Issue 48 Buildsheet: Going OFFGRID Patrick McCarthy Join the Conversation A Multipurpose Survivalist SBR Themed Around Our Sister Publication There seems to be a nebulous atmosphere of gloom and doom circulating in America today. Politicians and TV pundits claim our government is on the brink of collapse; Time magazine’s scowling teen slacktivist-of-the-year thinks we’ll all be fighting over newly formed beachfront property soon; keyboard commandos on social media are certain of a forthcoming civil war. Any rational person takes these pessimistic perspectives with a huge grain of salt. Still, it’s never a bad idea to insulate yourself from a variety of worst-case scenarios according to the essential mantra of preparedness gear, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. With this in mind, we set out to build a rifle that might serve as a one-size-fits-most tool for the types of situations discussed in our sister publication, RECOIL OFFGRID. It might need to fit the role of bedside home-defense implement, bug-out backpack gun, and/or a means of putting food on the table. We therefore decided to go with an SBR for maneuverability, a folding stock adapter for packability, and a silencer to save our hearing in settings where active ear pro might be a luxury we don’t have. Reliability with a variety of ammunition, with or without the silencer, was also prioritized to enable scrounging and scavenging. The build began with a matched lightweight billet receiver set from Ascend Armory. It features numerous cuts and recesses to shave excess ounces, and comes with preinstalled ambidextrous bolt catch, billet takedown pins, and unidirectional threaded trigger pins. Both the upper and lower were laser-etched with the RECOIL OFFGRID logo. Ascend also provided a billet safety selector, but an apparent tolerance stacking issue caused it to lock up with the drop-in single-stage Velocity trigger; a Battle Arms Development selector nicely circumvented this issue. Next, we sourced a Quickmount flash hider and titanium Shield silencer from Gemtech. This setup dramatically tames the report of the weapon without causing it to feel unwieldy.We selected an 11.5-inch carbine barrel from Sionics with the standard gas port size — unlike the company’s reduced gas port options, this enables the rifle to cycle just as reliably without the can. The crew at Sionics assisted with assembly, including installation of the M-LOK rail, which required light lapping of the indexing tabs with a diamond file to fit the billet upper. The upper was finished with a Sionics BCG with easy-to-clean NP3 coating and a VLTOR charging handle. In order to make this SBR even more transportable, we installed a Law Tactical folding adapter. With the silencer removed and stock folded, this brings the gun’s packable length to less than 23 inches — just right for slipping it into a backpack or under a truck seat at the cost of an additional 10.5 ounces. The VLTOR A5 buffer system was chosen as a means of fine-tuning the action, but it also has the pleasant side effect of smoothing out the recoil impulse. With the standard spring and A5H2 buffer, we experienced some occasional short-stroking. Before playing with buffer weights, we dropped in a SOLGW green spring, which eliminated the issue. A Magpul MOE-SL stock keeps the rifle slim while it’s folded, and an MOE+ pistol grip houses a container of CLP for field maintenance. Up front, we installed an Ascend Armory billet AFG for added control. No home-defense-ready carbine is complete without an illumination device — for this build, we sourced an Arisaka Defense 300 Series light that produces a 325-lumen, 23,000-candela spot beam. Paired with an Arisaka inline mount, this light tucks in close to the muzzle. It’s also compatible with SureFire accessories, such as the Scout tail cap and SR tape switch seen here. Finally, we knew the theme of this build required a versatile optic as well as an easily accessible backup iron sight setup. This Nikon 1-4x LPVO fulfills the first requirement, with an illuminated reticle that’s effective for close-range engagement. The second need was met by way of Magpul MBUS Pro Offset sights, which can be folded away to sit flush with the upper when they’re not needed. Despite what clickbait blog articles may claim, there’s no such thing as an all-purpose SHTF gun. Even if you’re a distant relative of Nostradamus, you can’t predict the exact challenges you might face in the future, and even if you could, there’s no single weapon configuration that’s optimal for all of them. What you can do is make educated guesses about the most likely scenarios that apply to your location and lifestyle, build accordingly, and train frequently to match your hardware with the essential software. Nothing dispels gloom and doom faster than confident preparedness. Buildsheets: Past and Present Going OFFGRID A Different Kind of Thin Blue Line This folder is Mk18-ish. Light and Bright. The Coyote Crusher. The Contractor Service Rifle. The SnipAR Rifle. Building out the .224 Valkyrie. M16A4 OIF Edition. Not Just AR's: SBR AK. 5.45 AK: Starting with the Arsenal 104. The Real Call of Duty Soulful Wanderer. Explore RECOILweb:Triple Aught Design Dogpatch SaleAmerica's Rifle: The AR-15New for 2022: Primary Arms DiscoveryA second gun, a knife and the "New York Reload" NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.You want this. Trust Us.