AR15 Misc Stuff



MARPAT Camo Paint Job

5/22/04 - Finally completed a project I started a couple of weeks ago - painting an AR. I had initially planned on just painting it sand colour, but then decided to take on the challenge of painting a MARPAT desert pattern instead. I had wanted a painted carbine that I could kick around and not worry about babying the finish of. I also wanted something lightweight and with the bare minimum mounted to it. I picked my oldest receiver to paint - an SP1 circa 1967 (hence the offset, double screw takedown). I figured I wouldn't be switching uppers on a painted receiver very often. I built a flattop with a Colt 16" pencil barrel, stole the RIS off another upper, and bought some new components for this project - replica Crane stock, PRI high Aimpoint mount, and LMT rear BUIS. I painted a Surefire 6P with shock proof bezel mounted in a Leupold QRW 1" ring on a Yankee-Hill angle mount. Tangodown rail panels complete the project.


I used Aervoe brand enamel spray paint (except for the grey and clearcoat). It'll scratch a bit and wear with use, but I don't care. Adds character. For a template, I drew a grid on heavy art paper, designed my pattern (using my MARPAT bdu's as a reference), and cut it out with an x-acto knife. I used the larger template for sand and grey (grey primer, actually), and the smaller one for earth brown and field drab. I put two base coats of sand, let that dry, then did the patterns. I dusted a light coat of sand to blend the colours in. Two clear coats of matte Krylon finished it off. It wasn't too much work - but there was a lot of drying time. I allowed at least a week for the paint to cure before assembling the different components.

1/13/07 - Well, after three years, here's how it's holding up. A few chips here and there, but nothing unexpected. I switched out the RAS rail to a free float MRE rail and stuck an old Smith comp on the muzzle. I was lazy and didn't use the template to paint them, but they still match quite well.

10/21/08 - A few months ago, I decided to repaint this rifle and give it a more 'generic' pattern instead of MARPAT. I essentially used the same colours.

MM/SERT System C3 (Compact Carbine Case)

3/18/07 - The MM/SERT System (i-SHOT) C3 (Compact Carbine Case) has been more than a year in the making. The first prototype was shown at the i-SHOT booth at the 2006 SHOT show in Vegas and it will finally be ready to go into production in a few weeks (looking at June release). Back in 2005, Helmie from SERT System asked me if I'd be interested in licensing my breakdown M4 case concept/design. I saw it as an opportunity to improve on my original concept and came up with a new one for i-SHOT.

The idea behind a breakdown case for the M4 is to carry an M4 in the most compact package possible. I wanted a package that was both relatively discreet and easy to carry. It's not meant to disguise it as something else, but just not 'obvious' in plain view. It'd also be easy to transport a rifle in a car or SUV, and keep it in the passenger compartment without taking as much room as a full-size case. This neccesitated a breakdown case, where the upper and lower receivers are separated. It only takes a few seconds to put the upper and lower together.

Here's a summary of the main features of the C3:

  • Overall construction - 1000D Cordura.
  • Overall external dimensions (main body) - 24" x 10" x 3". Note that since it's fabric, it will bulge out in some places, so dimensions are approximate. The roll top fabric adds about an inch to the length (25").
  • Two front pockets - 9" x 9" x 1.25". The bottom pocket has dividers for M4 mags, and is designed to fit three magazines. However, a total of six USGI 30-round magazines in the bottom (two per compartment) but they'll be very tight. Both pockets have zipper closures. The top pocket is undivided.
  • Roll-top closure - I liked the simplicity of dry-bag roll top closures, with no zippers involved. The roll-top is an extended sleeve beyond the body of the case, with the opening partially closed by velcro. The top is then rolled down three times and the side buckles engaged. The roll top seals out dust and debris, and is quick to open. There are two male SR buckles on the side, with web straps to cinch the roll top tight.
  • Main compartment - the main compartment is sized to fit an AR15 upper receiver with 16" barrel (with a flash hider). If needed, it'll accomodate barrels a couple of inches longer - the roll down top will just bulge out a bit at the top. The compartment has a full size, removable, padded divider that has velcro along the sides and bottom. The divider has 1/4" closed cell EVA foam padding, and divides the main compartment into two - one for the lower receiver assembly, and another for the upper receiver assembly.
  • Internal padding - The main compartment is well protected on all sides with a combination of EVA foam, and a HDPE sheet. Both are removable, as they are housed in pockets on all sides. The HDPE stiffening sheet can be removed and the foam left in place or vice-versa. The sheets and foam maintain the case's shape while protecting its contents.
  • Carry/grab handles - There are three carry handles made from 2" wide webbing - one on each side and one at the top. The production version handles will be lower profile than seen here, and the top handle will be moved a little farther down the back. The case can be carried horizontally by the side handles, while the top handle gives you something to grab if the case is under something in a vehicle.
  • Carry strap attach points - There are four metal common loops on the back of the case, which serve as attach points for single or double carry straps (two carry straps are included). The C3 can be worn like a backpack, or 'quiver' style with a strap over one shoulder and across the chest.
  • Velcro ID patch - on the front above the top pocket is a 4" x 3" loop velcro patch for patches or ID.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

C3 in black




Recommended internal arrangement
Even though the main compartment of the C3 is about 24", it's diagonal length is 26". Besides an M4, the C3 will accomodate any complete weapon that will fit into that envelope. It's the perfect size for MP5's with retractable stocks, or a short-barreled M4 with 10.5" barrel. As shown below, it'll also fit an AK with side or under-folding stock (without a long muzzle brake).

Lower pocket holds 6 USGI mags

Roll top


Removable padded divider

HDPE sheet and padding

Fits AK folders

Here's a look at the production version C3 in Crye MultiCam. ITW Ghillietex hardware used throughout. The carry handles have been flattened for a lower profile. As mentioned above, the HDPE sheets can be removed is a softer case is preferred. I prefer to leave all of them in, and take out only the front one if the contents are extra bulkcy. The case may seem a bit tight/stiff at first, but it'll conform to the shape of the contents quickly.
I also found that by rolling over the top twice instead of three times, longer barrels up to 18" can be accomodated. The case isn't really designed for it, but can be used that way.

MultiCam C3




Open top

Rolled up

Padded divider

Removable shoulder straps



i-SHOT/ S.E.R.T. System Tac Carbine case

11/27/05 - The i-SHOT/S.E.R.T. System Tac Carbine Case (TCC) looks to be a standard two-compartment rifle case at first glance, but it's in the details that sets it apart from other cases currently available. Constructed of 1000D Cordura throughout, the quality is evident in the workmanship and construction. Shown below is the 36" case (the smallest size - it's also available in 42" and 46" lengths). The TCC has two compartments, a main one (36"x12"x3") that can hold weapons up to 36" in length, and an outer compartment (31.5"x9.5"x2") that can hold a shorter weapon or accessories (all dimensions are approximate, measured seam to seam).
The carry handle is made of 2" wide webbing and wraps under the bottom of the case. The heavy-duty YKK#10 metal zippers are lockable. On the rear of the case are two metal attach points for the adjustable 2" wide shoulder strap.
When I poked at the case, it seemed stiffer than most soft cases (which are usually quite floppy). This is because in addition to dense, closed cell foam padding, the TCC also uses plastic inserts which further protect the contents and help the case retain its shape. The foam/plastic insert combination is used in both sides of the main compartment and in the outer side of the outside compartment. The foam and inserts in the main compartment are removable, via zippered openings.
The main compartment is lined with PALS webbing. The webbing is used to secure the weapons in the compartment with the supplied straps (4 come with the case). The PALS webbing in the main compartment is lined with velcro which prevents the straps from being lost (i'm not sure whether that's really necessary, but it's a thoughtful feature). When the straps are used properly to secure a weapon to the PALS, it's rock solid and the weapon will not move. I was able to fit an M4 and Remington 870 (with Mesa Tactical stock adapter) in the main compartment. 3-gun match shooters will probably want the longer cases to fit full length shotguns in the main compartment and a carbine in the outer one. The outer compartment also features PALS webbing for attachment of MOLLE-compatible pouches. It's not absolutely necessary to weave the straps in and out of the PALS webbing since they're inside a compartment - the pouches are secure enough and can be changed or removed more quickly.

All in all, it's a very well-built and designed case with more protection than your normal soft case with internal modularity to boot.

Front view
Back/Top view
Main compartment
Outer compartment
Removable foam and plastic insert
M4 and 870 in main compartment
MOLLE pouches in front compartment

MM4 case made by RecceGear (Note: Reccegear is no longer taking new orders)

8/25/04 - This is the MM4 (Mini-M4) case of my own design, and made by Jon Nelson of Reccegear to my drawing/specs. My goal was to design the most compact case that I could fit an M4 or AR15 carbine into. This necessitated separating the upper and lower receivers. I know some people don't like to do that, so this case is not for those who don't want to, unless you have a 10.5" barrel, which WILL fit without seperating the upper and lower. (If you're looking for a case that fits a complete rifle without having to seperate the upper and lower, there are numerous choices available from a multitude of manufacturers). It didn't have to be discrete or 'civvy' looking, and it wasn't meant to be a quick-deploy case. Instead of the common fold-open case, I went with a rifle-sleeve design, open only at one end. I felt that this was simpler, and also stronger, being closed on 3 sides. The length of the case was dictated by the size of a 16" barrelled upper receiver, with optics/scope, vertical grip etc. Instead of making a single-layer case (like shotgun breakdown case), which would have made it wider, the upper and lowers overlap slightly inside the case, for minimum width. Here's a rundown of its features:

  • External dimensions: 25"x9.5"x3". Will accomodate any upper receiver up to 16" barrel length, and any AR-15 lower receiver with rifle or carbine stock. Note that it will accomodate a complete M4 with 10.5" barrel without having to seperate the upper and lower.
  • 1000D cordura construction
  • Fully lined internally with .25" thick closed cell padding (can be upgraded to 3/8" thick)
  • Padded internal 420D divider to seperate upper and lower receivers inside
  • Horizontal carry handles (these will be shortened on future cases and probably sewn together).
  • 4 metal D-rings for attachment of shoulder strap. Can be worn like a backpack with the proper strap setup
  • 11 rows x 6 channels of PALS webbing on the outside for attachment of MOLLE compatible pouches
  • Heavy duty YKK zipper closure

The PALS webbing on the outside enable any MOLLE compatible pouches to be attached - the choice is up to the user. For illustration, I attached a custom made pouch that Jon had made for me a while ago (which holds about 8 30-rnd mags and other accessories, and two 100-round SAW pouches. There was still room to spare on the PALS webbing.
This is a purpose-designed case, with compactness as the driving factor. It won't fit all users needs, but it's not meant to. Jon no longer makes this case.

Front view
Back view
Size comparison with M4
Arrangement of upper and lower receivers inside the case
Lower receiver inside compartment
Upper and lower in seperate compartments
RG utility pouch and two 100 rnd SAW pouches
Rigged up with 1.25" wide shoulder straps
Worn on the back

CJ Weapons Mag loader/unloader

CJ Weapons is run by Master Sergeant Jon Morgan USMC (retired) and carries accessories for the shooter for various weapons systems. One of their products is the Lightning Mag loader/unloader which fits the FAL, M1A, AR10, HK91 and CETME magazines in 7.62mm. It is used for the charging of magazines with pre-loaded 10 round stripper clips. Unlike GI stripper clips for the M16, which uses brass tabs at the ends to secure the rounds, these stripper clips are spring loaded at the ends, so there are no brass tabs that break off after a few uses. The loader is put on the magazine, a loaded stripper clip inserted from the top, and ram rod used to push down and charge the mag. Quick and easy. The magnet on the ram rod extracts the stripper clip from the loader. For unloading, the back end of the ram rod is used to push out the rounds from behind. Note: I've gotten some feedback from and end user saying that after a LOT of use, the magnet can loosen, come out, and stick to the mag and get loaded. So do check the magnets for that happening and remove them if loose. The stripper clip cana be removed by hand quickly.
I tried this out on a few different FAL mags (metric), and the fit was a bit tight due to the front tab on the mag. There is a corresponding groove in the loader body for this tab and with use, it'll wear and I'm sure it'll be easier to slip on and off. Loading was simple - throw the loaded stripper clip in there and insert the ram rod, and push.
It's a good tool to use if you want to save time at the range. Just pre-load a bunch of stripper clips while you're watching TV at home. Or carry it with a resupply of ammo on stripper clips in a small pack in the field. Contact Jon at weaponCJ@aol.com or visit his site if you're interested.



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