Had my first systematic lesson in how to use an AR15 today
This morning, I brought that Peace Corps A2 style AR15 out onto the range for the first time, and had a local instructor give me a lesson on how to operate it. These are sort of notes to help me remember. The rifle is a full length AR with a fixed A2 style stock. I put surplus triangular handguards on it and am running 20 round magazines for the retro look.
In order to use a modern isoceles fighting stance, your left arm grips the hand guard as far down the barrel as possible, away from the mag well, and presses the rifle hard into your right shoulder. At the same time, you turn your body a little bit and push your right shoulder into the stock, so that even if you are not using your right hand to hold the rifle, the rifle is very stable and pointed on target, to the point that you can walk around with your right hand hanging down and the rifle still pointed on target. This allows for rapid and well controlled aiming of the front sight and jerk-free trigger operation. Your thumbs should be parallel and pointing at the target, in a manner analagous to how your thumbs should be pressed together parallel and pointing at the target like on a handgun. On the rifle they're just a lot further apart since one is way down on the hand guard at the end of the barrel, and the other is near the trigger and the safety.
You must hunch forward a little bit, just like in a martial arts fighting stance, so that you can control the weapon. You must stand "in the fight", and not just upright or leaning back.
I notice that my upper back gets tired from supporting the weapon in this manner. Are there any exercises I can do at the gym that will help me with supporting a rifle in this manner?
You're in the above stance and you've just fired your last round and the bolt is locked back on an empty magazine. Your steps are:
1.) Pull the rifle forward, off your shoulder just a little bit, and cant it to the left so you can examine the ejection port and see what the problem is.
2.) You observe that the chamber is empty and the bolt is locked back, so you then cant the rifle to the right so the ejection port is pointing downwards at a 45 degree angle (as you do this press the eject button with your index finger so the magazine flies free of the mag well), and you either brace the stock on your chest to assist with manipulations, or you clamp the stock in your armpit. The barrel should be pointing upwards on a diagonal and in the general direction of the target. At this point the rifle is being held in place by your right hand and the pressure on your torso or the squeeze from your armpit.
3.) Grab your next magazine with your left hand and ram it hard into the mag well. Give it a shake and tug to make sure it's locked in and seated properly. If you do this right you won't have to let go of the mag in order to whack it, so that you will save a little time on the reload. You want to do all this with your eyes still on the target.
4.) Using your left hand only, whack the slide release, and get back on target by pushing the rifle forward and then pulling it back into your fighting stance.
1.) Step one same as above.
2.) Observe a type 1, 2, or 3 malfunction.
3.) Rest the rifle in your armpit or on your torso as described above in step 2. In a type 1 or 2, instead of ejecting the magazine, you make sure it's seated, and then you work the charging handle using your left hand only, before getting back on target. If it's a type 3 you must use your left hand to operate the slide stop, and rack the slide back by pulling on the charging handle with your right hand. Next, you must strip the magazine, and then rack the charging handle 3 times making sure that the ejection port is pointed 45 degrees at the ground. Finally, load a fresh magazine, and then get back on target.
1.) The AR 15 must be run "wet". There should be tanginble oil on the bolt while you're operating it. The charging handle must also be lubed up.
2.) Rem oil or Hoppes 9 oil isn't good enough. You must use breakfree, or something that is similar. I went and bought some today.
3.) The rifle will get all dirty after ~200 rounds, at which point it is mandatory to field strip and clean the rifle.
4.) 20 round magazines must only be loaded up to hold 18 rounds, or else reliability will decrease and the mags will be more likely to crack when dropped. (I knew about the 18 round thing from reading Vietnam War histories, but I didn't know that was still the case.)