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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to start this thread to discuss how the ACR holds up in tactical use by Law Enforcement and Military Personnel.

I want to hear how you use your ACR in the field, I want to hear what training drills you use to prepare, how your rig is outfitted, how you store it, and so on. If you encounter any problems either in the field or during drills, let's share them here. I'm looking for an open place to share ideas about how to make this rifle that we've all come to love in its most important possible function - Active Duty on patrol.

So, sound off. Let's share stories and lessons learned that may help out our fellow sheepdogs. This forum has been great for constructive discussion, so lets keep this thread going that same way. Ball-busting aside, let's stay on point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I’ll get things started:
Background: I work as a deputy sheriff in a small, reasonably developed county in West Virginia that still has a fair amount of rural roads, farm land, and so on. We have two universities, a truck stop, and a race track and casino. We and the city police take on a fair number of calls. It doesn't happen often that I have to deploy a long gun, but when I do, I prefer my patrol rifle. I used to carry an M4gery, but I sold it to buy my ACR. So now, I have qualified with my ACR for trunk carry.

Rig: I have a basic folder with a Surefire Scout light, EOtech XPS2 with optional 3x magnifier. I run PMAGs with mostly Hornady TAP 55g rounds. I have a standard 16" barrel with a PWS FSC556 muzzle brake.

I recently had my first deployment for my ACR. We had a pursuit wherein a suspect (identified, but still under investigation) fled from another deputy. I responded to assist. We went into the next state and back. He charged at two deputies, including myself with his vehicle. He bailed just before his vehicle struck a brick sign base in a housing development. The suspect fled on foot behind some residences and into the woods. This was late at night and the woods are thick. Personnel was thin and we had other suspects in custody to attend to. We decided to surround the wooded area and dispatch a K-9 for a track. Waiting outside the tree line, I deployed my ACR.

At one point, residents alerted me to a man walking on the road. I approached the man with my ACR from my vehicle, proned him out and secured him by myself (that's often what we're reduced to). Another deputy arrived shortly after I had him in cuffs, although I didn't know that he was coming to my location. Now, he wasn't our guy, as it turned out. (there happened to be a verbal domestic in the area at the same time.) But I had to secure and ID him anyway.

Problems Encountered:
First was my flashlight - I routinely check the batteries on my optic and my mounted flashlight, usually once a week. Well, Murphy struck. On my first deployment of this rig since qualifying, my flashlight (which did have power when I first took it out of the trunk) died. I had to change the battery in the dark behind a pile of fill dirt. Luckily, my ACR's folding stock has this wonderful little water-tight storage tube in the stock. I took one of the two CR123A batteries that I store in the stock and got it changed quickly. +1 for the ACR

Second was with loading up. I have to keep my ACR in the bag with a 20rd. mag or nothing as the 30rd. won't fit the bag. So, upon deploying, I drop the 20rd mag, throw in a 30rd mag and rack a round in the chamber (as long as its not an absolute emergency). As I said, this was my first deployment in the field. Also, the first time that I have had to use it under real stress. As much as I practiced with this platform, it's still relatively new. Also, I have found that I may need to make changes to the way that I train. Here's what happened when I changed mags. No problem dropping and changing the mag to the 30 rd. When I charged the weapon, for whatever reason, I held open the bolt. Honestly, I think that its because I love that mechanism on the ACR -- I just play with it too much. When I released the bolt, I noted that it was not as smooth as other times that I had deployed my M4gery. I used the trigger finger release mechanism rather than the gross motor skill of pulling back the charging handle to release it. I think this is because I have not been using my off hand to release it during mag changes in training. That is because the charging handle does not lock back at the end of the mag (if this is not typical, please alert me).

Third came with the apprehension of the potential suspect. - I keep my rifle on a VTAC padded sling, that worked very well to keep my ACR out of the way when I need to go hands on. However, when I was trying to cover the suspect with one hand and control him to the ground and give visual commands with the other. Admittedly the weight got to me a little. In hindsight, the front-heavy ACR may call for me to transition to my pistol as I close distance while controlling a suspect alone. Otherwise, with backup, I think I could have covered with the rifle while my partner would go hands on, which was the plan when I was with the other deputy at the tree line.

I still really like my ACR, but this deployment made me miss my M4gery. I have since been considering keeping my ACR for the house, but getting a Daniel Defense or comparable mid-length Direct Impingement M4 for duty.

Thoughts?
 

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I think you are so use to the M4 it has become second nature. I'm sure it's nothing that a little more repetitive training wouldn't fix. Is it possible to SBR your duty weapon? That might be a fix for the weight of the muzzle. Either way, close up it may not be a bad idea to transition to the pistol as it'd also be harder to wrestle away than the rifle.

Not saying DD doesn't put out a fine product. I am a huge fan of theirs and would recommend them to anybody. I just wouldn't give up on the ACR just yet.
 

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Tackleberry,

The following does not come from the perspective of an ACR convert because I'm not, yet. I think the concept is very sound, but I continue to wait for the new rifle's growing pains to dissipate and for the full measure of its promise (read: caliber changes) to be realized. So that's the perspective from which I make the following comments:

It seems from your account that the ACR in no way failed to perform as advertised. Even so, with respect, I would be shocked if you did not miss your old platform. Allow me to borrow an analogy from your urban brethren: You've been walking the beat with your original partner for God knows how many years. Now he has retired to make way for this rookie. The new kid is a good cop, maybe even a better cop than your old partner was. He comes from a newer and more sophisticated era, the product of many lessons learned the hard way. (How reluctant would you be to admit that, if we were talking about people rather than rifles?) Still, it is absolutely unreasonable to expect even a very talented new partner to work with you as well as did the old in a crisis, unless you have personally drilled the hell out of that rookie for every crisis imaginable. There are simply too many years of induced telepathy between you and your old partner which can not be immediately replaced. So even if the ACR dramatically outperformed your AR-15 in the day's events, I would still expect you to feel some nostalgia and longing for your old partner during and after.

I ask you, therefore, to take pains to consider the situation in as objective a light as possible. Think back to when the AR-15 was new to you? Were there acclimitization difficulties? Were there personal disagreements you had to work out on the job which did not reveal themselves in standard qual-training? I would be willing to bet there were a few, owing to nothing more than the Stoner-pattern's rather silly manual of arms. ("All right, I've got the rifle in my right hand and the perp in my left and my flashlight in my mouth... Oh, shit, my bolt is still locked back. Now what am I supposed to do?") Consider how you overcame these, and how long it took you to overcome them, and then decide, with as much grim objectivity as you can muster, whether or not it is too late in your career to be breaking in a new partner.

Also, as you decide whether or not the ACR is worth that effort, consider how much effort, on and off the job, is actually required. You've already stated that one of your problems came from loving the operating method of the ACR perhaps a little too much. That's a better starting place than the alternative. You mentioned that you've qual'd with the gun, but have you trained with it? If police work is anything like military work, the basic education required to "qualify" is pretty damn basic. It usually amounts to accuracy vice time in a draw and shoot on a square range against a frontal silhouette. This does not constitute training. If you want to shorten the time it takes for you to mind-meld with your new partner, then you might avail yourself of more rigorous and regular scenario-based training (at the expense of personal time and money, of course, because that's how it always goes). Even a basic Blackwater (now U. S. Training Center), Magpul D, or similar company's LEO clinic would include scenarios like the one you describe--at least sufficiently similar as to have presented the same problems. And even if you can't get to one of those schools, you can do your own scenario brainstorming with your comrades at work. Consider a product such as Chamber Check to safely practice managing the gun (the actual gun, rather than a training nongun) while performing other tasks.

Again, it is entirely possible that this is more than you care or can afford to invest in your new weapon system, but I offer it for your consideration, because again, it seems that the ACR worked quite well for you that night. Let me now address the three specific points in your anecdote:

The battery: As you said, irrelevant except inasmuch as it represents an incidental plus point for the gun's storage compartment. I'm sure you would have had batteries on your person regardless.

The bolt operation: Some clarification may be required here. As I understand the ACR's operation (specifically its non-reciprocating charging handle), the bolt should cycle when you cycle the handle, but the handle should not cycle when your rounds cycle the bolt. Therefore, after the last round is fired, the bolt should lock open, but the handle should still be in its forward position. This is normal operation. Upon loading a fresh magazine, you can release the bolt either by stroking the handle (as long as you are disciplined about not riding it forward, just as with a pistol) or by depressing the release. I can sympathize with your reason for operating it oddly; I too tend to love on my guns in my spare time, play with them. It is our responsibility to have the discipline to love them according to the manual of arms just as we train according to the manual of arms. Play like you practice, and practice like you work. Be consistent. Which is not to say that you can't train for variety. If you love the bolt release at home, train to use it in the field as well. At least make sure that whichever path your neurons take will result in proper operation of the rifle. Make sure that by handle or by button, that bolt will slam all the way into battery 1000 times out of 1000. I imagine that in scenario training, you will find a lot more use for the bolt release method than the power-stroke method, which ties up your "reaction" hand that much longer when it could be doing something else, like signaling a teammate or controlling a suspect.

The weight and forward CG: This is a legitimate concern. Setting aside the usual "Just grow some biceps, pansy!" (for we are not all SWAT/SPECOPS with nothing better to do than lift and eat), this problem would be simply remedied with and aftermarket of barrels. Again, this is the principle reason I have not yet committed to purchase this rifle, as a barrel aftermarket is supposed to be one of its principle selling points. I have no doubt that if/when this aftermarket opens, a slim-profile 12" barrel will more than alleviate the weight and CG issue you encountered. In the meantime, I understand there are custom gunsmiths who can produce such barrels if you are willing to pay for them. And of course I will not entirely discount the thing about biceps either. Training to handle a heavy load is a simple matter. At least you're not the infantry guy stuck carrying a .308 battle rifle or a machine-gun.

I think that covers everything that occurred to me as I was reading your post. I must stress for a third time that this is not to say you should stick with the ACR. Only that some acclimitization is to be expected, and you must weigh the cost of the necessary training (in time and money, and really money is time) against the potential benefit. Imagine yourself fully melded with the ACR, able to take full advantage of the capabilities it provides, like a finely honed cyborg. That's the potential benefit. Everyone will weigh that equation and come up with a different answer.

--And that reminds me of my final thought: If you decide against, then I think relegating the ACR to home-defense purposes is the last thing you should do. The weapon on which your family depends, in the dark of night when you are bleary and ill-rested and not expecting trouble and you do not have the rest of your force to back you up, is the weapon with which you should be absolutely the most familiar and the most natural. The gun at your bedside should be the one that is most a part of you, because it is the one you will operate under the absolute least favorable conditions, psychologically and physiologically. Thus I advise, sir, that you pick one rifle and make it a part of you. And then get a silencer for it if you're really going to use it for home defense. A .223 in an enclosed corridor, with sleep-adapted eyes and ears, will rock your world, and may prevent you from hearing and interpreting auditory or visual cues amidst the screams of your children. Not something one desires to contemplate, but a necessity in the reality of such a situation.
 

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+1 for both posts above.

I concur that you should do what you can to reduce that front weight if it is an issue. Have Adco cut down your barrel at least to the minimum non-SBR length or shorter if you can go that route. You definitely have your hands full when undermanned, so the last thing you need is excess fatigue from a heavy front ended rifle. Every little bit will help. Maybe move the light back as far as you feel comfortable with as well. Get that center of gravity back if you can. It'll cost a lot less than having to buy another carbine for the job, that's for sure.

Also, I would never use a rifle for home defense. Over penetration is a serious problem as it will be less likely to slow down the baddie (at least immediately) and can cause significant unintended consequences (usually to people you care about). I'd recommend a good .12 gauge (much higher likelihood of taking the guy down the first shot) or .45 pistol (hollow points) for home defense. Oftentimes, just the sound of the shotty racking is enough to make the guy jump out the window. I really don't see the ACR as a CQB weapon in its normal configuration. I think you are better off with a few mods to optimize it for patrol and using the money you would have used to buy another carbine to get a good shotty (I suspect you have a solid pistol in your possession already :D).

Best of luck and be safe.
 

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Agreement with Dan. My vote for home defense remains the suppressed semi-auto version of an MP-5, UMP, or Vector (if you can get it to work reliably, maybe with Militec-1 and good maintenance). Alternately the ACR in .300 BLK, suppressed, SBR, subsonic ammo. The benefit there being that of the ACR: that the one rifle you always train with adapts transparently (as far as your neurons are concerned) to the situation. *cough*vaporware*/cough*
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys for the evals and tips.

I think I will add deployment drills to my training regimen. Yes, I have done more than just qualify. Mostly move and shoots in various positions and various distances. That helps add fatigue and stress to the training. But the way it's stored is another issue. I used to carry my M4 with a 30rd mag empty chamber. I was going to get another case that would allow me to do the same with my ACR, but I have held off because I am supposed to get a new cruiser with a trunk vault for storage -- that was a year ago. They still need striped (don't ask). I think some deployment drills will help me eliminate the issue of loading up the weapon.

Ref. the weight- I have been considering SBRing down to 14.5 and maybe going pinned to avoid the NFA stuff (rifle is personally owned). A buddy of mine just got a Bushmaster Carbon 15, which I am leery of because of the body. But I want to try it for the pencil barrel.

I don't think I could bare to vet rid of my ACR completely. Like everyone else here, I have come to love the innovations that come with it. and I would like to see where the platform goes in the next five years or so. It's a good one after all. But I think, in the meantime, I may start saving up for a decent mil-spec M4 (maybe with a pencil barrel).
 

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Great posts all around. Only caveat being I wouldn't hesitate to use a 5.56 over a 9mm or 12ga as a home defense gun.

Just a suggestion, whenever I go to the range, I try to reduce as many things that will lead to training scars as possible. If I do a mag change, as I pull the mag from the weapon I let it drop to the ground. Trigger finger awareness, selector manipulation, chamber checks, everything.

A few weeks ago during a range trip, a former SF SFARTAETC guy was borrowing one of the NSW P226's. I let an Army guy shoot mine and walked back over to him (SF guy) and watched him put one in the dirt two feet in front of his feet. He jumped and looked at me, and I just shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

Perishable skills my friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm most likely to have my Glock 23 with 15rd mag, night sights, and a TLR-1 behind my headboard.

Like I said, I don't own a shotgun, but I might consider that if I owned one.
 

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MUSCLE MEMORY IS A MOTHER FUCKER!!!The only way to correct or retrain, is to dry fire drill empty chamber/bolt locked open reloads, tactical reloads and stage 1 and 2 failure clearing. Anyone ever experience a hard jam with the ACR? How does the charging handle fare against a good reefing? We can't carry anything thats not department issued, so I feel your pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MUSCLE MEMORY IS A MOTHER FUCKER!!!The only way to correct or retrain, is to dry fire drill empty chamber/bolt locked open reloads, tactical reloads and stage 1 and 2 failure clearing. Anyone ever experience a hard jam with the ACR? How does the charging handle fare against a good reefing? We can't carry anything thats not department issued, so I feel your pain.
I do a lot of that. I use dummy rounds for added benefit. I haven't had a stuck bolt before. The worst I've had is a stage 3 FTE stuck casing. I've gotten away from that ammo now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Updates: I now use a Trijicon ACOG TA31F-G. I have a shortened and pinned 16" OAL barrel with an AAC blackout FH. I have also started diversifying my ammo. I carry 3 30rd PMAGs (all black) with 55gr TAP rounds and 4 30rd PMAGs (OD green) with M855 steel core rounds. The TAP is for indoors and close work, while the M855 is for longer ranges at suspects in woods, brush, or behind cover.

I also got my new crisper finally. The new Impala has some issues compared to the Crown Vic. Most notably are the slower acceleration and lower ground clearance. Plus the smaller size requires a one prisoner back seat cage. It's a failed experiment as far as I'm concerned. But I can be happy that I've got my trunk vault and all my new electronics that actually work. I'll take it.
 

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I meant to mention in an earlier pic that I noticed you learned from your Surefire battery experience by having spares. Good man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I meant to mention in an earlier pic that I noticed you learned from your Surefire battery experience by having spares. Good man.
I had spares, but they were in the stock. They should be a lot easier to access now. My grip storage module was falling out during fire, so I left it out. Then, someone here posted the same problem and have a solution. Just heat up the retaining clip and bend it outward. Now I have no problem.
 

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Looks like a good trunk gun tackleberry, there's only 2 officers that I know of who bring their cool guy toys to work around me, but neither has an acr... yet lol

The local departments are still using crown vics, but are starting to get chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Looks like a good trunk gun tackleberry, there's only 2 officers that I know of who bring their cool guy toys to work around me, but neither has an acr... yet lol

The local departments are still using crown vics, but are starting to get chargers.
I'd much rather have a Charger police package with a HEMI, but it won't happen. The local PD will be getting 6 soon, so we'll see how that goes. I wouldn't mind a 2011 Caprice or a Carbon Motors Co. when they come out. Good stuff there. These Impalas just are not made for county roads or highway use. They're okay for a city cruiser, I guess, but not for what we do to them. The roads we're expected to hit beat our cars up. Although, I've gotta say that I just passed 1,000 miles and the engine and tranny are starting to jive a little better. It just needed the dust kicked out of it. Plus, my LT told me that it has a computer in there that's supposed to adjust for the kind of driving that you do after a while. Maybe that's kickin' in. I don't know. I'll probably see a new one in a few more years anyway.

I want this... http://www.carbonmotors.com/
 

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thats pretty sweet cruiser, my roommate was talking about those, it would be pretty nice to have a car built from the ground up to be a police vehicle instead of being converted like all the other vehicles
 

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I have a friend who swears by mixing in snap caps and/or blanks with live rounds in his practice shooting mags. I only like to do remedial action when absolutely necessary, but appreciate the sentiment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The city that the Carbon Motors plant was suppose to be in is saying they are now not so sure about production actually firing up. It seems it may be vaporware forever.
No. Don't say that. I'd be so disappointed. That thing has go a LOT of buzz. What's the town?
 
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