Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Concealed Carry" AR-15 Cases

In the past year or so, there have been a few references in our blog posts to the potential benefits of being "grey"-meaning that in appearance and conduct, it can be a good idea not to call attention to oneself, especially in regard to the possession of firearms (whether on your person or on your property).  A couple of companies that produce high quality products have introduced weapons carrying cases that can allow you to transport weapons safely and properly without drawing unnecessary or unwanted attention.  In this post, we will highlight three quality gun cases that can provide you this capability.
Blackhawk Diversion Racquet Case


In terms of being "grey", the Blackhawk Diversion Racquet Bag is hard to beat.  There is nothing in its appearance that reveals what may be on the inside, and at a M.S.R.P of around 70 bucks, the price is great.  The main drawback is the size.  Unless you have an SBR (short barreled AR-15), you will have to carry your complete upper and lower receivers separated.  If being discreet is of ultimate importance, this feature may be a positive rather than a negative.  Like just about anything having to do with the AR-15, your decision has to be based on your primary application.  It is available in 3 different "non-tactical" color patterns.




Hazard 4 Battle Axe Case


Hazard 4 makes high end, outstanding quality tactical gear, but their Battle Axe rifle case doesn't "scream" tactical...instead it may make most people think you are headed to a gig or practice session.  You should be able to purchase one online for less than $200.00; while it may cost considerably more than the other cases highlighted in this post, it also provides considerably more storage capacity for other essentials.  Also, if you need to be able to access and employ your complete weapon quickly, it affords you the ability to do so.  It is available in black and a coyote color.  If being discreet is your primary concern, I would opt for the black, since there are few musicians pursuing their dream with an instrument enclosed in a modern-day, tactical, global war on terror gig bag.



5.11 Covert M4 Case
Finally, the 5.11 Tactical Covert M4 bag is also worthy of consideration.  Unless your AR-15 has a long fixed stock and a barrel longer than 16 inches, this case allows you to carry it with the upper and lower assembled and ready to go.  Due to its intended compact size, it doesn't have a lot of accessory storage capacity, but nothing about it says, "Hey, there's an evil gun in here."  While the Covert M4 doesn't have the storage capacity of the Hazard 4 Battle Axe, and in my opinion is not as covert as the Blackhawk Diversion Racquet Bag, its non-tactical appearance and ability to house a complete, standard M4 allows it to accomplish a lot, and do so discreetly. Its pricepoint is in between the other two models mentioned, at around $140.00.





If you prefer not to draw unwanted attention to yourself and your weapon when you have to transport it, or are concerned about it being recognized should you be required to leave it in a viewable area of your vehicle, office, etc...these three cases may be right for you.  More detailed information about their features can be found on their respective websites (see links below).

http://www.blackhawk.com/Products/Bags-Packs-Tactical-Nylon/Bags-Packs/Diversion™/Diversion®-Racquet-Bag.aspx

http://hazard4.com/products/bags/weapons/battle-axe

http://www.511tactical.com/covrt-m4.html



Thanks for reading our blog; if you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we produce or the variety of parts we sell for your AR-15 at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

AR-15 Scopes

Due to the popularity of the AR-15 weapon platform in recent years, many manufacturers of rifle scopes have begun to design and market optics specifically for this weapon and the applications for which it is most often used.  There are models with bullet drop compensating reticles specifically calibrated to the .223/5.56X45 NATO cartridge for hunting and other long range uses, some with illuminated CQB (close quarter battle) reticles for defensive or duty use or 3-gun competitions and other shooting sports, and others that have both of these features and can be used for just about anything you desire to do with your AR-15.
Nikon P-223 3-9X40 With Nikon P-Series 2 Piece Mounts


In this blog post, we will highlight a few different riflescopes that are designed for the AR-15 platform or are at least popular with those who use an AR-15.  When I was younger, I remember reading an article in an outdoor sports magazine that suggested if you wanted a quality, dependable optic, you should be willing to pay twice what you did for your rifle.  Doing so may ensure you own and use a quality scope, but I don't believe it's necessary. The rifle scopes described in this post have been specifically selected because much like the AR-15 rifles and components we produce at DTI, they are products where quality and value meet.  Quality shouldn't be something you have to surrender for value, and the two characteristics do not need to be mutually exclusive.  They aren't at DTI, and they aren't in these 3 AR-15 scope options.


Nikon P-223 3X32
The least expensive scope models highlighted in this post belong to Nikon's P-223 series.  There is currently a fixed power 3X32 model, and two variable power models in this line:  a 3-9X40 and a 4-12X40.  The fixed power 3X32 is a great, lightweight duty or 3 gun option.  All three have bullet drop compensating reticles, and the variable power models are calibrated from 100 to 600 yards.  Nikon also offers two mount/ring combinations specifically for these scopes and AR-15 rifles, and the Nikon Spot On (TM) ballistic software program available on their website and mobile devices is an amazing tool to help you realize the accuracy potential of your rifle.  These high quality optic options from Nikon have an MSRP from $150.00-250.00.


The Millett DMS (Designated Marksman Scope) line of optics are a bit more expensive, but the long range (up to 500 yard) capability in the DMS-2 model and an illuminated CQB reticle for fast target acquisition make for a feature-packed scope. The illuminated reticle is known as a "Donut Dot" and has 11 brightness settings; especially on the lowest variable power settings, keeping both eyes open during use is not difficult.  There is a 1-4X24 and a 1-6X24 model, the former being available in black or ATACS camo, the latter having a ballistic compensating reticle.  All 3 models weight just over 18 ounces, and have 3.5 inches of eye relief.  The 30mm main tube also provides an excellent amount of light transmission and when coupled with the illuminated reticle, you have a great low-light AR-15 optic choice.  Like military grade scopes, these optics also have glass-etched reticles rather than wire, so you can depend on them when the environment and applications in which they are used gets tough.  You should be able to purchase the 1-6X24 (DMS-2) model for under $400.00, and the 1-4X24 (DMS-1) model for around $300.00.   


Millett DMS-1 ATACS
DMS-1 Reticle













The Leatherwood Hi-Lux CMR (Close Medium Range) is a 1-4X24 variable power scope similar to the optic just described.  Like the Millett models, it has an etched reticle, an illuminated reticle great for close to medium range applications, and ballistic drop compensating features.  It is a few ounces lighter in weight than the Millett DMS models, but also has less eye relief (3" compared to 3.5", according to technical specifications on each company's website).  The CMR is available with either a red or green illuminated reticle; if you prefer one color over another for your particular application, this may be a beneficial feature currently not available on the other scope models highlighted in this review.  Either of the illuminated models should be able to be purchased for under $350.00. 


CMR Reticle
Leatherwood Hi-Lux CMR

















There are many other great optic options out there for the AR-15 rifleman, but these three seem to stand out from the rest, at least in terms of the characteristics mentioned at the beginning of the review. Here are 3 scopes, ideally suited for use on an AR-15 rifle that have an MSRP less than half of what the typical AR-15 rifle will cost. Paying double sure isn't necessary with these three optics...you CAN have quality AND value.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or any of the parts we sell at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AR-15 Pistols



11.5" Barreled AR Pistol With SB15

The AR-15 weapon platform has been so successful for so long due to its modularity and adaptability.  It can be and is modified in a variety of configurations for a variety of applications.  Even during my brief service in the military, I was issued the weapon in various configurations:  from a  20" M16A2 during basic training to a 10.3" Mk 18 Mod 0 in my final unit.  As applications and mission specific requirements changed, so did aspects of the weapon.  One of the most dramatic alterations that can be made to the M16/AR-15 weapon platform is that of a "pistol" format.

Online forums and other media formats are filled with information (and opinions) on this variation of the AR-15, and it seems many individuals consider the AR-15 pistol to be impractical or worse.  In this blog post, I would like to briefly describe the AR pistol format, and then offer 2 applications in which it may be useful and worthy of consideration for adding to your armory.

Most AR-15 pistols will have a barrel length between 7-11.5 inches.  Like a short barreled rifle, modifications to gas port size are required to ensure reliable operation.  Typically, the AR pistol handguard consists of a smooth or railed free float tube that is obviously quite short in length (unless extending over the gas block).  Some models are configured with a standard front sight base, but due to the extremely short sight radius inherent in this design, most current AR pistols will have some other form of gas block and flip up front and rear sights or no sights at all.  In either situation, the AR-15 pistol can be more enjoyable and practical when a red-dot or holographic weapon optical sight is installed.

Sig Sauer SB15 Arm Brace

The AR-15 pistol is unique among pistols in its appearance and operation.  The standard AR gas impingement operating system necessitates a buffer and spring inside a buffer tube, and this is a detraction for some who might consider purchasing and using the weapon.  While it does increase the size of the weapon, the buffer tube can provide needed stability when braced against the forearm during use and the recent development of aftermarket parts like the Sig Sauer SB15 stabilizing arm brace turns this possible detraction into a potential benefit.  Other manufacturers  have chosen to use a piston operating system in their AR pistols eliminating the necessity of a buffer tube, buffer, and buffer spring completely.

 
An individual may read or hear many statements regarding the impracticality and even pointlessness of an AR-15 pistol.  I understand and agree with some of the arguments, but here are 2 reasons FOR purchasing and using an AR pistol:  I will define them as tactical and practical.

Tactical:  While this word is routinely overused and often misapplied, the AR-15 pistol can be tactically useful in some combat applications like vehicular operations.   In the tight confines of a vehicle, carbines and even SBRs can be unwieldy and awkward.  Yes, typical handguns can suffice, but few types of handgun ammunition can penetrate other barriers (vehicles, etc...) in the same manner as does a rifle round.  And yes, an SBR would be better yet-especially if the operation moves from inside to outside a vehicle; however, it is usually easier for civilians and even many law enforcement personnel to acquire an AR pistol than it is for them to acquire an SBR.  This specific but real and experientially proven application offers support for the benefit of the AR-15 pistol.

Practical:  One word-FUN.  AR pistols are FUN to shoot.  To segue from the previous argument for their benefit-it's both OK and practical to own a weapon in America simply because it provides enjoyment.  Let's not get so caught up in "tactical" that we forget that "sport" is a practical, valid, and legal reason for owning and using a firearm.

Del-Ton, Inc. is committed to offering AR-15 rifles and accessories in an environment where quality meets value.  We are working hard to increase our product line to include AR-15 pistol configurations and pistol parts in the near future.  Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the AR-15 platform parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The "Home Defense" AR-15

Many articles have been written on firearms in regard to home defense detailing the best choice of weapon in type, caliber, configuration, and probably a few other categories.  It is a popular topic, and one that is worthy of consideration so we will dedicate a blog post to the subject.  There may exist a better weapon (handgun, shotgun, etc...) for home defense for some particular applications, but DTI manufactures AR-15 rifles and markets AR-15 parts and accessories, so the information in this post will be limited to the AR-15 platform.


AR-15 Home Defense Considerations
The AR-15 rifle can be the best choice of firearm for your particular home defense application.  Rifles have the capability of neutralizing threats at a greater range than pistols or shotguns.  If the threat is a human being with the intent to cause you or others harm, this benefit needs to be weighed against possible negative consequences such as where each fired projectile goes when it leaves the weapon (collateral damage of any type), and whether the use of deadly force to defend you or others was  truly necessary at the distance the threat was engaged.  But threats are not limited to human beings with harmful intent.  If you live in a rural location, as I do, there may be non-human threats to humans and property.  The distance capability of a rifle may be a benefit that could make the AR-15 the best choice for a home defense firearm.  It all depends on your particular application. 

Another example of the AR-15 rifle being the best selection for your particular home defense needs is when it is your only weapon!  The considerations mentioned above in regard to using it in a home defense/deadly force scenario still need to be applied, but if it is your only weapon, or the best weapon in your limited inventory, then it is the right choice.  It is possible that some media professionals that have offered opinions on this topic have forgotten there are still many individuals who have a limited and thoroughly allocated income and may have a limited arsenal as a result.  Additionally, the substantial benefit the AR-15 platform has in being modular and easily configured for many applications is the very reason it may be the only weapon available to an individual for a home defense application.  The point of all this:  it is a fine choice for home defense, and it may be the best choice for home defense for a particular environment and application. 

AR-15 Home Defense Configurations
Any AR-15 can serve in a home defense role.  A rifle with a shorter barrel is definitely going to be easier to use in the confines of a building or in dense vegetation on your property, so this may be a consideration if you are in the market to purchase an AR-15 for this purpose.  A 16" barrel or a 14.5" barrel with a permanently attached muzzle device that makes the overall barrel length at least 16" is the minimum that you can own and use without going through the process of obtaining a SBR permit (short barreled rifle) from the federal government.  An AR-15 with a 16" barrel can work just fine as a home defense weapon.  Having a collapsible buttstock is also something to consider; it can reduce overall length to make the weapon easier to use in confined spaces and allow multiple possible users in your home to comfortably and accurately employ the weapon in this role.   

The AR-15's modularity benefit was mentioned earlier (modularity=designed for flexible arrangement and use).  In the past, there has been a trend to take this benefit to an unbeneficial end.  The AR-15 platform has more available accessory options than any other weapon system.  A railed handguard has a lot of "real-estate" that can tempt a user to fill every section with something that usually fits in one of 3 categories: necessary and helpful, potentially helpful, and "cool".  I urge you to resist this temptation and thoughtfully consider what you need for home defense (or apply this to any other application for which you may use the weapon).

For home defense, a light is a must.  It is very possible that a defense confrontation may occur in low light and you must be able to identify what is a threat and what is not.  There are many gun mounted light options that have function features such as "momentary on" and strobe effects.  These can be helpful features to have, but using them mandates training with them.  You need a gun mounted light for a home defense AR-15, but that doesn't mean you need a railed handguard.  Many standard, two-piece style handguards can have small  picatinny rail sections mounted on them in locations that best allow you access to manipulate the light.  Accessory rail sections can also be mounted to the front sight base or gas block or the light can be mounted to a vertical foregrip that is mounted to a rail section on a handguard.  An AR-15 designed for home defense use should not be a heavy, unwieldy weapon.  Get a light and keep it light, with only the necessary modifications and accessories.



There are many different options and accessories with which to configure a home defense AR-15; apart from a light, the only enhancement which I consider being near necessary is a red dot style optic.  Yes, iron sights can work just fine, but for quick target acquisition in most lighting conditions at most home defense distances, the red dot/reflex style of optic is hard to beat.  This type of optical sight is great for close quarters combat, and many brands are inexpensive--but therein lies a potential problem for their usefulness in a home defense application.  Anything, ANYTHING one may consider using for this role should be easy to use and dependable.  The red dot optics that are the least expensive tend to be the least dependable and least easy to use. Trijicon and Meprolight optics may be somewhat expensive, but need no batteries and have reticles powered by fiber optics and tritium (for use in very low or no light).  These are great choices for a home defense AR configuration and you never have to worry about their power source or turning the units on; however they tend to have fairly large reticles and may not be as bright as battery powered optics.  These characteristics can be a positive or negative feature, all depending on your preference and application.  The Aimpoint brand of red dot optics have a similar pricepoint, but they are battery powered. Like the Trijicon and Meprolight optics, they are simple and dependable, and are in use by law enforcement and military units worldwide.  Aimpoint's  ACET technology allows the optic to be left "on" for a couple of years before a battery change is necessary.  In any defense encounter where the use of deadly force may be necessary for your protection, fine motor skills have a tendency to not be so fine. Trying to find a power button, brightness level adjustment, and similar required adjustments can be difficult, so this feature is a real plus.  There are other quality optics that are less expensive, and some that may be equal or better that are more expensive; but, if you have the financial capability, Aimpoint optics are dependable, easy to use, and are worthwhile investment for a home defense AR-15 (and for many other AR-15 applications as well).

Many different online and print-media articles and reviews have presented information and perspectives on the use of an AR-15 rifle in a home defense application.  After reading/hearing the multitude of reasons why an AR-15 is not a good choice for this role (even vehement statements of why it should never be used in this role), it was my aim to offer some perspectives on why it may be, can be, or is a smart and valuable selection as a home defense firearm.  Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the DTI  AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the AR-15 parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tactical?


As the author of this blog, I attempt to present objective information about things pertaining to the AR-15 weapon platform in general, and more specifically, the AR-15 related products we manufacture and market at www.del-ton.com.  Sometimes, personal opinions or preferences may be revealed in the content; as with anything in any media form, the reader should approach the content with an open mind, but also with discernment.  I have been avoiding presenting the topic covered in this post, but from discussions I have had with other gun enthusiasts in my "community", it is something that may be beneficial...especially to those new to the shooting sports and the recent trend toward tactical weapons and equipment and their use.

Tactical? Yea, pretty much.
Two recent events spurred my motivation to dedicate a blog post to a topic about the adjective "tactical".  Last week I received a sales email from a great company that I have purchased many items from in the past (and will do so in the future).  Their email was to announce a new product:  a "tactical diaper bag".  Seriously.  What apparently made this product "tactical"  was the design features that included a lot of pockets, Velcro, and MOLLE webbing.  The product and the way it was advertised made me laugh (that was the purpose of the advertisement's description).  The second thing that gave me a desire to address this is the incredible amount of used AR-15 rifles for sale, almost all of them configured in an identical manner, listed on various online websites.  The sheer numbers of them and their low listed price caused me to consider the reason this may be happening.  I believe individuals purchase a weapon for less than ideal reasons for them and that this may prevent them from enjoying it and cause them to no longer see it as useful.  Both events lead me to believe that there exists a misunderstanding of what "tactical" truly means, and how it applies to equipment, education, and everyday life.


From an online used firearm sale website. A lot of "tactical" gear, but tactical? Not so much...

Equipment:
In previous blog posts, we have presented the concept that the most important thing to consider when deciding to purchase an AR-15 rifle or designing how you may want a custom model to be configured is your application (how you will use the weapon most of the time).  Some other authors and instructors call this concept philosophy of use.  For example, if you are going to use the weapon mostly for hunting, it should be built and function in a different manner than if it were to be used primarily for combat or personal defense.  The adjective tactical is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as:  of, relating to, or used for a specific plan that is created to achieve a particular goal in war, politics, etc.  Can the term apply to hunting, target shooting, and other shooting sports not related to combat? Sure.  But currently, the equipment advertised as "tactical" is mostly existent as a result of and designed for combat related applications.  If combat/defense applications are not how you plan to use your weapon most of the time, it makes little sense to configure it with such features.  Even an AR-15 primarily designed and used for an application like hunting can be successfully employed as a defensive weapon.  If your main application is indeed related to combat/defense, use wisdom in selecting components and accessories that are truly useful for that application and its tactics (and not simply advertised as such).  In the fairly recent past, tactical accessories in purposeful use by our most elite military units included a light, a couple of zip ties, and electric tape-almost rudimentary in comparison to current "tactical necessities".  The individuals in these units were what was tactical, not the gear.  The point here is to design and use the weapon for YOUR tactics and application, not those of a friend, celebrity endorser/elite operator, and definitely not because it looks "cool".


Education:
Shooting is a perishable skill, and practice is essential.  There are many different opportunities to learn how to use your AR-15 rifle for your application.  It can even be beneficial to take a training class that doesn't relate to your application; the skills learned can easily transfer to improvements in your main use for your weapon.  In selecting a training course, make sure to research the quality of instruction/instructors, the content, and items listed by the instructors as required for successful participation.  It may be tactical carbine training course, but its not necessary to "gear up" as if it were an assault mission or an extended combat deployment.  Bring everything the instructors list as necessary, and most importantly, bring a teachable mind.  Nothing can prevent an individual and others in the class from learning like someone who knows everything already and is not prepared to listen and learn.  The class already has instructors, students are there to learn.

Everyday Life:
As evident by the earlier mentioned tactical baby bug-out bag, "tactical" gear is now apparently required for every facet of life.  From what I see at most local gun stores/gun shows/shooting ranges, it has also become a fashion trend.  Unless someone is employed in a military/LEO career field, being clad head to toe in "tactical" clothing and gear all the time doesn't make an individual look cool or credible-it honestly has the opposite effect.  Much like a person wearing a vest in the middle of summer for concealed carry handgun purposes, wearing "tactical" clothing and gear 24/7 is a non verbal, yet loud announcement to everyone regarding what that individual is all about.  Maybe that is the purpose? A deterrent? Maybe a statement of what the individual values and a desire to share it with everyone (like a clothing bumper sticker)?  I don't know.  I do know that my friends in law enforcement and elite military units don't wear "work" clothing when they are off duty.  They are normal human beings who want to be normal and also realize there is a definite and underestimated benefit to being "grey".  I have no desire to be critical or offensive-it's just my two cents; but I believe its worthy enough of consideration to spend a few hours writing about it. 

Whether it is in regard to the weapons and gear you may purchase and use or the education you receive from sources as varied as the internet to formal weapons/tactics training, it is important to realize: things don't make you tactical; you make things tactical

Thanks for reading our blog and any interest you may have in the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or parts we offer to enthusiasts of this weapon platform.  We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic or any of the other ones covered in previous blog posts.  Feel free to post comments on the blog, and if you have any questions about Del-Ton AR-15 rifles or parts, we would love for you to contact us.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The "3-Gun" AR-15


Three gun (3-gun) competitions are one of the most currently popular shooting sports.  This particular sport requires the use of a handgun, shotgun, and a semi-automatic rifle.  Of all major shooting sports, this one offers the best opportunity to work on skills that can easily translate into other shooting applications.  The familiarity that the practice and competition provides the shooter with his/her weapon and its function will also benefit other applications.  There are various divisions with different restrictions on the types of weapons and accessories allowed for use, and more detailed information on the basics of 3-Gun competition can be found at this link.  DTI manufactures and sells AR-15 rifles and accessories, so we will use this blog post to highlight items in our product line that can provide a competitor with an outstanding weapon, specifically configured for this sport.

If you don't have a rifle to use in this sport, or don't want to alter your current AR-15 rifle, the DTI Evolution rifle model would be a perfect choice.  It is the top of the line rifle in our product line, and though it has just about everything a competitor would need in a 3-Gun specific rifle, it has an amazingly attractive pricepoint.  The 16" CMV, mid-length, lightweight, chrome lined barrel has accomplished sub-moa groups in a few different magazine reviews, and the Magpul CTR stock and Magpul MOE+ Grip allow for comfortable and confident handling. Also standard on this model is the DTI two-stage trigger, Sampson Evolution free-float handguard, and Sampson iron sights...this rifle will have you ready for competition right away.  


PRI Carbon Fiber FF Tube
If you have an AR-15 that you would rather modify for 3-Gun use, any needed parts can be found at www.del-ton.com.  We offer a variety of lightweight, free float handguards such as the Yankee Hill Machine SLR, PRI Carbon Fiber Free-Float Tube, and Troy Alpha Rail that would be ideal choices for the speed and accuracy this sport requires. Optics and flip-up sight sets from major manufacturers like EoTech, TROY Industries, and Yankee Hill Machine are available to help the shooter acquire targets fast.  A quality trigger like the JP Enterprises AR-15 Adjustable trigger can provide smooth, confident, repeatable trigger manipulation.  Compensators and muzzle brakes will help you fight muzzle rise and stay on target or quickly acquire the next one.  Finally, reliable magazines are essential, and the Magpul PMAG is the industry standard for reliability.  The PMAG with windows can let the shooter know at a glance when the time is nearing for a reload.


DTI is committed to being the source for AR-15 products where quality and value meet.  We are also committed to the shooting sports and have sponsored individuals as well as 3-Gun matches.  Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we produce, the parts we sell, or need any assistance in building or setting up a 3-Gun rifle, please feel free to contact us.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

AR-15 Conversion Calibers: Basics For Safe Use

In our blog posts over the past couple of years, we have proposed that one of the greatest benefits and reasons for success of the AR-15 platform is its modularity.  With a few minor alterations, a rifle designed specifically for competitive shooting can be easily transformed into a weapon perfect for hunting or defense.  For the most part, the alterations we have mentioned have to do with peripheral parts, but the AR-15 even can even be converted to use different calibers. 

The most simple method of performing this "conversion" is to purchase an entire new complete upper assembly (and magazines if needed), and put this new upper assembly on to your AR-15 lower.  I may suggest that this is the safest way as well...but more on that later.  There are a variety of conversion calibers from which to select, but the most popular have been the 7.62X39, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and the .300 Blackout.  For training and shooting fun, rimfire caliber conversions are popular, but less so now that rimfire ammunition is more costly and difficult to acquire.  Much larger calibers like the .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM, and .50 Beowulf are also options, but they have a very specific application and the same issues with ammunition cost and availability can affect the success or popularity of those calibers. 


5.56x45, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, 450 Bushmaster


If purchasing a new complete upper assembly is not a cost effective option, one can disassemble their AR-15 upper and use many of the parts to build an upper in this new caliber.  For the 7.62X39, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel calibers mentioned,  a new BARREL (including muzzle device), BOLT, and MAGAZINE are  required.  The .450/.458/.50 offerings require a new barrel/muzzle device and bolt, but use the same magazine, albeit at a 60%+ drop in capacity.  In reality, the upper receiver, bolt carrier, gas tube, firing pin, etc...are the few parts that you can use for the new caliber.  If a new barrel/muzzle device, bolt, magazine (s), and possibly other parts (buffer) are required, I stand by the premise that losing a 5.56X45 complete upper assembly is not worth any cost savings that such a modification would provide.


We didn't skip the .300 Blackout, we saved it for last.  This relatively new caliber uses the same (though modified) case as the 5.56X45 cartridge and offers a promising .30 caliber bullet option in an AR-15 size package without using a different magazine.  It uses the standard AR-15 bolt and magazine, but a new barrel and muzzle device IS required.  Herein lies some risk for this particular caliber.  Because it uses the same magazine and bolt and only requires a new barrel and muzzle device, BAD mistakes can happen.  The .300 Blackout cartridge can be loaded into and fired in a 5.56X45 weapon, but SHOULD NOT BE. It will cause dangerous and potentially fatal results. Below is an image from such an event. Fortunately, the weapon was the only thing damaged.  Almost all other conversion calibers require a new bolt and barrel, and maybe a new magazine.  This particular one only requires a new barrel and muzzle device.  There have been a number of negative experiences resulting from an individual with misinformation attempting to use this caliber in a standard 5.56X45 chambered AR-15 or having weapons chambered in both calibers and a dangerous mix of ammunition and magazines. A magazine that you mark or specifically designated for ONLY one caliber is one way of helping to prevent a catastrophic failure of this nature, but an intent focus on safety is the only sure way to prevent dangerous situations when using firearms. 



.300 Blackout Bullet Lodged in 5.56X45 Chamber-cross section

Conversion calibers offer a definite benefit to many applications, but if not installed as a complete upper assembly or built on your current AR-15 platform and used with a focus on firearms safety, they do present a possible risk.  My wife bought a new hair dryer a while back.  It had an adhesive warning tag on the cord that stated in large font red lettering, "Not to be used in the shower" and "Not to be used while sleeping"...why were those warnings there?  Because someone had used them in such a manner.

This blog post was not designed to be a definitive guide on AR-15 conversion calibers.  The idea for and general purpose of it is to provide an online "adhesive warning tag" regarding conversion calibers and what you need for parts (at a minimum) to safely use them with your AR-15 rifle.  The internet can be an incredible source of free and valuable knowledge.  It can also contain information that lacks truth and is dangerous.  This is what led to the negative, conversion caliber related event described and displayed above.  The sheer volume of information online can be confusing, so when it comes to firearms safety, make sure the information is from a reliable source.  Research. A lot.

Thanks for reading our blog.  DTI carries some parts for conversion calibers with more being added soon.  Many of our current products exist because we listened to suggestions from our customers, so let us hear from you regarding what calibers in an AR platform you would like to see.  If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.    
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