By Jerry Sinkovec
When Bushmasters developed the ACR, they had many visions of the rifle and its various capabilities. ACR stands for Adaptive Combat Rifle; meaning it could play many different roles in many different forms. It would be the ideal weapon for a soldier to carry into battle in any theater of war under any conditions. To date that hasn’t happened. When I actually bought an ACR Enhanced model in Flat Dark Earth a several years ago, I was told that the 6.8 SPC upper receiver would be available in about six months. That never happened. That 6.8 caliber upper receiver has only started testing a few months ago, and they have no idea of when it will be available. That is true of many other accessories and components that were to be available for the rifle so it could function in many different roles and configurations with only a few minutes to change. So for the moment, there is nothing to adapt to the rifle.
I decided to configure the rifle in what I would call a traditional CQB (Close Quarter Battle) mode. I put on Magpul MBUS FDE plastic pop-up sights for back-up and installed an EO Tech Holographic single dot sight in FDE for my main sight. That sight is really nice to work with and is easy to get on target with quickly. The only two other things I added to it are a single point sling in Coyote and a 300 Series Versa-pod bipod in FDE made by KFS Industries. It would be easy to ad a scope to the rifle as the EO Tech sight is quick and easy to remove with the cam lever.
Over all, the rifle handles and shoots nicely and is balanced nicely. I’ve tested some AR’s that were way to front or barrel heavy and were harder to shoot accurately. It has an adjustable and folding stock. The rifle has the standard 16″ barrel. When I started shooting it and sighting in the two sight systems I decided to only use the bipod rather than sand bags. At the start, I used what I would call some cheap ammo at 50 and 100 yards sighting in and I was getting 1″ groups. When I switched to some Federal and Silver State Armory I was getting 3/4″ groups. I was impressed with that and the sight. The dimmer I kept it in bright light and still see it, the more accurately I could shoot with it, especially at distance. It’s easy to use the rings and the four point dashes on the sight for reverences at greater distances. The bipod was very stable using the Raptor feet and enabled me to shoot good groups. The trigger on the rifle released at about four pounds average, and it had a little creep. It was a little better than the standard trigger you find in almost all AR’s. But I feel with a better three or three and a half pound trigger you could shoot a little more accurately and rapidly with accuracy.
I also tested the rifle with some of the heavier bullets available from Silver State Armory and they also did well getting under one inch groups at 100 yards. I was very impressed by the SSA ammo overall because of how well it shot at different ranges and weights in the same gun. I also did a couple of magazines of rapid fire to see if there would be any malfunctions with both brands of ammo and the gun and ammo functioned well together.
One of the most important things about the gun is the left hand charging lever. It enables you to stay on target even though you might have a misfire. With the standard charging handle you’d have to dismount the rifle to clear or recharge the action. That takes too long in a gunfight, and you could end up being the loser. Overall, I really liked the rifle, especially the charging lever. I noticed more companies are making left or right hand charging levers on their upper receivers, it’s a really good feature. The ACR is a quality rifle, but you can’t find anything to add to the gun like different calibers. With the ordinary AR, you can find about a dozen different calibers with different barrel lengths and different fore-ends. So for all the hoop-la when the rifle came out, there is nothing to adapt to the Adaptive Combat Rifle. You’re better off buying some other standard AR that you can make tons of changes to. Would I buy an ACR today knowing what I know now? Probably not. Do I want to sell my ACR? No way. I just wish some other company would make uppers in different calibers and barrel lengths for the ACR, along with other items.
I have a feeling that when Remington bought Bushmasters and DPMS a lot of priorities were changed. I know there were many changes in personal in both companies and I’m sure that had some affect on the companies directions and priorities with this product. It seems that other companies are taking a look at the ACR and building their own version with products they can adapt to the rifle now. They may out run the ACR with their own version and with a large variety of add on accessories as well. Only time will tell if the ACR will ever become what it was originally planned to be, a dam fine versatile combat weapon.