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Old May 1, 2019, 11:03 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Broward County, Florida
Posts: 2,951
My New Geissele URG-I/SOCOM Rifle

I decided recently that I wanted to invest in a "duty" style AR in order to take part in tactical-style training and competitions. In my area there is a carbine club that hosts defensive carbine matches as well as SPR/DMR competitions (all for fun and practice, not sanctioned matches).

I'd been hearing a lot about the new Geissele produced URG-I (Upper Receiver Group - Improved) that was created for a SOCOM solicitation and then awarded a contract by USASOC.

Being curious to try a new product that did not have much user experience on the internet, and the upper receiver group fitting the description of what I wanted, I decided on it. I got it during Brownell's Tax Rebate sale for about $200 off normal price. For a lower, I selected a BCM complete lower with gunfighter stock.



For those who are not familiar, the URG-I was supposedly produced at the request of SOCOM to provide an update/improvement upon a standard M4A1/Mk. 18 firearm. This being a compact, lightweight carbine capable of accepting a variety of accessories and also producing good accuracy. It was also designed to handle increased pressure of the M855A1 round (I'm not sure in what way the design allows this, other than the heavy buffer/spring included).

It uses a mid-length gas system and is technically a 14.5" barrel with the Surefire SF4P flash hider pinned and welded. Note that if you buy the "stripped" version it does not include the BCG, charging handle, or muzzle device and it would either need a muzzle device attached to meet the length, registration as SBR, or put on a pistol lower.

The upper is built with:
A non-descript "mil-spec" upper receiver and bolt carrier group
Geissele Mk. 16 rail (not available to the public currently separate from buying the URG)
Geissele Airborne Ambidextrous Charging Handle
Daniel Defense Government Profile 14.5" barrel (the real issue one apparently uses a Colt SOCOM barrel)
Geissele Super-low gas block (again, apparently different on the issue model)
Geissele
Surefire S4P flash hider pinned and welded in place. These are very effective flash hiders!
Geissele Super 42 buffer and braided recoil spring (to install in your lower)

Also, you get some cool goodies in the box. A URG-I patch, some stickers, and some awesome coupons; 30% off a Surefire light and 30% off a Surefire SOCOM suppressor. I've been thinking about putting a trust together, that might put me over the edge

Impressions
Obviously this is not a cheap upper. Probably, a group of parts could be assembled for a lower price that would provide a large part of the functionality for less price. However, the upper is not low on value. The Mk. 16 rail, when you can find one, sells for $500+ on its own! And the upper is built with quality components.

The whole thing comes packed with grease which required some removing. I was not immediately so impressed with the BCG - it worked, but had a rougher action than I was expecting and I was not blown away with the machining and finish. But it works and I expect it will wear in. I will say at least that the gas keys are very well-staked.

The URG handles very well. I would not classify it as featherweight but it is notably light and balances well. You can definitely feel the weight in the rear of the rifle, almost nestling into your shoulder when you shoulder it. The rail has a very slim, comfortable profile. If you like a C-clamp grip, I could easily get my very small hands around the rail.

The top has a full-length Picatinny Rail. M-lok slots are set at every 90 and 45 degree interval, which I think is an interesting design. It allows for the mounting of a device such as a light at an offset angle. I might have preferred Keymod myself, but M-lok certainly works. I chose to put a BCM Gunfighter Shorty grip on mine. I like a forward grip for manipulation and recoil control, but I use it more as a hand stop to pull the rifle into my shoulder, so I like the shorter grip.

The QD mounting point built into the rail itself is a nice touch. If I end up not liking it, I can always mount another point further up the rail.



I really like the Geissele charging handle. As a left-handed shooter, it feels very natural and comfortable for me to use. I probably would have preferred one with a larger surface area than the Airborne for better grip, but I'm sure it was chosen for a .Mil requirement that I don't have. Regardless, it is very smooth and easy to manipulate.

The flash hider is pinned and welded very professionally, including a shim for proper timing and to prevent a shoulder gap. The pin is at the 6 o'clock position and even if you are looking for it, you will see only a very small weld deviation.



Also, I'm not so focused on the lower, but I do want to say that I think the BCM lower was a fantastic pick for the money. There is zero play in the stock whatsoever. It's like using a fixed stock, and even those have more wobble than this one. Also, it has one of the best "duty" triggers I've ever felt. Very short take-up, clean break, and a short re-set. If I had to guess, it's right around 5 lbs. Better than many stock bolt-action rifles. I'd almost compare it to a decent 1911 trigger. Personally, I like these types of rifles to have a little heavier trigger to make it a deliberate pull - but this trigger is absolutely clean while maintaining that resistance.



First shots
So far I have only been able to fire 100 rounds through it today at a 25 yard indoor range. Shooting Wolf Gold ammo, I had no malfunctions (I would hope so at this price). I did have a weird occurrence where the very first time I loaded a magazine and hit the bolt release, the bolt closed just enough for the hammer to fall but was not fully in battery and I got a "click". It didn't happen again. I don't know if it's a case of brand-new parts wearing in or if maybe I loaded the first round wrong in the magazine.

The recoil impulse is super smooth. Even using the Magpul MBUS pro backup sights with the little tiny front sight blade, it is very possible to do 2 and 3 round bursts without losing track of the front sight. I'm sure with a red dot it would be a cinch.

One thing of note - I fired 100 rounds in 25-30 minutes. I didn't do so at any real remarkable pace, most of the time shooting 5 round groups and taking time to reload my mag and check the target. By the last mag, the barrel was hot enough that the handguard was hot to the touch. I actually started getting mirage off the barrel that was very noticeable through the iron sights. Of course, something's got to give with a lightweight rifle and a relatively thin barrel configuration. It's no pencil barrel, but the rifle is really not intended (in my estimation) for super high volume shooting. Something to be aware of depending on what role you have in mind for it.

Next step is to shoot it out at 100 yards, then put some type of magnified optic on it and sight it in with precision ammo (maybe 77 gr OTM) for shooting at 400 yard steel matches and see how it groups with that ammo also.

Plus, getting some footage of shooting it and eventually a full write up here and on my website. Also, I know this post was a little light on pictures - a situation I will remedy soon enough.
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Last edited by dakota.potts; May 1, 2019 at 11:14 PM.
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Old May 1, 2019, 11:15 PM   #2
dakota.potts
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Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Broward County, Florida
Posts: 2,951
Also, my apologies - I am trying to resize the images currently. Imgur used to have great functionality for that but they seem to have removed it and I'm having a difficult time with it
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Over the next 25 days, I am raising money on Kickstarter for a Historical Firearms Coloring Book. If this interests you and you would like to see the project completed, please consider pledging or simply sharing the project.
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