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Buildsheet: Contractor Service Rifle

Fake Operators, Real Buildsheet

Elsewhere in this issue, you can see the second installment of “Exigent Circumstances” — a short fiction concept we first ran way back in Issue 32. When fleshing out the universe around Hampton-Crane International, our faux private military contracting firm, we realized that even a fictional corporate army would still need a standard-issue rifle. As a team, the RECOIL staff has decades of military and security experience between them. This author holds the dubious honor of logging 13 separate deployments to Afghanistan as a nonfictional government security contractor.

Part of the lure of fiction is that it allows us to live out an idealized or optimized version of our own life experiences. In this vein, we sat down at the builder’s bench with one question on our minds: If our fictional protagonists have to carry a company-issued rifle, what would it be? In short, it’d be the “one rifle” we wish we could’ve taken downrange with us in real life. Thus, the answer will be a little bit different for everybody; we combined our own experience with current trends in DoD small arms improvement programs to come up with this answer, affectionately dubbed the Contractor Service Rifle — or CSR.

The upper half of the Contractor Service Rifle is modeled on the URGI program. The Upper Receiver Group, Improved is a program implemented by Army Special Operations Command to update the M4 carbine with a longer, M-LOK forearm and 14.5-inch mid-length barrel. We used a Rosco Manufacturing Purebred barrel, a match-grade tube made of 416R stainless and capable of ½ MOA groups.

The 14.5-inch Purebreed has a 1:8 twist and 223 Wylde chamber. Both the twist rate and chambering can handle a wide range of both .223 and 5.56mm ammo to allow ammo changes based on mission requirements or the on-hand supply of units being supported by Hampton-Crane contractors. Both the URGI and our CSR sport SureFire Warcomps, which provide a balance of flash reduction and compensation in addition to being compatible with current SOCOM-issue suppressors. Since private contractors have been known to augment and support Special Operations units, the CSR had to be able to match those capabilities and be cross-compatible with SOCOM standard gear.

For optics, we topped the CSR with a Vortex Razor HD II 1-6x. Variable-power optics allow shooters to use their carbine to its full potential, from CQB to the 500-meter mark. The Razor specifically has been tested and implemented in certain parts of the Special Ops community, and Geissele makes a cantilever mount for this scope that’s certified for use by SOCOM, which you also see on the CSR. Other Geissele parts on this build include their Mk 13 rail, Airborne Charging Handle, and Single Stage Precision trigger.

The base receiver set for this build is the American Defense Manufacturing ADM4. The ADM4 lower is a truly ambidextrous lower receiver with both aesthetic and functional improvements over legacy M4 receivers, including ambi safety selector, mag release, and bolt catch. In addition to the Geissele SSP, we used a Primary Weapons System enhanced buffer tube set. The PWS buffer has lengthwise grooves for weight reduction and better clearance of loose debris. The furniture is almost all Magpul, including buttstock, M-LOK covers, vertical grip, mags, and offset iron sights. Magpul products are durable and inexpensive, making them ideal for a corporation looking to outfit hundreds (or thousands) of company-issued guns for hard-duty use. Magpul products have been travelling back and forth to Southwest Asia for a decade at this point, and have held up well in that role.

The entire rifle is finished off in a gen-u-wine rattle can paintjob, skillfully applied by Gabriel Cabrera of Rosco Barrels. This is a personal pattern that Gabe has been working on for a couple years, reflecting his own experience as an independent contractor working overseas. You can find more samples of this pattern under the social media hashtag
#CabreraCamo, if it strikes your fancy.

Over the course of modern history, private military contractors have faced steep tactical challenges and prevailed — usually with fewer men and less support than their military counterparts. Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone, Blackwater in Najaf, and Benghazi are all examples where small numbers of seasoned operators overcame numerically superior forces. While the quality of the men is paramount, cutting-edge individual equipment acts as a force multiplier, allowing contract operators to bring their skill to bear in the quickest, most efficient manner.

The Hampton-Crane CSR is short enough for vehicle and building work while being long enough to engage targets a half-click away. It runs fast and shoots flat, allowing accurate high-volume fire for raid and counter-ambush scenarios. It’s suppressor and IR ready for night operations and configurable for shooter preference and mission requirements. It also incorporates real-life lessons learned from several SOCOM-level carbine enhancement programs, including the USASOC URGI program and the NSW Crane analysis of both the M-LOK and mid-length gas systems as superior to legacy carbine configurations. Almost all of the parts used in this build were sourced from companies with current DoD contracts or individual unit-level purchases to reflect commonality between our fictional universe and weapons currently deployed on the battlefield in similar real-life roles. Look for this rifle, and Hampton-Crane International, to appear again in future installments of “Exigent Circumstances.”


Though it was built for a fictional story, the Contractor Service Rifle is a weapon we’d gladly take into harm’s way in real life.


41 buildsheet



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