When you handle guns for a living it’s easy to get jaded. There is a lot to see and even more to learn. In this business you get lots of calls that begin with, “We have created a new AR-15 that you are going to love.”
So when Erik Lawrence of Blackheart International called, he could probably hear me nodding my head as he tried to describe his new rifle. Then he said something that shook me back to reality. “What would a bunch of Green Berets know about designing a rifle?” Good point. Guys in the field know what they need. So I decided to take a closer look.
The truth is Lawrence didn’t do a great job of describing his new rifle over the phone. When I got the thing in my hands it occurred to me that someone had finally taken the AR-15 platform to the next level. And the best part is that moving to the next level is not about all the stuff you can hang on the rifle, but rather creating a rifle that functions the way it should, feels better than anything you’ve carried before and gives you the versatility your mission demands. The BHI-15(S) does all that with no apparent downside.
What am I talking about? The most noticeable thing about the BHI-15(S) is the hand guard system. It is thin. It is easy to grip and handle and it offers amazing versatility. Instead of being bristling with picatinny rails the Blackheart hand guard is knurled for a great grip. Strategically placed slots allow for the attachment of short segments of picatinny rail. This lets the operator configure the rifle in any number of ways. BHI sells rail segments in 1.5-, 2- and 4-inch lengths, making the hand guard ultra-versatile and more importantly keeping weight and extraneous gear to a minimum. Right out of the box the hand guard just feels right and it only gets better when you can put only the things you need exactly where you want them.
The only problem I would have with this rifle, other than the Magpul sights which are easily replaced, is the barrel. Why a 1-in-9″ twist?!?!? With the extreme popularity of 75-77gr bullets in both .223 Rem & 5.56 loads, which generally require at least a 1-in-8″ twist barrel for reliable accuracy, why are AR15 manufacturers still putting 1-in-9″ twist barrels on all their rifles?!?!? In my experience a good quality barrel with a 1-in-8″ twist will shoot just about every bullet weight available in the .223/5.56 with excellent accuracy, all the way from 40gr to 80gr. So I ask again, why saddle a an otherwise great rifle with a barrel that won’t shoot the bullets that so many of us like to use when a much better option is available?!?!?