With the AR rifle’s seemingly unstoppable popularity, entrance of new manufacturers into the market is to be expected. I witnessed this phenomenon once before, in the months leading up to the 1994 federal assault-weapon ban. Then, a plethora of new manufacturers rushed to produce as many pre-ban rifles as possible before the legislated deadline. Sadly, in this rush, quality often took a back seat. This is certainly not the case today: There is no deadline now, and firearms consumers are increasingly knowledgeable and demanding of absolute performance.
With so many high-quality firearms to choose from, it can be tough for new entrants to garner attention, but one worth noticing is Rainier Arms of Auburn, Washington. I’ll admit that my familiarity with ARs and my experience in testing such a wide variety of them have left me a bit jaded. However, Rainier Arms’ Urban Carbine RUC immediately impressed me. This semi-auto carbine chambered in 5.56mm NATO is laden with features, built with extreme attention to detail and feels incredibly lightweight and very short—almost too short. The RUC’s finish is the best I have seen on any AR.
The RUC is available in two barrel lengths, a traditional 16-inch barrel with a removable muzzle device and a 14.5-inch model with a permanently pinned muzzle device. I chose the latter for testing, and the shorter barrel does indeed make the rifle much handier.