rifle

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Mr 9mm SMGJanuary 26, 201912min7800

The Radian Weapons Model 1 – Perfection?

While we are living in uncertain times in terms of gun laws, we are also living in an amazing time to be a firearms consumer. The market is flooded with AR-15s in every price range you can imagine, some with features that were unheard of during the Clinton Era ban. Want a milspec rifle? I can name you ten companies that could fill the role and be exceptionally reliable. Want something better than milspec? There are manufacturers out there right now selling rifles that would make the 18 year old version of me living during the federal assault weapons ban weep tears of joy. But which one? What do I want in a rifle that with a price tag often doubling milspec offerings? I want perfection or as close to it as I can get.

On to the topic at hand, The Radian Weapons Model 1.  At a glance at the website you’ll notice two things. Firstly you’ll notice the price tag, $2,555.00 and your eyes might burst out of your head.  But stay with me, after the sticker shock you’ll take a glance at the rifle and say to yourself “Wow.. With that rifle in my safe I’d be upper class within the hour”. The billet lower will catch your eye, you’ll wonder why your lower doesn’t look like that. Why does it look like the rifle is made of one solid piece of aluminum? You know it doesn’t matter what your rifle looks like, you tell yourself this over and over, but it catches your eye the same way a Lamborghini in a showroom does. That’s what first attracts you to the rifle, it’s the first thing you see, before any features. If grading solely based on aesthetics, The Radian just changed the bell curve. The rifle is cerakoted as one piece so there is no shade mismatch between the upper and lower receiver and speaking to the manufacturer, they will not sell one that does not meet this standard.  The lines on the rifle flow beautifully, are you looking at a work or art or a machine that would fit inside a collectors safe just as easily as it could a weapons locker in the military? Can you have form and function as opposed to one over the other? Keep reading.

When I decided on which Radian I wanted there were multiple options. What color? What caliber? Did I want a .300 blackout pistol or SBR? A 5.56 16 inch? 14.5? What color? In the end I decided on the 14.5 inch carbine in  .223 Wylde/5.56 in Radian brown with a pinned and welded Silencerco ASR flash hider. For me 14.5 is the sweet spot in terms of carbine length and I’m not one to frequently switch muzzle devices so being pinned is a non issue.

When I first mated the upper and lower together the first thing I noticed was the mated receivers had zero play. The rifle felt like one solid piece. One of my biggest pet peeves in rifles is slop between the receivers. While not directly impacting the function of the rifle, it’s 2019 and there is no excuse for excessive receiver slop. While the upper and lower are fit snuggly there is no issue pushing the take down pins with zero tools and little effort. So how does the rifle come from the factory? Let’s take a look.

Starting from the rear, Radians ship with a Magpul CTR stock and Magpul pistol grip. While there is nothing wrong with the CTR, I favor the B5 systems sopmod stock on my rifles. I switched mine out with the B5 and this is the only change I’ve made from the Radians factory parts.  The castle nut is staked well and secure, attaching the fluted receiver extension tube to the reciever.

To me what stands out the most about the Model 1 is the ADAC (Ambidextrous Dual Action Catch) lower receiver. The controls on it do not feel like an after thought like some rifles advertised as being ambi. This was designed to be a true ambi rifle. The safety selector is Radians own Talon system ambi safety, featuring a user adjustable 45/90 degree throw. While I was skeptical at first regarding the 45 degree selector, I’ve grown to love them. The throw of the 45 degree safety is faster and natural. If you’re more of a purist the Talon can be configured into a traditional orientation. The bolt release is of course also ambidextrous and actuating it from either side is natural. All Radian rifles ship with the ATC gold trigger with black bow. This is a match grade trigger that makes shooting fast a breaze and shooting accurately just as easy. Certainly a very smooth trigger with a short reset, comparable with Geissele offerings I own. If I had any complaints about the trigger is I would prefer the reset be a little more tactile, but I’d be splitting hairs at this point. The flared magwell makes reloading fast and simple, even under night vision. If you’ve ever tried to reload a rifle under nods you’ll understand what I’m saying.  One of the most stand out features of the ADAC lower is the option to lock the bolt open by pressing and holding the mag release while pulling the charging handle back. It’s engineering like this that truly takes rifles beyond milspec. It’s hard to appreciate it without trying it first hand, but it is one of those features where I never thought I’d care about it until using it.

Moving onto the upper, it’s 7075-T6 machined billet with a proprietary Mlok full length rail. Sitting inside is a Match Grade 416R Stainless Steel Barrel with polished crown and feed ramps. While there is a sub moa guarantee from Radian using Black Hills match ammo, I rarely shoot 5.56 guns for accuracy and admittedly I’m not a consistent sub moa shooter. While I’ve achieved sub moa results with the Radian, it’s not something I’ve spent much time on.  The BCG is black nitride coated with a properly staked gas key which for some reason some manufacturers find difficult. The charging handle is the Radian Raptor which the company is most known for  I’ve been running them in my rifles for years, starting when the company was called AXTS. They feature oversized latches easy to use with gloves while providing clearance for optics/mounts, ambidextrous actuation and oversized sturdy pins. The M-Lok rail is sturdy and runs nearly the length of the barrel while providing multiple options for mounting accessories.

But. . How does it shoot? Is it reliable?

In the time I’ve owned the rifle I’ve fired roughly 3500 rounds  Out of those 3500 rounds I experienced one single malfunction, a light primer strike using brass cased Wolf Gold. I’ve yet to repeat the malfunction. During the test phase I shot every ammo I could, ranging from steel cased wolf to M855a1 and all cycled fine. The rifle was never cleaned during the 3500 rounds and only oiled with CLP around the 1k mark because I don’t like shooting dry when I don’t need to.  While accuracy was tested on the rifle, the majority of my shooting is within 100 yards, rarely prone and rarely stationary. While I’m certainly far from a tier one operator, target transition is fast and follow up shots are extremely quick. Why are the follow up shots quick? This is the softest shooting 5.56 rifle I’ve ever owned. The gun is extremely flat shooting.

When I first decided to actually review this rifle I was worried people would perceive this as a fluff piece like found in print gun rags through the years, I wanted to find something I could hate on this rifle, something to make it seem more credible. There’s nothing I hate about it, I looked up and down and there’s maybe a couple things I’d like to see them work on.

What would I change?

  • I’d like to see a reduction in weight. At 6.9 lbs the rifle isn’t what I would call extremely heavy, but after adding an optic, a light, an IR laser and illuminator and a hand stop it starts to pack on the pounds.
  • It’d be nice to have QD sockets built into the rail. I know it’s a minor complaint and people run their slings in different positions, it’s just something I like seeing when purchasing a rifle.
  • Include back up iron sights. People have different sight preferences, but my ideal rifle comes ready to fire out if the box. Would it add to the cost? Yes, but it’s nice to have something ready to go upon purchase.

Final thoughts.

The Radian offers a superior set of features over milspec offerings. I’d trust my life on it without question  That said, is it the perfect rifle? Well I’ll leave you with some wisdom from a manager at work regarding performance reviews. “I’ve yet to see anyone walk on water, until I do there is always something to be improved on”  Does the Model 1 walk on water? Not quite, but it’s as close to it as I’ve seen. Is it for you? That depends, there are many great milspec offerings out there that will serve you well. Do you want to go beyond that? Then this very well could be for you, I know it is for me.

 


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One Shot DNovember 7, 20187min1100
By One Shot D and Erik Wenzel
I’m going to start off by saying that without a doubt, I am an AR15 guy. I am a firm believer that Eugene Stoner must have been touched by a beam of light through a thunderstorm, sent by none other than whatever deity in the sky, and blessed him with the design for the AR platform. The ergonomics can be changed indefinitely, the caliber can be infinitely changed, and best of all they can be assembled with basic tools and items owned by any self respecting person with nothing more than a little practice and a working YouTube account. However, there is a time in every rifle lovers life where an AR15 becomes just another AR15. The love is there, but the mind starts to wander to life outside the safe, what strange and foreign alternatives may be available. For me the fascination turned to, “What can I find that nobody else has? What have I never seen at the range?” After scouring the inter-webs and lurking my favorite haunts also known as the gun shop, I was finally intrigued in…..Bullpups.
If I still have you here by this point in the article, I am going to assume that you are past the phase of laughing so hard you spilled your bourbon, and on to being just a bit interested in why my curiosity strayed the way it did. Long story short it boiled down to a few reasons for me. The first and most prominent one is the dilemma of overall length to projectile velocity. In most cases, when the barrel length decreases, so does the velocity. This effectively neuters the effectiveness of most rifle calibers, and it is extremely noticeable in the 556 loading. Bullpups solve this problem in its entirety. As the action is in the rear of the rifle, it lends itself to maintain a full length barrel, thus retaining all of that precious velocity while attaining overall lengths usually reserved only for SBR or pistol alternatives. This was extremely appealing to me.
Off to the races I went, and my newfound infatuation became a full on affair. For me there were two rifles that captured my attention. The venerable Tavor, and the Kel-tec RDB. While both are bullpups, they are both very different in operation, features, and also in the determining factor of price. While the Tavor was definitely the more proven of the two rifles, the RDB was straight unobtanium, and I liked the ability to have a more versatile adjustable gas system. I also liked the fact that by all accounts, the RDB has a better trigger from the manufacturer, and the idea of spending $1600 on a Tavor and then being forced to spend $250 on a Geiselle trigger was rough on the palate. By this point I can assume that you know which way I went. After making countless offers on gun broker, I was to be the proud owner of a shiny new RDB.
Upon retrieval of my new rifle, there were several things that I noticed right off the bat. Firstly this thing was light.  I mean really light. It’s not that the rifle itself was amazingly light when put on the scale, but it was more about the feel of the rifle when it was shouldered. All of the weight was to the rear, that’s where the action, bolt, steel safety plate, and the majority of the barrel reside. This also happens to be where the rifle contacts the shoulder, leaving a polymer hand guard, and half the barrel and piston system out front. This makes the rifle feel much lighter in the hand, and it is very quick to stop when transitioning the rifle from target to target.
The second thing that I noticed quickly was the versatility of the adjustable gas piston system. Being honest, tuning the system was a little bit of a pain. Do yourself a huge favor and read the manual. When completed successfully, I was very pleased.  The recoil is very mild, and the recoil impulse is different in a very good way. Its almost a two stage affair, and after a brief transition from the AR15 it is very pleasant and easy to manage recoil. The addition of a SilencerCo muzzle brake makes recoil virtually non existent. This set up when tuned properly is very smooth shooting, with extremely low recoil, and very easy to shoot very quickly. I was able to deposit large quantities of brass in neat piles due to the downward ejecting pattern of the rifle, and I found myself ringing steel with near reckless abandon.
I have been nothing short of extremely satisfied with my venture into the bullpup world. I have heard the occasional disparaging comment in regards to Kel-tec as a company or their customer service, but I have not found this to be the case in my sample size of one RDB. What I have found is a very sweet shooting rifle that draws both attention, and complements when I take it to the range. It may not be a Steyr Aug, nor is it an IWI Tavor, but it is in my opinion and experience competitive in every way to either. Also of note is that it is half or better the price of both, and for approximately $700 it should at the very least be given a shot at impressing you the way that it has impressed me.