Gun Review: Desert Tech SRS A2 Rifle

SRS A2

The Desert Tech SRS A2 builds on the bullpup platform. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

In 2007, Desert Tech introduced a precision bullpup rifle to the firearms market known as the Stealth Recon Scout. Since its inception, it’s seen a few revisions with the fourth generation SRS recently introduced as the A2 Model.

The Desert Tech SRS A2

SRS A2

The Desert Tech SRS A2 elevates the SRS A1 design with elevated features. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

For those not familiar with the SRS family, the bullpup boasts a detachable box magazine-fed, bolt-action design with the added advantage of serving as a multi-caliber rifle. The bullpup construction means that the rifle’s action is behind the trigger, and against the shoulder. This design has been tried many times over the years, in order to shorten the overall length and portability of the rifle, and the SRA incorporates these design advantages in addition to adding quality and a stellar record of performance – characteristics often sought by law enforcement, military and precision shooters. Perhaps the greatest advantage of the SRS platform, the icing on the proverbial cake, is its multi-caliber capability.

The SRS has a large following with a multitude of aftermarket barrel manufacturers allowing users to customize these factory-built rifles in whatever caliber they desire. Ranging from .223 Remington all the way up to .375XC, consumers can find a variety of caliber options to swap into the SRS 2, including well-known bestsellers such as 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua Magnum.

The SRS A2 follows the long celebrated A1 model from which it evolved. The SRS features an all-aluminum receiver sandwiched between two polymer skins comprising the pistol-grip and magazine well. The receiver is split down the middle featuring four clamping screws down the side. These features culminate to bring forth one of the SRS’ strongest assets – its unique barrel clamping system.

SRS A2

The SRS A2 removes weight by shaving materials. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

All SRS barrels have a shank at the breach that fits snuggly into the receiver and is then secured via those aforementioned clamping screws. Barrels are slid into the chassis from the front, then seated against a steel feed ramp that doubles as an index point. The unique barrel clamping system also allows the SRS to return to zero. This guarantees that every time you install a barrel, the gun will return to the same point of impact every time. Bolts are slid into the breach by removing the recoil pad from the back.

In addition to the new A2 rifle chassis, Desert Tech will be releasing a few new calibers specifically marketed towards big game hunters. These newer barrels are chambered in popular cartridges such as .300 RUM, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7mm Remington Magnum with more to come.

What’s New with the A2?

The evolution of this precision bullpup introduces several advantages to the system. One of the first notable differences of the new rifle is its M-LOK handguard. M-LOK, a more popular mounting system, replaced the Picatinny rail design from prior generations. The new handguard boasts the ability to allow users to replace it, easily swapping between standard lengths and shorter lengths depending on preference. Desert Tech sells separate handguards as a kit for end-users to install, so they can enjoy the benefits of whatever configuration makes them happiest.

SRS A2

The SRS A2 features new M-LOK handguards. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

The rifle sports a lighter weight with the A2 revision weighing 2.1-pounds less than its predecessor. Desert Tech achieves this slimmer version through shaving material where possible. This is apparent in Desert Tech’s decision to make the built-in, retractable monopod seen on its predecessor, the SRS A1, an optional equipment upgrade versus standard equipment. Using a lighter build, the SRS A2 opens itself up to more gun owners, specifically those who like to hunt, providing a more appealing option to haul into the woods.

The trigger also received an upgrade, equipped with a new design the company calls a “field match” trigger. This new design is adjustable from 1.5 to 7 pounds. Previous generations of SRS rifles used fully adjustable triggers that were serviceable in the field with a simple Allen wrench. This new trigger, however, requires disassembly of the chassis in order to adjust. While an infrequent necessity, it is still an unwelcome one.

Though the A2 elevates its design with certain upgrades, there are a few items that remain the same. Namely the barrel clamping procedure remains the same between the A1 and A2 models as does the adjustable comb height.

Hands-on with the SRS A2

Already quite familiar with the SRS platform, I found the A2 model to be an easy transition. Everything about it was recognizable and I was able to use several older conversion kits with great success. The A2’s weight saving measures definitely came in handy and I recognized immediately the advantage this would serve to hiking hunters.

SRS A2

The SRS A2 offers an accurate design. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

The SRS itself is quite accurate, in my experience, but Desert Tech claims the A2 features takes the accuracy even further, so I was eager to take it out to see for myself. I tried the A2 out with several different barrels at the range, among them the 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum.

The new hunting calibers featured the lighter contour, resulting in a little more aggressive felt recoil. However, the recoil was manageable with the muzzle brake. Accuracy was on par with my expectations of the SRS platform, resulting in typical groups at half MOA. Ammunition types varied wildly, however – some ammo did not shoot MOA at all, while others easily shot sub-half MOA. Whether the lighter contour barrels have something to do with, I can’t readily say.

SRS A2

Shot group on the SRS A2. (Photo: Jeff Wood)

The rifle seemed to shoot better with a sound suppressor installed. The Desert Tech suppressor mounted directly to the muzzle brake and provided hearing-safe shooting with enhanced accuracy. Even better, the SRS A2 retained its compact size even with a suppressor attached, measuring shorter than comparable rifles.

Whether shooting inside a 100-yard underground tunnel or shooting 1,200-yards across a breezy mountain ridge, the SRS A2 ultimately tackled targets with ease. The SRS A2 is a pleasant breath of fresh air and it appears Desert Tech has listened to its consumers and delivered a better bullpup. Though my A1 won’t be going anywhere soon, it definitely could use an A2 to go with it.

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Federal Launches Syntech Defense Ammo for Handguns

Self Defense

Syntech Defense is available for popular handgun loads like the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (Photo: Federal)

Federal caters to the self-defense market with a new line of defense ammunition, Syntech Defense, tailored to handgun shooters.

Available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, Syntech Defense offers a hollow-point bullet that splits into three segments and “a deep-penetrating core on impact.”

The core penetrates 12 to 18 inches through bare ballistics gel and heavy clothing—a critical benchmark in self-defense situations and the best terminal performance of any round in its class,” Federal said in a news release. The segments create three secondary wound channels, each more than 6 inches deep, adding to the terminal effect.”

Self Defense

The ammunition breaks into pieces with a penetrating core to offer the most penetration, according to the company. (Photo: Federal)

The Syntech Defense load follows in the footsteps of other Syntech ammunition, using a polymer jacket that reduces lead and copper fouling while also reducing heat and friction inside the barrel — ultimately, protecting the handgun’s barrel. Federal tops the design off with its Catalyst primer, delivering a hot yet reliable ignition all without the need of lead.

The Syntech Defense ammunition is available now with 138-grain 9mm retailing for $19.95, 175-grain .40 S&W priced at $22.95 and 205-grain .45 ACP coming in at $24.95. Ammo ships in boxes of 20.

Self Defense

Syntech Defense is available now for self-defense enthusiasts. (Photo: Federal)

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Smith & Wesson Brings Flat Dark Earth to M&P M2.0 Compact Pistol

For those wanting something other than the traditional all-black format common to the M&P M2.0 Compact series, Smith now has the handgun in a version that is somewhat more flatter, darker and earthier. (Photo: S&W)

For those wanting something other than the traditional all-black format common to the M&P M2.0 Compact series, Smith now has the handgun in a version that is somewhat more flatter, darker and earthier. (Photo: S&W)

SEE A WIDE RANGE OF M&P M2.0 COMPACT PISTOLS HERE FROM $455

Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson is changing things up on their popular M&P M2.0 Compact pistol by adding a flat dark earth option.

Announced this week, the pistol, currently just the 9mm M&P9 variant with a 4-inch barrel, will now feature a Cerakote FDE slide over a polymer FDE frame. The modular handgun’s four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts, as well as two magazine floorplates and sleeves, will likewise be in FDE rather than the normal black.

First introduced in late 2017, the Compact uses a 4-inch barrel and has a 15+1 round capacity in 9mm with an unloaded weight of just under 24-ounces. This is a dead ringer in comparison to the Glock 19 and 23 and a hair lighter than the 26-ounce P-10 C series from Czech gun maker CZ.

Other features on the Compact include an accessory rail, stainless slide with an Armornite coating, and an 18-degree grip angle. The gun ships with two magazines and a pair of mag extension sleeves for using full-sized magazines. Since its introduction, Smith has also introduced the handgun in both .40-caliber M&P40 and .45ACP M&P45 formats as well.

MSRP on all M&P M2.0 Compact models is $569.

SEE A WIDE RANGE OF M&P M2.0 COMPACT PISTOLS HERE FROM $455

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Ruger Unveils 4 New Colors for EC9S Pistol Series

Ruger is bringing four new color options to their EC9S line of no-frills 9mm handguns. (Photo: Ruger)

Ruger is bringing four new color options to their EC9S line of no-frills 9mm handguns. (Photo: Ruger)

SEE RUGER EC9S AT GUNS.COM FROM $218

Ruger this month announced a four-pack of new color schemes for their EC9S micro-compact 9mm pistols to include FDE, grey, purple and turquoise.

These new variants have all of the same features as the standard all-black pistol while offering versions with a turquoise frame and Cerakote slide finish; gray frame with black oxide slide finish; purple frame with an aluminum Cerakote slide finish; and a flat dark earth frame with black oxide slide finish.

New Ruger EC9 Colors

The new Ruger EC9S options have a little something for everyone. (Photo: Ruger)

Debuted in late 2017, the EC9S is a no-frills version of Ruger’s LC9S series. The single-stack 7+1 9mm polymer-framed striker-fired pistol has sights machined integrally with the slide. About an inch taller and an inch longer than the company’s previous .380 ACP-chambered LCP, the micro 9mm tips the scales at 17.2-ounces with a 3.12-inch barrel and 6-inch overall length.

Best of all, the MSRP of $329 puts the EC9S in the same size envelope as Smith & Wesson’s M&P9 Shield 2.0 and the Glock 43, at a lower sticker price. Plus, it is a lot harder to get a factory purple Glock.

SEE RUGER EC9S AT GUNS.COM FROM $218

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Select-Fire: Visiting Mark Serbu and His Tampa Factory

On this episode of Select-Fire, we visit with the eccentric and sometimes infamous Mark Serbu of Serbu Firearms. When he isn’t shooting machine guns out of airplanes or arguing with Seinfeld actors, he’s making cool guns and filling niche interests. So, we packed up our bags, carefully avoided Florida man, and ventured over to Serbu’s shop.

Mark Serbu

Mark Serbu inside his shop at Serbu Firearms. (Photo: Guns.com)

Serbu Super Shorty

If you know Serbu, you know the Super Shorty. (Photo: Guns.com)

Serbu

On the shelves inside Mark Serbu’s office library. (Photo: Guns.com)

Serbu Firearms

Mark Serbu, right, and Select-Fire’s host Chris Eger discussing a developing product — a rifle that weighs 70 pounds. (Photo: Guns.com)

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How to Co-Witness Your Sights

Co-witness

The absolute co-witness allows for iron sight backup in the event of electronic failure and is easy to set up. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

Regardless of what optics you attach to your rifle, it’s always handy to have a back-up in the event of an electronic failure of the red dot – be it a malfunction or the battery dies. Having iron sights will permit co-witness and engagement of targets even if the red dot dies. Let’s take a closer look at co-witnessing and how it works.

What is co-witnessing: 1/3 and absolute

Co-witnessing refers to a method of mounting iron sights in a manner that allow for them to align with the red dot’s point of aim. This is achieved through the optics lens in one of two ways — lower 1/3 co-witness or absolute co-witness.

Absolute co-witness means that your red dot will sit on the top of your front sight post when aligning your irons and looking through your red dot lens. Lower 1/3 co-witness will require a riser for your red dot and therefore means that the red dot in your lens sits above the front post of your iron sights and your iron sights will appears in the lower 1/3 of the optics lens.  Now, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Co-witness

The lower 1/3 co-witness allows for a duplicate zero without all of the clutter, although it is cheek weld specific. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

With an absolute co-witness the advantage is that both iron sights and red dot have the same point of impact. The downside, however, is that your sight picture is cluttered with a rear sight, a front sight and a red dot, which could impede your field of view.

The lower 1/3 co-witness offers a broader field of view with less clutter in the top 2/3 of the red dot lens and allows you to have a more upright position when using the red dot, hence a higher cheek weld.  If you transition to the irons, you will need to adjust your cheek weld to account for the lower mounting position of your irons.

Bear witness? Co-witness

Co-witness

The Sig Romeo 4H co-witnessed with Magpul sights. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

These are just a few of the many things to take into consideration when choosing the setup that works best for you. Remember, this is not a one size fits all and there is no right or wrong.  Your rifle setup should always be tailored around your intended use and your personal preferences, so have fun with it!

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Ruger Now Offering Security 9 Compact with Viridian Laser

Ruger is now distributing a variant of their Security 9 Compact with a red Viridian E laser module included (Photos: Ruger)

Ruger is now distributing a variant of their Security 9 Compact with a red Viridian E laser module included (Photos: Ruger)

SEE RUGER SECURITY 9 COMPACT AT GUNS.COM FROM $295

Ruger this month announced they are now offering their Security 9 Compact series handguns with an optional factory-installed Viridian E-Series red laser.

The smaller version of the company’s medium-sized Security 9 platform — which sports a 4-inch barrel and 15+1 9mm capacity — the Security 9 Compact runs a 3.5-inch barrel and a corresponding 10-round flush-fit magazine due to its shorter grip. The good news is that, even with the addition of a Viridian laser, the smaller Sec 9 weighs in at just over 22 ounces.

Using an ambidextrous push-button to activate, the laser unit itself weighs about a half-ounce with the installed battery and mounts on the Compact’s dustcover rail in front of the trigger guard. MSRP on the laser-equipped Compacts is $439, which is only $60 more than the $379 price point of the base variant.

Ruger debuted the Security-9 series in 2017 in an ode to the classic and affordable Security-Six revolver of the 1970s and 80s. The no-frills handgun is evolved from the company’s subcompact LCP and LCP-II line, using a variant of that .380’s fire control system. However, the Security-9s have an integrated trigger safety and external manual safety.

Although the Compact is shorter than the Standard model Security-9, it still has the same hammer-fired action along with features such as forward slide serrations, which are rare for a gun its size. The 9mm ships with a pair of 10-round flush fit magazines but the 15-round mags from the full-sized model are backward-compatible.

SEE RUGER SECURITY 9 COMPACT AT GUNS.COM FROM $295

More on the Compact, sans laser, below.

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