Ballistic Advantage 5.45×39 AR Upper Receiver

I got into the 5.45 arena a few months before the ATF reclassified 7N6 as armor piercing and never got to fully appreciate the “poison bullet.” At the time, military surplus 5.45 7N6 ammo could be had for just slightly more than .22LR, unless you were willing to do the Neckbeard thing and wait at Walmart every morning at 6am. Paying less than 2 cents per round more than .22LR for regularly available ammo that was an actual centerfire rifle round seemed like an obvious good idea at the time.

The ATF’s reclassification of 7N6 as armor prevented further importation of that ammo into the U.S.

Although in August a judge ruled in the ATF’s favor during a court challenge to the 7N6 reclassification and subsequent importation ban, the inevitable changes that will take place in the upper levels at the Department of Justice and ATF after January 20th make it possible that 7N6’s designation of armor piercing could be changed. If that does happen, I will be shooting 5.45 again.

Enough bullshit. Let’s get the the item at hand.


Like any good consumer, I started out my researching my options. I read several positive reviews about the now discontinued Smith & Wesson 5.45 upper receiver, but after seeing that those were no longer being made I started looking for other options. One name continued to pop up when I was researching 5.45 ARs- Ballistic Advantage. BA made Spikes Tactical’s 5.45 parts which was another very positively reviewed 5.45 offering. I stumbled upon Ballistic Advantage’s website and saw they were selling complete upper receiver groups. I quickly purchased one remembering the few threads I had read where 5.45 uppers had sold pretty quickly.

Shipping and processing was fast and my Ballistic Advantage URG arrived last week. I ended up getting a stripper lower from Aim Surplus and a lower build kit from PSA.


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A Long Overdue Update

I hope to update this blog more often.  I have made several new purchases and will post my feedback on those items as I have time.  The rise of ISIS from a Syria-Iraq issue to a transnational problem-set (and the subsequent Iranian counter to ISIS) provides a lot of material for discussion as well.

In November of 2012, I wrote a paper as a writing sample for an analyst position I applied for. I didn’t get that job, but reading this paper now could be an insight into what might have been.

To find what the people of Syria and the world will see after the end of the Syrian Civil War, one only needs to look to Syria’s east to see the struggles it will face in mending a religiously divided country after the harsh rule of a dictator and a prolonged conflict. The similarities between Iraq and Syria should be evident to anyone who is a student of the Middle East: a ruthless dictator eventually expelled or killed (assumed in Syria’s case); that dictator being from the minority religious sect (Sunni in Iraq, Shia in Syria); the influx of foreign fighters into the country during the conflict; and a poorly organized transitional government or government in waiting. Of all these difficulties, the biggest threat to peace in a post-Assad Syria is the lack of a respected, effective, replacement government. This is also the problem that is the easiest to correct and the only problem the US government can help resolve.

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21st Century Françafrique

As French troops prepare for ground offensive in Mali (multiple reports now say French SOF are engaged in combat in the town of Diabaly), it is interesting to see how much French foreign policy has shifted over the past 10 years.  France’s staunch opposition to the US-led involvement in Iraq immediately comes to mind which led to all things remotely tied to France (save Chevrolet and buffet) were considered un-patriotic.  France today could be viewed as more hawkish than it was in 2003, but a deeper examination must be conducted. 

Although France wanted no part with the US/UK operation in Iraq, France has been a steady contributor to the NATO effort in Afghanistan.  That mission has now ended, so it would appear that France, like the US, is limiting their overseas involvement to focus on domestic issues. 

One look at Africa would show that is not the case.  France was one of the leaders for intervention in Libya, and the French are acting, from a European combat role, unilaterally in Mali.  There is logistic, intelligence, and other support being provided by other countries, but the major powers seem content with allowing France to take the lead in this. 

You could say that Mali and Libya are in France’s backyard so let the French deal with it, but I don’t see it that way.  France’s continued involvement in their former African colonies should at least draw questions and at brief hesitation from Russia and China the same way the Russians and Chinese oppose most US courses of action involving Iran that are put in front of the UN security council.

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