In my last post which you can find here, I detailed my pistol selections for the W5K. You can find my introduction article for the series here. This time I will be talking about carbine selection and my experiences with them last year in this event.
Based on the comments I occasionally read on TTAG, I think many of you find me an insufferable and arrogant millennial who has no business being a gun writer. Well, I’m not going to stop writing, but I will let let you watch me eat a slice of humble pie.
I totally sucked at carbine shooting at this event last year despite bringing what I believed to be a top-tier gun.
The 2020 W5K saw me with a carbine that was probably in the ballpark of nine pounds, maybe even ten. It was a beast and it was decked out in just about every accessory I could find, shot 1/2 MOA at 100 meters, and was set up with a National Match sling in DMR style.
Boy was I in for it. The carbine I brought was actually heavier than my precision rifle.
Right away I began to encounter problems and they were all related to just how clumsy I had made that gun. A significant number of the stages, all of which I cleverly saved for last, involved shooting the carbine one-handed or weak arm.
I did horribly. At one point I was so sweaty when pulling a rope with a weight on it that I couldn’t even aim the gun one-handed. A lot of people were watching and I did really poorly. It sucks to suck.
I also failed to bring the correct sling and it showed. I had to adapt my NM sling to be a two-point and it was uncomfortable to say the least. The hooks kept coming off and I would drop the gun from time to time.
I ended up going back to my vehicle and started pulling parts off. I took off the scope after about half the stages and shot the rest of them with irons. I eventually began taking off MLOK accessories in a bid to further reduce weight. I knew I had messed up pretty badly and I had no way to further reduce the weight.
The longest stage for carbine was only 100 yards. I had anticipated most of it being a bit longer and I thusly brought far too much gun. I had basically brought a medium weight varmint rifle to the competition, something I would strongly recommend you don’t do.
This year I decided to build out some options that are all very different, yet I feel would give me the best edge for what I expect to find there this year.
Choice #1: USASOC URGI
This carbine is short with a pinned-and-welded muzzle device. It’s a genuine Geissele upper with all the correct NSN numbers and yes, I got the little patch with it. No, I won’t sell it.
The lower is a Brownells BRN-4 in HK style. The trigger and lower parts are all Geissele. In fact, this gun is about 95% Geissele overall, including irons, scope, and mount.
This is a phenomenal carbine. It’s rugged and accurate. I installed a Triad wrap on it for when my hands get slippery (not pictured). It’s the heaviest carbine on this list, but it is substantially lighter than what I took last year.
This gun is also the most flexible in terms of accessories given that I don’t know the distances I will be firing at with it just yet. With the amount of unknowns, I expect to take this gun and I can always remove the scope if I need to should it prove to be just a bit too heavy on tired arms.
Choice #2: BROWNELLS BRN-180
This is one of my favorite full builds and I have it set up for minimal weight and maximum speed. There is just about no weight in the folding stock and the carbine is virtually recoilless thanks to the soft-shooting action and the Q Cherry Bomb brake. The gun just sits there on the shoulder like a loud .22LR.
The rifle is set up with a Trijicon Reflex sight and co-witnessed Scalarworks irons. I have a Velocity 3.5 lb tigger in it that is really crisp which helps speed shooting. This carbine is compact, slender, and reliable and shoots well with both eyes open. As far as it goes, it’s a solid bet for a competition like this if the ranges are mid to close distance.
Choice #3: BROWNELLS RETRO M16A1
This is a classic that is basically a featherweight compared to the rest. The old M16 is made fresh here and it handles and shoots like a dream. Not only is it the lightest carbine on the list, it’s also the easiest to handle in terms of not having a pile of accessories on it.
Zeroed with 55gr M193, it’s point blank out to 300 meters, which makes it as simple as pointing and shooting, though irons are a challenge past that in the wind and light conditions at the facility where the 5K is hosted.
This rifle, while certainly a hoot and very fun to shoot, doesn’t have a modern sling setup and it would kill me to muck up the classic lines with a modern style sling. If I end up taking this carbine, it would be a bit of a detriment in that category, but it does have a carry handle which is an overlooked bonus.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Let me know in the comments what you think I should take with me to the Wolverine 5K this year. Should I go modern or retro…or something in between? I will consider all points and perhaps I will be there with the gun you chose for me.