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Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Semi-Auto Rifle
 

Update:  December 11, 2010

My range buddy, Gary, and I wrapped up a 4 day Front Sight Practical Rifle course earlier this week.  It was Gary's second time and my first for this course.  The Cliff's Notes version of the M&P15's performance....ran great it did!

 

 

It was configured as follows:

     VLTOR EMOD stock
    ACOG 3.5x35mm (primary optic - model # TA11J-G)
    Burris FastFire II (secondary optic)
    Bill Springfield trigger
    Troy Drop In Battle Rail
    BCM M-16 Bolt Carrier Group
    BCM Gunfighter charging handle
    B.A.D. (Battery Assist Device)
    Grip Pod
    Magpul MOE pistol grip and magazine
    VTAC sling

Malfunctions:  Not a single malfunction occurred during the 4 day carbine course except for those that were manually induced while specifically conducting malfunction drills.  I shot the 55 grain FMJ Hornady steel cased training ammo during the course....about 400~450 rounds. 

Maintenance & Cleaning:  I did a routine cleaning of the rifle prior to leaving for Front Sight.  After 3 days of use, I used Breakfree CLP to clean the chamber (using a chamber brush), bolt carrier, and bolt.  A fresh application of Mobil1 10W-30 was applied to the bolt and bolt carrier prior to reassembly.  The bore was not cleaned. 

I only had a couple of local trips to the range with the VLTOR stock installed prior to the FS course.  Needless to say, it was nothing short of awesome.  It beat the factory CAR stock hands down.  It is comfortable to shoot, maintains a great cheek weld (even when rolling it over for the FastFire optic), and just plain works.  I do change the length between shooting offhand and prone so it really does get adjusted. 

The ACOG lived up to its reputation and worked like a champ.  We performed a 50 yard zero which put us on target quite well out to 200 yards (the max distance we shoot during the skills test).  I used the Burris reflex sight at 7 yards for the hostage taker head shots although I had no problem with doing a holdover with the ACOG.  The ACOG was used for the remaining distances of 15, 25, 50, 100, and 200 yards.  We also shot from 400 yards at 2'x2' steel plates.  Once I determined the appropriate holdover, the ACOG was more than adequate to ensure hits on the steel. 

So as I already said, the M&P15's performance was awesome.  I couldn't have been happier with it.  And as for my shooting, I was just 10 points off of a DG (Distinguished Graduate) score on my skills evaluation.  The Practical Rifle course at Front Sight averages a 1% DG rate.  The chances of a first time participant making a DG score is very, very slim, as explained to us by our range master after the skills test.  Not to worry, I'll get it the next time.
 

Update:  07/17/2011

Time to update this page again.

The Troy Drop in Battle Rail was removed and installed on my Eagle Arms EA-15.  There was nothing wrong with it....it was nice and tight and I've had no problems with it.  Basically, I wanted my backup AR-15 to be more like my primary rifle.  There was always a notable difference between the EA-15's round hand guard and the M&P 15's quad rail.  Plus....I didn't want to cobble together a rail adapter so the GripPod could be used on the Eagle Arms rifle. 
 

I decided I wanted a free floating rail for the M&P 15 so after some research time, I decided on a Daniel Defense Omega 7.0 rail.  Click here to review my Omega 7.0 install.  I've had limited trigger time with it as I write this but I can say that what I've done so far was nothing short of great.  As I mentioned in the install write-up, the rail is oval shaped (thinner than it is tall) and I like that aspect of it.  When the summer temps fade away here in AZ, I'll break out something other than my typical training ammo and see how it does.

Two months ago, I returned to Front Sight to take the Practical Rifle course.  I needed to qualify as a DG so I could take some of the other rifle course.  I am happy to report I am now part of that 1% DG rate.  <grin>

 

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