What they came up with is the Brown Enhanced Automatic Rifle, or BEAR. The BEAR is a piston-operated AR design that features a variety of internal enhancements, including a forward charging handle, a bolt carrier-mounted dust shield and a free floating barrel.
Company officials claim the BEAR — named after ADCOR vice president Mike Brown who perfected many of the rifle's components — addresses some of the concerns from lawmakers and Joes in the field over the M4's accuracy and malfunction problems in dusty environments.
"It's basically a giant Gatling gun," Stavrakis said.
The company plans to submit the rifle to the Army for the service's Improved Carbine competition, which could result in a wholesale replacement of the Colt-made M4.
An April 19 report from independent weapons testing firm HP White provided to Military.com by ADCOR shows that two of the carbines fired 6,000 rounds with no stoppages — including 60 shots from a BEAR that had been submerged in water and buried in sand. The entire rifle, including the piston system, is designed to be disassembled and cleaned using a firing pin or rifle round.
First of all, the BEAR that’s being offered to the Army is a gas piston operating system rifle. There’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo that goes over my head on their piston design, but company officials say it’s a better mouse trap than their competitors:
- A newly designed vent cover houses the piston exhaust ports, which protects the operator from exhaust heat and cuts down on the weapon’s signature.
- Mounting the piston on the underside of the rail system allows the barrel to float freely, ensuring greater accuracy of the weapon.
- The lower half of the rail system detaches with a unique tool free design for ready access to the piston and gas tube for operational maintenance and cleaning. The operating system can be cleaned faster than the existing weapon’s cleaning routine.
- The operator in the field can adjust the piston’s cyclical rate to keep the carbine operating within control rate of fire parameters, resulting in less wear on the carbine’s critical parts.
- The piston design is machined with close tolerances so that gas rings are not needed, eliminating another potential maintenance issue for the weapon
After a typical AR carbine fires, the weapon is susceptible to contaminants because the ejection port door remains open until it is manually closed. Dust, sand and debris can enter the receiver and work their way between the receiver and bolt, potentially jamming the carbine. These contaminants also create wear and maintenance issues.
Adcor’s design solves this problem with a spring-loaded dust cover mounted on the carbine’s bolt carrier. Each time the weapon fires and the bolt carrier returns to the ready position, the dust cover moves into the ejection port opening, flush with the outside geometry of the carbine. No dust, sand or debris can enter the weapon.
There is a biasing device, comprised of two springs, between the bolt carrier and the shield for biasing the shield outwardly away from the bolt carrier so that the dust cover shield continuously engages the inner surface of the receiver during movement in the firing and rearward positions.
The shield is formed of a self-lubricating polymeric material that can withstand extreme heat and cold, and is extremely durable.
Adcor’s design permits an operator to charge, clear or forward assist the weapon without losing any engagement with the target. The operator reaches forward and pulls back on a handle (which can be located on either side of the weapon for right or left handed operators) without losing sight of the target.
If the carbine jams, the same handle clears the carbine with a single pull. It is an easy-to-use single mechanism.
The handle is detachable (without tools) and is ambidextrous for use on either side of the weapon.
It is equipped with a spring that returns the handle to a locked position once used, where the handle folds forward into a recessed area to keep it out of the way. To use the handle again, the operator reaches forward, swings the handle outward and back in a single motion.
The handle does not reciprocate when the weapon fires, but only engages when the operator charges or clears the weapon.