The Ilion (NY)-based Remington Arms Company opened a strictly-dedicated Military Products Division after being acquired by the Cerberus Capital Management L.P. equity firm, thus becoming part of the Freedom Group family of companies, comprising all the weapons- and ammunitions-related entities acquired by Cerberus during the years (DPMS Panther Arms, AAC, Barnes Bullets, Harrington & Richardson, Bushmaster, EOTAC, PARA-Ordnance). The task of the Remington MPD, now headquartered in Madison (NC), is to develop a new generation of firearms to bring the company back to its ancient role of main source of armaments for the Armed Forces of the United States and other Countries − a role that the company has long lost, at least since the beginning of the 20th Century, whilst at the beginning of the Third Millennium its main military-oriented products were specialized variants of the Model 700 bolt-action long-range rifle and 12-gauge Model 870 pump-action shotgun platforms. At the 2012 SHOT Show we had a chance to see why the Remington MPD might be in the right path to return to the glories of the past.
In 2008, with the acquisition of Bushmaster Firearms International Inc. out of Windham, Maine (recently relocated to Madison, North Carolina), the Freedom Group came in possession of the manufacturing rights of the ACR, the adaptive combat rifle previously prototyped by the MagPul Industries Corporation out of Erie (Colorado) as the “Masada”. The ACR entered production under the Freedom Group umbrella with both Bushmaster, for civilian and Police sales, and Remington, for the military market. A new, possibly final version of the ACR has been showcased by Remington at the 2012 SHOT Show, and is known as the ACR-IC, where IC stands for “Individual Carbine”; this new ACR variant has in fact been developed to run for the competition whose Phase II started in May, and will contend against the FN FNAC, the Heckler & Koch HK-416, the ADCOR Defense BEAR, the Beretta ARX-160 and the Colt APC advanced piston carbine to become the U.S. Army's replacement for the M16/M4 family of weapons. The exact number and kind of modifications that the original ACR project underwent to in order to be made compliant with the “Individual Carbine” competition requirements has not been disclosed yet, but even a first glance at the ACR-IC will reveal several cosmetic changes, including a modified handguard, an AR-type pistol grip, and an enlarged (“Winter”) trigger guard. The modified ACR-IC rifle/carbine system results overall lighter than the standard M4-type carbine.
The main news in military firearms from the Remington MPD for 2012 however regard the good old Eugene Stonerʼs “Black Rifle”, which continues to be pretty popular with military and Police forces alike despite the commercial availability of newer, better platforms, mainly due to its tried-and-true performances, lower price and to the existence of enormous stocks of spare parts. Remington thus decided to jump on the AR-15 bandwagon with a series of direct gas impringement ‒ operated rifles and carbines chambered for the 5,56x45mm-NATO caliber (no 6,8x43mm, no other “alternative” chambering), STANAG 4179 compliant feeding, cold-hammer forged chrome-lined barrel with six 1:7” grooves.
Given the fact that Remington is part of a group of companies that also owns DPMS - Panther Arms, a major AR-15 manufacturer, it's not difficult to think that the Remington MPD might have decided to enter the AR-15 market itself with assistance from DPMS. A quick look at the Remingtonʼs AR line, including the Gas Piston Carbine, would seem to be enough to corroborate this theory. Several parts in the Remington AR-15 line appear to come directly from DPMS, bearing some distinctive cosmetic features of the Panther Arms series, such as the fire selector positions, marked with the effigy of a white, crossed bullet for the safety, a red bullet for semi-automatic operation and three red bullet for controlled bursts or full-automatic fire.
Remington shows little fantasy in dubbing its AR15-based firearms line the “R4”. The R4 line comprises four models: the Standard version is a quite faithful reproduction of the standard M4-A1 carbine, equipped with a carrying handle mounted on a top MIL-STD-1913 “Picatinny” rail and a 14.5-inch step-cut barrel, compatible with M203-series grenade launchers. A touch of originality comes through the use of a “Blackout” flash hider − manufactured by the Advanced Armament Corp., another Freedom Group company − that dubs as a quick attachment point for a silencer manufactured by the AAC itself. In contrast, the R4-M “Marksman”, despite its name, is more a knock-off of the original M16-A2 standard infantry rifle than a true designated marksman rifle: it features a fixed stock and carrying handle, a 20” barrel and a standard length handguard.
The R4-E “Entry Carbine” represents Remingtonʼs own version of the Coltʼs model 733 “Commando”, an 11-inch barrel CAR-15 version with removable carrying handle that gained worldwide popularity as a longtime favorite of the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, the “DELTA Force”, and saw extensive combat during the tragic “Operation IRENE” dated back to October 28th, 1993, when a joint task force of U.S. Army Rangers and DELTA Force operators engaged a two-days long battle in the streets of Mogadishu against the forces of the Somalian warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid after an attempt to capture some of his top right-hand men, resulting in eighteen casualties and over seventy wounded between U.S. servicemen. Aside from historical notes, the “Colt Commando” still remains a top choice for Special Forces over pistol-caliber sub-machine guns when engaging enemy combatants in close-quarters situations. For those who might need an even more compact 5,56mm NATO platform, as a personal defense weapon (that might be the case of aircraft or vehicle crews) or for VIP protection duties, Remington now offers the R4-C Compact PDW, featuring a top Picatinny rail, a 7-inch barrel equipped with an AAC “Blackout” flash hider and a machined aluminium handguard.
The first AR15-based firearm from the Remington Military Products Division was however first seen at the 2010 editions of the Las Vegas SHOT Show and the Paris EUROSATORY expos, albeit its design was perfected in 2011 for a definitive launch this year. Named the R5 GPC “Gas Piston Carbine” − also known as the RGP, for “Remington Gas-Piston rifle” − this new weapon was designed to solve many of the best-known problems that plague the M16/M4 family of weapons, most of which are known to be due to the direct gas impringement systemʼs tendency to amass fouling within the bolt area. The R5 employs a short-stroke indirect gas-operated piston featuring an adjustable, two-positions gas valve that will ensure proper cycling in all conditions and through the use of all and any type of ammunition, as well as making sound suppression more effective.
The R5 gas piston carbine is built on a “Multicaliber” lower receiver manufactured with some degree of DPMS assistance, and featuring an ergonomic pistol grip and a MagPul ACS stock; it only comes chambered for the 5,56x45mm NATO caliber, and comes with a monolithic upper receiver with a machined aluminium ACR-style handguard, featuring two side Picatinny rails, a bottom rail, and another one specifically for optics running on top of the whole upper, as the weapon comes free of any sort of iron sight. The R5 GPC employs a 14.5-inch cold hammer forged, Remington-made chrome-lined barrel with six 1:7” pitch grooves, and will feed through any STANAG 4179 compliant magazine. Controls on the R5 GPC are in the standard, non-ambidextrous configurations. Once again, the R5 comes equipped with an AAC “Blackout” flash hider. The extensive use of machined aluminium in the construction of the Remington Gas Piston Carbine however also represents its main drawback, as the total weight of the weapon greatly exceeds the levels of the typical/basic M4-type carbines.
The final new Remington's Military division product for 2012 is the R12 series of semi-automatic 12-gauge shotguns with a new universal chamber. Remington's offer in the field of special applications shotguns thus expands to include a few new models past the countless variants of the Mod.870 and the newer 887 “NitroMag Tactical” pump-actions, and this time, it's a selfloader, and not a manual repeater, that proves able to handle any and all kind of ammunition.
The R12 shotguns are pretty much cosmetically akin to the previous Remington model 11-87, yet their technical configuration is in fact extremely different, and opens a new era in the world of tactical autoloaders: their working system is in fact based on a self-regulating double short-stroke piston that enters in direct competition with Benelli's ARGO auto-regulating gas-operated system used in the M1014-JSCS joint-service combat shotgun adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces in terms of guaranteed reliability under all stress and environmental conditions, with all types of ammo, and requiring very little maintenance. The R12ʼs universal chamber will feed any type of 12-gauge ammunition, be it 2.¾”/70mm “Standard”, 3”/76mm “Magnum” or 3.½”/89mm “Supermagnum”, and will cycle reliably with standard loads, hot charges or low-pressure ammo, making this shotgun a perfect tool for any and all Police uses, from riot control to CQB to door breaching and even animal control. The combination between the effectiveness of the patented rubber “RecoilPad” buttstock pad and the energy dissipation caused by the cycle of the short-stroke piston system will effectively reduce the perceived levels of recoil up to -20%. The R12 shotgun is available in three versions: the Standard 18-inch barrel, fixed-stock model features a seven-shot capacity feeding tube; the Short variant has sports a 14-inch barrel and a five-shots total capacity; and the Tactical, basically same as the “Short” but featuring a fixed stock with stand-alone pistol grip. All R12 models feature LPA GhostRing or Rifle iron sights and top MIL-STD-1913 “Picatinny” rails for optics, while other shorter rails can be installed on the handguards; fixed or ProBore chokes and a CeraKote finish are optionally available.