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View Full Version : Use of forward assist in AR-15 platform.


Travis590A1
05-27-2012, 2:09 PM
Hey all you AR guys I have a question I am debating a new purchase and I'm stuck between an M&P 15 Sport or a standard M&P 15. I can live without the dust cover but am having second thoughts on the use of a forward assist. So for all of you experienced AR guys can you tell me if you have ever had to use it? All my friends and family memebers said they haven't but its always good to hear more opinions. Thanks guys.

Mamluke
05-27-2012, 2:19 PM
You can always push the bolt forward with a tool, it may be a little inconvenient if you're in combat ... :D ... but how often are you going to be in that situation ....

.... now the dust cover, for an AR-15 I CAN'T live without ...

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/1/16/1295184829749/US-soldiers-in-Kuwait-007.jpg


..........

..........

Seesm
05-27-2012, 2:27 PM
I have had to use it on a few new builds that aren't broke in and on some reloads not done right (try to stay away from both lol)

FourLoko
05-27-2012, 2:27 PM
I use it because I was initially trained that way. But, you can always just push the bolt forward with your thumb if you really want to double check.

Really isn't necessary.

tdyoung1958
05-27-2012, 2:28 PM
Hey all you AR guys I have a question I am debating a new purchase and I'm stuck between an M&P 15 Sport or a standard M&P 15. I can live without the dust cover but am having second thoughts on the use of a forward assist. So for all of you experienced AR guys can you tell me if you have ever had to use it? All my friends and family memebers said they haven't but its always good to hear more opinions. Thanks guys.

Get the M&P15 and skip the M&P15sport

Both are good guns but the dust cover is a good thing, I have a sport (for my GF) and a AR I built

ExtremeX
05-27-2012, 2:35 PM
The dust cover is more important to me than the forward assist, but in the grand scheme of things of what guns, ammo, and accessories cost in this hobby I just don't cheap out of stuff I want anymore.

I shoot in the desert a lot so I can appreciate the dust cover...

The only time i had to legitimately use my forward assist was when I was shooting steel cased wolf ammo when my rifle was really dirty. The round didn't feed all the way in, couple slaps on the forward assist took care of that problem. Ive never had to use it any other time. I guess its good to use if you have a habbit of press checking the rifle as well.

I think the M&P sport is a great rifle, the barrel is the biggest selling point to me, but knowing what I know about ARs, I always custom build...

scglock
05-27-2012, 2:46 PM
Depends on the situation. If you're just plinking at the range then you don't really need a dust cover or forward assist. If you like to shoot in the desert where it's windy and there's sand flying around everywhere then you might need them.

Travis590A1
05-27-2012, 3:20 PM
How about a bushmaster patrolman? That's a nice basic AR with all the goodies, anyone have experience with them?

Josh3239
05-27-2012, 4:50 PM
I have jumped on the Pat Rogers side and become a very vocal advocate against the forward assist. If you need to force the bolt into battery, push on it. If someone complains about the heat then 1) they don't know the carrier doesn't get hot enough to burn and 2) they must not have need to force the bolt into battery that badly.

My beef with the FA is that it is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Think of fixing a malfunction rifle as fixing anything else. If it doesn't work you don't force it, you correct it. Sure most of the time the carrier may just need a little push but what if it isn't chambering because you have some sort a chamber obstruction or a serious problem with the round like the wrong one or horrible deformation? If you lucky you'll just lock up the rifle, if your unlucky some of your rifle may be salvadgable. Any why do we need to fire this particular round? Are we John McClain on his last round against the very last terrorist?

Tap, rack and bang is far superior. Make sure the mag is seated properly (the most usual culprit), rack the charging handle to clear the problem round and any potential obstructions and if you can, visually inspect the chamber for a serious problem then release. What if it isn't that simple? What if its a double feed and you just decide to immediately start pounding away on the FA? You are going to take your rifle off the line or out of the fight. Let me ask you this, think of your other rifles like maybe a 10/22 or an AK, have you ever had a failure? Did you go banging away on the charging handle/op rod or re-cycle the actions? You probably re-cycled. Ever had a handgun jam? Did you go banging the slide? No you porbably re-cycled the actions.

If your at a range and you re-cycle, go find the round and check for a problem. If you could be a different round or a damaged round. It could have even been trying to tell you that you have a chamber obstruction. If not, no harm no foul just but it in your next magazine. And if your in a fight, instead of bullying the problem round how about just remove it from the equation and keep fighting. If removing the problem round won't do it, what do you think the forward assist will do? See, its a misconception that the forward assist fixes something. It doesn't. It is a bolt pushing tool, not a malfunction clearing tool.

I am not saying they are evil or don't get one, I am just saying use it properly. Most people do not. It is not made to be pounded away on, in fact that is a great way to break it and that will lock up your rifle badly. It does happen and it does suck. Use it correctly if you do, check the chamber first. Seriously even in SPORTS, what the military uses, pulling the charging handle and observing comes before the forward assist. Think about it, because the FA does not clear malfunctions. In a sense I am suggesting the samething as SPORTS except dropping the T because IMO it is useless for anything other than a press check or silent loading (and those two are a whole 'nother conversation).

LAL6
05-27-2012, 4:54 PM
I use the forward assist to keep quiet when I'm calling coyotes. I ride the charging handle forward slowly and push it the rest of the way with the forward assist.

Travis590A1
05-27-2012, 4:54 PM
^^^ that's a good answer id agree. Plus the orignal M-16 didn't have the FA. Then again look at the problems it had lol.

ExtremeX
05-27-2012, 5:01 PM
I use the forward assist to keep quiet when I'm calling coyotes. I ride the charging handle forward slowly and push it the rest of the way with the forward assist.

wow, I never thought of that. Great idea.

Josh3239
05-27-2012, 5:03 PM
The original M16 performed wonderfully and the S. Vietnamese were particularly excited about it. The original M16s performance led to the mass adoption. It was the next one, the M16A1 that had all the issues (ironically the first M16 model with a FA). None of them were related to the forward assist. The Army (ordinance corps) did in fact sabotage the M16 program because they wanted the M14 variants and the rifle was forced on them. The M16A1 wasn't combat ready but it was also sabotaged. The Army didn't teach cleaning/maintenance nor did they pass out cleaning equipment. Most importantly they changed the powders, the powder they changed to increased fouling in the gas tube/port and increased ROF. It resulted in lots of stuck cases (that is why you hear dozens of stories of full auto (not semi) jamming rifles and the whole platoon would share a single cleaning rod taped to one soldier's handguards, because they had to punch out stuck cases). The forward assist doesn't help stuck cases, in fact using it for a stuck case would make it much much worse. The forward assist came at the Army's request and was 100% unrelated to Vietnam. Colt made a number of improvements including to the finish inside and out of the rifle, lower receiver fencing, tweaking the design of the flash hider, and possibly most importantly fixing the buffer assembly.

The only benefit the FA would have had in Vietnam was when after draining the rifle of water, the FA could be pressed to make sure the bolt went back into battery and the rifle was hot and ready.

^^^ that's a good answer id agree. Plus the orignal M-16 didn't have the FA. Then again look at the problems it had lol.

brando
05-27-2012, 5:07 PM
I have jumped on the Pat Rogers side and become a very vocal advocate against the forward assist.

What a shame.

The FA doesn't seem necessary until your weapon starts acting sluggish from putting a lot of rounds downrange in one session (ie average combat) or you're operating in less than ideal environments. I also found it handy a few times when trying to chamber a round quietly. Just riding the bolt forward often isn't enough to get the bolt to properly lock up, so being able to tap it forward a bit to confirm is a good feature.

Josh3239
05-27-2012, 5:16 PM
Again I am not so much anti-FA, just anti-using the FA incorrectly.


The FA doesn't seem necessary until your weapon starts acting sluggish from putting a lot of rounds downrange in one session (ie average combat) or you're operating in less than ideal environments.

Honest question, not a flame war but how much ammo does an average American soldier carry? Somewhere around 200rds? I shoot more than that regularly at the range. Sure he maybe gets resupplied without a chance to give his rifle the care it deserves. But how much can he really shoot between cleanings? Most troops are shooting semi are they not? So their rof is slowed and how much rounds they put out is slowed. So I would assume because of that they are causing less heat, wear, and require less resupplys than someone with a full auto machine gun. I could be wrong but the story of a soldier firing thousands of rounds at an enemy and needing a forward assist to fix there rifles sounds atleast in most cases a bit fictitious. I have easily over 1,000 rounds through my rifle without a cleaning and don't even have a FA. Are US soldiers firing more than 1,000 between cleanings? I know you have seen the story about Filthy 14. Your going to be really f-d in a fight if you jam up your rifle by forcing in a round that doesn't want to or if you slam the FA so hard it breaks. Or perhaps I am entirely wrong?

I also found it handy a few times when trying to chamber a round quietly. Just riding the bolt forward often isn't enough to get the bolt to properly lock up, so being able to tap it forward a bit to confirm is a good feature.

Sure, and I mentioned that. But the FA isn't the only way to push the bolt into battery for silent loading.

Dhena81
05-27-2012, 5:35 PM
I use it for press checks

fullrearview
05-27-2012, 5:42 PM
I would buy the sport for sure. The FA and dust cover are just options. You don't really need them.

Mossy Man
05-27-2012, 5:49 PM
I just went through this dilemma recently, and decided I didn't need it.

I'm a civilian, not a soldier. I am going to shoot my rifle at the range, for fun, and if it gets dirty and mucked up on a range session from not having a dust cover, then I will just stop and clean it. Granted from every review I've ever read about dust-coverless ARs....this will not likely ever happen. I've seen guys shooting through the snow and in the desert without it and they say it works fine.

As for the FA....it's already been discussed that you don't really NEED an FA as you can manually just push the bolt home.

Insofar as a home defense situation, I find it highly unlikely the presence of a FA/DC will make a difference. You're not shooting more than a couple mags at most, and i don't foresee them making a difference.

In a SHTF situation...well if the FA/DC is that big a deal....just take someone out with your gun while it works and steal their gun that has a FA/DC :44:

Travis590A1
05-27-2012, 5:51 PM
Some people say the AR is useless without these features but I don't like the idea of forcing a round into the chamber, but I also don't like dirt in the chamber lol. I'm thinkin a sport will save me a couple hundred dollars which is money I can put twords ammo and a scope.

FX-05 Xiuhcoatl
05-27-2012, 5:51 PM
Dust cover is a must on a AR

Josh3239
05-27-2012, 5:54 PM
Also just wanted to add that comparing a civilian AR15's performance to a mil-issue government carbine is an unfair assessment. You can improve the performance of your personally owned AR15 than a soldier cannot. Not only do you have access do a brand new rifle that you can modify to your tastes with stocks and grips but you can also modify internal parts. Parts soldiers are not allowed to modify, you can tune the rifle by playing with different buffer assemblys (A5, rifle, carbine, hydraulic, etc), lower receiver (standard trigger, gieselle, extended bolt catches, extended mag releases, etc), upper receiver (left handed, feed ramps, etc), barrels (length, gas system type, gas system length, etc) and other parts of course. Even think lubricants, millions of dollars doesn't go into it for nothing; they try to make it attract less foreign matter, last longer in more extreme temps, etc

The bottom line is a used government M4 a better rifle than a lightly used AR15 were the entire system has been tuned with say a Vltor A5 tube assembly, Fail zero bolt group, 18'' rifle length DI gas system properly lubed with Slip2000 or a PWS buffer assembly, PWS 14.5'' midlength gas piston upper with a microslick carrier properly lubed with froglub, Etc, etc? I don't think so, the new technologies and personal tunning and fitting is the best rifle IMO. And the options are endless and they can be perfectly tuned to enhance the AR15 performance and fit you, the user.

Again, not against the FA really, just against using it improperly. Worst case scenario using tap, rack and bang you are -1 round but worst case scenario using FA is you take your rifle out of the fight. There is more than one way to force the bolt into battery.

artoaster
05-27-2012, 7:15 PM
It just looks like it belongs there.

In actuality you'll never have to use it and if you think you do it's probably not what the rifle needs at a critical moment.

It may have more of an administrative purpose as in aiding re-chambering after a press check or silently closing the bolt and lightly pushing the FA a little bit. But don't go slamming the FA when your gun gets dirty or your ammo is sticky, work the bolt and do a SPORTs protocol.

TAK
05-27-2012, 7:20 PM
You won't ever need it but it can be helpful. Worst case is you just eject the round to put a new one in and have to pick up the unused round on the ground.

chrisf
05-28-2012, 1:09 AM
I personally don't see the need for a FA. Dust cover would be preferred though. However I have neither and have taken it out to the dessert and had no problems. I also went out to tummy hills on a hot windy day and buried it in dirt and had no problems either. I must say I must have gotten lucky for it being a $550 ar. But I'd still get a dust cover if I were you.

glock21fan
05-28-2012, 1:15 AM
Dust cover is good to have. Always had a forward assist on mine always thought it was useless till I took my new build out this weekend and couldn't get it to ride home all the way. Plus it looks cool sitting there lmao

duc748bip
05-28-2012, 8:32 AM
Forward assist is the panic button on AR. Normal malfunction drill don't involve the forward assist. But It's handy to load the chamber quietly.

RuggedJay
05-28-2012, 9:11 AM
Its there for a reason.

Bete Noire
05-28-2012, 9:19 AM
You can run an AK without the dust cover, but you probably shouldn't. I press check my AR when I first load it and the FA is part of my manual of arms.

robert101
05-28-2012, 9:33 AM
I wouldn't buy an AR type rifle without both FA and dust cover.

ZombieTactics
05-28-2012, 10:37 AM
Its there for a reason.

The forward assist is there because someone in the military with zero engineering or weapons-design experience demanded "something like it", and Eugene Stoner came up with it in order to shut them up.

The story is somewhat apocryphal, but I've heard it from enough different qualified sources that I tend to believe it.

The problem was that AR rifles left in the snow & ice (arctic testing) had problems loading the first round, because over-lubricated rifles had frozen lube around the BCG. Once fired, the AR exhibited zero such malfs thereafter, as even a single round was enough to clear the action. It was demonstrated that simply chambering the round correctly (by pulling the charging handle all the way back and letting it fly) eliminated this issue altogether. The problem was that too many were riding the charging handle instead of releasing it.

Hence, a training issue was "fixed" by adding extra parts and complexity. Or so the story goes.

Seems to me that nobody can argue against the idea that a dust cover is a good thing to have however. It's the one standard feature I sorta miss on my M&P15 Sport.

MrExel17
05-28-2012, 11:38 AM
I use the forward assist to keep quiet when I'm calling coyotes. I ride the charging handle forward slowly and push it the rest of the way with the forward assist.

I like that, need to try it sometime.

loosewreck
05-28-2012, 12:15 PM
Forward assist is the panic button on AR. Normal malfunction drill don't involve the forward assist. But It's handy to load the chamber quietly.

Or like others have said after a press check, but for the most part I try to avoid using it. If there's something wrong I clear and check. Then again, I'm just a guy that shoots at the range, not in any combat or in training for it, if that were the case I might have a legitimate use for it.

Here's a good clip, with pretty good comments and discussion on the subject.

Beware, there's some crude language.
tWygoxV_ApM

Merc1138
05-28-2012, 12:20 PM
Or like others have said after a press check, but for the most part I try to avoid using it. If there's something wrong I clear and check. Then again, I'm just a guy that shoots at the range, not in any combat or in training for it, if that were the case I might have a legitimate use for it.

Here's a good clip, with pretty good comments and discussion on the subject.

Beware, there's some crude language.
tWygoxV_ApM

I don't get why the guy is so quick to say "bad primer" repeatedly instead of actually attempting to figure out what the problem was while just shooting off a bench at the range. After the first two I'd have started inspecting the ammo, field stripped the rifle, etc.

loosewreck
05-28-2012, 12:26 PM
I don't get why the guy is so quick to say "bad primer" repeatedly instead of actually attempting to figure out what the problem was while just shooting off a bench at the range. After the first two I'd have started inspecting the ammo, field stripped the rifle, etc.

Right? I feel the same way. That's why I posted this, I know its a dupe, but its worth getting folks to start a real discussion on the subject.

p1choco
05-28-2012, 3:04 PM
Right? I feel the same way. That's why I posted this, I know its a dupe, but its worth getting folks to start a real discussion on the subject.

Great post! I still like that FA and have had to use it while out in the field. However, the proper training doesn't have me rely on it, just use it when need to arises.

rogervzv
05-28-2012, 5:00 PM
Great info in this thread. I never actually used my FA while in the Army but of course we were trained to use it as part of "immediate action." My Ruger SR556E has it but so far I have never used it. Probably never will. I do think that the dust cover is a nice to have since many of us do like to go out into the desert to shoot. It is usually not dusty there but sometimes it is.