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TangoDown Flip Grip
1/26/13 - The Battlegrip BG-FG Flip Grip from TangoDown allows a shooter to change weapon grip angles in seconds without tools. The user can choose between 24 degrees of rake or a true vertical position for a more comfortable shooting hand wrist angle under certain conditions.
Overall design - The Flip Grip was developed for situations where a more natural pistol grip may improve weapon ergonomics; reducing stress/strain on the wrist. The Flip Grip has two positions; one with a 24° grip angle (close to standard) and another that is vertical. The difference between the two is the angle the wrist makes with the fore arm. In some situations, like close quarters (vehicles or room-to-room), or on patrol, a standard grip angle can result in fatigue or the wrist due to the amount of ulnar deviation seen by the wrist. The vertical grip angle provides a more natural/less pronounced grip in those situations.
The Flip Grip changes grip angles by rotating the lower portion of the grip. It's spring loaded (with a very strong spring), so you pull down on it and rotate it 180° to change from raked to vertical. It locks automatically in either position and cannot be accidentally changed. It rotates on a large screw, so it's very strong. It's designed to fit any weapon that will accept an standard AR-15 pistol grip. All hardware is stainless steel.
The Flip Grip is installed by disassembling the upper and lower portions; a 3/8 allen is used to unscrew a large screw that keeps the lower portion attached to the upper portion. The screw also captures two flat washers and the coil spring. The upper portion is then installed to the lower receiver like any other AR pistol grip, then the lower portion re-installed. Full instructions are included with the Flip Grip. The Flip Grip does not have any internal storage compartment.
Notes/Observations - All right, I'll have to admit that when I first saw this, I thought the same thing most others would: 'is this a gimmick?' until I realized that it does make sense for those who can benefit from it. I've come across folks who saw it, and a light bulb came on over their heads as they saw how the Flip Grip would be applied. As mentioned before, operating in confined spaces like vehicles may require shooting with the stock fully collapsed. The closer in the weapon is, the more acute the angle of the wrist becomes, especially with elbows tucked in. When carrying the weapon at an 'alert carry' or low ready position with the muzzle down and stock up for extended periods, the more natural vertical grip angle can reduce fatigue in the wrist. I've illustrated a couple of examples below with the Flip Grip in the raked and vertical configurations, indicating the approximate angle that the fore arm makes with the grip.
Having the Flip Grip in the vertical position does not prevent you in any way from operating the AR normally, so you're not going to have to switch back to the raked position suddenly to fire it. The Flip Grip just gives you the option for a more natural grip angle based on how you're carrying or shooting the weapon. It's also more comfortable in the prone position.
At first, handling the AR with the Flip Grip in the vertical position feels foreign, after being used to a raked grip for so long. But, it's actually reminiscent of weapons with vertical pistol grips like the Uzi and other submachine guns, but nose-heavy of course. It does look unusual with a Bren-like grip on an AR, but that's of little consequence. With the larger backstrap, the Flip Grip is suited for larger hands like the tangodown BG-17, so take that into consideration. The trend towards less rake can be seen by the introduction of new pistol grips that have hit the market recently. The others have a fixed angle; somewhere between vertical and the standard angle, but if you prefer to have the ability to switch between two grip angles, then the Flip Grip provides that.
BCM Gunfighter's Grip
2/15/13 - The Gunfighter's Grip from Bravo Company USA is a reduced angle, enhanced pistol grip for the AR-15 series of weapons. It's available in two versions; with and without a backstrap, and also includes modular inserts to close the gap between the trigger guard and pistol grip.
Description - The BCM GFG (Gunfighter's Grip) features a reduced, more vertical angle from the standard A2 pistol grip for the AR-15 series of weapons. It'll also fit any weapon that takes the standard AR grip, like the SCAR 16 or 17. Like the TangoDown Flip Grip and others, it was developed to meet the changes in modern gun fighting stances/fighting techniques for situations where a reduced angle pistol grip may improve weapon ergonomics; reducing stress/strain on the wrist. The reduced angle also puts the wrist more in line with the trigger for improved trigger control.
Backstrap and Colours - The GFG is available in two models: The Mod 0 and the Mod 1. The Mod 0 is similar to an A1/A2 backstrap while the Mod 1 has a high rise back strap for larger hands/longer fingers. Both are the same width, and are available in Black, Flat dark earth, and Foliage green. It's made in the USA from high quality impact resistant polymers.
Texture - The sides of the GFG are textured. The texture is very similar to the laser swirl pattern found on the TangoDown SCAR panels, which is a slightly grippier version than the texture on the TangoDown BG-16 pistol grip. The front strap of the GFG has raised horizontal ridges that further increase purchase on the grip.
Modular trigger guard inserts - Each GFG comes with two modular trigger guard inserts - one without a tang and one with a tang. The tang acts as a 'gapper/duckbill' and bridges the gap between the front of the pistol grip and the rear of the trigger guard. It also serves to protect the middle finger from the sharp edges of the trigger guard ears on the lower receiver. The user can swap the inserts out, depending on what trigger guard or lower receiver he's using. The modular inserts fit into the GFG using a tongue and groove method; sliding in and out from the front. Since the insert is captured once the grip is installed, there is no way for it to fall out or move. I've illustrated the inserts below with a contrasting coloured grip - each grip comes with same-coloured inserts.
Storage compartment - The inside of the GFG is hollow, and features a large storage compartment. The compartment is full sized, and does not have any partitions or divisions. The compartment is sealed by a hinged trapdoor that's of a pretty interesting design. The trapdoor is plastic that's partially overmolded with a rubber plug that seals the opening. The door has two ears on each side, that when squeezed together with the thumb and index finger, unlocks the door and allows it to be opened. Looking at the bottom of the grip, there are two slotted holes in the bottom rear, which two tabs on the door fit into when closed. When the ears on the door are squeezed together, it compresses the rubber plug, which allows the tabs to clear the holes and unlock. Pretty ingenious. The rubber plug is water resistant; not water proof. While a firing pin is a bit long for the compartment, I can fit one in there because the rubber plug will compress enough to close. This is one of the more secure compartment door designs, and it's very unlikely to open accidentally and spill the contents.
Notes/Observations - So, the only difference between the Mod 0 and Mod 1 GFGs is the extended backstrap on the Mod 1. As I mentioned above, I have small hands so the Mod 0 works better for me. Like all other grips with backstraps I've tried, the Mod 1 is comfortable and more hand-filling, and also increases the reach to the trigger so that it's not so 'cramped up. However, it also increases the distance that my index finger has to reach for the controls like the magazine release button and bolt drop; such that I can't engage them positively. Thus, I'm limited to standard grips without backstraps. Those with medium sized hands and longer fingers will probably find the Mod 1 a better choice.
I've overlaid images of the standard A2 and TangoDown BG-16 grip over the GFG to illustrate the difference in grip angle. The BG-16 has been my favourite grip ever since it was introduced, and preference for either is going to boil down to personal preference and shooting style. One thing I've wanted on the BG-16 is a textured front strap (I usually stipple them myself), so it's nice to finally get some texture up front on the GFG. As for feel, that's a tough call. I find the rear 'hump' on the BG-16 more palm-filling and that the standard angle provides more leverage when supporting the rifle with one hand when reloading, but the GFG's shape and angle is also just as comfortable - just slightly 'different'.
When using trigger guards like the Magpul, Wilson; or billet lowers like the AXTS, the tang insert isn't needed. It still can be used, however, if the user prefers it, but some fitting may be required depending on the contour of the trigger guard. The storage compartment is spacious and to keep items from rattling around inside, they can be first put into a small ziploc or cut down sandwich bag then put into the compartment.
At the range, I used the GFG in a variety of positions - and the reduced grip angle does provide a different feel from the regular A2 or BG-16. Definitely not as obvious as TangoDown's Flip Grip in the vertical position, but a very good compromise between the two extremes. I think that the reduced grip angle does provide a more natural wrist angle in most positions (most noticeable when using a 'elbows tucked' stance with the buttstock closer to the centerline and collapsed), and over longer durations of carry may reduce wrist fatigue. I do find the BG-16 grip shape more comfortable in the hand, but the GFG angle more natural, if that makes sense. The texturing on the sides and ridges on the front strap ensure a good grip with and without gloves.
Grip angle, size and shape are largely a matter of hand size, shooting style and personal preference. The BCM Gunfighter's Grip is well made and designed and if the ergonomics suit you, you won't be disappointed with it.
10/5/13 - The BCMGunfighter Grip Mod 3 from Bravo Company USA is almost identical to the Mod 1 GFG with backstrap featured above, except that instead of a removable/modular trigger guard insert, it has a non-removable tang molded in already, and it is thicker at the top by 0.25". It's designed to be installed on lower receivers that have a stock trigger guard, as some aftermarket trigger guards may interfere with the tang. If so, the tang may have to be modified slightly. Other than that, it has the same reduced grip angle and and water-resistant storage compartment inside. Installed onto the lower, it looks very similar to the Mod 1 with tang, so refer to the photos above.
The added thickness at the top of the Mod 3 provides a thumb shelf to rest the thumb on, and is more hand-filling for larger sized hands. I'd like to see them come out with an increased width version of the Mod 0, as I find the increased with more comfortable. My short fingers, however, prevent me from using the Mod 3 or Mod 1 with backstraps.
BCM Gunfighter's Vertical Foregrip
5/1/13 - Hot on the heels of the BCM Gunfighter's Pistol Grip is the Gunfighter's Vertical Fore Grip from Bravo Company USA. It's a straightforward vertical grip for the carbine with a storage compartment and a 5° angle that can be forward or rearward facing, depending on the user's preference.
Description - The BCM GVFG (Gunfighter's Vertical ForeGrip) is an ergonomic foregrip that mounts to any handguard with a 1913 rail section. It measures about 4.6" tall, and has a flattened grip cross-section. The flattened grip cross section provides better rotational control of the grip than a round/cylindrical cross section when it's used for controlling the weapon. The grip portion is about 1.75" on the long axis and 1.17" wide.
The grip attaches to any mil-spec 1913 Picatinny rail with a spring loaded clamp. The clamp is tightened by a single flat head screw. The octagonal nut on the threaded end of the screw fits into a molded recess to prevent it from spinning. The clamp on the screw side has two springs that keep it open when the screw is loosened. This makes for quicker installation, as the clamp is always wide open and the screw is under spring tension. The clamps are removable and can be swapped to the other side, so that the screw head is on the right hand side. There's no practical reason for doing so, though, as there's no throw lever that gets in the way. The top of the grip has two recoil lugs that keep the metal screw centered in a rail slot. The VFG is available in Black, Flat Dark Earth, and Foliage Green, and is made from the same high quality impact resistant polymers as the BCM Gunfighter's Grip.
Texture - The VFG shares the same textured pattern as the BCM pistol grip on the sides, and the front and rear straps have the same raised horizontal ridges that further increase purchase on the grip.
Storage compartment - The inside of the VFG is hollow, and features a large storage compartment measuring about 3.7" deep. The compartment is full sized, and does not have any partitions or divisions, and will easily house a spare firing pin and bolt. The compartment is sealed by the same type of hinged trapdoor that the BCM pistol grip has. The trapdoor is plastic that's partially overmolded with a rubber plug that seals the opening. The door has two ears on each side, that when squeezed together with the thumb and index finger, unlocks the door and allows it to be opened. There are two slotted holes near the bottom, which two tabs on the door fit into when closed. When the ears on the door are squeezed together, it compresses the rubber plug, which allows the tabs to clear the holes and unlock. The rubber plug is water resistant; not water proof. It's a very secure compartment door designs, and it's very unlikely to open accidentally. To keep items from rattling around inside, they can be first put into a small ziploc or cut down sandwich bag then put into the compartment.
Notes/Observations - When I first saw the 5° angle incorporated into the BCM VFG, I wondered how comfortable that would be vs. a vertical grip with no angle. It actually works very well, and I prefer the grip angled to the front than to the rear. The slight angle helps lock the hand higher up on the grip where it transitions to the rail. All edges and corners are rounded/smoothed out, so the transition between the grip and the rail is comfortable.
The flattened profile of the grip also provides more rotational purchase than a cylindrical grip - something that might come into play when lowering the carbine with the support hand while the other hand goes to the pistol during a transition to pistol. The texturing on the sides and ridges on the front strap ensure a good grip with and without gloves. Like pistol grips, vertical grip choice depends largely on hand size, shooting style and personal preference. The BCM Gunfighter's Vertical Grip is simple, functional, well made and designed.
BCMGUNFIGHTER Vertical Foregrip SHORT
10/16/13 - If you like the BCM GUNFIGHTER Vertical Foregrip but didn't want such a long one, you're in luck. Bravo Company USA has released the BCMGUNFIGHTER Vertical Grip SHORT, which is the stubby version of their standard sized vertical grip.
Description - Like its standard length counterpart, the BCM Gunfighter's Vertical ForeGrip SHORT is an ergonomic foregrip that mounts to any handguard with a 1913 rail section. The SHORT measures about 3" tall; which is 1.6" shorter than the standard length, and shares exactly the same flattened grip cross-section.
Attachment method and grip texturing are identical, so please refer to the previous writeup on the standard length GFVG for the details of those features. The SHORT is also available in Black, Flat Dark Earth (FDE) and Foliage Green.
Storage compartment - While the SHORT shares the same type of hinged trapdoor opening to the storage compartment as the standard GFVG, the storage compartment is obviously shorter and less roomy. The standard grip is tapered; it widens slightly towards the end, so the trapdoor on the standard GFVG is wider and longer than the one on the SHORT. The SHORT compartment is only about 2" deep, vs the 3.7" deep compartment of the long grip. I was just able to fit two AA batteries in the compartment. Even so, the rubber seal on the inside of the trapdoor will deform slightly to accommodate them. A single CR123 battery will fit inside it. While you do lose storage space with the SHORT vs. the standard length GVFG, there's still room for small spare parts etc.
Notes/Observations - I'm glad to see BCM come out with a short version of their vertical grip as I use stubby grips almost exclusively. A handstop is generally a bit short for my liking and a standard length vertical grip is longer than I need. I've shot a lot with and without vertical grips on my rifles, and keep coming back to stubby grips as they're easier on my wrist for most positions than no grip at all. As with the standard length BCM vertical grip, the SHORT has the 5° angle which allows the user to choose one of two positions; angled backward or forward. The reason I like short grips is because my normal hand position only makes use of the first two or three inches, so I don't have need for the longer standard grips. My middle finger is usually at the transition between the handguard and the grip, so basically I have half my hand on the handguard and the other on the grip. This is where the slight forward angle of the BCM vertical grip helps lock the hand higher up on the grip where it transitions to the rail.
I've really come to appreciate the flattened profile of the BCM grip as it provides more rotational purchase and control than a cylindrical grip. The texturing on the sides and ridges on the front strap ensure a good grip with and without gloves - something I wish the TangoDown stubby (my other favourite vertical grip) had more of. Like the standard length BCM GVFG, the SHORT is well made and designed, and is definitely worth considering when looking for stubby foregrips.
Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter
5/25/13 - The AR Folding Stock Adaptor from Law Tactical is an adaptor that works with most AR-15 rifles that allows the stock to be folded to the side, greatly shortening the rifle's overall length. It was designed primarily for vehicle use and aircrews, or when storage and transport space is limited, and enables the user to put the weapon into action faster than a separated upper and lower.
Background - If we compare the AR-15 family of weapons to others like the FN SCAR, FN FAL, AK, HK etc, one of the things that sets the AR-15 apart from them is the use of a fixed receiver extension (buffer tube), which houses the recoil spring assembly and buffer. Because of this, the AR-15 is limited to a collapsible stock to achieve a reduction in overall length, whereas the other weapons listed can accommodate folding stocks or stocks that collapse almost completely. The ability to fold or collapse a stock is primarily one of convenience in transportation, storage, and handling in tight quarters. A smaller package is more concealable in a non-permissive environment and allows a wider variety of transporation modes (bags, cases) to be used. While an AR-15 upper and lower can be carried disassembled and then assembled very quickly when needed, it's not very practical if a case or bag isn't available, and the user just wants a fully assembled weapon that can be shortened for tight quarters and put into deployment quickly. The Law Tactical AR folding stock adapter is a hinged assembly that allows a carbine stock to be folded along the left side of the AR, drastically reducing its overall length. This is the Gen 2 model shown here.
Description - The Folding Stock Adapter is essentially a hinge assembly that installs to the rear of an AR-15 lower receiver. The hinge assembly is made up of two main parts - the receiver side and the stock side. The receiver side is attached to the rear of the lower receiver, and a standard rilfe or carbine receiver extension then threads into the stock side. Since the receiver extension has been moved to the rear by a small amount, a spacer in the form of a bolt carier extension is installed into the rear of the bolt carrier. The hinge assembly has a button which locks it in the closed position, and when pressed allows the stock side of the hinge to unlock and fold to the left of the weapon. The weapon MUST NOT BE FIRED IN THE FOLDED POSITION - DAMAGE OR INJURY COULD OCCUR. The Folding Stock Adapter is designed to allow the stock to fold only for carry and transport; not for firing with the stock folded.
The Stock Adapter is CNC machined from 6061 aluminum and has a hard anodized finish. Steel parts are made from 1018 steel. It can be used with direct impingement or gas piston systems and fits any A2, carbine, mil spec or commercial buffer tube and stock. It can be used with standard bolt carrier groups including full and semi auto, 5.56 to .308. A QD sling swivel mount is provided at the bottom of the adapter. Manufacturing quality and fit is excellent.
Installation - Installation of the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter (Gen 2) is as follows:
Operation - When folded, the stock pays on the left side of the weapon. There is no locking mechanism to hold it in the folded position, so in order to bring it into operation, it's simply swung around into the open position where it engages the button and locks open automatically. When the stock is in the folded position, the rear of the bolt carrier extension is exposed at the rear of the receiver. It's prevented from sliding out further by the button, which partially blocks it. When the stock is locked open, the button moves to the left slightly to allow the extension to pass by it, and the carrier to reciprocate. To unlock the stock, the button is pressed, and the stock folded to the left. The Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter not designed to allow the weapon to be fired with the stock folded, and should never be done.
Notes/Observations - So, the first question that must be answered is 'why is a folding stock needed on the AR?' The answer, in my mind is: for the same reason folding/collapsible stocks are incorporated on any other weapon. The difference, as mentioned above, is that the AR cannot be fired with the stock folded whereas the others can. Testing has been performed on the Law Tactical adapter to see what would happen if the weapon was fired with the stock folded, and only minor damage was sustained to the adapter components - not to the host weapon. The bottom line is - if threat is imminent, unfold the stock. Use the folding feature for storage, transportation and covert carry only. Deploying the stock takes one second.
For compact transportation, I usually separate my upper and lower receiver and carry them in my EMDOM TNT GYM bag. However, if the rifle needs to be stored compactly in a vehicle in a mount, or attached to a police motorcycle, it's impractical to separate the upper and lower. Having a folding stock will ensure that the weapon is assembled and ready for deployment when needed in a pinch.
Pros and cons - every product has them. The pros of the folding stock adapter is obvious; the overall length of the weapon is reduced by about six inches with the stock folded to the side. It allows the weapon to be transported, stored and carried in a much smaller overall package than before, and only an inch longer than the length of the upper receiver only. The main con, in my opinion, is that the upper and lower cannot be separated without disassembling the bolt carrier extension from the bolt carrier. Some lowers will allow the upper to be slid forward and separated (M-16 full auto lower receivers with the thinner wall to accommodate the auto sear), but most don't. This is an inconvenience when it comes to maintenance, and I wonder about wear and tear on the carrier extension screw and expanding plug over time with repeated disassembly. The VC3 thread locker is pre-applied to the extension screw, and will need to be re-applied after a few cycles of disassembly and reassembly. As I swap uppers and lowers often, it's a matter of convenience for me. For someone who has a dedicated upper for the folding stock lower, or has no need to disassemble it for frequent maintenance, it may be less of an issue.
The other con is the location of the QD sling swivel stud - it's located on the bottom of the receiver side of the hinge assembly. With a QD swivel installed, it was a no-go for me, even with a smaller QD swivel. It was uncomfortable and interfered with my hand. That's why I installed my sling on a receiver end plate and recommend that a right handed user install something like the Noveske plate which provides a QD attach point at the rear. Another thing I'd like to see is some kind of detent that keeps the stock in the folded position. Right now, it depends on screw tension/friction to keep it there, but when taking it out of a case/bag, the stock will tend to open up when extracting it. Slinging the weapon with the stock folded when using the sling plate I installed wasn't possible because it'd pull the stock into a partially open position.
One more thing to consider is the added length when open. When open, about 1.3" is added to the length as the receiver extension has moved rearward. That's why I used a standard carbine receiver extension for this installation instead of the longer Vltor A5 tube. I'm a smaller fellow, and when wearing a plate carrier need the stock almost completely collapsed. With the carbine tube and a Vltor i-mod stock, it was fine for me, but the longer E-Mod stock would have been too long.
With the stock open and locked, the weapon functioned at the range just as it would normally. I didn't have any issues or notice any difference whatsoever, even though the carrier extension adds a bit of reciprocating weight. I'm using a H-buffer, and that can easily be swapped out to a standard buffer if the additional weight causes issues.
The stock locks up solidly in the open position without any play. Malfunction drills were no different, and there was no need to separate the upper and lower during the range session. I'd really like to see Law Tactical work on a solution that allows normal separation of the upper and lower - I've already brought this up and discussed what I feel might be an option - make the bolt carrier extension in two pieces: have the plug that installs into the rear of the carrier with a clocking feature that the front of the extension engages. That way the extension can be removed out the back of the upper while the plug stays in the carrier. There'll be enough clearance to move the upper receiver forward and out to separate it from the lower. I think that that's the main concern I have with this design - the sling attach point and detent to keep the stock folded are secondary to that. Law Tactical did design the carrier extension to be removed with a simple screw driver, and my multi tool works with it, so if there's an occasion where it really needs to be removed in the field, it can be quite easily.
For transportation, the Adapter allowed me to fit the rifle into my EMDOM TNT GYM bag (extended) without separating the upper and lower as I would normally; a nice convenience to have. Playing around with the rifle in a car, it is much more handy and compact with the stock folded, and only takes a second to open. A 10.5" SBR with the Adapter would be able to fit in an Arc'teryx Khard 30 pack without having to disassemble it. The Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter was designed with a specific purpose in mind - to reduce the overall length of the AR-15 for transport, storage, concealment and mobility while allowing it to be put into action faster than if the upper and lower were separated. The current design, like any other, can be refined and there's always room for improvement. But if you have a current need that it will fulfill, and you've evaluated all the pros and cons, it's definitely worth checking out.
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