Comment(s)

When we talk about “mil-spec” for ARs, we are referring to a rifle that meets the military specifications for acceptance. But why limit yourself to that? What if you wanted to build something better than mil-spec? This was the goal behind the new HSP Jack Carbine from Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM), which is built for professionals in military and law enforcement applications.

Of course, BCM is already familiar to AR fans for its outstanding upgrades, including its extended charging handles as well as other AR parts and accessories. The company’s military and law enforcement customers include U.S. Special Operations Command as well as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Border Patrol. BCM also markets complete ARs, including the new Jack Carbine.

 

Gun Details

Bravo Company teamed up with Haley Strategic Partners (HSP), an advanced training and operations company founded by Travis Haley, a Force Reconnaissance Marine combat veteran. Haley also served as a special operations and security contractor, and was the founder and CEO of Magpul’s training division.

“This is a mission-designed rifle with the extra features that users will be sure to appreciate.”

The Jack Carbine is a semi-automatic, direct-impingement AR chambered in 5.56mm NATO with a custom-designed mid-length gas system. HSP and BCM worked together to tune the gas system for maximum reliability. A mid-length gas tube reduces the amount of gas and fouling that goes back into the chamber to operate the bolt, helping to reduce wear and tear on internal parts as well as perceived recoil.

The 14.5-inch barrel has a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and is made from certified mil-spec 11595E steel with a standard government profile. A BCM Gunfighter compensator is permanently welded to establish a legal minimum 16-inch overall barrel length. This tactical compensator is a marked improvement over the standard A2-style flash suppressor and features tuned slots and interior cones that significantly reduce recoil and muzzle rise while also almost eliminating the rifle’s flash signature. The design also minimizes the usual disruptive-to-team-members side blast produced by most compensators.

The barrel also features a complete manganese-phosphate finish and a chrome-lined bore and chamber. The rifle is chambered in true 5.56mm NATO and can easily accommodate .223 ammunition. The rear of the barrel extension features M4 feed ramps that are cut wider and lower than on standard AR rifles, helping ensure more reliable feeding from the magazine under harsh conditions.

The barrel is also high-pressure (HP) and magnetic-particle (MP) certified. While pressure testing is fairly common, MP testing is only required of true mil-spec parts. This consists of using a magnetic field to detect any imperfections in the surface or subsurface of the part, ensuring that only the highest-quality parts are being used.

The 10-inch, one-piece aluminum Geissele SMR MK1 handguard free-floats the barrel and is very thin and ergonomic with smooth sides. There is a full length of Picatinny rail on top and removable rail sections at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. There are also standard quick-detach (QD) sling mounts on either side towards the rear. This unit is lightweight but extremely sturdy and includes steel inserts that make additional rail installation very easy.

The upper and lower receivers are both machined from 7075-T6 aluminum forgings and given a hardcoat anodized finish. On top of this is one of the Jack Carbine’s most distinctive features—its custom “Disruptive Grey” Cerakote finish, which was exclusively co-developed by Joint Force Enterprises and HSP. This low-visibility, neutral-color finish was designed to blend into urban or suburban environments in both daylight and low-light conditions.

The flattop upper receiver is T-marked, which helps operators return zeroed optics to their proper place if they have been removed. Troy Industries diopter folding battle sights also come standard, and they stay neatly out of the way when using optics but deploy quickly when needed with push-button activation.

Another welcome feature, especially with optics mounted, is the BCM Gunfighter charging handle, which allows for single-handed, super-fast operation of the action, retracting the bolt with only one half of the handle. Indeed, BCM first came to my attention with this must-have accessory, and the latest version features a newly designed extended charging handle latch and reinforced construction.

The lower receiver features all of the standard AR controls. The standard triggerguard has been replaced with an upgraded Magpul MOE enhanced triggerguard, and BCM has also added its own new ergonomic Gunfighter pistol grip. This grip is a vast improvement over the standard-issue A2 grip, and it features aggressive stippling on the sides and horizontal grooves on the front. Made from tough, impact-resistant polymer, the Gunfighter grip also has a sizable, watertight storage compartment.

The B5 Systems SOPMOD Bravo collapsible polymer stock includes ambidextrous QD sling attachment points and encompasses a mil-spec 7075-T6 buffer tube. The receiver endplate has a QD sling point, and a small loop QD sling swivel is included. The tube is secured with a staked M4 lock nut, and the correct-weight H-marked buffer rides inside. Heavier buffers offer distinct advantages—they slow down the bolt and bolt carrier travel to ensure proper case extraction and keep the internal parts from slamming into each other with as much force. This also reduces the recoil signature.

The fit between the upper and lower receivers was firm and exhibited no play, but the takedown pins could still be used without tools. In addition to the multiple appearances of the BCM logo throughout the rifle, the right side of the magazine well also features a nicely laser etched and very distinctive dragonfly HSP logo. The HSP “serial number” logo is also laser etched onto the left side of the upper receiver.

The bolt is machined from Carpenter 158 steel and is both HP and MP inspected. The bolt also has a properly staked gas key using Grade 8 hardened fasteners and is fully chrome lined and shot peened. Shot peening is a type of sandblasting using metallic shot that works on the plasticity of the metal rather than as an abrasive. This provides compressive stress to the bolt surface, increasing metal fatigue resistance and extending the operational life of the part. Nearly all manufacturers will stake their gas keys in some way, but a sure sign of quality is a properly staked gas key, which shows that a hammer and punch have been used with enough force to move sufficient metal into the carrier key screws. If these screws are not properly staked, they could become loose under fire.

The mil-spec bolt carrier group also uses a chrome-lined M16 carrier, which is stronger and heavier than cheaper commercial bolts and helps to ensure longer and more reliable operation. It should be noted that mil-spec M16 bolt carriers are legal to install in semi-auto rifles. The heavier bolt and heavier buffer work in concert to more securely and aggressively chamber rounds and also reduce the incidence of bolt bounce. Bolt bounce can occur when there is insufficient mass pushing the bolt carrier forward, and as a result, it bounces against the receiver extension before finally closing. This can detrimentally affect functioning in full-auto guns and during fast firing in semi-auto. To ensure superior reliability, BCM has also improved the extractor, using tool steel for strength and installing its extra-strength extractor spring and insert.

The trigger on the HSP Jack Carbine has also been upgraded with the ALG Combat Trigger, or ACT, made by Geissele. This trigger is nickel-boron plated, and the hammer and disconnector are nickel-Teflon plated. The sear has been tuned for a very crisp single-stage break with virtually no creep. The trigger has been set at a mil-spec weight of 5.5 pounds minimum. The trigger on my test sample measure 6 pounds. This may not be ideal for a precision rifle, but this is intended as a battle and patrol rifle, and this trigger weight is more appropriate for a duty-style carbine.

One welcome and standard feature included with this rifle is the HSP Thorntail offset light mount built by Impact Weapons Components and paired off with the Inforce WML-HSP weapon-mounted tactical light. The light features only a momentary on/off pressure button and 200 lumens of output with a tight beam designed for close to intermediate ranges typically encountered in suburban and urban settings. The unit sits at a 45-degree angle for easy thumb activation and can be mounted on the left or right side of the handguard.

 

Range Time

On the range, the HSP Jack Carbine handled very easily and was extremely comfortable to shoot. The compensator noticeably reduced the recoil of even the light-kicking .223, and keeping follow-up shots on target was a breeze. I did experience some initial short stroking, where the bolt was not fully retracting and would occasionally close on an empty chamber or not stay locked back after the last round. The issue seemed to resolve itself when using ammunition heavier than 55 grains.

I spoke with BCM representatives about this issue, and they said that a field-expedient fix would be to replace the heavy buffer with a standard-weight buffer. In the long term, however, their recommendation was to return the rifle for a full diagnostic and full-auto-cycle rate test. I did install a standard-weight buffer and a new bolt carrier group, which significantly improved matters.

For accuracy testing at 100 yards, firing from a stable benchrest, I used the Trijicon 3-9x40mm AccuPoint TR20-2 scope with an illuminated mil-dot reticle. The accuracy was very good for a compact carbine like this, with most groups staying below 2 MOA and my best just below 1 MOA.

The minimal barrel length makes the HSP Jack Carbine much handier for vehicle egress and in tight quarters when having to deploy inside a building. The muzzle device is highly effective at reducing muzzle rise, which translates to faster follow-up shots, and it’s compact. This is a mission-designed rifle with the extra features that users will be sure to appreciate.

For more information, call 877-272-8626 or visit bravocompanyusa.com.

Up Next

10 Extraordinary Pieces of Gear From AUSA 2014

Roundup up the newest combat gear from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA)...