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All that aside, my interest in any kind of firearm is reliability and its ability to perform as advertised. With that in mind I spoke to Customer Service and Technical Support representative, John Dowhy along with Sales Manager, Cole Leleux at the Spike’s Tactical factory and showroom in Apopka, Florida as they gave me a tour of the facility. The weapon starts with a standard ST forged M4 upper receiver with a chrome-lined, lightweight 14.5 inch 5.56mm Nato barrel (made by FN) with a 1:7 twist attached to it. The barrel is fitted with a .625 diameter low profile gas block and is sleeved with a 12 inch MLOK rail system. It is then capped with a pinned and welded Dynacomp 2 muzzlebrake that is proprietary to Spike’s (More on the D2 later). The inside of the upper sports a lightweight Nickel Boron M16 bolt carrier group. It is finished with a set of Magpul Back-Up Sights (MBUS).
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Unloaded, the weight of the Crusader Rifle is 6.65 lbs. This makes the weapon very maneuverable and user friendly for the owner who will utilize this weapon for fighting. The mid-length gas system was selected for smooth shooting and the re-engineered Dynacomp 2 ensures little to no muzzle rise during rapid fire scenarios that makes it a versatile selection for competition use as well.
This weapon balances the fine line between tactical and competition, Light weight and Dependability! The firing sequence features a crisp trigger with a short reset and with the previously mentioned attributes, it makes for a very smooth shooting rifle with extremely fast follow up shots due to reduced recoil and the overall balance of the rifle is close to perfect.
After a sight-in period at the local public gun range, several close range and intermediate drills were conducted from the venerable “El Presidente” and “One to Five” for close range handling and evaluation to some fire and maneuver drills from 50 to 150 yards. Sighting took a little bit longer than usual considering the brisk Florida weather at the time of writing (32° and windy … yes it gets cold in Florida).
That said, for the main purpose of this carbine being a fighting rifle, it is every bit capable of shooting MOA or better with the right shooter behind it (I was close to shooting those kinds of groups during the sighting in period … did I mention windy and 32° … in Florida?). I digress. With the initial rounds down range, the factory tour came next with several more trips to the range under a variety of weather conditions and temperature spans (it rose to the high 80s at one session).
The engineering in some of the less discussed parts of AR platforms such as the proprietary D2 comp and the weight reducing cut outs in the bolt carrier group make this production gun a cut above for the price that it lists for. MSRP for the ST Crusader is a very reasonable $1,395 and can be found at a firearms retailer near you or on the Spike’s Tacical website … www.spikestactical.com.
For what started out being a concept gun that would not be eligible to be shipped overseas where it could fall into the wrong hands and used against America’s fighting forces, the Spike’s Tactical Crusader Rifle became so much more!