If you have not been involved in at least one conversation or debate about gas piston driven AR 15 systems versus direct impingement AR 15 gas system in the last decade I would have to question your status as an AR15 aficionado. This question is one that plenty of gun people have asked me when looking for 3 gun advice over the years. In the end, an agreement is rarely reached but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the correct positon.. Gas piston versus direct impinged can almost be considered the politics or religion of the gun range clubhouse, subjects you only bring up if you want to have a debate or argument. I first got involved with this discussion about 6 or 7 years ago. I had recently purchased my first suppressor for a 6.8 SPC rifle that I had built (let us not even start discussing the caliber wars) and noticed how fouled my bolt would get and how I would have a black face from all the gas and carbon being blown back into the receiver of the gun. I was also finding that I would have to soak my bolt carrier group in full synthetic motor oil before a shooting session to keep the rifle functioning the whole time I was at the range. Because of this, I began my search for a cleaner way to run an AR and without requiring a ton of oil.
I was first introduced to the concept of converting a direct impinged AR to a gas piston AR by a friend who was working at a local law enforcement supply store. This friend had converted a few guns with the kit from Adams Arms and he told me that if I wanted to reduce the gas in my face and get a gun that ran cleaner and more reliably I should try one of these conversions. Before this, I had believed that the only way to get a gas piston AR was to spend a large sum of money to get one of the few factory piston guns on the market. I happened to see that a group buy of Adams Arms kits was happening on AR15.com so I jumped in and bought one. This first kit was a carbine gas that came with an M4 style (at the time) plastic hand guard, the gas block, piston and op rod, and a replacement key for a bolt carrier group. At the same time, I bought a quad rail from Samson Manufacturing that was made specifically to work with the Adams piston kit. That first piston kit was used to convert an old Bushmaster XM-15 (my first AR). Since then I have used kits to build multiple other rifles for friends and myself. My favorite conversion kit build is a 10-inch LMT barrel SBR upper.
In early 2010, I was bit by the 3-gun bug. I had been competing a lot in USPSA pistol competitions all around Texas but was looking for something a bit different. I competed in my first major 3-gun match, the 2010 Larue Tactical 3 Gun, and I was hooked. I started looking for all the right equipment to give me any edge I could get. The beginning of my dive into the sport of 3-gun was made even more interesting by a 2 year deployment to Iraq. I scheduled most of my leave around 3-gun matches back in the states. It was on one of these leave trips, for the 2010 Fort Benning 3 Gun Championship, whereI met Jim Granger and was introduced more to what Adams Arms was doing. I spoke to Jim that weekend and jumped on a plane back to Iraq, putting my 3 gun behind me for a while again. I ran into Jim a couple years later at the NRA National Meetings in St. Louis, Mo. It was obvious that Adams Arms had come a long way.
I shot an abbreviated season in 2012, but one match in particular ended up being a launching pad into what has been an amazing 2013 season. That match was the Ozark 3 Gun, of which Adams Arms was the title sponsor. At that match I not only got to spend more time talking with Jim and Matt and the guys from Adams Arms, but I also got to take a look at some of the new awesome guns that were coming out of the Adams factory. Over the next few months, I spoke with Matt a lot and in the end was very proud to become one of Adams Arms sponsored shooters. It is very easy to shoot for, and represent, a company whose products you have watched grow over the years and that you really believe in.
The first complete factory built rifle I got from Adams was a 16 inch mid gas government contour with the Samson Evo hand guard. This rifle has proven to be an amazing shooter. I had previously been told and believed that the optimum barrel for 3-gun was an 18-inch with rifle gas. However, this 16-inch gun could do everything that my 18-inch guns could do and more. It was more maneuverable and much quicker to transition between targets, which is particularly important in this new 3 Gun Nation driven 3-gun environment we have today. On the practice range, while running double tap drills the Adams Arms rifle, combined with an AR Gold trigger, consistently performed splits in the .09-.11 second range.There are still matches that are much more wide open and on natural terrain, that an 18-inch rifle gas gun is more suited for, such as the Fallen Brethren 3 Gun that has very few rifle targets inside of 100 yards and a lot outside of 250 yards. To solve that problem though, Adams built us some 18-inch rifle gas uppers to use at these longer range open terrain matches.
One of the best things about representing Adams Arms though is the fact that Jim and everyone at Adams are willing to try new things and make the product line better. The 18-inch rifle gas guns are a testament to this. This is made even truer by the fact that Adams Arms and Voodoo Innovations manufacture everything that goes into the guns. The crew at Adams Arms is always striving for perfection. There will be a drive for more competition oriented, performance driven products coming out of Adams Arms in the future, and I am looking forward and proud to be a part of that future. If your looking for 3 gun advice, call Adams Arms today, they will be glad to help.