand guards in a few minutes.



i thought the same thing until i found myself never taking off my rasII... then i was like..... why am i dealing with this hump? heh. reg. handguards suck.
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 1:40:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jar3ds:

i thought the same thing until i found myself never taking off my rasII... then i was like..... why am i dealing with this hump? heh. reg. handguards suck.



Sometimes a good hump doesn't hurt.
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 7:40:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jar3ds:
if your really worried about your FF tube breaking... you should be worried about receiver extension getting bent...

i have personally seen the KAC FF tube take a beating... smacked into walls/doors from CQB... and its been completely fine... the LaRue tube's are probably stronger anyways... besides... i don't think you can talk about FF tubes being weak unless you buy a LaRue tube... and start hitting it on something and measuring the force required to stress the mechisiem... i bet it would be insaine..

in the US army's preventive maitnance monthly june issue it talks extensively about the KAC M4 two piece rail systems and how they are cracking in iraq. Usually around the point where it connects into the delta ring. I see and understand the few benifits of the two piece systems... but with all the options that are out today... i feel there are better options out there

just go with an MRP and be done with it...



Hey, what's a "mechisiem"? I didn't get one of those with my Larue!
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 5:56:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:

Originally Posted By jar3ds:
if your really worried about your FF tube breaking... you should be worried about receiver extension getting bent...

i have personally seen the KAC FF tube take a beating... smacked into walls/doors from CQB... and its been completely fine... the LaRue tube's are probably stronger anyways... besides... i don't think you can talk about FF tubes being weak unless you buy a LaRue tube... and start hitting it on something and measuring the force required to stress the mechisiem... i bet it would be insaine..

in the US army's preventive maitnance monthly june issue it talks extensively about the KAC M4 two piece rail systems and how they are cracking in iraq. Usually around the point where it connects into the delta ring. I see and understand the few benifits of the two piece systems... but with all the options that are out today... i feel there are better options out there

just go with an MRP and be done with it...



Hey, what's a "mechisiem"? I didn't get one of those with my Larue!



=P FU
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 8:31:04 PM EDT
just kidding jar
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 7:34:02 AM EDT
Oh heck no!


Someday us low-speed, high-drag types will upgrade to these new fangled devises.
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 4:26:38 AM EDT
I think the possible evolution from M4/M5 (2-piece) RAS to FF will be more future accessory driven. That is because the basic gun can't get much better simply through yet another rail system. Its the addition of accesories and how well they integrate with the host weapon that makes for increased capability and gives our troops tactical dominance. That is what drove the modular weapon system (MWS) in the first place.
So I think some accessory may be developed that is so beneficial to our troops survival or efficiency that we have to have it, but for some reason the current rail system won't support it or obtain its maximum benefit.
Example is the SOPMOD requirement for a FF system. The only "real" operational need for this is that our (KAC) current QD M203 latch often results in the host weapon's BZO zero change. So we have addressed that need with our URX, which is a FF type, requires the barrel nut to be replaced, etc. This is what is called a "trade-off." And this trade-off (shifting to anyone's FF system vs the current RIS) has some significant logistical and cost consequences.
IMHO, this "need" must not really be that great since the rail element of SOPMOD Block-2 has been dragging along for over 3 years (actually 5+ if you consider when they first voiced the need). In other words, there are other needs that have a much greater impact on operational capability that have and are being addressed, that the small stuff is pushed to the back-burner.
And USSOCOM can always shift to the RAS (which is more secure than their RIS), integreat the SAS Lower to the RAS (or to their RIS for that matter) and have a very cost effective improvement to albeit the M203 QD/host weapon point of impact shift issue. Of course we have an improvement to the original latch that addresses that issue, but no one has shown interest in during the last three years, because "the new rail system we are getting real soon will solve that problem.
Kinf of frustrating to lead a thirsy horse to water and then not have him drink.
What is really ironic is the continual purchases of RIS, M203 QD's, etc. during this long period vs a cost effective (i.e., same cost), transparent transistion to a 2-piece something better (i.e. M4 RAS+SAS Lower which is lasered like their current RIS).
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 9:08:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2005 9:10:23 AM EDT by AyeGuy]
coldblue, that was one of the inspirations for this thread; the military continues to buy more of the 2-piece non-ff handguards; I was curious as to how wise this is.

Will the URX ever be released commercially?
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 10:28:42 AM EDT
URX will be released as soon as the SOPMOD Block-2 rail deciasion is made. Our (KAC) URX is one of three currently under evaluation/test.
The commercial delay is based on the potential for the design being required to change because of evolving military requirements. Thus the curreny URX is the URX-2, that resulted in changes generated after the military's first look some time ago. I mean there is just no sense in putting something that is not the real deal into production, and then having those owners disappointed when at the last minute the military requires changes, and you end up owning something that just lost its value.
Also, the price to you will be less due to the economy-of-scale after we build a couple thousand for the military. Then you also get Mil-Spec, but of course you had to wait as well.
If we don't win the Block-2 Rail, we will release URX-2 the way it is today, because that is what we are puttting on our government 5.56 carbines.
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 10:41:19 AM EDT
.
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 1:41:44 PM EDT
I don't think it's obsolete as many people don't necessarily need free floating handguards, and they're easier to install.

To me, it's a "why not" outlook on the FF issue. For the money, I'll take free floating. I will never own a rifle with a permanently attatched muzzle device, so installation isn't that big of a deal.

ColdBlue had some very good points as usual, and I also have to agree with SMGLee as to where small arms are headed. The need for a weapon that can become modular, is being phased out for a weapon that is designed and manufactured modular.
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 2:02:16 PM EDT
Yeah, but remember a Service Rifle is issued mostly to people who will never use it except as a Personal Defence Weapon. Do they need such an expensive piece? The good thing about the two-rail system is that ANY rifle can be used, with no Armorer involved. So you can turn a PDW into an Infantry Rifle in two minutes.
Link Posted: 9/10/2005 2:54:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:
Yeah, but remember a Service Rifle is issued mostly to people who will never use it except as a Personal Defence Weapon. Do they need such an expensive piece? The good thing about the two-rail system is that ANY rifle can be used, with no Armorer involved. So you can turn a PDW into an Infantry Rifle in two minutes.



Armorers install everything anyway, and a rail means that even rear area personnel can use white lights and forward pistol grips. Plus a lot of the FF rails are a little lighter and seem to be more durable.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 5:13:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
... The need for a weapon that can become modular, is being phased out for a weapon that is designed and manufactured modular.



Well that becomes a problem unto itself. Value of the current design is that legacy systems continue in service and provide increasing measures of tactical dominance. But also have the Real Estate to accept the next generation of accessories.
If you buy a whole new weapon with "everything" integrated you are then stuck with it for 25+ years (maybe 50+ as with the current M16 family).
What if the then next generation of electrically powered accessories can automatically re-charge batteries off the heat generated from the barrel or on a cold weapon, a quick one-two thumb operated re-charge generator, but this technology can not be integrated in to your new modular weapon because its already contrived to be/do something else like use AA batteries or a battery pack in the buttstock?
Also, the more enhanced our legacy systems become, the higher the bar is pushed for a
"new weapon" to achieve superiority. I have heard Generals state that their Service will not accept a new weapon that is not proven superior to their current system. Maybe this is why the XM-8 thing seems to have gone cold. "Gone cold," no pon intended about its dismal ColdWx perfomance to date.
From a taxpayers perspective, I don't want my $ going after "change for change's sake," I want to see a 25%+ improvement accross the board before we replace $millions$ of institutionalized M16 family logistics, training, etc. The Army would be spending their slice of our taxes more wisely up-armoring all their motor vehicles, doubling the annual trainning ammunition allowance for Soldiers, providing all (including so-called Rear Echelon) with night vision, putting SGLI for Servicemen/women killed in the War on Terrorism on a par with what the New York 9-11 families received, etc.
Link Posted: 9/11/2005 6:45:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By coldblue:

Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
... The need for a weapon that can become modular, is being phased out for a weapon that is designed and manufactured modular.



Well that becomes a problem unto itself. Value of the current design is that legacy systems continue in service and provide increasing measures of tactical dominance. But also have the Real Estate to accept the next generation of accessories.
If you buy a whole new weapon with "everything" integrated you are then stuck with it for 25+ years (maybe 50+ as with the current M16 family).
What if the then next generation of electrically powered accessories can automatically re-charge batteries off the heat generated from the barrel or on a cold weapon, a quick one-two thumb operated re-charge generator, but this technology can not be integrated in to your new modular weapon because its already contrived to be/do something else like use AA batteries or a battery pack in the buttstock?

DITTO!
There is significant technology being brought forth each year, just like the computers we all find out are obsolited every 6 mounths, seems like it anyway. Without modular ability for the most prolific weapon in our arsenal, the M16/M4/??, there would be serious constraints on giving the soldier the package for fighting in the 21st century. Look at what happened to Custer when he didn't bring along his Gatling guns! A two piece rail system is the standard gov't requirerment, and free float was the next one, and modular intergration of electronics is another. Flexible standardization of the modularity is the key to success, (options)!





­

<­BR>


Also, the more enhanced our legacy systems become, the higher the bar is pushed for a
"new weapon" to achieve superiority. I have heard Generals state that their Service will not accept a new weapon that is not proven superior to their current system. Maybe this is why the XM-8 thing seems to have gone cold. "Gone cold," no pon intended about its dismal ColdWx perfomance to date.
From a taxpayers perspective, I don't want my $ going after "change for change's sake," I want to see a 25%+ improvement accross the board before we replace $millions$ of institutionalized M16 family logistics, training, etc. The Army would be spending their slice of our taxes more wisely up-armoring all their motor vehicles, doubling the annual trainning ammunition allowance for Soldiers, providing all (including so-called Rear Echelon) with night vision, putting SGLI for Servicemen/women killed in the War on Terrorism on a par with what the New York 9-11 families received, etc.

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