Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Iron Ridge’s IRA-X family of rifles focuses on getting the important stuff right. The result is a truly exceptional and customizable AR-10-style rifle with all the attention to detail to make it a precision powerhouse. To get the most out of the IRA-X Thor, a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56mm scope was mounted. When it comes to succeeding in a tactical environment, most experts will agree that it ultimately comes down to a matter of doing the basics better. “High-speed, low-drag” doesn’t mean complicated or advanced; it means the ability to perform critical tasks flawlessly under any circumstances—in short, getting the important stuff right. While that wisdom is certainly valid when it comes to tactical skills, it is equally applicable to equipment manufacture. And getting the important stuff right is what Iron Ridge Arms’ IRA-X AR-10-style rifles are all about. Iron Ridge Arms is a manufacturer and custom shop that specializes in Class II and Class III firearms. Nestled discreetly in an industrial park in Longmont, Colorado, it is owned and operated by veteran gunsmith, machinist and designer Oliver Mazurkiewicz. Through his many years of experience customizing and modifying all brands of tactical rifles and carbines, Mazurkiewicz developed a keen understanding of the critical qualities necessary in that breed. And while many manufacturers do an excellent job of providing these qualities, as a custom gunsmith, Mazurkiewicz always saw room for improvement. He believed that if that extra attention to detail were incorporated into the fundamental construction of the rifle, its “basics” would literally be as good as they could get. The result of that process was the IRA-X rifle platform. Starting with the right foundation—the IRA-X has meticulously machined upper and lower receivers that are fitted perfectly to withstand the harshest conditions. Gun Details The core of the IRA-X is its meticulously machined upper and lower receiver.

Designed and engineered to meet Mazurkiewicz’s exacting specifications, these parts are CNC-machined from solid billets of 7075-T6 aluminum in the Iron Ridge shop. Although they are designed to accept components purchased from DPMS, which Mazurkiewicz has carefully selected as “the standard” of quality and consistency for drop-in parts, they are not your run-of-the-mill receivers.

                                                               SIG SAUER 716 PATROL 7.62mm
Sig Sauer has brought a true contender to the 7.62mm NATO rifle market. Most of what an operator needs for duty comes standard on the SIG716, making it about as patrol ready as any system out there. Shown here with a Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24mm CQBSS riflescope and Delta Point Reflex sight.
One thing has become evident after a few years of testing rifles: Given time and continued demand, things improve. In terms of weapons evolution, the 7.62×51mm chambering in the AR platform is still pretty young. Though this platform was originally created in this caliber and has been around a long time, a truly consolidated effort to truly improve the system in 7.62mm only began in the last few years.
Much of this has been driven by various military contracts. Although the primary driving force, the rest of the gun world has been clamoring for a 7.62mm AR as well. The 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge is prevalent throughout the world and remains one of the most popular rifle cartridges available. It has proven to be versatile, accurate and reliable, making it a very popular caliber—especially in military-style rifles.
The added rail space on the gas block allows for flip-up sights that maintain the proper sight ratios for a big-bore rifle. Note the adjustable four-position gas switch above the barrel.
It is demand that drives innovation, and the demand for an AR-type rifle in 7.62mm has been pretty high. Much of this demand has focused on piston-driven systems in barrel lengths of 16 inches or less. Whether you see the need for a piston gun or not, they have occupied a large part of the market for the last few years and continue to do so. For most police agencies or other professionals, a 16-inch barrel is close to perfect for most operations, and gas piston systems are great so long as they work. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. It all really depends on what you need or want and how well they are built.

Capacity has always been a problem with shotguns. Roth Concept Innovations has fixed this with their XRAIL add-on, which gives operators 14 to 22 shells on demand without permanently altering the weapon.
For many, the shotgun is still a versatile tool, especially as it pertains to less-lethal, gas and even true riot rounds. Many of these rounds will not cycle in a semi-auto, however, and a pump is the only choice. For riot control teams, rubber pellets, teargas and beanbag rounds are critical.
Shotguns loaded with less-lethal rounds are also essential for S.W.A.T. operations. Depending on the target location, it can be preferable to deploy a team with a 12 gauge and gas rounds. Many immediate action teams still have someone with a shotgun loaded with less-lethal to back up the Taser. Lastly, many still see the pump shotgun as a viable and practical patrol weapon. It is simple, reliable, and can handle most tasks an officer is ever asked to do.
As suitable as the pump shotgun is for all of these tasks, it still has one limitation: ammunition capacity. This has spawned all kinds of gear designed to deal with the issue, such as a sidesaddle or spare ammunition pouch on your gear. Many still use a sling that accommodates spare ammunition. There are even “speedloaders” designed for fast reloads. These generally have no tactical value at all and are often dangerous, but they illustrate the point. Attending some training classes, the avid shotgun shooter looks like something straight out of the 19th century with ammunition on the gun, holster, sling and anywhere else it can be tacked on.