DS ARMS’ GTC 223

DS Arms’ Gas Trap Carbine features all new gas operating…

DS Arms’ Gas Trap Carbine features all new gas operating system. MIL-STD-1913 rail accepts optics such as EOTech HWS and Optical System technology AN/PVS-22 Universal Night Sight.

It seems as if every time we turn around, there is another AR-15 rifle entering the market. At last count, there were some 25 manufacturers of these classic rifles and carbines, most very similar in that they use the Ljungmann direct gas impingement system of the original rifle developed in the late 1950s, and upper and lower receivers that have been standard since the 1960s. Virtually every rifle nowadays is available with some sort of MIL-STD-1913 rail adapter system for mounting lights, sights and other accessories. With the demise of the ineffective “Crime Bill of 1994,” flash suppressors and muzzle devices have also returned, but other than exterior cosmetics, virtually every AR rifle is internally identical. In fact, there are so many AR rifle manufacturers that we cannot but wonder when the market for these rifles will become saturated. Thus, if manufacturers are to remain viable and competitive, they must offer products that are unavailable elsewhere or are different from the competition.

With its recently announced Gas Trap Carbine (GTC), DS Arms, long noted for its high quality FAL battle rifles, has entered the AR rifle market with an AR rifle unlike any other. Externally, the most obvious difference between the GTC and others is the patented Predator upper receiver that not only features an uninterrupted full-length MIL-STD-1913 top rail and rails at the handguard sides and bottom, but also free floats the barrel. This enables mounting accessories without affecting the rifle’s zero. Our GTC came with a 16-inch barrel but is also available as a rifle with a 20-inch barrel. The GTC’s barrel is fluted along its entire length for rigidity and heat dissipation. The flutes offer a greater surface area, so heat is more rapidly dispersed than with standard heavy barrels. Flutes also stiffen the barrel and improve accuracy by reducing barrel vibration as the rifle is fired. Our test rifle also came equipped with a Vortec flash suppressor, one of the most effective such devices available. Because our test GTC is a “post-post ban” rifle, the muzzle device is removable, enabling a sound suppressor to be fitted or the factory brake exchanged for another.

One of the major differences between the GTC’s Predator system and any other, is the patented gas system designed by Frank Desomma that eliminates the inherent problems associated with Stoner’s original design. The original AR direct impingement gas system not only blows a large amount of fouling and particulate matter back into the receiver, but also causes excessive heat to be transferred to the receiver area in rapid semi or full automatic fire. In extreme cases, the heat actually causes the headspace to expand. There have been solutions to the AR’s inherent gas system problems in the past, but DSA’s is one of the most innovative. The Predator system, manufactured by Patriot Ordnance Factory in Glendale, Arizona, consists of a FAL-type gas cylinder plug, a 6-inch chrome lined gas cylinder with a chrome plated piston and operating rod that impinges against a reinforced bolt carrier key. Unlike some other “op rod” systems, there are no springs on the Predator rod. Heat from sustained firing will damage springs that surround op rods that are in close proximity to the barrel.

This is especially true in select fire rifles. The GTC gas system is self-regulating. The GTC system can be easily and quickly disassembled for maintenance by simply pressing in on the gas cylinder plug button while rotating the plug clockwise. Once the plug is removed, the piston and operating rod simply fall out when the muzzle is pointed down. Reassembly is accomplished simply by dropping the rod back into the gas cylinder with the muzzle pointed up. If it doesn’t fall into place, all that’s necessary is to shake the upper receiver – the loose rod will fall. The piston is replaced with the gas rings forward. The plug fits only one way and cannot be incorrectly reassembled. All that’s necessary is to push the plug into place, press the locking button and rotate the plug counterclockwise.

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