Handguns Rifles

New Ruger Gun at 2009 NRA Convention: Another Platform Redefined

(Editor’s note: On May 15, Ruger introduced the SR-556: a piston driven AR-15 style rifle.)ruger_lcr_01

Ruger is really stiring up excitement in the firearms world.  Ruger brought out the SR9, the wildly popular LCP, and the now shipping LCR.  And Ruger isn’t done yet.

At the 2009 NRA Convention, Ruger wil be announcing another new product that will allegedly redefine a platform.  May 15 is the announcement date, but speculation is already running wild.  Here are some of the possibilities…

Polymer Framed 1911

Ruger broke more than a few people’s expectations when it comes to small revolvers, by introducing the part-polymer LCR.  Ruger could do the same with a polymer-framed 1911.


Stark Equipment SE-1 Grip for the AR-15

Stark SE-2 AR15 Grip

The Stark Equipment SE-1 is a polymer grip that replaces the standard AR-15 grip and trigger guard with a single polymer unit.  At the 2009 SHOT Show, I had a chance to preview the Stark SE-1, and I was impressed by the look and feel of the floor samples.

Stark Equipment is now shipping the SE-1, and I was able to get one of the early production grips.  I am just as impressed by the production model as I was by the samples.

The SE-1 feels good in my hand, with just the right amount of palm swell and what appears to be a good grip angle.  The Stark grip features three texture rings around the center of the grip, providing good adhesion to the hand.  There are also grooves around the textured rings.  These grooves are designed to allow fluids, such as sweat and rain, to flow away from the hand and not disrupt the mating of the hand to the grip.

There is a removable rubber plug on the bottom of the grip that allows you to store two CR-123 or AA batteries for any light or optics accessories you may have.


Ruger’s New Tactical Mini-14

Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Rifle

A few days ago, a photo leaked of a possible new tactical version of the Ruger Mini-14.  At the time, I stated that it looked like a Mini-14 with the ATI stock on it.  Well, that is exactly what it is.

Ruger was showing the “new” Mini-14 at the 2009 Media Day at the Range.  According to the Ruger rep, ATI is manufacturing the Strikeforce stock with the Ruger emblem and shipping them to Ruger, where the Mini-14 is assembled and shipped to dealers.  According to the rep, that’s it: no other new features or items that you wouldn’t get by ordering your own ATI Strikeforce stock and putting it onto a Runger Mini-14.

The Mini-14/20CF is finished in matte black and fitted with the ATI stock.  This stock has a quad rail fore and an adjustable, side-folding buttstock.  It is a nice set-up and feels solid.  The folks at Ruger say these are already shipping and are already on some dealers shelves.  The MSRP is $872.


Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Stocks

I’ve had several people recently inquire about the availability of aftermarket stocks for the Ruger Mini-14.  Specifically, they were interested in tactical style stocks for the Mini-14.  There are two Mini-14 stocks I suggest people consider if they are looking for something more tactical for their Ruger: the TAPCO and the ATI stocks.

TAPCO is a company based in Kennesaw, GA, that has been involved in the firearms industry for many years now.  I recall stopping into their offices back during the Clinton years and buying SKS stripper clips from them when I still lived and worked in that area.  The TAPCO people are good folks.

TAPCO manufactures a Mini-14 replacement stock called the FUSION system.  The FUSION system is a complete stock replacement that gives the owner a M4 style, adjustable buttstock, SAW-style pistol grip, and a Picatinny rail on the top and the bottom of the barrel cover.  Other nice features about the FUSION system include the pistol grip has a storage compartment, the lower rail has a removable cover, the system is available in black, dark earth, and olive drab colors, and the system works with the Mini-14 in .223 or 6.8 SPC plus the Mini-30.  MSRP is $129.99 and is worth every penny.

Advanced Technology, Inc. (ATI) manufactures glass-filled, injection-molded stocks for a wide variety of firearms. ATI recently introduced the Ruger Mini-14 Strikeforce Package, which gives your Mini-14 a definite tactical look and feel.

The Strikeforce gives the Mini-14 four Picatinny rails on the forend of the stock and molded inserts to cover them when they are not in use.  The Strikeforce also features a folding, six-position adjustable buttstock that can store batteries in the tube. The stock has a pistol grip and a removable/adjustable 3/8″ cheekrest.

The Strikeforce MSRP is less expensive than the TAPCO at only $109, but only comes in black.


Kel Tec RFB Rifle: Carbine Model Shipping in December

An exciting new rifle, the Kel Tec RFB, is expected to ship the carbine model in December 2008.  This rifle has been one of the more eagerly anticipated firearms in 2008.

A video of the carbine in action is embedded below.

The RFB is a 7.62×51 NATO (.308 Winchester) semi-automatic rifle that will be offered in two models: carbine with a 18″ barrel and target rifle with a 32″ barrel.  The “bullpup” design rifle accepts FAL magazines.  All controls are ambidextrous and the rifle ejects fired brass forward making this firearm equally shootable for left and right handed shooters.

MSRP on the carbine is set at $1880.

RFB Carbine Features

  • 18″ Chrome lined 7.62 NATO chambered barrel
  • Birdcage flash hider included
  • Front ejection of cases
  • Top Picatinny rail for mounting sights (no sights included)
  • Gunsmith replaceable barrel with adjustable headspace
  • Click adjustable gas system for various power ammo, or suppressor use
  • Accepts FAL metric magazines with straight-in/drop-free magazine well (one magazine included)
  • Nylon sling and hardware included
  • In-grip storage capability

KelTec RFB Video

January 2009 Update

The Kel Tec RFB rifle will be shipping early next month (Feb 09) according to a Kel Tec representative at the 2009 SHOT Show.  The rep was very upbeat about the rifle, stating they are in production now and will be shipping very soon.

Kel Tec’s sales of the RFB rifles to distributers have been very brisk, selling 1,000 to one distributer on the first day of the SHOT Show alone.

I had a chance to handle the RFB, and I have to admit I was impressed.  The rifle, chambered in .308/7.62 NATO, is hefty, but very well-balanced.  Kel Tec had several different configurations of the RFB on display, and everyone stopping to check them out seemed to like them.

The RFB looks like it will be a very good seller for Kel Tec.

September 2009 Update

keltec_rfb_rifle_03The Kel Tec RFB (Rifle, Forward-ejecting Bullpup) is shipping, though slower than had been expected.  It seems there are some issues with the heat treating process, which have prevented manufacturing the RFB in large quantities.  Specifically, Kel Tec states:

Heat treatment issues with the ejector chute are slowing down RFB production. Batches are still coming out, but not in full production quantities as of yet. We are working closely with our heat treaters to resolve the issue.

Hopefully, the RFB will be in full-production soon.

Kel Tec also stated they were showing a suppressed RFB at the Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC) Silencer Shoot.  A suppressed RFB would be a fun rifle to own.

January 2012 Update

Kel-Tec RFB Sporter
The carbine version of the Kel-Tec RFB rifle.

The Kel-Tec RFB Sporter will be introduced at the 2012 SHOT Show if the rumors I am hearing are correct.  From what I hear, the mid-sized RFB will feature the 24″ barrel, putting it between the carbine and target models.

Kel-Tec indicated they would eventually produce a Sporter model when the RFB was introduced, but with all of the projects they have been working on during the past several years, I imagine the R&D on the 24″ model took a back seat to them.

The Kel-Tec RFB Sporter will be chambered in 7.62×51 (not in .223 as some of the rumors have suggested), and the longer barrel will offer increased long-range accuracy as compared to the carbine version.

I don’t have exact specs, but the new rifle should weigh about 9.5-10.0 pounds and have an OAL of about 32″.  It should otherwise look and work just like any other RFB (forward ejecting, etc.)

While it did not appear that Kel-Tec spent much time on the rifle in 2011, they did introduce a variety of RFB accessories such as a short quad rail, muzzle brake and a “tactical” operating handle.

This video shows the Kel-Tec RFB carbine in action:

January 2012 – Second Update

Even though the “Hunter” version of the RFB  got more attention, the Kel-Tec RFB 24 was introduced at the 2012 SHOT Show.  The RFB 24, also known as the Sporter model, is a forward ejecting, 7.62×51 chambered rifle in a bullpup configuration with a 24″ barrel.

Kel-Tec RFB 24

The RFB 24 is a mid-sized version of the rifle, falling between the carbine (18″ barrel) and target (32″ barrel) models.

I would be interested in seeing a side-by-side range test of all three versions to see what kind of accuracy, velocity and recoil differences there are between them.

January Update 3 – Tan Kel-Tec RFB

Kel-Tec is now showing the RFB rifle in tan.  Previously, I have only seen the RFB in black, but at the 2012 SHOT Show, the company had a tan model on display.

Kel-Tec RFB tan

Unfortunately, the woman representing Kel-Tec at the booth did not have any information on the gun.  So, for now, we will have to wait and see if/when they ship.

Kel-Tec RFB tan

Kel-Tec RFB tan