As many of you may remember, my girlfriend and I shoot 3-Gun together. I do it as a means of having fun, training and keeping my skill levels up at something other than the square range.
It is my tendency to like to take my time when shooting, as I need to do when going past 600 yards. This sport makes me practice making the less-than-perfect shot work.
My girlfriend has a more practical reason for shooting 3-Gun. She is a police officer and she shoots the course using her duty belt, so she is reinforcing the equipment and processes she hopes to never need on the job.
The department does not let her use her duty weapons in competition, but that is fine as her Duty AR isn’t really up to the task from a durability standpoint and she is only allowed to run a red dot as an optic.
She shoots a personally owned GLOCK for the pistol portion, a self-built Franken AR and a Stoeger M3K shotgun. Here we will be discussing the AR as it has undergone beautification and an optic upgrade.
The CMMG kit we chose did not have a pistol grip, so we went with one of the Magpul variants that fits her hand well. The other upgrade we did, was run a nickel-boron bolt carrier group in the assembled upper.
Since installing that, she has petitioned her agency to allow her to replace the BCG in her duty gun as well.
The cleanup after 300 rounds shot practicing and shooting a match with the nickel-boron BCG is less work than the cleanup from 60-80 rounds from a qualification shoot. Did I ever mention she hates cleaning AR bolts?
As a Franken-gun, the parts don’t all look seamless. It isn’t a big deal, but why not make it pretty? Seeing as she is a cop, I got on the phone with GunSkins and ordered her a “Thin Blue Line” skin.
As you can see in the images, it really transforms the gun. I did the application for her. The lower and base portion of the upper took roughly 45 minutes to apply.
It took significantly less than that for the base application, but carefully cutting out the portions of the vinyl that cover the various pins is precise work and took a bit of time.
I learned to remove the vinyl over the pins from a previous application. Doing so allows the material to stay attached to the firearm for much longer and gives you a cleaner place to drain out.
Live and learn, but I make mistakes so you don’t have to.
The application to the forend takes about 10 minutes. Cutting out all the M-Lok and ventilation holes took me another 90 minutes.
I strongly suggest a couple of safety razors or exacto blades, as it is much easier with a sharp blade. If you only have one, it will dull about halfway through.
Having a hairdryer handy is also useful to soften the vinyl in tight curves. I also use a lacquered chopstick to press and smooth in the fine detail areas to increase the bond and smooth out small air bubbles. I think it came out looking awesome.
That makes it easy to keep track of the mags at competitions, and the rifle certainly looks vastly superior compared to its previous generic look. The real test will be how many comments she gets at this weekend’s competition.
New 3-Gun Optic
In addition to the new “paint” job, those who look closely will notice we upgraded her optic and mount. The previous optic was an older Sun Optic 1x6x24.
It was a good optic, but the new Swampfox Arrowhead 1x6x24 has significantly clearer glass and she really likes the illuminated reticle. The Sun Optic will be moved to our spare AR that comes to competitions with us, and she will use the new shiny.
I also picked up a LaRue quick-dismount system. It is unlikely that it will be used to hop from platform to platform, but it is a very solid scope mount and a better fit for her natural positioning on the rifle.
All told, the new upgrades probably cost as much as the rest of the rifle (not including the Geissele trigger), but it looks better and will start conversations.
The glass is at a better eye height and is much clearer, especially on overcast days. That means that the 6x setting is quite useable for that occasional 200-yard prone shot.
This was a great COVID lockdown project, and now that all the “Karen’s” have been kicked off the range, we plan on showing off the new look, the new optic and the results of her lockdown training time.
What upgrades have you done to your firearms during the lockdown? Let us know in the comments section below!