Milspec vs. Commercial

Today I had the best comment/question I’ve ever had on Gundoc’s Doctrine. So Jake, here’s your answers brother.

The original remarks were:

“My rifles are far better than the ones being currently issued to our war fighters.”

This recently came into a discussion with myself and a friend, a lot of civilian rifles seem to be generally superior to what’s being issued. In your opinion, why would you say that is? For example, free float hand guards, would you say this is a cost issue, or do they lack something the standard hand guards have?


Lets start off with what is a currently issued rifle? Yes there’s a lot of testing involved. They have to meet certain standards of durability and reliability. The stuff that meets those minimum standards are basically is defined as milspec. I.E. minimum Military Specifications. This tells you that they are seeking the equipment costing the least that meets the minimum standard.

So what’s missing? Billet receivers for one thing. They’re stronger and take much more abuse than the standard (fancy word for cast then finish milled) receivers. Commercial receivers often have reenforced walls in high stress areas. This ensures that even under the harshest conditions, areas that would have broken on a milspec receiver will still be going strong. It’s the mark of quality that costs more than the military cares to issue.

Barrels, can’t forget about the pipe stabilizing the bullet. The GAP-10 uses cut rifled blanks that they chamber. Cut rifling far exceeds normal rifling methods and is the reason custom bolt action rifles are so famous for being accurate. It doesn’t exceed the polygonal rifling that Crusader uses but it’s still good stuff.

Flash hiders. The aftermarket flash hiders actually work. I’ve seen the Vortex at night under sustained fire until the barrels glowed. Even with night vision I could barely tell the rifles were being fired there was so little flash. The Battlecomp completely does away with muzzle flip. Completely. So once again the minimum standard is struck down by something that costs more than $5 each.

Stocks. You go with something like Magpul  CTR with it’s locking lever or the ACS with it’s enhanced cheek weld (like the one they copied, the Vltor) and you have a much more stable shoulder platform to shoot from. Pick any aftermarket stock. I guarantee more thought has gone into the design but also costs more.

Bolt carrier groups. We have access to better than the minimum allowed quality. We have Aerospace companies taking the same standards they use for the space shuttle and are putting that into BCG’s. How freaking awesome is that? The military doesn’t even consider that because they probably get these parts for about $50 each where we would pay over $100 for a better quality part.

Handguards. Yes, the military is using some quad rails. They’re two piece, generally, and still have all the disadvantages of having too many things touching the barrel. Our free floating handguards make for better accuracy, are very ridged, and models like the Yankee Hill with the end cap will more than meet the quality standards of the military. Once again…they cost more than $5 so that’s just too much.

Speaking of Crusader rifles, since all of mine are built by the same smith, from start to finish, I have a much better handle on quality control than a company that has one guy put in the trigger, another puts on the barrel, and by the time it’s done has too many people have their mitts on the rifle and who knows if they’re having a bad day or not.

So I guess what I’m saying is….it’s not difficult to have a better rifle than what the military is issued. You just have to know what you’re putting into it. Hope that helped Jake. Thanks again for the awesome question.

2 thoughts on “Milspec vs. Commercial

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