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  • 11.5 inch barrels on AR15's.

    We just started up a joint County/City SRT team. Right now we use our patrol carbines which are Colt AR-15A3s w/ 16 inch barrel. Got the money for 5 rifles for us( the members from the city). Two of us want the 11.5 inch barrel. Semi auto only. Anyone w/ expierence using these carbines? Good/bad? We have a lot of trailers and a shorter barrel can be advantagous I believe. Also, what is the paperwork like to get one. I know it takes the $200 tax stamp and the mountains of paperwork to get a short barreled rifle from the ATF if your a civilian or an idividual officer. What is it like for a departmental purchase? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    OK...here is the deal. If your department authorizes NFA firearms, then they must be the owners, not you (unless you want to jump through the hoops), but even that may not fly, since the legal tangle your dept. will get in for you using any personal firearm on duty is not usually worth it, so the route is usually along the lines of the department buying/owning the weapon and then sometimes they issue it to you (just like your sidearm).

    As far as the shorties go they have pros/cons, too. They are much handier and a little lighter, but we decided not to use them for these reasons:

    1. The hassle of the above.

    2. Increased muzzle blast (even with vortec flash units) was just too damn bright.

    3. Dear God they are loud. Hearing protection helps but can be sticky during a residential clearing or other squad ops when you need to hear every little thing; we overcame this slightly with earbuds and game ear units (with auto-cutoff) but they are still loud.

    4. If you have the right loads and good barrels you will be O.K., but many tactical rounds are designed to perform as tested at given velocities and twist, so some rounds will not take well to them as far as accuracy, and ours would keyhole with M855 at close range!! Be careful to zero and test any ammo and stick with it.
    "It's not how far the shot was; it's how close you were able to get."

    --Jeff Cooper

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    • #3
      Those short barrels do have some reliability issues. Too little gas finding its way into the port to cycle the bolt. This issue has been resolved, but make sure you're pipes are coming from reputable makers like Bushmaster, RRA, Colt, or the like. Avoid the fly by nights.

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      • #4
        Our SWAT unit is running 11.5" entry guns and LOVES them. My experience has been very favorable with them. I run a 16" M4 and have no problems clearing residences with them, granted, I've yet to run it through a trailer. A good friend's department runs all 16" rifles and has had zero problems with them, even in trailers.

        The biggest drawback to deploying these guns is the paperwork and purchasing. I believe it took something like 6 months for our's to be delivered.

        As far as reliability issues, they are rare in a factory built AR as long as you don't go below 11.5". Some of the 10" guns are very touchy.

        When buying your rifles, ensure that you are getting an appropriate barrel twist for your duty ammo. Also, proper selection of ammo can do alot to mitigate the flash issues.

        The muzzle blast is very loud on these guns. You can use tactical hearing protectors (magnify quiet things, block out loud ones) or get suppressors for them. Which is an interesting point, suppressors are a great add on for these guns. For about $400 you can kill all flash and make blast tolerable without hearing protection. Good, modern cans will only add about 4" length to the rifles also.

        I would think that if your agency decides to go with SBR's that they should go with the 11.5" barrels. The 14.5" doesn't do a whole lot for you by going down from a 16". The 11.5" is definately alot handier and easier to use. Oh yeah, don't forget to accessorize

        If you're not already doing it, consider running your stocks in quite a bit. I run my rifle at the 3rd position (closed being position 1) for most uses, however am completely comfortable (and train with) running the stock all the way closed for clearing of tight quarters. Closing it in like that can serve to drop about 2" from the overall length of the rifle and make it alot handier and easier to manipulate with no hinderance in accuracy.
        Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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        • #5
          i've got a 14.5" with a pinned 1.5" suppressor. it feels a lot smaller than the 16" barrel, but i don't really notice a difference in anything else.

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          • #6
            The .223 round is VERY dependent on velocity for consistant terminal ballistics. When teaching ar15 classes, I always advise to go with the 14.5 or 16" barrels. I also have seen some reliability issues with the short barrels, and don't believe the added length makes a lot of difference in entry work over the short ones.


            Donnie
            Great equipment at great prices: www.bigrivertactical.com

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            • #7
              If you can find them, try the Styer AUG. With a 20" barrel, it is the same size as an MP5. We used them in trailers, from boats and helos, with no problems and no paperwork (except ours were 3 shot burst).
              "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
              John Stuart Mill

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              • #8
                Go with the 14.5 in barrels. The 11inch ones are too short and way too loud. Accuracy at longer ranges will be better with the 14.5in ones as well.
                Lawdawg
                The quickest way to win a gunfight is to take your time in a hurry!
                -Wyatt Earp

                Comment


                • #9
                  We need to change our ideas about "longer ranges". The American Sniper ***. has released a report that shows that 97% of all sniper shots are only 51 yards or less.
                  "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                  John Stuart Mill

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                  • #10
                    Thanks to all for their responses. Jeeper, We usually run our 16 in. carbines w/ the stocks all the way in and do pretty good. We use Federal 55 grn. Premium hollowpoints. All our rifles have M3 Aimpoints with flip-up rear sights as backups and Surefire lights under the barrels w/ the pressure pads. We will keep the SRT rifles the same. I believe we are going with 2 or 3 11.5in. barrels and the rest 16 inch barrels. Talk to you guys soon. Stay safe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I carry both a CAR 15 with 11.5" barrel and 5" flash hider and an MP5A2 with 9" barrel. The CAR has seen lots of use and I've NEVER had any reliability problem except with a batch of crappy reloads which had their heads ripped off on ejection (Is that considered premature ejeculation ) I personally love the short barrel for CQB as it's easy to carry across the chest and quick on target. No doubt that it's LOUD and has a bright muzzle flash, but those both have an intimidation factor.

                      The MP5 is also great for CQB and is a lot quieter with less chance for collateral damage. I simply choose the weapon which fits the need.

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                      • #12
                        Just built a NFA personal AR with a 10.5" barrel. No problems at all. Can hit at 200 yards most all the time. Took 5 months for the paperwork to clear.

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                        • #13
                          Sleuth-
                          I carry a 14.5in Bushmaster M-4 and a Rem 700p .308 for my SWAT duties. Just because the ASA says the average sniper engagement is 51 yards doesn't mean I'm not going to get pinned down at a farmhouse out in the county 150 yards from the guys door. I want to be able to hit someone with my M-4 out to 200 yards if I had to. Anything under 14.5 inches has an increased chance of malfunction problems. Since they have started twisting the gas tubes to make them longer the percentage has gone down. I just can't stand the extra noise. I still want to be able to hear when I'm done with this career.

                          Lawdawg132
                          The quickest way to win a gunfight is to take your time in a hurry!
                          -Wyatt Earp

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lawdawg, I understand. I lost most of my hearing (due to an ND by a friend in my apartment) before I started in LE. I can still here the ringing, 40 years later! And your concerns are reasonable - it's the officers who want to train most of the time at 300 yards, and further, who need to get grounded in the facts.
                            "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                            John Stuart Mill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lawdawg132
                              Sleuth-
                              I carry a 14.5in Bushmaster M-4 and a Rem 700p .308 for my SWAT duties. Just because the ASA says the average sniper engagement is 51 yards doesn't mean I'm not going to get pinned down at a farmhouse out in the county 150 yards from the guys door. I want to be able to hit someone with my M-4 out to 200 yards if I had to. Anything under 14.5 inches has an increased chance of malfunction problems. Since they have started twisting the gas tubes to make them longer the percentage has gone down. I just can't stand the extra noise. I still want to be able to hear when I'm done with this career.

                              Lawdawg132
                              \

                              A SWAT Sniper that cannot get closer than 150 yards to his target?? =
                              Bench Rest Sniper
                              Trooperden, akman75, & azmichelle ignored

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