Yankee Hill Machine’s Black Diamond Specter XL utilizes a lightweight…

Yankee Hill Machine’s Black Diamond Specter XL utilizes a lightweight skeletonized rail system, giving the carbine superior balance while minimizing the burden on operators in the field.

While there are many AR’s on the market that can be modified for patrol use, there are woefully few that meet the demanding criteria for this mission right out of the box. Besides being accurate and possessing utter reliability, a carbine designed for patrol work should be capable of mounting whatever accessories the officer deems necessary. A lightweight gun is especially appreciated if an officer is charged with holding a perimeter for a lengthy period, and the ability to adjust the buttstock to match armor/vests is also a necessity. Guns that use Mil-Spec parts make repairs easy and there is a seeminglyendless supply of parts. Walking the aisles of a recent gun show, I found a new carbine that meets all of those prerequisites.

Yankee Hill Machine (YHM), a company perhaps best known for their line of AR parts, accessories and suppressors is now offering complete rifles. One that I thought that makes perfect sense for police work is their brand new Black Diamond Specter XL.

I spoke with YHM’s Plant Manager, Paul Tetreault. “YHM decided that it was time to come out with our own line of AR rifles. Truthfully, what we were looking for was a platform that would showcase our line of accessories. We did not want to do a standard cookie cutter AR. So we built our models utilizing our accessory product line.”

Gun Details
yhm-black-diamond-specter-xl-556mm-cThe diamond-shaped cuts on the barrel allow for added stiffness and faster cooling, as well as provide a unique aesthetic.

The Black Diamond Specter XL features a 16-inch chrome-lined barrel, lightweight free-floating rail system, Mil-Spec receivers, bolt carriers and internals. Its upper receiver has M4 feedramps and all parts are hardcoat anodized per military specifications. The YHM rifle uses the standard gas impingement system. It’s a gun designed for hard honest use, devoid of gadgetry accessories yet possesses well thought out accoutrements that should make it perfect for the rigors of police work.


I couldn’t resist handling one of the Black Diamond Specters XL on display. As soon as I picked it up I was immediately impressed with just how light the gun was with this free-floated handguard system. The complete rifle weighs just 7.1 pounds, unloaded. According to Tetreault, “We skeletonized the rail system as much as possible without sacrificing strength. Since our logo is a diamond we decided to cut diamond pattern holes in the handguard. It is made from an extrusion and the rails are 100% machined. We decided to extend the rear so that it would meet up with the receiver and not have any gaps and would be in perfect alignment with the receiver top for mounting optics.” That is good news for those who like to mount their optics far forward, especially if they are using a magnifier and folding rear sight—this set-up provides plenty of room. Users have the option of mounting their optic partially on the upper receiver and partially on the rail. Each rail position is laser engraved.

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