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Preview – ADM Universal Improved Carbine

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Photography by Kenda Lenseigne

A Carbine for the Combat Tracker in All of Us

A combat tracker’s primary weapon requirement is for a lightweight weapon with both the ability to quickly neutralize an immediate threat and the capability for accurate, midrange target suppression — to either kill the mutha, break contact, or lay down fire until the cavalry arrives. The American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) Universal Improved Carbine fits the bill.

After attracting attention at SHOT 2014, ADM’s new 5.56mm carbine caught the eye of RECOIL contributor Aaron Cowan, and we profiled a preproduction version of the rifle on Now that it’s ready for primetime, we invited Adam Pini, vice president of sales at American Defense Manufacturing, out to Cowtown range to join us for a day of jaw jacking and mag slapping. Put your feet up for a synopsis of the features and our experience shooting the rifle that’s call signed the ADM Universal Improved Carbine MOD 2.


ADM was warned that their progeny might end up as the cover gun for this issue, so they stepped up and sent it to their Cerakote booth for the full-house MultiCam treatment. Every part was masked and sprayed, including a B5 SOPMOD stock, Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24 scope, Griffin Armament Fail Safe sights, ADM Low Light rail, Griffin Armament M-4 SP Suppressor, and Surefire Scout light. The contours of the rifle along with its accessory placement and the camo job just screamed, “Pick me up!” So after probing for pressure release devices and determining said object was safe to grab, we took the rifle into custody.

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In a world of plain vanilla ARs, the UIC offers a dash of habanero. Spicing up this offering is its fully ambidextrous control suite, adding an extra level of piquancy to the mix. The ambidextrous safety, conveniently and easily swept with the inside edge of the firing index finger, is nice to have as an alternative option, particularly when it comes to putting the weapon on safe when working around teammates. In this case, more is better, so it’s good to see that all hand sizes are accommodated with several different options of widths, lengths, and heights for the safety lever.


It sweeps from safe to semi at an ergonomic 60-degree angle as well, rather than the typical 90. The magazine well is beveled at 20 degrees by request and insight from competitive shooters, and of course it sports ambidextrous magazine releases. The ambi theme is carried over to the charging handle, which has no manual latch, instead being secured by a “force to overcome” detent that simplifies manufacturing and results in fewer stressed parts. After a brief tour of the exterior, the most prominent feature turned out to be an extra slot cut into the fence above the mag release. It housed the ambidextrous bolt catch — and of all the ways to make a true ambi AR, this is the best we’ve encountered so far. It is slicker than snot on a doorknob. While firing off hand, we deliberately blocked the ejection port with the support hand and interrupted the ejection of a casing. With the rifle pointed in a safe direction, we instinctively slapped the magazine, observed the malfunction, pulled and locked the charging handle to the rear (with the non-firing hand on the bolt catch), removed the source of ammunition, cleared the obstruction, inserted a fresh magazine, slapped the bolt release (again with the non-firing hand), reacquired the sights, and successfully fired. No biggy there, as years of muscle memory took over.

Pini immediately suggested that with the ambidextrous controls, we could use the firing side hand to both lock and release the bolt, thus placing the rifle into battery much sooner as that hand would never leave a firing grip. We played around with the new technique, and frankly, it’s a no-brainer. Anything that keeps that shooting hand where it belongs — i.e. hand on the grip, head over the gun, and gun in shoulder — is going to gain time in a firefight. A second is an eternity in combat. This one feature alone is the most appealing function of this rifle. If this were my primary weapon, I would gladly invest in the thousands of rounds it would take to ingrain the remedial actions upon a type 2 or 3 malfunction, as it’s just that much faster and more positive.


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