Silly Things and the Gimmick Rifle

During my great content drought through the holidays and into the first quarter of 2018, I’ve spent a lot of time sick or caring for sick family and used that time to brainstorm a bunch of stuff.  On the one hand I have a laundry list of guides to finish, builds to complete, work to get done and maybe even some reviews and opinion rants to write up… but on the other hand I have some just outright goofy ideas to add a little humor to the mix.  Every now and then, expect something to really come out of left field and make as little sense as possible.

The Gimmick Rifle Project

Typically when I help someone put together a build sheet for an AR, AK or other platform build we go over everything in detail to balance out the practicality and price points of each component until we hit the sweet spot the potential owner is looking for.  What if we completely threw that paradigm out and tried to build the most ridiculous, gimmicky yet still perfectly usable AR-15 possible?  I’ve always had a fascination with the craziest and least practical accessories in the gun world, from stocks that contain spare magazines or a pistol holster to those grip pod things everyone loves to make fun of or the infamous Mossberg chainsaw shotgun grip.  Gimmicks live and die in rapid succession, often in obscurity because the niche someone thought they would fill didn’t exist at all.  Solutions looking for problems, as some people put it.

Historically speaking, lots of gimmick accessories and whole gimmick firearms came and went over the past century or more.  From the arguably practical built in bipods of some FAL variants, Steyr Scout and Keltec SU-16 to weird air ignited caseless ammunition Daisy .22s and beyond, the thin line between innovation and gimmick has always been a hot topic for the gun world to debate over.  Are pistol stocks a gimmick or a way to enhance usability in niche situations?  Does the Glock frame plug really do anything useful?  All of these are topics for another day.

As a fun project for 2018, along with my planned expansion to our refinishing equipment and beyond, I’m going to start on a little journey into the darkest, dankest corners of the AR-15 parts world to find the goofiest components I possibly can.  Then I’m going to review them and assemble them into what could be considered the most gimmicky rifle of all time.  There will be a few rules, however:

  1. No redundant redundancies.  Parts can have inherent redundancy, but we won’t be using multiple sets of backup sights, multiple optics, grips mounted on three cardinal directions, or any of that.
  2. Minimum acceptable practicality.  This is subjective, but it must be a rifle you could at least enjoy taking to the range.  Even if people laugh at you… a lot.
  3. Boutique be gone.  We’re not talking about muzzle brakes made of designer inconel individually wire EDM cut in a painstaking 36 hour process that cost $400 each.  Silly shaped receivers and rails are about where the line gets drawn.

The end result will hopefully be something monstrous and tacky, but at least functional without being meme tier.  We’ve all seen the pictures of scopes on four sides of a quad rail, or flashlight-laser-magnifier-nightvision Cronenberg horrors bolted together atop a picatinny rail.  I’m after a conversation piece, not a cringey Facebook post.

Onward into 2018, hoping for the other three quarters to be filled with much more content than the first was!