Story and Photographs by Brian Hormberg
Did you know that replacing the factory gas block on your AR-15 with an adjustable gas block can improve your rifle’s performance? Such as:
The typical factory gas block is pinned onto the barrel in front of the polymer handguard as part of the front sight assembly. If your rifle features a free-float aluminum handguard, then the gas block is typically a low-profile type that fits under that handguard. The job of the gas block is to take some of the hot gas from behind the bullet that comes through a gas port in the barrel, and direct it into the gas tube which drives the bolt carrier and cycles the action.
Most gas blocks on factory AR-15s are fixed, meaning they just provide a path for the gas from the barrel to the gas tube. With a fixed gas block, all the gas and pressure that comes out of the gas port in the barrel will be used to cycle the action.
In most AR-type rifles there is intentionally more gas than needed, so that if the gun gets dirty, it will continue to cycle.
But often this overgassed situation is more than is really needed, adding to the recoil and increasing wear on parts. That’s where adjustable gas blocks come in. They provide a way to cut off a portion of the gas flow so the action can be driven less forcefully.
The Gas Block History
Gas Blocks Today
You’re probably wondering what difference would it really make in your gun’s performance if you used one of these. Well, there are three:
1) You can tune your rifle to run just as hard as is really needed, and by doing so you will experience less recoil and less movement of your sights off target, so your follow-up shots can be faster. What’s happening is that your bolt carrier group will cycle hard enough to extract, eject and feed reliably, but it won’t slam to a stop as hard at the rear of its stroke.
2) There will be less stress on your operating parts because they are not running any harder than necessary. It’s like running your car engine at lower revolutions per minute. Don’t worry, it will not feel slower while shooting.
3) Since you will be cutting off some of the gas going into the bolt carrier group, it’s common to get less carbon build-up in your bolt carrier and on your bolt. This will cause your gun to run cleaner, which can result in better reliability and easier cleaning.
All of these benefits are worthwhile for the shooter who wants to get all the performance possible from his or her rifle.
So how easy are they to install? If you are familiar with AR builds and installing gas blocks, then installing one of these is the same thing.
For those unfamiliar, it will require removing your flash hider or muzzle brake, removing your handguard, unpinning and removing your factory gas block and installing the new one using set screws or clamping screws to lock it into place. Then you reinstall your handguard and muzzle device. These days, with all the AR-15 home builders out there, this is pretty common knowledge, and the skills required are basic-level gunsmithing.
If you aren’t comfortable with this, find a reputable gunsmith who is proficient in AR builds; this will be an inexpensive gunsmithing job. There is no fitting required; it just involves taking off some parts and then reinstalling some parts. Adjustable gas blocks can be installed on any AR-15 or AR-10 rifle of any caliber or barrel length, as long as it uses a standard gas tube system. ASJ
By Brian Hormberg
One of the pioneers in the adjustable gas block concept is JP Enterprises, a well-known manufacturer of top-of-the-line race guns for 3-Gun competition. They made an entire system of it by combining adjustable gas blocks with low-mass bolt carriers and low-mass buffers. This concept called for lower reciprocating mass in the moving parts which needed lower gas pressure to run at the right speed. Adjustable gas blocks made this concept possible. The result is even less movement of the gun during firing and even faster recovery from the shot, which is a big advantage in competition. Low-mass systems are normally recommended for competition guns versus duty guns, since a full-mass system can run better when really dirty.
JP makes their adjustable gas blocks in several formats, including ones with rails on top of the gas block, fixed front-sight models, and low-profile units with lock screws that go under handguards. Syrac Ordnance and SLR Rifleworks are two companies that have recently introduced low-profile, click-adjustable models that can be easily adjusted from the front under the forearm. These are especially well suited to those who want a quick, predictable gas setting change when they switch from subsonic to supersonic or when going from suppressed to unsuppressed. The Syrac Ordnance model is completely self-contained, while the SLR Rifleworks model is designed for easy disassembly and cleaning. Both are small enough to fit under the thinnest aluminum forearm systems.
Another recent trend is to offer this same capability in a piston-driven format in addition to the more common direct gas design. If you like the idea of a piston-driven operating system and like the idea of adjustable gas settings, you can now have both together. The adjustable piston systems can be retrofitted to existing AR-15s or included in new builds just like the other gas blocks and provide the same advantages. The adjustable piston systems include a gas block, gas piston and a complete bolt-carrier group, in addition to the gas block itself to ensure compatibility. Low-profile versions are now in production from Adams Arms and Syrac Ordnance, and which allow you to fit an adjustable gas piston system under a wider selection of rail forearms than ever before possible and with the adjustment capability.
As more shooters become aware of the advantages of adjustable gas systems, they will likely continue to increase in popularity. All of this is another example of the incredibly wide selection of parts, designs and options available to today’s AR shooter. The operation and performance of the rifle can be customized and tuned to an amazing level, and is only limited by your imagination.
Here’s some tips for tuning your AR-15 adjustable gas block from Jesse Tishcauser of Optics Planet.
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Check out how the younger generation make this barricade drill look so easy to do. Here’s up and coming 3 Gun competitive shooter 13 year old Jalise Williams showing us the basics of barricade shooting. She covers basic footwork, maintaining stable platform and sighting in. All of this done within seconds, yes really fast! Have a look.
Gun Talk Training Tip, Sponsored by Springfield Armory: Jalise Williams (one-half of the shooting duo Jalise & Justine Williams) demonstrates how to run the barricade drill in a competitive shooting situation.For more videos like this one, subscribe to Gun Talk Media's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guntalktv.
Posted by Gun Talk on Friday, January 13, 2017
Hi I’m Jalise Williams, and today I’m gonna be teaching you how to shoot the barricade drill.
When you’re shooting a stage in a match, you will be having fault lines. You cannot step outside the fault lines while you are shooting. So that makes us, when there is a wall in front of us, makes us have to lean around it to shoot our targets. The real action in this drill is with your knees. So when you’re coming out over to shoot a target, you want your knee to be pointing out a little bit, and then you just want to bend it as much as possible so that you can see your target.
Sometimes you might need a bigger stance, sometimes you need a smaller stance, but in this drill, I’m just going to use a small stance because that is the most stable position. Let me show you how this works a little bit slower so that way you will understand better. I’m going to do this dry. So I’m going to draw, I’m going to come over, and I’m going to make sure I’ve got a stable platform, small shooting stance, and I’m going to make sure my knee is leaning out.
And then I’m going to come up onto my target, I’m going to fire two shots. Then, after I fire my two shots, I’m going to come over, and I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to put my foot where I need it, come into a stable shooting stance, lean my knee out, acquire my sights, and fire two shots again.
And that’s how you do the barricade drill.
Sources: Gun Talk Media, Springfield Armory, Jalise Williams
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]A[/su_dropcap]pproaching the final matches of 2016, Team Armalite is consistently finding their place on the podiums. Lead by Team Captain Greg Jordan, Team Armalite has found itself on the podium at the FN 3 Gun Championship and NRA World Shooting Championship.
For the third time in four years, Greg Jordan took home the win at the FN 3 Gun Championship. Known as one of the only matches in the season that incorporates fast technical bay stages with longer rugged, natural terrain type stages, Jordan is somewhat of an expert of this event. “This year was no different than any other in my strategy – the fast bays require shooters to strategize to save every available second while the natural terrain stages required finding the perfect spot to engage the targets” said Jordan. After a grueling 10 stages with the Army’s Daniel Horner hot on his tail, Jordan managed to keep his head in the game and his Armalite M15 Competition Rifle with Nexus Ammunition on target, walking away with a first place finish.
The NRA World Shooting Championship is known for featuring a wide variety of disciplines with firearms provided by top manufacturers for each stage. This year’s event included an Armalite 3 Gun Stage and Surgeon Rifles PRS Long Range Challenge, both products and events that Jordan is familiar with. “Every year I look forward to competing in the NRA World Championship. You sign up, show up to the range with your eyes and ears – with your fingers crossed! It is one of the best ways to test a competitors raw shooting ability using unfamiliar weapons in several different shooting disciplines” explains Jordan. After two days of shooting the 12 event stages, Jordan walked away with a 2nd place overall finish, and 1st place in Stock Pro.
Team Armalite’s John Mouret competed in the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range’s LEO 3 Gun National Championships over the weekend. The event features Law Enforcement from all over the United States. Mouret shot his stock Armalite M15TAC16 and Nexus Ammunition a total of 12 individual and 6 team stages, resulting in a team win in Patrol Division, 3 rd place individual patrol division, and a 4th place overall finish.
About Armalite: Armalite is the originator of the legendary AR-10 rifle. For 60 years, Armalite’s commitment to excellence has made our firearms the choice of military, law enforcement and sport shooters worldwide. Armalite has one of the broadest product lines in the firearms industry. They manufacture semi-automatic rifles in 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers, as well as long range bolt action rifles in .308 Winchester, 300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua, and 50 BMG. Armalite is a subsidiary of Strategic Armory Corps. For more information on the company and products, visit: www.armalite.com.
About Nexus Ammo: Nexus Ammo provides discerning shooters high impact solutions through unparalleled, patent-pending automation processes. The “Nexus Method” meticulously produces ammunition to exact tolerances equal to the attention of hand loading. Our unique machinery and automation allows us to build ammunition to exact specifications, starting with the raw materials. This method is proven to provide a consistency in weight in every cartridge, delivering the quality and ballistic performance you can rely upon.
You can depend on Nexus Ammo to deliver a full ballistic spectrum of ammunition performance for your tactical, defense, or hunting needs. When you require consistency, accuracy, and repeatability… Nexus is your solution. For more information on the company and products, visit: www.nexusammo.com.
About Strategic Armory Corps: Strategic Armory Corps was formed with the goal of acquiring and combining market-leading companies within the firearms industry. Each company that is brought into the SAC family fulfills a consumer need with their brand of niche products. To date, four highly respected manufacturing companies have been acquired with a fifth in the start-up phase. These companies strategically fit together to form a strong base of products and services that are designed to meet the expectations of military, law enforcement, commercial groups, and individual users around the world.
STORY BY EMILY ROBINSON * PHOTOGRAPHS BY RODNEY ROBINSON
[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]I[/su_dropcap] have always been a pistol shooter. Even the first time I was out on the range, I loved everything about shooting, from the smell of the gunpowder to the sound the steel makes when it is hit by a bullet. I think that’s what got me hooked on competitive shooting. I was 9 years old when I attended and watched my first Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) match in Columbia, S.C., and my whole family attended to see what it was all about.
The second match I attended was the GSSF annual shoot in Conyers, Ga., and although I did not shoot in that match, I was allowed to borrow a Glock with a .22 conversion and shoot the plate rack. Right after this event, my parents bought my brother and me a Glock 17 and I actually competed in my first match two months later. I loved how everyone was so friendly, supportive and helpful. Since I was so small, people gave me advice on how to hold the gun, my stance and other tips. Some of the people who helped me that day have become longtime friends and are now like a second family. After several years of shooting GSSF matches all over the Southeast, it was a natural progression to move to United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).
MY FIRST USPSA MATCH was the North Carolina Sectional in 2012. I had never even been to a USPSA match, nor had I ever practiced for anything like it. It was all new, and I was even a little intimidated. It was so much fun watching everyone on my squad shoot during their round, but when it was my time to shoot, I felt like a deer in the headlights. After I completed the first stage, I was a little surprised at how well I had done. I was really slow, but the accuracy was there and that was most important to me at that time. Just as I had been taught in GSSF, accuracy was first on the priority and speed would eventually come, and that’s exactly what happened. To date, I have won three state-level titles in USPSA.
After three and a half years of USPSA and even longer in GSSF, I got the itch to try 3-Gun. I had met so many people who shot 3-Gun that I really wanted to give it a try. Since I had not worked with shotguns or rifles very much, there was definitely a learning curve. When it was time to get started, I had to gather equipment and get it ready. For Christmas I received a Mossberg JM930, which can be used for 3-Gun right out of the box, so that was a great surprise. Then I had the amazing experience of attending the SHOT Show for the first time in 2016. I set up appointments with several potential sponsors, one of which was NightForce, which turned out to be huge for me. Coincidentally, my interviewer had been a range officer and fellow production shooter at the Georgia State USPSA Championship, so he had heard of me. He gave me a chance and supplied me with an awesome NightForce NXS 1-4×24 optic and mount even though I hadn’t yet shot a 3-Gun match.
Similar to my first USPSA match, I had never attended a 3-Gun match. The closest I had come to seeing one was on TV, and I was really excited but nervous. I had enough time to shoot about 100 rounds through my shotgun and get my rifle zeroed from the 100-yard line with my new NightForce optic. I was dead-on within 10 rounds. Awesome optic! I also shot a few rounds on the move to try to get comfortable. My Glock 34 would round out my 3-Gun trio. Items such as shotgun-shell carriers and rifle-magazine pouches were borrowed from friends, but I felt just about ready.
THE DAY HAD ARRIVED and it was time for my first 3-Gun match. I arrived at the range and everything was new. I’d never been to this facility, didn’t know very many people there and the stages looked longer and more complicated than pistol stages. My nervousness subsided as I watched a few people walk the stages. I realized that the stage prep is pretty much the same as in pistol matches. You have to understand the layout of the stage and the stage brief, then develop a plan that works for you. I talked to a few people about their stage plans, and once I broke the stages down between the three weapons, everything seemed to fall into place. I wasn’t worried about the pistol stages, and I knew I would just have to slow down a little on the rifle and shotgun.
I knew the rifle and shotgun were going to be obstacles due to my lack of trigger time. The match started off a little rocky. My shotgun magazine spring created a problem that stopped my rounds from feeding into the chamber. One of the match directors had an extra spring that I borrowed and fixed the problem – another example of how great people are in the shooting sports! By the second stage I started to feel more comfortable, and overall felt that I did pretty well.
The last stage was probably my best. It started with three pepper poppers that threw clays into the air. These are reactive steel targets that fall to the ground when you shoot them, and as soon as they hit the ground they throw a clay pigeon into the air as a secondary moving target. I’d never shot clays like that before, but I hit them all. I even had to do a pick-up shot on one of them and still got it in the air! The next string was a pistol stage, which I shot on the move to make up some time. After that, there were four long-range rifle targets at 55, 110, 160 and 210 yards. It was time to really test that rifle zero. I set up for the shots, took a long breath and exhaled and fired the first shot. Hit! The next two shots were both hits. My confidence was pretty high. I fired at the 210-yard target and missed. I remembered to adjust for distance using my optic and fired again. Hit! I was so proud of myself. I was pretty happy with how I did on that stage especially. There were several things I had never encountered but I worked through them. In the end, I had no misses and no penalties. My time wasn’t the greatest because I wanted to make sure I was safe and my hits were all good, but I was pretty happy with my results.
IF I COULD HAVE CHANGED anything about my first match, I would have paid more attention to other competitor’s stage plans and applied what I observed to my own. It was a lot different than I had expected, but overall I expected to make mistakes since this was my first 3-Gun. I got a little aggravated with myself over simple mistakes, but I will learn from them!
One of the similarities between 3-Gun, USPSA and GSSF are the people. These are some of the friendliest, supportive and helpful people you will find anywhere. The people on my squad offered help throughout the entire day, and I really appreciated that.
MY ADVICE for anyone looking into 3-Gun or any shooting sport is to be confident when you go out there. If you need help or equipment, just ask. Ninety-nine percent of the time someone will be there to help, whether you know them or not. Even if it’s your first match, match directors and range officers will walk you through it to get you started. One thing I’ve learned about the shooting world is that someone will always be there to lend a helping hand.
Everyone is new at some point and no one started out as a pro. All you have to do is apply hard work and dedication, and have fun. You can learn something from everyone on the range, whether it’s your first match or you’ve been doing it for 20 years. It’s all in the way you look at things. ASJ
Most athletes start young to maximize their potential. Shooting sports are no exception, and an increasing number of competitive 3-gunners are starting out early. Learning to shoot used to be common for American kids, especially in rural areas, but actually training for performance with parents or professional coaches is a more recent phenomenon. As with musicians and gymnasts, starting marksmanship training early yields immeasurable benefits later on.
While attending the NRA Annual Meeting gathering in Nashville in April 2015, I was able to meet a group of such young shooters, along with their parents and supportive friends. We spent a day at a private range, shooting guns and photos. The six girls ranged in age from nine to 16, and every one of them demonstrated an unusual level of maturity. This was less surprising once you considered the degree of parental involvement with their education and activities.
All of these young ladies impress the world with their breadth of interests and talents, which include everything from shooting sports and music to excellent academics and public speaking. They all have a degree of dedication and earnestness that they use to perfect their skills, and this drive, partly innate, partly imparted by closely involved family members, also caught the attention of industry sponsors who, in turn, have flocked to support these young shooters.
Watching them shoot reinforced the value of fitting guns to individual shooters. The adjustments to the length of pull, balance and grips to fit smaller hands and shorter limbs allow for the individual shooter to demonstrate their absolute best. Since most of these ladies are musicians, they also often use suppressors to safeguard their hearing.
For almost all of them, the parents were their first trainers. But most have gone beyond a single source of training. For example, Shyanne Roberts trained with Todd Jarrett, a world-renown competitive shooter and instructor.
Besides being an inspiration to other kids, these young ladies are a challenge to adult shooters. It’s one thing to be outshot by another experienced adult, but quite another to be shown up by a preteen. Watching their progress illustrates the value of quality training and also shows the rewards of dedication to learning and practicing new skills. Having excellent people skills, these juniors are ambassadors to the shooting sports and gun owners all over America. And last but far from the least, they prove that there’s much more to girls in shooting sports than pink pistol grips. ASJ
Vanessa Aguilar, the youngest of this group that we interviewed, is also the youngest member of the San Antonio Sure Shots Pistol League. She shoots rimfire rifle and pistol, both customized for her. Despite a hearing impediment she’s been able to make TV and radio appearances, in addition to extensive training in preparation for IDPA and Steel Challenge competitions planned for next year.
Moriah Combs is the oldest of this group, and came to the shooting world through extensive involvement with her 4H club. Shooting since the age of six, she holds over 20 grand champion titles. She’s now a national 4-H Shooting Sports Teen Ambassador for Ohio, representing 3,000 youth shooters. Her other passions are photography, choir singing, hunting and running a cake-baking business.
Cheyenne Dalton has been shooting since the age of five. She competes in the USPSA and NSSF Rimfire Challenge and holds a state championship title. She is planning on competing in 3-Gun competitions next. Outside of the range, she fishes with line and bow, hunts and plays numerous musical instruments with her band.
At 11, Maddie Dalton sings and plays musical instruments when she isn’t winning the youth title in the Limited category of the 2014 NSSF Rimfire World Championship. That’s pretty amazing progress for someone who had only shot their first gun a year prior. She’s a two-time winner of the Oklahoma junior fiddle championship as well. How is that for talent?
Shyanne Roberts has already participated in 3-Gun, IDPA, USPSA, action rifle and steel silhouette events. She also makes frequent TV appearances, making a strong and well-articulated case for gun ownership as part of our individual freedoms. Shooting is just one of her many passions – academics, music and other sports round out her personal development. In addition to rifles, rimfire and centerfire pistols, Shyanne also runs a 12-gauge shotgun quite effectively – even though it’s taller than she is!
Editor’s note – The American Shooting Journal’s Patriotic July 2015 issue features Shyanne Roberts on the cover. Look for copies nationwide!
Sydney Rockwell is a 14-year-old competitive shooter who began shooting rifles with her dad at age nine. Serving as the vice president of her school’s student council, Sydney is also an avid hunter, golfer and competitor in several action-shooting sports, including Steel Challenge, 3-Gun, IDPA and USPSA competitions. This past October she was selected for the prestigious US Army Marksmanship Unit’s Junior Shooters’ Clinic, and received training from some of the most elite competitive shooters in the world.
Editor’s note: Oleg Volk is a professional photographer specializing in the shooting industry around the nation. Feel free to contact him at olegvolk.net.
Author’s note: A big thank you to Eric Saperstein for the introduction to this awesome crew.
Posted in Shooters Tagged with: 3-Gun, Action Steel, Cheyenne Dalton, IDPA, Kids, Maddie Dalton, Moriah Combs, new generation, Oleg Volk, Shooting, Shyanne Roberts, Sporting Clays, Steel Silhouettes, Sydney Rockwell, USPSA, Vanessa Aguilar
Tarheel 3-Gun invited HIPERFIRE’s match sponsorship early in 2013. Since then, shooters from around the country have won HIPERFIRE’s triggers off the prize tables and compared shooting notes that has established HIPERFIRE’s good reputation not only for trigger design innovation, but most importantly
performance and reliability. HIPERFIRE is very appreciative of Tarheel 3-Gun’s
role in cementing HIPERTOUCH triggers’ place in high performance shooting.
So, HIPERFIRE and Tarheel 3-Gun have now taken the next step to jointly
promote a new signature trigger and further promote the shooting sports in general, because as we all know, shooting the best equipment is not just for 3-gun.
didn’t think it could improve on the
24 Competition product offering, but it
Your trigger finger will feel the difference between the 24C and the TH24 as a definite step up. It sports a HIPERSHOE finger rest with Tarheel colors and a Nickel-based enhanced plating exclusive
to the TH24 making the pull even smoother and more responsive. HIPERFIRE has wholesale and OEM purchase programs. MSRP of $275.
HIGH PERFORMANCE FIREARMS LLC is a Minnesota limited liability company located in the Minnesota Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area organized in 2011 to design, manufacture, and sell novel products into the MSR marketplace that satisfy the unmet needs of the more demanding recreational and professional shooter.
Terry Bender, Owner (612) 729-3829
Kevin Tapia, Sales (704) 992-1727
Mailing address: POB 300, Hamel, MN 55340
(612) 729-3829 | email@example.com