SME Charles “Chip” Lasky reviewed the HRF Concepts Rifle Combat Magwell (RCM) recently in UN12 Magazine. They were kind enough to let us share that article with you. The RCM is an AR15 flared magwell that provides 250% more funnel surface than a standard magwell, allowing for faster and more consistent reloads (but has nothing to do with Chotchkie’s).
Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to follow and signup for notifications!
Add-on magwells for semi-automatic rifles have been around for decades. They really got their start in the competitive shooting world, where the difference between being first or last can be measured in fractions of a second. I’ve always enjoyed watching competitive shooting. And while I do not personally compete, I have nothing but respect for the shooters and their seemingly flawless weapon manipulations.
No doubt, competitive shooting is a great way to hone the fundamentals while having fun. But let me be clear: The usefulness of competitive shooting to the gunfighter stops at fundamentals. I do not prescribe the theory that it helps you become a better fighter. Rather, it helps you become a better shooter. And while these two things are not completely mutually exclusive, they have considerable differences.
The best operators are the ones who can perform the fundamentals flawlessly on demand. I say this because “shooting” is a fraction of operating and gunfighting. Weapon manipulation and shooting need to be reflexive so that the operator can focus on the job: processing information to make decisions to solve problems. This relates to my other article found in this issue: “Darkness is the Metric for Fundamentals.” Darkness is the great equalizer for shaking out gear and tactics. And one of the most-fumbled fundamentals is the emergency reload.
There are few worse feelings than that prompted by a dry gun in the middle of a fight. It’s impossible to gas the gun back up fast enough.
Competition shooters have developed all sorts of specialty gear to shave fractions of seconds off their split and stage times. Like us professionals, they stage and prep their kit to maximize efficiency. One of their more iconic accessories is the flared magwell. A magwell is the opening in a semi-automatic firearm into which the magazine is inserted. This is obviously a critical place in the reload process because the empty magazine needs to be removed and the fresh one needs to be inserted. This procedure can take place statically or on the move. Either way, it needs to be done without looking.
The complex body and weapon mechanics taking place under stress can cause a magazine to not index properly into a standard, narrow magwell. This is where aftermarket magwells come into play. Competition shooters started utilizing precision-machined aluminum magwells that often double the size of the opening flare. This provides a 200%+ increase in surface area in which a magazine can be indexed into the weapon. And while these giant pieces of aluminum–often anodized in bright, gaudy colors–may look ridiculous, they work. Function > Form.
Many of the “high speed” pieces of gear we use today have their roots in the commercial and competition worlds. While I often preach that most challenges in the professional gunslinger community are best solved with software solutions rather than hardware solutions, I won’t shy away from a piece of kit that will increase my efficiency. Manufacturers tried marketing their competition magwells to the professional market for years. And while they undoubtedly performed as advertised, they never quite worked for guys fully jocked-up in kit. The large funnels hanging off the butt of a pistol or in the middle of an AR-platform rifle were just too big. They caught on PPE gear or pouches and added more weight. These issues do not affect the competition community. They tend to run their stages dressed in a belt kit and jersey.
A few years back, several companies started looking to bridge the gap. One such company is HRF Concepts. HRF began as a niche product shop for the industry in 2020. They focus on purpose-driven products that help bring incremental improvements to capabilities such as weapon manipulation and activation of remote switches. One of their flagship products is the RCM (Rifle Combat Magwell). The RCM is now a standard upgrade to any rifle I use that has a standard Mil-Spec magwell. It creates a 250% larger funnel surface for magazines. And my reloads have become more consistent, easier, and faster in every condition: light/dark/rain/shine, wet/dry, and hot/cold. What’s more, it adds very little bulk to the lower receiver.
Every edge and surface area is rounded to avoid snag hazards and breakage. The RCM is 3D-printed out of robust, impact-resistant material. In fact, I often forget it is there. As a night fighter instructor, I have been recommending the RCM to students for a couple years. As I mentioned in my other article, you need to be able to do things in the dark. The Night Monster likes to pop up and mess with us in absence of light. And nighttime forces us into a no-look reload because we cannot see both the gun and the target in the dark or under NODs anyway. But no-look reloads should be the default regardless, since it’s better to keep your head up, observing the threat, than to focus on a micro task like weapon manipulation.
Rifles aren’t the only things that benefit from enhanced magwells. I’ve had a Freya magwell from Raven Concealment on my pistol for years. The bottom line is that real-world situations are not competition stages. The stress of having your targets shoot back means that our weapon manipulation and shooting skills need to be on autopilot so we can focus on solving the problem. This sort of stress calls for us to increase our software capability. But having good hardware will stack the deck in our favor. I’d highly recommend giving an aftermarket magwell a try.
HRF Concepts Rifle Combat Magwells are available in Black, Flat Dark Earth, and OD Green.
There are several models available, including:
- M4E1 Rifle Combat Magwell
- MCX Rifle Combat Magwell
- MilSpec Rifle Combat Magwell
Check out all products by HRF Concepts.