Not Another AR-15!


I get it. Hell, I’ve been it. The AR-15 is a cookie cuttered platform that can get… stale. Like flat root beer or corn chips that didn’t have the bag rolled up right. You’re just kind of done with it.

The AR-15 is the most invested in platform of the firearms market here in the US. The AK might arguably be on the worldwide scale but that argument really doesn’t scale modernization into the equation, millions upon millions of the AKMs are still just as ‘Nyet! Rifle is Fine! Just add colored duct tape’ as they have been for decades.

So, what to look at if you don’t want another AR but you still want it AR~ish? Tim has a list in the video that he is liking and I have mine. Tim hits on a salient point that most rifles and carbines worth the time and resource to buy are more expensive than a comparable AR-15… that’s what happens when the whole of the market supports a single product.

Hell, even IWI makes an AR now. A pretty damn good one actually. And it’s because they, like others before them have and others after them will, are supporting the strong demand of the market for the one rifle that clearly everyone should support.

But that does get boring, I know.

That’s part of the reason I own so many ‘not ARs’ like I do ‘not a Glock’ handguns. It’s fun to see others take on the idea, especially when they do it well. Seeing the ‘million ways to build the mouse trap’ when they work well is just plain neat sometimes. It’s why we like rifles like the MCX, Bren 2, & HK433 despite them basically still just doing what the M4 does, it’s because they aren’t an M4 but they work well that we feel a sense of refreshment.

I’ll be doing a video on those 3 specifically in the near future, as I believe they represent what is essentially the edge of current service rifle tech at present in the 5.56 field.

One rifle I want to mention that Tim does not is the XCR.

If there was ever a little company that I am just damn straight impressed with for keeping on the grind its RA. Talking with Alex at SHOT this last year and ordering this little guy was a real treat. I know my buddy Mike, who writes for us every now and then, still loves his XCR-M but this L just reaffirms the work they’re doing.

This gun has never stopped evolving. In a way that is especially impressive due to the fact it was keeping up with the aforementioned AR-15 and was introduced as a competitor in the SCAR program but lost due to no BFA. Long stroke piston with adjustable gas port. Buyer selectable M-LOK or Keymod negative space rail systems which Alex implemented… and he didn’t have to. He could have said, “no, 1913 rails are fine and I’m just going to make sure the gas system and springs and all that are running.” He didn’t. He has kept this whole thing inline with emerging tech. 2-Stage trigger, check. Adjustable and folding stock with equivalent brace system, check. Negative space monolithic receiver rail systems, check. Freefloat barrel, check.

It’s a testament to the little shop doing big things. It’s a damn fine little truck gun. About the only two criticisms I have, and really it’s more like one and a half..

First, I want the industry to stop using muzzle breaks, enough, no more, especially on short barrels. Someone orders an 18″ competition gun, fine. Everything else needs to run flash hiders and/or close proximity compensators. Breaks are dumb on anything that isn’t a gamer gun, or a precision rig (usually magnum caliber too), or a suppressor host. Comps and flash hiders, folks.. Comps and flash hiders.

And the other is an A2 grip.. C’mon.. 1985 called and said they made a mistake. Start using K2’s or B5’s or Mod 3’s as the standard already. This is the half criticism because it’s such a small easy thing to change out. A2’s are the ‘Glock Iron Sights’ of AR type platforms and its essentially just a stand-in until you add your preferred grip. It isn’t meant to stay there.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.