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Posted: 4/8/2002 8:28:45 AM EDT
Just remarking how lightweight and simple my old Colt SP-1 is. Contrast that with my Post-Ban Dissipator, which is in totally A-2 configuration.

Some things I like better on the Bushy, like the A-2 sights (that's a whole different post), but the forward assist is a serious waste of space/weight.

I began thinking of the reason for a forward assist, and it hit me: I DON'T NEED A FORWARD ASSIST. The military added the forward assist in order to fully seat a round that was either: (1) slightly out of spec, (2) not chambered properly by the operator (by riding the bolt home, instead of the proper 'sling-shot'). [note added to say that (2) is probably 95% of the reason]

In the event that a round does not fully chamber in my SP-1, I would immediately chamber a new round, thus expelling the old round- the military is all about ammo-conservation, so they wouldn't want to waste ammo like this. Also, your average 18-year old Pvt. may not know that he needs to let the bolt slam home to properly chamber a round.

I know that some of you will say "better to have and not need than to need and not have." I have no personal use for a forward assist, and have never used one to clear a malfunction (other than at P.I., SC when the drill instructor told me to). In my opinion, it's an accessory for the 'least common denominator' user, and is tactically worthless.

Think about it- the SHTF, and you just experienced a FTF (failure to fire)- do you (A) tap your forward assist, and attempt to fire with what may be a dud-round, bad primer, etc., or (B) chamber a new round and kill the
bastard(s). If you would pick option (A), I won't even try to reason with you.

Link Posted: 4/8/2002 8:47:07 AM EDT
D556,
I agree with you about the FA...and one more point. The I need FA mentality has made the old mil-spec AR15 (small front hole, no FA)receiver almost impossible to find. With the extensive shooting/building that I've done over the last 25 years, the above mentioned receiver is the only type I have found to be 100% reliable. It may just be coincidence, but I've NEVER had a failure of any type with these receivers.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 8:59:20 AM EDT
so if you want to close the bolt on a live round without making a lot of noise how do confirm the bolt it locked?
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:07:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2002 9:08:41 AM EDT by tatjana]

Originally Posted By 308wood:
so if you want to close the bolt on a live round without making a lot of noise how do confirm the bolt it locked?



This is the only reasonable use for a forward assist I have ever heard of.

I cannot think of anything scarier than getting in the habit of smacking the forward assist whenever there appears to be a FTFeed malfunction. (Well, maybe a KABOOM during combat). Even worse, imagine if it's a bit of debris that's keeping the bolt from locking. Smacking that forward assist is just going to crunch things. It gives me shivers just hearing the "CRUNCH" of crushing sand against the chamber (or forcing it in with the round) with a hard forward assist smack.

*shudder*

Using it for a stealth-cocking mechanism, now that's interesting!

[edited to change FTF to FTFeed- since I didn't mean failure to fire]
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:09:43 AM EDT
the obvious answer is: you don't. If I need to chamber a round as someone is breaking in my house, the LAST thing I am worrying about is him hearing me rack a round. By the way, this would't be the case, as the rifle is in Condition One, whenever it is left out for home defense.
What tactical situation can you cite me where you would need a round chambered on the scene? Sounds like you've watched too many police shows on prime time, where they rack a round right before shooting the bad guy. It doesn't work that way, I assure you.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:10:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 308wood:
so if you want to close the bolt on a live round without making a lot of noise how do confirm the bolt it locked?



Reach down and feel if it is closed? I've done that before during MILES games.

The only time I've ever used a forward assist it during CTT testing while demonstrating SPORTS.

S lap up on the magazine
P ull the charging handle to the rear
O bserver the chamber
R elease the charging handle
T ap the forward assist
S hoot

Some folks were trained to lock the action open on the "Pull" step and release it with the bolt release. Nifty. Neato. Great. Samey Samey GI.

If Drill Instructors always did their jobs and privates always did what they're told we wouldn't have the forward assist.

Then again, by that logic, if we had ham we could have ham and eggs if we had eggs.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:11:21 AM EDT
no flame on you 308wood- I know you were just playing devil's advocate
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:14:45 AM EDT
I think that the the true beauty of the AR-15 system is that it has "evolved" to include things like the forward assist and a case deflector, but that it can still reliably function with or without several of those design features.

Personal preference and regular training will determine whether a certain piece of the AR system is necessary. If the "click-clear-check-load" procedure works better & faster for you, don't use the Forward assist to seat the round. (I would tend to agree with your preferred method, because you'll need to cock the hammer again if the hammer somehow dropped out-of-battery...)

(For me, I have no use for the A2 butt trap, so if I want to, I can get an A-1 style stock!) Same goes for Uppers...(Just look at the new manufacture A1, A2, A3, A4 designations that are made...DMPS alone must have 20 variations!)

The "You need a forward assist whenever you have an AR-style rifle" blanket statement has to be amended a bit, because in some applications, the Forward assist is there, but truly has no function - (EX - .22LR & pistol cal. conversions, when used with a transplanted SP-1 or Air Force GAU bolt carrier, etc.)

As a lefty, I'd like to see a Flat-top upper with a case deflector but without the forward assist for weight savings...would that be an Ar-15 A3M5E1 designation?

I think that it may be the only variation that hasn't been made yet, so I guess I'm just hard to please!
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:18:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By J_E_D:

Originally Posted By 308wood:
so if you want to close the bolt on a live round without making a lot of noise how do confirm the bolt it locked?



Reach down and feel if it is closed? I've done that before during MILES games.

The only time I've ever used a forward assist it during CTT testing while demonstrating SPORTS.

S lap up on the magazine
P ull the charging handle to the rear
O bserver the chamber
R elease the charging handle
T ap the forward assist
S hoot



I was taught this originally but I found that "Slap"ing occasionally led to popping a round up into the chamber if you were doing an emergency reload. I had the most interesting jam ever cause of this. The bolt came smashing into the loose round and then SUBMARINED under the round wedging it up above the 3/4 closed bolt. Ouch. Fortunately a lot of work managed to remove the malfunction in the field and my Bushy continued the day without incident.

I've moved to the "Tap-Tug" method now. (TPORTS? TORTS?). Has anyone else had problems with the "Slap" ?
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 9:18:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2002 9:21:03 AM EDT by 308wood]

Originally Posted By dissipator556:
the obvious answer is: you don't. If I need to chamber a round as someone is breaking in my house, the LAST thing I am worrying about is him hearing me rack a round. By the way, this would't be the case, as the rifle is in Condition One, whenever it is left out for home defense.
What tactical situation can you cite me where you would need a round chambered on the scene? Sounds like you've watched too many police shows on prime time, where they rack a round right before shooting the bad guy. It doesn't work that way, I assure you.



hunting.
you are driving down a road and you see a nice 8 point buck and your rifle is unloaded because you can't control a loaded rifle and drive a stick shift jeep at the same time. you stop the car turn off the engine and scare the animal away when you drop the bolt.

i use mine when i forget to propery lube the rifle.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 10:25:24 AM EDT
Amazing. All these people who think that the FA has no use while I have needed it several times. Just yesterday afternoon I needed it when using a new Thermold that had feed lips a little tight. The first couple of rounds needed a little assist, but once it had been scraped a little by the bolt it worked fine.

Link Posted: 4/8/2002 10:25:54 AM EDT
Have I used the forward assist on my AR-15? No
Have I used it on my issued M-16? Yes

You'd be suprised how useful that thing is in a true "tactical" situation. Basically, any time you need to silently chamber a round, which is almost always if you are in the field. The sound of the "sling shot" method of chambering a round is VERY loud in the woods.

Just my .02
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 10:35:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tatjana:
I've moved to the "Tap-Tug" method now. (TPORTS? TORTS?). Has anyone else had problems with the "Slap" ?



Never had a problem with 'SLAP' as you do it while the bolt is closed. Slap to insure the magazine is seated then Pull the charging handle to Observe.

Several instructors seem to be into the 'Tug' part - If the 'tap' is done correctly (i.e. NOT gently) then there should not be a need for a tug IMHO. I guess its one of those preference things.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 10:43:08 AM EDT
I'm in agreement with DISSIPATOR. There are a laundry list of things I like about the SP-1s and M16 / M16A1 design over the A2.

I HAVE NEVER USED A FORWARD ASSIST ON ANY OF THE M16 , A1, A2 OR THE MANY ASSORTED VER OF THE ARs I"VE COME IN CONTACT WITH OR OWNED.

In fact most of my scores at the range in the Army actually went down 1 or 2 when going from the A1 to A2. (37 - 38 to 35 - 36) I also appreciated the triangular grip for night fire. The straight surfaces gives you a better idea how parallel your barrel is from the ground and improves accuracy when your squinting through and over your sights.

But I guess if you really had to push the bolt forward you could use your thumb on the bolt indent... It would be silent...

Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:12:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By tatjana:
I've moved to the "Tap-Tug" method now. (TPORTS? TORTS?). Has anyone else had problems with the "Slap" ?



Never had a problem with 'SLAP' as you do it while the bolt is closed. Slap to insure the magazine is seated then Pull the charging handle to Observe.



I see how that would solve the problem but I much prefer one simple drill for mag changes so I have that much less to think about in a tactical situation. I prefer to have one method to use for both tactical and emergency reloads. But that's just me. Other people might be totally comfortable using different methods for tactical v. emergency reloads. Also, I see the value of the observe stage in the process, but it strikes me as somewhat overblown- particularly during tactical situations I don't want to take my eyes off the targets at all if I can help it.


Several instructors seem to be into the 'Tug' part - If the 'tap' is done correctly (i.e. NOT gently) then there should not be a need for a tug IMHO. I guess its one of those preference things.


I find it flows nicely, and actually helps my hand find its way back to the rifle. Again, it's one of those YMMV things.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:41:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 308wood:

Originally Posted By dissipator556:
the obvious answer is: you don't. If I need to chamber a round as someone is breaking in my house, the LAST thing I am worrying about is him hearing me rack a round. By the way, this would't be the case, as the rifle is in Condition One, whenever it is left out for home defense.
What tactical situation can you cite me where you would need a round chambered on the scene? Sounds like you've watched too many police shows on prime time, where they rack a round right before shooting the bad guy. It doesn't work that way, I assure you.



hunting.
you are driving down a road and you see a nice 8 point buck and your rifle is unloaded because you can't control a loaded rifle and drive a stick shift jeep at the same time. you stop the car turn off the engine and scare the animal away when you drop the bolt.

i use mine when i forget to propery lube the rifle.



I admit that this is a pretty minor nit to pick so flame away.

For Bambi-slaying wouldn't you want a gun that's a little more Elmer Fudd-ish? Maybe an 1894 Winchester or Marlin? Or an 870 with slugs? Or even a .243 in a bolt gun?

Can you shoot deer that close to a road?

My point on silent chambering is that if you have to do it, you've probably planned badly. The solution isn't a mechanical workaround.

Again, if a round doesn't chamber from a Thermelt then replace the Thermelt but don't add a gimick to the rifle. HK's and FAL's get by just fine without them.

I'm having this same long running argument/discussion with some friends that are M4/RAS/RIS/SPR/garbage gun groupies about what is actually needed or useful. I keep telling them that the perfect 20" rifle would have two changes from the Colt 601/ArmaLite AR-15. Those changes are a delta shaped handguard ring and a chrome lined bore and chamber. I tell them that the perfect carbine is the Colt 653 minus the forward assist. They say a 6 pound carbine with 9 pounds of electonic shit on it is the greatest.

If we all liked the same crap this would be a pretty boring board.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:49:24 AM EDT
Well, how else do you expect to move the bolt forward after you've cocked your rifle and neglected to install the buffer and spring assembly? It happened to a friend... yes, that's it....
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:51:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tatjana:

Originally Posted By J_E_D:

Originally Posted By 308wood:
so if you want to close the bolt on a live round without making a lot of noise how do confirm the bolt it locked?



Reach down and feel if it is closed? I've done that before during MILES games.

The only time I've ever used a forward assist it during CTT testing while demonstrating SPORTS.

S lap up on the magazine
P ull the charging handle to the rear
O bserver the chamber
R elease the charging handle
T ap the forward assist
S hoot



I was taught this originally but I found that "Slap"ing occasionally led to popping a round up into the chamber if you were doing an emergency reload. I had the most interesting jam ever cause of this. The bolt came smashing into the loose round and then SUBMARINED under the round wedging it up above the 3/4 closed bolt. Ouch. Fortunately a lot of work managed to remove the malfunction in the field and my Bushy continued the day without incident.

I've moved to the "Tap-Tug" method now. (TPORTS? TORTS?). Has anyone else had problems with the "Slap" ?




The instructor down at Blackwater tried to get us into the tap-tug method. I've been so used to the slap method for so long I'm not sure if can break that habbit. Insert the mag, Slap it in to make sure it's properly seated, slap the bolt catch to allow the round to chamber. I guess I do alot of slapping of my weapon.

As far as the FA, I only use it after checkig to see if there is a round in the chamber. Pull the charging handle back enough until you see brass the let it slide forward and hit the FA to seet the bolt properly.

For the most part if you have a clean rifle and you are just bench shooting, you will have no need for FA or a Dustcover or even a brass deflector, but keep in mind, these are Combat weapons, and in the field things go wrong. If you are a bench shooter then you could always go out and buy a DMPS LoPro and shoot very happily with that.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:52:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tatjana:
Also, I see the value of the observe stage in the process, but it strikes me as somewhat overblown- particularly during tactical situations I don't want to take my eyes off the targets at all if I can help it.


Understood - and I've not 'observed' myself when I 'knew' the problem was a bad primer. However, the second time it happened in competition (this case of Wolf had a bad primer every 140 rounds or so) I didn't look either - that cost me. The previous case hadn't ejected and because I didn't Observe I ended up with a bigger problem (thankfully I had my Trusty Gerber tool on me to 'solve' the problem with a minium of time). It was a great reminder.

However I have not figured how to 'observe' at night - I have to feel around, and that area can get hot!



I find it flows nicely, and actually helps my hand find its way back to the rifle. Again, it's one of those YMMV things.


Yep, after my Whack (oops meant 'Tap') my hand keeps going to the fore stock. Its how Uncle Sam trained me, so I keep to what I know...
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:57:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2002 11:58:43 AM EDT by Schnert]
Back when I was young, dumb and full of VIGOR in the US Army Infantry (11B10)I was issued an M16A1 complete with a bunch of wonky mags. I was also trained in the SPORTS mindset when it came to a stoppage. I didn't question it, because it was doctrine.

Later, as the owner of many AR's the only time I've every used the forward assist was when I was closing the bolt over a BATF approved 10 round mag with a strong spring.

Does an AR need a forward assist when used in conjunction with good ammo and decent mags? No.

Does an AR need a forward assist when used in conjunction with real world ammo and wonky mags? Yes.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 12:16:19 PM EDT
308wood and others who can't live without a FA on a hunt:

I am well aware of slam fires, and I agree that it would not be smart- perhaps not even legal- to have a loaded rifle in a vehicle while hunting. If the sound of a jeep flying down the trail doesn't spook the game, surely you can chamber a round while the engine is still running. It doesn't seem like much of an issue there.

To MP906:
No, I would NOT be surprised how useful the forward assist is in a true tactical situation, since there is no use for a FA in a true tactical situation. If you have gone into a field-combat scenario, without a round chambered- your tactics suck. I know that the TV shows make a big deal of showing someone chambering a round before they waste the bad guy, but that isn't reality.

Forward assist? We don't need no stinking forward assist! By the way, I think the military should keep the FA, because it is an entry-level type feature.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 12:20:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2002 12:26:24 PM EDT by Boomer]
Here's another vote in favor of the forward assist. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Any weight that the forward assists adds has to be pretty minimal, too. I don't believe that I personally would even notice difference of the few ounces that keeping it or removing it would make one way or the other.

I've used it from time to time when needing to fully chamber a round in AR-15s and M-16s that were getting a little sluggish after not having been cleaned for a couple of thousand rounds.

I can easily see the value of being able to silently chamber a round, too. Yes, it's best to plan to face danger with your weapon in Condition One, but I'm sure we've all heard of Murphy by now. If I'm trying to maintain a degree of stealth, I'd just as soon not flag my position with a loud cycling of the action.

And J_E_D, as far as hunting with an AR, I'm sure you are aware that AR-15s can be had in calibers other than 5.56NATO, right? I plan on eventually trying one of my 7.62x39 AR-15s on deer. Should work every bit as good as a Winchester or Marlin lever action in 30-30, and maybe even better because of the AR-15s inherently better accuracy and ability to use pointed bullets. I would imagine that an AR-15 in .300 Whisper would be effective on deer, too. And in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, even the .223 isn't a bad choice for deer and other small/medium game and has proven itself an effective alternative.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 12:23:16 PM EDT
While this doesn't apply to most of us here and probally was not why it was included in the later models, if you have ever fired 100's of dirty blanks in a day (in the millitary) you have used your fa pleanty.

Is that a run on sentence or what?
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 1:31:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ajacobs:
While this doesn't apply to most of us here and probally was not why it was included in the later models, if you have ever fired 100's of dirty blanks in a day (in the millitary) you have used your fa pleanty.

Is that a run on sentence or what?



No, but it could use a few more commas, and the parentheses aren't really needed.

While this doesn't apply to most of us here, and probably was not why it was included in the later models, if you have ever fired 100's of dirty blanks in a day in the military, you have used your fa plenty.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 2:59:45 PM EDT
In boot at San Diego in 87 I was taught to single load in slow fire, and follow up the bolt slam with three (not two or four) taps of the assist.
I also have known since about 90 that using the assist in other than combat is wrong, but even today I really have to fight it and sometimes do it.
The Corps did me wrong there.
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