Within the last year I have noticed a huge increase in the number of AR uppers being sold with 13.7" barrels. This seems like another one of those fads where a company conducted some internal testing and determined that 13.7" is "ideal" for some reason or other that might be true, or might not be.
Where did this fad start and what are the claims about that particular lengths performance?
pistol, rifle, or SBR?
"I am not far right, just right so far!"
Probably to pin on those really long suppressor mounts from AAC(?) for 16 inches.
I first started seeing that size with the Sons Of Liberty Gunworks 13.7" barrel using their NOX flash hider with a keymo suppressor mount P&W to bring it to 16"
Pretty much like the 14.5" and A2 flash hider P&W for 16"
An NFA "loophole"
Garand Thumb did a review on the SOLGW 13.7" a few years ago.
|What is the |
soup du jour?
14.5" was the original Colt carbine length. That's what all their gas system compromises let them to believe was a good length.
Obviously that's shorter than legal civilian length. So more compromises were made to get rifles to customers w/o venturing into NFA territory.
Extending A2 flash hiders and pinning them in place became more common so as not to effect the dwell time, which the 16" is know for.
Then people realized suppressing is a thing, and just started pinning QD suppressor mounts to 14.5" barrels, as those are already like 2".
But then, you are overcompensating and end up at like 16.5" hardly a thumb in the eye of the ATF.
Many of these QD suppressor mounts are 2.3"-2.5", so if you include the overlap, you can comfortably drop the barrel length to 13.7" and still be compliant.
This is nice as it pulls more weight closer to the shooter. Win/win.
|Music's over turn |
out the lights
I feel that 13.7” is perfect, I have 2 sons of liberty and I built another one. 13.7” with SOLGW nox muzzle device gets you to 16” when ya pin and weld em. I have SBRs but the 13.7”s don’t require that stupid $200 so I’m drawn to them. Another thing the 13.7”s feel good especially when you put a K size can on them.
Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. -Sophocles
In all the flash comparison images and articles I can recall, the A2 performs quite well. The A2 hider is also a silencer mount for cans from Gemtech, Griffin, and, thanks to Griffin, any can with 1.375x24 threads in the back (people love versatility!). I understand wanting a shorter barrel on a carbine gas system, but, with the proliferation of mid-length systems, a barrel closer to 16" isn't a bad thing. So, one can have a p/w A2, be as short as possible while avoiding NFA, and maximize performance. I agree that most of the p/w setups are aimed at folks who are going to be using a silencer 99% of the time, so it's not a race to the shortest barrel with longest hider for no reason, but there's definitely a point of diminishing returns; the can has to have some damn baffles, and they can't start until the muzzle device stops. When you p/w, you marry yourself to a silencer, or, with the advent of HUB, at least a mount type; IMO, it's a bold move for a manufacturer to offer such a dense line of p/w guns as SOLGW. Even though DA has a HUB unit, a lot of HUB cans' blast chambers aren't long enough to accomodate the NOX. The SOLGW 13.7 guns are cool if you are a DA user who wants the shortest OAL suppressed gun you can have without being NFA, I suppose, but that's somewhat specific. I may be missing something, and I am not knocking these 13.7 guns, but it seems to me that my summary in the preceding sentence might be the bottom line.
13.7" was a special run length for BE Meyers 249F flash hider pin and welds some years back. The SOLGW Nox was made to the same dimensions to utilize the 13.7 barrels that were on the market, and I think the Nox came out after BE discontinued the 249F.
13.9" is also gaining popularity, as it will work for a lot more muzzle devices, like Surefire.
|Fighting the good fight|
The original original barrel length on the first Colt carbine in 1959 - Model 607 - was 10 inches, and this 10" barrel carried over to the early 1960s CAR-15/XM177 and then the mid-1960s XM177E1 as well. Then it became 11.5 inches on the XM177E2 in the late 1960s, and 11.5" barrels continued to be used on the subsequent Colt Commando models in the 1970s and 1980s. Then Colt eventually introduced the 14.5 inch barrel on the M4 in the late 1980s.
So 14.5" barrels didn't come about until around the sixth generation of Colt carbines, nearly 30 years after the initial Colt Model 607 carbine.
The eventual jump from 11.5" to 14.5" came about as a request from the Army's Armament Research and Development Center during the XM4 development and testing in the early-to-mid 1980s. The XM4 had initially started out with the existing 11.5" barrels on Colt's carbines of the time, but the military decided they wanted the increased velocity and lower muzzle flash of the longer 14.5" barrel on the M4.
I've always suspected the real reason for the 14.5 inch barrel versus 16 is that it is the right length to allow proper mounting of the bayonet. Which of course no one uses.
|Fighting the good fight|
If they had wanted a 16" barrel with bayonet mounting capabilities on the XM4, that would have been easily doable during development, either by incorporating a bayonet ring on the barrel behind the flash hider or by moving the front sight/gas block/bayonet lug assembly forward (as seen on 16" ARs with midlength gas systems).
But by the time the M4 was adopted in 1989, the bayonet charge was quickly going the way of the dodo anyway.
I am aware of the midlength handguards, my personal rifles have them so I can mount the bayonet I never use. My point is I can see the army saying we need to have a 14.5 inch barrel so we can use the bayonet we never use.
All somewhat kidding aside I do like the midlength for the supposed dwell time benefits. I am guessing similarly someone in their reckoning determined the 13.7 inch was the ideal, and it's the new cool, and the marketing has been successful.
|They're after my Lucky Charms!|
I don't think Bayonets are passe. The Brits have used them a few times in recent history, last to my knowledge in putting down a riot in Basra in the late 2000s.
As for the US Army, I think they are a victim of the yellow safety belt mentality. Last time I heard about bayonets in the Army was a Regiment commander at the beginning of Op. Iraqi Freedom ordering his troops to turn them all in because he was worried Spc. Schmuckatelli doing something stupid and injuring himself and/or others.
As for odd barrel lengths, it is all about getting just past the 16" ATF law once a compensator/flash hider/suppressor mount has been pinned and welded on.
Lord, your ocean is so very large and my divos are so very f****d-up
Dirt Sailors Unite!
Noveske made (or still makes) a stainless 13.7" barrel called the "Afghan" that dates back some years. I had one, as best I recall, in the 1990s. It had a pinned and welded Noveske KX3 muzzle device, popular at the time, called "the flaming pig" which mostly directed muzzle blast forward.
|Hop head |
this man has it correct,
FWIW, my father had a Colt Commando back in the 70's, it was the first MG I shot, and wish I had bought it from him,
my Sendra conversion, in Commando form, will have to do,
if it matters, I have a 14.5 LMT upper for it as well that runs like a top
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