Sunday, December 1, 2013

An AR-15 Holiday Gift Guide


Its now been three days since we set aside some time to give thanks for all of our blessings with some of our most important blessings while we devoured more blessings.  Tonight also marks the 5th night of Hanukkah, and Christmas is only 24 days away!  Since it is a season where we focus on giving as a way to celebrate and remember a Gift given to us, this blog post will be used to offer some gift ideas for the AR-15 owner and enthusiast.  These suggestions would be great gifts and may help stimulate other similar ideas for a perfect black rifle related Christmas gift.  Blue highlighted words in the post below feature links that will take you to the product on our website for easy ordering.

The AR platform's popularity has much to do with its modularity and ability for a single weapon to be tailored for a multitude of specific applications.  If you're looking for a gift for a hunter who wants to get into competitive sport shooting or vice versa, many parts of the AR-15 are relatively easy for the owner/end user to alter.  There are a few essential tools that (along with reputable online instruction) can allow most anyone to make some dramatic changes to their weapon.  If you have a vice and vice block for the weapon (or access to one from a friend, etc...), the TAPCO AR Armorer's wrench makes an awesome gift for the owner of an AR-15.  This wrench is a multi tool, allowing the user to perform barrel swaps, muzzle device changes, remove or replace buttstocks, and a few other tasks as well.  It is important to have a good knowledge of the weapon in order to perform some of the mentioned tasks safely and successfully.  If you are unsure of anything, it is imperative to seek the assistance of a qualified gunsmith to ensure safe assembly and proper testing of variables like headspace any time components like a barrel, bolt, or receiver are altered  Not doing so could result in life threatening, dangerous results.  With the proper tools and knowledge, it is not as difficult or frightening as these last few sentences may have made it out to be.



The barrel kits that are offered on our website are another great gift idea.  They include everything one needs to have a differently configured rifle from the receiver forward (receiver not included).  The barrel and associated small parts, handguards, delta ring assembly (if needed for handguard choice), gas tube, roll pin, and flash hider are all included in the barrel kit product.  Much like our rifles and rifle kits, barrel kits are customizable to allow choice of barrel, gas block, handguard, and muzzle device  from our extensive product line for whatever specific application is desired.  The optional upgrades for these choices are offered at a discount from what the specific part would cost if purchased individually, so it is a great way to give a new look and capability to your current weapon platform...your 16" M4 barreled upper can be transformed into a 20" upper, perfect for predator hunting this winter and for an amazing price.


If your gift recipient has everything "good to go" on  his/her DTI rifle, our website has some great gift ideas in apparel and Del-Ton accessories, too!  There are t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and decals that will help display the pride and enjoyment that is a part of being the owner of a DTI AR-15.  A couple of different apparel options are offered for both the ladies and men, and in some cool designs, fit, and color styles.

Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we produce or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.  Have a safe and fun holiday season!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: Duvdevan, Israel


In our final installment of various foreign special operations military units that use the AR-15 weapon platform as a primary weapon, we have decided to highlight another special forces unit from Israel, the Duvdevan Unit.  Israel has many amazing, elite military units, but the function and capabilities of Duvdevan are both interesting and incredible.

In Hebrew, Duvdevan means "cherry".  There are a couple of reasons offered on various online unit descriptions as to why they were given this name; however, former unit member Aaron Cohen, in his book Brotherhood of Warriors, explains the unusual moniker to clear things up.*  In Israel, there is a species of cherry that looks identical to a normal, edible cherry, but this particular species has a strong and sometimes lethal poison.  By the end of this post, it should be clear that the design and capabilities of this special operations unit mimic (in a tactical and operational manner) its namesake fruit.

Unit History:
The unit motto comes from Proverbs 24:6, "For by wise counsel thou shalt make war."  Duvdevan was formed in 1987 when the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) was under the command of General Ehud Barak.  Around that time period there was a Palestinian uprising (the 1st Intifada) that unleashed an increased tempo of terrorist attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets.  Standard military units and special forces units already in existence were not well suited for responding to and preventing these types and numbers of attacks.  The concept of the Duvdevan unit was implemented and initial unit members were drawn from Shayetet 13, the "Navy Seals" of the IDF.

Duvdevan is tasked exclusively with counter terrorism.  The national police force has a similar unit (YAMAM), but Duvdevan is the exclusive, elite unit of the IDF trained and equipped to prevent and respond to incidents of terrorism.  The unit is designed to infiltrate deep into Palestinian controlled or populated areas of Israel (Gaza, The West Bank, areas of Jerusalem) and arrest or neutralize terrorist targets.  Unit operators "become" Arabs...they speak their language and even dialects, follow their customs, manner of dress and appearance, and behaviors all in order to gather intelligence and ultimately apprehend terrorists and prevent future terrorist attacks.  So, much like their namesake, Duvdevan operators may appear "safe" and normal, but in reality they are quite lethal.

Training and Equipment:
Around 2002, the Duvdevan unit saw some changes made, especially in regard to the recruit training design and process.  Potential unit members have to go through basic and advanced infantry training like any standard IDF infantry soldier.  They do this alongside the IDF Paratroopers Brigade (Tzanchanim), at their training facility.  An initial 24 hour long unit specific test is given prior to their basic training and in later training, a 5 day long qualification test must be passed before admission to unit specific training. In depth psychological interviews and background investigations are also performed prior to any "real"  Duvdevan training.

Following completion of basic and advanced infantry training, the recruit attends an 8 week long "Duvdevan basic training" where urban land navigation skills, counter terrorism training, and combatives techniques are learned.  It is then on to the IDF Counter Terror Warfare School, where all IDF special operations members who are tasked with counter terrorism operations receive training.  Eventual members of the Duvdevan unit receive the longest (duration) and most in depth training at this facility.  This is followed by 16 weeks of Mistavarim (undercover operations) training, where the student is instructed in language and cultural specifics in order to successfully assimilate into Palestinian Arab settlements.  Additional training for unit member specific skills (sniper, medic, demolitions, etc...) occurs before the successful recruit is assigned to a team and begins operations.

Duvdevan operators have access to any of the weapons in use by the IDF.  Due to the nature of  their primarily undercover operations, smaller, concealable weapons are the norm.  Glock and Sig Sauer pistols in 9mm are the standard handguns used by members, and sub machine guns like the Micro Uzi and H&K MP-5 are small enough to be employed in a discreet manner.  Much like their fellow special forces operators, Sayeret Matkal, when a battle rifle or rifle caliber ammunition is desired, Duvdevan operators seem to opt for the Colt Commando configured AR-15.**  The 11.5" barrel and collapsible stock allow concealment and ease of movement in urban terrain and operations, but still offer a weapon with the ballistic advantage of a fast rifle caliber and the mission specific customization provided by the AR-15 weapon platform.

Duvdevan is an important element in the IDF defense against terrorism.  In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented an award to the Duvdevan unit in recognition of their having the greatest impact of any IDF unit on the war on terror.**  Their selection and use of the AR weapon platform is yet another testament to the value of this amazing rifle for a multitude of applications, but definitely in the defense of life and nation.

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


*Brotherhood of Warriors, Aaron Cohen
**Interview with former Duvdevan operator, Garret Machine on www.realfighting.com




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: The Special Forces Brigade, Georgia




Sometimes there is power in understatement.  Many special operations units have intriguing or even fear-inducing names...The elite unit of the Georgian military is simply known as, The Special Forces Brigade.  It may not sound all that "cool", but as someone who has trained with members of this unit, I believe their skills and capabilities to be unquestionably elite.  A couple of decades ago, Georgians were part of the Soviet Union.  Georgia became an sovereign state in 1991, but its initial government (s) experienced a fairly tumultuous beginning.  It wasn't until 2003-2004, after yet another political revolution, that reforms were instituted to stabilize and strengthen the nation's government and military.

Unit History:
Small teams of individuals with special skills and who underwent some form of special operations training were active immediately after the state gained its independence.  As stated earlier, the nation struggled as opposing political forces backed by their own armies fought for control and power.  Many of these "special forces" units/operators had previous training and experience in past conflicts, but since the political environment was so fluid, there was not much in the way of training standardization or structure.  Soon after, Turkish and other NATO advisors formulated and instituted a professional training doctrine to begin a quality special operations capability and school for future development.

The Brigade's operations headquarters is located in the national capital of Tibilisi, but unit bases are located throughout the nation.  The Special Forces Brigade served along side U.S. and NATO troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2008.  In 2008, the unit was called home to deal with pressing domestic threats and needs.  It has been reported that they were involved in a very tangible way with USSOCOM components in Operation Enduring Freedom--quite probable since Georgian Armed Forces units have served in OEF alongside the U.S. Marines, and have received praise from NATO command staff for their combat medical skills in this theater.

Training and Equipment:
Modeled after other highly successful NATO special forces training systems, the Georgian Special Forces Brigade provides excellent and thorough instruction for potential unit members.  Schools of instruction include an Airborne School and Ranger School.  Upon successful completion of these two phases of instruction, candidates may apply for The Special Forces Ranger School.  If an applicant succeeds in this course of instruction, he may be admitted to The Special Forces School.  In each course of instruction, students are trained in airborne and airmobile operations, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain), combat medical skills, advanced land navigation, and mountaineering.  It is reported that, from start to finish in these phases of instruction, there is a less than ten percent success rate.  Sounds pretty elite to me.

A multitude of weapons have been employed by the Georgian Armed Forces due to the nature of events the Georgian military has experienced.  Russian military weapons were extensively used in the early days of the nation's forces; as NATO political, financial, and military support increased, so did NATO weapons.  AR-15/M4 (M4A1) weapon platforms have been the primary battle rifle used by the regular army and The Special Forces Brigade.  Recently, the Heckler and Koch HK416 has been issued and in use; the Georgian military has even designed and begun production on a similar model known as the G5, as an alternative to the M4A1.  The main difference in the HK416/G5 and the M4A1 is that the former uses a piston operating system rather than the standard AR direct gas impingement system.


The Georgian Special Forces Brigade is truly and elite special operations unit that has been of genuine assistance to U.S. forces in the GWOT; their selection to use the AR platform to defend their nation and fight against terrorism is further evidence of the amazing value and dependability of this weapon.  Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about the  AR-15 rifles we produce at Del-Ton, Inc. or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please contact us.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: Sayeret Matkal, Israel



Our previous blog post in this series highlighted Shayetet 13, a special operations element of the Israeli Navy.  If Shayetet 13 bears a resemblance to the U.S. Navy's Seal Teams (and since they share the same design history and train together, they do), then Sayeret Matkal can be viewed as strikingly similar to the U.S. Army's Special Forces elements.

Unit History And Operations:
Sayeret Matkal may be understood as General Staff Reconnaissance Unit in Hebrew.  The unit originated officially around 1957, and took part in active operations during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and Operation Wrath of God (detailed in the previous blog entry). Due to the threat of terrorism in Israel, the unit's activity has been and remains quite high. Their main tasks consist of deep reconnaissance (intelligence gathering), direct action raids, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue.  This last function is what may have gained them the most notoriety. 

IDF Lt. Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu
On July 4, 1976, a Sayeret Matkal team performed a hostage rescue raid on a hijacked Air France plane containing 248 passengers at the Entebbe airport in Uganda.  The plane had been hijacked by a PLO "predecessor" terrorist organization (PFLP-Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).  The Ugandan government, headed by dictator Idi Amin, supported the terrorist organization and welcomed them to his nation's airport.  Israeli and Jewish hostages were separated from other passengers by the terrorists and threatened with death.  With the benefit of Mossad intelligence, a raid/rescue was designed and Sayeret Matkal operators were flown from Israel to conduct the mission, Operation Thunderbolt.  For the most part, the mission was a success:  the majority of hostages were rescued, only three hostages were killed-but all the terrorists and 45 Ugandan soldiers were also killed in action.  While only five Sayeret  Matkal operators were wounded, the Unit Commander Yonatan Netanyahu was killed during the mission.  Lieutenant Colonel Netanyahu is the brother of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also served in the unit.

Sayeret Matkal has been involved in more recent (2006) missions of known importance as well.  Unit members performed reconnaissance tasks and collected evidence to support Operation Orchid, where IDF airstrikes were carried out to destroy a secret nuclear facility within Syria.  Though Syria denies having a nuclear facility, post mission analysis, CIA intelligence, and evidence collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency seem to prove otherwise.

Unit Weapons, the AR-15/M-16:
The weapons used by the operators in Sayeret Matkal are similar to those used by many IDF elements.  Battle rifles chambered in 5.56X45 Nato include the historic Galil and more recent and innovative Tavor bullpup style rifles.  The main battle rifle throughout the IDF, however, is the AR-15/M-16 platform.  It is seen in use by multiple elements in a variety of configurations.  M16A1 style rifles are used by many "regular army" IDF units, including federal law enforcement and border guard entities.  These weapons are often allocated to and used by civilians for defense.  M4 variants and configurations with much shorter barrels/overall lengths tend to be those most used by elite units within the IDF.  The Colt Commando/XM-177 style rifle with an A1 upper and 11.5" barrel is noticeable in photographs of various IDF special operations units. 

A number of companies produce and market AR-15 rifles and parts in Israel.  FAB Defense/Mako Group, Gilboa Rifles, and Meprolight sights and optics are all manufacturers of quality and literally "battle tested" AR-15 components.

While special operations units have at their service the latest in weapons and accessories to perform their mission, it is at least interesting and perhaps educational to notice (in rare photos of the units) that many of the AR platform weapons are "arranged" in a farily basic manner. There may be some mission specific accessories mounted and employed, but it is rare to see them weighed down with a zillion unnecessary attachments.  This may be an even more powerful point considering the operational tempo in which the IDF in general, and Israeli special operations units in particular experience.  Just something to consider...the weapon (regardless of features) doesn't make you tactical-you make the weapon tactical. 

The use of the AR weapon platform by the IDF and Sayeret Matkal is simply another testament to the amazing capability of this rifle to excel in the purpose of its design.  Thanks for reading our blog; if you have any question regarding the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: Shayetet 13, Israel

S-13 Operators with Galil and M4 rifles

During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, terrorists from the Palestinian group "Black September" took 11 Israeli Olympians hostage and later murdered them.  A few days later, the Israeli government met this cowardly attack with an intense bombing raid by around 75 IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) aircraft on terrorist targets in Syria and Lebanon. This initial response was named Operation Wrath of God and also included IDF ground troops infiltrating Lebanon to attack specific targets.  Some high ranking government officials believed more had to be done to avenge the terrorist attack and prevent further attacks from happening, so a veritable hit list of high ranking terrorists was established and special forces units within the IDF were assigned to carry out these assassinations.  One of those units was Shayetet (Flotilla) 13, the elite special operations unit of the Israeli Navy.  In Operation Spring of Youth, in April of 1973, unit personnel infiltrated the beaches of Lebanon where agents from the top-secret Israeli intelligence unit Mossad were waiting to transport them in rental cars to target sites.  In the operation, over 100 terrorists were killed, including 3 top PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) leaders.  The IDF personnel suffered 2 casualties. 

Unit History:


S-13 members with Prime Minister Peres
Shayetet 13 (S-13) has a history dating back to the Israeli quest for independence from British rule and the establishment of Israeli statehood.  British naval ships would form blockades to prevent refugees and immigrants from coming to Israel, so members of the Haganah (pre-statehood Israeli military) would clothe themselves in wool sweaters and pants soaked in animal fat to ward off the cold waters of the Mediterranean Sea, as they swam to ships moored off coast and placed rudimentary mines on the hulls of the vessels. 


The unit was founded in 1948 and "made public" in 1960.  It was at this time that members of the unit began wearing the famous unit insignia of a sword and shield surrounded by bat wings.  While the unit took part in operations throughout various conflicts in the 1960's and 1970's, the operation detailed above and more recent activities have earned the unit an esteemed reputation in the special operations community.  In the last decade, S-13 has taken part in many direct action assaults against terrorist targets in Palestinian populated areas of Israel. S-13 has recently "made news" performing boarding assaults against ships trying to break through the IDF naval blockade of Gaza.  Ships from Antigua and Turkey carrying arms and munitions destined for terrorists in Gaza were intercepted and these weapons never made it into the terrorist's hands.

Unit Construction:

Like many special forces units, S-13's activities, training, unit size, and other details are kept highly confidential.  There are reported to be 3 distinct "troops" within S-13.  The Raids Palga (troop), is tasked with direct action assaults, hostage rescue, and counter terrorism operations.  The Diving Palga focuses on maritime sabotage, reconnaissance, and sub-surface offensive actions.  Finally, the Surface Palga provides transportation of the other troop's personnel to sites via fast attack watercraft, and participates in direct action assaults against vessels and coastal targets.  While the Raids Palga is the largest in size and has the most highly trained personnel, all 3 troops work together to accomplish mission objectives.

Training and Equipment:

S-13 operator with CQBR and Trijicon ACOG
Recruits to the unit undergo an extremely difficult selection and training process.  The entire introductory training lasts at least 20 months.  Selection assessments and classes are held twice a year.  Training takes place throughout the nation and region, and the unit is based near Haifa.  Like most special operations units, there is a freedom in the selection and use of weapons in order to accomplish the mission that conventional forces rarely enjoy.  Battle rifles chambered in 5.56X45 NATO used by S-13 include the Galil, Tavor, and M4 variants of the AR weapon platform.  The M4A1 with SOPMOD package is often seen in photographs of unit personnel, as is the Close Quarters Battle Rifle model, similar to the Mk 18 Mod 0 (we will forego details of this model here, as it has been described in previous blog entries in this series).  In either of these AR platform configurations, the weapon is typically outfitted with the Knights Armament rail system and optics from EOTech, Trijicon (ACOG), or the IDF special forces designed Meprolight M21.  There are a number of AR-15 parts made in Israel and marketed in the United States from manufacturers like Command Arms Accessories, Mako Defense, and Meprolight.

Shayetet 13 is a top tier special operations unit and their confidence in and use of the AR weapon platform for critical missions is just another testament to the amazing ability of this weapon platform to be a useful and dependable tool for many applications.  Thanks for reading our blog.  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.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: Joint Task Force 2, Canada


In the Bible, in the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon writes, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born for times of adversity."  In a world facing the threat and experiencing the reality of terrorism, this truth can be encouraging and empowering.  Many nations came to the aid of the United States following the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.  A few of those nations have been with us from the very start and are still fighting this evil along side of us; one of those nations is Canada.  In this post, we will provide some information on their military's elite special operations unit, Joint Task Force 2.

Defending against terrorism is often the impetus for the creation of special operations units.  It takes highly trained individuals with specific skill sets and integrity to staff these teams.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada's federal law enforcement agency) had a Special Emergency Response Team as early as 1986, but the Ministry of Defence decided to move this special operations capability under the direction of the military rather than the RCMP around 1992.  This decision was made at least in part due to the ability to draw recruits for an elite special forces unit from the much larger source that the military provided.  Under the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, Joint Task Force 2 became operational in 1993 and has grown in size and "op tempo" since. 

JTF 2 is based on a 200 acre facility in Dwyer Hill, near the national capital of Ottawa. The unit has been active in theatres such as Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  Much like their U.S. "counterparts" (DEVGRU and/or Special Forces Detachment-Delta), JTF-2 is highly secretive and the Canadian government and military does not release much confirmable information regarding unit size, tactics, training, etc...due to operational security considerations.

Official military unit recruitment advertisements mention 3 distinct
personnel categories of which the unit consists.  Category A members are "assaulters"  (obviously tasked with direct action and who make up the core of the unit in terms of tactics and performance).  Category B members are "technical specialists" that provide support to Category A personnel, and from this information appear to perform very specific tasks such as mobility (similar to U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Combat Craft Crewmembers).  Category C members are strictly unit support personnel.  Category A and B recruits receive four phases of selection.  The first two are mostly administrational and investigative. The third is a high stress diagnostic phase to measure the potential the recruit will succeed in the final phase, where unit specific training is provided.


Like most special forces units, JTF 2 has more freedom in the selection of weapons they may use than their conventional military counterparts.  Photographs taken in the War on Terror (OEF and OIF) show Canadian special forces members using the Colt Canada (previously Diemaco) C8SFW and C8CQB rifles. The SFW model has a 16" heavy profile barrel and can be mounted with the Heckler & Koch AG-C 40mm grenade launcher.  The CQB model is very similar to U.S. Mark 18 Mod 0 rifle; it has a much shorter 10.3" barrel, making it ideal for close quarters battle tactics. These are typically enhanced with optics from ELCAN (C79 sight) and EOTech.  More information on these weapons can be found in previous blog posts in this series on British and Norwegian elite military units that employ the AR weapon platform.

Members of JTF 2 have provided "hands on", immense assistance to U.S. special operations units in the fight against terrorism.  For detailed accounts of their activity and operations, please link to this article from the Toronto Star newspaper, online.

We hope you are enjoying this series on special operations units that use the AR weapon platform and want to thank you for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please contact us.


Information and images presented in this article were acquired from militaryphotos.net, specialoperations.com, The Toronto Star (Allan Woods, 20100425), and The Ottawa Citizen (David Pugliese, 19930602).






Saturday, August 31, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: AFEUR, Columbia



On November 6, 1985, thirty-five terrorists from the M-19 terrorist group stormed the Supreme Court building of the South American nation of Colombia and held around 300 people hostage.  Included in that number where both supreme court justices and other political leaders.  Negotiations failed and it appeared an assault would be required.  Hours after the attack, an initial assault was made by the Colombian Army resulting in freed hostages and neutralized terrorists on the first two floors of the building.  The following day a final assault took place.  When the building was retaken and the terrorist threat eradicated, the death toll reached 120 (including innocents, 11 justices, 48 military members, and terrorists).  There was significant damage to both the building and many of the records it housed.  When the terrorist assault occurred, there was no real special operations level unit in the Colombian military or police force.  This terrible event was a catalyst for creating a special forces capability throughout the Colombian military and law enforcement community.


Colombia has experienced additional terrorism since, and continues to face threats from a number of terrorist groups within its borders.  Each military branch and most police units of the larger cities in the nation currently have well trained special operations units.  In this blog post, we will briefly highlight the Colombian Army's AFEUR (Agrupacion de Fuerzas Especiales Antiterroristas Urbanas), or Urban Counter Terrorist Special Forces Group. 



The AFEUR main unit headquarters and training facilities are located near the capital, Bogota.  Smaller sub-units exist, posted in various larger, urban areas throughout the country.  Colombia has a fairly large number of SF capable units in its various military branches and law enforcement divisions, with very specific operational purposes and capabilities including kidnapping prevention and interdiction, hostage rescue, and narcotics eradication and enforcement.  AFEUR has a particular focus on direct action/assaults, hostage rescue, and personnel protection, all in the context of counter-terrorism.  The unit was tasked with providing security for U.S. President Clinton during his visit in 2000, and President Bush in 2004.  AFEUR also routinely provides this service for Colombian political officials including the President.  Political officials and government buildings are likely targets for terrorist operations, so it makes sense that AFEUR would be trained for and assigned to focus on this type of operation. 


Potential AFEUR  members are drawn from any of the military branches or national police units, though most applicants have some previous specialized training. A seven day selection process is followed by a six month training course that is composed of two phases.  The first focuses on teamwork and small unit tactics, and the following phase teaches specific tactical skills such as explosives, communications, and combat medicine.  During their training, members will also be instructed in airborne and fast roping assaults and night-time operations. 



If there seems to be a parallel to U.S. special operations training doctrine and curriculum, it is more than coincidental.  U.S. Army special forces soldiers from the 7th SFG and other USSOCOM members have had an integral role in the formation of the Colombian military's special forces units and continue to have a welcomed and valuable presence through instruction and joint training opportunities.  Each year, the U.S. military Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) holds a special forces competition for all countries in their region of oversight.  National special operations forces from Latin American countries compete in "Fuerzas Comando" in tasks and drills that have a dual value and purpose as training exercises.  This event also builds rapport and cooperation with participating units and nations.  AFEUR has won the competition many times in the past, most recently in 2012.                             
  
                                      

The AFEUR main unit is composed of around 100 members, coordinated in 15 man teams that include 2 officers and 13 operators.  AFEUR uses a wide variety of weapons; in regard to battle rifles, operators commonly use the AR platform weapons (usually the M16A2 and M4) and the IMI/IWI TAR (Tavor) in various configurations.  Because of the ongoing and real threat of terrorism faced by the Colombian people and AFEUR members, the unit has a very high training and operational schedule.  Their choice of these two battle rifles shows a confidence in the ability of these weapons to be dependable in the defense of life and nation. 


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


Monday, August 26, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: FSK, Norway

In continuing our series that highlights various special operations units of the world that use the AR weapon platform in their arsenal, we will use this post to provide a brief introduction to the Norwegian Forsvarets SpesialKommando (FSK) unit.

As far as historic special ops units go, the FSK is a relative newcomer.  The concept of a Norwegian special forces capability originated around 1981 in response to the prevalence of terrorism in general and the susceptibility of North Sea oil platforms to terrorism in particular.  The unit became "operational" around 1984, but for about the first decade of its service its existence was highly confidential and at times denied.  Due to operations and training events with the special forces units of other countries, more is known about its existence and capabilities, but the unit is still highly secretive. This has led to a lack of veritable information about specific details such as unit size, command, training, and how this unit interacts with other Norwegian Department of Defense units.

It is thought that member selection and training is similar to that of most other military special ops units, and that most members come from other Norwegian special forces units such as their Army Rangers Force (HJK) and Marine Naval Command (MJK).  These units are also considered "special operations" units but with different operational functions than the FSK, though they may share facilities and even command with the FSK.

During war or counter-terrorism operations, the unit performs tasks such as intelligence gathering, hostage rescue and personnel protection (including members of royalty and political personnel), and direct action (assaults).  The FSK is also available to support the Norwegian national police force and the LE agencies of other nations, when requested.



FSK has been active in recent conflict theaters such as Kosovo and Afghanistan.  According to Norwegian media, the unit has actively supported U.S. forces in Operation Enduring Freedom through activities such as training Afghan military forces.  The have also participated in training and operations with special forces units from other allied nations, including the British SAS, KSK of Germany, and USSOCOM.


AR platform weapons are the current battle rifle in service with the FSK.   The Colt Canada (Diemaco) C8SFW and the Heckler and Koch 416 are the two main 5.56x45 Nato weapons used by the FSK.  The H&K weapon is a gas piston operated AR platform, while the Colt Canada C8 uses the standard direct impingement gas system.  The C8 is much like the U.S. M4, but with a heavy profile barrel. A short-barreled Colt Canada C8CQB is also used and is almost identical to the U.S. Mark 18 Mod 0 with a 10" barrel and Vortex muzzle device.  The AR platform variants are typically configured with rail systems for mounting and employing optical and target acquisition accessories.

The FSK is a highly trained unit capable of performing special operations functions in the defense of Norway and allied nations.  The unit's selection of the AR platform as their "go to"  battle rifle is a strong statement of confidence in the AR's utility and dependability.

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









Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: G.R.O.M., Poland




In our previous blog post, we briefly highlighted the British S.A.S. and their use of the AR weapon platform.  In this post, we will continue to identify foreign, special operations military units that have selected the "AR" as one of the tools they use "to get the job done."

G.R.O.M. is an acronym for "Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego, or Operational Maneuver Reconnaissance Group (in English). The Polish military has provided a great deal of assistance to U.S. forces in the Global War on Terror in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and their elite forces (including G.R.O.M.) are working under the same I.S.A.F. leadership as American special operations units even now. The unit was formed in the 1990's due to domestic threats from various Islamic terrorist groups.  These threats were made in response to the Polish government's involvement in helping Jews from the Soviet Union who desired to relocate to Israel.  Individuals from the British Ministry of Defense and U.S. Department of Defense provided assistance and direction to the Polish government for the unit's establishment.  G.R.O.M. has seen action in theaters like Haiti, the Balkans, and as mentioned earlier, the Middle East.

G.R.O.M. takes part in a variety of operations including personal security details as well as hostage rescue and other forms of "direct action."  It includes both male and female personnel.  Members are proficient in at least two foreign languages and the majority have extensive "tactical/emergency" medical training.  Like many elite/special operations units, members have some freedom in which weapon systems they prefer to employ in a mission.  Sub-machine guns such as the 9mm H&K MP5 and handguns like the Glock 19 and SIG P228 are typical weapons seen and known to be in use by the G.R.O.M.  In regard to assault/battle rifles, AK variants are used, but as displayed by the various images in this post, the members of this unit seem to be fond of the AR platform as well.

The unit's choice and use of the AR weapon platform for various applications is a definite credit to the design and dependability of the "American Black Rifle."

Thanks for reading our blog.  In upcoming posts, we will continue to highlight more elite military units that have selected to use the AR weapon platform in their operations.  If you have any questions about Del-Ton AR-15 rifles, or the AR-15 parts and accessories we offer at www.del-ton.com, please feel free to contact us.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: The SAS, Great Britain


British SAS soldier with a Colt Canada/Diemaco C8A1


The AR-15 weapon platform was "born" in the United States and has been employed by members of our military units for over 40 years now.  It has experienced a number of modifications/incarnations and the models currently in use look a good bit different than those originally carried by brave soldiers in Southeast Asia in the 1960's.  Older models like the 20" barreled M16A2 are still used by some reserve units and in basic training marksmanship qualifications. Newer models like the M4 and 10.3" barreled Mark 18 CQBR are more commonly seen in service now due to mission requirements. 

In recent years, the platform has been employed by many foreign military units and particularly those who have a "special operations" role to fulfill.  There has been an expansion of special operations units and a resulting increase in special operations missions in most modern and well funded militaries.  Special operations tactics (with highly trained and equipped personnel) typically have the best ability to address most of the current situations and applications in which military force is required in this present day.  In the next few blog posts, we will offer some general information about these units who have adopted "our" successful weapons system.  It is an interesting development that I believe offers some high praise for the dependability and usefulness of the AR weapon platform.

Great Britain has been a faithful ally of the United States for over a century and has given our country tremendous assistance in the Global War on Terror.  While many of England's special forces units such as the Royal Marines and Paras have trained and fought with AR platform weapons, it is the famous SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) units that employ "our" weapon platform on a routine basis.

The SAS was formed in 1941 during World War 2. The regiment (actually a brigade at that time) gained extensive combat experience,especially in the North African theatre.  The unit was disbanded at the end of the conflict, but resurrected during the Korean War.  It has remained active, and since expanded into 3 regiments.

While special operations units tend to be secretive in nature, certain operations (successful and unsuccessful) often bring them unavoidable notoriety. In the Spring of 1980, terrorists captured the Iranian Embassy in London and held 26 people hostage.  The terrorist's demands were not being met and as a result, they executed a hostage.  Shortly after this, the SAS was tasked with infiltrating the embassy, freeing the hostages, and neutralizing the terrorists.  The operation took less than 20 minutes, and though there were casualties, it was considered a success. 


As in any special operations unit, there is a certain level of freedom in the selection of weapons and tactics to employ that "regular" military units rarely enjoy.  Focusing on standard issue assault/battle rifles, evidence has shown members of this unit using the Heckler and Koch G3, 417, and AR platform weapons produced both in the US (Colt and Lewis Machine and Tool) and Canada (Diemaco, now Colt Canada).  The H&K G3, 417, and the LMT L129A1 are 7.62X51 NATO caliber weapons, while the Colt and Diemaco AR platform weapons are chambered in 5.56X45 NATO.  All but the H&K G3 are at least in some sense AR platform-style weapons. The H&K 417 is a piston operating system, rather than direct gas impingement, but maintains the controls and ergonomics of the AR platform.

Use of the AR style weapon by the SAS and some other UKSF units has been most noticeable in the recent GWOT operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  While their AR platform weapons often have mounted optics like the Canadian ELCAN, noticeable in some of the pictures in this post are weapons with the U.S. military ACOG optic.  With the broad array of weapons systems available to an elite unit with an "elite budget" like the SAS, its choice to employ the AR platform weapon should give owners of similar, civilian models assurance of a quality, dependable rifle for the applications in which they use them.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture at Del-Ton (DTI), or any of the AR-15 parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please contact us.



Sunday, June 30, 2013

S.P.O.R.T.S. Clearing AR-15 Malfunctions While Staying "In The Fight"

A few posts ago, we featured some causes and effects of AR-15 weapons malfunctions.  Suggestions were made regarding why things may be happening the way they were in an attempt to help the shooter diagnose and resolve a simple problem and get their weapon functioning the way it should without having to send it in for repair when the cause or problem is not an extensively mechanical or technical one.  This time we will consider the standard "S.P.O.R.T.S." method of clearing a malfunction that is designed to quickly resolve a situation and return your weapon to service immediately.  This method may not address all problems or what may be at the "root" of the problem, but it is ideal for a situation that requires your weapon to be immediately usable.    

Before we start, a safety warning: if your rifle fails to fire with a "live" round in the chamber, attempt to remove it via the method described below quickly.  If you cannot do this within a few seconds, remove the magazine from the weapon, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and wait around five minutes or so for the weapon to cool  (if it is hot from earlier use), before attempting to investigated further.  Keep your face and other body parts as far away as possible from the ejection port, magazine well, and chamber until you are certain the weapon is cool and the unfired round will not experience a delayed detonation.

If you have a history of recent military service, you will likely remember learning this method in basic training.  S.P.O.R.T.S. is an acronym:

S     Slap the magazine upward  (make sure it is firmly seated)
P     Pull the charging handle (all the way to the rear)
O     Observe the ejection (or lack thereof) of the case or cartridge
R     Release (pull and release the charging handle to chamber a cartridge
T     Tap the forward assist (to ensure the bolt is in battery)
S     Squeeze the trigger to fire the newly chambered round.

This typically will quickly resolve an issue related to improper chambering, ammunition quality, or improper magazine seating.  If the rifle still fails to fire, the sequence should be performed again.  While this is a quick and easy to remember method, the steps must be performed properly.  The third step of observing the ejection of the case or cartridge is extremely important.  If the cartridge (spent or unfired) is not extracted and ejected, the sequence should not proceed or it will only cause a new problem (double feeding, etc...).  The cartridge must be removed and the reason it remained in the chamber should be identified and addressed.  

Further continued failures require more detailed inspection and considerations.  Remove the magazine, pull back the charging handle and "lock" the bolt to the rear by pressing on the bolt catch so that a detailed examination of the chamber and inside of the upper receiver can be performed.  Place the weapon on safe (the fire control group must be "reset" by retracting the bolt and carrier assembly via the charging handle before you can move the selector to safe).  Release the charging handle or bolt catch and separate the upper half of the weapon from the lower half so a proper inspection of all parts can be performed. Some causes of malfunctions that are not remedied by the S.P.O.R.T.S. technique were highlighted in our earlier blog post, so please use this resource for ideas and methods that may help to resolve any malfunction or performance issues.  Something as simple as using a different magazine or fixing a problematic one or even performing a proper cleaning of the entire weapon may resolve malfunctions that are not remedied by the S.P.O.R.T.S. process.

It is a great idea to familiarize yourself enough with this process so that it can be performed quickly and properly if necessary.  Start slow to do it right.  If you have inert/dummy rounds/snap caps (Magpul often includes them in their stock packaging), placing one in the middle of a magazine can help you train to use this in a realistic manner so that, should you ever need to use it in a dangerous scenario, you will do it right and do it fast and can "stay in the fight."

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 parts we sell or rifles we manufacture, please contact us.

      

Sunday, June 23, 2013

AR-15 Shooting Techniques-Support Hand Positioning



Once you finally acquire an AR-15, you will feel an urgency to shoot it...a lot.  And that is a good thing. The last thing the "gun culture" needs is another AR-15 owner who treats the weapon like a toy or model (always accessorizing it, but never learning how to employ it; rarely using it, but reading and posting online about why it should be configured a certain way and never becoming proficient in its intended purpose).  Now that I have gotten that out of the way...

Becoming a skilled shooter with the AR-15 platform will take time and practice.  If you can attend a training course with an open and teachable mind, you will benefit greatly.  Take in all the information you can, but do so with a filter.  Instructors may have a particular reason for why they do things the way they do, but beware of one who says it is the ONLY way you should EVER perform a technique.  If you go with that in mind and ready to learn, you will acquire new or improved ways of performing accurate shooting techniques that could one day come in very handy.  In this blog post, we will focus in on support hand positioning.


There are two main support hand positions that are suggested for accurately and proficiently employing the AR-15.  The first one has the support hand wrapped under the handguard closer to the magazine well.  This is a comfortable and natural position to use, and can be good for accuracy and fast target acquisition as long as the elbows of both arms are kept in close to the torso.  Keep things tight-don't let the firing elbow "chicken-wing" out.  If either elbow starts going horizontal when using this technique, the benefits are lost.  When practicing, focus on technique when engaging targets and allow speed to build. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.


The second position (that has become very popular recently), is to extend the arm to place the support hand near the end of the handguard.  This technique sometimes is done with the thumb of the support hand over the top of the handguard.  If you find this uncomfortable, distracting, or have a railed handguard, placing the thumb between the top and side rail with some light downward pressure on the side rail can be an alternate position with identical benefits.  Benefits of this position include an ability to prevent muzzle rise during quick fire and being able to "drive or steer" the weapon to multiple targets if necessary.  While it can be uncomfortable to begin with when using this technique on rifles with a longer gas system or barrel (mid length or rifle length), it is even more beneficial in helping their muzzle stay on target or move to target.  


When a forward vertical grip is added to the handguard, it may alter each technique a little.  Forward grips like the Magpul AFG are well designed for either application, and even standard vertical grips like the Magpul MOE or TangoDown grips can be used with an extended support hand position like shown in the picture above. 

One thing I would suggest is to never place your support hand directly on the magazine well when firing.  The main benefit of this can be some level of steadiness resulting from pulling the weapon into your firing arm shoulder (though the other techniques also provide this).  This technique offers little muzzle control though, and the main negative factor can appear should you ever have a catastrophic failure of the weapon.  If a failure of this nature occurs, the high pressure created will exit the path of least resistance, and this can often mean out of the magazine well.  There is just a better and more safe place in which to place your support hand and still control the weapon. 

Both techniques are good and, as with most things related to tactical use of an AR-15, deciding which is best depends on your application (how you intend to use the weapon at that time).  Having an extended support hand position while in a stack or being forced to shoot behind a barrier may be impossible.  Having a "close in" support hand position can make steady muzzle control more difficult than the extended technique.  One thing is for certain-use whichever support hand position if best for YOU and how you will use YOUR weapon.  And use your weapon. Practice. It is that simple.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the rifles we produce, the parts we sell at Del-Ton, or any questions about the AR-15 rifle platform please feel free to contact us.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

AR-15 Malfunction and Troubleshooting Basics


DTI rifle buried during "torture-test"
There was a time when a certain segment of firearms enthusiasts had a less than favorable view of the AR-15 in regard to reliability; and there was a time when the weapon platform had a few possible inadequacies in regard to reliable function.  I truly believe that time is in decades past; quality, dependable AR-15 rifles are the current norm.  As long as the owner provides a typical amount of maintenance and care, this weapon offers the same reliability of most other modern semi-automatic battle rifles, and accuracy typically above its peers.  The "torture test" we did in one of our past blog posts and those done in an even more extreme manner by others in the industry have proven this weapon to be more than reliable for any application in which its owner may employ it.  But, there are times when things may go wrong and your weapon experiences a malfunction.  This blog post will highlight some basic considerations about what may be causing the malfunctions and how you may be able to restore the weapon to a dependable working condition.


When loading a magazine into the magazine well of the rifle, be sure to firmly insert it.  You don't have to wail on it like crazy...but after inserting it, a firm tap on the bottom of the magazine with your palm will ensure that it is in the proper place for reliable feeding.  It's not a good idea to hold the weapon with your support hand in a manner that allows your hand to contact the magazine or to use the magazine as a "monopod" (allow it to firmly touch a hard surface such as the ground or a bench while shooting).  This pressure can cause the magazine to rock into a position that can cause feeding issues.  That is one reason why a grip like the one pictured below can be problematic (in the photo below, the LEO is restrained by his current environment and application from using an extended grip) and why the extended arm support hand grip where the weapon is held much further toward the muzzle by the support hand is a better idea. It also offers the benefit of increased control/rapid target acquisition.  



When loading a round into the chamber from the magazine with a closed bolt (using the charging handle), make sure not to "ride" the charging handle forward when releasing it.  This can cause the ammunition to cant and have a more difficult time chambering properly.  Pull the charging handle back, and let it go (of course while keeping standard firearms safety rules-muzzle on target/finger outside of the trigger guard).  There is a forward assist on most modern AR-15 rifles.  You shouldn't have to use it.  This feature is nice for a weapon that has a heavily fouled bolt and chamber due to extended battle use, but its use should not be necessary for the average owner of a clean AR-15.

So you have a round in the chamber and have pulled the trigger, but there is a failure to fire.  What now? Keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction and after waiting for a minute or two (due to the very rare chance there is a delay in the primer igniting the powder) attempt to extract the round using the charging handle to move the bolt and carrier assembly rearward.  It could be a bad primer in the ammunition.  It could be bad ammunition.  It could be caused by accidentally forgetting to install a firing pin after cleaning the bolt and carrier assembly.  Inspecting the bolt to make sure all parts are installed correctly and lower receiver parts are correctly installed and functioning properly should be your first course of action once the round is extracted.


Another consideration is to see if the ammunition itself may be at least part of the problem. Due to the demand for ammunition being high, it is rare that one can purchase large quantities of ammunition anymore; but honestly, it may not be a great idea to do this even if you come across a deal.  It hurts a lot less to have 2-3 boxes of ammo that do not perform than it does to have an entire case that is questionable.  AR-15 rifles may prefer one type of ammo over another in terms of accuracy, but any commercially made (especially domestically produced) ammunition should be reliable in an AR-15.  Simply trying another type or brand can help you diagnose whether the problem is being caused by the weapon or a bad round/box of ammunition.  Here is a link to our past blog post on ammunition considerations: http://blog.del-ton.com/2012/05/feeding-your-ar-15.html.

Cycling issues (failure to extract/feed), are typically caused by an issue with the gas system.  It may be that there is not enough gas pressure produced by the fired ammunition and bad ammo is the problem, but cycling issues can also be a result of failures in the parts of the gas system.  A clogged gas tube, an improperly installed gas tube or gas block, a broken extractor or ejector, damaged gas rings on the bolt, a leak around the carrier key or past the bolt...even parts modified from the original design can cause these type of malfunctions.

Whenever modifications to the original design of the weapon are performed (or even disassembly, reassembly, or new installation) be sure to check and double check that things are in the correct place.  One example of a modification that could cause cycling problems might be using a new upper assembly with a different gas system than the one that was originally on your weapon (a dissipator-style gas system or those on a short barreled rifle may require that you modify other parts of the entire weapon system to ensure reliable functioning, especially with a particular type of ammunition).  The changes in gas pressure and timing from various lengths of gas systems may not work as well with heavy buffers in the stock or a heavier bolt carrier.  Just some things to consider if you have made modifications and suddenly experience functioning issues.  Here is a link to a previous blog post that gives basic information about the various gas systems used in the AR-15 weapon platform:  http://blog.del-ton.com/2012/01/ar-15-gas-sytems-and-operation.html.  As stated earlier, even something like normal disassembly for cleaning and maintenance can cause problems if parts are not reassembled correctly.  For instance, make sure the gaps in each individual gas ring on the bolt do not line up together after they are removed and replaced or moved during cleaning.

At DTI, each and every rifle and upper receiver assembly is test fired to ensure reliable functioning and inspected before it is sent to our shipping department and on to the consumer.  Each and every one. If there is ever an issue with how your DTI AR-15 is functioning, we will do our best to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.  This post mentioned a few simple, suggested things to consider before contacting us.  However, if you have any questions about your weapon malfunctioning or need assistance, please contact us.  That is why we are here.  That is why factory built Del-Ton rifles have a limited, lifetime warranty to the original owner.  We stand behind our products.

Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about Del-Ton rifles or the parts we sell at www.del-ton.com, please contact us.

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