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Prototype Ambi AR15 by Quality Arms
|Posted by Lance Earl of Lance Earl, LLC on July 17, 2012|
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I love cool things. I love innovation. I love the inventor and the drive to tinker. That is why, when I learned of the existence of the original AR15 Ambi prototype, I just had to get my hands on it. Jim Barron at Quality Arms was more than willing to let me take the gun home and play a bit.
This is a unique firearm that addresses a real and persistent problem faced daily by south paws. Every law enforcement agency, military unit, security detail and so on will have to deal with the fact that a consistent percentage of their people will be left handed. These left handed folks face the daily challenge of dealing with simple tasks in a right handed world. However, adopting the Quality Arms Ambi as the issue carbine gives the south paw equal footing in one aspect of his or her duties.
The question rises, can the Ambi be as reliable as a traditional AR15? The answer is no, all other things being equal, the Ambi is not equally reliable. It is more reliable. It is more efficient. It is more flexible.
At first glance, the Ambi looks remarkably similar to a standard AR. As you look a little deeper, some remarkable innovations come sharply into view.
First, is the dust cover... this gun has two. These covers hinge at the top and open together when the bolt cycles. Because of design challenges that are unique to an Ambi AR, the dust covers could not be held in the closed position with the standard spring loaded catch. Instead, a rare earth magnet has been attached to the inside of each cover. When the bolt is closed, these magnets float just above the bolt carrier. The magnetic attraction holds the covers in the closed position. When the bolt carrier moves to the rear, the magnets no longer have any attraction to the receiver and the covers spring open. I suspected that these magnetic closures would not hold the covers securely in place. I was wrong. I broke a fingernail trying to pry these suckers open. They work perfectly.
A spare bolt is securely stored inside of the pistol grip. Switching the gun from righty to lefty and back again can be accomplished in just a minute or two. You simply pull the bolt retention pin from the bolt carrier, remove the bolt and replace it with the new one.
I shot this carbine in both the right and left handed configurations without a hickup. It simply runs and runs. Considering that there have been nearly 14,000 documented rounds through this gun, the reliability and accuracy are phenomenal. The gun shot like it was brand new.
Earlier, I suggested that the Ambi was more reliable and efficient than a standard AR. That is a pretty strong claim, but in this case, I can support it.
When a traditional AR ejects a spent round, the action of extracting the brass from the chamber and ejecting it out of the receiver creates a vacuum inside of the receiver. This negative pressure must be equalized and it can only be accomplished by drawing hot gases through the barrel and into the receiver. The result is a hot and dirty gun.
The Ambi, however, neutralizes the negative pressure by drawing clean cool air through the unused ejection port, resulting in a cooler and cleaner gun. The conclusion is inescapable. A cleaner and cooler gun runs better and runs longer. Case closed.
In closing, I must mention that the accompanying photograph is of the original prototype and not that of a production gun. The purpose of a prototype is to prove that a concept is functional. This often means that some things are tried, improved, enhanced, and modified in the search for perfection. Cosmetics are commonly sacrificed in this process. Such is the case here. I have also had the opportunity to handle the production Ambi. I can tell you that it is one sweet and sexy thing.
For more information about this and other Quality Arms offerings, visit www.qualityarmsidaho.com
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