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GUNS Magazine August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 74
Power, range and precision means the MK214 rifle (top) by Primary Weapons Systems and the Infidel bolt rifle (below) by Underground Skunk Works. JOHN CONNOR it’s not just “Paint-on-Performance.” o some industry execs and marketing mavens, T “tactical” means a device finished in matte black or earth tones, photographed on a bed of wet leaves and perhaps adorned with the image of a tiny ninja. To engineers and operators, it means “designed and intended for sustained, effective operation under combat conditions with minimal maintenance in the harshest environmental extremes.” Often the differences aren’t immediately apparent, and found in seemingly small touches. For example, the ability of Leupold’s Mark 4 CQ/ Tactical scope to retain seawater-tight integrity and operation even with the battery-cap off; a folding knife with an open frame to facilitate flushing mud, sand and congealed blood out with a swish in a rice paddy, are all tactical touches. refinements. Performance is superb; a “best buy” for the bucks. TACTICAl ARMS & ACCESSORIES SIG SAUER SIG SAUER’s first entrant in the burgeoning world of Stoner-type AR’s is the SIG516 Patrol Rifle, and they hit a home run on the first pitch. Essentially, their engineers took the half-century old design, and while retaining its basic dimensions and operating ergonomics, improved on it significantly. A flawless piston system, free-floated quad rail, beefedup barrel nut, machined-in QD sling swivel mounts and a spring-loaded plunger to provide constant pressure between the upper and lower receivers are only a few of the signature SIG 74 SIG SAUER’s SIG516 (front) and the SIG556 Patrol (rear) both spell “Tactical” with a capital “T.” Photo: Robbie Barrkman One big difference between sporting arms and tactical weapons is, with the former, several years or seasons pass before new designs are truly “wrung out” and de-bugged. New tactical designs are plunged into torture-test tanks immediately, and their evaluators often take dark delight in puttin’ the screws to ’em. Such was the case with the PWS MK2-series and its variants. Primary Weapons Systems of Boise, Idaho, has combined the reliability of the AK-47 gas system with the ergonomics of an AR-style, SR-25-type platform to create a cool-running, rugged, mechanically simple 7.62x51mm NATO rifle. The operating rod is attached to the carrier, and a floating-head piston is attached to the op-rod, resulting in an extremely accurate weapon with no unnecessary gas adjustments and just one moving assembly. The best part? This highly rated hybrid is priced competitively with production directgas-impingement semi-autos. Finding a successful balance between exacting accuracy and smooth operation under grungy conditions requires the best efforts of master machinists and hardcore tactical shooters. The crew at Underground Skunk Works in Columbia Falls, Mont., packs that into seven models of dedicated tactical rifles like the Infidel shown here. Their own virtually bombproof Model 911 action is mated with a premium barrel, modified Timney trigger and an Accuracy International Chassis System. Offered in five calibers from .223 Rem through .308 Win to .338 Lapua Magnum, UGSW guarantees 3/8 MOA—or better!—accuracy based on five 5-shot groups. It doesn’t get better than that, folks. Is your plain-Jane stock Glock 17 “tactical”? By any standard, yes it is. We tend to forget it was designed and has excelled as a military sidearm, passing the most grueling tests with flying colors. For my money, two of the best tactical pistols Glock produced are the G17, and the G21SF .45 ACP (Slim Frame) models made with a 1913 rail. The respected SIG P220 was upgraded for the now-suspended SOCOM pistol trials with a flat Dark Earth finish on the alloy frame, a 1913 rail, vertical frontstrap serrations, black Nitron-coated stainless slide and enhanced anti-corrosion and friction-reducing internal treatments. The result is the P220 Combat, and WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2011