option to choose from a wide selection of handguards. This handguard includes cooling vents and four rails on the front, with a comfortable unrailed area to the rear.
Like lawmen before the early 20th century, today’s law enforcement officer is just as likely to have a long gun riding shotgun with him as to be packing a Taser. More and more, the long gun they carry has a greater chance of being a tactical carbine than a smoothbore. Tactical carbines have really achieved acceptance since the 1997 Hollywood Bank of America robbery. However, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq appear to be providing a bigger boost for the move toward carbines in more patrol officers’ hands. Many troops returning from the war have made the natural move from the military world into LE. Because of their M16/M4 familiarity, they joined the burgeoning patrol carbine move. It seems carbines will ride along in the cruisers for good.
Today’s warriors face things not dreamed of when the previous LEO generation started the job. Active shooters, domestic and foreign terrorists, gangs, and weapons of mass destruction, to name a few. Immediate and overpowering action is required as a response for many of these incidents. There may not be time for SWAT to suit up and reach the scene. That leaves first responders on site in need of the effective, accurate fire tactical carbines deliver. They should also be prepared to grab a ready bag, like a Blackhawk Battle Bag, loaded with magazines, water, batteries, etc., and take action.
The standard charging handle can be made ambidextrous, have a Badger latch added, or be swapped for a Gas Buster or any of BCM’s Gunfighter versions.
One name at the forefront of the AR world for quite a while is Rock River Arms. RRA was founded in 1996 as a custom 1911 company. RRA introduced completed ARs and AR parts a few years later, then exploded onto everyone’s radar, competing for and securing the DEA Carbine contract in 2003.
I handled an early DEA Carbine—a hot number wearing a 14.5-inch barrel—and found it slick and 100 percent reliable, which may be one reason RRA eventually left the custom 1911 market to concentrate on ARs. The demand for RRA long guns was phenomenal pre-DEA Carbine, but rocketed through the roof after the gun’s manufacture.