Gun slings are perfect for tactical shooting. Some improve accuracy by providing a much-needed boost of stability, while others make it easier to cycle between your rifle and your sidearm. In order to get the most out of your sling, you first need to decide what you want your sling to do – improve your aim or keep your rifle in an easy-to-reach location while you’re walking hands-free. In this article, I plan to cover the benefits of different types of gun slings. If you’re looking to find the best M4 sling for you, read further. The Purpose of a Gun Sling An M4 carbine sling can drastically improve your shooting experience. It lets you carry your gun closely by your side, so that you can keep your hands-free but still grab your rifle at a moment’s notice. Also known as sentry slings because of their use in a peacekeeping capacity, these M4 tactical slings are perfect for armed personnel and hunters alike. While there are a number of different kinds of slings available on the market, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, most fall into the following categories: 1 point sling 2 point / adjustable 2 point sling 3 point sling Shooting sling While your average 1, 2, or 3 point sling is designed to improve carrying your gun, shooting slings specialize in improving accuracy. Since most shooting slings are designed for long-range rifles, I won’t be covering them when talking about the best M4 sling for deployment. However, we will touch on how 2 point slings can easily be converted into shooting slings further in the article. Your Sling’s Material Most gun slings are made from leather or a nylon blend, and both camps have their passionate supporters. While synthetic and leather slings may have some advantages, it’s mostly a stylistic component that attracts people to one or the other. Nylon slings Nylon and other synthetic straps are tough, durable, and never get stuck. The way you get the sling brand new is how it’ll last forever, until it breaks. For most people, this is a good thing as it means a consistent feel that doesn’t loosen over time. However, the drawback to nylon is that it can be slippery, depending on the type of clothes you wear, which could cause the sling to lose traction. Leather slings Leather slings are stylish. They look really cool and have more traction than their nylon counterparts, which is especially useful if you’re using a 2 point sling. The stiffness, or elasticity, of leather slings wears down over time. While some people prefer this for shooting slings, it can be annoying for people using gun slings designed to keep your M4 close to your body. The Pros and Cons of Each Sling Now that you have a basic understanding of gun slings, let’s look at the functionality of each type of sling. 1 point slings Also known as the single-point sling, this type of gun sling has only one connection point that attaches to the gun. It offers no benefit for shooting, but is perfect for being seconds away from grabbing your M4. When you let go of your rifle, it hangs close to your body in an easy-to-grab location. Grabbing your M4 automatically puts you in a shooting position that makes you ready to fire straight ahead. Can be worn to sling your weapon over your back or by your side if needed. Great for SMGs, but it can get uncomfortable for rifles and carbines as sways when dangling. For shorter people, their gun can bang up against their knees or groin area when running. 2 point slings The most common of the slings, most 2 point slings can double as shooting slings. You can also choose between three commonly used ways to tote your M4 with a 2 point sling: African carry, where the gun is over the back of your shoulder with the muzzle down. American carry, where it’s slung over the back of your shoulder with the muzzle up. European carry, where you carry the gun over the front of your shoulder with the muzzle up. How you choose to tote your M4 depends on your preferences and how easily you can grab your weapon. Generally speaking, African carry is the easiest to grab and sight up, but you run the risk of filling the barrel with dirt and debris. Pros Comfortable and easy to use. Can be converted into shooting slings, like the hasty sling and the USGI sling. Cons Using the 2 point sling hands-free leaves you unprepared. Inexperienced users are more likely to fumble around in a stressful situation when grabbing their gun. Have a look at the hasty sling in action: And the USGI sling: 3 point slings Your M4 3 point sling straps to your body like a harness, giving you an extra boost of security and a snugger feel than the 1 point sling. Your M4 is secure against your body so you don’t have to deal with annoying wobbling. Guns don’t bang against your body as you run. Your rifle is just as easy to grab and aim as the 1 point sling. They can restrict your range of movement. The positioning of the sling means that you run the risk of blocking your own ejection port or getting snagged on the bolt release. Excellent Slings for Your M4 Once you’ve decided what type of sling you want to get, it’s time to shop around and find one that works for you. Here are best-selling gun slings for the M4. 1. Magpul MAG518 Magpul Two Point Sling - Quick Adjust (Black) (Original... Weight: 6.0 oz Length, Overall Nominal: 48-60 in. ± 5 in. adjustment Slider Adjustment Range: 10 in. Width, Webbing: 1.25 in. Width, Pad: 1.85" Check Price When it comes to accessories you can trust, Magpul is among the best of them. This 1 point Magpul sling is no different. It’s easy to adjust, comfortable, keeps your rifle in arm’s reach. Since this sling is made by Magpul , you’re guaranteed to receive a heavy-duty product that can withstand years of wear-and-tear. If you’re interested in a versatile sling that can accommodate your M4 and a number of other tactical weapons then the MAG528 delivers in so many ways. Its easy-to-adjust slider means that you get the tension you want every time, without struggling. 2. AlientTACS CQC Transformer Rifle Sling CVLIFE Two Points Sling with Length Adjuster Traditional... Color: Black. The Two points sling is constructed with superior... Upgraded larger metal hooks make the sling fit the rifle well. The rope of the sling is adjustable, so it will be suitable for... With adjustment thumb loop and high density cord, the sling can be... Long adjustable strap creates wide length variability for the two... Check Price The CQC Transformer sling is probably the best 1 to 2 point sling that you’ll find under $50. It’s designed to be comfortable, quick to use, and, most importantly, versatile. Converting the strap to a 1 point sling is simple, and since it’s much lighter than its Magpul counterpart, your M4 sits snugly on your body without any discomfort. Overall, the CQC Transformer sling gives you the best of both worlds. You get the added comfort of using a 2 point sling, while also being able to convert it to a 1 point sling that keeps your gun closely by your side and ready to use. 3. Blue Force 2 point Vickers Sling Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications Sling, Nylon... 1.25" webbing on both ends secured with included triglides Webbing can be looped through sling swivels or loops or combined with... Fits standard M4 carbines and other carbines and rifles Can be mounted upside down (Adjuster to the rear) on traditional bolt... Check Price Vickers’ combat slings have the reputation of being excellent for a reason. They’re comfortable, provide you with a full range of motion, and make it easy to grab your rifle from a suspended position. This combat sling is no different, and is even made from a heavy-duty nylon blend that’s strong enough to withstand abuse, while soft enough to ensure the wearer stays comfortable at all times. Another benefit of this sling is its quick adjust feature, which makes it easy to find the right tension that works for you. 4. Specter Gear SOP 3 Point Sling string(57) "The ItemId B008NKS614 provided in the request is invalid." The SOP 3 point sling by Specter Gear is perfect if you want a gun sling that keeps your M4 snug by your side where it’s easy to reach, but tightly secured. One real cool feature to this sling is the emergency release buckle, which immediately disengages the sling in the event of an emergency. This gun sling gives you the most bang for your buck with a sticker price under $50. It’s sturdy enough to withstand years of abuse and keeps your rifle in an easy-to-reach location. Unlike other gun slings on the market, the SOP 3 point sling enables you to run without worrying if your M4 will crash into anything. The Best M4 Sling Depends on You Now that we’ve covered a little bit about gun slings, it’s time to pick the right one for your M4. Unfortunately, finding the right sling takes a bit more than choosing between a single, double, or 3 point sling. You want to find the sling that works best for you, and more often than not, that requires some hands-on experience. Before you spend your money on a brand new sling for your rifle, hit the shooting range and test out some different slings. If you have friends who are into tactical gear, ask to try some of their slings with your M4. You’ll be surprised to find that choosing between the 1 point and 3 point sling is largely based on preference, not functionality. While finding the right sling takes time, it’s a process that’s well worth it. Once you find that perfect sling for you, you’ll probably never want to shoot an M4 without a strap again.
The concept of tactical illumination has been around for a while, but only in recent years have the tools been widely available for individuals not affiliated with law enforcement or military. Many manufactures offer tactical flashlights, so let’s examine an entry level light by a premier manufacturer: the SureFire G2 Countless EDC, Urban Survival , and Bug Out Bag lists focus some portion on illumination, but the time has come for expanding capabilities rather than simply shining your way to tactical illumination. Quick Navigation What is “Tactical Illumination”? What Makes the G2 Attractive? Drawbacks to the G2? Better Prepared What is “Tactical Illumination”? Tactical illumination is a beam produced by a flashlight powerful enough to stop or confuse an attacker by temporarily blinding and disorienting them. The general consensus: 60 lumens is the minimum level of power for a mid-range encounter. Anything less will not guarantee results. The SureFire G2 comes stock with a P60 lamp, which is the heart of the light. It produces 65 lumens for approximately one hour. You can upgrade the bulb to a P61 for 120 lumen output, but this reduces run time to 20 minutes. What Makes the G2 Attractive? The G2 is made out of “Nitrolon”, a glass reinforced plastic, which makes it rugged and light weight. Factory specs are 4.1 ounces with batteries. The body is available in four colors; Black, Desert Tan, OD Green, and Yellow. The body is molded with ridges that make it easy to hold, even wet or with gloves. The tailcap is tactical-style, and can be backed off to lock out the light to prevent it from accidentally switching on. It has a tailcap switch that makes it easy to use with a handgun. SureFire also warranties their lights with a no questions asked warranty (batteries and bulbs excluded.) The flashlight is modular and can be upgraded with a host of accessories. You can add flip-up colored filters and covers, different tailcaps, different bulbs (P61 or P60L), and different bezels. Drawbacks to the G2? The major drawback is the short run time. Usually this is not noticeable when the light is used in short bursts, but if you’re using it to hike back out of a trail you could end up with a dead flashlight. The other drawback is the use of CR123 cells. These are more expensive than AA cells, but do have advantages for the survivalist. They are lithium cells and have a shelf life of 10 years. If you plan using a G2 as an EDC light or as a backup light for a camp out, you are better off buying cells off in bulk. If run time is a large concern, you may want to step up to the Surefire G2 LED, which provides tactical level illumination for 3 hours with a total run time of 11 hours before draining the batteries. Better Prepared With a light like the G2, you will be better prepared. Stash one in your truck back or in your Get Home Bag . You will have the ability to disorient an aggressor, as well as aid search and rescue. Basically, with such a small, bright light, you can easily find your way out of a tough spot. There are better lights in the SureFire lineup, but the G2 is cheap enough that it’s accessible to most preppers. I find them to be handy, tough lights that are cheap enough that I don’t mind if I lose or rough one up, and on the rare occasion that I need to SureFire has always been outstanding about replacing broken parts. Photos by: mr smashy Other interesting articles: 1tac TC1200 Pro Tactical Flashlight Review for 2020: Worth It? Survival Gear Review: SureFire G2X Pro Professional Level Key Fob Lights "Survival Gear Review" : SureFire LX2
A variety of natural and man-made disasters can impact your local or regional power grids. Natural events like recent Hurricane Irene (that disrupted power to 4 million customers), along with earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, snow storms, flooding, wildfires and lightning strikes cause major impacts. Quick Navigation Prepping for a Prolonged Lights Out Scenario Too Dependent? Solar Threats Recent Impacts Planning Ahead Replacing Grid Power Light Options A Stash of Emergency Cash Other related links: Prepping for a Prolonged Lights Out Scenario Human caused disruptions can include ground vehicle and aircraft accidents –hitting poles and lines – and acts of sabotage, terrorism and war. A low yield nuclear explosion on the surface or as an airburst a couple miles up would generate a debilitating electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). The EMP would literally fry most electronic devices and overload electrical distribution systems, knocking out power over a large scale area for miles. But there is one threat in the center of our universe that most people are not aware of – our sun. Too Dependent? Americans and most of the world are overly dependent upon electricity more so than oil, especially in large urban areas with mass transit systems. Most folks never give it a second thought that electrical power could stop in a blink of an eye. And if it did, how would it impact you? How long could the “juice” be off before it was a major disruption to your life, your family, and your world? (Read “ Lights Out “) Could you go a week or more like many of the people impacted by Hurricane Irene? Electricity is needed for nearly every aspect of our daily lives – from charging the batteries on our cell phones, laptops and mp3 players; to powering our coffee pots, elevators, subway cars, wireless and communications networks; to keeping the lights and TVs on, opening doors, controlling traffic lights, powering the local ATM machines, and running our water and gas pumps. There are three key components to the typical electrical system – generation, transmission and distribution – and a problem in any one component stops the flow of electricity. Generation is the production of electricity from hydro-electric dams , wind turbines, steam generators (from nuclear, coal powered and geo-thermal systems), and gasoline and diesel powered generators. Transmission is the movement of electricity from the production site on high voltage lines to substations. Then distribution is the passage from substations on local power lines to the end users. Usually it is in the distribution component that most disruptions occur. Solar Threats The first recorded event of the sun causing a disruption to electrical systems on Earth was in 1859. On September 1 at 11:18 a.m., British astronomer Richard Carrington was projecting an image of the sun on a screen and witnessed two brilliant threads of white light appear over sunspots he was studying at his observatory in England. The next day before dawn, the skies over the Earth began to erupt with brilliant auroras in red, green and purple from the Arctic Circle down to lower latitudes near Hawaii, Cuba and the Bahamas. The more significant phenomena that day was the effect upon the newly established telegraph systems in America and Europe. The Earth received the equivalent of an EMP burst from the Sun that manifested as electrical overloads in telegraph lines and discharges from telegraph equipment shocking operators and setting paper and other materials on fire. Carrington connected the observance of what was a coronal mass ejection (CME) or solar flare from the previous day and delayed impact electro-magnetic energy on the telegraph systems. When a CME occurs, it is basically an eruption or ejection of a massive cloud of charged plasma from a sunspot on the surface outward into space. On average, the distance between the sun and our planet is an estimated 93 million miles, or in light years about 8.3 light-minutes. While the CME can be seen in about 8 minutes after it occurs, the ejected plasma particles travel at a slower speed of between 500,000 to one million miles per hour – hence the delay in the observed event and any resulting effect on Earth a day or two later. A large CME that is in the direction of the Earth can affect our planet’s magnetic field, as well as have a severe impact on any satellites and spacecraft in orbit, and possibly disrupt electrical and communication girds on the ground. This is known as a “ Carrington Event ” and more information is available online from NASA, Wikipedia and other sources. Much like earthquakes and hurricanes are measured in increasing scales of severity, CMEs have a correspondence scale of magnitude; with X class being the highest. Recent Impacts In Carrington’s day, no one knew flares existed until that September morning when one super-flare produced enough light to reveal the explosive eruptions from the sun. Recently, as in last 40 years, there are a number of recorded events that have caused limited disruptions on Earth. On Aug. 4, 1972, a solar flare knocked out long distance telephone communications in Illinois, which caused AT&T to redesign its power system for transatlantic cables. Another flare caused the Hydro Québec generating station in Canada to shutdown on March 13, 1989 , disrupted electric power transmission for 9 hours to 6 million people and blacking out most of the province. Geo-magnetic surges also caused melted power transformers in New Jersey. In December 2005, X-rays from another solar storm disrupted satellite-to-ground communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation signals for about 10 minutes. Scientists know that solar flares can happen on a frequent basis during periods of solar sunspots maximum, which our sun is approaching in 2012 and 2013 as part of an 11-year cycle of peak flare activity. Hopefully, this information gives you cause to consider the “what if” aspect of a massive CME triggering a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation to some portion of our planet. What if a sizeable portion of North America was facing sunward when a CME solar wave reached Earth? The good news is that several U.S. Government agencies in 2010 and 2011 have started taking an interest in Carrington Events. The bad news is that most of our country – from the federal government down through state and local levels – is not adequately prepared to deal with the effects of wide-ranging power outages or have the necessary replacement stocks available to repair damages to transformers, generation and switching equipment, and monitoring systems. So the preparedness burden falls back on the “prepper” to figure out his or her short and long-term strategies for dealing with the loss of electricity. Planning Ahead A good plan starts with considering what you consider as essential or critical requirements for your home or shelter to aid in your survival, safety and comfort. Here are some basic categories to consider: * Access to money * Operation of medical and life support equipment. * Refrigeration of food and medicines. * Household septic systems and waste treatment. * Food preparation and cooking * Home or shelter security systems * Hot water for hygiene, laundry, cleaning and sanitation. * Air conditioning and heating * Interior and exterior lighting. * Communications "Replacing Grid Power" There are several methods that can be used to produce electrical power if the gird goes down. The simplest solution is to obtain a portable fuel-powered generator that runs on gasoline, diesel or propane. Portable generators come in a variety sizes and the amount of wattage produced. You’ll have to do your own homework to determine what type would be best suited to your specific needs. Prices can run from a couple hundred dollars up to several thousand. Other options are solar power systems, wind turbines, and water generated; however, cost-wise, they can be far more expensive for larger electrical requirements then fuel-powered generators. If you use diesel, gas or propane powered generators, you’ll need to have an adequate supply of fuel on hand to fill your tank to keep the generator operational. How long or how many hours a day will you run your generator? How much fuel will you initially need on hand for a week, two-weeks or a month of operation? How will your resupply our fuel stocks? Do you have spare parts or the necessary accessories (i.e., oil, filters, spark plugs, spare cables) to conduct maintenance or service your equipment? Light Options Generators are great for producing electricity for recharging batteries, running refrigerators and freezers, water pumps and septic systems, and powering other appliances. However, they are not as cost efficient for providing lighting. There are a variety of cost effective low tech and high tech options to provide light at night. New high tech light emitting diode (LED) based flashlights and lanterns can provide over a hundred hours of light on a set of AA or AAA batteries. Low tech options are kerosene fuel lamps and hurricane lamps, Coleman-type gas lamps, and long burning candles. Each of these methods has their “pros and cons,” and what works best for you will depend on your situation. However, these give you options to consider. A Stash of Emergency Cash Financial guru Dave Ramsey stresses the importance of having a reserve of money – typically about 6 months worth of your salary – set aside in your bank account for emergencies. As a prepper, you should take this same principle to the next level and have a reserve of cash on hand for any emergency (see SurvivalCache article “ A Real Emergency Fund “). In the event of any loss of electrical power, the hardest thing to get your hands on will be your money from your account. Credit and debit cards, even checks, are worthless if there is no electricity to run verifications and process purchases. Cash (hard currency) will generally be the first choice for payment by most merchants during a crisis and a rush for goods. Do you a reserve of cash on hand if ATM machines are down and banks are closed? It is just not possible to cover all contingency in a short article. But hopefully this gives you something to think about, consider and include in your survival preparations. While the probability of a CME impacting the Earth maybe relatively low, the possibility still exists. Being aware of this threat should help you with your planning and preparedness. Do your own research and get smart. Other related links: The video link here shows footage of a CME eruption on June 7, 2011 from the sun’s surface. This is an incredible recorded solar flare and was broadcast via the internet within hours. Although this was only classified as a medium-sized solar flare, the explosion measured over a million kilometers across and blasted over a billion tons of material into space. The charged particles and radiation from this particular event did not have any impact on the Earth. Information and warnings from SpaceWeather.com : “ Risk Management and Space Weather ” article: “ Imagine a Blackout and the Lights don’t come back ” article: Irish Weather.com article on “ NASA To Discuss Impact Of Solar Flares On Earth ” About the author: Bama Bull is an Army veteran and lives in southeastern Alabama. His interest in survival preparedness are based on the threats associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, coronal mass ejections, pandemic diseases, and financial collapse . Photos by: Dennoir Alirezagran Shardayyy Stef Thomas Vincent Desjardins imelda Other interesting articles: Survival Gear Review: Personal Solar Light (PSL) "Survival Gear Review" : goTenna Off-Grid Device Going Off Grid – Part II Going Off Grid – Part I
What You Will Get Here Specifications Whom is this product for? / Pros Cons Common Questions and Answers Our Remarks Specifications Product Dimensions 13.6-in x 3.4-in x 2.4-in Item Weight 14.6 oz. Tube Size 1 inch Color Scheme Black Matte Model Number DBK-04-BDC Magnification 4x to 12x Objective Lens Diameter 40mm Eye Relief 3.1 inches Field of View 32.4-11.3 feet/ 100 yards Adjustment Graduation 1/4 MOA Travel per Rotation 15 MOA Elevation /Windage Click Rate 60 MOA Turret Style Capped Parallax Setting 100 yards Editor Rating : 4.6 out of 5 star Check Latest Price & Reviews On Amazon If you are an avid hunter, you can take your passion to the next level. The type of shooting does not matter that you enjoy – hunting or target. But, you can make your accuracy better with a high-quality riflescope. There are numerous optics brands out in the market, but you must pick one that excels in quality manufacturing. Vortex has been in this industry for more than a decade. The Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 comes with many attractive features which could be ideal for long-range shooting. Its lens is capable of performing 95 % light transmission because of the multi-layer coating. The 4-12 x 40 Diamondback has a field of view of 32.4 ft to11.3 feet at 100 yards. The main tube is 30mm, and its construction can maximize alignment for better accuracy to provide an optimum visual experience. Whom is this product for? / The Diamondback 4-12x40 is loaded with tons of features making it the perfect match for fervid hunters! This riflescope is one comes with various configurations in their lineup. The Diamondback 4-12x40mm by Vortex Optics is splendid for any long-range shooting. It can be useful for big game hunting or a single day at the local spot range. This item is suitable for predator and varmint hunting, muzzleloader, slug shotgun for hunting big game or any long-range application. The Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescopes Explained "The Vortex Diamondback" 4-12x40 scope measures in at 12.8 inches in length. This Vortex optics has a 40mm thick objective lens with a variable power in magnification range from 4x to 12x. It is made out of solid aircraft-grade aluminum block making the scope durable and extremely impervious to magnum recoil. Lenses of these 4-12x40 Vortex scopes are thoroughly multi-coated which provides crystal clear and sharp images even in dim light conditions. The fast focus eyepiece allows shooters reticle focusing with ease allowing it to use correctly. It results in a fastest agile target will not escape while trying to get the catch of it. The Vortex Diamondback 4 12x40 BDC focusing Dead-hold reticle is decent due to the fast focus eye-piece at variable ranges for any hunting or shooting in harsh environments. Capped precision turrets allow users to re-index turrets to zero resets after firearms sight-in the rifles. A precise glide erector system provides tracking and reiterating with accuracy. The Diamondback 4x12x40 scope features elevation and windage dials adjustments with audible clicks. This item comes with Argon filling, and O-ring sealed which ensures this scope will deliver waterproof and fog proof performance for the rest of the life. So, it becomes practically weather-proof to the enthusiasts which make achieving their goal easy in all weather conditions, and it does not need to clean every time after use. Pros Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum for durability and performance Multi-coated lenses transmit a massive amount of light to offer a brighter image Precision-Glide erector system ensures smooth magnification changes in rough environments Capped precision turrets allow for resets turrets to zero after sight-in rifles Ideal for big game, predator and varmint hunting, slug shotgun for hunting large game, or other long-range applications Argon gas filling shrugs off fogging and repelling to water O-ring seals keep out dampness, dust, and debris Cons It may take some extra time than usual to adjust the reset turrets The elevation dial comes with some consistency issues Common Questions and Answers Question : What is the “Precision Glide erector” system? Answer : It is a zoom system of specially designed components that delivers comfortable magnification changes and smooth transition under the toughest situations. Question : What is the BDC focusing Dead-Hold reticle? Answer : It is a customized design feature stadia marks along the crosshairs on the reticle. It helps remove guesswork on holdovers at precise yardages and windage compensation. Question : Does this riflescope come equipped with zero reset turrets? Answer : No. This Vortex scope has no zero-stop feature. If you want to buy an additional feature, you need to go for a scope with exposed turrets. Our Remarks Before I go, it is completely my pleasure to help you out with an effective and one of the best, I hope, Vortex scope reviews, and finish it with some buying recommendations. The features of Diamondback 4-12x40 are quite impressive, and you will be just blown away having asked for the price. A riflescope with all the necessary features which a hunter seeks comes in at such a price point, quite astounding! You can consider the Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40 with the same specifications which cost slightly more than the Vortex. It comes with optical prowess which ensures Nikon’s quality. It also has an effective, fast focus eye-piece. If you are budget or range conscious, then you can just rely on the Diamondback 4 12x40. It is a great catch for your bucks. It is compatible with the Diamondback AR-15. As seen in several Vortex scope reviews or other in this category, this item is a good catch for both its value and features. "Check Latest Price" & Reviews On Amazon share share share share share
The AR-15 was designed as a combat rifle utilizing a direct impingement as the original technology, devised by Eugene Stoner in the early 60s. Another ingenious solution developed by the brightest firearms designers of that time was the short-stroke gas piston system, applied by Mikhail Kalashnikov to the AK-47. We will show you how these two things can work together to give you better performance. Check out some of the uses and benefits of gas piston upper receivers and then stick around for reviews of some of the best of these from the market today. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for AR-15 Gas Piston Upgrades OUR TOP PICK: Wolf AR-15 A1 Complete Upper Receiver 5.56 Piston Adams Arms AR-15 P-Series Micro Block Gas Piston Conversion Kit BEST BUDGET OPTION: Superlative Arms AR-15 Adjustable Piston System .750" Clamp On Gas Block Comparison of the Best Gas Piston Upper Receivers IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick Wolf AR-15 A1 "Complete Upper Receiver" 5.56 Piston Complete With 16.5-Inch Barrel Having 1:7 Twist Rate Only Fits Models Using a Factory Rear Dovetail and Screw on Plate Fits With All Standard AR-15 Lower Receivers View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews Adams Arms AR-15 P- "Series Micro Block" "Gas Piston Conversion" Kit Made from high-quality steel Designed to fit most AR-15 rifles Works with carbine length gas systems "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Best Budget Option Superlative Arms AR-15 "Adjustable Piston System" .750" Clamp On Gas Block Clamp-on design Made from high-quality steel Available for different gas systems View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews How a Piston System Works The need for AR piston-system rifles was not necessary - or to cite the words of late Col. Jeff Cooper - “An ingenious solution to a nonexistent problem.” Still, some manufacturers, striving for perfection released a line of piston-driven receivers that appear to be the ideal blend of AK reliability with AR ergonomics. With the standard direct impingement system (DI), gas is deflected from the barrel through a tube and back into the upper receiver to perform the cycling. But it can build up a lot of fouling on the bolt carrier group . This residue can result in malfunctions. Source On the other hand, a piston system utilizes a piston drive rod instead of a gas tube. The rod acts as an intermediary to exert force on the bolt carrier group to cycle the weapon. Instead of traveling through a tube, the propellant gas simply pushes the piston and then escapes out of the gas block well forward of the receiver. Since there is almost no gas running back into the upper receiver, this system keeps the gun extremely clean and cooler than Stoner’s direct impingement system. What Makes a Great "Gas Piston Upgrade" ? Knowing which characteristics and features make up a great gas pistol upgrade are key. You’ll need to distinguish those that are considered the best in quality and performance from those that are not. So you should be able to easily decide which one will work best for you. Here are some characteristics and features that should be at the forefront of your mind; Price The price tag is always an important thing and the top concern for most budget shoppers. But a smart buyer knows that price is not the only deciding factor in purchasing a gas piston. You should find the best one you can afford in terms of quality and performance. Even if it means spending a little more on the higher end of your budget range, it’s still better than throwing money away on a cheap gas piston. Installation If you are not someone that has gunsmithing skills, you don’t have to worry because you’ll be able to install these gas pistons in minutes with the right kind of tools. Granted, there may be some pistons out there that require the professional services of a gunsmith. So if you lack adequate gunsmithing skills, you may want to find a model that is considered a drop-in. Which Caliber(s) Is It Compatible With? You’ll need to find a gas piston that will be compatible with your type of AR-15. If you fire 5.56 NATO rounds, you should find a piston upgrade that is compatible with that caliber. The same goes if you’re using .223 rounds, 300 AAC Blackout rounds, and so on. Quick Take - The Best " "Piston Upper Receiver" s" These are our recommendations for the best piston upper receivers for the AR-15: Wolf AR-15 A1 Complete Upper Receiver 5.56 Piston Adams Arms AR-15 P-Series Micro Block Gas Piston Conversion Kit Superlative Arms AR-15 Adjustable Piston System .750" Clamp-On Gas Block Review of the Best Piston Upper Receivers Below is a list of the three best AR-15 gas piston upgrades on the market. As you go through each one, look for one that matches your ideal description of an ideal gas piston upgrade. If you find one that matches your description, you know you’ve found a winner. In this short list, you’ll find some of the best piston upper receivers presenting one of the biggest innovations in the development of the AR-15 uppers . Let’s take a look at the first gas piston upgrade on our list: Best Piston Upper Receiver Overall: Wolf AR-15 A1 Complete Upper Receiver 5.56 Piston CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to install Super-durable quality It provides excellent accuracy Fits most 5.56 NATO caliber rifles Super reliable, no malfunctions or leaks Cons None What Recent Buyers Report New buyers were quite satisfied with this gas piston upgrade. They said that installation was a breeze and the upgrade helped the gas system operate without any malfunctions or reliability issues. One user even said it has helped upgrade his accuracy. Why it Stands Out to Us This gas piston upgrade is solid in construction and adds a lot of reliability to your rifle. On top of that, it does a good job preventing any kind of debris from entering your rifle and doing damage to the inside. So, if you want a gas piston upgrade that will do its best to keep the rifle clean without kicking up dust, this will probably be something worth investing in. The Wolf A1 Complete AR-15 Upper Receiver is, in fact, based on the design of the R.O.C. T91. But it can be easily paired with any standard AR lower. Although it looks like any other M16/M4 clone, it offers the added reliability of the short-stroke piston system of the Taiwanese T91 military rifle. That model is internally similar to the Armalite AR-18. Unlike most piston upper designs for AR-15, the A1 system is modularized and can be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. This upper comes complete with a protected front sight tower, a one-piece bolt-carrier group, and a charging handle. The package does not include a forward assist button rear sight. In addition, the 16.5-inch, cold hammer-forged barrel is topped with an A2-like flash hider. This flash hider has porting further back than normal to act as an effective compensator. With an authentic charging handle and a handguard, the T91 piston upper fits any AR-15 or M16 lower receiver. The only drawback we’ve heard about in this model has to do with the appearance of this handguard. However, this upper has a utilitarian foregrip that resembles the old American M16A1 clamshell. It provides a secure grip and protects your support hand with a heat shield, even with heavy fire. This affordable and proven Wolf Arms piston upper is a good choice for home defense, recreation, or hunting. It’s also compatible with select-fire capable lowers, making it the perfect option for tactical applications. Who Will Use This Most This will be a useful gas piston upgrade you can install on most AR-15 builds, especially if you’re building one from the ground up. If you want the perfect gas system that is reliable right out of the gate, this gas piston upgrade should be a good addition to your build. Bottom Line The Wolf AR-15 A1 Complete Upper Receiver 5.56 Piston might be right up your alley if you want a solidly constructed gas piston system that will give your rifle a boost in accuracy and reliability. Don’t be surprised if you see that happening immediately after installation. Best Piston Conversion Kit Overall: Adams Arms AR-15 P-Series Micro Block Gas Piston Conversion Kit CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to assemble and install Keeps the rifle nice and clean Allows for excellent reliability Adds a nice boost to your rifle’s overall accuracy Low profile, doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb Cons None "What Recent Buyers" Report As expected, the new buyers had nothing but good things to say about this gas piston upgrade. They said assembly wasn’t a challenge and the subsequent installation was easy and took as little as ten minutes. One user said the pistons were durable and did a really good job keeping the gas system functional. Why it Stands Out to Us This is a gas piston upgrade you can assemble rather easily. Once you do, you can hook it up to your carbine gas system. From there, you’ll be able to use some serious firepower to your advantage. If you want gas pistons that will keep your carbine gas system functional for a long time, this upgrade will certainly fit the bill. Adams Arms produces their Tactical P-series of solid, reliable piston uppers designed for hunting, competition, or duty carry. The Micro Gas Block piston kit is a part of this series. It’s based on the short-stroke free-float piston design preferred by many AR owners. This updated version weighs 40 percent less than their previous kit. The kit includes a compatible one-piece bolt carrier, installation rod, bolt spring, non-adjustable gas block, bushing with attached spring, and upper receiver bushing. The advanced geometry of the Micro Gas Block expels carbon and gases forward, away from the operator. The installation instructions make converting the AR-15 from direct impingement to gas piston easy. However, the main issue is that it's not attached, as it would be with a factory piston. Who Will "Use This Most" Expect this to be a great gas piston upgrade system for users who want to keep their rifles clean and want reliable cycling without the jams and reliability issues that can cause headaches and frustration. If you’re serious about having a great gas system in place, these gas pistons will probably be something you can rely on. Bottom Line The Adams Arms P Series is the perfect gas piston upgrade for those who have a carbine gas system. If your rifle has it, you’ll need a good set of gas pistons to help make it the best functioning part. This might be exactly what you need to achieve that. Piston Conversion Kit Runner-up: Superlative Arms AR-15 Adjustable Piston System .750" Clamp-On Gas Block CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to assemble Very durable construction Easy installation, takes a few minutes It does an excellent job of keeping the rifle clean Easy to adjust to accommodate your gas system Cons None What Recent Buyers Report Most recent buyers were quite happy with the gas piston upgrade. They were even more impressed when they realized they could easily adjust it to fit most gas systems. One user said it was easy to adjust so it could work well with his carbine gas system. Why it Stands Out to Us Another patented design comes from the Superlative Arms LLC. This one from SA offers an adjustable gas piston system for the AR-15 platform which is a relatively simple and effective DIY upgrade. This kit is available in many configurations such as pistol, carbine, mid and full rifle-length. It’s also available as a clamp-on or with socket head cap screws. And of course, there are versions for both .750" or .625". This gas piston upgrade is easy to adjust and therefore, easy to use. It eliminates all the guesswork of what kind of gas piston upgrade will fit you best because you have them all in one kit. You can make the right kind of adjustments, set them up for your gas system, and you’re done. Once installed, you’ll have even better reliability and smooth cycling, among a few other benefits. The package included a piston block assembly, a carrier without the bolt, the gas block plug, bushing and insert tool, and the hex keys. This system will function in rifles chambered in .223/5.56 x 45mm NATO. This model features SA’s proprietary “Bleed Off” gas piston system where the gas flow is regulated by bleeding the gas out of the block instead of restricting the flow like conventionally-adjustable blocks. There are 30 locking gas positions with audible clicks to choose from for many types and brands of rounds. In other words, you may switch between bullet weights or move from suppressed to unsuppressed fire without any operational problems or causing the system to be under or over-gassed. While this upgrade kit appears to handle any bullet weight just fine, there is a noticeable difference in recoil depending on suppressor use. It’s not extreme, but it is noticeable. Who Will Use This Most This gas piston upgrade will be your cup of coffee if you are having a hard time looking for a suitable gas piston upgrade that works. If you want something that is built to last and easy to adjust on-the-fly, this might be what you’ve been looking for all along. Bottom Line The Superlative Arms AR-15 Adjustable Gas Piston Upgrade is a nice package of gas pistons that can be added on to any gas system. All you have to do is make some adjustments to ensure it will fit your gas system and you’ll be set for a long time. 4. Adams Arms AR-15/M16 Piston Tactical EVO Upper Receivers CHECK LATEST PRICE "The Adams Arms" system allows your rifle to run cleaner, cooler, and more reliably due to its patented short-stroke gas piston. Their enhanced piston system involves a small chamber specifically designed to capture the gases. The company developed its operating rod with a small cup on the end into which the regulator is inserted. It resembles the old “short stroke” piston solution found on the SKS and M1 Carbine. This mid-length piston system incorporates a Samson Manufacturing Evolution extended free-floating 12″ forearm. This gives you a longer sight radius and a more extended, ergonomic grip. The re-designed piston upper receiver is forged from 6061 T6 aluminum and features an A4 13-slot Picatinny-cut flattop rail and M4 feed ramps. They provide EVO uppers with their 16"-long standard barrel topped with an A2 flash hider and an adjustable gas block. The gas system can be regulated for use with sound suppressors. It also has a shut-off to allow single shot fire with no cycling, if needed. For all its strong points, serious shooters may not be content with the lack of adjustable settings. 5. Adams Arms AR-15/M16 5.56 16" Basic Piston Upper Receiver CHECK LATEST PRICE The Adams Arms economic Basic Piston Upper Receiver meets all the requirements of a short-stroke piston system. It helps eliminate hot gas and debris from the action upon firing. That creates a smoother feeding, less violent cycling, and reduced felt recoil. This basic mid-upper is machined from 6061 T6 aluminum forging and features a 13-slot Picatinny-cut flattop rail and M4 feed ramp cuts. The Adams Basic Piston Upper Receiver is based over 16" barrel with a mid-length gas system for smoother recoil impulse and a longer sight radius. Along with the 16" Melonite-finished barrel and A2 flash hider, this assembly includes a one-piece bolt carrier group made of solid steel, a piston tube, a steel piston, a charging handle, a Delta-ring assembly, and a Picatinny-rail gas block. Additional features include an M4-style carbine handguard and a forged A3 flattop configuration with a 13-slot Picatinny rail. The low-profile railed gas block is adjustable for regular fire or for firing with a suppressor. The gas-off features enables single-round firing without cycling. While the gas piston operating system keeps the gun cooler, the hot gases are directed at the railed gas block. So it’s a good idea only to use a metal front sight so it won’t melt atop an overheated gas block. 6. Syrac Ordnance AR-15 Adjustable Gas Piston System CHECK LATEST PRICE Just to start on an interesting note: Jason Adams, the founder of Adams Arms, also founded Syrac Ordnance. Syrac's adjustable gas piston system was developed in collaboration with Superlative Arms. So all the products we’re looking at here are closely related. Generally, all piston systems work the same. But the Syrac's Gen II series of low-profile, fully-adjustable systems offers one of the lightest piston kits on the market. It can also fit under most handguards. Syrac offers one of the most sophisticated adjustable gas blocks capable of transforming a punchy 5.56 AR-15 to a flat and soft-shooting firearm. It’s amazing the difference it can make in the same gun, just by reducing gas pressure. This new piston system features a gas adjustment screw that is accessed from the front of the gas block. The gas block has 24 gas adjustment settings, allowing you to fine-tune your rifle to the type of ammo you use. In addition, the adjustable gas block can completely turn the gas off, which would cause the rifle to not cycle at all. In order to lock in the adjustment, Syrac Ordnance has developed a locking detent for the screw. That way, the adjustment will never shift accidentally, even under recoil. There are a couple small complaints about poor instruction and customer service. Also, quality control seems erratic with these. The Alternative: Upgrading With a Kit In addition to the more common complete AR-15 piston upper receiver, another recent trend is the piston conversion kit. We all agree that piston operating systems keep the bolt carrier cooler and cleaner, but they also include more moving parts. While it requires no specialized tools or gunsmithing for mounting, this hardware isn't easy for people unfamiliar with the AR's installation process. Why Choose a Piston System Over Direct Impingement? The AR-15 is an extremely customizable platform. But, as with nearly everything with this rifle, the upgrades you make depend a lot on personal preference. And of course, your intended use comes into play, whether it’s competition, hunting, or home defense. Shooters who prefer piston-driven rifles usually state that these arms are cleaner, cooler, and more reliable than the direct impingement system traditionally used in the AR-15/M16 platform. They consider them a good solution for high-volume fire in training classes or for those who shoot competitively in three-guns. We also tend to agree with the line of thought that gas-piston operating systems work best on a carbine or PDW guns with barrels ranging in lengths from 4.5″ to 12″. This is due to the generally-accepted rule that the longer the gas system (tube), the better the direct impingement gas system will perform. On the flip side, gas piston technology generates more felt recoil. It also tends to be heavier than impingement rifles. In addition, piston-driven guns are less accurate, especially for follow-up shots. Finally, since these systems are less common than DI ones, they tend to be more expensive. Replacing the Upper Receiver with a Piston-Compatible One While the piston system alters the mechanics and timing of an AR, the geometry of both concepts is the same. The unmatched modularity of the AR allows you to utilize both systems on the same lower receiver by swapping upper receivers out. Because the DI and piston systems operate independently of the lower receiver, you can switch between them on the same lower. As the AR is the most adaptable and versatile rifle of our time, you can simply alternate the standard upper receiver with a piston-enabled version. By simply changing the complete upper receiver, the shooter can have an AR-15 upper receiver group with its own receiver, barrel , sights , muzzle device, gas system, and bolt carrier group. Alternativelt, you can choose to use a conversion kit to change your direct gas impingement system into a piston one. Of course, you should note that some of piston upper receivers alone cost as much as a complete direct impingement gun. Besides the cost, another disadvantage is the non-compatibility of the gas piston-equipped AR-15's with .22LR conversion kits . Piston replacement parts are expensive and hard to obtain. In addition, piston systems are not necessarily standardized like direct impingement systems, so they are not interchangeable between manufacturers. Conclusion Over the years, more people have become aware of how altering the gas system on an AR-15 can affect overall satisfaction with the gun. Piston conversion kits or dedicated piston upper receivers offer cleaner use of the rifle. This substitute for the direct impingement system has gained traction in many quarters. Like all changes, it has its pros and cons. But making the change is relatively simple and you can give it a try as part of enjoying all your rifle has to offer!