Guns Griffin Armament/American Defense Universal Improved Carbine Aaron Cowan February 19, 2014 I saw a lot of rifles at SHOT show I know, imagine that. I walked the show for 8 hours each day and handled rifle after rifle; from well-known manufacturers to small shops just getting started. What I saw was a great number of quality rifles that are sure to be successful in the AR market, and a few that will have the potential be a great platforms once the bugs are worked out of their respective designs. Despite all the awesomeness, nothing really caught my attention from the perspective of a rifle I just had to have…that is, none until I until I Found the Griffin Armament Booth. Not much in the way of flash, just a space and some rifles on display with knowledgeable shooters on hand to discuss. I spent some time with Evan of Griffin Armament and he introduced me to the Griffin Armament/American Defense manufacturing Universal Improved Carbine (UIC). It was time well spent. The UIC features billet components as well as a few parts (like its the rail system) I'd not seen on another rifle. The proprietary off-axis sights caught my attention, which I will admit is what got me into the booth. The rifle was free to be handled so I did, and the light weight design was instantly my favorite rifle of the day. Once I began working the rifle’s ambidextrous controls, it became my favorite of the whole show. The ambidextrous magazine release is the most intuitive and easy to function design I have seen yet; it requires minimal (but conscious) downward pressure to drop the bolt, and functional upward pressure to lock the bolt to the rear. Just being able to lock the bolt to the rear with my control index finger with a built in function was nice. With an ambidextrous charging handle, magazine release and short throw selector, the UIC gave me the impression of a rifle built with total environment shooting in mind; from home defense to law enforcement, the UIC could easily fit right in. Now, everyone seems to be doing rails. Griffin Armament is too. The UIC will be offered with four different rail configurations. What’s interesting is that Griffin Armament/American Defense Manufacturing will be using 7075 aluminum, a stronger stock for those who don’t want to worry about rail flex or fragility in their rails. With proprietary off-axis sights and a number of mounting options available of optics, the UIC offered the greatest single source package with the most user friendly features (and a low over all weight) of any rifle I was able to handle during the show. Just getting behind the rifle and shouldering into it (while doing my best to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, no easy task as SHOT) I could feel the attention to balance and the purpose built design. There are many, many ARs on the market and more on the way, but the UIC is definitely one I hope to get one on the range in the near future and see if it runs as well as it feels like it will. If that happens we'll run a thorough review. Images courtesy of Markland Photography. (See more of Kevin Markland's work here on last week's Friday Night Gun Porn.) AC Explore RECOILweb:Leatherman Expands Heritage Line With New Rebar Multi-Tool Nerd Alert: Go Drive with "The Crew"Doc Spears' "Combat Lifesaver" is live for preorderSig Sauer Builds Ceremonial M17 for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guards 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). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!