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View Full Version : Forward Assist in ARs ... useless?


Lead Waster
05-03-2011, 3:43 PM
Just wondering about these, as I bought a "varmint" upper that does NOT have the forward assist. Am I missing out, or is this really for combat situations that I'll never ever be in? I mean, unless that piece of paper decides to bum rush me.

djleisure
05-03-2011, 3:44 PM
You're not missing out. It is, in fact, more for combat situations (like silent press checks in the dark, etc.) - don't worry about it!

bjl333
05-03-2011, 3:45 PM
Unless you're gonna throw you weapon in the mud there is no need for the forward assist. If you keep your varmint gun dirty enough to need the forward assist then you should give the gun to me!! :p:p

Adub
05-03-2011, 3:56 PM
I have only used it a few times and it was for a silent chambering of a round. So you are fine without.

MudCamper
05-03-2011, 3:58 PM
I wish none of my uppers had it. It's just a slight extra weight and bulk. In the tens of thousands of rounds I've fired, I've never needed one. And if I did need it, I wouldn't use it. I'd tap-rack-bang. And if that didn't work I'd look in the chamber to figure out what the problem was.

Or you could just bang on that forward assist whenever you have a problem, like this guy did, possibly with the same result:

Oh1lyMyejpI

stix213
05-03-2011, 4:02 PM
If you're gun isn't feeding properly, its best to figure out what the actual problem is rather than use the forward assist and just keep going.

When the vietcong are sending mag after mag of 7.62x39 at you though, then you have permission to bang on the forward assist and figure out your jamming problem after you resolve that "save your butt" problem first.

The War Wagon
05-03-2011, 4:06 PM
If you're gun isn't feeding properly, its best to figure out what the actual problem is rather than use the forward assist and just keep going.

When the vietcong are sending mag after mag of 7.62x39 at you though, then you have permission to bang on the forward assist and figure out your jamming problem after you resolve that "save your butt" problem first.

THIS!

I've had Addax, and now Johnson Tactical, both build me custom AR's with Vltor MUR-1A uppers, which means, WITH the forward assist. It's sorta like an appendix now; ya' don't REALLY need it, but you feel kinda funny without it (and if you abuse 'em, like the video above - they can both explode! :eek:).

Josh3239
05-03-2011, 4:30 PM
When the vietcong are sending mag after mag of 7.62x39 at you though, then you have permission to bang on the forward assist and figure out your jamming problem after you resolve that "save your butt" problem first.

The addition of the forward assist came during Vietnam, but it wasn't the result of Vietnam. The problems with the M16 during Vietnam wasn't failure to feed or fire, they were stuck cases. An issue that the forward assist doesn't solve. The Army requested the forward assist so the bolt can be closed manually, though it can be pushed with your finger anyways. Troops weren't hammering their forward assist under fire in Vietnam, they were rather begging for the unit's lone cleaning rod to jam down the barrel to push out stuck cases under fire.

If you are having problems the forward assist is never your answer. The bolt not cycling correctly could be a buffer problem, gas problem, chamber obstruction, barrel obstruction or gas tube issue. The forward assist will not fix those, the forward assist does not remove carbon, dirt, sand, etc. Additionally you can jam/break your forward assist making a simple malfunction worse or the forward assist can cause a problem round to get stuck making a simple malfunction worse.

In some cases the forward assist is dangerous. Forcing a round to chamber that doesn't want to is just plain dumb. In the event of a barrel obstruction or a badly deformed case, forcing the round to chamber so you can fire is an excellent way to turn your rifle into a grenade.

Simply removing the problem round and if you can, feel for obstructions or looking for obstructions is far safer.

It is kind of funny because this forward assist phenomenon is only limited to ARs. If people have issues with any other rifle, whether is is an M1/M1A/Mini 14, AK, 10/22 or whatever they don't go banging on the op rod, they just hand cycle the actions. Cycling the actions is the smart and right thing to do. Saying you need to forward assist for emergencys is silly, there are other rounds in your magazine, it isn't a single shot. Eject the problem round and use the next 20 something rounds in your magazine. Don't dick around with the FA to fire the one round that won't chamber..

ren
05-03-2011, 4:34 PM
i have only used it once when it was not properly lubed.

Grassninja
05-03-2011, 4:37 PM
There's no disadvantage in having a forward assist. If you're dumb enough to slam on it to try and get the bolt home when there's obviously an issue, that's 100% user error.

That being said, there's pretty much no time you'll really need to use one. The only time I used it was while loading up before patrols to just give me that extra bit of insurance.

ChrisTKHarris
05-03-2011, 4:39 PM
My forward assist has never done anything. lol

stix213
05-03-2011, 5:22 PM
The addition of the forward assist came during Vietnam, but it wasn't the result of Vietnam. The problems with the M16 during Vietnam wasn't failure to feed or fire, they were stuck cases. An issue that the forward assist doesn't solve. The Army requested the forward assist so the bolt can be closed manually, though it can be pushed with your finger anyways. Troops weren't hammering their forward assist under fire in Vietnam, they were rather begging for the unit's lone cleaning rod to jam down the barrel to push out stuck cases under fire.


I didn't say the forward assist came from Vietnam, nor did I say failure to feed was the leading cause of failure or trying to give a history lesson. I was merely stating a scary situation where if you did encounter a failure to feed you are good to go slamming the forward assist, as opposed to an idiot at a gun range who should be in no hurry.

Failure to feed certainly did occur during vietnam though, as well as failure to extract. Obviously don't slam the bolt home with a casing in the chamber.

hcbr
05-03-2011, 5:31 PM
I always thought they were useless to me, thus why i've been buying uppers without them (i.e. dpms uppers)

dieselpower
05-03-2011, 5:34 PM
I haven't had a Forward Assist in years. I just install a Deleon plug from Midway USA for like $1.99.

shadow65
05-03-2011, 5:49 PM
I agree with not forcing a round in a chamber. However, the forward assist does work if the chamber becomes dirty during battle. It's not like you have time to clean it. It is also a way of chambering a round with less noise, if so desired. Instead of letting the bolt fly forward, you ride it slowly, then use the forward assist to complete the motion.
And I have seen guys smack the op rod on M14's.

Springfield45
05-03-2011, 5:56 PM
I use my forward assist as a bottle opener.

motorwerks
05-03-2011, 6:21 PM
I wish none of my uppers had it. It's just a slight extra weight and bulk. In the tens of thousands of rounds I've fired, I've never needed one. And if I did need it, I wouldn't use it. I'd tap-rack-bang. And if that didn't work I'd look in the chamber to figure out what the problem was.

Or you could just bang on that forward assist whenever you have a problem, like this guy did, possibly with the same result:

]
Buy a bunch of these and you never have to worry about the weight, or the temptation to slam one in a hole that doesn't need one slammed into it. :D

http://www.adcofirearms.com/detailpics/forwardassistplug.jpg

http://www.adcofirearms.com/itemdetails_.cfm?inventorynumber=1960

supersonic
05-03-2011, 6:23 PM
OMFG!!! You mean to say that button behind the ejection port/case deflector isn't an on/off switch??? .............I've been wasting a LOT of range time!!!:p

Durwin
05-03-2011, 6:45 PM
After being in the Air Force for years and using the A1 without the forward assist, it's sort of odd to see AR's and M16A2-4's with them.

I had only seen the forward assist ones in the movies :)
Durwin

CK_32
05-03-2011, 7:23 PM
Ive used it like 2 times only because I did a visual check and didn't pull the slide back far enough for the spring to compress enough to shoot the bolt forward hard enough to fully chamber...


I could do with out it tho

Dannicus
05-03-2011, 7:32 PM
I wish none of my uppers had it. It's just a slight extra weight and bulk. In the tens of thousands of rounds I've fired, I've never needed one. And if I did need it, I wouldn't use it. I'd tap-rack-bang. And if that didn't work I'd look in the chamber to figure out what the problem was.

Or you could just bang on that forward assist whenever you have a problem, like this guy did, possibly with the same result:

Oh1lyMyejpI

I understand that the guy in that clip should have investigated what was causing his malfunction rather than repeatedly hitting the FA, but I can't see how banging on it would cause that blow out. I suspect the explosion was caused by a separate issue; not FA abuse. Can anyone clear that up for me?

esskay
05-03-2011, 7:39 PM
I always press check my weapons, so it's second nature to use the forward assist to ensure the bolt is fully in battery after the press check. I also close my dust cover without thinking about it... it's just ingrained now. So I would miss not having a FA for this reason -- never use the FA during remedial action.

As others mentioned, it is also useful if you need to charge your weapon quietly.

Sniper3142
05-03-2011, 8:17 PM
I was taught to use the forward assist in the Marine Corps.

I actually had to use it once in Africa and it was literally a Life Saver.

I will never own an AR15 without one.

But your mileage may vary. ;)

PyroFox79
05-03-2011, 8:32 PM
Even now when I am out at the range I press it out of habit. I shot one rifle with out one and it just didn't feel right not having it there.

7.62 Charlie
05-03-2011, 8:39 PM
Its good for hunting if you need to quietly chamber a round.

dieselpower
05-03-2011, 8:42 PM
I good for hunting if you need to quietly chamber a round.

Really...have you actually tried that or are you just repeating what other people have said?

rubber duckie
05-03-2011, 8:43 PM
if its a range gun it doesn't need forward assist or a dust cover.

Cokebottle
05-03-2011, 8:44 PM
Ditto all of the above.
Silent chambering aside, if you actually NEED the forward assist, then you need to stop shooting and address the problem.

There has been more than one video posted to Youtube where someone racks the charging handle, smacks the FA, racks again, smacks a couple of times, and then proceeds to blow their rifle up.

Supposedly, the AR cannot fire out of battery (and it is indeed a pretty foolproof design with the rotating/telescoping bolt face), but it can obviously happen, for whatever reason, perhaps damage to the bolt or barrel extension.

jkcerda
05-03-2011, 9:42 PM
I haven't had a Forward Assist in years. I just install a Deleon plug from Midway USA for like $1.99.

didnt find it, found this one there
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=198053

scootle
05-03-2011, 9:50 PM
"Useless" might be too strong a term. Is it necessary? Not really. Can it be useful? Sure.

There are plenty of people who do ultra-light configurations and shave off that ounce or so by dumping the FA hardware and putting in a plug to keep the dust out. Or, some opt for the uppers that don't have the FA hardware at all.

For most users, it is sort of an "added value" feature... I mean, it's nice to have it available if you choose to do a tactile or visual press check after an admin reload (if you don't do the pull-the-mag and L/R inspect technique.

I can't imagine too many "malfunction" situations where the FA would reallly help you... actually, I don't know any malfunction clearance drills where you'd really need the FA at all. :)

Kerplow
05-03-2011, 10:08 PM
Ditto all of the above.
Silent chambering aside, if you actually NEED the forward assist, then you need to stop shooting and address the problem.

There has been more than one video posted to Youtube where someone racks the charging handle, smacks the FA, racks again, smacks a couple of times, and then proceeds to blow their rifle up.

Supposedly, the AR cannot fire out of battery (and it is indeed a pretty foolproof design with the rotating/telescoping bolt face), but it can obviously happen, for whatever reason, perhaps damage to the bolt or barrel extension.

That video is pure stupidity.

I could well be wrong, but to me it seems there are really only three reasons a FA should be used:

1. a light bolt closing, IE, not enough momentum to drive her home.

2. the gun is so filthy that debris is actually creating too much friction for the buffer spring to do it's job. Shouldn't really happen unless you are in the bush or at war.

3. Someone is trying to kill you and for whatever reason, the bolt won't shut.

can anyone add to this? :shrug:

Colt-45
05-03-2011, 10:10 PM
I was taught to use the forward assist in the Marine Corps.

I actually had to use it once in Africa and it was literally a Life Saver.

I will never own an AR15 without one.

But your mileage may vary. ;)
:iagree:

Civilians sitting at a bench or in simulated tactical situations Vs. Military service members who actually use their weapons in continuous adverse conditions.

Not having a forward assist doesn't mean you'll die, it just means if you ever have to use your finger, well, your gonna burn the hell out of your finger.

motorwerks
05-03-2011, 10:16 PM
didnt find it, found this one there
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=198053
thats the same one I posted. :D

pdugan6
05-03-2011, 10:16 PM
I want to forward assist your face...:owned:

Kerplow
05-03-2011, 10:18 PM
I know people have already said that in this thread.
I just know that when i"m hunting i dont keep a round in the chamber, and many times had to quietly load a round.
No i have not hunted with an Ar-15.
Sorry it was just a thought.

what are you worried about? just keep your trigger off the booger hook.

BOFH
05-03-2011, 10:21 PM
The only problem I have with th FA is explaining its function to people not familiar with the AR...

7.62 Charlie
05-03-2011, 10:33 PM
what are you worried about? just keep your trigger off the booger hook.

When im going through brush with a rifle on my back sometimes the safety gets flicked off on some of my guns.
I just don't want to take the chance of it going off if a branch hits the trigger.
I don't know I've always hunted like that. Better safe than sorry i guess.

Kerplow
05-03-2011, 10:42 PM
When im going through brush with a rifle on my back sometimes the safety gets flicked off on some of my guns.
I just don't want to take the chance of it going off if a branch hits the trigger.
I don't know I've always hunted like that. Better safe than sorry i guess.

That's not unreasonable. I've not yet found myself blazing through thick shrubbery on a hunt. :chris:

doughboy334
05-03-2011, 11:41 PM
Only time I use it is when I pull back to the charging handle to verify a round has successfully fed into the chamber (very rarely, but I do have one or two trouble mags). All my uppers are from BCM and they come with them

ir0nclash86
05-04-2011, 12:02 AM
Ivehadto use it numerous times after hitting the bolt release and realizing the bolt didnt close properly. I hit the forward assist everytime now without thinking after a magazine change.

missiontrails
05-04-2011, 8:16 AM
I'm building an upper soon on a VLTOR MUR WITHOUT forward assist....... that's how much I think about it.

pacrimguru
05-04-2011, 8:17 AM
i like having it jut to have it, but yea, it's probably not all that useful under the circumstance in which most of us shoot.

Quickdraw Mcgraw
05-04-2011, 9:15 AM
Had some old promags an I NEEDED my fa to chamber the first round...ditched those for some magpuls an now I hardly ever touch the fa...tho its nice that its there just in case!

Bug Splat
05-04-2011, 10:38 AM
Better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

I've used it a hand full of times over the years. When checking for a chambered round sometimes the bolt will not fully go home. No biggy, just give the FA a little tap and you are GTG. Also I have used it while hunting Lions at night. In the dark you can't always see if your round chambered so its a bit of extra assurance that your rifle is ready to fire. I will always buy an upper with a FA on it.

Dreaded Claymore
05-04-2011, 10:41 AM
I use my forward assist as a bottle opener.

This post wins the thread. :D