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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you who like me are still in the consideration/dream phase, thinking about an ACR but not yet able or committed to purchase one, I was able to handle one at a gun show the other day. A couple of quick first impressions:

The enhanced model, with its all-metal fore-end, is indeed heavier than I expected despite all the hullabaloo on the 'Net about the weapon's gross weight. Probably too heavy for small folk who are looking for a carbine they can shoot one-handed in a pinch. I don't know how the "basic" handguard affects this, but I have to imagine for the better. I understand it is essentially an ACR-adaptation of the Magpul MOE M4 handguard, all plastic (excuse me, polymer). I like the idea of the basic handguard in that sense, because you get a comfortable KISS fore-end, but with options for real segments at 2, 6, and 10 o'clock if you desire. That doesn't sound Basic at all. (In fact, calling something "Basic" which the AR-15 guys spend big bucks to put on their guns aftermarket sounds like a failure of advertising to me.)

This is not really a complaint about the weight of the enhanced model, since I don't have to carry it long distances over rough terrain with a fifty-pound rucksack. In any case, I could do that too, because I'm not a pansy. And I'll tell ya, the enhanced handguard does give you the impression that it could get run over by a semi truck without flinching, much less deforming. Reminds me of my Surefire flashlights in that regard. I'm sure it's essentially the same metal.

The enhanced butt-stock is pretty sweet. It feels very tight and sturdy in its adjustments, and lo and behold, the fold to the right works out perfectly, and is also quite secure without locking. (If you haven't heard, it uses a ramp hinge and spring, rather than a lock, to keep it in the folded position, but positively locks in the straight position.) You can see why the gun feels forward-weighted: all the metal is forward, and all the plastic is aft.

The entire gun... feels smaller than I expected. I think this impression comes largely from the rear end, which is compact compared to that of an AR-15 (which has to house the spring). The adjustable length of pull on the enhanced stock is, of course, essential for the enhanced stock, so that's not really saying anything, except that unless you live at the spiral end of the Yellow Brick Road, you will use it in an extended position.

As people have said, the pistol grip is well-raked (angled), so to speak, but not enough to bother me. Certainly not like the last time I handled a Glock and felt I should be pulling the trigger with my middle finger. There may be a reason that it is angled a little more than some others in this stock configuration. Consider that one of the controls (the bolt release, I believe) is located forward of the trigger, at the bottom of the trigger guard. It is activated by pressing it downward with the side of the trigger finger. Make a finger gun with an imaginary vertical grip, and try this motion. Then make a finger gun with an imaginary raked grip (an imaginary Glock!) and try it again. A few degrees makes a big difference in how much leverage your own muscular mechanisms have to execute that motion. Remember that if they come out with aftermarket lowers. Imagine some grit has gotten into that release mechanism, making it harder to press the button, and you have to press it with sideways pressure and a fully-extended finger. Just sayin', bear it in mind before you get something extremely vertical. The angle is there for a reason.

What people are saying about the position of the safety/fire-selector is also true. Let's say you're in an indexed ready position, with your trigger finger lying parallel to the barrel along the side of the lower receiver, above the trigger. The safety switch, being ambidextrous, has an identical knob on both sides. The knob has a flange pointing in one direction, and an arrow pointing in the other direction (see the AR 15's selector). In the safe position, the it lies parallel to your indexed trigger finger, just above the finger. In fact, your indexed finger is probably resting right up against the underside of the flange.

To go off safe, to the Fire position, you rotate the flange downward to vertical, so the arrow points up at the bullet. Now, put your finger back in indexed position, and your finger is lying across the vertical flange.

Benefits? You can feel the flange very clearly in both positions, even through a thick glove. You always know exactly what firing mode you're in.

Opposite-of-benefits? It's a little uncomfortable. This in and of itself does not bother me. There are circumstances where is is appropriate to make something a little uncomfortable on purpose so that it always stands out to you in the back of your mind. I'm trying to think of an example from something other than shooting, but I'm blanking on it. But suffice to say, if something's perfectly comfortable, you stop noticing it. Your safety switch is worth noticing at all times.

Where is this vertical flange going to be a problem? If you go to "urban prone" on your shooting-hand side while indexed (and you will be indexed as you maneuver, of course), and then something lands on the gun, that flange is going right into your finger. It'll hurt. How likely is that? I dunno. I'm not in Iraq, and most of the guys over there or on the SWAT teams, who might end up in this situation, wear some pretty stout tactical gloves. Honestly, I'm not sure it's a real problem.

The more I think about it, the more like the idea that in my home position (trigger finger indexed as I search for and move to a target), I have a continuous read on the position of the safety lever. I can't, as the gun is currently configured, possibly forget about it, and that's worth a lot in a gun fight, where safety switches are forgotten all too often with deadly consequences.

The MBUS sights are pretty neat. Big levers on both sides (ambidextrous, you might say, as if that was some kind of thing, for this rifle), and all you have to do is hit the lever a glancing blow to pop up the sight. Not bad. I know there are fancy systems out there which link the front and rear sights to a single lever, so they both pop up together. And then you've got the Surefire canted-gun sights idea. Lots of fun concepts out there, but the MBUS are certainly suitable in their advertised role, as a backup.

I think that's about it from the show. I didn't get to play with the barrel-swap or anything. Still, from what I've already seen, if the caliber kits come out, this is my baby.
 

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Very objective observations. I echo everything that you wrote in my verbal conversation with non-owners about the rifle. Is it a perfect rifle, well, isn't perfection in the eye of the beholder? In my eyes, there are a few tweeks that I would make. Nothing I'm planning on doing at the moment. My biggest wish is for a pencil barrel profile, ala M16a1 / original ar15. But that is a personal preference and the current profile is not a show stopper in my eyes. The safety, like you said, good points, not so good points. After 2k rounds fired, I don't even feel it anymore.

I think the ACR is a great platform, well thought out design. Bought mine in July of last year and hoping to break 5k rounds on it's 1 year anniversary of me owning it......

Thank you for sharing your observations!! :cool:
 

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As for the basic handguard, you're right it's the better option in my opinion. The basic stock is pretty good too but I use the enhanced primarily for storage reasons.

As for the safety selector issues- yes it's a pain in the ass, but the nice thing about it being polymer is that you get to make some quick modifications if necessary. I took mine out of the lower and widdled down the switch into a shorter tear-drop shape with nothing more than a sharp pocket knife. I still want to get a dremel tool on it to smooth it out, but it makes quite a comfortable difference and I can still use it on that side if needed.

The weight is making me play with different optics selections (mine was heavy to begin with).

It shoots great on the range. Very reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As for the safety selector issues- yes it's a pain in the ass...
I would have said pain in the finger. What's it doing... No, I can't bring myself to complete the joke. So Tackleberry, you do find the feel of the selector flange under your finger troublesome enough that it needs to be modified?

Also, please elaborate on what optics selections you made and how they affected both the gross weight and "felt weight" of the rifle.
 

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I would have said pain in the finger. What's it doing... No, I can't bring myself to complete the joke. So Tackleberry, you do find the feel of the selector flange under your finger troublesome enough that it needs to be modified?

Also, please elaborate on what optics selections you made and how they affected both the gross weight and "felt weight" of the rifle.
The selector: I did find that it was a problem. What I found was that when doing dry drills, I would go from on trigger to "finger safe" and knock the selector into safe. But it's a minor problem, IMHO. It is easily modified on either side for now. Down the line, maybe they'll make a selector group that permits only a partial rotation more similar to the SCAR (...and I'm no fanboy for the SCAR).

As for optics, I currently use an Eotech 557 with the 1st gen. 3x magnifier with FTS mount. It works well with the MBUS sights, it's versatile an it's adjustable for any light. That being said, it's heavy-- about 11.2 oz. for each. I have started looking for a lighter Eotech and have been carrying the magnifier in my bag rather than on the rail. It has an ARMS throw lever, so if I need it, I can put it on pretty quickly. Now, brass tax: it's not THAT heavy. On the range, it shot great. The only problem for weight is when working through malfunction drills standing. You notice the front heaviness then. I'm also looking to get a lighter-weight light to remedy that as well.
 

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i started with an eotech 552, but it interferred with the charging handle since i run it with night vision, i swapped to the acog but it was a little on the heavier side, and ended up with the t-1, its lightweight and rugged. i can also run my night vision properly with this setup without the monocular being too far back in my face...

i'd recommend this setup, but my rifle is also set up for cqb, as far as the selector switch, it doesnt bother me that much
 

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Discussion Starter #8
By T-1, you're referring the Aimpoint Micro? If so, that strikes me as an interesting choice for a full-sized rifle, but yeah, very weight effective. So where do you think the majority of the front-end weight is coming from? Is it barrel/barrel-assembly, or is it the handguard and other exterior stuff? Where should you turn your first attention if you wanted to move the CG back a big? Thinner/shorter barrel, or a differently configured fore-end?
 

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i think the barrel assembly is pretty heavy-ish, if you add any accessories to it, it piles up quick, it seems like i notice small weight additions more on the acr over any other weapon i've ever used. i just run a x300 and my aimpoint t-1 and it feels pretty good, i also had 6 inches of barrel removed =D

overall i think a lightweight profile would do the rifle nicely, and maybe a pinned 14.5 setup (or even better with sbr)
 

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By T-1, you're referring the Aimpoint Micro? If so, that strikes me as an interesting choice for a full-sized rifle, but yeah, very weight effective. So where do you think the majority of the front-end weight is coming from? Is it barrel/barrel-assembly, or is it the handguard and other exterior stuff? Where should you turn your first attention if you wanted to move the CG back a big? Thinner/shorter barrel, or a differently configured fore-end?
I'm using the basic handguard, and that helped move some of the CG aft. Only other place up front is shortening the barrel and reprofiling it to be skinnier. Can't remember who, but some one on the forum shorten the barrel to 14inchs and permenantly attached a flash hider and it help move the CG aft. Also attaching any optic mid magwell or aft would help as well.
 

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I would have said pain in the finger. What's it doing... No, I can't bring myself to complete the joke. So Tackleberry, you do find the feel of the selector flange under your finger troublesome enough that it needs to be modified?

Also, please elaborate on what optics selections you made and how they affected both the gross weight and "felt weight" of the rifle.
I just got mine today and after "playing" with it a bit, I decided that the right side safety selector needed a reduction so I broke out a grinding wheel and dremeled off a good bit of material at an angle and the problem is gone. MUCH better.
 
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